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Eye Spy The Echelon Spy Network and other global spying networks - The truth about Big Brother surveillance

Eye Spy  

The Echelon Spy Network 
and other Global Spying Networks 
The truth about Big Brother Surveillance   
(including New Zealand's role) 

"I Spy with my little eye"

Do you remember the Watergate scandal? Watergate was about an abuse of power by government. It probably started with the tasking of the White House Plumbers (sometimes simply called the Plumbers), who were a covert White House Special Investigations Unit (ie spies) established in 1971 during the presidency of Richard Nixon. The Plumbers initial task was to stop the leaking of classified information to the news media. One of the "leakers" was whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg (former defense analyst, and author of the Pentagon Papers - which revealed cover-ups regarding the Vietnam War.) The Plumbers spied for secrets to discredit Ellsberg.

Eventually, some of the members of the Plumbers branched into illegal activities working for the Committee to Re-elect the President, including the Watergate break-in and the ensuing Watergate scandal. The "Watergate" name comes from a specific mission to bug the offices of the Democratic National Committee in the Watergate hotel. The burglars were caught. The rest is history.

Mark Felt, the Associate Director of the FBI, blew the whistle on Watergate anonymously (in his guise as "Deep Throat") to reporters Woodward and Bernstein of the Washington Post. He revealed that the Watergate break-in was part of a larger effort to sabotage Nixon's opponents. The Watergate investigation disclosed a fund controlled by the attorney-general to fund widespread intelligence-gathering operations against the Democrats and revealed the details of a massive campaign of political spying and sabotage conducted on behalf of the Nixon re-election effort.  Watergate would have likely led to the impeachment of the President (Richard Nixon) had he not resigned.

Lies, spies and cover-ups - and 2 whistle-blowers who told the public the truth about what was happening behind the scenes. Does this sound familiar?

There's been a lot of water that's gushed under the bridge since Watergate. But the motivation for politicians to obtain and maintain power likely has not changed - regardless of the color of their political stripes, or the country they come from. 

Imagine if politicians (or others of the power elite) had access to every word said or written across the globe. Imagine if they could secretly tap into their opponent's data without having
to use clumsy burglars. Imagine if they could identify and effectively gag those who complained about them - whether individuals or organizations. Imagine if they could hunt down and persecute those bold enough to reveal their secrets. Imagine if they could obtain the economic details regarding major or minor projects involving other countries or businesses - so they could intervene and win contracts for their own countries (or for their cronies). Imagine if they could strong-arm financial institutions to do what they want. Imagine if they could steal industrial secrets with a low chance of being caught because the operation is done surreptitiously by an organization where the favorite word in their lexicon is "secret" and their favorite phrases relate to denying the existence of information and their actions. Imagine if they could do this in such secrecy that the public was effectively "dumbed" from speaking or acting against it because they did not know of it. Imagine if they could do all this - and the government involved could create laws that made this kind of carry-on legal.

"E" is for Echelon - the spy network that provides access to unbelievable amounts of information; and, as a consequence of that information - provides a select group of people (and the power elite who back them) the potential power to manipulate people, events and economic outcomes in a covert way the world over.

"Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely." 
Lord Acton

The focus of this post is on Echelon, including:
  • Some of the history of Echelon; and,
  • Where New Zealand likely fits in the Echelon global spy ring; and, 
  • How the focus of Echelon changed at the end of the Cold War; and,
  • How Echelon is likely to be implicated in the invasion of our privacy in New Zealand (and likely in many other countries); and, 
  • How Echelon has been and likely continues to be involved in corporate espionage; and,
  • How Echelon has been and likely continues to be involved in spying on political critics in contravention of democratic rights and freedoms and privacy law; and,
  • When you read about the history of Echelon - the real motivations behind proposed changes in the current Spy and Surveillance Bills before the House in New Zealand (and possibly legislation in other countries) will hopefully be much clearer to you; and, 
  • Why Echelon (and any equivalent system) - needs to be either outlawed; or severely restricted in it's scope and power, and subject to vigorous and powerful oversight; and,
  • It is hoped that you will come to realize that, largely as a consequence of the enormous power that Echelon provides to governments (as well as the power elite behind governments) Big Brother is breathing down our necks ... and needs to be shown the door.

