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NSA Wiretapping Whistleblowers Found Dead in Italy and Greece

 
BushCo@work
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08/28/2006 08:39 AM
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NSA Wiretapping Whistleblowers Found Dead in Italy and Greece
BLOGGED BY Joseph Cannon ON 8/22/2006 7:23PM
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 Vodafone’s system to activate the legal software and erase the traces of the phone-tapping.


read more


[link to www.bradblog.com]

Last Edited by Mister Obvious on 05/01/2014 09:48 PM
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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08/28/2006 08:48 AM
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Re: NSA Wiretapping Whistleblowers Found Dead in Italy and Greece
Security Experts' 'Suicides' Called Into Question: European Media Probe Dangers of Secret Surveillance Systems

By Jeffrey Klein and Paolo Pontoniere, New America Media

Editor's Note: European journalists and investigators are tracking the mysterious deaths of two security experts -- one in Italy, the other in Greece -- who had uncovered extensive spyware in their telecommunications firms. So far, despite possible U.S. links to the extralegal, politicized spy operations, few U.S. media have picked up the trail. Jeffrey Klein, a founding editor of Mother Jones, this summer received a Loeb, journalism's top award for business reporting. Paolo Pontoniere is a New America Media European commentator.

Just after noon on Friday, July 21, Adamo Bove -- head of security at Telecom Italia, the country's largest telecommunications firm -- told his wife he had some errands to run as he left their Naples apartment. Hours later, police found his car parked atop a freeway overpass. Bove's body lay on the pavement some 100 feet below.

Bove was a master at detecting hidden phone networks. Recently, at the direction of Milan prosecutors, he'd used mobile phone records to trace how a "Special Removal Unit" composed of CIA and SISMI (the Italian CIA) agents abducted Abu Omar, an Egyptian cleric, and flew him to Cairo where he was tortured. The Omar kidnapping and the alleged involvement of 26 CIA agents, whom prosecutors seek to arrest and extradite, electrified Italian media. U.S. media noted the story, then dropped it.

The first Italian press reports after Bove's death said the 42-year-old had committed suicide. Bove, according to unnamed sources, was depressed about his imminent indictment by Milan prosecutors. But prosecutors immediately, and uncharacteristically, set the record straight: Bove was not a target; in fact, he was prosecutors' chief source. Bove, prosecutors said, was helping them investigate his own bosses, who were orchestrating an illegal wiretapping bureau and the destruction of incriminating digital evidence. One Telecom executive had already been forced out when he was caught conducting these illicit operations, as well as selling intercepted information to a business intelligence firm.

About 16 months earlier, in March of 2005, Costas Tsalikidis, a 38-year-old software engineer for Vodaphone in Greece had just discovered a highly sophisticated bug embedded in the company's mobile network. The spyware eavesdropped on the prime minister's and other top officials' cell phone calls; it even monitored the car phone of Greece's secret service chief. Others bugged included civil rights activists, the head of Greece's "Stop the War" coalition, journalists and Arab businessmen based in Athens. All the wiretapping began about two months before the Olympics were hosted by Greece in August 2004, according to a subsequent investigation by the Greek authorities.

Tsalikidis, according to friends and family, was excited about his work and was looking forward to marrying his longtime girlfriend. But on March 9, 2005, his elderly mother found him hanging from a white rope tied to pipes outside of his apartment bathroom. His limp feet dangled a mere three inches above the floor. His death was ruled a suicide; he, like Adamo Bove, left no suicide note.

The next day, Vodaphone's top executive in Greece reported to the prime minister that unknown outsiders had illicitly eavesdropped on top government officials. Before making his report, however, the CEO had the spyware destroyed, even though this destroyed the evidence as well.

Investigations into the alleged suicides of both Adamo Bove and Costas Tsalikidis raise questions about more than the suspicious circumstances of their deaths. They point to politicized, illegal intelligence structures that rely upon cooperative business executives. European prosecutors and journalists probing these spying networks have revealed that:

-- 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, Vodaphone'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.

