Sunday 25th of October 2020

the snowden dark trickle in germany...


Inside Snowden's Germany File



An analysis of secret documents leaked by Edward Snowden demonstrates that the NSA is more active in Germany than anywhere else in Europe -- and that data collected here may have helped kill suspected terrorists.

Just before Christmas 2005, an unexpected event disrupted the work of American spies in the south-central German city of Wiesbaden. During the installation of a fiber-optic cable near the Rhine River, local workers encountered a suspicious metal object, possibly an undetonated World War II explosive. It was certainly possible: Adolf Hitler's military had once maintained a tank repair yard in the Wiesbaden neighborhood of Mainz-Kastel.

The Americans -- who maintained what was officially known as a "Storage Station" on Ludwig Wolker Street -- prepared an evacuation plan. And on Jan. 24, 2006, analysts with the National Security Agency (NSA) cleared out their offices, cutting off the intelligence agency's access to important European data streams for an entire day, a painfully long time. The all-clear only came that night: The potential ordinance turned out to be nothing more than a pile of junk.

Residents in Mainz-Kastel knew nothing of the incident.

Of course, everybody living there knows of the 20-hectare (49-acre) US army compound. A beige wall topped with barbed wire protects the site from the outside world; a sign outside warns, "Beware, Firearms in Use!"

Americans in uniform have been part of the cityscape in Wiesbaden for decades, and local businesses have learned to cater to their customers from abroad. Used-car dealerships post their prices in dollars and many Americans are regulars at the local brewery. "It is a peaceful coexistence," says Christa Gabriel, head of the Mainz-Kastel district council.

But until now, almost nobody in Wiesbaden knew that Building 4009 of the "Storage Station" houses one of the NSA's most important European data collection centers. Its official name is the European Technical Center (ETC), and, as documents from the archive of whistleblower Edward Snowden show, it has been expanded in recent years. From an American perspective, the program to improve the center -- which was known by the strange code name "GODLIKELESION" -- was badly needed. In early 2010, for example, the NSA branch office lost power 150 times within the space just a few months -- a serious handicap for a service that strives to monitor all of the world's data traffic.

On Sept. 19, 2011, the Americans celebrated the reopening of the refurbished ETC, and since then, the building has been the NSA's "primary communications hub" in Europe. From here, a Snowden document outlines, huge amounts of data are intercepted and forwarded to "NSAers, warfighters and foreign partners in Europe, Africa and the Middle East." The hub, the document notes, ensures the reliable transfer of data for "the foreseeable future."

Soon the NSA will have an even more powerful and modern facility at their disposal: Just five kilometers away, in the Clay Kaserne, a US military complex located in the Erbenheim district of Wiesbaden, the "Consolidated Intelligence Center" is under construction. It will house data-monitoring specialists from Mainz-Kastel. The project in southern Hesse comes with a price tag of $124 million (€91 million). When finished, the US government will be even better equipped to satisfy its vast hunger for data.

One year after Edward Snowden made the breadth of the NSA's global data monitoring public, much remains unknown about the full scope of the intelligence service's activities in Germany. We know that the Americans monitored the mobile phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and we know that there are listening posts in the US Embassy in Berlin and in the Consulate General in Frankfurt.

But much remains in the dark. The German government has sent lists of questions to the US government on several occasions, and a parliamentary investigative committee has begun looking into the subject in Berlin. Furthermore, Germany's chief public prosecutor has initiated an investigation into the NSA -- albeit one currently limited to its monitoring of the chancellor's cell phone and not the broader allegation that it spied on the communications of the German public. Neither the government nor German lawmakers nor prosecutors believe they will receive answers from officials in the United States.

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french vino instead of russian vodka for snowden?...

The centrist senator Catherine Morin-Desailly plans to bring a resolution to the French Senate that will offer Edward Snowden asylum and honorary French citizenship. Though it is not clear whether the motion will pass, Morin-Desailly says she has support from both the right and the left. She believes Snowden acted nobly by revealing the mass surveillance of the NSA and should be protected. Some have posited concerns of this move troubling Franco-American relations, but Morin-Desailly maintains that it will not bring lasting harm. Via Le Monde (in French).

illegal spying below...


Activists flew a blimp emblazoned with the words "Illegal Spying Below" over the National Security Agency's data centre in Utah on Friday in protest against the US government's mass surveillance programmes.

The one-hour flight was carried out by the environmental group Greenpeace, digital rights activists the Electronic Frontier Foundation and a conservative political organisation, the Tenth Amendment Centre.

The 41 metre (135ft) blimp, owned by Greenpeace, was adorned with a sign that read "NSA Illegal Spying Below".

In an email to Reuters the agency declined to comment. But a spokesman did note there was no restricted airspace over the data centre, housed on the grounds of the Utah National Guard's Camp Williams in Bluffdale, 23 miles (37km) south of Salt Lake City.

The NSA says the facility provides the government with intelligence and warnings about cyber security threats. It is thought to be the agency's largest data storage centre.

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no limits for the National Security Agency...


Virtually no foreign government is off-limits for the National Security Agency, which has been authorized to intercept information “concerning” all but four countries, according to top-secret documents.

The United States has long had broad no-spying arrangements with those four countries — Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand — in a group known collectively with the United States as the Five Eyes. But a classified 2010 legal certification and other documents indicate the NSA has been given a far more elastic authority than previously known, one that allows it to intercept through U.S. companies not just the communications of its overseas targets but any communications about its targets as well.

The certification — approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and included among a set of documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden — lists 193 countries  that would be of valid interest for U.S. intelligence. The certification also permitted the agency to gather intelligence about entities such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the International Atomic Energy Agency, among others.

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An employee of the German foreign intelligence agency has been arrested by authorities on suspicion of spying for the United States.

Prosecutors in Germany said a 31-year-old man was arrested and the foreign ministry has summoned the US ambassador over the incident.

The alleged American agent is thought to have been working in intelligence agency BND with documents collected by the parliamentary committee investigating a previous allegation of spying, which involved the tapping of chancellor Angela Merkel's phoneby the US National Security Agency (NSA).

That incident had already raised the feeling in Germany against American surveillance.

Two politicians who sit on the nine-person committee have told Reuters the accused spy, who is German, has admitted passing to an American contact details about the committee which oversees the work of German intelligence agencies and is investigating the spying revelations made by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The German foreign ministry said in a statement that it had invited the US ambassador to come for talks regarding the matter, and asked him to help deliver a swift explanation.

"This was a man who had no direct contact with the investigative committee ... he was not a top agent," one of the members of parliament said.

total word domination...

William Binney is one of the highest-level whistleblowers to ever emerge from the NSA. He was a leading code-breaker against the Soviet Union during the Cold War but resigned soon after September 11, disgusted by Washington’s move towards mass surveillance.

On 5 July he spoke at a conference in London organised by the Centre for Investigative Journalism and revealed the extent of the surveillance programs unleashed by the Bush and Obama administrations.

“At least 80% of fibre-optic cables globally go via the US”, Binney said. “This is no accident and allows the US to view all communication coming in. At least 80% of all audio calls, not just metadata, are recorded and stored in the US. The NSA lies about what it stores.”

The NSA will soon be able to collect 966 exabytes a year, the total of internet traffic annually. Former Google head Eric Schmidt once arguedthat the entire amount of knowledge from the beginning of humankind until 2003 amount to only five exabytes.

Binney, who featured in a 2012 short film by Oscar-nominated US film-maker Laura Poitras, described a future where surveillance is ubiquitous and government intrusion unlimited.

