Sunday, 13 December 2015

loose change or standard operating procedure

Surely one of the great tragic coincidences of recent times and a great bounty for conspiracy theorists was that the fledging European Union in late summer of 2001 was poised to assert its supranational judicial rights and challenge the US on certain relics of legislation that gave America relatively unfettered access to European and global channels of communication.
The terror attacks of 9/11 took place and the EU dropped its suit against Project ECHELON, an intelligence scheme, programme stood up by the Five Eyes of the Anglo-Saxon partnership to spy on the Soviets in the late 1960s, once—a week after filing, the whole matter was overshadowed and charges rather reversed. Back in 1998 and the following year, Swiss and then New Zealand (a reluctant junior member of the Five Eyes community herself, though many others I suspect are envious of that cadet role) counter-intelligence suspected that their faxes were being compromised and a series of headlines and nascent exposés (titled among others, “Big Brother without a Cause”) hinted at the existence of this programme and that its mission had expanded far beyond its original reach, snooping on bank activity, internet traffic, satellite telemetry and business communiques. Though progenitor of other initiatives and a mark of enduring awareness of the surveillance state and dragnet and data-warehousing techniques, the existence of ECHELON was not confirmed until August of this year—owing to the disclosures of the Fugitive Snowden.