In-Flight "La Gazza Ladra" By GCHQ

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By Ann-Marie de Veer
Saturday 21 June 2014

On 31 May 1817 Gioachino Rossini and Giovanni Gherardini's opera La Gazza Ladra, aka. The Thieving Magpie, premiered at La Scala, Milan to rapturous applause. It was one of many of Rosinni's musical masterpieces, this time accompanied by Gherardini's libretto, that went on to win world wide acclaim, playing in Pesaro, Naples, Paris, London and New Orleans (US).

The Thieving Magpie is a melodrama, a tale of love, intrigue and an eventual happy ending for all except the Mayor and the magpie. It has little in common with a GCHQ programme called 'Thieving Magpie' except for its lechery and theft.

In Rossini and Gherardini's opera, the Mayor repeatedly attempts to seduce Ninetta, akin to the lechery of GCHQ's indiscriminate and illegal optic nerve programme that captures images from a Yahoo! users webcam every 5 minutes.

On the issue of theft, Rossini and Gherardini's thief is a bird, a European magpie, who, as a creature of habit, steals one of Lucia’s silver spoons whilst GCHQ's 'Thieving Magpie' is yet another indiscriminate and illegal programme in their 'New Collection Posture' philosophy, as seen here:

Courtesy: Edward Snowden

And there, the similarities end; the 'Thieving Magpie' is no masterpiece, nor will it accrue world wide acclaim.

GCHQ's interest in in-flight mobile telephony started back in September 2005 when both the UK's British Midland International (BMI) and Portugal's Transportes Aéreos Portugueses (TAP) airlines were the first European carriers to test an in-flight mobile phone service aboard their Airbus aircraft. The service envisaged at that time restricted it to in-flight use only, i.e. users would still have to power off, or switch to "airplane" mode during take-off and landing. The tests were successful and a limited service began operations across a variety of carriers after its approval by the European Commission in 2008.

Subsequently, the service has grown in Europe and among other carriers as demand has increased, although over in the US they have been somewhat reticent about introducing it. Delta Airlines have even banned it outright while Europe has progressed even further by authorising its use during take-off and landing.

Nonetheless, in keeping with their 'New Collection Posture' GCHQ devised yet another mass surveillance programme called 'Thieving Magpie' to address this new technological innovation:

Courtesy: Edward Snowden

GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) is the standard that describes a second generation (2G) digital cellular networks used by mobile phones and GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) is the service that utilises both 2G and third generation (3G) digital cellular networks.

Courtesy: Edward Snowden

Courtesy: Edward Snowden

SOUTHWINDS, a programme of the ECHELON system, is part of the technology that monitors global satellite communications.

Courtesy: Edward Snowden

Courtesy: Edward Snowden

Thus, akin to the 'Tempora' programme which taps into the intercontinental fibre-optic cables that make up the backbone of the internet to harvest internet users' data, 'Thieving Magpie' is an in-flight derivative of the same programme enabled by the British Inmarsat global communications company and routed through SOUTHWINDS of the ECHELON system.

Clearly the name 'Thieving Magpie' for this programme correctly identifies a thief, i.e. GCHQ, who are using their mass surveillance operations on a global scale. The fact that these programmes are morally repugnant and technically illegal, regardless of the UK governments' protestations to the contrary, is yet further evidence,if any was needed, of an agency out of control.

That GCHQ, NSA et al. and their corporate partners are complicit in the egregious erosion of not only the safety and security of the people but also the subversion of democracy is an understatement.

It is they who have made the people their enemy.

Democracy passes into despotism.