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FTR #394 The Battle of Menwith Hill: Signals Intelligence & the 9/11 Attacks

MP3 Side 1 | Side 2

Presenting analysis of political maneuvering around the Menwith Hill NSA/GCHQ listening station and the related US/UK ECHELON electronic intelligence gathering system, this broadcast characterizes the German/EU attack on Menwith Hill/ECHELON as “the Battle of Menwith Hill.” In turn, this conflict figures prominently in the international diplomatic machinations surrounding the 9/11 attacks-It may have played a significant role in the attacks themselves. The domestic prong could be accurately characterized as a Fifth Column, comprised of powerful politico/economic interests allied with, among others, the Bush family economic undertakings. Later in the program, the attack on ECHELON/Menwith Hill by the Free Congress Foundation will be discussed in the context of the Fifth Column attack on the U.S. It is the contention of this program that Al Qaeda and related institutions (such as the Muslim Brotherhood and the Al Taqwa milieu) constitute an element of a dual-pronged, Underground Reich attack on the United States, not unlike that which led to the subjugation of France in World War II. The concept of what might be called “Proxy War” (to coin a term) is one to consider.

1. Embodying the historical and strategic analysis of the Battle of Menwith Hill, the program begins with an excerpt of text from the description for FTR 119, recorded in December, 1998. “In the wake of the Cold War, the lines of political struggle are being redrawn, with potential conflict between the United States and Germany (and beyond, the German-dominated European Union) threatening to replace the confrontation between the U.S. and former U.S.S.R. In the field of intelligence, the U.S.-German conflict is already beginning to manifest itself. This broadcast sets forth some of the most important and recent developments in the friction between American and German intelligence. After a brief discussion of Germany’s expulsion of an American diplomat who allegedly worked for the CIA, the broadcast reprises a section of FTR 103 originally broadcast in August, 1998. This section of the program sets forth friction between German intelligence chief Bernd Schmidbauer and the FBI over industrial spying, as well as a consummately important story about attempts by the European Union (read ‘Germany’) to compromise the National Security Agency’s vital Menwith Hill electronic listening post in England. Mr. Emory has characterized that pressure on the NSA facility as an act of war and believes it to be (in the ‘Information Age’) as strategically significant as the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in World War II.”

2. In the context of what follows, it is very important to note that the original broadcast referenced in the above description was recorded in August of 1998. That was the month in which Al Qaeda attacked the U.S. embassies in Africa and the month in which Osama bin Laden apparently stopped using his satellite phone for telecommunications. Is there a relationship between the beginning of the Battle of Menwith Hill and bin Laden’s switch to a courier system for operational communications?

3. Discussing NSA monitoring of bin Laden’s telecommunications, a recent bestseller noted the significance of August, 1998 in the context of Al Qaeda operations and a shift by OBL to a courier system. “But even though NSA had the capability to intercept many conversations to and from bin Laden and other members of Al Qaeda-including some of those allegedly involved in the bombing of the American embassies in East Africa-the information was not enough to prevent the attacks.” (Body of Secrets; James Bamford; Copyright 2001, 2002 James Bamford; [SC] Anchor Books; p. 616.)

4. “Many of the calls were intercepted by Britain’s GCHQ at their listening post at Morwenstow, near Bude, in Cornwall. There, close to the endless whitecaps of the Celtic Sea, nearly a dozen dishes pick up signals from commercial satellites such as Inmarsat and INTELSAT. The intercepted phone calls, faxes, Internet, and data transfers are then forwarded to GCHQ’s sprawling headquarters in Cheltenham. Once filtered and analyzed, they would be forwarded to NSA over secure encrypted communications links.” (Idem.)

5. “Other calls to and from bin Laden were picked up thousands of miles to the south of Afghanistan, at a listening post run by Australia’s Defense Signals Division located at Geraldton, a scruffy port on the Indian Ocean about 210 miles north of Perth. Situated in the westernmost part of the country, Geraldton was built in 1994 to eavesdrop on commercial satellites over the Indian Ocean.” (Idem.)

