by Susan Bryce
Nexus Magazine Aug/Sept 1995
In July this year, the UKUSA
Agreement ’celebrates’ 48 years of operation . But there will be no
fanfare, no ceremonies and no media attention marking the event.
secrecy, it will continue to operate in secrecy, linking the:
A view of the Joint
Defence Space Research Facility, Pine Gap, near Alice Springs, NT,
from one of the
surrounding hills showing all eight radomes.
The United Kingdom United
States Agreement is one of the most important treaties ever entered into
by the English-speaking world, and one of the least well-known. Desmond
Ball (1990) has described the UKUSA pact as "the ties that bind", a
treaty which obligates Australia to cooperate with the other UKUSA
partners. To this date, it has never been officially acknowledged by any
country. This article examines some of the significant organizations and
projects that operate under the UKUSA pact.
Despite the secrecy surrounding the agreement, quite a considerable
amount of technical information has been made available through the work
of researchers such as Desmond Ball and James Bamford. They have,
however, been at pains to ensure that "there is no single mention of the
subject of UFOs" (Good, 1987, p.412).
While the exact day and month of the UKUSA pact continue to be debated,
the year itself, 1947, bears significance as the year of the alleged
Roswell UFO crash in New Mexico and heightened UFO activity.
(Incidentally, the first A-bomb test was in New Mexico [Cathie, 1990,
Cooper (1991, p.196), between January 1947 and December
1952 at least 16 crashed or downed alien craft, 65 bodies and one live
alien were recovered. Of these, 13 occurred within the borders of the
United States. Research Ronald R. Russell reported that the British
Deputy Directorate of Intelligence had 15,000 UFO reports on file from
1947 to 1954 (Good, 1989, p.31).
The nature of the UKUSA Agreement has provided its organs with a unique
autonomy and ability to pry into any avenue that proves interesting.
Top-secret military bases such as
Pine Gap, Nurrungar and
operate under the UKUSA pact. So, too, does the clandestine National
Security Agency (NSA). Research conducted for the "Star Wars" project,
now linked with the deaths of 22 defense scientists, is also conducted
under the auspices of the UKUSA Agreement.
The initial idea of the agreement was to carve up the globe into spheres
of cryptological influence. Each country was assigned specific targets
according to its potential for maximum intercept coverage. UKUSA brought
together, under a single umbrella, the SIGINT (signals intelligence)
organizations of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom,
Australia and New Zealand. In recent years, Japan, Korea and NATO
nations have joined the pact.
Prior to the UKUSA Agreement, an arrangement known as BRUSA existed.
BRUSA formalized cooperation between British and US COMINT
(communications intelligence) agencies.
Although top secret, news of the UKUSA Agreement leaked quickly to
Moscow through Kim Philby. As one American intelligence officer put it,
the UKUSA Agreement was "like opening up a party line to Moscow centre"
(Costello, 1988, p.516).
Signatories to the UKUSA Agreement conceded to standardize terminology,
code-words, intercept handling procedures and indoctrination oaths.
Today, cooperation among pact members occurs in areas such as monitoring
radio broadcasts, undertaking covert action and assassinations, overhead
reconnaissance, human intelligence, estimates, security intelligence,
counter-intelligence, training, seconding and equipment (Bamford, 1982,
UKUSA is a tiered agreement.
The National Security Agency is called the
The Australian Defence Signals Directorate (DSD)
British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ)
Communications Security Establishment
The New Zealand Government’s
Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) are "Second Parties"
countries are designated "Third Parties"
NSA - THE BIGGEST
BROTHER OF ALL
As the "First Party" to the UKUSA Agreement, the National Security
Agency undertakes numerous clandestine operations. It is arguably the
most significant intelligence-gathering agency. As the NSA was
established without any official legislation, there is nothing, legally,
that it cannot do. It is often referred to as No Such Agency!
The National Security Agency can only be described as the biggest
brother of all. Secretly launched by the Truman Administration on 4th
November 1954, the NSA today controls over 2,000 electronic intercept
stations, has a budget of over US$10 billion per year, and employs more
than 130,000 personnel around the world - making it even larger than the
CIA (Ball, 1980, p.33).
