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Echelon Used to Capture Terrorist

CmdrTaco posted more than 11 years ago | from the lets-be-rational-people dept.

News 663

An anonymous reader writes "Echelon was used to track and capture Khalid Sheikh Mohammed." Ahh, bitter sweet victories. The article kind of explains what Echelon is, and pretty much says that those disposable phones really don't have much security at all.

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Hate the tech, love the results (1, Interesting)

AlabamaMike (657318) | more than 11 years ago | (#5483900)

Gotta love the capture of this a$$hole, but damn do I hate the govt's ability to pull such things.

Re:Hate the tech, love the results (4, Insightful)

Alcohol Fueled (603402) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484089)

Think of it this way. Would you want the government to be pulling something like this on innocent little grandma, or a terrorist who can be a serious threat to people's safety? If he really is the mastermind of September 11th, I'm glad they caught him, no matter how they did it. Remember, even if the government is fucked up and Bush is a moron, they're still trying to protect your ass.

Re:Hate the tech, love the results (5, Insightful)

pe1rxq (141710) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484112)

Trying to protect your ass by continuously 'inspecting' it is not was most people want....

Jeroen

So, is Echelon good now? (4, Insightful)

rearl (262579) | more than 11 years ago | (#5483904)

I wasn't even aware that it was acknowledged as existing by most countries, and now the UK is talking about it openly?

I'm still undecided about good vs. evil on Echelon.

Re:So, is Echelon good now? (5, Insightful)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 11 years ago | (#5483938)

Well, if arsenic is used to kill a killer, is good?

Tools not have moral, only the ones that use them. But give a tool like that to someone paranoic and it will be bad, very bad.

Re:So, is Echelon good now? (5, Interesting)

rearl (262579) | more than 11 years ago | (#5483975)

There are some tools with no reasonable purpose besides evil.

While this instance proves that Echelon can be used for good, who insures that?

Re:So, is Echelon good now? (2, Funny)

billybob2001 (234675) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484045)

While this instance proves that Echelon can be used for good, who insures that?

Easy: "Crimson Permanent Assurance", and they'll win!

Re:So, is Echelon good now? (0)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 11 years ago | (#5483961)

It is evil, but like all evil things, you can twist it to do good sometimes.

Re:So, is Echelon good now? (2, Interesting)

xyzzy (10685) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484022)

...or vice-versa... it's so hard to tell sometimes :-)

Re:So, is Echelon good now? (3, Insightful)

snowsalt (611162) | more than 11 years ago | (#5483984)

Evil. Alternate solutions exist that do not involve privacy invasion. I can root out child pornography by putting cameras in everyone's house, but the good end doesn't justify the invasion of privacy.

Re:So, is Echelon good now? (1)

trezor (555230) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484017)

I'm still looking at it as an evil thing (not trademarked yet).

There is still no reason what so ever why americans and britains specificly should be allowed to monitor worldwide communications.

Re:So, is Echelon good now? (4, Insightful)

Elwood P Dowd (16933) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484086)

Everybody tries to monitor as many communications as possible. We know how the anglo- types do it. We don't know how the han- and slav- types do it. That doesn't mean the anglos are any worse than anyone else, necessarily. The question, simply, is whether it serves the purposes outlined in the US constitution. If so, it's perfectly acceptable to me. If that shit ever gets used to monitor someone that is neither a foreign spy nor a foreign soldier, we'll have every reason to go nuts.

Big brother (3, Funny)

hankwang (413283) | more than 11 years ago | (#5483908)

Echelon blocks all attempts to reply to this story, which seems to be on the guardian [guardian.co.uk] .

Orwell would be proud.... (1, Funny)

buddha1975 (618617) | more than 11 years ago | (#5483909)

But we have to retitle the book 2004 (20 years off) First Post?

Re:Orwell would be proud.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5484076)

Who's to say the book didn't delay the onset of HELL ON EARTH

Nobody caught me! (5, Funny)

Khalidz0r (607171) | more than 11 years ago | (#5483912)

Because I'm not Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

An advise, make sure not to call your children semi-terrorist names :).

Khalid!