Spy Satellites

A few months ago we were out to dinner with friends who have an interest in astronomy. We were talking about constellations. One of our friends whipped out her i-phone to show me the one we were talking about. But there were a load of funny looking things that drifted across her screen. "Oh", she said. "We'll have to look later. There's too many satellites around right now." 

I was astonished at the number of satellites shown by her phone. The first artificial satellite was launched in 1957 by the Soviet Union (Sputnik 1). In the 55 years since then 6,578 satellites have been launched into orbit. There are 13 different types of satellites, though a number are likely multi-functional. According to the US Space Surveillance Network - apparently "only" approximately 560 of these satellites are currently functional; the thousands of others are defunct space junk. 

Satellites are sometimes referred to as the "Eye" in the Sky. 

It is claimed by the "spy agencies" that satellites are not as important as fiber-optic cable etc for spying purposes. Given those intriguing white balls that obscure the movement of the gigantic satellite dishes they hide are kept in such good repair at multiple critical spy sites, along with the tendency of spies to tell "porkies" - that claim is perceived by some as possibly a bit of a "story".

Besides satellites and fibre-optic cables, the spy network is also connected to the data switches of cable companies. In addition they are able to directly access the servers of telecommunications and internet service providers. Consequently, one way or another the spy alliance can access trillions of communications of raw data.

I don't mean to bore you by nattering on about satellites etc - but; unlike the old days of direct phone tapping, invisible ink and Maxwell Smart's "shoe" - satellites, fiber optic cables, and microwave transmissions coupled with highly specialized software (including artificial intelligence) and super computers are amongst the tools that have become central to spying over the past 50 years. 


The Story of Echelon


It's clearly a challenge for anyone who is not an insider to talk about highly secretive organisations. Luckily for us, insiders have spoken out, a major investigation into Echelon was conducted by the European Parliament, and books have been written on this subject - including one by a New Zealander. Nevertheless, what is in the public domain is likely only the tip of the iceberg. 

Another point before getting into Echelon. The name Echelon has come to encompass all actions and projects of a network of spy agencies. According to the European Parliament, spies tend to use a variety of code words. Under the cloak of Echelon there are likely to be code words describing many projects, programs and procedures.

The recent whistle-blower leaks have revealed that the US National Security Agency / the NSA (which created and runs Echelon) uses at least 4 programs. These were originally off-shoots of an intelligence gathering project known as Stellar Wind. The US Justice Department forced the close-down of Stellar Wind in 2004 because it's actions were deemed illegal. But, in the way of governments determined to get around annoying matters such as the law - new laws were made - and 4 of the programs that had been operating under Stellar Wind were reproduced and expanded under the Bush and Obama administrations.

New Zealanders should look at the Telecommunications Interception Capability and Security Bill and the GCSB Amendment Bill in the context of these. These Bills are clearly designed to support the off-shoots of Stellar Wind type activities by our NZ Spy agency, the GCSB (which is part of Echelon) as well as other agencies in our country and elsewhere.

The details of the 4 programs currently being used are sketchy, but they generally are:
Mainway Marina Nucleon Prism

Mainway - which predominantly collects unstructured telephone metadata; and,
Marina - which predominantly collects unstructured internet metadata; and,
Nucleon - which analyzes spoken words and emails; and,
Prism - which obtains and analyzes digital data obtained straight from the servers of major telecommunications and internet providers
More on this here:

Many countries have their own agency(ies) that spy. They are not necessarily publicly known about. The US has at least 3 (4 if you include the FBI). These are the National Security Agency (the NSA); the Defense Intelligence Agency (the DIA);  and the Central Intelligence Agency (the CIA). All of these agencies are into gathering and analyzing data. New Zealand is known to have the Government Communications Security Bureau (the GCSB) and the Security Intelligence Service (SIS). 

