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The Old Gang



These are the logos of the anglophone group that were closely aligned with NSA. The relationship was close enough that if any of them was doing something, the smart-money bet was that they all had been, were, or would be doing it.

Government Communications Headquarters, UK (Queens); Communications Security Establishment, Canada (Leafs); Defence Signals Directorate, Australia (‘Roos); Government Communications Security Bureau, New Zealand (Kiwis); and the National Security Agency, US (Yanks) did a lot of good work during the Cold War.

The close cooperation is the result of a 1948 UKUSA agreement and embodied the DSD slogan “Reveal their secrets … Protect our own”. That’s what we used to do.

The Global War On Terror™ changed things to the point that I’m not clear as to who the Gang considers “Them”, but it seems like it is everyone not in the executive branch of their governments.

An aside: I know it really doesn’t signify anything, but it is interesting that the center of focus for the ‘all-seeing eye’ on the top of the pyramid in the Information Awareness Office logo just down the page is not the Middle East or Southwest Asia, but North America. It’s not like it’s a Freudian slip or anything … right? [I know I saw that colander around here somewhere…]


1 Kryten42 { 08.06.13 at 5:15 am }

Ahhh… Good ol’ DSD! Yeah… That logo brings back some memories! 😀

Did you know that almost nobody (except those that needed to) knew there was a DSD until the 90’s? It used to be housed in a large solid 18th Century bluestone building (like a small castle) in the middle of Victoria Barracks. DSD was actually created after WW2 (1946) when it was called Defense Signals Branch (DSB). The name was changed to Defence Signals Division (DSD) in ’64 (I think). The Divisions existence was formally acknowledged to the House (or Representatives) in ’77 as a result of the Hope Royal Commission into Intelligence and Security. The outcome of this inquiry, was to change the name to Defence Signals Directorate and move it’s responsibility from the PM to the Secretary of the DoD. When the new purpose-built facility at Victoria Barracks was ready in ’86, it became the DSD’s new home. For awhile. There were three primary reasons for DSD being at VB.

1) They were close to the Jindalee (or JORN) Radar project being developed primarily in Vic & SA (jointly by DSTO, Telstra Research Lab’s (who had one of the first liquid nitrogen cooled STEM Microscopes in Aus at their facility in Blackburn), GEC-Marconi and others);

2) It was one of the most secure locations in Aus (in the middle of a fortress guarded by one of the largest (and strongest) Army Regiments in Aus);

3) They could (relatively) easily hide a small nuclear reactor under the base (based on the US Navy reactor design and since VB was situated on the large Yarra River, water wasn’t a problem),and is the reason it took so long to build. 🙂 The DSD had a LOT of computing and a massive amount of equipment that needed power, and they wanted a plasma furnace hot enough to not just melt things, they wanted them vaporized! 😉 Plus, they needed access to some short-life isotopes. DSD just got delivery of a new Super-Cray I was told. They have several, and a couple IBM & NEC’s. DSD donated their first Cray, acquired in ’86 for the new facility to the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney in ’94. The new Fed gov decided in ’88 DSD should move to Russel, ACT (where I worked for DIO) until it was explained that moving the Reactor that taken 8 years to buit to the ‘Hill’ (Where the Gov and all Military org’s are located) would not only be somewhat difficult, but also not a very good idea! So, whilst “officially” DSD *moved to the ACT, it was in reality only the Admin. Research & Operations are still (secretly) at VB. Ooops!! Now I’m a leaker too! 😮 (Not really as it’s one of the worst kept *secrets* anywhere! *SHRUG* and I really no longer give a damn. 🙂

As an aside… It’s also one of the reasons that the Yarra River has been officially classified as far too polluted to effectively clean up, even though they went through all the motions for a decade before giving up. (People are seriously BANNED from swimming in it, though only a moron would try it, and we’ve had a few of those!) 😀 (Nobody would ever think that it was polluted on purpose so people wouldn’t wonder why Billy was glowing after a swim in it! LOL (OK. It’s not that bad, but they decided to be preemptive in case there was a leak and questions were asked). Oh… And officially, Victoria is a “Nuclear Free State”! No, really… it is! Apparently the research reactors and the one’s the major medical centers (at Melbourne University for eg.) have for making short-life isotopes don’t count. 😉

Of course… This is the “Real World”™ and people really don’t want to know!

2 Bryan { 08.06.13 at 2:57 pm }

I’m glad you mentioned the bit about the name change, because I was sure the second ‘D’ wasn’t ‘Directorate’ when I dealt with them.

Most of the involvement was on address lines on messages and reports, although we did have some co-located facilities in Asia for DSD, and Europe for GCHQ & CSE. I never knowingly bumped into anyone from GCSB, but they were on the address list for certain products.

NSA pulped discarded classified documents rather than burning them, and the results of that process was sold as a liquid to the company that makes a major portion of the world’s shoe boxes. That gray pasteboard was created from classified documents. The NCR paper that was a source of much of the trash released some pretty nasty fumes when it was burned.

Equipment that had to be destroyed was ground up after useable spare parts were stripped. No one that I’m aware of suggested a nuclear furnace, because the professional paranoids would have wanted one if they knew about it. Letting those people near anything that included the word ‘nuclear’ is a very sobering thought. Thank you for not sharing that bit of information. 😈

Thinking back, it is amazing how ‘green’ NSA was for its era. They even made some extra money with the sale of the pulp.