The original assignment for this research was to make an overview of the links between the Israeli homeland security industry and the Netherlands. This last chapter of the report describes the part of the investigation focussed on finding Israeli companies, institutions or state services with links to the Netherlands – or the other way round. Because we had no indications or leads, the search was one of the metaphorical needles in the haystack. The chapter starts with a short resume of the research trajectory; for a detailed description we refer to our Intermediate Reports, added as an appendix.
The first part of the research was organised around several lists of companies listed below.. The idea was that cross-referencing the companies on these lists would result in a much smaller collection of companies with clear links to the economy of the occupation – which would be our priority list for further research. Here are the sources we used to compose the list:
- The industrial export authority website, listing 428 Israeli companies involved in homeland security.
- The recent report on links between Israel and Spain by Alejandro Pozo Marín.
- “NeoConOpticum”, the report on the EU Security-Industrial Complex, by Ben Hayes of Statewatch.
- The “Who Profits?” website.
- The foundation promoting Dutch Industry for Defence and Security (NIDV) providing a list of 186 companies active in export in this field.
We took the “Who Profits?” website as the touchstone for proof of involvement, but only in terms of positive confirmation of involvement: companies mentioned on the “Who Profits?” website may be considered to be liable or accountable, but on the other hand companies that are not mentioned are not necessarily free of guilt; they may just not have been researched yet.
The cross-reference, however, was disappointing. Out of 420 entries only three companies featured on the first four lists. Three other companies were on both the Israeli list and the Spanish report and 15 featured on the Israeli list and on “Who Profits?”. We decided to focus on these 21 companies, our so- called long-list. The companies mentioned in the Report of De Campagne tegen Wapenhandel on Israel were added, and the companies Jack de Vries visited as State Secretary of Defence in December 2009 as well. We then cross-referenced with the NIDV list of Dutch and international companies active in the Netherlands in the field of defence and security (which includes companies like Mercedes Benz Netherlands and Alcatel in the Netherlands). Only one (!) company on this list is an Israeli company active in the Netherlands which also features on the export list of the Israeli Foreign Office. The company is called E.C.I. Network Solutions bv (and ECI Telecom Ltd.), but we have not found any war economy involvement.
We now have a database with more than 600 companies involved in trade between Israel and the Netherlands, which is a useful resource for further reference.
We focused on the 21 companies on our long-list and searched for the Dutch connections. This investigation was conducted through deep Google searches, media searches in Lexis and a first survey of the Kamer van Koophandel (Chamber of Commerce). As a search like this tends to consume a lot of time, a continuous assessment of usefulness of further time investment was part of the process.
We studied the European tender register to see if any large orders of the Dutch authorities had gone to Israeli companies. All tenders in Europe starting at 125,000 Euros excluding VAT are supposed to be published online, including the planned tenders. The separate register for defence contracts showed several contracts between Elbit and the Dutch authorities (listed elsewhere in this report). The general register contains no contracts between Dutch authorities and Israeli firms. What does this mean? Either the larger contracts that do exist are too secret to be published, or the homeland security link between the Netherlands and Israel is not as strong as assumed. The contracts between 10,000 and 125,000 Euros are covered by our FOIA requests. To be on the safe side, we also checked the registers for our 21 selected companies.
A parallel track involved the targeting of sources that are supposed to know which companies are engaged in homeland security trade.
However, some of our findings concern the Dutch authorities, police or Ministries contracting companies with disputable human rights records.
Aeronautics Defence Systems and Controp Precision Technologies
Aeronautics Systems160 leased UAVs to the Dutch army serving in Afghanistan, as was detailed earlier in this report. The company underlined that it would be working closely with the Royal Netherlands Army, and emphasised the fact that its UAVs had been used by other NATO countries and coalition forces deployed throughout the world. “Our systems save lives and we are particularly proud to be an integral part of such an important undertaking as this latest deployment.”
According to “Who Profits?” the company also developed a perimeter control system used in West Bank Israeli settlements jointly with Motorola Israel. In April 2009, Aeronautics purchased the Government Electronics Department of Motorola Israel, responsible for the production of electronic systems with military applications such as bomb fuses and perimeter control radar systems.
The Aeronautic drones carried electro-optic camera systems developed by Controp, which are also used by the Israeli army. Controp Precision Technologies has developed a real-time, advanced panoramic intruder protection system that automatically detects motion within a wide panoramic view. According to a detailed article in Hebrew, Controp also provides motion detectors used on the Wall of Separation. Their SPIDER system is used by the Israeli army in surveillance centres along the West Bank wall and around the Gaza Strip, and for surveillance throughout East Jerusalem’s Old City. Additionally – also according to “Who Profits?” – Controp is involved in a joint project with Tomcar and Elbit systems, developing unmanned vehicles for military purposes.