Echelon is a multiparty (involving multiple countries) SIGINT (ie signals intelligence)  alliance. As with any organization there is a hierarchy. The USA and UK are "first party" participants in Echelon. The USA and UK were the participants in the original UKUSA agreement. They (particularly the USA) have the greatest power in the alliance. Canada, Australia and New Zealand are "second party" participants.  The media indicates that the Netherlands were added a bit later. According to Duncan Campbell there are also third party participants, including: Germany, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Austria, Japan, South Korea and Thailand. Norway and Denmark were participants until 1992 when those countries decided to do their own satellite interception.

There are other multi-party formal or informal communications intelligence alliances besides Echelon which have been reported, including the following: 
(It is noted that how extensive the capability of these groups are; or how permanent or complex their arrangements are - is unknown). 
There are the multiple participants in NATO (NATO claims they do not share sensitive data).  
2. ASEAN (The Association of Southeast Asian Nations)
The ASEAN group includes: Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam, Brunei and Laos. They also share intelligence data 
3. FPDA (Five Power Defense Arrangement) 
The participants include: Australia, Great Britain, New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia
4. Anti-terrorism Centre 
This seems to have arisen after the US proposed a regional counterintelligence training center be established in Malaysia.
This includes: the Philippines, Malaysia, Cambodia and Thailand
5. Singapore and the US
Singapore and the US shares some information between the US Pacific Command Joint Intelligence Centre and Singapore's Joint Counterterrorism Centre
6. Germany & Netherlands
7. Britain and France
8. Russia, China, Cuba, Vietnam and Yemen

As can be seen - there are wheels within wheels. Open-ended legislation that allows sharing of personal information by spy agencies means that information might wind up just about anywhere. When people or organizations are wrongfully pin-pointed as "suspect" this can have serious negative repercussions when they travel, let alone when they are at home.

Besides the multi-party spy agencies that intercept our communications, there are multiple countries that intercept data directly. These may or may not also be in a multi-party SIGINT group; but, even if they are not - there is no guarantee that they will keep the information they collect to themselves. Nor is it known whether or how much they spy on their local population vs foreigners.

The countries with cyber-spy capacity that can stand alone includes:
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • China
  • Cuba
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Ireland
  • India
  • Japan
  • Jordan
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Russia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
Any agency that spies has enormous power to act in an oppressive "police state" manner. It is for this reason that their powers need to be limited, and they require independent and strong oversight - so that they do not encroach on democratic rights and freedoms and personal privacy in an unwarranted manner.

Any bureaucrat (particularly spies) can be expected to want to obtain and maintain power. It is important to take what you are told by any government about it's spy agencies (and certainly what you are told by any spy agency itself) with a liberal measure of salt. Spies cloak themselves with lies and deception. Secrets are second nature. Truth can be hard to detect in such an environment. 

Governments in general, and spy organizations in particular - have become adept at misinformation in order to manipulate the public and get the public to do what they want. Check here for tips on recognizing: "Spin"

In the words of a US security expert: 
"Everyone is playing word games... No one is telling the truth."

Importantly - spies, the military and the police - when given unfettered power can spell the end of democracy and worse. 

As best you can, you should look at the facts surrounding the Spy and Surveillance Bills as well as Echelon - yourself - and come to your own conclusions.


The Spy Alliance

Echelon is a US led global spy network controlled by the NSA (National Security Agency) and is operated in conjunction with the Government Communications Head Quarters (GCHQ) of England, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) of Canada, the Australian Defense Security Directorate (DSD), and the General Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) of New Zealand. According to wikipedia, by 2000 the National Security Organisation of the Netherlands (NSO) had joined the alliance. These organizations are bound together under a secret  agreement - whose terms and text remain under wraps even today.

