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At UN, Ladsous' Push for Drones Remains Stealth, He's in Haiti Without Safeguards

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 11 -- As France deploys drones over Mali, at the UN there is less and less clarity about the proposal for the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to use surveillance drones.

  The proposal was most recently made in a closed door Security Council meeting on January 8 by Herve Ladsous, the fourth Frenchman in a row to head DPKO.

  As Inner City Press reported on January 8, at least five countries on the Security Council raised serious qustions about Ladsous' proposal, including who would get the information from the drones, if they would comply with International Civil Aviation Organization rules, and how companies to provide the drones would be selected.

  Several countries, not only in the Security Council but also the C-34, tell Inner City Press they believe Ladsous has French military contractor Thales in mind.

  Despite the concerns raised, on January 9 Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky said not only that "UN peacekeeping assets and resources are used in line with Security Council mandates, force requirements and guidelines" but "also to introduce them, we would need the support of Member States to equip the mission."

  On January 11, Inner City Press asked Nesirky for DPKO's and Ladsous' answers to a series of simple questions: would DPKO start using drones with less than 15 to 0 support on the Security Council? Who would get the information feeds from the drones?

  Nesirky repeated again the line about "Security Council mandates and guidelines." Inner City Press pointed out that for some decisions, the Security Council requires unanimity; for others, majority and no veto. Which would apply here? Nesirky didn't say.

   So Inner City Press asked, and asks: will DPKO and Ladsous commit to getting approvals, and to making a public announcement before, using drones in any way? Even this has not been answered. Watch this site.

Footnote: Meanwhile Ladsous was in Haiti, where the DPKO that he heads brought in cholera. Inner City Press has asked him what safeguards he has implemented to avoid bringing cholera into another country; Ladsous refused to answer.

  This was posed on Twitter, too, without response from MINUSTAH Media. Ladsous' UNsocial media. Watch this site.

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