There is a global spy system in operation right now that monitors every phone call, fax and e-mail that is sent from anywhere in the world. A number of satellites operate as intercept stations which transmit the signals back to massive computer systems. These computers are programmed to collect transmissions between specific private or commercial numbers. Advanced voice recognition programs intercept required signals from individuals and the system also searches for certain code phrases or words which are then later analysed by staff at one of the many listening stations across the globe. This ECHELON system is controlled primarily by the US National Security Agency (NSA) but obviously in conjunction with other world governments, including the Australian Defence Security Directorate (DSD). Participating nations can request specific intercepts for various reasons; terrorist control, political spying, drug control and even commercial espionage. In fact this system is regularly targeted at U.S. domestic lines for updates on political persuasions of extreme groups as well as for other reasons. This network of spy satellites and stations is operated by the USA, Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Nothing is known about the UKUSA Security Agreement of 1948 that binds these nations together in this illegal activity. Each of these countries can monitor citizens of any of the other nations and vice versa. Most of the funds for the project come through the NSA, especially those related to specific intelligence gathering operations. The NSA is also responsible for creating encryption codes for US Government transmissions and is thus well capable of cracking foreign and other encryptions.

Australia became the first country to admit its participation in the ECHELON global spy system when Martin Brady, director of the Defence Signals Directorate (DSD), revealed the truth on 23 May, 1999, on Channel Nine's, Sunday program. Australia has a station at Kojarena in Western Australia which operates four satellite dishes that target Indian and Pacific Oceans communication satellites and around 80% of intercepts are automatically sent to the CIA or NSA. A second station operates at Shoal Bay, Northern Territory and operates nine dishes that monitor regional satellite communications and also some Indonesian and southern Asian communications. However, perhaps our largest contribution to the global ECHELON system is at one of its main downlink stations at Pine Gap, in central Australia. This facility is under the direct control of the US, while the DSD bases at Kojarena and Shoal Bay have US personnel in key command positions.

There is a report on the ECHELON system recently forwarded by the Science and Technology Options Assessment Panel (STOA) of the European Parliament. The report is titled, Interception Capabilities 2000, and is available for distribution from the European Parliament office in Luxembourg. There is an online version at this website address;