Killings of civilians, mass surveillance… Is France involved in the Egyptian dictatorship?

France is providing intelligence to Egyptian authorities dedicated to fighting jihadists, but that aid is being diverted to destroy human traffickers on the Egyptian-Libyan border. This is the conclusion of an in-depth and open for free access investigation of information and an investigation website. To uncover. She relies onhundreds of secret documents from the highest level in the state“.

According to To uncoverFrench intelligence missionSirley“, launched in February 2016 on behalf of Egypt in the name of combating terrorism, was diverted by the Egyptian state to other missions. It serves as information gathered to launch airstrikes on vehicles of suspected smugglers.

► In Pictures: Revelations To uncover

“Basically, the mission (…) is to scan the western desert for possible terrorist threats from Libya.using a light surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft (ALSR) leased from the French Military Intelligence Directorate (DRM), writes To uncoverspecializing in embarrassing revelations for the French armies.

Mistaken mission

In theory, the collected data should be cross-checked to assess the reality of the threat and the identity of the suspects. But very quickly, the team members realize that the intelligence provided to the Egyptians is being used to kill civilians suspected of smuggling. A drift that they will warn their hierarchy about at regular intervals.“In vain,” the online media continues, despite a few blunders on the ground.

Disclose journalists got access to. ELT 16, mentioned in the document, defines “Ground Liaison Team No. 16“, the name of the unit.” title=”© Screenshot from the news site Disclose.”/>

According to documents received To uncoverFrench forces were reportedly involved in at least 19 bombings against civilians between 2016 and 2018.“.

The DRM and the Air Force are concerned about the excesses of the operation, as evidenced by a note sent to the President of France on November 23, 2017, quoted by To uncover:”Due to the lack of means of surveillance, pickups cannot be identified without any other element of assessment other than the initial overflight they have undergone. In addition, the identification of certain vehicles and the resulting blocking strikes may be called into question.“.

I have asked for an investigation into the information disseminated by Disclose.

Florence Parly, French Minister of the Armed Forces, on Sunday 21 November 2021

Another note, dated January 22, 2019, sent to the attention of the Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, before an official visit to Egypt with French President Emmanuel Macron, states:proven cases of hitting targets detected by aircraft“French. This rating counts”it is important to remind the partner that ALSR is not a targeting tool“However, there will be no signing of the agreement, no questioning of the mission,” he assures To uncoverwhich states that “the French army is still stationed in the Egyptian desert“.

Presidents of Egypt and France Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Emmanuel Macron during a conference on Libya on November 12, 2021 in Paris (France).

Egypt is a partner of France, with which, like with many other countries, we maintain intelligence and counter-terrorism relations (…) in the service of France’s regional security and defense. For obvious reasons of safety and efficiency, we will not report further on the nature of the cooperation arrangements implemented in this area.“, the French Ministry of the Armed Forces responded to AFP on Sunday evening, specifying that Florence Parly “asked to launch an investigation into information disseminated by Disclose“.

Egyptian client

Despite Paris’s stated desire to redirect arms exports to Europe, Egypt is one of the main recipients of French military equipment.

These sales have increased significantly since Abdel Fattah al-Sissi came to power in 2014, mainly between 2014 and 2016, thanks to the sale of Rafale fighter jets, a frigate, four corvettes and two Mistral carrier helicopters.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi and his French counterpart Francois Hollande April 17, 2016 in Cairo (Egypt).

President Sissi was received in December 2020 by Emmanuel Macron, who presented him with the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor, France’s highest honour.
The decision, in a country accused by NGOs of violating human rights and using weapons against civilians, sparked outrageous reactions on social media, with Egypt being a key country in many files in the region.

Observation mass

In the 3rd part of his investigation, published on Tuesday, To uncover discusses another aspect of French aid provided to Egypt: cyber surveillance. From the beginning of the Sissi era, three French companies were to open in Egypt with “Blessing“from Paris, in the project”Egyptian NSA(meaning the American “big ears”).
► Nexa Technologies is run by the founders of Amesys, a company accused of supplying surveillance equipment to Muammar Gaddafi’s dictatorial regime in Libya.
► Ercom-Suneris a subsidiary of Thales since 2019 – “It is known that he took possession of one of Emmanuel Macron’s mobile phones.“.
► Dassault Systèmes is a technology subsidiary of the French weapons and aircraft manufacturer Rafale.

Excerpt from part 3 of <em>Disclose</em>‘s investigation into France’s support for the Egyptian state.” title=”© Screenshot”/><span rel=

► Analysis, Slimane Zegidur

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