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Fwd: NSA Whistleblowers

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  • Ryugen C Fisher
    Subject: NSA Whistleblowers The Men Who Knew Too Much? NSA Wiretapping Whistleblowers Found Dead in Italy and Greece Adamo Bove and Costas Tsalikidis: Both
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 28, 2006
      Subject: NSA Whistleblowers

      The Men Who Knew Too Much? NSA Wiretapping
      Whistleblowers Found Dead in Italy and Greece
      Adamo Bove and Costas Tsalikidis: Both uncovered
      a secret bugging system and both met untimely ends.
      Was That Just A Coincidence? And Who Made Your Cell Phone?
      Guest blogged by Joseph Cannon

      Is someone murdering people who know too much about NSA wiretapping overseas?

      Two whistleblowers one in Italy, one in
      Greece uncovered a secret bugging system
      installed in cell phones around the world. Both
      met with untimely ends. The resultant scandals
      have received little press in the United States,
      despite the profound implications for American
      critics of the Bush administration.

      Last month, Italian telecommunications security
      expert Adamo Bove either leapt or was pushed from
      a freeway overpass; he left no note and had no
      history of depression. Last year (March, 2005),
      Greek telecommunications expert Costas Tsalikidis
      met with a similarly enigmatic end. Both had
      uncovered American attempts to eavesdrop on
      government officials, anti-war activists, and private businessmen.

      The Bove case relates to the long-standing
      controversy over the CIA's kidnapping of cleric
      Abu Omar, who was flown to Egypt and tortured.
      The post-Berlusconi government of Italy is
      attempting to arrest and try all of the CIA
      personnel involved. Bove used mobile phone
      records to trace more than two dozen American agents.

      Bove had also revealed that his employer, Telecom
      Italia, had allowed illegal
      "spyware" undetectable wiretaps to infest
      Italy's largest communications system. His
      testimony helped to uncover the unsettling
      relationship between SISMI chief Marco Mancini
      and Telecom Italia head Giuliano Tavaroli.
      (Mancini, recently arrested by Italian
      investigators, has also come under some suspicion
      for his possible role in the strange affair of
      Major General Nicola Calipari, killed by American
      troops in Iraq.) In the 1990s, Bove had received
      wide praise for helping to secure convictions of
      two bosses in the Camorra, Naples' answer to the Sicilian Mafia.

      The case of Costas Tsalikidis an engineer for
      Vodaphone, Greece's top telecommunications
      firm offers a similar picture. Tsalikidis
      discovered an extraordinarily spohisticated piece
      of spyware within his company's network. The
      Prime Minister and other top officials were
      targeted, along with Greek military officers,
      anti-war activists, various business figures and
      a cell phone within the American embassy itself.
      This page gives a full list of the targets, very
      few of whom could be considered as having even a
      remote connection to terrorism.

      As investigative journalists Paolo Pontoniere and Jeffrey Klein report:
      The Vodaphone eavesdropping was transmitted in
      real time via four antennae located near the U.S.
      embassy in Athens, according to an 11-month Greek
      government investigation. Some of these
      transmissions were sent to a phone in Laurel,
      Md., near America's National Security Agency.

      According to Ta Nea, a Greek newspaper,
      Vodafone's CEO privately told the Greek
      government that the bugging culprits were "U.S.
      agents." Because Greece's prime minister feared
      domestic protests and a diplomatic war with the
      United States, he ordered the Vodafone CEO to
      withhold this conclusion from his own authorities investigating the case.

      The CEO of Vodaphone in Greece, George Koronias,
      has like Giuliano Tavaroli, his Italian
      counterpart come under the suspicion of having a
      hidden relationship with American and British
      intelligence. At least three Vodafone
      comunications hubs (one expert says the number
      could be as high as 22) were compromised by the
      eavesdropping technology. Koronias had reported
      only two of these bugs, and had failed to alert a
      watchdog agency of the discovery of further listening devices.

      Vodafone is a British company, comparable to
      Sprint in the United States. Testifying before a
      Greek parliamentary committee, Koronias insisted
      that no-one in the U.K. could have had any
      connection to the ultra-sophisticated spyware.
      'Only Ericsson's staff could have set up such a
      device,' he said. Ericsson furiously countered
      that Vodafone not only knew about the illegal
      software but had activated it at the request of British intelligence agents.

      More on Ericsson's official response:
      Ericsson, the company that produces the software
      used by Vodafone, issued an announcement
      clarifying that two types of software were
      employed for tapping the phone conversations.

      The first one employed legally had been developed
      by Ericsson and had been installed in Vodafone,
      yet it was not activated. The second software,
      which was of unknown origins, namely it had not
      been developed by Ericsson, had been illegally
      installed in Vodafones system to activate the
      legal software and erase the traces of the phone-tapping.

      This is, by any measure, a troubling
      admission especially since Ericsson manufactures
      many mobile phones used in the United States.
      Vodaphone insists they were never informed of
      this "feature" in Ericsson phones, although
      Ericsson executive Bill Zikou has testified that
      the company disclosed the truth via its sales force and instruction manuals.

      American security expert John Brady Kiesling
      reveals further details about the bugging devices in Ericsson cell phones:
      Built into the Ericsson (Sweden) software that
      runs the Vodafone (UK-owned) mobile telephony
      network switching system in Greece, and similar
      GSM service providers around the world, is a
      little-known "Legal Interception" software
      package designed to be used by law enforcement
      authorities. This software allows incoming and
      outgoing conversations from allegedly up to
      5000-6000 mobile phone numbers to be recorded, on
      presentation of a valid judicial warrant. [A
      friend in telecoms claims governments require
      that telephone companies give law enforcement
      authorities the capability to monitor up to 5% of
      active calls as one precondition for an operating
      license]. However, to unlock and use the
      eavesdropping package, the company must pay
      Ericsson a hefty fee (allegedly four million
      euros). The Greek government allegedly refused to
      pay this fee, despite its desire for wiretapping
      capability during the 2004 Athens Summer
      Olympics. One reason was that a clear legal basis for such
      eavesdropping was not yet in place.

      Apparently someone persuaded a Vodafone or
      Ericsson employee with access to the switching
      network to install a software parasite in at
      least four and possibly more of the 22 call
      management centers that Vodafone operates in Greece.

      The family of Costas Tsalikidis, the
      whistleblower who was found hanged in his
      apartment, does not accept the verdict of
      suicide. Neither does his fianc��e. The Greek
      press has hinted at further skullduggery:
      The prosecutor also visited the lawyer of
      Taslikidis family, Themistoklis Sofos, who
      announced that his clients will be filing a
      lawsuit against unknown parties for embezzlement
      and falsification of documents pertaining to the
      deceaseds emails. In addition, they will subpoena
      all those who participated in the much-publicised
      meeting just before the revelation of the
      wiretappings; a meeting Vodafone denies ever having taken place.

      Perhaps most disturbing of all, Vodaphone had
      eliminated the spyware from its system before
      Greek intelligence could conduct an examination.
      Greek spy chief Ioannis Korantis testified that
      this move amounted to destruction of evidence.

      Are Ericsson cell phones the only ones with the
      built-in spy technology? We can't be sure. But
      one thing is certain: When the fellow on TV asks
      "Can you hear me now?", the person he's
      addressing may not be the only one who can say yes.


      Ryugen C Fisher
      -Serving our clients since 1984-


      7:01:36 AM Sunday, August 27, 2006

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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