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Related to Echelon system: Project ECHELON
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Another major support for the Echelon system is the US spy satellite network and its corresponding reception bases scattered about the UKUSA empire.
This group of one supremo and four lesser lights has a great many coinciding interests and obligations as demonstrated by the existence of the semi-secret Echelon system that vacuums up phone and internet calls possibly pertaining to terrorist or criminal activities and dumps it in an American database for corroboration and distribution to relevant allied police, military, and governmental agencies.
A hangover from the Cold War, the Echelon system allows the five member countries of the secret "UKUSA" pact (the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and Australia), which probably dates back to 1948, to intercept e-mails, telephone calls and faxes anywhere in the world, as a result of a chain of interception facilities dotted all over the globe.