Re:Nobody caught me! (3, Insightful)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 11 years ago | (#5483942)

Funny you should mention that. I mean, no one thinks of calling their kids Sean, Brian, or Michael, but they are names of known terrorist in Ireland.

Then again, there is that whole paint scheme thing again.

Re:Nobody caught me! (1)

sporty (27564) | more than 11 years ago | (#5483968)

Ben Dover is always available. Or Mike Hunt.

Seriously though. Do you think your parents said, "damn kid, he's difficult. we are gonna change his name to khalid."

I'm hoping my friends didn't predict the spice girls and my nick isn't a long winded joke.

Re:Nobody caught me! (3, Funny)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 11 years ago | (#5483977)

I just say the phrase "kill the president" whenever I talk on the phone. Then *they* have to listen to my boring conversations. It's amazing how creative you have to be to get that phrase into a conversation. My girlfriend thinks it's a slang term for sex, as in "come on over tonight and help me kill the president".

Re:Nobody caught me! (5, Funny)

archeopterix (594938) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484083)

I just say the phrase "kill the president" whenever I talk on the phone. Then *they* have to listen to my boring conversations. It's amazing how creative you have to be to get that phrase into a conversation. My girlfriend thinks it's a slang term for sex, as in "come on over tonight and help me kill the president".
Actually, we use "have sex" for "kill the president", so you are safe.

Yours sincerely,

Khalid

P.S. Does anyone actually believe that anyone actually meaning to kill the president would use this phrase over the phone? I'd rather use "dispose of the big kahuna" or something similar.

Re:Nobody caught me! (3, Funny)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484091)

>> My girlfriend thinks it's a slang term for sex, as in "come on over tonight and help me kill the president".

And then she says, "I'm busy tonight, just kill him youself, ok?" Sigh.

Re:Nobody caught me! (4, Funny)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 11 years ago | (#5483999)

In other news, suspected terrorist Khaled Mardam Bey was arrested late Monday. The terrorist had been assisting other terrorist in communicating over the Internet via a vast crime network known as "mIRC". It is not known whether the Sep 11 terrorists used this network to coordinate their attacks.

MoC (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5484053)

(that is, Moderators on Crack)

If you don't get the joke, just moderate something else. Interesting my ass.

Re:Nobody caught me! (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484055)

I think this parent should be modded as (Score:3 Funny).

WOW! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5483913)

The worldwide eavesdropping network was for once used to capture terrorists instead of spying on innocent Americans.

There is still hope!

New Verizon Spot... (5, Funny)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 11 years ago | (#5483918)

(You see a bunch of guys dressed as Al-Queda, wandering through the wilderness...)

Can THEY here me now?

Can THEY here me now?

Re:New Verizon Spot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5483985)

>Can THEY here me now?

You could at least learn english correctly. It should be "Can THEY hear me now?".

Re:New Verizon Spot... (1)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484054)

It's actually a pun. Unitentional, mind you...

Re:New Verizon Spot... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5483988)

lern to spel, dipshit

Re:New Verizon Spot... (5, Funny)

Alcohol Fueled (603402) | more than 11 years ago | (#5483998)

No no no...

(You see a bunch of guys dressed as Al-Qaeda, wandering through the wilderness...)

Can THEY hear me now?

Can THEY hear me now?

Can THEY hear--*BOOM* (Al-Qaeda guys are struck by missile.)

(Commercial fades to George Bush) Verizon. If you don't use it, the terrorists win.

Echelon (1)

Cyno01 (573917) | more than 11 years ago | (#5483924)

So they finally admitted it exists. Guess its time to buy encrypted phones....

Re:Echelon (3, Interesting)

trezor (555230) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484056)

I thought those phones were military graded?

In Norway some encrypted phones have been developed [sectra.se] , but civilians are not allowed to purchase them.

Press, Not Official, Called It 'Echelon' (2, Informative)

reallocate (142797) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484064)

Careful. Neither The Guardian piece or the U.S. News story it cites contain a quote from that unnamed intelligence official using the word "Echelon". I.e., we know that U.S. News says it was Echelon, but we don't know that the "official" used that word.

hehee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5484082)

yes, time to buy an encrypted phone so you can order pizza for one on a saturday night without "bein' spyed on by the man"...lol

ISLAM=PEACE (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5483925)

We are a peaceful suicide bombing people.