The trade between Elbit and the Netherlands is limited to military equipment. The chapter about Elbit and the Pension Funds lists contracts the Dutch Ministry of Defence awarded to Elbit over the last ten years (see p. 17 of this report). Elbit is one of the largest Israeli companies in military and homeland security products.
According to “Who Profits?” the company is one of two main providers of the electronic detection fence to the Seam Line and Wall project in the occupied West Bank. It received the contract to the Jerusalem Envelope section of the Wall (Masu’a system) with the US Detekion. Subsidiaries Elbit Electro-Optics (El- Op) and Elbit Security Systems (Ortek) supplied and incorporated LORROS surveillance cameras in the Ariel section and for the A-ram wall. Stop the Wall found out that Elbit’s TORC2H system, which is designed to enhance border patrol activities by collecting data and disseminating it to troops, has been installed in Israel’s central command centre, facilitating remote surveillance of specific areas along the Wall. Elbit also developed unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs), which are used to help patrol routes along the buffer no-go zone.
The company supplied UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) to the Israeli army, which were in operational use during combat in the West Bank and Gaza, as detailed in Chapter III about drones. The cameras in these UAVs are manufactured by Controp Precision Technologies. Elbit has signed a strategic joint venture with the French company Sagem to start designing new drones in 2011. Elbit has a similar joint venture with Thales UK, called UAV Tactical Systems Limited (U-TacS). The company hopes this will help increase its international sales.
The chapter on Elbit and the Pension Funds described the broad campaign against the company in European countries and in the United States. As a result of the international campaign, ethical banks and pension funds in the Netherlands have already disinvested from Elbit – despite hardly any public pressure from the media. This means that there is political room to manoeuvre; the investment community seems to be open to change.
Motorola Inc. and Motorola Israel
Motorola was one of the first international companies to open a research & development (R&D) branch in Israel, in 1964 (IBM, Intel, Digital Equipment and others followed suit in the 1970s and 1980s). According to Neve Gordon, these multinational corporations “understood the advantage of Israeli R&D and introduced a model that was very different from the bottom-up development process, whereby a foreign corporation first opens assembly and manufacturing plants and only later develops more technologically advanced operations, culminating with R&D centres.”
Motorola Israel features high on the “Who Profits?” list for their radar system sold to settlements and installed in the Wall. In 2005, the company won a tender of the Israeli Ministry of Defence, to provide virtual fences to Israeli settlements which refused to fence themselves. According to “Who Profits?”, a Motorola radar detector system has been installed in up to 47 Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, including in Hebron, Karmei Tzur and Bracha. The system became obsolete and was removed from some settlements according to one source of “Who Profits?”. In about 20 settlements, they were told recently, it is still installed. In some cases, the radar stations were erected on private Palestinian land, preventing Palestinian movement near the Israeli settlements. The company continuous to service these systems and still offers them for use in Israeli installations in the occupied territories. Motorola Israel, again according to “Who Profits?”, has also developed the “Mountain Rose” communication system for the Israeli army, which is a specifically designed mobile system for field conditions, and is being used by soldiers in the occupied West Bank.
The Government Electronics Department (GED) of the company, which was responsible for military technologies in Motorola Israel and produced electronic bomb fuses for the Israeli Army, was sold to Aeronautics Defence Systems in April 2009 (as was mentioned above).
In the Netherlands, Motorola Inc. sells communication hardware to the police and other first responder services, and it has been doing so for decades. In 2000, the Ministry of Home Affairs announced a joint venture with Getronics, KPN Telecom and Motorola to introduce an advanced and universal nation-wide system for communication between the various first responders and other authorities. The Motorola Dimatra system is the heart of the network. The total costs of the project were 600 million Euros the exact share of Motorola is not known to date, but this sum is an indication of the value of the contract. This digital communication system has been under fire for a broad variety of reasons. Ever since the first pilot projects there have been serious problems; because the software does not work properly, the network was not available in some stretches of countryside or inside certain buildings, which posed serious problems for firemen in dangerous positions. A few years ago, there were complaints about the key pad of the Motorola hardware which was said to be too fine for the gloved, large-sized hand of the average fire or police officer. TNO investigated the complaints, and decided that nonetheless the C2000 Tetra system was the best standard available. The introduction was finished by the end of 2010.
