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ECHELON, Industrial Espionage, and the Organized Stalking-Terror Police State

War On Terror
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February 19, 2024

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February 19, 2024

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December 11, 2018

CIA Front Companies

December 1, 2018

Epigraph Quote:

In my investigations, I have discovered that the intelligence agencies not only from the United States, but also from the following countries are involved: Canada, England, Great Britain, France, Germany, Australia, India, Pakistan, Israel, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Jamaica, the Philippines and possibly, Japan, Ireland, Africa, Italy, Monaco, Venezuela, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, China; however, keep in mind that there is a strong possibility that others are also involved. This is being conducted worldwide under the Echelon Project.

These agencies are forcing people–homeless and runaway children, homeless adults and mentally and physically-challenged persons, released from institutions under the Reagan-Bush presidencies–through these illegal acts, to become government-controlled informants, and implanting a device called a “burst bug” in their ear. These controlled
informants are the people conducting unscrupulous activities, which include gang-stalking, assault, murder, identity theft, break-ins, robberies and the sabotage of automobiles, electronics, especially computers, etc. They are pushing people to commit homicide and suicide. They are also being used to falsely accuse targets of crimes such as child molestation, rape and white collar crimes, framing them for these crimes and then lying in jury trials, etc. This has been the case with Martha Stewart, Michael Jackson and Dan Rather, to name just a few. Many of these controlled informants are also convicted murderers, pedophiles, rapists, etc. The intelligence agencies hide their criminal records and many of them continue to commit the same offenses upon society, where the intelligence agencies turn a blind eye.

These crimes are also being conducted so that the Pentagon and the intelligence agencies can convince Congress, by manipulation, to pass legislation, such as the National Identification Card, the Patriot Act II and other bills which contain subsections which are not known to the general public and even the Congress. It is the Pentagon and the intelligence agencies including the military that are conducting these criminal acts and acts of terrorism so that they can pass the necessary legislation to eventually abolish the Constitution and all of our civil liberties and achieve the Military Industrial Complex, and, as former president George Herbert Walker Bush stated, the New World Order, which is a one-world government.

Through my investigations and by being a target myself of these informants, I have found that government-controlled informants in the African-American and Hispanic communities are 3 to 4 in 5. In the Middle Eastern and other foreign communities such as Indian, Pakistani, Asian, Africans, Jamaicans, Zimbabwean, etc., it seems much higher. I have found that 4 out of 5 are government-controlled informants and many times 5 out of 5. And in the overall U.S. population, including the white communities, these government-controlled informants are 1 in 5.

DT Stockton, Organized Gang Stalking, from “Mind Control Slave” website. Organized Gang Stalking by DT Stockton


By: Gaia Staff | April 24, 2018

When Edward Snowden disclosed the vast conspiracy of a multinational surveillance apparatus, it was vindication for Duncan Campbell who spent decades uncovering one of the biggest facets of government overreach, Project ECHELON. And though it took nearly a lifetime to attain that justification, Campbell turned one of the oldest conspiracies into veritable fact: someone is always listening.


Shortly after WWII, five of the world’s major powers – the U.S., U.K., Australia, New Zealand, and Canada – signed onto a joint surveillance program in the aftermath of the Allies cracking the Germany “Enigma” and Japanese “Purple” codes.

Understanding the importance of intercepting and monitoring signals intelligence, or SIGINT, these five countries, known as the Five Eyes, signed onto the UKUSA agreement, which divvied up segments of the world for each country to monitor.

Signals intelligence monitors all signals received from electronic communications, including radio, radar, telemetry, and just about any type of broadcasted signal.

The advent of satellite technology in the late 50s matched with Cold War paranoia led to a rapid expansion of the program, indiscriminately monitoring all communication signals worldwide.

Project P-415, nicknamed ECHELON, became the dragnet surveillance program between the five nations, though it was controlled entirely by the National Security Agency – the American intelligence branch operating under the Department of Defense. The U.K.’s intelligence agency, the Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, became the secondary arm of the ECHELON program.


Through ECHELON, billions of satellite communications were, and continue to be, intercepted and stored in facilities around the world, before being sifted through by computer algorithms searching for keywords that raise red flags. The technology is also able to target individuals using not just phone numbers, but also voice recognition software.

The program’s capabilities allow it to target almost anyone on the planet including world leaders, businesses, and private individuals. Despite this fact, it has, more often than not, failed its ostensible job of preventing major acts of terrorism.


Though there are a number of ECHELON satellite intercept stations around the world, there are a few key locations pointed out by Campbell and other whistleblowers. The largest operation is located at the RAF Menwith Hill station in Yorkshire, U.K.,where over 300 million emails and phone calls are monitored daily.

Campbell and colleagues have pointed out that a clear indication of ECHELON-involved stations are large geodesic domes, known as radomes. Beneath these domed enclosures are satellites, hidden from eyes that may be curious of their orientation.


In the U.S., the primary station of ECHELON activity was originally at the Army’s Yakima Training Facility in Washington. But that location has since moved to Buckley AFB in Colorado, home to more extensive infrastructure with supercomputers able to process the copious amounts of data collected there.

Another important base is the Pine Gap surveillance facility, located near Alice Springs in Australia’s Northern Territory. Codenamed RAINFALL, this base is a main hub of cell phone geolocation, supposedly necessary to more precisely track terrorist targets with drone strikes.

Though the sentiment of drone operators doesn’t seem to support this alleged precision. Instead of targeting specific people based on traditional intelligence, the program targets the SIM cards of cell phones. This has proven to be an unreliable tactic that often results in the death of innocent civilians.

