Category Archives: UNITED NATIONS

Confidential – UN Report on the Protection of Whistleblower & Sources

Promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression

Page Count: 24 pages
Date: September 8, 2015
Restriction: None
Originating Organization: United Nations, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression
File Type: pdf
File Size: 413,471 bytes
File Hash (SHA-256): AAB0F2F202CB39CF098EC2A92BA2E84FB1B18920242456DCBA3DFBBA30240895

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In the report, submitted in accordance with Human Rights Council resolution 25/2, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression addresses the protection of sources of information and whistle-blowers. Everyone enjoys the right to access to information, an essential tool for the public’s participation in political affairs, democratic governance and accountability. In many situations, sources of information and whistle-blowers make access to information possible, for which they deserve the strongest protection in law and in practice. Drawing on international and national law and practice, the Special Rapporteur highlights the key elements of a framework for the protection of sources and whistle-blowers.

1. On matters of public concern, how does information that is unjustifiably hidden become known? In some situations, formal oversight mechanisms and access to information laws compel disclosure. Even where they do exist, however, they are not always effective. Other approaches may be needed, for as a general rule, secrets do not out themselves. Rather, disclosure typically requires three basic elements: a person with knowledge who is willing and able to shed light on what is hidden; a communicator or a communication platform to disseminate that information; and a legal system and political culture that effectively protect both. Without that combination — source, dissemination and protection — what is secret all too often remains hidden, and the more that remains hidden, the less authorities are held accountable and individuals are able to make informed decisions about matters that may most affect them and their communities.

2. Those are the principal rationales for legal and political frameworks that promote and guarantee access to information and protect the individuals and organizations that often make such access possible. Notwithstanding formal progress, Governments, international organizations and private entities often target persons disclosing secret information, in particular when they bring to light uncomfortable truths or allegations. Those who wish to call attention to malfeasance may find internal channels blocked, oversight bodies ineffective and legal protection unavailable. The absence of recourse often forces whistle-blowers to become sources for public disclosure, which may make them vulnerable to attack. International, regional and national trends toward greater formal protection do not necessarily translate into effective protection for sources and whistle-blowers. Ineffective protection results from gaps in law; a preference for secrecy over public participation; technology that makes it easy for institutions to breach privacy and anonymity; overly broad application of otherwise legitimate restrictions; and suspicion or hostility towards sources, whistle-blowers and the reporters who make such information known.

3. The disclosure of secret information runs across a broad spectrum, with some instances, such as Edward Snowden’s revelations of surveillance practices, making a deep and lasting impact on law, policy and politics, while others struggle for attention and response. While the present report may be read in the light of all such cases, the Special Rapporteur does not analyse herein specific situations, but aims instead to highlight the main elements that should be part of any framework protecting sources and whistle-blowers consistent with the right to freedom of expression. He begins by reviewing everyone’s right to receive information of all kinds, especially information held by public bodies. He then highlights the principal elements of the international legal frameworks for source and whistle-blower protection, while also drawing on the practice of States, international and regional mechanisms and non-governmental initiatives. The report concludes with a set of recommendations.

4. As part of the preparations for the present report, a questionnaire was sent to States seeking input on national laws and practices, to which 28 States responded. Civil society organizations and individuals also contributed with critically important submissions. State responses and submissions, along with recommendations for further research into best practices, which could not be cited in the report, are available on the web page of the Special Rapporteur. On 11 June 2015, a meeting convened in Vienna drew upon civil society and academic expertise in source and whistle-blower protection.3 The Special Rapporteur thanks all who made contributions to the preparation of the present report.