“The ultimate goal of the NSA is total population control”, Binney said, “but I’m a little optimistic with some recent Supreme Court decisions, such as law enforcement mostly now needing a warrant before searching a smartphone.”

He praised the revelations and bravery of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and told me that he had indirect contact with a number of other NSA employees who felt disgusted with the agency’s work. They’re keen to speak out but fear retribution and exile, not unlike Snowden himself, who is likely to remain there for some time.

Unlike Snowden, Binney didn’t take any documents with him when he left the NSA. He now says that hard evidence of illegal spying would have been invaluable. The latest Snowden leaks, featured in the Washington Post, detail private conversations of average Americans with no connection to extremism.

It shows that the NSA is not just pursuing terrorism, as it claims, but ordinary citizens going about their daily communications. “The NSA is mass-collecting on everyone”, Binney said, “and it’s said to be about terrorism but inside the US it has stopped zero attacks.”

intelligence collection is a bit of a crap shoot...


The recruitment of foreign journalists frequently involves providing them with information that in turn enables them to prepare what are referred to as “press placements.” Most large CIA Stations control one or more local journalists and an occasional editor. While US law prohibits intelligence agencies from feeding false information to American journalists, foreign media representatives are fair game. Many local journalists welcome the arrangement as it gives them additional tax free income while also occasionally providing them with information that can be used to further their own careers.

The curious thing about the Menendez case is that the Cuban Directorate of Intelligence appears to have picked the wrong story, believing that a sex case would prove most damaging to the Senator’s career. According to the Washington Post, Menendez might soon be charged regarding an ongoing Justice Department public integrity division investigation over his allegedly doing favors for Salomon Melgen, whom he stayed with in the Dominican Republic. Menendez reportedly twice intervened with federal health-care officials over a finding that Melgen had overbilled Medicare by $8.9 million for eye treatments at his clinics. The senator also pressured the State and Commerce departments to use their influence over the Dominican Republic to confirm a port security contract for a company partly owned by Melgen. Menendez might learn to his regret that the truth is sometimes more damaging that fiction.

The indignation of Merkel over the American spies and of Menendez over the audacity of the Cubans is understandable, but it is all part and parcel of things that spy agencies do regularly. Did Washington learn anything important by monitoring the BND reporting on NSA? Probably not, but intelligence collection is a bit of a crap shoot, looking for something that you don’t necessarily know is there, much like the Donald Rumsfeld observation that “the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, or vice versa.” Likewise, did the cleverly executed Cuban press placement succeed in bringing down Robert Menendez? No, but if it had been developed a bit earlier and been picked up in more of the mainstream media, it just might have.

Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, is executive director of the Council for the National Interest.

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shaken trust...



For Mr. Hahn, who sits in Parliament for the Left Party of former East German Communists and Western leftists, the story proves that, like any good spy, you should never rule out anything.

“In both cases, we only started probing because people believed it involved the Russian secret service,” Mr. Hahn said. “For me, the discussions of the past few days have shown that we think the Russians and Chinese are willing to do anything. But in the Americans we placed literally blind trust, and this trust is now really shaken.”

Others see the whole episode as proof that the United States, mired in its own problems and occupied with multiple crises overseas, cares little about Germany and will not modify its intelligence practices without drastic action from Berlin.

Expulsion of the C.I.A. chief may jolt some Americans, but it “is still not an action that will have consequences,” said Josef Braml, an American specialist at the German Council on Foreign Relations. “If you are really serious about it, you should cause some economic pain, maybe canceling contracts for some companies that obviously work together with the U.S. security apparatus.”

In fact, the German Interior Ministry did just that before the affair of the American agents broke. On June 26, it said it would cancel a contract with Verizon Communications. “The links revealed between foreign intelligence agencies and firms,” the ministry said in a statement, “show that the German government needs a high level of security for its essential networks.”


meanwhile at the futbol...


Germany has won the 2014 World Cup after Mario Goetze hit the final's only goal in a 1-0 extra-time win over Argentina at the Maracana on Monday morning.

A combination of substitutes provided Germany's golden moment as Andre Schuerrle danced past his marker on the left wing before hitting a sumptuous cross to Goetze, who chested the ball down and volleyed past Sergio Romero in one spectacular movement.


Gus: What was impressive was the general conviviality of the Germans. Angela Merkel, possibly communicating with her government in a new encrypted channel to stop the NSA spying on her, gave a kiss and a hug to all the German players and officials present. And one could see the genuine pride of being German. Already the BBC is blah blah blah-ing about it:


She's been accused of shamelessly attaching herself to the footballers and their success, and the polls have shown upward blips of support for her as the team has progressed. But will it last?

There's no doubt the World Cup has played well for her. Within an hour of the final whistle, there seemed to be a million tweets of her pictured in the middle of the sweaty, victorious team holding the trophy, the president of Germany beside her.

She is, by all accounts, a genuine football fan, going to games way before she was politically important. But nowadays the right picture in the right place doesn't do any harm either.

She was there when Germany thrashed Portugal 4-0 at the start and she was there at the final triumph when they lifted the World Cup.

She's been described as the team's lucky charm. As she and the team's supporters sometimes put it: "Our twelfth man is a woman."

But the political benefits of sporting success are not clear - or rather, they are complex and memory plays tricks.


One has to know that Angela Merkel is one of the rare scientists at the helm of a very powerful country and a woman of course... and methinks that's two of the reasons, the US is spying on her, as well as her being an East German, before reunification...




back to the old keyboard...

German politicians are considering a return to using manual typewriters for sensitive documents in the wake of the US surveillance scandal.

The head of the Bundestag's parliamentary inquiry into NSA activity in Germany said in an interview with the Morgenmagazin TV programme that he and his colleagues were seriously thinking of ditching email completely.

Asked "Are you considering typewriters" by the interviewer on Monday night, the Christian Democrat politican Patrick Sensburg said: "As a matter of fact, we have – and not electronic models either". "Really?" the surprised interviewer checked. "Yes, no joke," Sensburg responded.

"Unlike other inquiry committees, we are investigating an ongoing situation. Intelligence activities are still going on, they are happening," said Sensburg.

Last week, Merkel's government asked the CIA's station officer in Germany to leave the country after an employee of the German intelligence agency BND confessed to passing confidential documents to the US secret service. The ongoing investigation prompted speculation that the CIA may have actively targeted the Bundestag's NSA inquiry committee.

Last year, the Russian government reportedly took similar measures after the extent of US electronic surveillance was revealed by the whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The federal guard service, a powerful body tasked with protecting Russia's highest-ranking officials, put in an order for 20 Triumph Adler typewriters, which create unique "handwriting", that allows the source of any documents created on them to be traced.

But judging by the reaction to Sensburg's comments, manual typewriters are unlikely to be widely adopted in German political circles.

"Before I start using typewriters and burning notes after reading, I'd rather abolish the secret services," tweeted Martina Renner, an opposition member of the parliamentary committee investigating the activities of US and other intelligence agencies in Germany. Sahra Wagenknecht, Die Linke party's deputy chair, described the suggestion as grotesque.


May I say I made a similar suggestions (see this site: ...) to stop cyber attacks on "sensitive" organisations.

Once you are linked to the web or computerised even in the most basic program, there is no way to stop anyone with skills in encryption to go back to the source, despite firewalls and security codes... 

Keeping Spies Out


Keeping Spies OutGerman Ratchets Up Counterintelligence Measures

Officials in Berlin were long in denial that their closest allies were spying on Germany. Now, ministries are undertaking measures to improve security and counterintelligence. They're anticipating frosty relations with the US for some time to come.