According to the Snowden leaks, U.S. operated stations also exist in countries outside the Five Eyes, including Brazil, Germany, India, Japan, and Thailand. Stations operated by GCHQ and Australian intelligence exist in Cyprus, Kenya, and Oman.

All the information collected globally is processed and sent to NSA headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland, where it is filtered before the agency decides what it feels comfortable sharing with the other nations involved in the program.

NSA Headquarters – Fort Meade, Maryland

In addition to ground-based intercept stations, the U.S. launched several, billion-dollar satellites to intercept signals transmitted into the atmosphere that would normally diffuse into space. These satellites, though classified, are said to have 300 ft. diameter umbrellas and are put into highly elliptical orbits to capture signals from the largest possible area.

It is believed the U.S. launched several of these satellites since the early 90s, in order to intercept broadcasts with the ostensible purpose of monitoring ballistic missile flight telemetry. TRUMPET, MERCURY, and MENTOR are the codenames given to these satellites believed to be in geosynchronous orbit collecting SIGINT.

These satellites are able to intercept and relay every signal type for the NSA’s surveillance needs. This includes COMINT, communications between people; ELINT, electronic signals other than voice, such as radar, satellite, telemetry; MASINT, the signatures of electronic instruments; and FISINT, electromagnetic emissions from testing of foreign aerospace, surface and subsurface systems.

Play Video


Ironically, Campbell was first introduced to the intelligence world through his mother, who worked as a mathematician under Alan Turing during WWII. But it wasn’t until much later that she discovered she had been working for England’s Secret Intelligence Service, MI6. Little did she know that her son’s lifework would be to reveal the British government’s intrusive surveillance habits.

Campbell’s first exposé on GCHQ’s surveillance tactics was titled “The Eavesdroppers,” published in The New Statesman in 1977. His article was the first to detail the extensive level of surveillance being carried out by the Five Eyes, through information he obtained from American whistleblower, Perry Fellwock.

Shortly after publishing, Campbell found other whistleblowers who wanted to come forward, including former signals intelligence operator, John Berry, and journalist, Crispin Aubrey. After the three met to discuss what Berry knew from working for GCHQ in Cyprus, they were immediately arrested for “possessing unauthorized information.”

Duncan Campbell (L), Crispin Aubrey (center), and John Berry (R) via

They soon found themselves involved in what became known as the ABC Trial, after the first initials of each of their surnames. During the trial, it became evident that none of the information Berry divulged to Campbell and Aubrey had been classified. GCHQ found itself caught in an embarrassing position, unsure what was technically classified and what wasn’t, while trying to intimidate the trio with counts of treason.

From there, Campbell continued investigating the larger network of surveillance stations throughout the world, eventually leading him to consultants working for the NSA. One such agent was Oliver Selfridge, who later became known as the father of machine perception, or artificial intelligence.

Selfridge gave Campbell definitive evidence of a connection between the NSA and the other Five Eyes nations, what Campbell described as an “umbilical link.” They went on to publish a report on this international surveillance cartel, titled “The Billion Dollar Phone Tap.”

Campbell continued to investigate rifts within the Five Eyes, exposing attempts by the GCHQ to launch its own SIGINT satellite, codenamed ZIRCON. He published the fact that the agency appropriated half a billion dollars to build the satellite without receiving permission, or even telling Parliament about it.

He produced a video documentary about ZIRCON at the request of the BBC, titled Secret Society. But when the network realized the gravity of Campbell’s investigation, it pulled the documentary and refused to air it. Campbell was still able to publish his piece in the New Statesmen, but not before its offices were raided and he was forced into hiding.

Authorities then raided the BBC and fired its director. Campbell’s documentary aired a year later and the ZIRCON satellite was never completed.

Campbell went on to interview an NSA contractor who informed him of the automated surveillance program sorting the mass quantities of data collected by Five Eyes intelligence agencies. One of those whistleblowers was a Lockheed contractor named Margaret Newsham.

Newsham was stationed at Menwith Hill where she noticed personal communications were being gathered on prominent U.S. government officials, including Rep. Strom Thurmond. She had been in charge of maintaining the array of computer systems carrying out this automated surveillance, before she realized what they were used for.

Campbell soon discovered the two primary stations the U.S. was operating, in Yakima, WA and Bude, an array in northern England. He discovered the stations had been used to spy on civil rights leaders and government dissidents through a convoluted web of communications, routed from U.S. satellites to U.K. stations, in order to avoid breaking domestic spying laws.

But his reports were largely ignored, until E.U. Parliament opened an investigation in 1999, passing sweeping legislation against the invasive mass surveillance just six days before the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Inevitably, those regulations were rescinded.

Campbell’s affirmation came 13 years later when Snowden blew the whistle on the NSA. In the documents he leaked, Campbell found definitive, written accounts of ECHELON and its existence dating back 50 years.

Today the program undoubtedly continues, with public acquiescence from a perceived necessity to prevent terrorism. Yet terrorist attacks continue to occur, domestically and abroad. What has also become clear is that these agencies have been, and continue to operate autonomously, eavesdropping even on high-ranking politicians.

If nothing is done to put an end to this type of unfettered surveillance, we may find ourselves in a police state, in which private matters could be used as blackmail or worse, privacy no longer exists.

Encryption software is the first step to protect one’s privacy, while understanding that sensitive material shouldn’t be presumed safe. Unless extreme measures are taken, assume your communications are being listened to and take the appropriate measures.

If Snowden and Campbell were able to get this information out there after all these years, at least we know all is not lost. It is still possible to hold some accountability to power.