6. As noted above, August of 1998 was a fateful month in the sequence of events being considered here. That was when Al Qaeda attacked US embassies in Africa, President Clinton retaliated with cruise missile attacks on bin Laden’s camps in Afghanistan and the Battle of Menwith Hill began. Clinton was facing impeachment at the time, and was stated by the Muslim Brotherhood, among other institutions, to have conducted the attacks on Afghanistan and the Al Shifa pharmaceutical plant (FTR#’s 344-46).”Eventually, following President Clinton’s 1998 American cruise missile attack on bin Laden’s camp in Afghanistan, and the realization that his location could be betrayed by signals from the satellite phone, he stopped using the instrument. Now when one calls his number, all they hear is a recording stating he is ‘not logged on or not in the dialed ocean region.'” (Idem.)

7. “Since 1998, bin Laden communicates only through messengers who make calls for him from distant locations. Nevertheless, these are also occasionally intercepted. One such call, picked up by NSA early in September 2001, was from a bin Laden associate to bin Laden’s wife in Syria, advising her to return to Afghanistan. At the time, it was filed away when instead it should have been one more clue, one more reason for director Hayden to worry on the morning of September 11.” (Ibid.; pp. 616-617.)

8. The program then reprises an excerpt of FTR 166 from July, 1999, highlighting German propaganda about the Menwith Hill station and related programs being the cause of Germany’s economic woes. Like “the Battle of Menwith Hill” itself, this is a very significant development from a strategic standpoint. (“U.S. Spy Satellites raiding German firms’ Secrets” by Tony Patterson; Electronic Telegraph; 4/11/99.)

9. A barometer of the recent adverse publicity stemming from the Menwith Hill situation, demonstrators have been demanding the institution’s attenuation. (“New Action at Spybase;” Yorkshire Evening Post; 9/16/99.)

10. Touching on an element of the discussion from previous broadcasts, we note again that the German scapegoating of Menwith Hill for the country’s economic problems coincided with an assault from the Free Congress Foundation in the United States. Noting the fascist heritage of the FCF and its intersection with the milieu of the ABN/Republican ethnic outreach organization, the program features discussion of the FCF’s attack on the Menwith Hill (Yorkshire) and ECHELON elements of the vitally important NSA/GCHQ electronic counterintelligence function. (“Big Brother Is Listening to You” by Lisa S. Dean; San Francisco Examiner; 7/5/1999.) The program notes that the attack by the FCF on ECHELON/Menwith Hill coincided with a German intelligence and public relations blitzkrieg against these same installations. The motive for the German “outrage” was alleged industrial espionage. Germany had the same capability, while charging that the ECHELON/Menwith Hill liaison had provided the United States with that capability. The program conceptualizes the FCF attack on ECHELON/Menwith Hill as presaging the 9/11 attack on the United States by the Underground Reich and its Islamofascist allies. By discrediting the U.S. electronic intelligence capability, promoting domestic U.S. opposition to ECHELON/Menwith Hill and alerting Al Qaeda elements to the capabilities of the intercept system, FCF and its Underground Reich allies might be viewed as having helped to prepare for the destruction of 9/11. The subject of FCF and its attack on ECHELON/Menwith Hill will be discussed in future programs.

11. When considering the admirable-sounding civic protestations of Lisa Dean, take into account the connections of the FCF to the milieu of the ABN and domestic white supremacists. (FTR#367). Take into account the following article, as well. It is openly seditious and makes Trent Lott look like a “Latte Liberal.” “A 1999 newsletter published by a man looking to lead California’s Republican Party included an essay suggesting the United States would be a better place if the South had won the Civil War. The piece, by William Lind of the Free Congress Foundation, was included in a GOP e-mail newsletter published by Bill Back of Yuba County, who’s currently vice chairman of the state Republican Party. . . Lind’s piece suggested that it was Reconstruction, not slavery, that really damaged race relations in the country and that economics eventually would have eliminated slavery, even without a war.” (“State GOP Official in Racial Controversy” by John Wildermuth; The San Francisco Chronicle; 1/5/2003; p. A23.)