Last Wednesday, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière paid a visit to his colleague in the Foreign Ministry, Frank-Walter Steinmeier for a strictly confidential conversation about the currently tense relationship with the United States. Specifically, they planned to address the latest spying revelations and accusations. Before the meeting began, both ministers turned in their mobile phones. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has a small side room he uses for this purpose; part of the Foreign Ministry is in the former Nazi Reichsbank and has very thick walls. The room is now used to store smartphones and tablet computers when sensitive discussions take place.

The precaution reflects the significant disquiet and anxiety in Berlin's ministries and in the Chancellery as the summer holidays get underway. Slowly, ministry officials are starting to grapple with the true meaning of "360 degree" counterintelligence. It means defending yourself not just usual suspects like Russia or China. But also against Germany's closest allies, particularly the United States.

A few days ago, Chancellor Merkel reportedly told US President Barack Obama in a telephone conversation that anger over the US spying activities in Berlin's government quarter as well as the recruitment of an informant inside Germany's Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) foreign intelligence service has in no way subsided. Because Obama apparently expressed little understanding for the commotion in Germany, Merkel is now taking action.

The only thing she is lacking is a solid plan.

Thus far, most ministries are going it mostly alone when it comes to addressing the espionage threat. Some are having their internal networks tested for security problems while others have issued new rules of conduct for their employees. Still others have taken no concrete steps aside from increasing general vigilance.


See also:  war of the cybers...


spying countercurrents...


Der Bundesnachrichtendienst hat in mindestens einem Fall ein Gespräch der damaligen US-Außenministerin Hillary Clinton abgehört. Zudem hat die deutsche Bundesregierung angeordnet, einen der Nato-Partner auszuspionieren. Das ergibt sich nach Informationen von Süddeutscher Zeitung, NDR und WDR aus den Dokumenten, die ein Spion im BND an den amerikanischen Geheimdienst CIA übergab. Der im Juli verhaftete Markus R. hat inzwischen gestanden, den USA in den vergangenen zwei Jahren mindestens 218 Dokumente geliefert zu haben.

In der Bundesregierung ist inzwischen bekannt, wie sensibel Teile dieser Dokumente sind und wie groß der angerichtete Schaden tatsächlich ist. So haben die USA damit begonnen, die von Markus R. gelieferten Informationen im Streit über US-Spionageaktionen in Deutschland zu nutzen. Das abgehörte Telefonat von Clinton nehmen sie als Beleg dafür, dass auch die Deutschen die USA ausspionierten. US-Außenminister John Kerry soll seinen deutschen Kollegen Frank-Walter Steinmeier auf den Vorgang angesprochen haben. Auch Denis McDonough, der Stabschef von US-Präsident Barack Obama, soll diesen Vorgang bei einem Besuch bei Kanzleramtsminister Peter Altmaier zur Sprache gebracht haben.

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Translation by Gus:


The German Federal Intelligence Service has intercepted a conversation between the then-US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in at least one case. In addition, the German Federal Government has ordered to spy on a NATO partner. This knowledge comes from information of the Süddeutsche Zeitung, NDR and WDR documents handed by a spy in the BND to the American CIA.  Germany has arrested Markus R. in July. He has since confessed to passing at least 218 documents to the United States in the past two years. 

The German Federal Government known how sensitive parts of these documents and about how much damage can be done. The United States have begun to use the information provided by Mark R. as leverage over US-espionage in Germany. The intercepted phone call from Clinton gives them the evidence that the Germans were spying on the United States. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will have discussions with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier about this issue. Also, Denis McDonough, chief of staff of U.S. President Barack Obama is said to have brought up this issue during a visit to the Chancellery Minister Peter Altmaier.


Meanwhile, the fairy floss counter is going broke...

Ailing Fair a Measure of German-American Ties

By Simon Pfanzeit

Berlin is home to an annual fair dedicated to all things Americana. The recent decline of the carnival says a lot about the poor current state of German-American relations.

Richard Simmons says he knew a few spies in Berlin back in the 1970s. "Everyone spied at some point for someone," he says of the Cold War era. And why, Simmons admits to sometimes wondering, should something that was considered normal back then be seen as unacceptable now?

Simmons gazes into the urban canyons of New York City; not far away, the Golden Gate Bridge arching through the air. At the German-American Folk Festival in Berlin, prints of America's most impressive sights are on display. Sand has been spread out to create a beach-like atmosphere and flower pots have been carefully wrapped in the colors of the US flag. Palm trees dot the landscape.

Simmons, 67, is sitting in front of the hamburger stand he operates. He's wearing a casual shirt and his accent when he speaks German quickly betrays his American origins. When he talks about the fair, which is now celebrating its 54th year and is meant to be a celebration of German-American relations, what comes out is a story of rapprochement and transience.

Earlier, the fair had been held in the American-occupied sector of West Berlin, where US soldiers were stationed and lived alongside their German neighbors. Germans came to the carnival in droves. At the time, they were still grateful for Germany's liberation but particularly for the Berlin Airlift, which had seen the Americans deliver provisions to the city after land routes were completely cut off by the Soviet Union in 1948. It was a time when there were clear boundaries between friends and foes. The final day of the first German-American Folk Festival was on August 13, 1961, the day construction of the Berlin Wall began.



the german miracle called merkel...

Quieter in Germany

Nothing has contributed more to this change than the chancellor from the east, Angela Merkel. She is a democrat and a champion of freedom, and she hasn't created an expanded GDR. Nevertheless, there are aspects to the way she runs the country that are reminiscent of the former East Germany.

A dictatorship fears open discourse and conflict, and it thrives on the fiction of unity. The ruler or the ruling party claims that it is executing the will of the people, and because that will is supposed to be uniform, everyone is under forced consensus. Silence in the country is treated as approval. Merkel grew up in this system.

Elements of it are reflected in her political style. She despises open dispute, she does not initiate discourse and she feels comfortable when silence prevails. She prefers to govern within a grand coalition, because it enables her to create broad consensus within small groups. Things have become quieter in Germany.

Many people in the country like that. Eastern Germans are used to it. Even in the past, the Anglo-Saxon model, with its dualisms and heated conflicts, was suspect to most West Germans. Even the French argue more heatedly than the Germans. Merkel has enabled Germans to find themselves.

Merkel's center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) have been forged into a new kind of SED, a more social-democratic one, one which generously funds the social consensus, providing money for families and retirees, as well as a minimum wage. The only party that managed to show some sympathy for Anglo-Saxon capitalism, the Free Democratic Party (FDP), has all but disappeared.

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trying to discredit spiegel...

SPIEGEL first drew the German government's attention to the actions in the autumn of 2013 when it reported on information from an NSA database entry about the tapping of Merkel's phone. "That's why I asked the reporters at SPIEGEL to answer questions about the document or to provide it to us. But the newsmagazine, citing the right of the press to refuse to give evidence, did not comply", the federal prosecutor said during his annual press conference in Karlsruhe on Thursday. He seemed frustrated.

In his statement, Range insinuated that "the document that has been perceived by the public as proof of the actual tapping of the mobile telephone is not actually an authentic NSA order for signals intelligence." He also claimed it didn't come from an NSA database. "A SPIEGEL editor produced it himself, stating it was based on an NSA document which had been seen."

There is a risk that Range's statement could be viewed as some kind of finding in his investigation and create the false impression that SPIEGEL somehow concocted its own documents. At least, this is what some press reports about Range's press conference seemed to suggest.

SPIEGEL has never claimed that it presented an original document to the German government. SPIEGEL has consistently stated that its journalists viewed the contents of an NSA document and reported on the details contained therein. The magazine has made this clear throughout its reporting on the issue.

