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2000 04 03 * Ekstra Bladet * Greenpeace singled out as surveillance target * Bo Elkjaer, Kenan Seeberg

We knew what Greenpeace intended to do before they even realized it themselves, reveals former Echelon agent.

  

The legal, political-environmental organization Greenpeace is under constant surveillance by US and Canadian agents through the NSA's Echelon system. So says former Canadian spy Fred Stock to Ekstra Bladet today.

"Based on the messages I saw, it was very clear that we could follow Greenpeace's vessels everywhere they went. And we were totally aware of their precise positions at all times."

Fred Stock was communications operator in Canada's espionage service which to this very day is directly linked to the NSA's global surveillance system. Fred Stock received the monitored messages at the espionage headquarters in Ottawa, Canada, sorted them and saw to it that they were distributed to analysts in the espionage service.

"There were always messages about Greenpeace. The messages dealt with their ships, where they were docked, their presumed destinations and planned activities.

"What about the local groups on land?

We were highly and specifically informed on their intended plans ¯ in advance. Before they even did anything. Greenpeace was a very important target. Simply speaking, we knew what they were going to do before they even knew it themselves."

 

FREEDOM AT STAKE

At the environmental organization's Scandinavian headquarters, the information is somewhat of a shock to campaign manager Jan Sønderg°rd.

"It is really very frightening, very disturbing. I am also very distressed on behalf of other NGO's, to put it mildly."

It's right to say that your organization is involved in 'direct actions' though, isn't it?
"Yes, but we don't try to hide it either. It is also known as normal civil disobedience, but without any form of violence and vandalism, and we are very open about what we do."

"I feel very uneasy about what you just told meé"

How so?
"Well, we're talking about basic constitutional rights and the right to privacy. I want to be able to talk to my friends, colleagues and family without anyone else listening in. We are a fully legal political enterprise. And the people who participate in our actions are willing to take their punishment if it turns out they have violated the limits of the law. This is a very unpleasant situation."

 

ARRESTED BEFORE THE ACTION

Mads Christensen is an action supervisor at Greenpeace. He is not nearly as surprised when Ekstra Bladet tells him that Greenpeace is on Echelon's blacklist. Mads Christensen tells how Greenpeace has recently experienced events that clearly indicate they are being spied on. One incident involved the arrest of a Greenpeace activist 'before' they even went into action.

"We organized four actions all of which were targeted against genetically modified products, and three of them failed. As a matter of fact, our actions normally succeed."

"The interesting feature is that the three failed actions were all directed at US ships containing genetically modified products from the Monsanto company. At one of the actions, our activists were arrested in England before they even had a chance to take action, and in the two other cases, the targeted ships were diverted.

What was the successful action's target?
"An Argentine ship, and it was odd that the only action not directed at a US company was the one that succeeded.