II. Uncovering ECHELON: The Top-Secret NSA/GCHQ Program That Has Been Watching You Your Entire Life

Lucas Matney@lucasmtny / 3 years ago

If history is written by the victors, government surveillance agencies will have an awfully long list of sources to cite.

Domestic digital surveillance has often seemed to be a threat endured mostly by the social media generation, but details have continued to emerge that remind us of decades of sophisticated, automated spying from the NSA and others.

Before the government was peering through our webcams, tracking our steps through GPS, feeling every keystroke we typed and listening and watching as we built up complex datasets of our entire personhood online, there was still rudimentary data to be collected. Over the last fifty years, Project ECHELON has given the UK and United States (as well as other members of the Five Eyes) the capacity to track enemies and allies alike within and outside their states. The scope has evolved in that time period from keyword lifts in intercepted faxes to its current all-encompassing data harvesting.

In a piece published today in The Intercept, life-long privacy advocate Duncan Campbell describes his past few decades tracking down the elusive Project ECHELON, “the first-ever automated global mass surveillance system.


Until Snowden placed the full capacities of the NSA and other government spying agencies in plain sight, ECHELON was largely just another codename in the conspiracy-theorist’s notebook.

Campbell made the first references to the program in his 1988 piece, titled Somebody’s Listening, where he detailed a program capable of tapping into “a billion calls a year in the UK alone.”

Campbell described his conversations with a source, preceding that piece’s publication.

The scale of the operation she described took my breath away (this was 1988, remember). The NSA and its partners had arranged for everything we communicated to be grabbed and potentially analyzed.

The program reportedly utilized massive ground-based radio antennas to intercept satellite transmissions containing the digital communications of millions. It then relied on its content-sensitive dictionaries of keywords and phrases to scour the communications for relevant information.

In February of 2000, 60 Minutes published a report detailing the existence and scope of ECHELON. Mike Frost, a former spy for Canada’s NSA-equivalent, CSE, told the host just how large the program’s reach really was, “Echelon covers everything that’s radiated worldwide at any given instant.”

Frost also recounted a tale of how exactly the program was being used.

While I was at CSE, a classic example: A lady had been to a school play the night before, and her son was in the school play and she thought he did a–a lousy job. Next morning, she was talking on the telephone to her friend, and she said to her friend something like this, ‘Oh, Danny really bombed last night,’ just like that. The computer spit that conversation out. The analyst that was looking at it was not too sure about what the conversation w–was referring to, so erring on the side of caution, he listed that lady and her phone number in the database as a possible terrorist.

Details of ECHELON outraged Europeans in the months following the reports from Campbell and 60 Minutes. In the summer of 2000, European Parliament appointed a special ad-hoc committee to spend a year investigating ECHELON, with some arguing that by spying on European communications, the U.S. was breaching the European Convention on Human Rights. Little materialized from the committee, other than a vote recognizing the program’s mere existence.

Following the 2005 discovery that the Bush Administration had been tapping Americans’ phones without warrants, some speculatively pointed to ECHELON as a tool that the government may have been using.

Since then, the program has largely been presented to the public only through posts on government surveillance/conspiracy forums with limited references in declassified documents to guide those questioning the program’s full potential.

It has largely faded from public consciousness, especially as details of its far more powerful offspring have been exposed, but it’s important to frame automated government surveillance as an issue of our lifetimes rather than short-sightedly confining its influence to the advent of the mainstream internet.

It is now abundantly clear, thanks to internal documents leaked by Snowden, that the program exists, but what is unclear is what that means. PRISM and XKeyscore certainly represent a more shocking invasion of the information we have digitally presented, but ECHELON shows us that the privacy of our communications have indeed always been under attack.

These instances of government surveillance have been justified by decades of disparate “threats” under multiple administrations that have repeatedly made promises to “prioritize privacy without compromising security,” while we all have been led by the current narratives.

As the broken record continues to play, further examining ECHELON suggests the importance of looking to the past to remember what sounds familiar.From Wikipedia:


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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For other uses, see Echelon.
Part of a series on
Global surveillance
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Origins Pre-2013 2013–present Reactions
XKeyscore PRISM ECHELON Carnivore DISHFIRE STONEGHOST Tempora Frenchelon Fairview MYSTIC DCSN Boundless Informant BULLRUN PINWALE Stingray SORM RAMPART-A
Michael S. Rogers Keith Alexander James Bamford James Clapper Duncan Campbell Edward Snowden Russ Tice George W. Bush Barack Obama Julian Assange
The Doughnut Fort Meade Men with Hill Pine Gap Southern Cross Cable Utah Data Center Bad Aibling Station Dagger Complex
Five Eyes UKUSA Agreement Lustre U.S. USA Freedom Act FISA amendments EU Data Retention Directive Data Protection Directive
Proposed changes
U.S. FISA Improvements Act Other proposals
Mass surveillance Culture of fear Secure communication SIGINT Call detail record Surveillance issues in smart cities
Related topics
Espionage Intelligence agency Cryptography Tor VPNs Human rights Privacy Liberty Satellites Stop Watching Us Nothing to hide argument
Stylized eye.svg Mass surveillance portal

A radome at RAF Menwith Hill, a site with satellite uplink capabilities believed to be used by ECHELON.