When SPIEGEL approached Merkel's office about the findings of its research for a response, all the details provided by its reporters originated from information included in that specific entry in the database of NSA documents. SPIEGEL did not add anything to this information. SPIEGEL also explicitly noted to the chancellor's office that what it was submitting was a transcription and not the original document.

"When asked by a journalist during the press conference if the document in question was a fake, the federal prosecutor explicitly denied this," Range's spokesperson clarified this week. While conducting research into the NSA in June 2013, several SPIEGEL reporters came across information indicating that the intelligence agency had conducted surveillance of the German chancellor's mobile phone.

The reporters then conducted further investigation into the suspected activities together with encryption expert and freelance journalist Jacob Appelbaum. An entry in an internal NSA database logging targets includes the chancellor's mobile telephone number as well as her name. SPIEGEL attempted to verify the information and subsequently made the decision to request a statement from Merkel herself.

On Oct. 17, 2013, SPIEGEL Berlin bureau chief Nikolaus Blome and reporter Jörg Schindler met with Steffen Seibert, Merkel's official spokesman. They presented him with a letter detailing the information obtained about spying on Merkel's mobile phone. The two made clear to Seibert that the paper was a copy of the details from an NSA database entry SPIEGEL had viewed. Seibert also understood it to be such.

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"encryption systems proving to be so robust"...

from Der Spiegel...


Inside the NSA's War on Internet Security


US and British intelligence agencies undertake every effort imaginable to crack all types of encrypted Internet communication. The cloud, it seems, is full of holes. The good news: New Snowden documents show that some forms of encryption still cause problems for the NSA.

When Christmas approaches, the spies of the Five Eyes intelligence services can look forward to a break from the arduous daily work of spying. In addition to their usual job -- attempting to crack encryption all around the world -- they play a game called the "Kryptos Kristmas Kwiz," which involves solving challenging numerical and alphabetical puzzles. The proud winners of the competition are awarded "Kryptos" mugs.

Encryption -- the use of mathematics to protect communications from spying -- is used for electronic transactions of all types, by governments, firms and private users alike. But a look into the archive of whistleblower Edward Snowden shows that not all encryption technologies live up to what they promise.

One example is the encryption featured in Skype, a program used by some 300 million users to conduct Internet video chat that is touted as secure. It isn't really. "Sustained Skype collection began in Feb 2011," reads a National Security Agency (NSA) training document from the archive of whistleblower Edward Snowden. Less than half a year later, in the fall, the code crackers declared their mission accomplished. Since then, data from Skype has been accessible to the NSA's snoops. Software giant Microsoft, which acquired Skype in 2011, said in a statement: "We will not provide governments with direct or unfettered access to customer data or encryption keys." The NSA had been monitoring Skype even before that, but since February 2011, the service has been under order from the secret US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), to not only supply information to the NSA but also to make itself accessible as a source of data for the agency.

The "sustained Skype collection" is a further step taken by the authority in the arms race between intelligence agencies seeking to deny users of their privacy and those wanting to ensure they are protected. There have also been some victories for privacy, with certain encryption systems proving to be so robust they have been tried and true standards for more than 20 years.

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See toon at top...


US spying vastly more extensive than first thought...


Spying Close to Home

German Intelligence Under Fire for NSA Cooperation

US intelligence spent years spying on European targets from a secretive base. Now, it seems that German intelligence was aware of the espionage -- and did nothing to stop it.

It was obvious from its construction speed just how important the new site in Bavaria was to the Americans. Only four-and-a-half months after it was begun, the new, surveillance-proof building at the Mangfall Kaserne in Bad Aibling was finished. The structure had a metal exterior and no windows, which led to its derogatory nickname among members of the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), the German foreign intelligence agency: The "tin can."

The construction project was an expression of an especially close and trusting cooperation between the American National Security Agency (NSA) and the BND. Bad Aibling had formerly been a base for US espionage before it was officially turned over to the BND in 2004. But the "tin can" was built after the handover took place.

The heads of the two intelligence agencies had agreed to continue cooperating there in secret. Together, they established joint working groups, one for the acquisition of data, called Joint Sigint Activity, and one for the analysis of that data, known as the Joint Analysis Center.

But the Germans were apparently not supposed to know everything their partners in the "tin can" were doing. The Americans weren't just interested in terrorism; they also used their technical abilities to spy on companies and agencies in Western Europe. They didn't even shy away from pursuing German targets.

The Germans noticed -- in 2008, if not sooner. But nothing was done about it until 2013, when an analysis triggered by whistleblower Edward Snowden's leaks showed that the US was using the facility to spy on German and Western European targets.

On Thursday, though, SPIEGEL ONLINE revealed that the US spying was vastly more extensive than first thought. The revelations have been met with extreme concern in the German capital -- partly because they mark the return of a scandal that two successive Merkel administrations have never truly sought to clear up.

It remains unclear how much the BND knew, and to what extent German intelligence was involved, either intentionally or not. More crucially, it demonstrates the gap in trust that exists between two close allies.

Humiliating Efforts

The German government will have to quickly come up with answers. It will also have to decide how it will confront Washington about these new accusations. In the past two years, Berlin has made little to no progress in its largely humiliating efforts to get information from Washington.

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Gus: I still maintain with conviction that the US has always tried to make sure Europe failed. "Cooperation" of Europe with the Americans was always fraught with double dealings from the Yanks (AND THE BRITISH — and the "five" eyes)... The Yanks ARE NOT GOING TO let another "Empire" shine on their turf. Thus they have been dividing Europe in as many ways as they can.


I feel I have not become less radical...

SPIEGEL Interview with Julian Assange

'We Are Drowning in Material'

Interview Conducted By 

In an interview, Julian Assange, 44, talks about the comeback of the WikiLeaks whistleblowing platform and his desire to provide assistance to a German parliamentary committee that is investigating mass NSA spying.

SPIEGEL: Mr. Assange, WikiLeaks is back -- releasing documents proving United States surveillance of the French government, publishing Saudi diplomatic cables and posting evidence of the massive surveillance of the German government by US secret services. What are the reasons for this comeback?

Assange: Yes, WikiLeaks has been publishing a lot of material in the last few months. We have been publishing right through, but sometimes it has been material which does not concern the West and the Western media -- documents about Syria, for example. But you have to consider that there was, and still is, a conflict with the United States government which started in earnest in 2010 after we began publishing a variety of classified US documents.

SPIEGEL: What did this mean for you and for WikiLeaks?

Assange: The result was a series of legal cases, blockades, PR attacks and so on. With a banking blockade, WikiLeaks had been cut off from more than 90 percent of its finances. The blockade happened in a completely extrajudicial manner. We took legal measures against the blockade and we have been victorious in the courts, so people can send us donations again.

SPIEGEL: What difficulties did you have to overcome?

Assange: There had been attacks on our technical infrastructure. And our staff had to take a 40 percent pay cut, but we have been able to keep things together without having to fire anybody, which I am quite proud of. We became a bit like Cuba, working out ways around this blockade. Various groups like Germany's Wau Holland Foundation collected donations for us during the blockade.

SPIEGEL: What did you do with the donations you got?

Assange: They enabled us to pay for new infrastructure, which was needed. I have been publishing about the NSA for almost 20 years now, so I was aware of the NSA and GCHQ mass surveillance. We required a next-generation submission system in order to protect our sources.

SPIEGEL: And is it in place now?

Assange: Yes, a few months back we launched a next-generation submission system and also integrated it with our publications.