Currently, TetraNed, Motorola, Cuperus Consultants and UMS are working on an upgrade to deal with the complaints and to guarantee the continuity of the system until at least 2014 (in Project Renatus). Motorola intends to support Tetra until at least 2025. The company also reviewed the technical errors in the hardware currently used and assures that the new material (type MTP850) is free of such errors. We hope to investigate the trail of contracts for this purchase through the FOIA procedure.
Separately from this, the Korps Landelijke Politie Dienst (the KLPD, the National Police Service) awarded Motorola the contract for the new Automatic Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) in 2008. This was the result of a European tender procedure. The KLPD expected to implement this system in August 2009, according to its 2008 annual report.
In short, the Dutch authorities are a big client of Motorola Inc. – so large indeed, that it is difficult to get a complete overview of how many departments of police, fire service, ambulances and other services have bought Motorola equipment, and which have not.
Motorola Israel is deeply involved in supporting the occupation of the Palestinian Territories. The Dutch Pension Fund PFWZ has included Motorola Inc. in its engagement programme, and is thus reviewing its investments in the company.
However, the exact link is difficult to establish, specifically at this very moment. Motorola is an international company, its registered office is in the US (NYSE:MOT). Motorola Israel is a full subsidiary of the mother company Motorola Inc., while Motorola in the Netherlands seems to be handled from the UK, or from the Benelux office. Furthermore, Motorola Inc. will split into two separate, publicly traded companies on 4 January 2011: Motorola Mobility, which will sell consumer products, and Motorola Solutions, whose technology will cater to businesses. The new structure of the company requires further study.
Merkavim Transportation Technologies Ltd
Merkavim is a manufacturer of buses, jointly owned by Volvo Bus Corporation and Mayer Cars & Trucks Ltd. The company is the major body builder of buses in the Middle East for Volvo.
According to “Who Profits?” Merkavim provides all buses for transporting prisoners for the Israeli Prison Authority. These buses are then used for transporting Palestinian political prisoners from the occupied territory to prisons inside Israel.
The company advertises the prisoners’ bus on its website:
“Specially designed for high-security transportation, the Mars Prisoner Bus (MPB) is the perfect solution for conveying prisoners under guard. With a total of six separate compartments for prisoners and guards, it allows full surveillance during the sensitive, high-risk drive from one secured facility to another.
Compartments are separated by strong security partitions, and the wide view windows are fitted with armoured glass – to prevent breakouts and protect personnel.
An advanced intercom system and closed-circuit TV further enhance surveillance possibilities and communication between guards.
Comfort for personnel. The guards and driver enjoy an ergonomic work environment, complete with comfortable upholstered seats, air conditioning, a refrigerator for cool refreshments and electric mirrors.”
The company also manufactures and supplies armoured buses for the transport company Egged for their bus lines to West Bank settlements. The website sounds similarly enthusiastic:
“Built with the most advanced armoured vehicle technologies, while based on Merkavim’s luxurious tourist specification, the MARS DEFENDER is the first bus to offer the optimal combination: maximum protection and ultimate comfort when travelling through war zones or routes susceptible to terrorist attacks.
The entire bus – sides, front, roof and floor – is shielded with MIL-STD 461000 High Hardness Steel (HHS), and fitted with bullet- and explosion-proof armoured glass windows, protecting passengers from 7.62 calibre armour-piercing bullets, grenades, car bombs and improvised explosive devices (IED), and capable of withstanding 15kg TNT blasts as close as 5 meters away. Run-flat tires on all 8 wheels allow the bus to speed away from an attack, while two emergency hatches – in the roof and rear wall – enable speedy exit in dangerous situations.”
On their website, Merkavim proudly states that the company is recognised as an authorised European manufacturer by the Rijksdienst voor Wegverkeer (RDW) in the Netherlands. On the “International Standards” page of the website, it says: “Our products are tested and approved by leading, authorised European laboratories, including: RDW Center for Vehicle Technology and Information in the Netherlands, which performs an annual audit of the entire Merkavim plant.”
We have asked the RDW about their relations with and services to Merkavim. Their communication advisor, Hans van Geenhuizen, replied that the RDW “knows Merkavim as the producer of parts and chassis for buses. In the past few years, RDW has tested several parts and awarded certificates for European quality approval.”
This could be considered as a link between the Netherlands and the Israeli homeland security industry. However, the contacts are few and it is not clear why Merkavim uses the services of RDW rather than those of another institution, nor whether the Dutch approval is essential for the Israeli bus company. TUV Rheinland Group in Germany also provides comprehensive vehicle inspections for Merkavim.
Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.
