After digesting its massive theft of ideas, things and people from Paperclip following the end of World War II, the US wasted no time in designing and implementing the world’s largest network of commercial espionage that has ever existed, and one which still exists in vastly expanded form today – as we saw from the revelations by Edward Snowden.
Today, an astonishingly high percentage of the world’s internet traffic passes through the US on its way to Europe or Asia; a similar situation existed with telegraphy and telephone at the end of World War II, a situation the US government immediately exploited to the full. With the full cooperation of RCA, ITT and Western Union – who transmitted almost all of the US telegraphic traffic – the NSA was provided with daily microfilm copies of every telegraph entering, leaving and passing through the United States. (1)
This was Project Shamrock, initiated in 1945 to access every telegraph message in a search for commercial intelligence that could help American firms be more “competitive” in international markets. The first intended target was of course Germany since that country had already demonstrated its vast superiority in science and development, but naturally the entire world quickly became a target, and Shamrock evolved into Echelon, doing the same things but on an almost infinitely larger and global scale.
Echelon began with the UK spying on Russia and Eastern Europe, which plan eventually involved the US and then evolved into something called the “Five Eyes” network, which has been described as the most powerful espionage club in the world, a clandestine commercial intelligence collection and analysis network of astonishing proportion, engineered by the US, and involving Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
The system is designed to intercept and inspect communication from commercial satellite transmissions as well as global telephone calls, faxes, e-mail, public switched telephone networks, most Internet traffic, microwave links, undersea cables, and other civilian telecommunications traffic. The purpose is to obtain access to commercially beneficial information that could create competitive advantages to large firms – mostly American, since Echelon’s other members are not active in most industrial areas that concern the US. (2) (3) (4)
The system is so sophisticated that it utilizes voice-print recognition to identify the speech patterns of targeted individuals making international telephone calls,