SPIEGEL: So we can expect new publications?

Assange: We are drowning in material now. Economically, the challenge for WikiLeaks is whether we can scale up our income in proportion to the amount of material we have to process.

SPIEGEL: Nine years ago, when WikiLeaks was founded, you could read on its website: "The goal is justice. The method is transparency." This is the old idea of Enlightenment born in the 18th century. But if you look at brutal political regimes and ruthless big corporations, isn't that slogan too idealistic? Is transparency enough?

Assange: To be honest, I don't like the word transparency; cold dead glass is transparent. I prefer education or understanding, which are more human.

SPIEGEL: The work of WikiLeaks seems to have changed. In the beginning it just published secret documents. More recently, you have also been providing context for the documents.

Assange: We have always done this. I have personally written thousands of pages of analysis. WikiLeaks is a giant library of the world's most persecuted documents. We give asylum to these documents, analyze them, promote them and obtain more. WikiLeaks has more than 10 million documents and associated analyses now.

SPIEGEL: Are the personnel of the US government and the US Army still technically blocked from using your library?

Assange: WikiLeaks is still a taboo object for some parts of the government. Firewalls were set up. Every federal government employee and every contractor received an e-mail stating that if they read something from WikiLeaks including through the New York Times website, they have to remove this from their computer immediately and self-report. They had to cleanse and confess. That's a new McCarthy hysteria.

SPIEGEL: Do you know something about your readers?

Assange: Not much, we don't spy on them. But what we do know is that most of our readers come from India, closely followed by the United States. We also have quite a number of readers who search for persons. The sister is getting married and someone wants to check the groom. Or someone is negotiating a business deal and wants to know something about his potential partner or a bureaucrat he has to talk to.

SPIEGEL: Did WikiLeaks change its ways of cooperating with journalists and the media over the years?

Assange: We use a lot more contracts now.


Assange: That's due to a few bad experiences, principally in London. We have contracts now with more than a hundred media organizations all around the world. We have a unique perspective on the global media. We put together various consortiums of journalists and media organizations on different levels and try to maximize the impact of our sources. We now have six years of experience with Western European media, American media, Indian media, Arab media and seeing what they do with the same material. Their results are unbelievably different.

SPIEGEL: Edward Snowden said that many journalists got interesting stories from his documents, but the only organization that really cared about him and helped him to escape from Hong Kong was WikiLeaks.

Assange: Most of the media organizations do burn sources. Edward Snowden was abandoned in Hong Kong, especially by the Guardian, which had run his stories exclusively. But we thought that it was very important that a star source like Edward Snowden was not put in prison. Because that would have created a tremendous chilling effect on other sources coming forward.

SPIEGEL: It would surely have been a deterrence for other sources. But most of the journalists insist on being independent and objective. They also like to stress that they are not political activists.

Assange: All they show is that they are activists for the way things are.

SPIEGEL: Haven't you also met journalists who dig deep into complex issues and work hard to deliver a proper analysis?

Assange: In the United Kingdom at various stages, journalism has been the profession of gentlemen amateurs. And some of them even pride themselves on being amateurs. Their quality is not comparable with the quality of intelligence services even if most of them harbor a remarkable degree of corruption and incompetence. But they still have a certain ideal of professionalism. In order to protect sources now, extreme diligence and professionalism is required.

SPIEGEL: In October, a book will be published called "The WikiLeaks Files. The World According to the US Empire" for which you wrote the foreword. Do you try to develop the contextualization, the analysis and the counter-narrative which the documents provided by WikiLeaks need?

Assange: Generally there is not enough systematic understanding. This has to do with media economics, the short-term news cycles, but actually I don't blame the media for that failure. There is a terrible failing in academia in understanding current geopolitical and technical developments and the intersection between these two areas. WikiLeaks has a very public conflict with the United States, which is still ongoing and in which many young people have gotten involved. They suddenly saw the Internet as a place where politics and geopolitics happen. It's not just a place where you gossip about what happened at school. But where were the young professors stepping forward trying to make sense of it all? Where is the new Michel Foucault who tries to explain how modern power is exercised? Absurdly, Noam Chomski was making some of the best comments and he is now 86.

SPIEGEL: Maybe young professors presume it might not be very helpful for their careers to address this subject because it is highly controversial.

Assange: Exactly. It is inherently controversial. At the same time, the relationships of the major intelligence agencies is a one of the great structuring factors of the modern world. It is the core of non-economic relationships between states. I worry most about academia and the particular part of academia that is dealing with international relations. WikiLeaks has published over 2 million diplomatic cables. It is the single largest repository for international relations of primary source materials, all searchable. It is the cannon for international relations. It is the biggest dog in the room. There has been some research published in Spanish and in Asian languages. But where are the American and English journals? There is a concrete explanation: They act as feeder schools for the US State Department. The US association that controls the big five international relations journals, the ISA, has a quiet, official policy of not accepting any paper that is derived from WikiLeaks' materials.

SPIEGEL: Let's talk about politicians. Why have politicians -- who had to learn, thanks to WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden, that their phones are tapped and their emails are read by English-speaking spies -- reacted in such a timid, slow and lame way to these revelations?

Assange: Why are they playing it down? Angela Merkel had to look tough because she didn't want to be seen as a weak leader, but I reckon she came to the conclusion the Americans aren't going to change. All that US intelligence information is very valuable for the German foreign intelligence agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst. Please imagine for a moment the German government complains about being spied on and the Americans just say: Okay, we will give you more stuff, which they have stolen from France. When the French complain, they get more stuff, which was stolen from Germany. The NSA spends a lot of resources obtaining information, but throwing a few crumbs to France and Germany when they start whining about being victims costs nothing, digital copies cost nothing.

SPIEGEL: If it worked like that, it would be utterly embarrassing for the German and the French governments.

Assange: It's sad. It seems like German politicians think this debate makes us look weak and creates conflict with the Americans. So we better play the surveillance issue down. If you knew as a German politician that American intelligence agencies have been collecting intensively on 125 top-level politicians and officials over decades, you would recall some of the conversations you had in all these years and you would then understand that the United States has all those conversations, and that it could take down the Merkel cabinet any time it feels like it, by simply leaking portions of those conversations to journalists.

SPIEGEL: Do you see a potential blackmail situation?

Assange: They wouldn't leak transcripts of tapped phone calls as that would draw focus to the spying itself. The way intelligence services launder intercepts is to extract the facts expressed during conversations; for example to say to their contacts in the media, "I think you should look into this connection between this politician and that person, what they did on that particular day."

SPIEGEL: Have you got a documented example in which this sort of tactic has been used?

Assange: We haven't published one yet about a German politician, but there are examples of prominent Muslims in different countries about whom it was leaked that they had been browsing porn. Blackmail or representational destruction from intercepts is part of the repertoire used.

SPIEGEL: Who uses these methods?

Assange: The British GCHQ has its own department for such methods called JTRIG. They include blackmail, fabricating videos, fabricating SMS texts in bulk, even creating fake businesses with the same names as real businesses the United Kingdom wants to marginalize in some region of the world, and encouraging people to order from the fake business and selling them inferior products, so that the business gets a bad reputation. That sounds like a lunatic conspiracy theory, but it is concretely documented in the GCHQ material allegedly provided by Edward Snowden.

SPIEGEL: Snowden is trapped in Moscow, Chelsea Manning, formerly known as Bradley Manning, was sentenced to 35 years in prison for submitting classified documents to WikiLeaks. Did this not deter other potential whistleblowers?