12. “” ‘It’s not hard to believe that history might have taken a better turn,’ if the South had won the Civil War, the piece said. If the South were a separate country, it continued, ‘at least part of North America would still stand for Western Culture, Christianity and an appreciation of the differences between ladies and gentlemen.'” (Ibid.; pp. A23-A28.)

13. Much of the second side of the broadcast is an excerpt of FTR#331. The program takes up the subject of an allegation by German intelligence that the ECHELON system provided the U.S. and the United Kingdom with advanced warning of the 9/11 attacks. (“Newspaper: ECHELON Gave Authorities Warning of Attacks” by Ned Stafford [Newsbytes]; 9/13/2001.) With the epicenter of the conspiracy having taken place in Germany, this allegation by the Germans would appear to be an attempt at deflecting partial responsibility for the attack away from themselves. As noted in past programs, Germany has been attacking the ECHELON network and the related Menwith Hill listening station for years. In the past, Mr. Emory has voiced the opinion that ECHELON and Menwith Hill are essential to both U.S. and British national security and has analyzed the EU/German pressure to curtail these operations against the background of escalating intelligence friction between the U.S. and Germany.

14. Significantly, a long-awaited European Parliament report on ECHELON concluded that “many European countries had similar abilities”-that would undoubtedly include Germany. (“Report on U.S. Spy System” by Suzanne Daley; New York Times; 9/6/2001; p. A6.)

15. In light of that fact, why didn’t German intelligence know about the attacks? A Libyan arrested in Munich in connection with the attacks had been under investigation since April. (“Egyptian Terror Cell ‘Linked to Bin Laden'” by Heba Saleh; Financial Times; 10/12/2001; p. 5.)

16. The German prosecutor in charge of the investigation has been charged with ignoring evidence that might have led to the interdiction of the attacks. (“Berlin Demands Boost in Terror Probe” by Hugh Williamson; Financial Times; 10/9/2001; p. 2.)

17. Examining the geopolitical benefits that have accrued to Germany from the 9/11 attacks, the broadcast notes that German chancellor Gerhard Schroder stated that Germany will no longer play ‘a secondary role’ in international affairs. (“Germany Ready for More Senior Role in World Affairs” by Haig Simonian; Financial Times; 10/12/2001; p. 7.)

18. In light of recent developments vis a vis Iraq, the book Serpent’s Walk takes on added significance.

“It assumes that Hitler’s warrior elite – the SS – didn’t give up their struggle for a White world when they lost the Second World War. Instead their survivors went underground and adopted some of their tactics of their enemies: they began building their economic muscle and buying into the opinion-forming media. A century after the war they are ready to challenge the democrats and Jews for the hearts and minds of White Americans, who have begun to have their fill of government-enforced multi-culturalism and ‘equality.'”

(Excerpt from back cover of Serpent’s Walk by “Randolph D. Calverhall;” Copyright 1991 [SC]; National Vanguard Books; 0-937944-05-X.)

19. Recall that in Serpent’s Walk, the takeover by the Underground Reich takes place after a devastating bioterror attack on the United States using genetically-engineered micro-organisms. Bearing in mind Iraq’s own history of intersection with fascism and the Underground Reich, it is interesting to observe an unsettling fact about the likelihood of a bioterror attack by Iraqi-allied interests after a US military attack on that country.

“Despite claims that it has enough smallpox vaccine for the entire U.S. population, the Bush administration has announced a limited program of vaccinations. It has decided to limit them to about a million military and selected health care workers in the first iteration, and then 10 million emergency workers in a second round. Confronting ‘high confidence’ intelligence findings that Saddam Hussein has smallpox that could be released in American cities in retaliation for U.S. attacks that might begin next month, the administration displays a caution about defending Americans at home that contrasts sharply with its readiness to attack adversaries abroad.”

(“Unprepared for Smallpox” by Graham T. Allison; The Washington Post; 12/26/2002; p. A39.)

20. “The chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, Bob Graham of Florida, has estimated the likelihood of an American-led war on Iraq in January or February at 70 percent. Imagine Hussein responds as the latest, recently declassified national intelligence Estimate predicts he is ‘likely’ to do with a biological attack on Americans. Who believes that the newly established Department of Homeland Security will be able to provide early identification of the virus, supply vaccines to hospitals and schools across the country or administer vaccines to 280 million Americans? The public health debate has treated this issue as if we were preparing for a distant hypothetical. But the new information about Hussein’s capabilities makes it clear that a period of maximum danger lies not years, but months away.”