Quick googling bought this up (5, Informative)

watzinaneihm (627119) | more than 11 years ago | (#5483927)

A paranoid view of echelon here [heise.de] .
It is not what they monitor that worries me, it is what they record

Hypocrite terrorists (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5483931)

If these guys were not such hypocrites, they would never be caught. The Taliban, etc want to take things back to the glory days of the pre-1000 A.D. Muslim empire, except when it is inconvenient (such as using technology like cell phones). If they were more pure in their ideology and kept with the sticks and clubs and swords, they'd be much harder to catch, wouldn't they?

Re:Hypocrite terrorists (5, Funny)

anon*127.0.0.1 (637224) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484002)

If they stuck with the sticks and clubs, no one would be after them. Running a camel into the WTC would not have caused much damage.

Re:Hypocrite terrorists (1, Informative)

0rx (572942) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484012)

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed wasn't part of the Taliban, he was part of Al-Qaeda. They're 2 seperate entities, like Southern Baptists, and the Amish...

Re:Hypocrite terrorists (-1, Troll)

kingkade (584184) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484095)

yeah, i heard khalid was caught whacking off to internet porn at a starbucks

Can find you even if your mobile is turned off (4, Interesting)

pubjames (468013) | more than 11 years ago | (#5483940)


Did you know that they can track the location of a mobile phone even if it is turned off, as long as there is some charge left in the battery?

I just read "Killing Pablo", about the hunt for Pablo Escobar, which says that Pablo stopped using his mobile phone because he knew it could be tracked. The book mentions how it was possible to turn it on at night when Pablo was asleep, so it's location could be tracked.

So if you find your mobile suddenly turning itself on in the middle of the night, it's time to get paranoid...

Re:Can find you even if your mobile is turned off (4, Funny)

loucura! (247834) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484015)

That's why I (as a card-carrying paranoid whacko) take apart my cell-phone every night before bed.

First I was fine just removing the battery... but then I remembered that capacitors carry a residual charge, and if I remembered that, then the Man knows it. So, now I take apart each individual component, except for the LCD...

You don't think they can track me by the LCD do you?

Re:Can find you even if your mobile is turned off (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5484037)

Nah, just drop your phone down behind the seat at the back of a bus. No end of fun for the spooks trying to track you then....

Re:Can find you even if your mobile is turned off (5, Informative)

johnjaydk (584895) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484063)

That is a bit to paranoid and wrong at least with regard to GSM.

What we can do is start and maintain a dialog with any phone that is turned on. This in turn enables the triangulation. The phone does not indicate this to the user in any way unless you put it next to your speaker/tv/etc that picks up the transmission.

In fact this is done every two to eight hours (operator specific) in order to determine roughly where the phone is so the network can route incomming calls to the phone.

TCAP-Abort

Re:Can find you even if your mobile is turned off (1)

waldo2020 (592242) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484084)

that's total bullsh*t. Off is off and if you've pulled the battery - there is no way you're transmitting anything. Learn some basic electricity! I worked with a designer that had a totally mistaken view of how GPS worked - he thought that the satellites actually scanned the entire planet and triangulated you by looking down at you - rather than the other way around. Too little knowledge is a dangerous thing!

Re:Can find you even if your mobile is turned off (1)

jj_johny (626460) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484087)

And they can track all the money in your pocket and... Oh, please give me a flying break. Please either the phone is powered down or it isn't. For this to be true, the phones have to power completely up and listen for a signal. Now 802.11 card basically turn off their antenna when they are not transmitting but wake up every several hundred milliseconds to check in with the network. Since the signalling is the most power hungry part. But you are talking about pure urban legend.

Umm.. Why pay? (5, Interesting)

Alcohol Fueled (603402) | more than 11 years ago | (#5483951)

"They were tracking him for some time," an unnamed intelligence official told the American news magazine US News and World Report. "He would shift; they would follow."

To me, if they were tracking him, that tells that they knew where he was. So, why didn't they just use the tracking from Echelon to capture Mohammed, instead of paying out 27 million to someone else also?