As noted above, Echelon is a multiparty (involving multiple countries) SIGINT (ie signals intelligence)  alliance. As with any organization there is a hierarchy. The USA and UK are "first party" participants in Echelon. The USA and UK were the participants in the original UKUSA agreement. They (particularly the USA) have the greatest power in the alliance. Canada, Australia and New Zealand (and possibly the Netherlands) are "second party" participants.  According to Duncan Campbell there are also third party participants, including: Germany, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Austria, Japan, South Korea and Thailand. Norway and Denmark were participants until 1992 when those countries decided to do their own satellite interception.

What Echelon Does

Echelon operates a system for the global interception, relay and analysis of electronic communications. Monitored transmissions are said to include up to 3 billion communications daily, including all the telephone calls, e-mail messages, faxes, satellite transmissions, and Internet downloads of both public and private organizations and citizens worldwide ...

"Echelon collects information through an extensive system of radio antennae and satellites that monitor satellite communications and sniffer devices that collect Internet communications from data packets. Some sources claim that the organization employs underwater devices to tap into transcontinental fiber optic phone cables. "

Who is Spied Upon?

Everyone, everywhere who uses any form of digital communication.

"Individual states in the UKUSA alliance are assigned responsibilities for monitoring different parts of the globe. Canada's main task used to be monitoring northern portions of the former Soviet Union and conducting sweeps of all communications traffic that could be picked up from our embassies around the world. In the post-Cold War era, a greater emphasis was  placed on monitoring satellite and radio and cellphone traffic originating from Central and South America, primarily in an effort to track drugs and thugs in the region."

"The United States, with its vast array of spy satellites and listening posts, monitors most of Latin America, Asia, Asiatic Russia and northern China. Britain listens in on Europe and Russia west of the Urals as well as Africa. Australia hunts for communications originating in Indochina, Indonesia and southern China. New Zealand sweeps the western Pacific."

Echelon Supercomputer "Dictionary" Analyses

Huge volumes of data is "vacuumed" into Echelon from around the world. Most of this is raw metadata. Human beings cannot process this volume of information. This fact is used as a "smoke and mirrors" excuse to imply that this process is not intrusive.

But, content as well as metadata is assessed. 

Highly advanced supercomputers and state of the art artificial intelligence programs "mine" the mass metadata for information of interest. It's reasonable to presume that information of interest is likely to include words, phrases, names, places and numbers that might be relevant to national security, military interests, trade interests, commercial or industry interests, political critics, specific people or organizations, and any other topic the government (or those who have power or influence over the government) or any agency deems of interest etc. 
"According to the ACLU [American Civil Liberties Union], Echelon gathers huge volumes of data indiscriminately, and then filters out useful information through artificial intelligence (AI) technology. The system is also said to involve advanced voice recognition, language translation, optical character recognition programs. The captured signals are then processed through a series of supercomputers, known as dictionaries, that are programmed to search each communication for targeted addresses, words, phrases or even individual voices. The flagged communications are then forwarded to the respective intelligence agency that might be interested in the intercept." 

The Echelon "Dictionaries" which include the words and phrases of interest that the alliance countries deem important are compared with the data. Communications containing the words or phrases specified in the Dictionaries are then subject to further analyses. The patent for this technology was filed in 1997. The inventors were: Douglas Nelson, Patrick Schone and Richard Bates. They applied for the patent on behalf of the NSA. (The Patent)

A link to an Echelon Dictionary List is provided below as an example. It is claimed to be "complete", but that's probably not likely. Each country supposedly has a separate "dictionary" that the data is matched against. It's uncertain whether this list relates to one, or a combination of dictionaries. It's origin (consequently it's accuracy) is unknown. 

The fact that a person or organization may be pin-pointed simply using Echelon dictionary screening criteria does not mean that they are a threat to national security or a criminal. What it does mean is that their communication content is then likely to be more closely targeted, and their other activities more closely monitored. This is done without a warrant and without the persons under scrutiny being aware their communications and activities are being spied upon. Information regarding these individuals is apparently also solicited from other spy agencies and also transferred to other spy agencies. It goes without saying that this process which effectively labels people (who in most cases are likely innocent of any wrong-doing) as suspected villains - invites oppressive actions against them. Even though no concrete evidence against them is required; their selection and labelling as persons of interest is based upon the basis of their use of words and phrases in an Echelon dictionary. 