The connections between Rafael and the Dutch go back a long way. Apart from trade in sophisticated weaponry, the company was involved in a space project with the Netherlands. The fact that this Israeli company sells sophisticated military reconnaissance gear explains the interest of the Dutch army. We have found no connections on the homeland security front.
In the first part of the last decade, the Netherlands was connected to Rafael in a joint Dutch-Israeli aerospace project. The two countries built a miniature satellite called Sloshsat Flevo, designed to test how sloshing liquids affect the stability of satellites in space. The name Sloshsat Flevo is derived from ‘Slosh’ for the movement of liquid, ‘sat’ for satellite, and FLEVO, the acronym for Facility for Liquid Experimentation and Verification in Orbit. Flevo also stands for one of the newest regions in the Netherlands, Flevoland, east of Amsterdam.
The Sloshsat was a joint programme between ESA and the Netherlands Agency for Aerospace Programmes (NIVR). The National Aerospace Laboratory (NLR) of the Netherlands was a prime contractor with Dutch Space, providing the spacecraft structure and power systems, and Rafael developed, manufactured and delivered the cold-gas Reaction Control System (RCS) designed to meet NASA’s strict safety requirements for Shuttle launch. Other partners were Verhaert (Belgium) for the ejection system and ground support equipment, NEWTEC (Belgium) for the radio frequency sub-system and the ground receiver, and Kvant (Russia) delivered the solar panels. The Sloshsat satellite was designed for ejection from the cargo bay of NASA’s Space Shuttle and it was successfully launched on 12 February 2005, by Ariane-5 ECA.
In November 2005, after a long selection and procurement process, the Netherlands Defence Ministry placed a $40 million contract for a RecceLite package comprising six airborne reconnaissance pods, two ground exploitation stations with four image analysis workstations and one data link segment each, and two portable, laptop-based image analysis stations. In 2007 the contract was valued at roughly $57 million. RecceLite is a state-of-the-art digital reconnaissance system according to defence sources and the manufacturer. It includes a very strong TV camera with options varying from super-narrow to wide field-of-view. The system also offers a so-called Forward Looking Infra Red (FLIR) camera for good vision at the cockpit screens. The data link sends the images to the ground station, almost in real-time, covering large distances.
Additional new software, also developed by Rafael, automates the selection of the photo material, and is expected to generate warnings in case of emergencies, day and night.
In order to try out the equipment before going to Afghanistan and to have realistic live-flying exercises for the fighter squadrons, Royal Netherlands Air Force went to North America for an extended period of training twice in 2008. The Dutch deployed 11 Lockheed Martin F-16AM/BM fighters to Hill AFB, Utah, where there are fewer restrictions on flying, such as cloudy weather and environmental rules. Training partly focused on scenarios encountered in Afghanistan, where the Dutch had six F-16AMs with 10 (rotating) pilots on permanent assignment at Kandahar Air Base.
The Dutch army planned to fly the F16s in pairs in Afghanistan, one for reconnaissance and another one for bombing, with a bombing system developed by Rafael as well.
In 2006, the Royal Netherlands Air Force decided to buy Northrop Grumman’s third-generation Litening Advanced Targeting (AT) system for their F-16 fighter jets. The Litening is a precision targeting pod system mounted externally to the aircraft. Northrop Grumman is an American company, but the Litening was developed in close cooperation with the Israeli Rafael company. The history of this high-tech piece of weaponry serves as an illustration of the difficulties in tracking Israeli involvement per se.
The research and development programme began at Rafael Corporation’s Missiles Division in Haifa, Israel, with subsequent completion of Litening I for use in the Israeli Air Force. In 1995 Northrop Grumman Corporation teamed up with Rafael for further development and sales of the Litening pod. Northrop Grumman Corporation completed product improvements on the “Basic Pod” resulting in the Litening II, which was fielded with the Air Reserve components beginning in 1999. From American experiences in the Gulf War and in Bosnia, it was learned that bombing required various different specific measures for optimisation, including “laser spot tracking, laser marking, ranging, and dual sensor input from both a forward-looking infrared camera and a state-of-the-art daytime video camera for greater flexibility under varying environmental conditions.” The latest version, Litening AT, began fielding in 2003, and in October 2010 Rafael celebrated the sale of the 1000th pod. Under the terms of the contract with the Dutch, Northrop Grumman would deliver 20 targeting pods and spares to the Royal Netherlands Air Force beginning in 2007, with final deliveries in 2008.
A recent article in Jane’s World Defence Industry emphasises the company’s high international profile and states that it is expected to continue to exert a significant influence on the development of systems that meet broad-based international requirements. The fact that it is sometimes hard to determine which company is responsible for which part of the production is easier to understand against the background of Rafael’s variety of participations in co-operative ventures with defence companies around the world.