The NSA operates more than three billion dollars’ worth of decoding
machines, scramblers, computers and other forms of electronic equipment.
The first Cray computer was built specifically to meet the needs of the NSA.
There are 10 major departments within the NSA, including four
operational divisions, five staff and support sections, and one training
unit. Its basic functions are:
signals intelligence (SIGINT)
radar intelligence (RADINT)
human intelligence (HUMINT)
(Good, 1987, p.
The inner sanctum of the NSA is the
Central Security Service (CSS),
created by President Nixon in 1972. According to James Bamford (1982, p.
155), the CSS is the eyes and ears of America’s cryptological empire.
"They are soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen who sit in long rows
with earphones, turning dials, activating tape recorders and tapping out
messages on six-ply multicolored carbon paper."
Through its electronic expertise, the NSA is heavily involved with the
UFO phenomena - whether of extraterrestrial origin or not. Cooper (1991,
p. 200) maintains that the primary purpose of the NSA is to,
alien communications, language, and establish a dialogue with
extraterrestrials. The second purpose is to monitor all communications
and emissions from any and all electronic devices world-wide for the
purpose of gathering intelligence, both human and alien, and to contain
the secret of the alien presence."
In 1983, the NSA embarked on a project, code-named
Platform, as part of
its Big Brother-style surveillance network. Platform involved a plan to
establish a worldwide computer network linking together 52 separate
government computer systems used throughout the world. All of this
information would find its way through the electronic superhighway back
to the NSA’s headquarters at Fort Mead in Maryland, USA.
Within the USA, Australia and the UK, the NSA can plug into every
telephone call and message entering, leaving or transiting the country.
In Australia, this is done through the US base,
Pine Gap, and the new
installation at Geraldton in Western Australia (Toohey, 1992).
"Australia is investing
heavily in modern high technology intelligence collection and
- The Hon. Kim Beazley, Australian Minister for Defense, 1987.
The Australian Government
consistently denies involvement with the UKUSA Agreement and the
presence of the NSA in Australia. Australian governments, both Labor and
Liberal, have pursued a "neither confirm nor deny" policy.
On 19th April 1977, Malcolm Fraser declined to "provide information that
might confirm or deny speculation" as to whether Australia was a
signatory to the UKUSA Agreement, and whether the NSA operates
electronic intercept stations in Australia (Commonwealth Parliamentary
In November 1986, Senator Gareth Evans refused to "provide information
which might confirm or deny speculation on the intelligence and security
matters raised" by a question put by Senator Vallentine regarding the
UKUSA Agreement (Hansard, 1986).
Despite the denials, seven different Australian Government agencies are
involved in UKUSA activities. They are the Office of National
Assessments, ASIO, the Defense Signals Directorate, Services
Intelligence Directorates, Joint Intelligence Organisation, and ASIS
(Ball, 1990, p. 31).
The UKUSA relationship is more than an agreement to coordinate
intelligence activities and share the intelligence collected. The SIGINT
aspect of the relationship is cemented by the presence of US facilities
on British, Canadian and Australian territory; by joint operations
within and outside UKUSA territory, and, in the case of Australia, UK
and US staff at all defence Signals Directorate facilities.
Close-up view of radomes
at the JDSRF,
Pine Gap. NT Australia
Much has already been
written in NEXUS about the development of ’new warfare ideas’. According
to Collyns (1976, p.81), Soviet scientists initiated discussions and
proposals at the United Nations to ban the development of the new
warfare ideas such as creating holes or ’windows’ in the ozone layer to
bombard specific areas of the Earth with increased natural ultraviolet
radiation which would kill all life-forms and turn the land into barren
Other ideas discussed at this meeting were the use of infrasound to
demolish ships by creating acoustic fields on the sea; and hurling a
huge chunk of rock into the sea with a cheap atomic device (the
resultant tidal wave could demolish the coastal fringe of a country).
