Armin Medosch on Mon, 28 May 2001 19:29:25 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Echelon: new documents on economic espionage and human rights

In a major report to be published this week, the Echelon committee 
of the European Parliament has found that the conduct of 
electronic surveillance activities by US intelligence breaches the 
European Convention of Human Rights even when conducted, 
allegedly, for law enforcement purposes. It concludes that if the 
British and German governments fail to prevent the improper use of  
surveillance stations sited on their territory to intercept private and 
commercial communications, they may be in breach both of 
community law and of human rights treaties.

In collaboration with the British journalist Duncan Campbell, the 
online magazine Telepolis today launches a package of Echelon-
related material on the WWW.  

Four new studies on "Interception Capabilities - Impact and 
Exploitation" were commissioned by the Temporary Committee on 
the Echelon Interception System of the European Parliament in 
December 2000. They cover the use of communications 
intelligence (COMINT) for economic purposes, legal and human 
rights issues, and recent political and technological developments. 
Among the key topics covered are the documentary and factual 
evidence for the existence of the COMSAT (communications 
satellite) intercept system known as "ECHELON". 

These studies were presented to the Echelon Committee at its 
Brussels meeting on 22 and 23 January 2001.  The fourth study, on 
new political and technical developments, was presented only in 
the form of a slideshow.   These studies are published with 
permission from the secretariat of the Echelon Committee. 

Introduction and summary in an article by Duncan Campbell:

Germany, UK breaching human rights with NSA spy link-up 
Echelon system identified as "legislation-free zone"
Duncan Campbell

IC2001, paper 1: ECHELON and its role in COMINT

This paper summarises the evidence for the existence of 
ECHELON as a global interception system.  It records official 
admissions about the secret UKUSA agreement that links English-
speaking signals intelligence organisations. The paper also 
provides detailed answers to questions put by the Committee. It 
points out that very few media reports have provided original new 
information about Echelon, and that many press reports have 
enlarged on the nature of the interception systems and their 
capabilities, without evidence. 

IC2001, paper 2: COMINT impact on international trade

Paper 2 sets out, with detailed sources, the case that from 1992 to 
date Europe is likely to have sustained significant employment and 
financial loss as a result of the U.S. government policy of "levelling 
the playing field", introduced in 1991.   It also refers to:

Annexe 2-1
Background papers about the U.S. Trade Promotion Co-ordinating 
Committee (TPCC) and the Advocacy Center, including statements 
of purpose

Annexe 2-2
A questionaire for U.S. companies to answer in order to determine 
whether or not they are deemed "American" and thus qualify for 
official assistance.

The questionnaire is also on the internet

Annexe 2-3
Documents revealing the CIA's role in U.S. trade promotion,  
obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

IC2001, paper 3: COMINT, privacy and human rights

This paper reveals that Britain undertakes to protect the rights of 
Americans, Canadians and Australians against interception that would 
not comply with their own domestic law, while offering no protection of 
any kind to other Europeans.    This and other background papers 
provided to the Echelon committee have prompted them to observe that 
"possible threats to privacy and to businesses posed by a system of the 
ECHELON type arise not only from the fact that is a particularly powerful 
monitoring system, but also that it operates in a largely legislation-free 

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