18 June 2013
NSA (we steal secrets): the ten – not ‘five’ – Echelon eyes revealed

Darker Net


The secret ‘Stanley’ Sigint facility at Chung Hom Kok, Hong Kong, set up as part of Echelon (a similar facility is based on mainland China).

Contrary to recent reports there are at least ten, not five, ‘eyes’ that form part of the NSA-led Echelon2 ‘we steal secrets’ network that monitors everyone globally, via wiretaps, PRISM and other technologies. These ten sites and their sub-sites are listed below, compiled from a report by journalist Duncan Campbell and from more recent updates/sightings (all referenced via Internet sleuthing). We also provide an update on recent revelations by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

First, the updates…

1. To see an interview with Edward Snowden, click here .

2. The Washington Post has unearthed more NSA programs that gather data from the Internet and telephone, including MARINA, MAINWAY and NUCLEON. No doubt there will be more on these programs in days to come…

3. In addition the Washington Post “learned that similar orders [to the wiretapping orders issued to Verizon] have been renewed every three months for other large U.S. phone companies, including Bell South and AT&T, since May 24, 2006. On that day, the surveillance court made a fundamental shift in its approach to Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which permits the FBI to compel production of “business records” that are relevant to a particular terrorism investigation and to share those in some circumstances with the NSA. Henceforth, the court ruled, it would define the relevant business records as the entirety of a telephone company’s call database.” For more, click here .

4. The Guardian published evidence , courtesy of whistleblower Edward Snowden, of how Britain, via GCHQ, organised surveillance on G20 representatives, including Russian leader Dmitry Medvedev and specifically the Turkish Finance minister. This is not surprising as it is the role of Britain, via Echelon, to spy on all European countries and any other countries within reach.

5. South China Morning Post has published details of how the US hacked into China’s secrets . “According to a number of confidential sources, a highly secretive unit of the National Security Agency (NSA), the US government’s huge electronic eavesdropping organisation, called the Office of Tailored Access Operations (TAO) has successfully penetrated Chinese computer and telecommunications systems for almost 15 years, generating some of the best and most reliable intelligence information about what is going on inside the People’s Republic of China.” The hacking takes place inside a suite of offices…based at NSA HQ at Fort Meade. TAO includes “over 1,000 military and civilian computer hackers, intelligence analysts, targeting specialists, computer hardware and software designers, and electrical engineers.”

7. Australian politicians continue to show no interest in PRISM or wish to admit anything (a la Manuel, Fawlty Towers) about Australia’s involvement in Echelon (and so we have done the politicians’ work for them – see Intro section below plus section on Australia).

A. Echelon intro

Intelligence requirements and collected data and signals flow round the world between field stations, the RSOCs (Regional Sigint Operation Center), and NSA’s National Sigint Operations Center (NSOC) located within its Fort Meade headquarters. U.S. field stations operate in a single integrated network with those of the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The main collaborating organizations are Britain’s GCHQ located at Cheltenham, England, the Australian Defence Signal Directorate (DSD) based in Canberra, Canada’s Communications Security Establishment (CSE) in Ottawa, and the New Zealand organization, the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), in Wellington.

These are the ‘five eyes’ that between them cover the globe. Though this is only part of the story. There are many other eyes that form part of Echelon. Some of these are listed below. It is worth noting that one of these – a major facility – is in Hong Kong (and was run by the British when Hong Kong was a colony). Another is located in mainland China and was established as part of an agreement between the Echelon countries and China after the US rapprochement and to assist in surveillance of the then Soviet Union (the facility is still functioning, but at whose behest is another question).

B. The Echelon network updated

Note: as far as we are aware the list of Echelon bases below is up-to-date. There may be more bases to add. Corrections to the list are most welcome.

1. USA

The NSA Sigint via Echelon traditionally covers Russia east of the Urals and most of the Americas.

The U.S. Naval Security Group (NSG) operates a Regional Sigint Operations Center at Kunia Tunnel , Hawaii, providing for military requirements in the Pacific Rim. It administers and operates several field stations, including ones at Guam and Sabana Seca, Puerto Rico. These stations’ primary mission is the collection of civilian satellite communications signals as part of the ECHELON system. Once complete, the NSA Central Security Service’s Hawaii RSOC, presently under construction, will replace all operations at Kunia Tunnel (the facility, located near Whitmore Village, Oahu, occupies the former site of the large, circular antenna at the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station Pacific, or NCTAMS PAC).

Yakima station, now known to be an NSA civilian run field station, was initially equipped with a third large tracking dish to cover Pacific regional Intelsat communications. The station was codenamed “COWBOY” and continues to function as NSA field station F92.

