Australia: Telstra facilitates US electronic spying

Peter Symonds

Australian company Telstra signed a secret agreement in November 2001 to ensure that US intelligence and police agencies had unrestricted access to all electronic communications carried in its cables from the Asia Pacific into the US.

The existence of the contract was first exposed by the Washington Post on July 6 and subsequently in the Sydney Morning Herald. It is one of 28 national security agreements, involving foreign telecommunications corporations with connections to the US, that have been published in full on the Public Intelligence website. The American signatories vary from contract to contract, but include the US Defence Department, Justice Department, Homeland Security and the FBI.

This latest exposure comes on top of revelations by whistleblower Edward Snowden that the US National Security Agency (NSA) has access, via its PRISM program, to the data of nine major Internet companies, including Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and Yahoo. This system of police state surveillance has ridden roughshod over the US constitution and international law.

The Telstra agreement has provided an alternative means for US spying on American and foreign citizens, by allowing access to the vast amounts of Internet and phone data passing through the backbone of international telecommunications—undersea fibre optic cables.

The binding contract with the US Justice Department and the FBI involved a joint venture company, Reach, between Telstra and its Hong Kong partner, Pacific Century CyberWorks (PCCW). The joint venture has since become the largest carrier of intercontinental telecommunications in Asia. It operates 82,300 kilometres of undersea cables in the Pacific linking China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji to Hawaii and the continental US. It also has a major cable joining the US east coast to Europe via Cornwall in the US and Brittany in France.

CIA whistleblower's advice to Snowden

Thomas Hedges

John Kiriakou, the former CIA officer who blew the whistle on Bush’s torture program and is now in prison, sent an open letter[see below] to Edward Snowden last week warning him not to trust the FBI.

“DO NOT,” Kiriakou wrote, “under any circumstances, cooperate with the FBI. FBI agents will lie, trick, and deceive you. They will twist your words and play on your patriotism to entrap you. They will pretend to be people they are not – supporters, well-wishers, and friends – all the while wearing wires to record your out-of-context statements to use against you. The FBI is the enemy; it’s part of the problem, not the solution.”

These are the words of a registered Republican who voted for Gary Johnson, whom the Rosenberg Fund for Children denied a grant, informing him that he wasn’t “liberal enough,” Kiriakou says, for the award — and who last year received a birthday card from Jerry Falwell Jr.

Kiriakou is the first CIA veteran to be imprisoned. It was after he blew the whistle on Bush’s torture program that the CIA, FBI and Justice Department came down on him, at first charging him with aiding the enemy and later convicting him of disclosing the identities of undercover colleagues at the CIA.

The FBI raided his house in the process. They took his computers. They also took his family photos because, they said, he could have embedded secret messages in them.

“I did not start this thing with the idea that I was going to be a whistle-blower,” Kiriakou told Salon in December, two months before being sent off to a low-security prison in Loretto, Pa., with a 30-month sentence.

Syria Discovers Terrorist-Used Chemical Weapons Factory

Stephen Lendman

New evidence adds greater credibility to numerous past reports. So-called "rebels" bear responsibility for chemical weapons use. They're aided and abetted by Washington, other Western nations, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and other regional rogue states. They're longstanding imperial partners. Human life has no value. Unchallenged dominance counts most. Nothing's too lawless to deter seeking it. Ravaging one country after another proves it. Syria's in the eye of the storm. Conflict persists daily. Mass killing and destruction follow.

Western-recruited death squad invaders bear responsibility. There's nothing civil about what's ongoing. Lawless aggression explains it. No evidence links Syrian forces to chemical weapons use. Claiming otherwise doesn't wash. Accusations exclude proof. Nothing independently verifiable exists. False charges substitute for truth and full disclosure. It's standard rogue state policy. Complicit partners operate this way. Previous articles discussed clear evidence. So-called "rebels" used chemical weapons multiple times.

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