RAF Menwith Hill, North Yorkshire, England

Misawa Air Base Security Operations Center (MSOC), Aomori Prefecture, Japan
ECHELON, originally a secret government code name, is a surveillance program (signals intelligence/SIGINT collection and analysis network) operated by the US with the aid of four other signatory nations to the UKUSA Security Agreement:[1] Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, also known as the Five Eyes.[2][3][4]

The ECHELON program was created in the late 1960s to monitor the military and diplomatic communications of the Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc allies during the Cold War, and it was formally established in 1971.[5][6]

By the end of the 20th century, the system referred to as “ECHELON” had evolved beyond its military and diplomatic origins to also become “…a global system for the interception of private and commercial communications” (mass surveillance and industrial espionage).[7]

1 Name
2 Reporting and disclosures
2.1 Public disclosures (1972–2000)
2.2 European Parliament investigation (2000–2001)
2.3 Confirmation of ECHELON (2015)
3 Organization
3.1 Likely satellite intercept stations
3.2 Other potentially related stations
4 History and context
5 Concerns
6 Workings
6.1 Examples of industrial espionage
7 In popular culture
8 See also
9 Bibliography
10 Notes and references
11 External links
The European Parliament’s Temporary Committee on the ECHELON Interception System stated, “It seems likely, in view of the evidence and the consistent pattern of statements from a very wide range of individuals and organisations, including American sources, that its name is in fact ECHELON, although this is a relatively minor detail”.[7] The U.S. intelligence community uses many code names (see, for example, CIA cryptonym).

Former NSA employee Margaret Newsham claims that she worked on the configuration and installation of software that makes up the ECHELON system while employed at Lockheed Martin, from 1974 to 1984 in Sunnyvale, California, in the United States, and in Menwith Hill, England, in the UK.[8] At that time, according to Newsham, the code name ECHELON was NSA’s term for the computer network itself. Lockheed called it P415. The software programs were called SILKWORTH and SIRE. A satellite named VORTEX intercepted communications. An image available on the internet of a fragment apparently torn from a job description shows Echelon listed along with several other code names.[9][10]

Britain’s The Guardian newspaper summarized the capabilities of the ECHELON system as follows:

A global network of electronic spy stations that can eavesdrop on telephones, faxes and computers. It can even track bank accounts. This information is stored in Echelon computers, which can keep millions of records on individuals.

Officially, however, Echelon doesn’t exist.[11]

Reporting and disclosures
Public disclosures (1972–2000)
In 1972, former NSA analyst Perry Fellwock under pseudonym Winslow Peck, first blew the whistle on ECHELON to Ramparts in 1972,[12] where he gave commentary revealing a global network of listening posts and his experiences working there. Fellwock also included revelations such as the Israeli attack on USS Liberty was deliberate and known by both sides, the existence of nuclear weapons in Israel in 1972, the widespread involvement of CIA and NSA personnel in drugs and human smuggling, and CIA operatives leading Nationalist Chinese (Taiwan) commandos in burning villages inside PRC borders.[13]

In 1982, James Bamford, investigative journalist and author wrote The Puzzle Palace, an in-depth look inside the workings of the NSA, then a super-secret agency, and the massive eavesdropping operation under the codename “SHAMROCK”. The NSA has used many codenames, and SHAMROCK was the code name used for ECHELON prior to 1975.[14][15]

In 1988, Margaret Newsham, a Lockheed employee under NSA contract, disclosed the ECHELON surveillance system to members of congress. Newsham told a member of the U.S. Congress that the telephone calls of Strom Thurmond, a Republican U.S. senator, were being collected by the NSA. Congressional investigators determined that “targeting of U.S. political figures would not occur by accident, but was designed into the system from the start.”[16]

Also in 1988, an article titled “Somebody’s Listening”, written by investigative journalist Duncan Campbell in the New Statesman, described the signals intelligence gathering activities of a program code-named “ECHELON”.[16] James Bamford describes the system as the software controlling the collection and distribution of civilian telecommunications traffic conveyed using communication satellites, with the collection being undertaken by ground stations located in the footprint of the downlink leg.[17]

A detailed description of ECHELON was provided by New Zealand journalist Nicky Hager in his 1996 book Secret Power: New Zealand’s Role in the International Spy Network.[18] Two years later, Hager’s book was cited by the European Parliament in a report titled “An Appraisal of the Technology of Political Control” (PE 168.184).[19]

In March 1999, for the first time in history, the Australian government admitted that news reports about the top secret UKUSA Agreement were true.[20] Martin Brady, the director of Australia’s Defence Signals Directorate (DSD, now known as Australian Signals Directorate, or ASD) told the Australian broadcasting channel Nine Network that the DSD “does co-operate with counterpart signals intelligence organisations overseas under the UKUSA relationship.”[21]

In 2000, James Woolsey, the former Director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, confirmed that U.S. intelligence uses interception systems and keyword searches to monitor European businesses.[22]

Lawmakers in the United States feared that the ECHELON system could be used to monitor U.S. citizens.[23] According to The New York Times, the ECHELON system has been “shrouded in such secrecy that its very existence has been difficult to prove.”[23] Critics said the ECHELON system emerged from the Cold War as a “Big Brother without a cause”.[24]

European Parliament investigation (2000–2001)

The New Zealand journalist Nicky Hager, who testified before the European Parliament and provided specific details about the ECHELON surveillance system[25]
The program’s capabilities and political implications were investigated by a committee of the European Parliament during 2000 and 2001 with a report published in 2001.[7] In July 2000, the Temporary Committee on the ECHELON Interception System was established by the European parliament to investigate the surveillance network. It was chaired by the Portuguese politician Carlos Coelho, who was in charge of supervising investigations throughout 2000 and 2001.