The wrongful placement of innocent people on a government agency(ies) "suspect" list is likely to lead to oppressive behaviors and further encroachment on their privacy and democratic rights. It's probable that very few people (if any) are aware that their details have been entered into a suspect list, therefore they have no opportunity to correct incorrect evidence and have their names removed. This is the type of behavior expected in an autocratic "Big Brother" state where government agencies have excessive powers that enable them to act in an oppressive fashion towards innocent members of the public.

The numbers of people who have been targeted and more closely spied upon as a consequence of this process is currently secret. Likewise the number of genuine villains likely caught through the blanket screening processes and Echelon dictionary filtering  versus the number of red herrings selected by the dictionaries is unknown. It would be very unwise to accept the word of the related governments and spy agencies on statistics regarding villains captured by using Echelon. The proof should be verifiable. 

If the statistics related to Echelon predictively identifying terrorists or criminals were true - then the suspects should have been prosecuted and the trials should have been open and transparent with supportive evidence that was obtained through Echelon prior to arrest produced in court. If that was the case, this would have been big news. Maybe I've been asleep and missed it. What has been in the news has been the persecution and prosecution of whistle-blowers who have embarrassed people in positions of power who have either been up to no good or implicated in the wrong-doing of others (either directly or by turning a blind eye). The whistle-blowers weren't found by Echelon. They came forward themselves because they felt so strongly that democratic rights and freedoms are being put under threat as a consequence of lies, deception, secrets, denials and cover-ups by power-mongering government officials who are lacking in integrity.

In the absence of verifiable facts - claimed numbers of terrorists or criminals predicted by Echelon are just stories to rationalize intrusive surveillance of ordinary people the world over. Alleged trials in secret don't meet the grade for evidence of the input of Echelon or any other blanket spy system providing a benefit greater than the risk to personal privacy and freedom (nor does this support the notion that there has been natural justice for those who are tried in secret). Death of suspects or their disappearance prior to trial is not corroborative evidence of Echelon having identified actual terrorists or significant criminals in advance either; and does not even provide proof that the accused person was guilty of a crime. 

Echelon is a threat to Democratic rights and freedoms, as well as personal privacy owing to it's intrusive widespread surveillance and the nature of it's screening criteria (the Echelon "dictionaries"). The Echelon artificial intelligence dictionaries may be state of the art, but there are many reasons people may use words or phrases. The risk in terms of innocent people being scooped into such a dragnet and subsequently suffering adverse consequences as a result of having been wrongfully selected as a person of interest is great. There need to be fair and open processes so that anyone caught in such an appalling situation can be dealt with promptly and fairly. In particular they should be given access to copies of all data held by the system regarding them. Errors should be either deleted or corrected and their names should be cleared from any and all "suspect" lists.

Echelon - through the eyes of Nicky Hager

Nicky Hager is New Zealand's most expert journalist on global surveillance systems in the New Zealand context. He actually spoke to the Committee of the European Parliament which investigated Echelon in 2001. 

To get a grasp of Echelon - Hager's 1996 book - "Secret Power" is worth a read. He has done a great public service in making his book available free as an e-book. Here is a link to it:
"Secret Power" by Nicky Hager
I'd also recommend his other excellent articles referencing Echelon.

Nicky Hager's revelations about Echelon are important in themselves. But why GCSB staff leaked him details is also worthy of note. In his opinion, the main reason was the officers' concerns that an important area of government activity had been secret too long - from the public and parliament.

The world has come a long way technologically and politically since 1996. 9/11 in 2001 provided an excuse for perverse, draconian surveillance by the Echelon alliance (and possibly the surveillance/spy activities in other countries). While protection of national security is an important goal for any country - the ways and means of doing this need to be within reason. Otherwise the transition to a "Big Brother" autocratic police state is inevitable.

