In the greatest surveillance effort ever established, the US
National Security Agency
) has createda global spy system, codename
, which captures and analyzes virtually every phone call, fax,email and telex message sent anywhere in the world.
ECHELON is controlled by the NSA and is operated in conjunction with the
Government Communications Head Quarters
) of England, the
Communications Security Establishment
)of Canada, the
Australian Defense Security Directorate
), and the
General CommunicationsSecurity Bureau
) of New Zealand.
These organizations are bound together under a secret 1948 agreement,
, whose terms and textremain under wraps even today.The
is fairly simple in design: position intercept stations all over the world to captureall satellite, microwave, cellular and fiber-optic communications traffic, and then process this informationthrough the massive computer capabilities of the
, including advanced voice recognition and
optical character recognition
) programs, and look for code words or phrases (known as the
”) that will prompt the computers to flag the message for recording and transcribing for futureanalysis.
Intelligence analysts at each of the respective “listening stations” maintain separate keyword lists for them to analyze any conversation or document flagged by the system, which is then forwarded to therespective intelligence agency headquarters that requested the intercept.But apart from directing their ears towards terrorists and rogue states,
is also being used for purposes well outside its original mission. The regular discovery of domestic surveillance targeted atAmerican civilians for reasons of “unpopular” political affiliation or for no probable cause at all in violationof the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments of the
– are consistently impeded by veryelaborate and complex legal arguments and privilege claims by the intelligence agencies and the USgovernment.
The guardians and caretakers of our liberties, our duly elected political representatives, give scarceattention to these activities, let alone the abuses that occur under their watch.
Among the activities that the
Since the close of World War II, the US intelligence agencies have developed aconsistent record of trampling the rights and liberties of the American people.
Even after the investigations into the domestic and political surveillance activities of theagencies that followed in the wake of the
continues to target