21. “Should Hussein take a page from tom Clancy’s novel ‘Executive orders’ and dispatch operatives to a half-dozen American cities with perfume bottles filled with smallpox to spray in shopping centers, how bad could it be? Were this to happen early next year, the ‘Dark Winter’ war game organized by some of the nation’s leading think tanks last year offers clues about likely consequences. That scenario ended with 3 million Americans infected, 1 million of whom died.”


22. “How likely is such an attack? Obviously, no one knows. But American’s best intelligence analysts offered their judgment on this question in the latest National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq. Only after a positive vote in congress authorizing use of force against Iraq was ensured were the relevant portions of this estimate declassified. Its conclusion is chilling. In a classified Senate hearing on the estimate, Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) pressed the question: ‘If we initiate an attack and he thought he was in extremis or otherwise, what’s the likelihood in response to our attack that he would use chemical or biological weapons?’ The senior intelligence analyst answered: ‘pretty high.'”



3 comments for “FTR #394 The Battle of Menwith Hill: Signals Intelligence & the 9/11 Attacks”

  1. With reports of widespread warrantless wiretapping/GPS-tracking by US law-enforcement agencies, the NSA wants you to know that they’re not watching you and there’s nothing to worry about. All those new spying facilities are exclusively for spying on bad people. The private contractors hired to run the NSA’s spy centers say ditto:

    Shady Companies With Ties to Israel Wiretap the U.S. for the NSA

    By James Bamford
    April 3, 2012 |
    6:30 am

    Army General Keith Alexander, the director of the NSA, is having a busy year – hopping around the country, cutting ribbons at secret bases and bringing to life the agency’s greatly expanded eavesdropping network.

    In January he dedicated the new $358 million CAPT Joseph J. Rochefort Building at NSA Hawaii, and in March he unveiled the 604,000-square-foot John Whitelaw Building at NSA Georgia.

    Designed to house about 4,000 earphone-clad intercept operators, analysts and other specialists, many of them employed by private contractors, it will have a 2,800-square-foot fitness center open 24/7, 47 conference rooms and VTCs, and “22 caves,” according to an NSA brochure from the event. No television news cameras were allowed within two miles of the ceremony.

    Overseas, Menwith Hill, the NSA’s giant satellite listening post in Yorkshire, England that sports 33 giant dome-covered eavesdropping dishes, is also undergoing a multi-million-dollar expansion, with $68 million alone being spent on a generator plant to provide power for new supercomputers. And the number of people employed on the base, many of them employees of Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, is due to increase from 1,800 to 2,500 in 2015, according to a study done in Britain. Closer to home, in May, Fort Meade will close its 27-hole golf course to make room for a massive $2 billion, 1.8-million-square-foot expansion of the NSA’s headquarters, including a cybercommand complex and a new supercomputer center expected to cost nearly $1 billion.

    The climax, however, will be the opening next year of the NSA’s mammoth 1-million-square-foot, $2 billion Utah Data Center. The centerpiece in the agency’s decade-long building boom, it will be the “cloud” where the trillions of millions of intercepted phone calls, e-mails, and data trails will reside, to be scrutinized by distant analysts over highly encrypted fiber-optic links.

    Despite the post-9/11 warrantless wiretapping of Americans, the NSA says that citizens should trust it not to abuse its growing power and that it takes the Constitution and the nation’s privacy laws seriously.

    But one of the agency’s biggest secrets is just how careless it is with that ocean of very private and very personal communications, much of it to and from Americans. Increasingly, obscure and questionable contractors – not government employees – install the taps, run the agency’s eavesdropping infrastructure, and do the listening and analysis.

    And with some of the key companies building the U.S.’s surveillance infrastructure for the digital age employing unstable employees, crooked executives, and having troubling ties to foreign intelligence services, it’s not clear that Americans should trust the secretive agency, even if its current agency chief claims he doesn’t approve of extrajudicial spying on Americans. His predecessor, General Michael V. Hayden, made similar claims while secretly conducting the warrantless wiretapping program.