It's one thing for autocratic governments and spy agencies to rationalize increased power and surveillance of spy agencies. But what they actually do is quite another another story.

Echelon through the eyes of Duncan Campbell

Inside Echelon- The history, structure and function of the global surveillance system known as Echelon
Interception Capabilities 2000 - Report to the Director General for Research of the European Parliament (Scientific and Technical Options Assessment programme office) on the development of surveillance technology and risk of abuse of economic information.
(Note: FAS is the Federation of American Scientists)
Articles from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy are available here:
Articles from the FAS on Echelon are available here:

Echelon through the eyes of Patrick Poole


Post-Cold War Spying and Commercial Espionage

Brian Gladwell, a British former NATO computer expert commented,
"The analogy I use is where we were 250 years ago with pirates on the high seas. Governments never admitted they sponsored piracy, yet they all did behind the scenes. If we now look at cyberspace we have state-sponsored information piracy.

We can’t have a global e-commerce until governments like the US stop state-sponsored theft of commercial information."

"After the demise of Communism in Eastern Europe, the intelligence agencies searched for a new justification for their surveillance capability. Their solution was to redefine the notion of national security to include economic, commercial and corporate concerns. An office was created within the Department of Commerce, the Office of Intelligence Liaison, to forward intercepted materials to major US corporations. In many cases, the beneficiaries of this commercial espionage effort are the very companies that helped the NSA develop the systems that power the ECHELON network. This incestuous relationship is so strong that sometimes this intelligence information is used to push other American manufacturers out of deals in favor of these mammoth US defense and intelligence contractors, who frequently are the source of major cash contributions to both political parties."
Echelon: America's Secret Global Surveillance Network - Patrick S Poole (1999/2000)

Targeting  Activists groups and Christian Ministries
"Several GCHQ officials became concerned about the targeting of peaceful political groups and told the London Observer in 1992 that the ECHELON dictionaries targeted Amnesty International, Greenpeace, and even Christian ministries."
Echelon: America's Secret Global Surveillance Network - Patrick S Poole (1999/2000)

The Spy Machine Makers

Some of the large corporations that currently profit, or have profited in the past from the cyber spy industry (+/- military operations); and arguably constitute part of a power elite likely lurking behind the scenes and pulling strings in some very important government decisions include:
(This is not a complete list)
  • Boeing
  • Condor Systems
  • EADS Consortium
  • EDO Reconnaissance and Surveillance Systems
  • Elbit Systems
  • General Dynamics
  • GTE
  • Harvester
  • Israel Aerospace Industries
  • Narus
  • Northrop Grumman
  • Racal
  • Raytheon
  • Swedish-South African EADS
  • Thales Group
  • Watkins-Johnson,_nations_and_industries

These large corporations are mentioned in the context of Echelon and the software and equipment required for surveillance - owing to the vested interest these large corporations likely have in government decisions related to spying or war. 

Pressure from lobbying and other forms of influence used by groups with a big financial stake in decisions is likely to be great. It may be difficult for politicians and government bureaucrats who make decisions to resist overtures and pressure tactics.  Further, if a government actually invests in any of these organization - then this increases the likelihood of corrupt practices such as back-room deals etc; and mitigates against government decisions to decrease participation in the activity (whether it is spying or war).