In May 2001, as the committee finalised its report on the ECHELON system, a delegation traveled to Washington, D.C. to attend meetings with U.S. officials from the following agencies and departments:

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)[26]
U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC)[26]
U.S. National Security Agency (NSA)[26]
All meetings were cancelled by the U.S. government and the committee was forced to end its trip prematurely.[26] According to a BBC correspondent in May 2001, “The US Government still refuses to admit that Echelon even exists.”[5]

In July 2001, the Temporary Committee on the ECHELON Interception System released its final report.[27] On 5 September 2001, the European Parliament voted to accept the committee’s report.[28]

The European Parliament stated in its report that the term ECHELON is used in a number of contexts, but that the evidence presented indicates that it was the name for a signals intelligence collection system. The report concludes that, on the basis of information presented, ECHELON was capable of interception and content inspection of telephone calls, fax, e-mail and other data traffic globally through the interception of communication bearers including satellite transmission, public switched telephone networks (which once carried most Internet traffic), and microwave links.[7]

Confirmation of ECHELON (2015)
Two internal NSA newsletters from January 2011 and July 2012, published as part of the Snowden-revelations by the website The Intercept on 3 August 2015, for the first time confirmed that NSA used the code word ECHELON and provided some details about the scope of the program: ECHELON was part of an umbrella program code named FROSTING, which was established by the NSA in 1966 to collect and process data from communications satellites. FROSTING had two sub-programs:[29]

TRANSIENT: for intercepting Soviet satellite transmissions
ECHELON: for intercepting Intelsat satellite transmissions
UKUSA Community
Map of UKUSA Community countries
New Zealand
United Kingdom
United States
The UKUSA intelligence community was assessed by the European Parliament (EP) in 2000 to include the signals intelligence agencies of each of the member states:

the Government Communications Headquarters of the United Kingdom,
the National Security Agency of the United States,
the Communications Security Establishment of Canada,
the Australian Signals Directorate of Australia, and
the Government Communications Security Bureau of New Zealand.
The EP report concluded that it seemed likely that ECHELON is a method of sorting captured signal traffic, rather than a comprehensive analysis tool.[7]

Likely satellite intercept stations
In 2001, the EP report (p. 54 ff)[7] listed the following ground stations as likely to have, or to have had, a role in intercepting transmissions from telecommunications satellites:

Hong Kong (since closed)
Australian Defence Satellite Communications Station (Geraldton, Western Australia)
RAF Menwith Hill (Yorkshire, U.K.) Map (reportedly the largest Echelon facility)[30]
Misawa Air Base (Japan) Map
GCHQ Bude, formerly known as GCHQ CSO Morwenstow (Cornwall, U.K.) Map
Pine Gap (Northern Territory, Australia – close to Alice Springs) Map
Sugar Grove (West Virginia, U.S.) Map (since closed)
Yakima Training Center (Washington, U.S.) Map (since closed)
GCSB Waihopai (New Zealand)[31]
GCSB Tangimoana (New Zealand)[31]
CFS Leitrim (Ontario, Canada)[32]
Teufelsberg (Berlin, Germany) (closed 1992)[33] – Responsible for listening in to the Eastern Bloc.[34]
Other potentially related stations
The following stations are listed in the EP report (p. 57 ff) as ones whose roles “cannot be clearly established”:

Ayios Nikolaos (British Sovereign Base area of Dhekelia, Cyprus – U.K.)
Gibraltar (U.K.)
Diego Garcia (U.K.)
Bad Aibling Station (Bad Aibling, Germany – U.S.)
relocated to Griesheim/Darmstadt in 2004.[35]
Buckley Air Force Base (Aurora, Colorado)
Fort Gordon (Georgia, U.S.)
CFB Gander (Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada)[citation needed]
Guam (Pacific Ocean, U.S.)
Kunia Regional SIGINT Operations Center (Hawaii, U.S.)
Lackland Air Force Base, Medina Annex (San Antonio, Texas)
RAF Edzell (Scotland)[citation needed]
RAF Boulmer (England)[citation needed]
List of intercept stations according to Edward Snowden’s documents
Operated by the United States
Country Location Operator(s) Codename
Brazil Brasília, Federal District
United States CIA[36]
United States NSA[36]
Germany Bad Aibling, Munich
Germany BND[37]
United States NSA[37]
India New Delhi
United States CIA[39]
United States NSA[39]
Japan Misawa, Tōhoku region
United States US Air Force[40]
United States NSA[40]
Thailand Bangkok (?)
United States CIA (?)
United States NSA (?)
United Kingdom Menwith Hill, Harrogate
United States NSA[43]* United Kingdom GCHQ
United States Sugar Grove, West Virginia
United States NSA[44]
Yakima, Washington
United States NSA[46]
Sábana Seca, Puerto Rico
United States NSA[47]
Not operated by the United States (2nd party)
Country Location Contributor(s) Codename
Australia Geraldton, WA
Australia ASD[40]
Darwin, NT
Australia ASD[40]
New Zealand Waihopai, Blenheim
New Zealand GCSB[40]
United Kingdom Bude, Cornwall
United Kingdom GCHQ[48]
United States NSA[48]
Cyprus Ayios Nikolaos Station
United Kingdom GCHQ[48]
United States NSA[48]
Kenya Nairobi
United Kingdom GCHQ[40]
United Kingdom GCHQ[40]

History and context

The ability to intercept communications depends on the medium used, be it radio, satellite, microwave, cellular or fiber-optic.[7] During World War II and through the 1950s, high-frequency (“short-wave”) radio was widely used for military and diplomatic communication[50] and could be intercepted at great distances.[7] The rise of geostationary communications satellites in the 1960s presented new possibilities for intercepting international communications.