    Until now, the actual mechanics of how the agency constructed its highly secret U.S. eavesdropping net, code-named Stellar Wind, has never been revealed. But in the weeks following 9/11, as the agency and the White House agreed to secretly ignore U.S. privacy laws and bypass the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, J. Kirk Wiebe noticed something odd. A senior analyst, he was serving as chief of staff for the agency’s Signals Intelligence Automation Research Center (SARC), a sort of skunkworks within the agency where bureaucratic rules were broken, red tape was cut, and innovation was expected.

    “One day I notice out in the hallway, stacks and stacks of new servers in boxes just lined up,” he said.

    Passing by the piles of new Dell 1750 servers, Wiebe, as he often did, headed for the Situation Room, which dealt with threat warnings. It was located within the SARC’s Lab, on the third floor of Operations Building 2B, a few floors directly below the director’s office. “I walk in and I almost get thrown out by a guy that we knew named Ben Gunn,” he said. It was the launch of Stellar Wind and only a handful of agency officials were let in on the secret.

    “He was the one who organized it,” said Bill Binney of Gunn. A former founder and co-director of SARC, Binney was the agency official responsible for automating much of the NSA’s worldwide monitoring networks. Troubled by the unconstitutional nature of tapping into the vast domestic communications system without a warrant, he decided to quit the agency in late 2001 after nearly forty years.

    Gunn, said Binney, was a Scotsman and naturalized U.S. citizen who had formerly worked for GCHQ, Britain’s equivalent of the NSA, and later become a senior analyst at the NSA. The NSA declined Wired’s request to interview Gunn, saying that, as policy, it doesn’t confirm or deny if a person is employed by the agency.

    Shortly after the secret meeting, the racks of Dell servers were moved to a room down the hall, behind a door with a red seal indicating only those specially cleared for the highly compartmented project could enter. But rather than having NSA employees putting the hardware and software together and setting up walls of monitors showing suspected terrorism threats and their U.S. communications, the spying room was filled with a half-dozen employees of a tiny mom-and-pop company with a bizarre and troubling history.

    “It was Technology Development Corporation,” said Binney.

    The agency went to TDC, he says, because the company had helped him set up a similar network in SARC – albeit one that was focused on foreign and international communications – the kind of spying the NSA is chartered to undertake.

    “They needed to have somebody who knew how the code works to set it up,” he said. “And then it was just a matter of feeding in the attributes [U.S. phone numbers, e-mail addresses and personal data] and any of the content you want.” Those “attributes” came from secret rooms established in large telecom switches around the country. “I think there’s 10 to 20 of them,” Binney says.

    Formed in April 1984, TDC was owned by two brothers, Randall and Paul Jacobson, and largely run out of Randall’s Clarkesville, Maryland house, with his wife acting as bookkeeper. But its listed address is a post office box in Annapolis Junction, across the Baltimore-Washington Parkway from the NSA, and the company’s phone number in various business directories is actually an NSA number in Binney’s old office.

    The company’s troubles began in June 1992 when Paul lost his security clearance. “If you ever met this guy, you would know he’s a really strange guy,” Binney said of Paul. “He did crazy stuff. I think they thought he was unstable.” At the time, Paul was working on a contract at the NSA alongside a rival contractor, Unisys Corporation. He later blamed Unisys for his security problems and sued it, claiming that Unisys employees complained about him to his NSA supervisors. According to the suit, Unisys employees referred to him as “weird” and that he “acted like a robot,” “never wore decent clothes,” and was mentally and emotionally unstable. About that time, he also began changing his name, first to Jimmy Carter, and later to Alfred Olympus von Ronsdorf.

    Despite that drama, Jacobson and his people appeared to have serious misgivings about the NSA’s program once they discovered its true nature, according to Binney. “They came and said, ‘Do you realize what these people are doing?’” he said. “‘They’re feeding us other stuff [U.S.] in there.’ I mean they knew it was unconstitutional right away.” Binney added that once the job was finished, the NSA turned to still another contractor to run the tapping operation. “They made it pretty well known, so after they got it up and running they [the NSA] brought in the SAIC people to run it after that.” Jacobsen was then shifted to other work at the NSA, where he and his company are still employed.