Echelon Time Line    
Formalization of UKUSA agreement. 
Establishment of the Armed Forces Security Agency (AFSA) to direct communications intelligence and electronic intelligence activities of the military service signals units (ASA, NSG, AFSS) 
President Truman sent out a top secret memorandum to abolish the AFSA and to create the National Security Agency NSA. The main focuses lied on: control, coordination, collection and processing of Communication Intelligence. The NSA was considered to be within, but not a part of the Department of Defense. .(Jeffrey T. Richelson, The U.S. Intelligence Community, Westview Press, 4th ed., 1999, p 31) 
The WS-117L program (for the development of reconnaissance satellites for the AirForce an CIA) was approved by President Eisenhower. It also included the development of signal intercept equipment within the framework of the project Pioneer Ferret 
Official acknowledgement of NSA in the Government Organization Manual 
Establishment of the National Reconnaissance Office NRO as a joint Air Force and CIA operation. Ist existance was classified secret till 1992. Ist tasks werde focused on overseeing and funding the research and development of reconnaissance spacecraft and their sensors, procuring the space systems and their associated ground stations, determinig launch vehicle requirements, operating spacecraft and disseinating the data collected.(Jeffrey T. Richelson, The U.S. Intelligence Community, Westview Press, 4th ed., 1999, p 37) 
Scope of NSA's SIGINT activities was redefined in Communication Intelligence and Electronic Intelligence and Communication Security (In the 80s the term changed to Information Security).
Perry Fellwock, former NSA analyst, gives an interview for Ramparts on NSA electronic interception: 
Duncan Campbell published an article in Time Out called "The Eavesdroppers" which was a description of what GCHQ was and did. From that time on Campbell published many articles concerning illiegal communication interception done by the secret services. 
American Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is a law that permits secret buggings and wiretaps of individuals suspected of being agents of a hostile foreign government or international terrorist organization. ( 
David Burnham, The New York Times, writes:
Washington, Nov 6 --- A Federal appeals court has ruled that the National Security Agency may lawfully intercept messages between United States citizens and people overseas, even if there is no cause to believe they Americans are foreign agents, and then provide summaries of these messages to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.(

James Bamford publishes The Puzzle Palace: A Report on America's Most Secret Agency. 
Jeffrey T. Richelson and Desmond Ball bring out The Ties That Bind: Intelligence Cooperation Between the UKUSA Countries 
William Burrows publishes Deep Black: Space Espionage and National Security 
ECHELON (as terminus) was first revealed by Duncan Campbell in 1988 in a 'New Statesman' article. 
Jeffrey T. Richelson brings out The U.S. Intelligence Community 
Members of GCHQ became told the London Observer that the ECHELON dictionaries targeted Amnesty International, Greenpeace, Christian institutions and more. 
June 1992: FBI produces paper "Law Enforcement REQUIREMENTS for the
surveillance of electronic communications" 
A presidential conference with Asian leaders was bugged by US intelligence agencies, as goes the rumour, and information was passed from the White House to big corporate donors.
A BBC documentary about NSA's Menwith Hill facility in England revealed that peace protestors had broken into the installation and stolen part of this glossary, known as "the Dictionary." The documentary alleged that Menwith Hill -- a sprawling installation covering 560 acres and employing more than 1,200 people -- was ECHELON's nerve center. 
Spyworld: Inside the Canadian and American Intelligence Establishments 
By Mike Frost [NSA trained sigint person] and Michel Gratton 
Nicky Hager, Secret Power: New Zealand's Role In the International Spy Network 
Further reorganization of NSA INFOSEC activities: Two new groups were introduced. M Group, responsible for assess potential threats to and vulnerabilities of technologies and infrastructures such as telecom systems; W Group, deals with transnational threats. 
27 February: A special report by Statewatch published detailed plans for a joint plan drawn up by the Council of the European Union and the US Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) to introduce a global system for the surveillance of telecommunications.
4 September: A judge has lambasted British Telecom for revealing detailed information about top secret high capacity cables feeding phone and other messages to and from a Yorkshire monitoring base. BT admitted this week that they have connected three digital optical fibre cables - capable of carrying more than 100,000 telephone calls at once - to the American intelligence base
at Menwith Hill, near Harrogate.
Media all over the world start covering ECHELON. 
European Parliament, STOA report, Assessment of the Technologies of Political Control: 
World Information Org starts collecting the fragmented data about ECHELON. 
ECHELON is covered in gobal news channels and investigated by civil liberty groups as well as government councils throughout Europe.