Jane’s mentions only a few:
“The Spike family of anti-tank guided weapons – co-operation with Rheinmetall, MBDA, Diehl, General Dynamics Santa Bárbera, Elbit and Eurocopter; Communications products developed with Elbit Systems, Tadiran and Rockwell Collins; Litening airborne laser target designator and navigation pod, developed with Northrop Grumman; Simon door-breaching rifle grenade, developed with General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems; Follow On To the SMAW (FOTS); Rafael is part of a General Dynamics team also including Dynamit Nobel Defence; AGM- 142 air-launched medium-range standoff missile and Python-4/5 short-range infra-red guided air- to-air missile, developed with Lockheed Martin; Arrow theatre defence missile, developed with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI); Barak theatre defence missile, developed with IAI and Thales; Black Sparrow medium-fidelity ballistic target missile, developed with Raytheon; David’s Sling missile defence system, developed with Raytheon; Spyder air-defence.”
Rafael works with Thales Netherlands (formerly Holland Signaal). De Campagne tegen Wapenhandel noticed that they delivered the air defence system Defender to the Venezuela Air Force as a joint project.203 The order was placed in 1998 and consisted of Thales’ Flycatcher MK2, a hybrid weapon control centre, and Rafael’s Barak air missiles. The two companies continued to pitch the Defender together.204 In August 2001, the Netherlands Ministry of Defence ordered the Gill missile system to replace the Dragon missile of the RNl Army and Marine Corps. Rafael was the prime contractor, with Thales Netherlands, STN Atlas and Diehl the major subcontractors.205 Talking about their latest Spike missile in an interview at the Defence Systems and Equipment International (DSEi) arms fair in London in September 2009, a spokesperson for Rafael claimed to have more than 20 customers worldwide for Spike NLOS 2009, including ten in Europe, and production lines in Finland, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy.
The connections between Rafael and the Dutch Army, and between the company and Thales Netherlands are strong, and take place exclusively in the field of military trade. The contacts will continue in the future, in all probability, as recent defence literature reports new contracts and updates of systems bought before.
In 2009, Rafael supplied its Armoured Shield Protection-Hybrid (Aspro-H) system and reactive armour systems to the Netherlands and several other NATO armies, among them the U.S. and Poland. At least nine types of armoured vehicles are protected by Aspro add-on armour kits in Afghanistan, according to Rafael.
In March 2010, Germany and the Netherlands reportedly evaluated whether to equip their Israeli-made unmanned aerial vehicles in Afghanistan with Rafael’s Recce-U payload: a downsized version of its Reccelite tactical reconnaissance pod. Interest in the Recce-U sensor – which collects high-resolution visual, infrared and near-IR imagery over a wide field of view by day or night – stems from the European nations’ operational experience in using the Reccelite to detect improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan.
Rafael is the second largest government-owned defence company in Israel. In 2009 sales amounted to
$1.6 billion with a backlog of orders worth $1.86 billion. At the end of 2009, the company made a profit of $112 million. Rafael’s major client is the Israeli Defence Force (IDF), and for that reason the company can be seen as providing the tools and arms for the occupation. The company describes its relation with the army as very tight:
“Rafael know-how is embedded in almost all Israel Defence Forces (IDF) systems in operation today. The company has a special relationship with the IDF, developing products according to the soldiers’ specific requirements in the field. Rafael has also formed partnerships with civilian counterparts to develop commercial applications based on its proprietary technology.”
Because Rafael is owned by the state, “Who Profits?” decided not to investigate the company. Determining the company’s involvement in the occupation would require specified sales details of armoury produced by Rafael and bought by the IDF. The close ties between the company and the Israeli army also have consequences for any pressure from the Netherlands on the Dutch Ministry of Defence for their involvement with Rafael. More than in any of the other cases discussed here, the involvement touches upon the relationship between the governments of the state of Israel and the Netherlands.
Group 4 Securicor
Group 4 Securicor (G4S) is the world’s largest security company in terms of revenues and has operations in more than 120 countries across six continents, according to the company website. With over 625,000 employees globally, it is the second largest private sector employer in the world, second to Wal-Mart. Several mergers helped G4S to obtain this position. In 2002, the Danish security firm Group 4 Falck A/S, as it was called back then, bought the American company Wackenhut, owner of several prisons in the US. In February 2004, Group 4 merged with the British company Securicor.
G4S offers a wide range of secure solutions and business processes, including secure facilities management, security consultancy, event security, secure transport services, security systems and security services to governments. The Group provides services to public, private and corporate customers.