In 1964, plans for the establishment of the ECHELON network took off after dozens of countries agreed to establish the International Telecommunications Satellite Organisation (Intelsat), which would own and operate a global constellation of communications satellites.[20]

Equipment at the Yakima Research Station (YRS) in the early days of the ECHELON program

Teletype operators at the Yakima Research Station (YRS) in the early days of the ECHELON program
In 1966, the first Intelsat satellite was launched into orbit. From 1970 to 1971, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) of Britain began to operate a secret signal station at Morwenstow, near Bude in Cornwall, England. The station intercepted satellite communications over the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Soon afterwards, the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) built a second signal station at Yakima, near Seattle, for the interception of satellite communications over the Pacific Ocean.[20]

In 1981, GCHQ and the NSA started the construction of the first global wide area network (WAN). Soon after Australia, Canada, and New Zealand joined the ECHELON system.[20] The report to the European Parliament of 2001 states: “If UKUSA states operate listening stations in the relevant regions of the earth, in principle they can intercept all telephone, fax, and data traffic transmitted via such satellites.”[7]

Most reports on ECHELON focus on satellite interception. Testimony before the European Parliament indicated that separate but similar UKUSA systems are in place to monitor communication through undersea cables, microwave transmissions, and other lines.[51] The report to the European Parliament points out that interception of private communications by foreign intelligence services is not necessarily limited to the U.S. or British foreign intelligence services.[7]

The role of satellites in point-to-point voice and data communications has largely been supplanted by fiber optics. In 2006, 99% of the world’s long-distance voice and data traffic was carried over optical-fiber.[52] The proportion of international communications accounted for by satellite links is said to have decreased substantially to an amount between 0.4% and 5% in Central Europe.[7] Even in less-developed parts of the world, communications satellites are used largely for point-to-multipoint applications, such as video.[53] Thus, the majority of communications can no longer be intercepted by earth stations; they can only be collected by tapping cables and intercepting line-of-sight microwave signals, which is possible only to a limited extent.[7]


British journalist Duncan Campbell and New Zealand journalist Nicky Hager asserted in the 1990s that the United States was exploiting ECHELON traffic for industrial espionage, rather than military and diplomatic purposes.[51] Examples alleged by the journalists include the gear-less wind turbine technology designed by the German firm Enercon[7][54] and the speech technology developed by the Belgian firm Lernout & Hauspie.[55]

In 2001, the Temporary Committee on the ECHELON Interception System recommended to the European Parliament that citizens of member states routinely use cryptography in their communications to protect their privacy, because economic espionage with ECHELON has been conducted by the U.S. intelligence agencies.[7]

American author James Bamford provides an alternative view, highlighting that legislation prohibits the use of intercepted communications for commercial purposes, although he does not elaborate on how intercepted communications are used as part of an all-source intelligence process.

In its report, the committee of the European Parliament stated categorically that the Echelon network was being used to intercept not only military communications, but also private and business ones. In its epigraph to the report, the parliamentary committee quoted Juvenal, “Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes.” (“But who will watch the watchers”).[7] James Bamford, in The Guardian in May 2001, warned that if Echelon were to continue unchecked, it could become a “cyber secret police, without courts, juries, or the right to a defence”.[56]

Alleged examples of espionage conducted by the members of the “Five Eyes” include:

On behalf of the British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service spied on two British cabinet ministers in 1983.[57]
The U.S. National Security Agency spied on and intercepted the phone calls of Diana, Princess of Wales right until she died in a Paris car crash with Dodi Fayed in 1997. The NSA currently holds 1,056 pages of classified information about Princess Diana, which has been classified as top secret “because their disclosure could reasonably be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security … the damage would be caused not by the information about Diana, but because the documents would disclose ‘sources and methods’ of U.S. intelligence gathering”.[58] An official insisted that “the references to Diana in intercepted conversations were ‘incidental’,” and she was never a ‘target’ of the NSA eavesdropping.[58]
U.K. agents monitored the conversations of the 7th Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan.[59][60]
U.S. agents gathered “detailed biometric information” on the 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon.[61][62]
In the early 1990s, the U.S. National Security Agency intercepted the communications between the European aerospace company Airbus and the Saudi Arabian national airline. In 1994, Airbus lost a $6 billion contract with Saudi Arabia after the NSA, acting as a whistleblower, reported that Airbus officials had been bribing Saudi officials to secure the contract.[63] As a result, the American aerospace company McDonnell Douglas (now part of Boeing) won the multibillion-dollar contract instead of Airbus.[64]
The American defense contractor Raytheon won a US$1.3 billion contract with the Government of Brazil to monitor the Amazon rainforest after the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), acting as a whistleblower, reported that Raytheon’s French competitor Thomson-Alcatel had been paying bribes to get the contract.[65]
In order to boost America’s position in trade negotiations with the then Japanese Trade Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, in 1995 the CIA eavesdropped on the conversations between Japanese bureaucrats and executives of car manufacturers Toyota and Nissan.[66]

System diagram of the ECHELON satellite intercept station of the NSA at the Yakima Research Station (YRS) [67]
TOPCO = Terminal Operations Control
CCS = Computer Control Subsystem
STEAMS = System Test, Evaluation, Analysis, and Monitoring Subsystem
SPS = Signal Processing Subsystem
TTDM = Teletype Demodulator
The first American satellite ground station for the ECHELON collection program was built in 1971 at a military firing and training center near Yakima, Washington. The facility, which was codenamed JACKKNIFE, was an investment of ca. 21.3 million dollars and had around 90 people. Satellite traffic was intercepted by a 30-meter single dish antenna. The station became fully operational on 4 October 1974. It was connected with NSA headquarters at Fort Meade by a 75-baud secure Teletype orderwire channel.[29]