Assange: It was designed to be a very strong deterrent. However, a number of people have come forward subsequent to that and these acts of repression have a mixed effect. Obviously, sentencing someone to 35 years in prison does have some deterrent effect. But it also erodes the perception of the US Government as a legitimate authority. Being perceived as a just authority is the key to legitimacy. Edward Snowden told me they had abused Manning in a way that contributed to his decision to become a whistleblower, because it shows the system is incapable of reforming itself.

SPIEGEL: Did you get more cautious?

Assange: The US government is pursuing five different types of charges against me. I don't know how many charges altogether, but five types of charges: espionage, conspiracy to commit espionage, computer fraud and abuse, theft of secrets and general conspiracy. Even if there were only one charge of each type, which there wouldn't be, that would be 45 years, and the Espionage Act has life imprisonment and death penalty provisions as well. So it would be absurd for me to worry about the consequences of our next publication. Saudi officials came out after we started publishing the Saudi cables and said that spreading and publishing government information carries a penalty of 20 years in prison. Only 20 years! So if it's a choice between being extradited to Saudi Arabia or the US, then I should go to Saudi Arabia, a land famous for its judicial moderation.

SPIEGEL: When you started WikiLeaks in 2006, did you ever expect to end up in the kind of situation you are in now?

Assange: Not this precise situation. But I did expect significant difficulties, of this type. Of course I did.

SPIEGEL : On the other hand, WikiLeaks has become a global brand within less than nine years, a household name even. Does this compensate for the substantial problems you are having?

Assange: No. But other things do. The conflict has made us much tougher, producing the WikiLeaks you see today. This great library built from the courage and sweat of many has had a five-year confrontation with a superpower without losing a single "book." At the same time, these "books" have educated many, and in some cases, in a literal sense, let the innocent go free.

SPIEGEL : That's not a bad conclusion. Especially given that you chose to go up against the most powerful enemies available on Earth. Or what is more powerful than the US government and its military and secret services?

Assange: Physics. Mathematics. The underpinnings of physical reality are harsh and could do with adjustment but it is not clear how.

SPIEGEL: You mentioned the US investigations. A Swedish state prosecutor is also investigating you for the alleged lesser-degree rape and sexual molestation of two Swedish women. And the British would like to lock you up because they say you breached your bail conditions by applying for asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy. Are there any other investigations against you and WikiLeaks?

Assange: The US is still proceeding against me and WikiLeaks more broadly according to a court filing by the US government this year. A "WikiLeaks War Room" was erected by the Pentagon and staffed with an admitted 120 US Intelligence and FBI officers. The center of it has moved from the Pentagon to the Justice Department, with the FBI continuing to provide "boots on the ground." In their communications with Australian diplomats, US officials have said that it was an investigation of "unprecedented scale and nature" -- over a dozen different US agencies ranging from the US State Department to the NSA have been involved.

SPIEGEL: What do you regard as the most threatening case of all?

Assange: We have a dozen different legal proceedings. From a journalistic point of view, as the largest international espionage case against a publisher in history, it is a very sexy case, which the media has reasons to protest every day. But there is one thing that is still sexier than an espionage case and that's a sex case no matter how bogus. There is another investigation, which has to do with the role of WikiLeaks in Edward Snowden's asylum. And there is the Anti-Terror Act in Great Britain, which is the reason that Sarah Harrison, our investigations editor, has to be based in Berlin. Australia, my home country, has also announced a criminal investigation against us this week for revealing a gag order used to cover up a major international bribery case involving heads of state.

SPIEGEL: In March, the Swedish prosecutor announced that she would finally come to London to interview you in the embassy, but this ultimately didn't happen.

Assange: The Swedish "preliminary investigation," which arose during the heat of the US conflict, has been dormant for almost five years now. There are no charges. In 40 other cases, Swedish prosecutors have interviewed people in Britain during those five years. They have not done that in my case and they placed me under a grueling bail situation.

SPIEGEL: You had to pay £200,000 (€290,000) and report to the police every day.

Assange: Yes, for almost 600 days. And I had to wear a monitoring unit around my ankle. Alleged war criminals from the former Yugoslavia being held on bail here in Britain don't have such conditions.

SPIEGEL: How many lawyers do you employ?

Assange: WikiLeaks has received legal advice from about 150 lawyers across all these cases.

SPIEGEL: Are you experiencing greater support or solidarity as a result of the continuing persecution against you?

Assange: The persecution was used to create desolidarization. Partly it had the opposite effect but partly in the Western countries it made the rhetorical attacks on us easier. But the climate has shifted positively. It never affected the majority of the Spanish-, French- or Italian-speaking worlds and obviously not the Russian-speaking world. Even in the United States we have support from the majority of people under 35 now.

SPIEGEL: What is your impression of the reputation of WikiLeaks in Germany?

Assange: The transition of the German public opinion is interesting. A study in 2010 found that 88 percent of Germans appreciate the US government; after the disclosure about the NSA, the rate dropped to 43 percent. That is a healthy shift in the German view of the United States, which has been starry-eyed. Japan suffered the same problem. At the same time, German public support for WikiLeaks is significant and even quite mainstream.

SPIEGEL: Does that have something to do with the fact that Sarah Harrison, your investigations editor, is working in Berlin and sometimes makes public appearances there?

Assange: Sarah has had an impact, but it is more the other way around. Sarah is staying in Berlin because it's a friendly environment. And a number of other people connected with WikLeaks are there for the same reason.

SPIEGEL: You yourself visited Berlin in 2009. You visited the annual hacker congress of the Chaos Computer Club.

Assange: The CCC is a unique phenomenon. There are some big American conferences, but they are almost entirely depoliticized.

SPIEGEL: Already back in the 1980s, Dr. Wau, the founder of the Chaos Computer Club, came up with the slogan: Protect private data, use public data. That has been quite farsighted. Back then Wau and CCC members were consultants to the parliamentary group of the Greens in the German parliament, the Bundestag. Today, Green Party member of parliament Christian Ströbele and other MPs with the Greens and the Left Party are working hard in a committee of inquiry to reveal the truth about the nature and scope of the US surveillance in Germany. What do you think about this committee?

Assange: As an analyst, I tend to be cynical about such committees because they are normally set up to bury rather than open debate. However, the Bundestag's committee of inquiry is foraging out some interesting facts and there are members like Hans-Christian Ströbele and other members of the Green and Left parties who definitely want to find out the truth about US surveillance in Germany.

SPIEGEL: Would you be willing to support them?

Assange: Yes. If they need a witness I would be happy if they would come here and ask me their questions.

SPIEGEL: What issues could you talk about with members of the of inquiry committee?

Assange: We have documents about US surveillance of top German politicians including the chancellor and the foreign minister. We can't reveal our sources but we can state the reasons we believe the documents are authentic and assist with interpretation.

SPIEGEL: You only published the list with the last four digits on the numbers redacted. Would you provide the German MPs with the full numbers?

Assange: Yes. Legally, that table we have published with the 125 phone numbers of politicians and officials is great. The German federal prosecutor dropped his investigation because he claimed not to have found evidence of actual surveillance that would stand up in court. We also published memos written on the basis of intercepts of Merkel and a number of others, precisely to provide this evidence.

SPIEGEL: Who put the German politicians on the list?

Assange: James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, formally approved the policy to target the German government. There were three areas that were targeted in the material we have published so far: German political affairs, Eurpoean policies and economic affairs. That is explicitly listed in the table. None of the 125 number we released is listed as being targeted for "terrorism" or military affairs. The US is in the business of managing an extended empire. The ability to prevent Merkel from constructing a BRICS bailout fund for the euro zone by intercepting the idea at an early stage is an example.