B. Restrictions on the right to information

8. In adopting the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other measures, Governments did not preclude themselves from keeping certain kinds of information hidden from public view, but because article 19 promotes so clearly a right to information of all kinds, States bear the burden of justifying any withholding of information as an exception to that right. Article 19 (3) provides that any restriction on freedom of expression must be provided by law and be necessary to achieve one or more of the enumerated legitimate objectives, which relate to respect of the rights or reputations of others or to the protection of national security or of public order or of public health or public morals (see A/HRC/29/32, paras. 30-35). Limitations must be applied strictly so that they do “not put in jeopardy the right itself” (see Human Rights Committee, general comment No. 34, para. 21), a point that the Human Rights Council emphasized when it urged States not to restrict the free flow of information and ideas (see Council resolution 12/16).

9. Three considerations deserve emphasis. First, to be necessary, a restriction must protect a specific legitimate interest from actual or threatened harm that would otherwise result. As a result, general or vague assertions that a restriction is necessary are inconsistent with article 19. However legitimate a particular interest may be in principle, the categories themselves are widely relied upon to shield information that the public has a right to know. It is not legitimate to limit disclosure in order to protect against embarrassment or exposure of wrongdoing, or to conceal the functioning of an institution.

10. Second, under the well-accepted proportionality element of the necessity test, disclosure must be shown to impose a specific risk of harm to a legitimate State interest that outweighs the public’s interest in the information to be disclosed. If a disclosure does not harm a legitimate State interest, there is no basis for its suppression or withholding (see general comment No. 34 of the Human Rights Committee, para. 30). Some matters should be considered presumptively in the public interest, such as criminal offences and human rights or international humanitarian law violations, corruption, public safety and environmental harm and abuse of public office. The importance of the public’s interest has been emphasized repeatedly in other regional mechanisms. National laws relating to the right to information also commonly provide for a public interest analysis.

11. Third, restrictions on access to information must not be left to the sole discretion of authorities. Restrictions must be drafted clearly and narrowly, designed to give guidance to authorities, and subjected to independent judicial oversight (see A/HRC/29/32, paras. 29-33). Layers of internal governmental oversight should ensure that restrictions on access to information meet the standards of article 19 and related national laws.

12. Effective access to information begins with how Governments categorize, or classify, information as secret or otherwise not subject to disclosure. Over-classification occurs when officials deem material secret without appropriately assessing the public’s interest in access to it or determining whether disclosure would pose any risk to a legitimate interest. Secrecy should be imposed only on information that would, if disclosed, harm a specified interest under article 19 (3); even in the event of a risk of harm, a process should be in place to determine whether the public interest in disclosure outweighs that risk. Processes that allow for evaluation of classification decisions, within institutions and by the public, including penalties for over-classification, should be considered and adopted in order to ensure the greatest possible access to information in the public interest. The Swedish Constitution and its Freedom of the Press Act provide perhaps a welcomed translation of the principle of maximum disclosure when it comes to access to information held by public bodies, protecting the right of all public officials to communicate information and, except for specified situations, prohibiting public officials from sanctioning others for communicating information outside their institutions.

13. While the Special Rapporteur evaluates herein legal frameworks, law alone is a necessary but insufficient basis for protection of any right under the umbrella of freedom of expression. A strong formal framework on the right to information will not overcome an official culture of secrecy and disrespect for the rule of law. Protection requires a political and bureaucratic culture that values transparency and public participation. An independent judiciary and legal profession, broad and non-discriminatory access to justice, and basic law enforcement capacity and willingness to confront violence and intimidation form the basic infrastructure of protection.


Victor Erevia, Obama Protection Head – Unveiled

A sends:

Special Agent in Charge of Obama’s PPD (US Secret Service Presidential Protection Detail).

Pictures of family, location. Not very clever.

Victor Erevia
(540) 288-8382
1108 John Paul Jones Dr
Stafford, VA 22554-2129

Concerning that someone so close to POTUS would have such publicly available details.

Have confirmed by calling number and asking that it is Vic Erevia of USSS.


SECRET – United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict 2011 Annual Report


A decade after it began, the armed conflict in Afghanistan again incurred a greater human cost in 2011 than in previous years. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) documented 3,021 civilian deaths in 2011, an increase of eight percent over 2010 (2,790 civilian deaths) and a 25 percent increase from 2009 (2,412 civilian deaths).