In Israel, the Group’s subsidiary is called G4S Israel (Hashmira Group). “G4S Israel is the country’s leading provider of security solutions and comprehensive security. The Group provides advanced security services, security systems and technology-rich protection, identification and control systems and patrol call center services. [… In 2010] G4S holds a 90.5% stake, while Igal Shermister, the Group’s Chairman and grandson of the founder, holds 9.5% of shares.”
G4S has been under fire for its presence in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) for about ten years now. In 2002, the security firm pulled guards out of the West Bank after investigations revealed how armed patrols work with Israeli settlers to intimidate, harass and control Palestinians.
Not much seems to have changed since. In November 2010, the journalistic watchdog DanWatch in Denmark published a report on G4S involvement in the OPT. According to their documentation, Hashmira has provided security services to three supermarkets in the settlements of Ramat Shlomo and Modi’in Illit. Additionally, another G4S subsidiary, called Moked 99, provides security services in several settlements.
On its web page this company states it has so-called ‘action zones’ in the settlements of Har Adar, Maale Adumim and the settlement areas in East Jerusalem.
Bloomberg Businessweek lists Moked 99 as a Hashmira subsidiary. It is described as a patrol and monitoring operation, which provides design and installation services for intrusion/burglar alarms, fire detection systems, and closed-circuit television systems, also offering security services for hotels with building control, energy savings control, and low-voltage systems.
Also in November 2010, the Danish Berlingske Tidende revealed that G4S sold Israel torture instruments. This is from PressTV, a Danish publication reporting in English:
“The firm, named G4S, sells the devices to the detention facilities in the occupied West Bank, which provide the necessary means for torture of the Palestinian prisoners, Berlingske Tidende reported on Nov. 23. […] According to the Palestinian Ministry of Detainees, nearly 200 Palestinian inmates have so far died in Israeli confinement, either due to medical negligence or under torture.”
In a letter dated 21 December 2010, G4S responded to the allegations concerning its activities in the occupied territories and its involvement with illegal settlements. The company confirmed it had never pulled out of the occupied territories entirely. The letter does not clarify the extent of G4S involvement in the occupation at present.
“In 2002 we announced that we were withdrawing from several contracts providing security officers to residential settlements in the West Bank. Since then we have not performed such work, nor bid for any such contracts. However, we continue to serve major commercial customers, for instance supermarket chains, whose operations include the West Bank. Under these contracts we will provide security officers to protect the premises of these commercial clients who serve the general public. The number of such officers deployed in the West Bank is generally less than 20 and currently stands at eight. Other G4S staff may also periodically travel through the West Bank in the course of their work.”
G4S does not address the alleged involvement in providing devices used for torture; the letter only refers to providing “security equipment, including X-ray machines and body scanners, with associated maintenance services, to the Israeli police, prison service and Ministry of Defence. We do not control, nor are we necessarily aware, where this equipment is deployed as it may be moved around the country.”
As a result of the allegations about involvement in the occupied territories the City Council of Copenhagen decided to examine the possibility of cancelling its cooperation with Group 4 Securicor.
In the Netherlands, G4S is one of the two largest private security companies – turnover was 337.5 million Euros in 2008, (its rival Trigion made just a little less: 323 million Euros). G4S offers a variety of services closely related to the activities of police and justice (‘justitie’ in Dutch), and other authorities. The company is most known to the public for surveillance and airport security. It also offers ATM management and transport of money and valuable articles. Less known services of G4S are, amongst others, organizing the detention of suspects in police custody, and providing guards for prison and refugee detention centres.
Accordingly, a quick-scan of the lists of contracts provided by the Dutch police regions and Ministries showed a lot of links with G4S. For the Regional Police Haaglanden, the company provides reception and security services. For Gelderland Midden, it provides training and safety solutions; for Hollands Midden, alarm and burglar installation and maintenance; while Limburg Zuid contracted G4S for key server services and alarm handling. Furthermore, the company provides surveillance and security services for the regions Utrecht, Friesland and Gooi en Vechtstreek. According to the list obtained from the VtsPN (a police body set up to coordinate cooperation within the Dutch police and as such responsible for supra- regional contracting) G4S obtained a national contract for the care of detainees in police cells and another one for providing security services. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs hired the company to provide the security for Dutch official residences in Turkey, Denmark, Morocco and Poland.
One option to put pressure on G4S would be to join forces with trades unions, as the reputation of the company is reportedly bad on labour rights as well. Human Rights Watch recently conducted an investigation in the United States into the rights of employees to associate or to protest. HRW concluded that: “G4S’s attempt to deny rights of association and bargaining to ‘sergeants’ at the Florida Power and Light facility not only violated US law but also ran afoul of clear ILO norms.”