To quote Bill Maher:

Khalid Sheikh Sheikh Sheikh, Sheikh Sheikh Sheikh, Sheikh Mohammed!

Don't believe everything you read (5, Insightful)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484024)

Just because it on the internet doesn't make it so.

Just because a government spokesman says it doesn't make it so.

If your mother tells you that the stork brought you, it doesn't make it so.

Always remain skeptical and ask yourself why they want everyone to have this information.

Re:Umm.. Why pay? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5484051)

"They were tracking him for some time," an unnamed intelligence official told the American news magazine US News and World Report. "He would shift; they would follow."

To me, if they were tracking him, that tells that they knew where he was. So, why didn't they just use the tracking from Echelon to capture Mohammed, instead of paying out 27 million to someone else also?


Maybe they wanted to be able to continue to deny the existance of echelon.

Re:Umm.. Why pay? (1)

Alcohol Fueled (603402) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484073)

If they want to continue to deny the existance of Echelon, then why would Echelon even be mentioned at all?

To Quote Janine Melnitz: (3, Funny)

LittleGuy (267282) | more than 11 years ago | (#5483955)

WE GOT ONE! [imdb.com]

Echelon AND $25 Million Reward (1)

johndiii (229824) | more than 11 years ago | (#5483963)

Something tells me that the al-Qaeda informant had something to do with this as well. The article raises several interesting question about the arrest. Who actually was in charge?

Also, what is the point (for the government) in releasing information about the capabilities of Echelon and how effectively it is being used? The net effect is to make the terrorists (and drug dealers, per the article) more circumspect. Is this a good thing? Or was that the aim of the disclosure in the first place?

As it was intended (5, Interesting)

Shadow2097 (561710) | more than 11 years ago | (#5483964)

While its still a fair target to use for Big Brother type arguments, hopefully this event will score a few points for proponents of 21st century electronic surveilance.

This guy is a fair and legitimate target for electronic surveilance. He's a know leader of a network of individuals who are dedicated to causing harm to untold millions of people whose biggest crime is living in a country whose ideals he disagrees with. If Echelon is used fairly and honestly in these types of situations, then I will not complain one bit about the extraordinary secrecy of its network.

-Shadow

Re:As it was intended (3, Insightful)

anthony_dipierro (543308) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484092)

If Echelon is used fairly and honestly in these types of situations, then I will not complain one bit about the extraordinary secrecy of its network.

In order for Echelon to find Mohammed they had to scan the voices of him and thousands if not millions of others. By design using Echelon on the bad guys requiers using Echelon on the good guys as well.

Re:As it was intended (1, Interesting)

More Trouble (211162) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484100)

He's a know leader of a network of individuals who are dedicated to causing harm to untold millions of people whose biggest crime is living in a country whose ideals he disagrees with.

Oh! I thought the biggest crime was not keeping our errant gov'ment in check, letting it install and support a bunch of nasty repressive dictators in countries this guy considers his homeland. My mistake.

Did you get a load of the CIA reports that those damn Iraqis are planning to use Terrorist Methods against our beloved soldiers when we attack them? The nerve. I mean, what, they think they have the right to defend their borders from an extra-national aggressor? Who do they think they are, the Founding Fathers?

:w

Re:As it was intended (1)

mstockman (188945) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484103)

If Echelon is used fairly and honestly in these types of situations, then I will not complain one bit about the extraordinary secrecy of its network.

If it's being used "fairly and honestly," and it's truly an effective tool, why does it need to be extraordinarily secret? The world has known, contrary to the various participants' best efforts, that Echelon exists for several years now, and it still worked to catch this guy.

I worry more about extraordinary secrecy than surveillance... because I don't know that I can trust the people keeping the secrets "for our own good."

AGREED (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5484104)

mod parent UP ^^^^^^

Re:As it was intended (5, Interesting)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484118)

If Echelon is used fairly and honestly in these types of situations, then I will not complain one bit about the extraordinary secrecy of its network.

I think the main problem people have with Echelon is that the European Commision investigation into it concluded the US was using it for corporate/economic sabotage, for instance shortly after an executive of some big aerospace company talked about a bid they were making on a phone, a large american firm who was also making a bid changed their numbers to be slightly less than what the european one was bidding.

