ECHELON

is a program used by government agencies to spy on civilians. Naturally, they can’t listen to every single communication, but they do monitor all the communications they can.

This would include e-mail, faxes, phone conversations, everything.

There are many sites that refer to this program. Here is a Google search. It returns sources from the BBC, the Telegraph, and other news agencies. There has been a lot of noise made about the U.S. not being allowed to spy on its’ own citizens. Some people think that this has been circumvented by a secret agreement between the USA and the UK for us to spy on them and for them to spy on us using shared technology and hardware and then to share the results and presto! the U.S. does not spy on its’ citizens.

While we are told that this serves a national security purpose to monitor for certain watch words, this program has been used for commercial espionage and the European Parliament (starting with page 136) actually recommends encryption in sensitive communications to protect their commercial interests.

According to three Insight Magazine articles from 1997, the U.S. Government has already been used to gain commercial secrets for the benefit of large contributors to the DNC. There was a large scale operation to completely saturate with surveillance the activities of an economic conference in 1993 in Seattle for the Asia Pacific Economic Conference.

The second article shows how the individuals involved were lied to:

One reason is that most of the intelligence agents involved in the spy operation had no idea where the end product went. They all were told it was a national-security mission and that the surveillance was to protect the 15 or more leaders of nations attending the conference. Never mind that the targets were rarely the leaders of the nations, but their assistants and staffers, referred to as “secondary people,” because that’s who cut the deals.

In the third article about the APEC summit, there is some interesting/sickening information provided by former Washington insiders. To provide context, some FBI agents providing surveillance of the conference were witnesses to underage male prostitution and were ordered to do nothing about it for reasons of national security.

The boys are believed to have been 15 to 17 years old. As shocking as this may be, some say it’s routine. A former Bush economic adviser observes, “The sex? That’s done all the time. If a foreign diplomat wants a companion, the State Department provides it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a man or woman. They have a special fund set up for that.” Another former NSC official who requested anonymity says other countries also do it. “I was offered every sexual favor you can imagine. I turned it down all the time. After a while they left me alone and stopped offering me.”

It is not so comforting for me to think that these same people are or ever have been in power. Are you paranoid enough yet?

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