Indeed, in March 2009, The American Prospect (set up to pursue new policies and new possibilities for social justice) flagged up the problems unions have in organizing American workers. As an example to illustrate how unions increasingly find themselves having to organize the world, it used the example of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) putting in global leverage to win the right to organize Wackenhut security guards.
“It began the campaign in 2002, but three years later, Wackenhut, a historically anti-union company of 35,000 U.S.-based security guards, became part of the immense British conglomerate G4S […]. The only way to organize Wackenhut in the U.S., SEIU determined, was to organize G4S globally. SEIU launched an ambitious campaign with its international affiliates, which included efforts to keep Wackenhut from receiving the security contract for the 2012 London Olympics; lawsuits in British, Indian, Indonesian, and Panamanian courts; and strikes by G4S employees across Africa. Awash in a global sea of troubles, on Dec. 16, 2008, G4S signed a groundbreaking agreement with the global network of unions, agreeing to obey national labour laws in each of the 115 countries where the company has a presence and honor a neutrality pledge during most unionization campaigns.”
G4S has a business ethics policy which was updated in December 2010, just after the Danish publications. It starts with a section on human rights, which seems to offer opportunities for holding the company to account:
“G4S supports the principles of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and we are committed to upholding these principles in our policies, procedures and practices.
Respect for human rights is and will remain integral to our operations.
We will endeavour to work with business partners who conduct their business in a way that is compatible with our policies of respect for human rights and ethical conduct. We will work with customers to ensure that contractual requirements do not infringe human rights.
We will take measures to ensure that the work of our employees does not compromise internationally accepted human rights conventions, whilst recognising and respecting the diversity in local cultures across the different countries in which we operate.”
Several other companies
Initially, the main focus of our research was uncovering links between the homeland security industry in the Netherlands and in Israel in relation to the occupied territories. As we have explained, we encountered several difficulties in defining such links. As they often overlap, it is not always easy to distinguish between the fields of the homeland security industry and the military in Israel. In this chapter, we discussed several companies with links to Israeli companies profiting from the occupation that cannot be regarded as a part of the homeland security industry of the Netherlands per se. Merkavim, for example, has a link to a Dutch governing body under the Ministry of Transport. Motorola provides the Dutch police with equipment for the C2000 system, a communication system which is also used by the fire brigades, ambulances and other emergency first responders in the Netherlands.
Through a request under the Freedom of Information Act we obtained long lists of companies contracted by the Dutch police and several Dutch Ministries. A quick scan of the over a thousand companies on the lists brought up several other Dutch companies with links to Israel and the occupation, but not necessarily active within the homeland security industry in the Netherlands. The companies discussed here in some further detail are Hewlett-Packard Development Company (HP) and Siemens.
HP is as brand known to and used by many people around the world. Indeed, it is one of the largest information technology companies. Apart from supplying the consumer market with hardware such as printers, monitors, computers and laptops, HP serves businesses, with a software branch offering IT solutions such as data storage. The US Security and Exchange Commission stated the company’s earnings as 126 billion dollars on the 31st of October 2010. The Fortune 500 lists HP at 10th place.
HP has earned recognition for its work in the area of data privacy and security. In 2010 the company ranked No. 4 in the Ponemon Institute’s annual study of the most trusted companies for privacy. HP took part in the round-table on consumer privacy set up by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and has worked with the U.S. Congress and the Department of Commerce since 2006 to establish a new strategy for federal legislation. The company endorsed the December 2010 FTC report “Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change.” An overview of the company’s CSR policy shows that the company is heralded for its green policies.
In August 2008 HP acquired Electronics Data Systems (EDS), an American company listed 115th on the Fortune 500 in 2008. The company is active in the field of IT infrastructure, such as applications in biometrics and in networking.
Israel’s Ministry of Defence contracted the Israeli office of EDS to install a system that would ensure that Palestinians who pose a security risk would not cross through the checkpoint. “The American
EDS company in turn subcontracted with the Israeli-based On Track Innovations (OTI, Nasdaq:OTIV), which specializes in smart card and contactless technology, that it has tested out in Israeli communities,” according to Ohad Bashan, director of global marketing at OTI. The Basel System uses two biometric sensors to read the facial dimensions and hand geometry of Palestinian workers crossing through the Erez checkpoint, “It would be the first of its kind in the world to be installed”, Bashan told The Israel High Tech & Investment Report, a monthly subscriber newsletter on Israel’s activities in applied research and development, in January 2004. PRNewswire reported on the 20th of August 2003 that “the contract was awarded to a consortium headed by Electronic Data Systems, EDS.” The consortium includes On Track Innovations and Visionics Corp.