Agencies Subvert the Law to get around it

A Need to Change Existing Laws to Strengthen Human Rights, Freedom and Privacy


__________________________ To Be Continued ___________________________

  • This document is in progress.
  • It is being published before it is finished because the subject matter is directly relevant to the Spy and Surveillance Bills that are currently before the New Zealand parliament.
  • This is probably some of the most important legislation ever put before Parliament - it involves the rubber-stamping (or not) of "Big Brother" rule.
  • New Zealanders need to know that the government wants to legally spy on us, access our data and limit our democratic rights.
  • These Bills need to be canned - and rewritten so our democratic rights and freedoms and our privacy is protected; the power of Spy organization(s) are limited; and rigorous, informed, independent oversight is insured.

If you want to leave a comment you are welcome to do so.
Click on "Post a Comment" below the very bottom of the Post
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If you are interested in reading more on 
surveillance and privacy,
you might also be interested in...

The New Zealand GCSB Spy Bill - 12 steps closer to Big Brother surveillance

Submission example for the NZ Spy Bill

Coffee Q5: Would you vote for, or respect any politician - who votes in favor of the GCSB Spy Bill?

Peeping Toms - 70 years of government led domestic surveillance and repression through Spy Agencies

States of Surveillance: New - Mandatory blood testing of all Americans age 15-65 

States of Paranoia - Evolution of a Police State and Constitution Free Zones


Lies disguised as truth P3

Some politicians and bureaucrats think the general public are dumb. They want to keep us that way by controlling what information we are given. 

The information we are provided may be "truthiness" (which is not the truth, and involves all manner of deception), not truth. Lies and deception are often used to put a positive spin on matters  we would not agree to, or would disgust us if we knew the truth. Secrecy is another tool of "impression management" to cover up wrong-doing, or shameful or corrupt acts.

Freedom of information is a cornerstone of democracy and justice. Without it, the risk of a decline into an authoritarian form of government is virtually inevitable.

Are we "sheep-les" or mere puppets who can be led to believe and do whatever our masters say; or are we thinking people who want to be truthfully informed? 

Are we willing to speak up and insist on the truth? Are we prepared to take action to guard our democratic rights and our rights to justice and fair treatment?

Thinking Tiger D5

The people generally trust their government, law-makers and the publicly funded bureaucrats who are responsible for representing their interests. But the "people" are being deceived in many instances. We feel this is wrong.  The "people" - ordinary folk like you and me have great power in democratic countries. We can and should do something about this.

Lies, deception, cover-ups and corrupt practices must be "out"-ed if they are to end. This is necessary for democracy and justice to survive.

Tiger sleeping D5

The "people" are like a sleeping tiger.

Tiger jumping D5

If you pull the tail of the tiger; it is to be expected that the tiger will wake up, take notice of it's tormenters and give chase.

In the interests of democracy, justice, world peace and a stable economy for ordinary people - the tiger must run wrong-doers to the ground.

Tiger running wrong do-ers to ground D5
Original 3 monkeys D5
Original 3 Monkeys

All that is required for evil to take hold and grow is to: close your eyes, block your ears, shut your mouth - and do nothing.

If we do nothing - then nothing will improve.

Spreading the Word D5
Spread the word!

One person can achieve little or nothing. 
Many can move mountains.

3 Freedom Monkeys D5
3 Freedom of Information Monkeys


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DE Sheridan said...

Thank you for your comment.
I am preoccupied with other things right now.

But if you want to read more about Echelon, I would suggest you look into the work by journalist Nicky Hagar. He has done an extensive study of Echelon.

Here are some links to data by Nicky:

Duncan Campbell has also done a lot of work on the history, structure and function of Echelon.

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Anonymous said...

Them deep throat White Power FBI porkies, are trying to reveal the hard to detect, invisible secret P2 organization, by spying on specific persons of interest; though there is no concrete evidence against them. Then they are wrongfully placed on a suspect list, verified as a terrorist threat.