In 2012, UNAMA re-asserts the imperative for all parties to the conflict – Anti-Government Elements, and Afghan national and international military forces – to increase their commitment and efforts to protect civilians, and to comply fully with their legal obligations to minimize loss of life and injury among civilians.

Different Definitions of Civilian Casualties

UNAMA notes that civilian casualty figures may vary among organizations gathering and analyzing such information. Variations between ISAF and UNAMA in numbers of civilians killed and injured in the conflict arise from the use of different methodologies, different levels of access to locations and incidents of civilian casualties and different geographical coverage of the country.

ISAF notes this divergence may be attributed to the following factors:

Figures for Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) caused civilian casualties are not monitored by ISAF, and reporting of insurgent-caused civilian casualties is based on what is observed or on reports that can be confirmed by ISAF; it therefore presents an incomplete picture.”

ISAF further notes that UNAMA and ISAF use different definitions for civilian casualties regarding the categorization and entities that cause civilian casualties and differ on how civilian casualty events and numbers are confirmed. ISAF states that it includes only Afghan civilians in its statistics and not every noncombatant (armed and unarmed internationals, unarmed Afghans such as interpreters and international civilians such as tourists). ISAF’s statistics also include all civilians casualties identified as ISAF-caused and ANSF-caused civilian casualties when an ANSF unit is partnered with ISAF. Additional ANSF-caused civilian casualties reported or not reported to ISAF are excluded from ISAF’s figures. ISAF states it confirms civilian casualty incidents and numbers through ISAF HQ SOP 302 Edition 3 further to verification by a Joint Incident Assessment Team (JIAT).

UNAMA tracks and includes in its statistics civilian deaths and injuries resulting from the operations of ISAF, ANSF and Anti-Government Elements. UNAMA also proactively monitors, verifies and reports conflict-related killings of civilians including targeted killings by parties to the conflict. UNAMA relies on a wide range of sources to verify and confirm civilian casualties as noted above.

UNAMA does not claim the statistics presented in this report are complete; it may be that UNAMA is under-reporting civilian casualties given limitations associated with the operating environment.

UN – Report – Governments and companies must redoouble their efforts

Governments and companies must redouble their efforts to implement international supply chain control standards aimed at ending the trade in conflict minerals, a new UN report shows.

In a report published today, the UN Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) notes positive impacts where companies are implementing supply chain controls, known as due diligence, in more stable areas. These include improvements in mining sector governance and a rise in mineral production and exports.

However while international due diligence standards for the mineral trade were announced by the UN and OECD a year ago, and some companies have taken steps to meet them, implementation by many firms dealing in Congolese minerals is still absent. This lack of supply chain controls is allowing militias and criminal networks in the Congolese army to finance themselves via the gold trade in particular.

“The pathway to a clean minerals trade that excludes human rights abusers and benefits the people of eastern Congo has been clear for over a year,” said Sophia Pickles, Campaigner at Global Witness.  “It is critical that businesses follow the agreed international guidelines and become part of the solution to the nexus of minerals and violence in the region.  Governments of countries that trade or use minerals must implement the recommendation of this report that they incorporate these due diligence standards into their own national laws.”

Many Group of Experts conclusions match the findings of a series of Global Witness’s field visits during 2011, not least regarding the role of certain Congo-based mineral exporters who have been purchasing minerals from areas where armed groups operate.  These activities breach UN sanctions, as well as a regulation issued by the Government of DRC in September, which requires traders and exporters operating in the DRC to adhere to OECD due diligence guidance, or face penalties.

As yet, however, no enforcement action has been taken against these firms.  The UN Security Council has not imposed sanctions on any company involved in the conflict minerals trade for years, despite abundant evidence gathered by the Group of Experts, Global Witness and others.