SPIEGEL : Erich Mielke, the infamous head of East Germany's Stasi secret police, liked to say, "We have to know everything." The US spies, for their part, appeared to focus on specific areas.

Assange: The intercepts that we published were from the Global Signals Intelligence Highlights (Executive Edition). That's the executive version; it's not the lower-level boring stuff. It's the Academy Awards. When something is said that is in some way "interesting," it starts passing up through the intelligence food chain. If it is very "interesting," it gets into the Global SIGINT Highlights. When it is so "interesting" that it helps a Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, the head of the DNI, the head of the Department of Commerce or Trade make a decision, then it gets into the executive version.

SPIEGEL: So you think you can learn something about the political priorities of the US government?

Assange: Yes, you can observe real policies -- that the United States government was very interested in the idea that Germany would propose a greater role for China in the International Monetary Fund, for example. An executive decision can be taken: Kill that idea of Merkel's before it learns to crawl, because the US sees China helping Europe as a threat to its dominance.

SPIEGEL: Well, we've talked about politicians. And about secret services. We didn't talk about the big private corporations. You met Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google. Do you think he is a dangerous man?

Assange: If you ask "Does Google collect more information than the National Security Agency?" the answer is "no," because NSA also collects information from Google. The same applies to Facebook and other Silicon Valley-based companies. They still collect a lot of information and they are using a new economic model which academics call "surveillance capitalism." General information about individuals is worth little, but when you group together a billion individuals, it becomes strategic like an oil or gas pipeline.

SPIEGEL : Secret services are perceived as potential criminals but the big IT corporations are perceived at least in an ambiguous way. Apple produces beautiful computers. Google is a useful search engine.

Assange: Until the 1980s, computers were big machines designed for the military or scientists, but then the personal computers were developed and companies had to start rebranding them as machines that were helpful for individual human beings. Organizations like Google, whose business model is "voluntary" mass surveillance, appear to be giving it away for free. Free e-mail, free search, etc. Therefore it seems that they're not a corporation, because corporations don't do things for free. It falsely seems like they are part of civil society.

SPIEGEL : And they shape the thinking of billions of users?

Assange: They are also exporting a specific mindset of culture. You can use the old term of "cultural imperialism" or call it the "Disneylandization" of the Internet. Maybe "digital colonization" is the best terminology.

SPIEGEL: What does this "colonization" look like?

Assange: These corporations establish new societal rules about what activities are permitted and what information can be transmitted. Right down to how much nipple you can show. Down to really basic matters, which are normally a function of public debate and parliaments making laws. Once something becomes sufficiently controversial, it's banned by these organizations. Or, even if it is not so controversial, but it affects the interests that they're close to, then it's banned or partially banned or just not promoted.

SPIEGEL: So in the long run, cultural diversity is endangered?

Assange: The long-term effect is a tendency towards conformity, because controversy is eliminated. An American mindset is being fostered and spread to the rest of the world because they find this mindset to be uncontroversial among themselves. That is literally a type of digital colonialism; non-US cultures are being colonized by a mindset of what is tolerable to the staff and investors of a few Silicon Valley companies. The cultural standard of what is a taboo and what is not becomes a US standard, where US exceptionalism is uncontroversial.

SPIEGEL: Cultural politics is not the core business of WikiLeaks. Which issues will you focus on in the future?

Assange: Over the last two years, we already have become specialists for the three extremely important trade agreements, the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TP). WikiLeaks has become the place to go to leak parts of these agreements that are now under negotiation. These agreements are a package that the US is using to reposition itself in the world against China by constructing a new grand enclosure. We are seeing something that would result in a tighter economic and legal integration with the United States, which draws Western Europe's center of gravity away from Eurasia and towards the United States, when the greatest chance for long-term peace in Eurasia is its economic intergration.

SPIEGEL: If you look at yourself, you have paid a high price for what you did. And you're still paying; you have been sitting here in this embassy for more than three years now and you have lost your freedom of movement. Did these experiences change your attitude, your political points of view or your readiness to act politically?

Assange: It is said that you get less radical as you get older. I just have turned 44 now, but I feel I have not become less radical.

SPIEGEL: Mr. Assange, we thank you for this interview.


URL:Good one Julian... As a much older kook, I must say I grow more radical every day. The young Turdies of this world who are now ruling the world — walking on this planet like on eggshells with big steel boots — have missed the point of living. You are an exception. Best of luck.

support assange...


Why hasn’t the Swedish prosecutor resolved the Assange case? Many in the legal community in Sweden believe her behaviour inexplicable. Once implacably hostile to Assange, the Swedish press has published headlines such as: 'Go to London, for God's sake.'

Why hasn't she? More to the point, why won't she allow the Swedish court access to hundreds of SMS messages that the police extracted from the phone of one of the two women involved in the misconduct allegations? Why won't she hand them over to Assange's Swedish lawyers?

She says she is not legally required to do so until a formal charge is laid and she has questioned him. Then, why doesn't she question him? And if she did question him, the conditions she would demand of him and his lawyers – that they could not challenge her – would make injustice a near certainty.

On a point of law, the Swedish Supreme Court has decided Ny can continue to obstruct on the vital issue of the SMS messages. This now go to the European Court of Human Rights. What Ny fears is that the SMS messages destroy her case against Assange. One of the messages from one of the women makes it clear that she did not want any charges brought against Assange, "but the police were keen on getting a hold on him". She was "shocked" when they arrested him because she only "wanted him to take [an HIV] test". She "did not want to accuse JA of anything" and "it was the police who made up the charges". (In a witness statement, she is quoted as saying that she had been "railroaded by police and others around her".)

Neither woman claimed she had been raped. Indeed, both have denied they were raped and one of them has since tweeted, "I have not been raped." That they were manipulated by police and their wishes ignored is evident - whatever their lawyers might say now. Certainly, they are victims of a saga which blights the reputation of Sweden itself.

read more:,8006

If Wikileaks had not been created by Assange, the world would be poorer. Someone else would have to invent it. Without Wikileaks I mean Big Brother would have taken over completely. Imagine that so far, as far as we know, there are only TWO sources (and somewhat related) of information regarding the illegal activities of the "State". Wikileaks and the Snowden papers.

Spying on other countries for better favourable trade terms is not knew of course. Yet most of the "fiction" made by Hollywood on the functions of the State's gathering information on people is FICTIONISED as if to "protect people" from "terror". Let's be VERY clear here. The greatest part (my guess is more than 80 per cent) of State spying is done on commercial grounds, for trade advantage and to control the power of cash... 

It seems I always make wild claims about the way Greece has been interfered by the US banks in order for the US to stop Europe become a "powerhouse"... I don't make these claim lightly. I have read many European news outlets for many years and the weird lingos is no barrier. They know and they have not found a way yet to stop their petty squabbles in order to stop the USA acting as Big Mother...
I still stand by what I said many times:

The USA has been trying to stop the France-Germany alliance since the 1960s. 

Some countries in the EU, especially the UK, have been "encouraged" by the US to stay in the Union as to "sabotage" the Union. For example the UK is still holding on to its currency, weakening the Union. As well The UK is a respondent to the US, as part of the English hegemony as has been shown on the war on Iraq and on other spying activity on their own partners on behalf of the USA.

Sweden of course is part of the EU and yet it is doing the dirty work of Uncle Sam. Sweden has less than 10 million people. 
This is what I am talking about. NOT AN ISOLATED CASE (from the front page of the Saturday Paper:
US spies on japan

Meanwhile I "believe" that the present Turdy Australian Government does not need to be spied upon. But the US would be spying like crazy on the Labor Party and the Greens. Trust me. 