So, the worry is that when there aren't any terrorists to catch, it will be and has been used for other things.

heh (5, Funny)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 11 years ago | (#5483966)

Looks like mr Mohammed wasn't wearing his tinfoil hat...

We can quibble, (3, Funny)

irving47 (73147) | more than 11 years ago | (#5483970)

We can argue abou the wisdom of echelon, using it, or even writing articles in the papers about it... (Something I think is really not in our national best interest.) All I know is if I hear one word from the ACLU about this guy's civil liberties or privacy being violated, I'm going to start hoping they turn into cactus fertilizer.

Re:We can quibble, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5484039)

Spot the reactionary idiot!

It says "alleged" for a reason, you brainwashed moron.

Re:We can quibble, (2, Funny)

Dovregubbens Hall (583591) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484081)

There's only one thing to hope for: That someone starts pointing their finger at you.

Re:We can quibble, (1)

irving47 (73147) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484105)

There's a difference between being brainwashed and paying attention to these issues. You've obviously confused them.

Re:We can quibble, (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5484113)

Who cares about his civil liberties or even the Constitution?

There's one thing in the USA that overrides the Constitution - international treaties. Treaties like the International Telecommunications Convention. Article 22 promises that member states "agree to take all possible measures, compatible with the system of telecommunication used, with a view to ensuring the secrecy of international correspondence".

There is something above and beyond his Constitutional rights that protects him from Echelon.

echelon capabilities (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5483974)

The real question is, does echelon have the technical ability to tear a person's balls off once the subject has been located?

But is it him? (5, Informative)

Ravenscall (12240) | more than 11 years ago | (#5483976)

Considering This [paknews.com] and This [atimes.com] , He may already be dead.

I find the entire thing suspect personally.

Job searchers take note... (5, Interesting)

Wino (655084) | more than 11 years ago | (#5483981)

The rival magazine Newsweek quoted a Middle Eastern intelligence source as saying that an unidentified al-Qaida member "turned over and made a deal with the United States", taking the $25m reward offered and extracting a supplementary $2m in order to relocate with his family to the United Kingdom. A US law enforcement source confirmed that the payment had been made, the magazine said.

$25M and a legal visa... terrorism seems to pay well.

I find it odd... (2)

tprox (621523) | more than 11 years ago | (#5483987)

that someone made out with $25 million dollars for the tip.

I guess the US saves money in the long run, but it kind of sickens me that in a sense, the US taxpayer is paying some guy for opening his mouth.

Re:I find it odd... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5484049)

Why? I really don't understand. Is yours just a particularly revolting case of avarice or is it something else?

Re:I find it odd... (1)

Lorgalis (574808) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484068)

but it kind of sickens me that in a sense, the US taxpayer is paying some guy for opening his mouth

especially when they can just have used the same methods they now use to make Mr Mohammed talk...

*sigh* what a waste...

Problem with Surveillance... (3, Insightful)

epicstruggle (311178) | more than 11 years ago | (#5483993)

and in particular pervasive surveillance is that from time to time you will actually catch the bad guy. The problem/question is how much is too much for the amount of gain. I think that people are being unreasonable to request no surveillance and expect bad guys to be captured. There needs to be a national debate to determine how much the govermnent should be keeping track of to get the bad guys, the smaller the holes in the net, the more terrorist will be caught. But those false positives, will be awfull mad when caught by mistake.

later,

Re:Problem with Surveillance... (1)

anthony_dipierro (543308) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484125)

The problem/question is how much is too much for the amount of gain.

OK, so how much damage has been actually caused by Echelon? Who has been arrested due to a false positive? What inconveniences have come about because of Echelon? And are these problems worth it to catch the mastermind behind the most tragic event of the millenium?

I've heard a lot of paranoid rantings about it, but I've yet to hear an actual case of someone being inconvenienced by Echelon.

This is too extreme.. (0)

Dri (16940) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484001)

.. to get me paranoid. Call me when we are here [imdb.com] . Then I'll unplug.

So, is this the *first* success? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5484003)

...or were the other "successes" merely not palatable to the general public? ie. privacy violations, industrial espionage, etc.?