Other tidal waves could be created by detonating nuclear devices at the
frozen poles. Controlled floods, hurricanes, earthquakes and droughts
directed towards specific targets and cities were also discussed.
There is speculation that US bases are heavily involved in research
involving many of these ’new warfare ideas’ as well as experimentation
with the worldwide grid system.
The most important US installation in Australia is the Joint Defense
Space Research Facility at Pine Gap, near Alice Springs. Code-named
Merino, Australian External Affairs Minister Paul Hasluck signed the
agreement for Pine Gap on 9th December 1966. Its official role is to
control signals and readout from Rhyolite satellites stationed over the
Pacific. Three US intelligence agencies - the National Reconnaissance
Office (NRO), the CIA and the NSA - are known to be centrally involved
(Ball, 1980, p. 58).
Pine Gap has a complex of radomes, a huge computer room and about 20
support buildings. A secret community of around 454 people live within
the compound surrounded by a seven-square mile buffer zone encircled by
a double fence, complete with 24 hour-a-day patrol and two and a half
mile no-fly zone.
Pine Gap is strictly under US control. Very few Australians are
permitted in the top-secret sector of the facility. The Signals Analysis
Section of the computer room is staffed exclusively by CIA and NSA
In May 1974, an article in the now defunct Australian newspaper, The
Nation Review, claimed that,
"The United States has been carrying out
continuous research into electromagnetic propulsion (EMP) at Pine Gap
since it was established in 1966"
(Deyo, 1992, p. 24).
Certainly, some features of Pine Gap are suspect (or have occurred
The Pine Gap
transmitter sits very near the Tropic of Capricorn, and its
antipode is very near the Tropic of Cancer on the centre of the
Atlantic Ocean’s great dividing ridge.
Pine Gap has what is
believed to be the deepest and straightest water bore in
Australia drilled beneath it.
In September 1969,
journalist Robert Cooksey (1969, p. 7) speculated that there was
a nuclear power station at Pine Gap due to its high level of
Pine Gap, on the other side of the Earth, is the Menwith Hill
Station at Harrogate, England (Bamford, 1992, p. 208). Menwith
Hill Station, code-named Steeplebush, is an exact replica of
Pine Gap. Opened in September 1960, Menwith Hill has a staff of
400 and, like Pine Gap, is free from electromagnetic
intercepts telephone and other communications to and from Europe
and the United States. There is also a Circularly Disposed
Antenna Array and a four-element VHF intercept antenna at
Reports that white
discs, about 30 feet in diameter with US Air Force markings,
have been ferried into Australia inside large military
transports which have landed at one or other of the two airports
servicing Pine Gap (Deyo, 1992, p.24).
NORTH WEST CAPE
The US defense facility at North West Cape has its own share of
The North West Cape
transmitter is just slightly north of the Tropic of Capricorn, and
its antipode is directly in the middle of the Bermuda triangle.
It is almost certain
that the earlier version of Pine Gap’s Very Low Frequency
Transceiver, which is located at North West Cape near Exmouth Bay,
Western Australia, was and still is used to transmit very powerful
undersea electric currents to US submarines which trail long
antennae behind them. It is also known that electricity transmitted
in this way can be ’strong’ enough to recharge on-board high-voltage
batteries known as plasma-dynamic storage cells (Deyo, 1992, p.24).
On 25th October 1973,
two US Navy personnel observed a UFO hovering near the restricted
Naval Communication Station at North West Cape which is used by the
"The object was due west of Area B, the location of the High
Frequency Transmitter…it was completely stationary except for a halo
around the centre, which appeared to be either revolving or
pulsating… It suddenly took off at a tremendous speed and
(Good, 1987, p. 170).
In November 1969, construction began on the Nurrungar facility,
The location, known as the "Woomera Prohibited Area", is a small valley
in South Australia and was formerly used for joint British and
Australian weapons testing.
Like Pine Gap, Nurrungar was equipped by Scalar Electronics and has a
direct communications link with the Department of Defense in Canberra.
