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2000 04 03 * Ekstra Bladet * We spied on companies and Heads of State * Bo Elkjaer, Kenan Seeberg

Echelon's espionage was aimed at European companies and political heads of state says defected Canadian spy, Fred Stock.


Shortly before the Berlin Wall came tumbling down in 1989, Echelon's espionage services were reorganized to perform espionage on political and financial circles in Europe.

So says defected Echelon spy Fred Stock to Ekstra Bladet today.

Fred Stock experienced how the CSE, Canada's Echelon service, was instructed by Echelon's big brother in the US, the NSA, to focus on politics, interest groups and companies in the 'European Union'.

"We were up to date on the negotiating positions of many companies. We knew what they were making offers for and when. On the whole, we were quite well informed on the issues they were considering."

Do you remember the names of any specific companies?
"Thousands of messages passed through my hands, but I remember a company named Airbus, for example. We had a lot of intelligence on them."



"We knew which plane France wanted to sell and at what price. Basically, we were informed of everything that was involved in major transactions, like who was submitting tenders and the figures they were operating with, what they were willing to pay and sell for. We kept a close eye on what was happening in the agricultural sector, too. Big wheat deals, for example."

So you were deliberately monitoring transactions like the one in France to find out what they were offering?
"Yes, there were a lot of examples of that kind of thing."



According to Ekstra Bladet's sources, Europe's jointly-owned Airbus aerospace company lost a major order to Saudi Arabia in 1994. The winners in the deal were two US companies, Boeing and McDonnell-Douglas, who received an order totaling 42 billion Danish kroner (6 billion US dollars).

Fred Stock's information about extensive industrial espionage is confirmed by another former CSE agent, Edwina Slattery, whom Ekstra Bladet has spoken with.

"My job only involved analyzing surveillance against 'the bad guys', (the East bloc countries - ed.)." But there were other departments that took care of financial spying and industrial espionage."



Echelon's surveillance was also used to keep close tabs on Europe's politicians. Fred Stock tells how:

"We knew where the various politicians were, and what they intended to do. We had nothing less than access to their personal plans."

Did that also include politicians in Europe?
"Definitely. Even heads of state. Based on the intelligence I saw, we knew who they were supposed to meet and what they had discussed."
"It was a fascinating job. We were constantly on top of events that were happening all over the world. I always thought it would have been a perfect job for a journalist," smiles Fred Stock.



Fred Stock was fired from his intelligence job in 1993. The dismissal came after several years of harassment from his colleagues in the espionage service. Fred Stock was fired in the late 80s because he started asking too many questions about the moral, ethical and legal status of their espionage activities. It wasn't a very popular thing to do.

"Their harassment really got rough after I decided to talk with members of the Canadian parliament. And after firing me in '93, they pulled out all the stops."

After almost twenty years of service for the clandestine agencies, the CSE tried to deprive him of his rightful pension. To this very day, Fred Stock is still struggling to for his right to receive it. At the same time, he is living at a subsistence level ¯ because the harassment from the spies has continued all the way to the present. Fred Stock has had great difficulty getting a new job, for example. Even as an ordinary office clerk.

"Every time I felt like the job interview had gone very well, I was rejected anyway. I wondered why, until I discovered that CSE was putting obstacles in my way.

Several times they even turned up at my address and tried to bully me into not talking to anyone."

"At one point, the boss for the CSE's security group showed up with another man in black. Just to intimidate me."