In 1999 the Australian Senate Joint Standing Committee on Treaties was told by Professor Desmond Ball that the Pine Gap facility was used as a ground station for a satellite-based interception network. The satellites were said to be large radio dishes between 20 and 100 meters in diameter in geostationary orbits. The original purpose of the network was to monitor the telemetry from 1970s Soviet weapons, air defence and other radars’ capabilities, satellites’ ground stations’ transmissions and ground-based microwave communications.[68]

Examples of industrial espionage

In 1999, Enercon, a German company and leading manufacturer of wind energy equipment, developed a breakthrough generator for wind turbines. After applying for a US patent, it had learned that Kenetech, an American rival, had submitted an almost identical patent application shortly before. By the statement of a former NSA employee, it was later discovered that the NSA had secretly intercepted and monitored Enercon’s data communications and conference calls and passed information regarding the new generator to Kenetech.[69] As German intelligence services are forbidden from engaging in industrial or economic espionage, German companies are frequently complaining that this leaves them defenceless against industrial espionage from the United States. According to Wolfgang Hoffmann, a former manager at Bayer, German intelligence services are aware which companies are being targeted by US intelligence agencies, but refuse to inform the companies involved.[70]

In popular culture
The television series Alias made recurring references to ECHELON throughout its run.

The antagonist of the anime series Digimon Tamers, D-Reaper, was created by ECHELON.

Echelon Conspiracy, inspired by the surveillance system ECHELON, is a 2009 action thriller film directed by Greg Marcks. It tells the story of Max Peterson (Shane West), an American computer specialist who attempts to uncover a secret plot to turn the world into a global police state. After being chased down by NSA agent Raymond Burke (Martin Sheen), Peterson decides to flee to Moscow.

The video game series Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell also draws inspiration from this. The series features the protagonist, Sam Fisher, a trained operative belonging to a fictional branch of the National Security Agency called Third Echelon (later, in Splinter Cell: Blacklist, the unit is replaced by the Fourth Echelon).

The 2007 film The Bourne Ultimatum makes several references to ECHELON. A CIA listening station in London is alerted when ECHELON detects the keyword “Blackbriar” in a cell phone conversation between a journalist and his editor.[71] Later in the film, CIA Deputy Director Pamela Landy requests an “ECHELON package” on the main character, Jason Bourne.

In the 2000 computer game Deus Ex, the signals intelligence supercomputers Daedalus and Icarus (later Helios) are referred to as Echelon IV.

The sci-fi crime thriller, Person of Interest, a television show which aired from 2011 to 2016 on the CBS network, had a data-collecting supercomputer as its central narrative.

In Steins;Gate SERN monitors if someone sends a D-mail through ECHELON.

