Friday, November 4, 2011

United Nations Counter Surveillance Unit (CSU) - spying the world in the name of "development"

Joseph Torsella, the new US Ambassador to the United Nations will be looking in vain to find any budget line where the expenses of the UN's Spying Unit (CSU) are charged in the budget. He won't be able to get any numbers. They are SECRET and covered by UN's Secretary General discretionary approval(s).

Yes ...United Nations is a public organization, fully funded by member states, with a mandate in poverty eradication and peace building, but Ban Ki-moon and his Korean staffers seems to have found a way to hide a Secretive Spying and Counter-Intelligence Unit at UN's HQs in Geneva.

Contrary to host-country agreements which UN signs with any nations where its offices are located (including US, Switzerland, Austria, etc) the UN seem to be dissatisfied with the level of "intelligence" shared by host countries and thus is taking upon itself to create a robust Spying and Counter-intelligence Service that will serve the UN's purpose.

If it wasn't for UN's independent auditors at JIU (Joint Inspection Unit) no one will ever know about the UN Spies. Even the element of the above unit is buried inside a lengthy report from JIU (JIU/ML/2010/1 - UNOG Security and Safety Section Management Letter).

The Independent Inspectors lament in their report that Ban Ki-moon did not share with them his report on full budget disclosures of UN's Department of Security Services (DSS). They also question the legality of the Spying and Counter-intelligence unit at its Headquarters in Geneva, questioning the validity and its mandate.

Here is JIU report:

21. Another example is the creation of the Counter Surveillance Unit (CSU) as part of the “Groupe des Enquêtes des Operations Spéciales” (GEOS). In spite of the relatively high degree of safety and security at Geneva, the Inspectors are conscious of the increased threats against United Nations system entities and understand the importance of reinforced security measures, including risk and threat assessment. If any operational need for additional risk assessment capacity through a separate entity is required, the Inspectors recommend carrying out these activities in the context of a clear mandate with clear operational procedures and in full compliance with Host country agreements provisions and the general rule of law, which might be questioned on the basis of information received by the Inspectors. The Inspectors noted the high turnover of staff within this unit in recent years which might be the sign of potential internal problems. In the context of an individual complaint, the UNDSS Internal Affairs Unit scrutinized the activities of CSU through a formal investigation and made a draft recommendation insisting that the role of the Counter- Surveillance Unit at UNOG SSS be reviewed. As already mentioned, the Inspectors regret that the final version of the report was not made available to them.

Recommendation 1: Following the implementation of General Assembly resolution 59/276 creating the United Nations Department for Safety and Security Services, the United Nations Secretary-General should issue without any further delay a Secretary- General’s Bulletin (ST/SGB) for the Department of Safety and Security formalizing the legal framework of United Nations security entities.

Recommendation 2: The Chief of UNOG SSS should ensure that each UNOG SSS organizational entity is covered by formal terms of reference indicating its mandate, its objectives and its scope for action thereby creating a clear accountability framework.

While many democrats and world leaders were dismayed by wikileaks reports on US spying at United Nations, it seem that the very leaders of these countries were allowing (thru their vote at 5th committee on UN budgets) to fund a unit that was spying on them on behalf of Ban Ki-moon.

Is United States Congress going to pick up the tub on this new UN expense and pay another 27% of its spying costs? Will Ileana Ros-Lehtinen allow that United Nations carry non-mandated and thus illegal counter-surveillance activities in the territory of the United States? Who monitors the UN-CSU? Why has OIOS not investigated nor audited this unit? How much are UN spies costing the world tax-payers?

Let's see ...!

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