Synopsis by Ryan Shriver
In 1943 and during the height of World War II, the United States and the United Kingdom joined their espionage resources together in order to break the German Enigma code, which eventually resulted in a dramatic shift of wartime fortunes once the task was accomplished. After the war, however, the two countries maintained their newly formed -- and highly sensitive -- electronic surveillance program that shifted from enemy to enemy over the remaining years of the 20th century, while gaining incredible and dubious powers in the process. French filmmaker David Korn-Brzoza explores the history of this now multi-national espionage network dubbed the Echelon in his 2002 documentary Echelon: Le Pouvoir Secret (Echelon: The Secret Power). After World War II, the British and U.S. espionage teams joined forces with Canada, Australia, and New Zealand to form a new secret alliance called UKUSA under the auspices of monitoring and controlling the spread of Communism. As the surveillance coalition's influence grew, the purpose of UKUSA grew distorted as the U.S. began using it to gain an economic edge against foreign competitors. Later known as the Echelon, the organization's presence continues to be flatly denied by most of the heads of state purportedly involved in the organization, in spite of its existence being revealed publicly for the first time in a 1998 British governmental report. Echelon: The Secret Power was included in the programs for the 2003 Gothenburg Film Festival and Amsterdam Documentary Festival.
big-brother [surveillance], deception, espionage, national-security, network, spy, surveillance, telecommunications, top-secret