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Corr. not Mt. Hermon (Golan Heights), but indeed the Negev desert ...

Israel's most important SIGINT station at Urim base   by New Zealand's Nicky Hager

Israel's Urim base in the Negev desert is among the most important and powerful intelligence gathering sites in the world. Yet, until now, its eavesdropping has gone entirely unmentioned.

Israel's powerful position in the Middle East is often associated with its armed forces, nuclear weapons arsenal or covert (Mossad) operatives. But just as important is its intelligence gathering - monitoring governments, international organisations, foreign companies, political organisations and individuals. Most of this happens at the installation in the Negev a couple of kilometres to the north of the kibbutz of Urim. Our sources, close to Israeli intelligence, know the base first-hand. They describe lines of satellite dishes of different sizes, and barracks and operations buildings on both sides of the road (the 2333) that leads to the base. High security gates, fences and dogs protect the facility. As you can see on the internet, the satellite images of the base are quite clear. A practised eye easily discerns the signs of an electronic surveillance base. A large circle in the farmland shows the site of a direction-finding antenna (HF/DF) for monitoring shipping.

The Urim base was established decades ago to monitor Intelsat satellites that relay phone calls between countries. It expanded to cover maritime communications (Inmarsat), then rapidly targeted ever more numerous regional satellites. As such, says intelligence specialist Duncan Campbell, it is "akin to the UK-USA pact's Echelon satellite interception ground stations". The Echelon System is a network of interception stations around the world, set up in 1996 by the US, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Satellite phones used by the Gaza-bound aid ships were easy targets for this hi-tech equipment.

Our Israeli sources described how the computers are "programmed to detect words and phone numbers of interest" from intercepted phone calls, emails etc, then transferred to Unit 8200 - the headquarters of Israeli signals intelligence - in the city of Herzliya, north of Tel Aviv. There they are translated and passed on to other agencies, including the army and Mossad.

[See also website of Nicky Hager]



Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.
by Oui on Sun Feb 9th, 2014 at 01:48:54 PM EST

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