Apart from its involvement in the border control of the occupied territories, HP also provides computer systems to the Israel Defense Forces. In 2009 Hewlett Packard obtained an order of about 15 million US dollars to provide equipment to the Israel Defense Forces.
“Hewlett Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) has beaten IBM Corporation (NYSE: IBM) for the installation of VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW) products in the three-year IDF virtualization tender, worth an estimated $15 million. The tender has a two-year option to extend. This is the IDF’s first virtualization tender, will now be added to the IDF regular tenders for PCs and servers, which are held every three years.”
Although it is highly likely that most Dutch authorities regularly use products manufactured by HP, only two of the Ministry of Finance and four of the police regions acknowledge its relationship with Hewlett Packard according to the data provided in the Freedom of Information Act request. The descriptions in the list are rather technical (“uitbesteding virtualisatie ota”, “server switches”, “compartimentering” and also “laptops”). This means that the Ministry obtains hardware from the company and also uses HP software services and solutions, like most of the others mentioned here. The Ministry of Safety and Justice uses HP for maintenance services of ICT equipment. The Regional Police Limburg Zuid lists a support contract with HP for “hardware V.M.S. system” (“veiligheidsmanagementsysteem”). The Regional Police Limburg Noord contracted HP for servers in the control room and existing HP ICT equipment, the Regional Police Gooi en Vechtstreek for hardware and software support and the Regional Police Groningen mentioned a contract with HP for Alpha servers.
HP is one of the companies targeted by students from all over the United States in the Socially Responsible Investing campaign, pursuing divestment from companies that benefit from illegal Israeli occupation. One of the universities targeted is Princeton. “Princeton’s investment in U.S. companies which have holdings in Israel totals $104 million, asserts the group; the list of offending companies includes IBM, Intel, Hewlett-Packard, General Electric, Texas Instruments and Motorola.”
Another giant which has relations to the occupied territories is Siemens AG. The company is active in a variety of fields, from water management, power technology and communication systems to traffic control. According to “Who Profits?” the Israeli firm Orad Group installed traffic control systems from Siemens “on apartheid roads (roads on which only Israelis are allowed to travel) in the occupied territory, including road no. 5 and 443.” Traffic control is installed on various highways in Israel.
In a recent press release Siemens proudly announced the opening of the ‘Reserved Lane to Tel Aviv’ using similar technical solutions:
“The `Fast Lane´ was built by the Israeli construction company Shapir Civil & Marine Engineering Ltd. that will operate the reserved lane for the next 27 years. The company signed a corresponding franchise agreement with the Israeli government. The Israeli company R.S. Industries/Orad Group was responsible for the traffic control and toll calculation system. Siemens Mobility supplied the complete traffic management system, which includes the hardware and software for vehicle license plate recognition, traffic data acquisition and the control of the dynamic message signs. The heart of the `Fast Lane´ is the Siemens-developed complex algorithm that analyzes the traffic situation and calculates the toll fee.”
The cooperation between Siemens and the Israeli Orad Group of Tel Aviv resulted in a joint venture known as Siemens Traffic Control Systems (STS). Matimop, the government agency promoting and supporting international co-operative industrial R&D programmes between Israeli and foreign enterprises, wrote that the new company, in which Siemens has a 51% holding and Orad 49%, aims to be the leader of the traffic control systems market in Israel.
Various police regions maintain different kind of contracts with Siemens. The Regional Police Haaglanden uses video surveillance and observation systems from Siemens. Regional Police Flevoland has a contract for the openbare meldkamer system (translated: public control room system) and something called the “S.C.S.”. Brabant Noord has a Siemens Nederland alarm system. Regional Police Limburg Zuid has an ICT service contract with Siemens Nederland for voice and data communication, and an Opticlient telephone system to be used in the control room. Regional Police Zeeland has provided for a contract to connect its personnel to the public fire department alarm system. Regional Police Limburg Noord contracted Siemens for a connecting system and a reporting system. Regional Police Midden West Brabant put Siemens down for accommodation, which we think might be an administrative error, and for a fire alarm control panel. The Ministry of Finance bought Siemens laptops, software and the services of a consultant.
As detailed in the proposal for the FOIA part of this research, this quick scan is in fact the first part of the investigation. The next step would be to file a request for the actual underlying contracts in order to make a more in-depth assessment of the value and the meaning of each contract.