Information gathered by the Group of Experts reveals how powerful former rebels are strengthening their grip over parts of Congo’s minerals trade. Ex-CNDP commander General Bosco Ntaganda, indicted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes, is orchestrating large-scale smuggling operations in full view of the Congolese authorities.  Such is the impunity Ntaganda enjoys that he has been able to establish his own personal illegal border crossing through property he owns on the Rwandan border.  According to the new report, Ntaganda has also been involved in the sale of real and counterfeit gold to international buyers to the tune of millions of US dollars.

“Bosco Ntaganda is a brutal commander who leads a shadow military force of ex-rebels within the national army,” said Sophia Pickles.  “Allowing him to boost his power through illegal control of the minerals trade poses a real threat to stability and the human rights of the Congolese population,” she added.  “It is vital that the incoming Congolese government tackles impunity in its military head-on and brings notorious human rights abusers like Bosco Ntaganda to justice.”



SECRET – USAID Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Provincial Media Landscape and Audience Survey Reports

In 2004-2005, the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Office of Transition Initiatives commissioned Altai Consulting to conduct the first comprehensive media evaluation of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, looking at the impact of the Afghan media on opinions and behaviors three years after the beginning of the country’s reconstruction. The evaluation found, among other things: that Afghans were avid and sophisticated media users and that cultural barriers to media use were less significant than previously expected; that the radio played a predominant role throughout the country; and that media are instrumental in social progress and education.

However, since publication of that report, Afghanistan’s media sector has seen important changes. To inform future assistance from the international community to the Afghan media, it was deemed necessary to assess the current state of the Afghan media – by reflecting a full and accurate audience profile, to determine program preferences, to measure the impact of the Afghan media on local opinions and behaviors and to gauge Afghan expectations in terms of programming and messaging.

A large-scale research project was thus planned and conducted from March to August 2010. This research included a deep probe into the media sector and the public’s behaviors and expectations. The methodology used to achieved this included a combination of: literature review; direct observations; key informant interviews with most relevant actors involved in the media sector; 6,648 close-ended interviews in more than 900 towns and villages of 106 districts, covering all 34 provinces of the country; an audience survey on more than 1,500 individuals run daily for a week; about 200 qualitative, openended interviews; and 10 community case studies. Such an effort guarantees that results presented here are fairly representative of the Afghan population at large.



TOP-SECRET – UN Confidential Government of Sudan Security Forces in Darfur Report November 2005

1. Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) – Command and Control

1.1. General

1. The Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) is a conventional armed force with a mandate to protect and to maintain internal security. It carries out its mandate mainly through ground forces, including Popular Defence Force (PDF) militia, as well as an air force and navy. (A1)

1.2. Organization

2. The Supreme Commander of the armed forces, Lieutenant General Omar Hassan Ahmad el-Bashir, holds both the posts of National President and Commander-In Chief of the Armed Forces and People’s Defence Forces (PDF). For operational purposes he exercises this power through the Minister of Defence (currently major-general Bakri Hassan Saleh). The Minister appoints a Commander of the Armed Forces and Chief of General Staff (currently, general Abbas Arabi) who, together with five Deputy Chiefs of Staff (Operations, Intelligence, Logistics, Administration, Training and Morale), form the Committee of the Joint Chiefs of Staff or Command Group. The air force and navy are individual services under the commander-in-chief. (A1)

1.4. Military Intelligence (MI)

9. The Military Intelligence (Istikhbarat al-Askariyya) is a branch of the General Staff with its own administration and command. The status of the MI is not completely clear, but it appears that under emergency laws, it has the power to arrest, detain and interrogate. With regard to communication and reporting, the MI branch passes information through the operational chain, as well as directly to the Presidency, through the Chief of the MI branch. (B2)