    Randall Jacobsen answered his phone inside the NSA but asked for time to respond. He never called back.

    In addition to constructing the Stellar Wind center, and then running the operation, secretive contractors with questionable histories and little oversight were also used to do the actual bugging of the entire U.S. telecommunications network.

    According to a former Verizon employee briefed on the program, Verint, owned by Comverse Technology, taps the communication lines at Verizon, which I first reported in my book The Shadow Factory in 2008. Verint did not return a call seeking comment, while Verizon said it does not comment on such matters.

    At AT&T the wiretapping rooms are powered by software and hardware from Narus, now owned by Boeing, a discovery made by AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein in 2004. Narus did not return a call seeking comment.

    What is especially troubling is that both companies have had extensive ties to Israel, as well as links to that country’s intelligence service, a country with a long and aggressive history of spying on the U.S.

    In fact, according to Binney, the advanced analytical and data mining software the NSA had developed for both its worldwide and international eavesdropping operations was secretly passed to Israel by a mid-level employee, apparently with close connections to the country. The employee, a technical director in the Operations Directorate, “who was a very strong supporter of Israel,” said Binney, “gave, unbeknownst to us, he gave the software that we had, doing these fast rates, to the Israelis.”

    Because of his position, it was something Binney should have been alerted to, but wasn’t.

    “In addition to being the technical director,” he said, “I was the chair of the TAP, it’s the Technical Advisory Panel, the foreign relations council. We’re supposed to know what all these foreign countries, technically what they’re doing-. They didn’t do this that way, it was under the table.” After discovering the secret transfer of the technology, Binney argued that the agency simply pass it to them officially, and in that way get something in return, such as access to communications terminals. “So we gave it to them for switches,” he said. “For access.”

    When asked about these contractors, the NSA declined to “verify the allegations made.”

    But the NSA did “eagerly offer” that it “ensures deliberate and appropriate measures are taken to thoroughly investigate and resolve any legitimate complaints or allegations of misconduct or illegal activity” and “takes seriously its obligation to adhere to the U.S. Constitution and comply with the U.S. laws and regulations that govern our activities.”

    The NSA also added that “we are proud of the work we do to protect the nation, and allegations implying that there is inappropriate monitoring of American communications are a disservice to the American public and to the NSA civilian and military personnel who are dedicated to serving their country.”

    However, that statement elides the voluminous reporting by the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Los Angeles Times and Wired on the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program. Also not reflected is that in the only anti-warrantless wiretapping lawsuit to survive the government’s use of the “state secrets” privilege to throw them out, a federal judge ruled that two American lawyers had been spied on illegally by the government and were entitled to compensation.

    So take the NSA’s assurances as you will.

    But as NSA director Alexander flies around the country, scissors in hand, opening one top-secret, outsourced eavesdropping center after another, someone might want to ask the question no one in Congress seems willing to ask: Who’s listening to the listeners?

    And if any UK readers were a little worried about the US poaching your intelligence officers after reading that the guy heading one of the NSA’s new mass-spying programs is a former member of GCHQ (the UK’s analog to the NSA), don’t worry, you guys are doing just fine on the domestic spying front.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 3, 2012, 7:37 pm
  2. […] FTR #394 The Battle of Menwith Hill: Signals Intelligence & the 9/11 Attacks This entry was posted in Intelligence, Internet-Spying-Secrets Documents, National Security and tagged ECHELON, GCHQ, Menwith Hill Listening Station, NSA, RAF. Bookmark the permalink. ← Daniel Laprès des Amis Québécois d’Israel commente la manifestation du PAJU, deuxième épisode […]

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  3. […] rather right-wing organization, if not fascist in nature. In effect, they joined the attack on the Menwith Hill listening post in the U.K., an installation that is crucial to North American and United […]

    Posted by Political Correctness: Another tool to subvert western societies | Lys-d'Or | April 22, 2012, 2:50 pm

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