-- in both the Italian and Greek cases, the spyware was much more deeply embedded and clever than anything either phone company had seen before. Its creation required highly experienced engineers and expensive laboratories where the software could be subjected to the stresses of a national telephone system. Greek investigators concluded that the Vodaphone spyware was created outside of Greece.

-- once placed, the spyware could have vast reach since most host companies are merging their Internet, mobile telephone and fixed-line operations onto a single platform.

-- Germany's Federal Intelligence Service, BND, recently snooped on investigative journalists. According to parliamentary investigations, the spying may have been carried out using the United States's secretive Bad Aibling base in the Bavarian Alps, which houses the American global eavesdropping program dubbed Echelon.

Were the two alleged suicides more than an eerie coincidence? A few media in Italy -- La Stampa, Dagospia and Feltrinelli, among others -- have noted the unsettling parallels. But so far no journalists have been able to overcome the investigative hurdles posed by two entirely different criminal inquiry systems united only by two prime ministers not eager to provoke the White House's wrath. In the United States, where massive eavesdropping programs have operated since 9/11, investigators, reporters and members of Congress have not explored whether those responsible for these spying operations may be using them for partisan purposes or economic gain. As more troubling revelations come out of Europe, it may become more difficult to ignore how easily spying programs can be hijacked for illegitimate purposes. The brave soul who pursues this line of inquiry, however, should fear for his or her life.


[link to mediachannel.org]
Anonymous Coward
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08/28/2006 09:44 AM
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Re: NSA Wiretapping Whistleblowers Found Dead in Italy and Greece
vendetta lflash vendetta bump
Anonymous Coward
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08/28/2006 09:53 AM
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Re: NSA Wiretapping Whistleblowers Found Dead in Italy and Greece
Whistleblowing is getting more and more dangerous.
Anonymous Coward
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08/28/2006 10:31 AM
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Re: NSA Wiretapping Whistleblowers Found Dead in Italy and Greece
dynamite
NSA Wiretapping Whistleblowers Found Dead in Italy and Greece
Quote

BLOGGED BY Joseph Cannon ON 8/22/2006 7:23PM
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.
Shadow Dancer

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08/28/2006 10:35 AM
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Re: NSA Wiretapping Whistleblowers Found Dead in Italy and Greece
bump


for truth


whistleblowers have no protection

they have to have the multiple whistleblower bug out proof kits in various locations---

provides some leverage to staying alive

some
All choices have consequences, choose wisely, CHOOSE WISELY.
Anonymous Coward
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08/28/2006 10:54 AM
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Re: NSA Wiretapping Whistleblowers Found Dead in Italy and Greece
"The Prime Minister and other top officials were targeted, along with Greek military officers, anti-war activists, various business figures..."

Who is to say that our "beyond reproach" congress critters and other top US officials haven't been bugged? It would be poetic justice because that would make them equally subject to scrutiny as we are under Patriot Act II. And there wouldn't be a darn thing they could do about it. So much for THEIR Constitutional rights to privacy.
.
Anonymous Coward
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08/28/2006 11:06 AM
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Re: NSA Wiretapping Whistleblowers Found Dead in Italy and Greece
Just like all them microbiologists, just coincidence. scream
Anonymous Coward
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08/28/2006 11:26 AM
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Re: NSA Wiretapping Whistleblowers Found Dead in Italy and Greece
Just like all them microbiologists, just coincidence. scream
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 105115


Not to mention the astronomers that had "accidents". Several of them were snuffed in France in a ski lift incident, but they weren't the only ones.
.
Anonymous Coward
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08/28/2006 11:28 AM
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Re: NSA Wiretapping Whistleblowers Found Dead in Italy and Greece
Just like all them microbiologists, just coincidence. scream


Not to mention the astronomers that had "accidents". Several of them were snuffed in France in a ski lift incident, but they weren't the only ones.
.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 136685

Ah yes, the guys who accidentely found out the NSA and/or NRO had several officially not-existing deepspace probes active.

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