Brad Friedman
NSA Wiretapping Whistleblowers Found Dead
Tue Aug 29, 2006 00:06


The Men Who Knew Too Much?
Brad Friedman

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?

Is someone murdering people who know too much about NSA wiretapping

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

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

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

This is, by any measure, a troubling admission — especially since
Ericsson manufactures many mobile phones used in the United States.
Vodaphone insists they were never informed of this "feature" in
Ericsson phones, although Ericsson executive Bill Zikou has testified
that the company disclosed the truth via its sales force and
instruction manuals.

American security expert John Brady Kiesling reveals further details
about the bugging devices in Ericsson cell phones:

Built into the Ericsson (Sweden) software that runs the Vodafone
(UK-owned) mobile telephony network switching system in Greece, and
similar GSM service providers around the world, is a little-known
"Legal Interception" software package designed to be used by law
enforcement authorities. This software allows incoming and outgoing
conversations from allegedly up to 5000-6000 mobile phone numbers to
be recorded, on presentation of a valid judicial warrant. [A friend in
telecoms claims governments require that telephone companies give law
enforcement authorities the capability to monitor up to 5% of active
calls as one precondition for an operating license]. However, to
unlock and use the eavesdropping package, the company must pay
Ericsson a hefty fee (allegedly four million euros). The Greek
government allegedly refused to pay this fee, despite its desire for
wiretapping capability during the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics. One
reason was that a clear legal basis for such eavesdropping was not yet
in place.

Apparently someone persuaded a Vodafone or Ericsson employee with
access to the switching network to install a software parasite in at
least four and possibly more of the 22 call management centers that
Vodafone operates in Greece.

The family of Costas Tsalikidis, the whistleblower who was found
hanged in his apartment, does not accept the verdict of suicide.
Neither does his fiancée. The Greek press has hinted at further

The prosecutor also visited the lawyer of Taslikidis' family,
Themistoklis Sofos, who announced that his clients will be filing a
lawsuit against unknown parties for embezzlement and falsification of
documents pertaining to the deceased's emails. In addition, they will
subpoena all those who participated in the much-publicised meeting
just before the revelation of the wiretappings; a meeting Vodafone
denies ever having taken place.
Perhaps most disturbing of all, Vodaphone had eliminated the spyware
from its system before Greek intelligence could conduct an
examination. Greek spy chief Ioannis Korantis testified that this move
amounted to destruction of evidence.

Are Ericsson cell phones the only ones with the built-in spy
technology? We can't be sure. But one thing is certain: When the
fellow on TV asks "Can you hear me now?", the person he's addressing
may not be the only one who can say yes.


Free Market News Network, FL - Aug 24, 2006
Is someone murdering people who know too much about NSA wiretapping overseas? Two whistleblowers — one in Italy, one in Greece — uncovered a secret bugging ...

... American Patriot said on 8/26/2006 @ 7:42 am PT...

There is only ONE way to stop the tyranny that now threatens every American —
2. Have every state in the union recall their congressmen and senators back to remain in their respective states and conduct business under the auspices and review of their state legislature and governor.
4. Restore the rule of constitutional Law over all government throughout the US.
5. Initiate full public investigations into all government activities over the last 60 years, particularly any agency that engaged in espionage, spying and black ops as well as private businesses such as the IRS and the criminal syndicate, the Federal Reserve that has bankrupted the American Republic and turned the wealthiest nation into an impoverished debtor nation unable to recover from it's insurmountable mountain of exponentially increasing debt.
6. Prosecute ALL individuals who engaged in or are continuing to engage in criminal, seditionist and treasoous activities or who has aided in or engaged in sedition and treason to overthrow the Constitutional republic of the United States, including impeachment and removal from office or the bench, PARTICULARLY THOSE INVOLVED IN THE CONSPIRACY TO FORM THE SOVIET-STYLE "NORTH AMERICAN UNION" (the notorious attempt to overthrow the US, Canada and Mexico and impose an unelected and unaccountable New World Fourth Reich fascist Order dictatorship over all three nations. The sovereign people of all three nations must rise up to thwart this threat to their respective nations before the NAZIs secure their grip over the nations with their fast emerging total surveillance fascist police state.

Do you know about the spy sting on Iran?

Main Page - Monday, 09/04/06

Message Board by American Patriot Friends Network [APFN]


messageboard.gif (4314 bytes)