See also
icon Intelligence portal
Mass surveillance portal
2013 mass surveillance disclosures
List of government surveillance projects
Mass surveillance
Onyx (interception system), the Swiss “Echelon”
Operation Ivy Bells
Aldrich, Richard J.; GCHQ: The Uncensored Story of Britain’s Most Secret Intelligence Agency, HarperCollins, July 2010. ISBN 978-0-00-727847-3
Bamford, James; The Puzzle Palace, Penguin, ISBN 0-14-006748-5; 1983
Bamford, James; The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America, Doubleday, ISBN 0-385-52132-4; 2008
Hager, Nicky; Secret Power: New Zealand’s Role in the International Spy Network; Craig Potton Publishing, Nelson, NZ; ISBN 0-908802-35-8; 1996
Keefe, Patrick Radden Chatter: Dispatches from the Secret World of Global Eavesdropping; Random House Publishing, New York, NY; ISBN 1-4000-6034-6; 2005
Keefe, Patrick (2006). Chatter : uncovering the echelon surveillance network and the secret world of global eavesdropping. New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks. ISBN 978-0-8129-6827-9.
Lawner, Kevin J.; Post-Sept. 11th International Surveillance Activity – A Failure of Intelligence: The Echelon Interception System & the Fundamental Right to Privacy in Europe, 14 Pace Int’l L. Rev. 435 (2002)
Notes and references
Given the 5 dialects that use the terms, UKUSA can be pronounced from “You-Q-SA” to “Oo-Coo-SA”, AUSCANNZUKUS can be pronounced from “Oz-Can-Zuke-Us” to “Orse-Can-Zoo-Cuss”.
From Talk:UKUSA Agreement: “Per documents officially released by both the Government Communications Headquarters and the National Security Agency, this agreement is referred to as the UKUSA Agreement. This name is subsequently used by media sources reporting on the story, as written in new references used for the article. The NSA press release provides a pronunciation guide, indicating that “UKUSA” should not be read as two separate entities.”(The National Archives)”. Archived from the original on 2 May 2013. Retrieved 2012-10-10. (National Security Agency)”
“UK ‘biggest spy’ among the Five Eyes”. News Corp Australia. 22 June 2013. Retrieved 19 October 2013.
Google books – Echelon by John O’Neill
“AUSCANNZUKUS Information Portal”. Archived from the original on 2012-02-20. Retrieved 1 February 2010.
“Q&A: What you need to know about Echelon”. BBC. 29 May 2001.
Nabbali, Talitha; Perry, Mark (March 2004). “Going for the throat”. Computer Law & Security Review. 20 (2): 84–97. doi:10.1016/S0267-3649(04)00018-4. It wasn’t until 1971 that the UKUSA allies began ECHELON
Schmid, Gerhard (11 July 2001). “On the existence of a global system for the interception of private and commercial communications (ECHELON interception system), (2001/2098(INI))” (pdf – 194 pages). European Parliament: Temporary Committee on the ECHELON Interception System. Retrieved 5 January 2013.
Elkjær, Bo; Kenan Seeberg (17 November 1999). “ECHELON Was My Baby”. Ekstra Bladet. Retrieved 17 May 2006. “Unfortunately, I can’t tell you all my duties. I am still bound by professional secrecy, and I would hate to go to prison or get involved in any trouble, if you know what I mean. In general, I can tell you that I was responsible for compiling the various systems and programs, configuring the whole thing and making it operational on mainframes”; “Margaret Newsham worked for the NSA through her employment at Ford and Lockheed from 1974 to 1984. In 1977 and 1978 Newsham was stationed at the largest listening post in the world at Menwith Hill, England … Ekstra Bladet has Margaret Newsham’s stationing orders from the US Department of Defense. She possessed the high security classification TOP SECRET CRYPTO.”
Goodwins, Rupert (29 June 2000). “Echelon: How it works”. ZDNet. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
=Campbell, Duncan (25 July 2000). “Inside Echelon”. Heise Online. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
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“Ramparts interview”. Cryptome archive. 1988. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
Bamford, James (1982). The Puzzle Palace: A Report on America’s Most Secret Agency. Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-14-006748-5.
“Puzzle Palace excepts”. Cryptome archive. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
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Bamford, James (2002). Body of Secrets. Anchor. ISBN 0-385-49908-6.
Duncan Campbell (1 June 2001). “Echelon Chronology”. Heise Online. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
Wright, Steve (6 January 1998). “An Appraisal of Technologies of Political Control” (PDF). European Parliament. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
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R. James Woolsey (17 March 2000). “Why We Spy on Our Allies”. The Wall Street Journal.
Niall McKay (27 May 1999). “Lawmakers Raise Questions About International Spy Network”. The New York Times. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
Suzanne Daley (24 February 2000). l “An Electronic Spy Scare Is Alarming Europe” Check |url= value (help). The New York Times. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
Kieren McCarthy (14 September 2001). “This is how we know Echelon exists”. The Register. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
Roxburgh, Angus (11 May 2001). “EU investigators ‘snubbed’ in US”. BBC. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
“Report on the existence of a global system for the interception of private and commercial communications (ECHELON interception system) (2001/2098(INI))”. European Parliament. 11 July 2001. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
“Report: Echelon exists, should be guarded against”. USA Today. Associated Press. 5 September 2001. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
The Northwest Passage, Yakima Research Station (YRS) newsletter: Volume 2, Issue 1, January 2011 & Volume 3, Issue 7, July 2012.
Le Monde Diplomatique, September 2010
Eames, David (19 March 2010). “Waihopai a key link in global intelligence network”. The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 28 January 2014. Both Waihopai and the Tangimoana radio listening post near Palmerston North have been identified as key players in the United States-led Echelon spy programme.
Stupak, edited by David S. Greisler, Ronald J. (2007). Handbook of technology management in public administration. CRC/Taylor & Francis. p. 592. ISBN 1420017012.
“Teufelsberg mirrors Berlin’s dramatic history”. Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 28 January 2014. More than 1,000 people are said to have worked here around the clock, every day of the year. They were part of the global ECHELON surveillance network.
Beddow, Rachel. “Teufelsberg, Berlin’s Undisputed King Of Ghostowns, Set For Redevelopment”. NPR. Retrieved 28 January 2014. The Teufelsberg mission is still shrouded in secrecy, but it’s generally agreed that the station was part of the ECHELON network that listened in to the Eastern Bloc.
According to a statement by Terence Dudlee, the speaker of the US Navy in London, in an interview to the German HR (Hessischer Rundfunk)
“US-Armee lauscht von Darmstadt aus”. Archived from the original on 30 June 2007. Retrieved 19 August 2016. (German), hr online, 1 October 2004
Roberto Kaz e José Casado. “Capitais de 4 países também abrigaram escritório da NSA e CIA”. O Globo (in Portuguese). Retrieved 31 January 2014.
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Dorling, Philip. “Singapore, South Korea revealed as Five Eyes spying partners”. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
“Document 12. “Activation of Echelon Units,” from History of the Air Intelligence Agency, 1 January – 31 December 1994, Volume I (San Antonio, TX: AIA, 1995)”. George Washington University. The second extract notes that AIA’s participation in a classified activity “had been limited to LADYLOVE operations at Misawa AB [Air Base], Japan.” Missing or empty |url= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)
“Eyes Wide Open” (PDF). Privacy International. p. 11. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 January 2014. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
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Squires, Nick (5 November 2013). “British military base in Cyprus ‘used to spy on Middle East'”. The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
The Codebreakers, Ch. 10, 11
For example: “Nicky Hager Appearance before the Euro ean Parliament ECHELON Committee”. April 2001. Retrieved 2 July 2006.
“NSA eavesdropping: How it might work”. CNET Retrieved 27 August 2006.
“Commercial Geostationary Satellite Transponder Markets for Latin America : Market Research Report”. Retrieved 27 August 2006.
Die Zeit: 40/1999 “Verrat unter Freunden” (“Treachery among friends”, German), available at “”. Archived from the original on 9 October 2008. Retrieved 2007-08-19.
“Amerikanen maakten met Echelon L&H kapot”. 30 March 2002. Archived from the original on 21 March 2012. Retrieved 28 March 2008. (Google’s translation of the article into English).
Bustillos, Maria (9 June 2013). “Our reflection in the N.S.A.’s PRISM”. The New Yorker. Retrieved: 2013-10-12.
“Thatcher ‘spied on ministers'”. BBC. 25 February 2000.
Vernon Loeb (12 December 1998). “NSA Admits to Spying on Princess Diana”. The Washington Post.
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