By Matthias Monroy
The European Union is now making security-related information from satellite intelligence available using a software application named “GeohuB”. The tool was developed in the framework of the multi-level project “Geospatial Information to Support decision Making in Operations” (GISMO), launched in 2014. The agency responsible is the European Defence Agency (EDA). GeohuB is intended to facilitate geospatial intelligence. According to EDA, it covers “land, sea, airspace and cyber”.
The EU plans to strengthen the linkages between its internal and external security structures. In future, military information will increasingly be used in combating terrorism and organised crime. Cooperation is being tested first in the field of migration.
The European Union is planning the establishment of „Crime Information Cells“ (CIC) for the exchange of data between the police, military and secret services. The intention of the players involved is to reinforce the “external dimension of internal security”. The “Crime Information Cells” would strengthen linkages between civil and military EU missions. This would apply to Common Security and Defence Policy missions (CSDP) and the area of Justice and Home Affairs (JHA), which fall within the remit of the European External Action Service or European Commission.
By Matthias Monroy
Libya is to become the first third-state to join the EU’s satellite-supported “Seahorse Mediterranean” network. The Italian military is currently setting up the necessary control centres, to be followed by a new application for a search and rescue zone, supported by Italy. In the end, the Libyan coastguard is to coordinate all maritime search and rescue missions itself.
Shortly after Muammar Gaddafi‘s fall from power in 2011, the European Union attempted to incorporate Libyan border surveillance into European systems. Just one year later, rebels in the first post-revolution government signed a declaration with the intention of establishing maritime situation centres in the capital Tripoli and in Benghazi. The Libyan coastguard, which is part of the military, was to be linked with the Mediterranean Border Cooperation Centre (MEBOCC) in Rome. Libyan border guards would then have been provided with information from the European states bordering the Mediterranean in real time, in order to prevent refugees from crossing to Italy and Malta.
Tunisian border authorities are receiving equipment and training assistance from the German Bundeswehr and the Border Police in the course of a number of projects. Existing measures are now being extended. Manufacturers of surveillance technology stand to benefit.
By Matthias Monroy
The Federal Government is helping Tunisia pursue the ongoing development of an electronic border surveillance system. A section that has already been constructed is now being extended along the Libyan border to the border town of Borj El Khadra in the Sahara. This was disclosed by the Federal Ministry of the Interior in response to a minor interpellation. The overall project is being planned together with the US Government. The intended recipient of this “training initiative” is the Tunisian military.
The American Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) has been tasked with the concrete implementation of these measures. Costs of extending the installations are not known. The financial aid received from Germany is explained vaguely as being “in the tens of millions”.
Voice samples can be analysed in order to identify unknown persons in tapped telephone conversations, audio chats and video files. If the technology were applied to internet nodes, then it would be of particular interest to intelligence services.
By Matthias Monroy
The Speaker Identification Integrated Project (SIIP) on the use of speech biometrics by the police, co-financed by the European Union (EU), has successfully passed its final test. This was announced by the international police organisation Interpol in a press release. SIIP’s objective is to identify and locate “criminals and terrorists” through the analysis of their voices.
Andrej Hunko talks in PACE current affairs debate on the need for a political solution to the crisis in Catalonia
Opening speech of Andrej Hunko in the current affairs debate of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on "The need for a political solution to the crisis in Catalonia" on 12th October 2017. The debate was proposed by the Unified European Left (UEL) group. A video of the whole debate in English is available here. The verbatim records can be found here.
As a significant precursor to a “European Defence Union”, the EU Treaties provide for an instrument known as Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO). This military union enables a group of EU Member States to cooperate more closely in the matter of security and defence policy. In return for this, they enter into binding commitments to, for example, increase their defence spending and integrate their security and defence policy. The German Government is one of the driving forces in seeking to advance a military core Europe through PESCO. At the Foreign Affairs Council on 11 December, Permanent Structured Cooperation is to be formally established through a Council Decision.
Matthias Monroy, Leil-Zahra Mortada
The German Federal Government expresses its concern about the human rights situation and crackdown on civil society in Egypt. Despite this fact, the two countries have begun to implement a new security cooperation agreement, and in August they concluded an agreement regarding cooperation in the area of migration. According to the Federal Foreign Office, these measures help promote the values and principles of the rule of law.
According to Amnesty International, at least 40,000 politically persecuted individuals are imprisoned in Egypt. The majority of them are members of the Muslim Brotherhood and are thus supporters of former President Mohammed Morsi, who was overthrown by military general Abdel Fattah al-Sisi three years ago. Civil rights and human rights groups, bloggers, journalists and lawyers are also being specifically persecuted. Now the Egyptian authorities are targeting the queer scene in Cairo. Since 22 September, the police have arrested dozens of LGBTQI activists – as well as people they perceive to be LGBTQI activists. The wave of arrests began after rainbow flags were waved in the audience at a concert by the Lebanese band Mashrou‘ Leila in Cairo.
While the European Union has agencies for police and border police cooperation, it does not have own police powers of attorney. The same also applies to undercover observation and surveillance measures. The police agency Europol has played a most active role in this area nevertheless and has worked for years to interconnect relevant units and working groups from the member states.
Europol first organised an experts’ conference on undercover surveillance in 2008, holding a second conference in 2011. Prominent attendees included the European Cross-Border Surveillance Working Group (CSW), an alliance of a number of mobile task forces and comparable units from the member states, which was formed in 2005. According to the Federal Ministry of the Interior, the CSW is investigating “the scope for deploying technical equipment in efforts to combat crime”. It is also addressing the question as to how “criminal activities and technical means to identify police measures” can be prevented.