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Cablegate: Response to Blue Lantern Pre-License Check

VZCZCXYZ0020
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHGT #0773/01 1712222
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 192222Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY GUATEMALA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5572
INFO RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV PRIORITY 0045

UNCLAS GUATEMALA 000773

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT PASS TO PM/DTCC- BLUE LANTERN COORDNIATOR
TEL AVIV FOR M. KEAYS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETTC KOMC IS GT
SUBJECT: RESPONSE TO BLUE LANTERN PRE-LICENSE CHECK
050107086

REF: STATE 63028

1. (SBU) Summary: Post has confirmed that the reftel arms
purchase was ordered by the International Commission Against
Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) for the purpose of establishing
an internal security force capable of providing protection
for CICIG staff and investigators. Due to the high profile
and sensitive nature of CICIG,s mandate, the organization
has decided to create a 45-man security organization
comprised of non-Guatemalan security professionals and donor
country police officers. CICIG has a U.S.-standard storage
facility for the weapons and is implementing a sensitive
items inventory control regime modeled on the U.N. Security
Office in New York. Local authorities responsible for
weapons importation and control are aware of the planned
shipment and will provide all documentation required. Post
supports the approval of license 050107086 as soon as CICIG
provides host country import approval documentation. End
Summary.

CICIG,s Plan to Create a Security Force
---------------------------------------

2. (SBU) Due to the general crime situation and the very real
threat of reprisals by organized crime groups against the
UN-led International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala
(CICIG) investigators, CICIG has decided to create a force
of 45 non-Guatemalan agents that will work in concert with
local police to provide physical security to CICIG employees.
The security force is being created along the same lines as
a traditional U.N. security force, with training and
instruction provided by U.N. trainers, and will have weapon
inventory and control protocols adopted from the New York
Office of the U.N. The CICIG office occupies the former
residence of the U.S. Marine Security Detachment, and as such
contains a weapons room and gun safe that meet U.S. military
specifications.

3. (SBU) Joe Leal, an AMCIT career U.N. security officer on
loan to CICIG from U.N. New York, stated that he has been
interviewing candidates for some time and hopes to have the
unit up and running by the end of the year. He added that
the two criteria he is focusing on are that applicants speak
Spanish and have relevant international work experience (many
of the unit members are coming from other UN missions, or
have served as security contractors in Iraq or Afghanistan).
He added that about half of the 45-man force will probably
end up being members of donor countries' national police
forces seconded to CICIG. He listed Chile, Uruguay, and
Peru as countries that have already agreed to send security
personnel for extended TDY assignments.

CICIG Confirms Plans to Import Weapons
--------------------------------------

4. (SBU) Leal stated that he decided to import the weapons
needed to arm the new security force due to the high local
cost of firearms and the fact that 9mm Glocks (the standard
issue weapon for U. N. security personnel) are not legally
obtainable on the local market. He is focusing on recruiting
current and former UN security personnel, who will expect to
be armed with the same service weapons normally issued by the
U.N. Leal readily admitted that when he started the process
to import the reftel weapons he did not fully understand how
the process worked, but has since discussed the process with
the Guatemalan agency responsible for the importation and
registration of weapons (DECAM) and Poloff. He now
understands the steps he will need to follow to complete the
process. Leal has received the proper forms from DECAM and
Qprocess. Leal has received the proper forms from DECAM and
stated that as soon as he receives the serial numbers of the
weapons in question he will submit the import request to
DECAM. Leal is familiar with U.S. non-transfer and resale
provisions, and added that he also must abide by U.N.
regulations regarding the transfer of weapons that in most
cases mirror U.S. laws.

ISDS's Involvement in the Transaction
------------------------------------

5. (SBU) Leal stated that he has known the owner of
International Security & Defense Systems (ISDS), Leo Glesier,
for several years, but this is the first commercial
transaction he has had with ISDS. He added that ISDS was the
company recommended to him by the procurement officer for the
U.N. New York office, and that ISDS has provided arms for
other U.N. security offices. According to Leal, the U.N.
maintains a list of acceptable arms import/export companies
and that the U.N. has no derogatory information regarding

ISDS.

6. (SBU) ISDS does not have an office or representation in
Guatemala and at no time would take possession of the weapons
after they entered the country, according to Leal. Upon
arrival in Guatemala the weapons would be transferred from
Customs to DECAM, who would perform the required ballistic
testing. DECAM would then turn the weapons directly over to
CICIG. Leal stressed that he has no plans to arm any
Guatemalans, rather the weapons would be used by
international security staff hired by CICIG and third country
police seconded to CICIG by donor countries.

DECAM Confirms Knowledge of Transaction
---------------------------------------

7. (SBU) On June 18, Poloff met with DECAM director Col.
David Barrientos, who confirmed knowledge of CICIG,s intent
to import weapons. He stated that DECAM had already approved
a CICIG license request to purchase ten handguns locally, to
allow CICIG,s security officers to operate until the reftel
shipment arrives in country. He added that CICIG would need
to follow the normal importation requirements and that his
office had yet to receive the completed arms importation
request. He stated that his office had provided the
necessary paperwork to CICIG and had offered instruction on
how to complete the process. CICIG will need two importation
licenses to cover the weapons in question, one approved by
DECAM to cover the 30 pistols and one approved by both DECAM
and the Ministry of Defense to cover the six automatic
rifles. Barrientos stated that once the paperwork was
submitted it would be approved "in under two weeks," adding
that he had been asked by the Minister of Defense to assist
CICIG in any way possible. (NOTE: Barrientos stressed that
the import license would be approved as soon as possible, but
he wants to make sure that the proper procedures are
followed. END NOTE.)

8. (SBU) COMMENT: The USG is the single largest donor to
CICIG, and the Embassy has made every effort to ensure that
it will succeed in its mission to combat organized crime and
impunity in Guatemala. The proposed weapons sale will help
CICIG provide needed security for its investigators, and as
such will strengthen the organization's ability to fulfill
its mandate. Post has every confidence that this is a
legitimate transaction and recommends immediate approval of
the export license as soon as CICIG provides host country
import license for the reftel weapons.
Derham

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