Friday, October 22, 2010

Unlimited possibilities without cumbersome parliamentary snoops

article of the day:

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2010.10.22 by Alex Ringeling, HP/De Tijd: "Shadowy developments in the field of security in Europe. In the context of terrorism, there is an official "non-existent" security in Europe, "SitCen", or the "Joint Situation Center" , is active. After the previous inability to cooperate in the field of safety in the EU, this service had solve that problem. Meanwhile SitCen has become a non-transparent organization, accountable to no one.

That the service exists at all is strange, says Sophie in t'Veld, member of D66 party in the Europarliament, in HP / De Tijd: "SitCen has political support from the council, but no formal legitimacy because the Council no decision to set up SitCen as an EU agency. The mandate of SitCen is unknown and there is absolutely no democratic legitimacy (no control from Parliament or from the Parliaments of the Member States). "

Ms in 't Veld, how is this possible?
"The pillar structure was for the EU and it is indeed impossible to work together in the second pillar and third pillar areas of security and intelligence. SitCen has the second and third pillars together. This was already tried with an EU counterterrorism coordinator but this person has no power, no budget and no right of initiative (apparently, the EU counterterrorism coordinator taken seriously by less than half the Member States) and other connectivity has been sought-after, in particular by Javier Solana , former Secretary-General the Western European Union (WEU), in person. "

And then?
"Where SitCen first was part of the WEU, in 1999 it was transferred to the General Secretariat of the EU. This did not happen on the basis of a Council Decision, but was an initiative of Javier Solana himself! It meant that the General Secretariat from that moment had an executive task, namely the analysis of intelligence and monitoring "potential" crisis situations. "

But this is kind of disappointing in terms of its shadowy nature, right? Have there more strange things happened then or after 1999?
"In 2004 Solana announced that the national security agencies had to share information on their internal threats with SitCen. Among internal threats fell and falls everything. SitCen was first reported immediately, but then also to the Counter Terrorism Group (CTG) . This is a Dutch initiative of the ' Club de Berne ". It operates entirely outside the EU and is working on an 'extra-legal' and 'secret Memoranda of Understanding and will now focus particularly on Islamic extremist terrorism. CTG is now under SitCen and sends all this by their analysis. This information is provided by national intelligence services linked to the EU instrument SitCen. A wealth of information so, and analysis of information directly affect the degree of threat and the formulation of counter measures. The results can therefore be of political and policy nature. "

You state that the service does not actually exist, because the Council never has taken a decision to establish it. That is indeed shadowy. But what does that mean?
"SitCen has absolutely no transparency , no accountability. It is impossible to define the content and analyze the impact of the work of SitCen, because everything is secret. SitCen largely determines it's work as the European response to terrorism and has thus great impact on civilians and the political and social direction of EU absorbed. Transparency and accountability are so necessary! "

What does the Dutch government this?
"In the Netherlands, in the House never been a demand for more openness or a question about what exactly does SitCen, and it was accepted that the Dutch Government speaks out at generalities."

You see. There is a service that is no subject, and which will not have to explain, because all they do is so secret that nobody knows. On the other hand, there is no mandate, so it is not clear what the approximately 100 employees of the service should do. Oddly enough, however, they draw on the valuable information of other security forces. The boss of the service, Patrice Bergamini, does receives for his work around 15,000 euros per month, but nobody knows what he is doing there, because it is secret.

According to Sophie in 't Veld governments have previously reacted jubilantly to the creation of this service because the service has, as she says on Twitter, "Unlimited possibilities without cumbersome parliamentary snoops."

SitCen will continue to be part of the External Action Service. Before this can really happen, Regulation 1049/2001 - which is about (public) access to documents - must be reviewed and a new framework must be established for handling EU classified information. In the near future it will not be much more transparent." LINK

NL-E translation by me, HP/De Tijd is a Dutch weekly magazine, conventionally considered to be one of the four most influential written media in the Netherlands in its sector, (along with De Groene Amsterdammer, Vrij Nederland and Elsevier).


I have commented on that subject before, see here:

stay tuned! farmer

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great work, Farmer.