Not good enough (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5484011)

You know how else you can catch terrorists? You can plant a bug up everybody's ass! Yeah! And then we'll really see the arrests and convictions pile up!

I'm glad we got el creepy numero uno. But I'm scared to death that this kind of thing will continue to foment more enthusiasm for the police state philistinism we're coming to know and love. Some bimbo spent a couple minutes on CNN the other day gushing about the promise of biometrics. (She didn't have enough time to actually research a story, so she just regurgitated some PR tripe she was sent, I guess.) People can't get enough. Wake up! This is why people write history books - to help us learn from the mistakes of the past. And this is what we get because nobody fucking reads them. We're going to get what we deserve.

Letter of Thanks (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5484026)

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Sincerely,
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And we're trusting the Guardian on this? (1)

jeramybsmith (608791) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484027)

Pardon me for being a bit skeptical.

Not Echelon. COLD, HARD CASH. (5, Insightful)

MightyTribble (126109) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484028)


It seems it was a tip-off, not Echelon, that ultimately led to Mohammed's capture. Read the article, and you'll see that some lucky Al-Quayda grunt turned coat and pocketed a cool $25 million dollars.

It's in the US's interests to hype Echelon ("Woooo! We can seeeeeee you!") rather than admit they really got their man through good old fashioned bribery and traitors. Sure, Exchelon helped once they KNEW THE GUY'S STREET ADDRESS. But it was pretty much useless until they were told where to look.

Still, good catch. Here's hoping there's another footsoldier of god out there who'll take $25mil in small bills in exchange for Osama's current location.

Re:Not Echelon. COLD, HARD CASH. (2, Funny)

spakka (606417) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484075)

$25 million can buy a lot of box-cutters.

Hmm.. (1)

DaLiNKz (557579) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484033)

Is mom's paranoia warrented? lol She thinks the government is after her ... maybe I should have a doctor visit ... or would he be part of a conspircy aswell ... oh dear.

Chalk one up for the good guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5484035)

Now we need to "extract" the information from that scumbag. Heh heh heh.

Talk about a great job.

101 fun ways to use your propane torch . . .

Re:Chalk one up for the good guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5484109)

I suspect he's getting the best psych drugs that money can buy.

UK Royal family... (4, Interesting)

pubjames (468013) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484038)


Something I've always wondered...

Quite a few years ago, there was a spate of embarrassing phone calls by members of the Royal family that found there way into the press. The phone calls were "acidentally" overhead and taped by amateur radio enthusiasts. There was reported evidence that the phone calls had actually been played repeatedly near the homes of these amateur radio enthusiasts - presumably as a way of leaking the calls without it being traceable back to the leakers.

What has never been explained (or at least I've never come across any explanation in the mainstream press) is who did or might have done this, and why.

In a similar vein, it was never explained how Colin Powell had a transcript of Bin Laden's last taped message, before the al-Jazeera station even had the tape. To me that means either:

1) It was a fabrication or
2) They know where Bin Laden is.

Re:UK Royal family... (4, Interesting)

prentiz (565940) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484108)

It is important to note that in the case of the UK royals they were using old analogue phones which you could overhear on a scanner (remember doing so when i was a kid!).

I think a more plausible explanation is that the hams in question knew what they were looking for and went out to find it.

Equally communications interception (possibly between intermediaries) is a more plausible explanation as to how the US got the Bin Ladin tape.

It is a new world we live in (5, Insightful)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484040)

I remember when stories like this were science fiction fodder.

People, we live in a new world. The same technology that allows us to expose the dirty laundry inside of corrupt organizations can also be used to expose and dirty laundry in your hamper.

The rules of the game have changed. You can no longer sit back and wonder if someone can see what you are doing, good or bad. They either can observe your actions directly, or they can retrieve the records to reconstruct the event. Political parties now have databases of everything someone has said in public, and can quickly cross reference even the most obscure quote. Sportscaster have massive databases of player statistics and can call up on a whim every dropped ball or missed catch.

What begs the question in my mind, is what are the rules of courtesy? When do you draw the line between what can be retrieved and what should be retreived. Too many people assume that just because you can do something you are compelled to do it. That is a fallicy that was first recognized by the greeks.

