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As UN Proposes Peacekeeping Surveillance, Opposition to DPKO's "Spymaster" Ladsous and His "Drones"

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, March 23 -- In a recent closed door meeting of the UN's Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, the UN's top peacekeeper Herve Ladsous made proposals on "surveillance" that have stirred opposition.

  The opponents say Ladsous, the fourth Frenchman in a row to be put atop the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, is moving "to use drones and communications interception," as one well-placed Troop Contributing Country's representative complained to Inner City Press.

  "He can't even handle keeping South Sudan covered by helicopters," the representative said derisively. "And now he wants drones? What commercial interest is being this? And how could we be sure the information collected would stay with the UN?"

  These and other C-34 members' comments reflected a distrust of Ladsous, who last year replaced fellow French bureaucrat Alain Le Roy. Under the two men, the UN Peacekeeping Mission in former French colony Cote d'Ivoire helped turn out and then arrest anti imperialist Ivorian leader Laurent Ggabgo.

  Unlike Le Roy, however, Ladsous refuses to answer even the simplest of questions, such as whether his DPKO now belatedly has military helicopters flying in South Sudan, or why his mission in Haiti has no standing claims commission to handle the complaint it introduced cholera to the island.

"Who would decide who they would spy on," the skeptic asked, "and who would get the information?"

   Another opined that this would be a way for "Western intelligence services" to drape themselves in UN blue - and immunity. A Secretariat staffer complained of a proposal for Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to have his own intelligence service.

  There was opposition from within DPKO itself. One staff member said, "Ladsous already said he is not a visionary, fine. But now he wants to be a spymaster?"

  There are other issues slowing down the C-34 process, as Inner City Press reported last Friday. (Since then, Inner City Press has been inquiring into and being contacted about the surveillance issue).

  What's being called "Ladsous' drone" proposal is among the C-34 sticking points. It is not going anywhere soon -- but some wish Ladsous were, for the good of the UN. Watch this site.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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