Big Brother Was
Listening In A Long Time Ago
We really do hate to keep having to repeat ourselves and with the NSA story it's a total bore. This time I am going to put it in large capital letters to try and get the point across.
THE NSA HAS BEEN RECORDING PHONE CONVERSATIONS FOR OVER A DECADE. THE PROGRAM IS CALLED ECHELON. THE USA TODAY STORY ABOUT THE NSA STORING PHONE NUMBERS IS NOT NEWS.
Why should it worry you unless you have something to hide?
These were the arguments sampled by the Associated Press, who told us once again that the nation was "split" on NSA record collecting. This is another example of 'forced balance' in journalism, to the point where it misses out the truth completely. A Computer World survey found that 71% of respondents said that government wiretaps were "never acceptable" and 76% believed that anonymity is important and that surveillance methods should not store any personal information.
The early morning Fox and Friends show, always first to run defense for the government on whatever scandal is breaking that particular day, assured us that the NSA only keeps records of phone numbers, not details of conversations.
The Echelon program, run by the NSA, has been recording phone calls and storing numbers for over two decades.
The joint NSA / Government Communications Head Quarters of England (GCHQ) Project Echelon was first exposed in the mid nineties and then again most prominently by author James Bamford in his 1999 book Body of Secrets. Bamford comments, "The cooperation between the Echelon countries is worrying. For decades, these organizations have worked closely together, monitoring communications and sharing the information gathered. Now, through Echelon, they are pooling their resources and targets, maximizing the collection and analysis of intercepted information."
In the greatest surveillance effort ever established, the NSA global spy system captures and analyzes virtually every phone call, fax, email and telex message sent anywhere in the world. Quite obviously they cannot listen to everyone anywhere ALL the time, but they have the capability to choose when to listen and who to listen to, wherever they may be.
James Bamford famously recalled how the NSA successfully intercepted satellite calls from Osama Bin Laden in the late nineties as he was talking to his mother.
"I don't want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return." - Senator Frank Church, quoted in ECHELON: America's Secret Global Surveillance Network
Under the Clinton Administration Echelon certainly turned its attention to citizens of countries everywhere and monitored millions of calls and other communications.
Echelon expert Mike Frost, who spent 20 years as a spy for the Canadian equivalent of the National Security Agency, told CBS's "60 Minutes" that the agency was monitoring "everything from data transfers to cell phones to portable phones to baby monitors to ATMs."
Domestic spying is nothing new, there has been at least half a century of such activity in America. The naïveté of the public is at an all time high as they would rather switch off than engage in the mess that is modern day politics in America. The general public will believe that government spying on them is new, and secondly, they will just accept it because they are being told in a very unsophisticated fashion, that it is keeping them safe.
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