Great, more Anonymous Sources (5, Interesting)

Highwayman (68808) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484043)

If they "had been tracking him for some time", I wonder why they waiting so long to do anything. I suspect that the human intelligence had more to do with it than the alleged use of Echelon. The last person I would believe is some anonymous, talking-head Echelon apologist. I think there is some FUD involved. Exactly how do you provide oversight over a project like Echelon? I think that the system is probably used more to spy on people whose whereabouts are known than to track down some people in some sort of Hollywood "Bourne Identity" drama. If Echelon was designed to be a lost-and-found device that actually found Mohammed, I think you would hear a lot more chest-thumping from the intelligence community. The rest of the article is the real story. The NSA/CIA/EIEIO paid off some guy who sold his boss down the river.

How soon before this gets turned against Linux? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5484048)

After not having read the article and only reading the headline, I have to ask... How long before this gets turned against good, law abiding Linux and BSD users? We all know that Microsoft has no problems jumping in bed with the liberals (Ahem, Clinton!) and the conservatives (Ahem, Cheney!) as long as they are allowed to continue buying up the free world. So, how much of a stretch is it to imagine the big "Dick" sidling up to MS and playing smoochies with Bill Gates saying... "we'll crush Linux with new laws about terra-ism and using Echelon and put United States V 2.0 (R) Microsoft at the top of the world!!!" ??? Not much of stretch at all, is it? It seems horrible to me that we have tyrants like Gates, Cheney (Bush isn't running anything, he's just cowering like the scared little boy that he is) running the US government and business right now. Hopefully, someday after some common sense prevails, we'll look back at these dark days as an abomination to all that is good and pure (Open source, Linux, Socialism, protecting the environment, etc...). Until then, we have to defend ourselves. It is our RIGHT as human beings to have free software in both senses of the word! It is NOT the right of any company or government to tell you that you CAN'T have what you need to live and frankly these days having a computer and being able to hack is pretty much a necessity for the average geek. Not according to the article, there are big plans afoot to use Echelon in conjunction with Microsoft's DRM and "Trusted Computing" paradigms to cripple open source software. The government is in on this as well as Microsoft. A lot of this has to do with one simple fact that most people are not aware of... and remember, you heard it here first:

Last Fall, Microsoft purchased the US government. They've continued to let things appear to be pretty normal, but they are slowly replacing a lot of the politicians who took them to task during the anti-trust trials with MS marketing staff. If you don't believe me, go look at your new federal income tax forms. They are plastered with ads for MS Windows software for electronic filing. Think this is just a little thing? Well think again... WHY aren't they giving equal time to the open source alternatives for filing taxes? BECAUSE M$ owns the US government. Mark my words, Bill Gates IS the antichrist. He will be taking over during the next presidential election and then you will find out about how you are going to have to pay MS licensing to work in the US, to own property in the US, and to live in the US. The EULAs will specify that anyone with socialist leanings will be watched carefully. at the first sign of alternative OS usage, people will be shot.

(Clip)

We interrupt this tirade to tell you that everything you read up above is patently false. Microsoft is good for the US economy, good for your computer and good for you.

Thanks,
The Management

Re:How soon before this gets turned against Linux? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5484094)

Sir, let me get this straight... you are saying that we must lick the dick in a bobbing piston-like motion, or as a slobbery free-for-all?

Echelon (2, Interesting)

broothal (186066) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484052)

"If you say a lie often enough it becomes truth"... I've never seen nor heard any solid evidence that Echelon exists. But the press has been using the word "echelon" as a common denominator for all intelligence involving electronic surveilance.

Now, I'm not denying it's existence (nor am I trying to start a discussion wether it does or not), I'm just saying that journalists should be more careful when they chose their words.

AHAHHHAHAHHHAAA! MR BOND NOW I HAVE YOU! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5484066)

Growing up in SE UK we lived near part of the echelon system. In hampshire, near Alton I seem to recall there were these giant "golfballs".

Hell, we knew what they were all about back then. Well, kind of.

We just knew that they were part of a listening system that tapped into phonecalls.