Another RSOC is at the Medina Annex of Kelly Air Force Base, San Antonio, TX. A naval Fleet Information Warfare center is located at Norfolk, VA.

Note…Jeffrey Richelson, for the George Washington University National Security Archive, links the Air Force’s 544th Intelligence Group with ECHELON operations and he places its Detachment 2 located at Sabana Seca, Puerto Rico; Detachment 3 at Sugar Grove, VA (ordered to be closed), West Virginia; and Detachment 4 at Yakima, Washington.

2. UK

Britain’s GCHQ at Cheltenham is the co-ordinating centre for Echelon covering Europe, Africa and the Soviet Union (west of the Ural Mountains).

Menwith Hill , near Harrogate in Yorkshire, is, like Pine Gap in Australia, run undercover by the NSA and taps into all of Britain’s main national and international communications networks. Although high technology stations such as Menwith Hill are primarily intended to monitor international communications, according to US experts their capability can be, and has been, turned inwards on domestic traffic. Menwith Hill, in particular, has been accused by a former employee of gross corruption and the monitoring of domestic calls.

Morwenstow , Cornwall, is mainly run by GCHQ and operated by its civilian field agency, the Composite Signals Organisation. Its codename may be “CARDIGAN”.

3. Australia

Australia’s more extensive intercept facility near Geraldton, Western Australia, opened in 1993. It has four intercept dishes targeted on Intelsats orbiting above the Indian Ocean. Among the tasks contained in the Geraldton dictionary are ones related to North Korea’s economic, diplomatic, and military situation, Japanese trade plans, and developments in Pakistani nuclear weapons technology. The Australian government has said that Geraldton is a fully integrated part of the global surveillance network, and in constant contact with all ECHELON stations. Although it is under Australian command, the station – like its controversial counterpart at Pine Gap, near Alice Springs (which downlinks U.S. Sigint satellites) – employs American and British staff in key posts.

[Another Australian intercept site, at Shoal Bay near Darwin, Northern Territories, began satellite interception operations in 1979, with two dishes targeted on Indonesian regional communications satellites called Palapa. Since then the station has expanded dramatically, with 9 satellite interception antennae in operation by 1999. Shoal Bay is not, however, part of the ECHELON network, as Australia refuses to share the raw intercepts with the United States and Britain. Indonesia is one of the world’s most populous countries and most lucrative emerging markets. Australians do not trust either the U.S. or Britain not to exploit Indonesian Sigint from Shoal Bay for national political or commercial ends.]

4. Canada

The fifth partner in the UK/USA alliance, Canada’s Communications Security Establishment (CSE) entered the satellite interception business in 1986, with the construction of the first of four terminals at their principal interception site, CFS (Canadian Forces Station) Leitrim, south of Ottawa. The Leitrim station is linked directly to the U.S. Department of Defense communications network, and to NSA. Latin American communications are a principal target of CFS Leitrim.

Other Canadian military SIGINT facilities are located at: CFB Gander Newfoundland with a detachment from CFS Leitrim, CFS Masset, BC (under remote control from CFS Leitrim) and CFS Alert, Nunavut.

5. New Zealand

In 1988 construction of the New Zealand and Australian sites began at Waihopai, near Blenheim in New Zealand’s South Island and at Kojarena, Geraldton, near Perth in Western Australia. The station at Waihopai came into operation late in 1991. Inside the global Sigint network it is designated as NZC333, and codenamed FLINTLOCK and monitors the Pacific region by intercepting the ground signals from the commercial communications satellite Intelsat 701. Targets of GCSB efforts, include Japan, the Philippines, Argentina, France, Vietnam, and many small Pacific island states. Intelligence from the station goes to all the English-speaking intelligence agencies, including NSA and GCHQ. Staff working at the base say that 20% of the data intercepted is relayed to the U.S. without being examined in New Zealand.

Other bases

6. Cyprus

A new satellite interception site was noted in 1999 in the British Eastern Sovereign Base area in Cyprus . Cyprus has been a major Sigint site for 40 years, principally directed at Middle Eastern communications.

7. Hong Kong

Chung Hom Kok: little is known about this vast complex except for its precise location (see photo at head of article)

8. China

It is known that an Echelon Sigint facility was set up in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. It was part of an arrangement with China to spy on the USSR. It is not known exactly which year the highly secret facility was constructed, though it is believed to have begun during the Nixon era. Nor is it known if it is still in use as a shared facility within Echelon.

9. Japan

In 1978, NSA designed a new satellite interception station at Misawa , Japan. This was an existing USAF Sigint site that until then had focused on high frequency radio interception. The $700,000 project, codenamed LADYLOVE, included the first of a complex of satellite earth terminals and a new operations building.

10. Others: to be continued….

Posted from the darker net via Android.

Global Network