Nurrungar is also reported to have direct radio and submarine cable
links with the US (Ball, 1980, p. 65). IBM, TRW, Philco-Ford and Aerojet
are heavily involved as contractors to Nurrungar.
Known as a "Joint Defense Space Communications Station",
station is inherently involved, to some extent at least, in the SDI
programme (Ball, 1992, p. 79).
Its role in SDI occurs through the Defense Support Program (Code 647).
The DSP is a series of multi-purpose or integrated satellites placed at
geostationary altitude and concerned with missile early-warning and
nuclear-test detection. It also involves photographic and electronic
intelligence. For further explanation, see Ball (1980, pp. 65-82).
LINKED TO UKUSA PROJECTS
Between 1982 and 1988, 22 British defense scientists died in mysterious
circumstances. Most of the scientists were employees of General Electric
or its subsidiary, Marconi. Some were undertaking contract work for the
Defense Ministry. Marconi specializes in simulation techniques both in
space and underwater - processes fundamental to the Strategic Defense
Initiative. Industry sources believe that many of the scientists’ work
involved computer software programmes designed to guide or intercept
projectiles, both undersea and airborne.
All 22 deaths have been the result of bizarre accidents or suicides.
Inquests into the ’suicides’ have recorded open verdicts, with
authorities unable to explain the deaths.
Some of the more gruesome deaths are:
Ashhad Shariff, 26, a
computer expert with Marconi Defense Systems, died in a car near
Bristol. Shariff killed himself by pressing the car’s accelerator
while a rope was tied around his neck and attached to a tree.
David Sands, 37,
computer expert a British defense contractor with Marconi Company
Ltd, killed himself by driving a car laden with gasoline cans into
an abandoned building in Surrey.
Vimal Dajibhai, 24, a
programmer with Marconi Underwater Systems, died after apparently
jumping from a bridge in Bristol.
The British Opposition has
tied scientists’ deaths to research for the Strategic Defense
Initiative, claiming that some were working on aspects of underwater
vibration implications which have extensive implications for SDI, while
others were involved in SDI-related research on computer-controlled
Signatories to the UKUSA Agreement have a longstanding interest in
underwater activities. One project, Desktop, involves surveillance of a
"mysterious Soviet undersea operation". The only official statement ever
released about the project states that it is an extremely sensitive
analysis programme dealing with foreign activity." The code-word,
Holystone, also designates highly sensitive undersea operations.
Marconi’s history is closely allied with projects undertaken through the
UKUSA Agreement. This began in 1941, under the BRUSA Agreement, when the
USA delivered a model of the Japanese Purple machine (used by Japan to
encipher diplomatic communications) to British code-breakers. In return,
the British gave the US an assortment of advanced cryptological
equipment, including the revolutionary Marconi-Adcock high-frequency
As technical giants, General Electric and its subsidiary Marconi have
provided much of the technology vital to projects undertaken through the
UKUSA Agreement. As a leader in communications technology, the General
Electric Corporation is the sixth largest company in the United States,
with sales approaching US$56.3 billion in 1992. Its financial strength
was originally backed by the Morgan banking house, and General
Electric’s missile and space vehicle department was instrumental in the
first Apollo mission.
GE sold its aerospace division to Martin Marietta in November 1992.
Martin Marietta produced the satellites for the Navy’s space project,
White Cloud (part of the Classic Wizard ocean surveillance system),
under the direction of the US Air Force’s Special Projects Office in Los
Angeles (the cover for the West Coast office of the National
Technical assistance was provided by the NRO,
and E-Systems, Inc. which provided the electronic intelligence (ELINT)
receivers and antennae for the satellites.
UKUSA AND THE
STRATEGIC DEFENSE INITIATIVE
For more than 40 years, the former Soviet empire has been the main
target of intelligence-gathering conducted under the auspices of the UKUSA Agreement.