I used to imagine men in black turning up for work every day in right hand drive cadillacs and listening to english housewives talk about the weather

Another one of my bonehead ideas.... (1)

Asprin (545477) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484079)


Hey, it's early and I've only had three cups of joe so I'm probably talking out of my hinder, but what are the odds that the marketing of these disposable phones was proposed by law enforcement as a ruse to bait terrorists and criminals into using a very easily monitored private network for all of their communications?

Ok, blowhole deobstructed, commence down-modding.

(sips coffee)

Echelon? (1)

blankmange (571591) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484085)

Wasn't everyone denying its existence not too long ago??? A massive coverup/whitewash job followed by, "Oh, by the way, we have this, we are using, and look what we did with it...."

While this one instance may be a good thing (at least the results appear to be), what else is Echelon being used for???

Re:Echelon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5484119)

Wasn't everyone denying its existence not too long ago??? A massive coverup/whitewash job followed by, "Oh, by the way, we have this, we are using, and look what we did with it...."

Coverup? That wasn't a coverup, %\y/Hsj** was covered up!

Why not use quotes? (0, Troll)

MrFredBloggs (529276) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484090)

"Caught". We don't know, and you (the poster of the story) certainly don't.

It's heart-warming to see such trust in the authorities and the media.

AHAHHHHAAAAAAAAAA! MR BOND, I HAVE YOU NOW! (1)

tenjah (590104) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484093)

Growing up in SE UK we lived near part of the echelon system. In hampshire, near Alton I recall there were these giant "golfballs".

Hell, we knew what they were all about back then. Well, kind of.

We just knew that they were part of a listening system that tapped into phonecalls.

As a child, I used to imagine men in black turning up for work every day in right hand drive cadillacs and listening to english housewives talk about the weather

But they were very impressive looking golfballs

Re:AHAHHHHAAAAAAAAAA! MR BOND, I HAVE YOU NOW! (1)

tenjah (590104) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484120)

BTW, that'd be LEFT hand drive cadillacs. You hear me? LEFT.

Who says 2:30pm is too early for whisky??!

Let's watch the idiot parade begin (0, Interesting)

filmcritic (190324) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484096)

This is for all the blockheaded, blinded-by-stallmans-ignorance, pseudointellectuals that live in Mom's basement:

Echelon did exactly what it was designed to do - catch criminals.

Don't flatter yourselves thinking that the US govt would waste one second of it's time monitoring your calls to the phone sex line or your visits to nakedgeekgrrls.com. Honestly, why would anyone here even begin to think they would use such a powerful tool to find you? Must be a guilty conscience or paranoid delusions of the DMCA police taking your little MP3 collection. They could find you in a heartbeat if they wanted to, WITHOUT using Echelon. Here's a tip for ya - if the feds want you, they'll find you by tax records, credit records, driver's license/registration, etc etc. Now I know you eggheads watched the X-Files (and thought it was a reality show)...they found everyone they wanted without using anything like Echelon.

Catching that crusty, hairy ape was fan-fucking-tastic - one more asshole responsible for the deaths of 3000 of my fellow Americans. If you have a problem with the methods used to capture these boils on the collective asshole of the human race, then I have a serious problem with you. I watched 2 mighty buildings in the greatest city in the world collapse, killing thousands of my countrymen. I won't tolerate any jackass spouting shit about the methods used to capture those fuckheads. Get off the linux/free/communist/socialist ideology and use your goddamn head for once - those responsible need to found, pumped for intelligence, then shot. By ANY means necessary - find them.

in other news... (1)

borgdows (599861) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484110)

Khalid Cheik Mohammed's nickname on MSN Messenger was Romantic_Terrorist

If Echelon is that good... (1)

kiwimate (458274) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484117)

...then why haven't they caught the person or persons responsible for sending the anthrax-laden letters shortly after the terrorist attacks?

Pretty nebulous... (1)

Trolling4Dollars (627073) | more than 11 years ago | (#5484122)

I wonder if Echelon is just a fake like the research for nuclear powered air fighters during and after WWII? The supposed research back then spent a huge amount of money over the course of about four years and came up empty handed. Later on, it was revealed that this was just a convenient way for some companies to funnel money out of the government and into private hands. No research ever actually took place, just a lot of cheap show and blow to satisfy a few of the curious.
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