from cannonfire: Is someone murdering people who know too much about NSA wiretapping?
Two whistleblowers -- one in Italy, one in Greece -- uncovered a secret bugging system installed in cell phones around the world. Both met with untimely ends. The resultant scandals have received little press in the United States, despite the profound implications for American critics of the Bush administration.
Last month, Italian telecommunications security expert Adamo Bove either lept or was pushed from a freeway overpass; he left no note and had no history of depression. Last year (March, 2005), Greek telecommunications expert Costas Tsalikidis met with a similarly enigmatic end. Both had uncovered American attempts to eavesdrop on government officials, anti-war activists, and private businessmen.
The Bove case relates to the long-standing controversy over the CIA's kidnapping of cleric Abu Omar, who was flown to Egypt and tortured. The post-Berlusconi government of Italy is attempting to arrest and try all of CIA personnel involved. Bove used mobile phone records to trace more than two dozen American agents.
Bove had also revealed that his employer, Telecom Italia, had allowed illegal "spyware" -- undetectable wiretaps -- to infest Italy's largest communications system. His testimony helped to uncover the unsettling relationship between SISMI chief Marco Mancini and Telecom Italia head Giuliano Tavaroli. (Mancini, recently arrested by Italian investigators, has also come under some suspicion for his possible role in the strange affair of Major General Nicola Calipari, killed by American troops in Iraq.) In the 1990's, Bove had received wide praise for helping to secure convictions of two bosses in the Camorra, Naples' answer to the Sicilian Mafia.
The case of Costas Tsalikidis -- an engineer for Vodaphone, Greece's top telecommunications firm -- offers a similar picture. Tsalikidis discovered an extraordinarily spohisticated piece of spyware within his company's network. The Prime Minister and other top officials were targeted, along with Greek military officers, anti-war activists, various business figures -- and a cell phone within the American embassy itself. This page gives a full list of the targets, very few of whom could be considered as having even a remote connection to terrorism.