One of the most significant projects undertaken through the UKUSA
Agreement was the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), commonly known as
"Star Wars". US President Reagan launched the Strategic Defense
Initiative on 23 March 1983 to "render nuclear weapons impotent and
obsolete". The heart of SDI called for the development of a "Peace
Shield" using a global network of defensive devices in space, including
powerful lasers and beam machines, to provide an umbrella of protection
against a Soviet nuclear attack.
the New World Order credit the Strategic Defense
Initiative with the demise of the Soviet Union. In May, 1993, US Defense
Secretary, Les Aspin, claimed that SDI helped bring about the collapse
of the Soviet Union:
"I think it probably had something to do with it.",
he said. "The former Soviet Union was aware of the tremendous advances
that the United States military was making, not just in Star Wars but in
And so, since the supposed end of the Cold War, SDI has been portrayed
as some kind of menace that exhausted the Soviet Union morally,
economically, politically and militarily.
Gorbachev made any progress on disarmament absolutely dependent on the
United States dropping SDI. Indeed, he agreed to unprecedented Soviet
troop withdrawals and reductions as a trade-off for the termination of
SDI. But a week after these concessions, US President Bush asked
Congress to increase funds for SDI by US£4.5 billion in the next fiscal
year. The media wondered how Mikhail Gorbachev would react to this slap
in the face, but instead of criticism from Moscow there was accelerated
cooperation: discussions regarding the development of a lunar base and a
joint mission to Mars.
WINDING DOWN SDI?
On 4th May 1993, the acting director of the SDI organization, Major
General Malcolm O’Neill, spoke to a Senate Armed Services sub-committee
and requested US$3,800 million for SDI in the fiscal year 1994,
$40million less than was appropriated in financial year 1993.
On 13th April 1993, just days after the O’Neill request, Secretary of
Defense Les Aspin officially terminated the SDI organization, renaming
it the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO).
In a media statement, Aspin said that future research by the BMDO will
focus on space-based sensors called "Brilliant Eyes", to be used for
missile-tracking for enhanced coverage of lower and upper-tier theatre
defenses, "Brilliant Eyes" would also help ground-based interceptors
provide full coverage of the continental United States.
THE REAL USES OF
Far from down-scaling SDI, full funding was continued up until 1993
without so much as a whimper from the Soviet leadership.
Some authors have suggested that the real purpose of SDI was to protect
the Earth from an extraterrestrial invasion. In
Zecharia Sitchin maintains that the world’s leaders,
"have been aware for
some time, first, that there is one more planet in our solar system and,
second, that we are not alone".
He claims that only this knowledge can
explain the incredible changes in world affairs that have been taking
place with even more incredible speed.
Certainly, Reagan and Gorbachev both referred to "threats from
Speaking at Fallston, Maryland, on 4th December 1985,
"Just think how easy his
(Gorbachev’s) task and mine might be in these meetings that we held
if suddenly there was a threat to this world from some other species
from another planet outside the universe. We’d forget all the little
local differences that we have between our countries and we would
find out once and for all that we are all human beings here on Earth
ON 16th February 1987, at
the Grand Kremlin Palace, Moscow, Gorbachev observed:
"At our meeting in
Geneva, the US President said that if the Earth faced an invasion by
extraterrestrials, the United States and the Soviet Union would join
forces to repel such an invasion. I shall not dispute the
hypothesis, though I think it’s early yet to worry about such an
In an address to the General
Assembly of the United Nations on 21st September 1987, speaking of the
need to turn swords into ploughshares,
"In our obsession with
antagonisms of the moment, we often forget how much unites all the
members of humanity. Perhaps we need some outside, universal threat
to recognize this common bond. I occasionally think how quickly our
differences would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from
outside this world."
THE UKUSA AGREEMENT - A
The UKUSA Agreement poses significant implications for Australian
sovereignty and democracy In a world where US hegemony is now virtually
undisputed, it is vital for us to question and make public the role of
the UKUSA Agreement and the operations of US installations around the
To this day, no government will acknowledge the existence of this treaty
nor make public the activities and projects that place under its
What is it that the signatories to the UKUSA Agreement have to hide, and
how or what do they fear?