The EPO Sinks Deeper in a Scandal After Paying Public Money for Military-Connected Control Risks to Stalk Journalists and Staff
Summary: Benoît Battistelli is now attacking the media itself, arrogantly doing so at the expense of the European public
THE EPO‘s management is truly out of touch. It is acting like a bunch of mercenaries or an army-tied contractor right now, hiring thugs with army connections, all working for Control Risks (see the open letter to Control Risks for background). The EPO is, in some regards, even worse than FIFA. At least FIFA didn’t hire goons/thugs to attack messengers.
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung recently wrote about the EPO in Germany and, according to SUEPO, “The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (printable version) reports on the information that the EPO has commissioned the company Control Risks to investigate elected representatives of the Staff Committee and/or Staff Union” (what about the journalists people may be reporting to?).
The Süddeutsche Zeitung, which has also been covering EPO matters for quite a while, wrote about Control Risks. To quote SUEPO, “The Süddeutsche Zeitung comments on the information that the EPO has commissioned the company Control Risks to investigate elected representatives of the Staff Committee and/or Staff Union”
Any translations of these articles would be very much appreciated, if readers could kindly provide them for us to publish in English (for future record).
SUEPO said that “IPKat comments on the information that the EPO has commissioned the company Control Risks to investigate elected representatives of the Staff Committee and/or Staff Union” and the following day it said: “The EPO has issued a communiqué confirming the use of external investigation firms.”
The thugs who run the EPO are mistakenly assuming that the only people capable of speaking to the media are associated with SUEPO. They just use this as an excuse to crack down on SUEPO when in fact people from all parts of the EPO, as well as outside the EPO, have grown tired of the abuse. In an aggressive effort to suppress information the EPO’s management will only motivate more people to speak out. Therein lies the Streisand Effect.
One day later it said: “SUEPO sent an open letter to the company Control Risks which we understand has been commissioned by the EPO to investigate staff members who are elected representatives of the Staff Committee and/or Staff Union.
“We have now received a reply from Nick Allan, Regional Director (Europe & Africa).”
Their policy is just denying their work completely, or not naming their clients altogether (even though it is so obvious, and the EPO’s internal statement already served to confirm the allegations). Here are the contents of the reply:
SUEPO Central Executive Committee
To whom it may concern (as your letter was unsigned),
Thank you for your letter. In all cases, our clients’ confidentiality is one of our highest priorities. Therefore, we do not comment on any specific cases and on our potential involvement. If you have any questions pertaining to the EPO, please direct them specifically to the EPO.
In general, I note your concern and would like to reassure you that Control Risks always conducts a due diligence with regard to the work we take on. Our Code of Ethics ensures that our employees always act in an ethical, independent and objective manner.
Regional Director, Europe & Africa
“Our Code of Ethics” is just marketing, much like their Web site, which hardly even mentions anything about the clients they have (or have had) and what they have done. Based on some articles, this company grossly overcharges for its unethical services, so one can only imagine how much tax money (of Europeans) got sunk into this abuse. The European purse is being misused by Battistelli and his cronies.
Control Risks is a rather evil company. Since they often work for military, mercenaries, etc. it’s not too shocking that they use the cloak of secrecy. SUEPO shows that this ugly firm is actually spying on journalists, not just their sources. To quote a report/summary/overview from SUEPO:
More on Control Risks
SUEPO understands that the company Control Risks has been commissioned by the EPO to investigate staff members who are elected representatives of the Staff Committee and/or Staff Union. The following articles report on the activities of this company:
Spiegel Online, The Dark Side of Power: German Corporate Spying Scandal Widens
“the government agents were [...] interested in the role Control Risks may have played in the Deutsche Telekom wiretapping affair. The scandal has dominated the public debate in the worlds of business, politics and the media for more than two weeks.”
“It is already clear that Telekom also hired Control Risks, which in turn subcontracted some of its assignments to a company called Desa. Desa, which is run by two former informants for the East German secret police, the Stasi, has also completed assignments for other prominent clients.”
“Moreover, it is clear that Control Risks worked for other German corporations, like Lufthansa and Deutsche Post. And, more recently, it was revealed that the two security firms were not the only ones that investigated a journalist from the newspaper Financial Times Deutschland (FTD)”
Spiegel Online, Attack on Customer Data: Lufthansa Admits Spying on Journalist
“[...] news broke that the security firm Control Risks, working for Deutsche Telekom, spied on a journalist from the Financial Times Deutschland newspaper.”
The Guardian, Watching the detectives
“But probably the creepiest tale to come out of the investigation is that in 2000 Deutsche Telekom hired a British private security company called Control Risks to get to the bottom of who was behind leaks to Tasso Enzweiler, at the time the chief reporter for Financial Times Deutschland. Control Risks in turn hired Desa Investigation & Risk Protection – a Berlin detective agency set up by two former Stasi agents who worked for a department responsible, among other things, for spying on western journalists – which sent employees to follow Enzweiler around the clock for two weeks.”
Financial Times, From guard dogs and fences to business intelligence
“After making its name in hostage and crisis negotiation through the 1970s, London-based Control Risks has branched out to offer something close to a full risk management service for its clients. It has roughly 700 staff and annual revenues of about $250m and is one of the sector’s bigger players.
Security services in Iraq account for about a third of the company’s turnover, but revenues have been falling of late. Anticipating the decline, Control Risks has been seeking to expand its consultancy and investigation businesses.”
This is, at the very least, inducing the chilling effect, e.g. a bunch of spies (almost a thousand all around the world) stalking journalists in their daily lives. It scares both journalists and sources. It’s an ugly strategy of deterrence and retribution.
“SUEPO understands that the company Control Risks has been commissioned by the EPO to investigate staff members who are elected representatives of the Staff Committee and/or Staff Union,” says the SUEPO Web site.
“The following articles report on the activities of this company:
- Spiegel Online, The Dark Side of Power: German Corporate Spying Scandal Widens
- Spiegel Online, Attack on Customer Data: Lufthansa Admits Spying on Journalist
- The Guardian, Watching the detectives
- Financial Times, From guard dogs and fences to business intelligence
The more we read about this shady company (Control Risks), the more disgusted we become. They clearly have no “Code of Ethics”, just Code of Surveillance (or Harassment).
European taxpayers (that’s everyone in the European Union) should reach out to local politicians and explain to them how the EPO is wasting public money. The EPO is now rogue, corrupt, and borderline insane (like irrational/paranoid dictatorships). It is behaving as though it has become another branch of organised crime — a fitting analogy as some top staff have a résumé to show for it (not only Željko Topić). There’s no room for truce when the EPO’s management continues to attack. It should be clear who is offensive and who is defensive/reactionary here. Grievances among the staff are very much justified.
Techrights has a lot more coming about this subject. Battistelli is blackening his career each time he makes panicky moves in a desperate effort to gag critics. █