1.5. Border Intelligence (HI)

10. The Military Intelligence also include an operational unit called Border Intelligence (BI) (Istikhbarat al-Hudud), headquartered in Khartoum and headed by General AI-Hadi Hamid el-Tayeed (2005), the primary role of which is to monitor and gather information in the border area. Members of this unit are recruited from the local population. They are deployed to their areas of origin, according to their experience in the area, knowledge of the tribes, and ability to differentiate between people of different tribal and national origins based on local knowledge. Border Intelligence guards are under the operational control of the Military Intelligence Officers in the particular Division where they are deployed and otherwise fall under the regular chain of command for the armed forces. (C2)

11. While initially BI officers were recruited in relation to the conflict in southern Sudan, the Government began recruiting them during the early stages of the armed conflict in Darfur in late 2002 and early 2003. Apparently, BI soldiers are recruited directly into the army in the same way as regular soldiers. An advertisement is made through media channels for volunteers who meet certain criteria, in particular with regard to age, citizenship and fitness. Approximately 3,000 Border Intelligence soldiers have been recruited in this way and deployed in Darfur. (B3)

2. National Security and Intelligence Service

19. The National Security and Intelligence Service (NSIS) is not part of the Sudan Armed Forces but is part of the Ministry of Interior (currently headed by Zubeir Beshir Taha (NCP) in the Government of National Unity).

20. The NSIS was formed in February 2004 as a move to create one unified service dealing with both internal and external intelligence. Its main headquarter is in Khartoum and is headed by a Director-general who is appointed by the President. The current Director-General, Major-general Salah Abdallah (also known as Salah Gosh), reports at least every second day to the President and/or First VicePresident. While he co-operates with other organs of the Government, he is accountable directly to the President.

21. Its mandate derives from the National Security Force Act (NSF A) of 1999, as amended in 2001, which states that there shall be an Internal Security Organ in charge of internal security, and a Sudanese Intelligence Organ in charge of external security. In February 2004, the two organs were merged to form the NSIS.

3. The “Janjaweed”

30. Although we do not consider Janjaweed as being part of the GoS apparatus in Darfur, we mention it in this report for clarification purposes.

31. The term “Janjaweed”, in particular, has been widely used by victims of attacks to describe their attackers (the words fursan (horsemen, knights), or mujahedeen). The term has consequently also been used by many international organizations and the media in their reports on the situation in Darfur, and was used by the Security Council in resolution 1564. Victims of attacks have indicated that the Janjaweed were acting with and on behalf of Government forces, but no evidence – at this stage – allows to confirm such allegation.

32. “Janjaweed” is a generic Darfurian term that can be translated as “bandits”. Historically, this word describes armed horsemen performing “razzias,,18 against farmers and villagers. In the recent years,  however, the word has been repeatedly used by the international community to describe combatants that cannot be clearly associated to a specific organization. In the world media, however, the word “Janjaweed” is irremediably – and often wrongly – associated to the GoS19 Cross examination of reports collected by UMAC shows that the word Janjaweed used by sources in Darfur may refer to :

• Spontaneous militias or self-defence forces (nomads or farmers) not always supported by the GoS; (AI)
• Spontaneous militias or self-defence units locally based supporting rebel movements; (AI)
• Popular Defence Forces (PDF) supported by the GoS as part of the armed forces. The PDF are locally based, organized, trained, and equipped units raised by the government to protect local communities. The PDF are defined by the Popular Defence Forces Act of 1989.; (A2)
• Covert units associated with “Border Intelligence” (and probably other government intelligence and security agencies) operating in Western Darfur against illegal activities across the border; (C2)
• Chadian Armed Opposition Groups (CAOG) operating across the Chadian Sudanese border and using Darfur as a sanctuary and as a “supply” area; (A 1)
• Criminals, former combatant living out of theft and cross-border trafficking. This category is expected to increase in number as GoS and rebel armies will demobilize. (AI)



TOP-SECRET from the UN – Leaked UN Plan for Post-Conflict Deployment to Libya

The plan indicates that NATO could potentially have an ongoing role in the country’s affairs following the cessation of the immediate conflict.