Somewhere on this site, I have mentioned that most secret discussions by German industrial boards are done without any electronic communication possible. Some firms do their meetings in faraday cages. All relevant information is done with "pen and paper" and jealously guarded.
Encryption of electronic data is one of the major problems. Some encryption keys would not fit in single space 10 point type 20 lines on an a A4. They are getting longer than novels. Now we have double and triple encryption keys. This is why we need brains like Julian Assange to cut through the cheese of Governments secrecy in which the aim is not so much to protect you and me but to enrich the rich at your expense and make sure "equality" and DEMOCRACY is thwarted. 


deceiving the german public...


Washington Gave Answer Long Ago in NSA Case

By , René Pfister and Holger Stark

For months, the German government sought to create the impression it was still waiting for an answer from the US on whether it could share NSA target lists for spying with a parliamentary investigation. The response came months ago.

The order from Washington was unambiguous. The United States Embassy in Berlin didn't want to waste any time and moved to deliver the diplomatic cable without delay. It was May 10, 2015, a Sunday -- and even diplomats aren't crazy about working weekends. On this day, though, they had no other choice. James Melville, the embassy's second-in-command, hand delivered the mail from the White House to Angela Merkel's Chancellery at 9 p.m.

The letter that Melville handed over to Merkel's staff contained the long-awaited answer to how the German federal government could proceed with highly classified lists of NSA spying targets. The so-called "selector" lists had become notorious in Germany and the subject of considerable grief for Merkel because her foreign intelligence agency, the BND, may have helped the NSA to spy on German firms as a result of them. The selector lists, which were fed into the BND's monitoring systems on behalf of the NSA, are reported to have included both German and European targets that were spied on by the Americans.

The letter put the German government in a very delicate position. The expectation had been that the US government would flat out refuse to allow officials in Berlin to present the lists to members of the federal parliament, which is currently investigating NSA spying in Germany, including the eavesdropping of Merkel's own mobile phone. But that wasn't the case. Instead, the Americans delivered a more differentiated letter, making it all the more interesting. Nevertheless, the German government remained silent about the letter's existence.

Canned Answers

It disposed of all queries with the canned answer that talks with the US on how to deal with the lists were still ongoing. The government kept giving the same reply whenever journalists from SPIEGEL or other media asked if it had received an answer from the Americans.

On May 11, one day after Chancellery officials received the letter, Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert answered, "The heads of the Parliamentary Control Panel (responsible for parliamentary oversight of Germany's intelligence agencies) and the NSA investigative committee are all being informed about all relevant things in the context of this consultation process." Is it not relevant when the US government provides its first official response to the Germans' request to present the lists to parliament?

Two days later, on May 13, Seibert was asked explicitly by a reporter whether there had been any new developments on the NSA issue. "I have nothing new to report," the government spokesman answered. At the very least, his reply was a deliberate deception of the public by the government, because the letter didn't just come from anyone -- it came from US President Barack Obama's White House chief of staff, Denis McDonough. A letter from such a high-ranking official is most certainly a new development. When questioned by SPIEGEL on the matter, the German government responded that "it would not publicly comment on confidential communications with foreign parties."

Several sources familiar with the contents of the letter claim that in it, Obama's people express their great respect for the parliamentary oversight of intelligence services and also accept that the committee will learn more about the NSA target list. At the same time, the letter also includes the decisive requirement -- one that must have been a tough pill for the Chancellery to swallow -- that the German government had to make sure no information contained in the target lists went public.

Keeping the Public in the Dark

The demand created a dilemma for the government. It meant on the one hand that Merkel's Chancellery could no longer hide behind the Americans as an excuse to withhold the information from parliament. At the same time, the Chancellery didn't want to take the risk of giving the lists to members of the Bundestag because doing so would create the risk that someone might then leak them to the media.

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I would be surprised if the actual answer by the Yanks was not designed to embarrass the Chancellor with a "dilemma". One can smell a candour with some strings attached... Clever... But the press in Germany is awake, unlike the press in this country of kangaroos and flies. It knows shit, it does not have to create it.



From Der Spiegel


Chaos and ViolenceHow New Year's Eve in Cologne Has Changed Germany

New Year's Eve in Cologne rapidly descended into a chaotic free-for-all involving sexual assault and theft, most of it apparently committed by foreigners. It has launched a bitter debate over immigration and refugees in Germany -- one that could change the country. By SPIEGEL Staff

A lot happened on New Year's Eve in Cologne, much of it contradictory, much of it real, much of it imagined. Some was happenstance, some was exaggerated and much of it was horrifying. In its entirety, the events of Cologne on New Year's Eve and in the days that followed adhered to a script that many had feared would come true even before it actually did. The fears of both immigration supporters and virulent xenophobes came true. The fears of Pegida people and refugee helpers; the fears of unknown women and of Chancellor Angela Merkel. Even Donald Trump, the brash Republican presidential candidate in the US, felt it necessary to comment. Germany, he trumpeted, "is going through massive attacks to its people by the migrants allowed to enter the country."

For some, the events finally bring to light what they have always been saying: that too many foreigners in the country bring too many problems along with them. For the others, that which happened is what they have been afraid of from the very beginning: that ugly images of ugly behavior by migrants would endanger what has been a generally positive mood in Germany with respect to the refugees.

As inexact and unclear as the facts from Cologne may be, they carry a clear message: Difficult days are ahead. And they beg a couple of clear questions: Is Germany really sure that it can handle the influx of refugees? And: Does Germany really have the courage and the desire to become the country in Europe with the greatest number of immigrants?

The first week of 2016 was a hectic one. Tempers flared and hysteria spread. It should be noted that an attack would have triggered similar national emotions, or the murder of a child in a park or any other crime that touched on our deepest fears and serviced our long-held stereotypes -- any crime in which a foreigner was involved. On New Year's Eve in Cologne, it was -- according to numerous witness reports -- drunk young men from North Africa who formed gangs to go after defenseless individuals. They humiliated and robbed -- and they sexually assaulted women.

Their behavior, and the subsequent discussion of their behavior in the halls of political power in Berlin, in the media and on the Internet, could easily trigger a radical shift in Germany's refugee and immigration policies. The pressure built up by the images and stories from Cologne make it virtually impossible to continue on as before. That, too, is a paradox: The pressure would be no less intense even if not a single one of the refugees and migrants who arrived in 2015 were among the perpetrators.

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germans don't want to know the truth...

Germany’s ruling CDU and SPD parties have filed an appeal to the Federal Supreme Court to revise its earlier decision that allowed the US whistleblower Edward Snowden to testify before the German parliament on the NSA scandal and Berlin’s ties to it.

The respective document was sent by the Christian Democratic Party (CDU) and the Social Democrats (SPD) to the Supreme Court on Thursday, Berliner Zeitung . Martina Renner from the opposition Left Party (Die Linke) has slammed the move, saying the government has “fear of the witness testimony,” the outlet notes. 

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some explaining to do...

On Thursday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to give testimony on the 2015 espionage scandal where Germany's Federal Intelligence Service (BND) came under heavy criticism when it became known that it helped US intelligence agencies spy on European institutions.

In an interview with Sputnik Germany, André Hahn, a Bundestag MP and a member from the Die Linke Party commented on the issue.


In particular, the politician recalled Merkel's statement from 2013, in which she said that "spying among friends is unacceptable." The politician agreed with this position, but stressed that now Merkel will have to explain to the Bundestag investigatory committee how spying took place on those in her own ranks and why she wasn't informed about the situation.

"The idea she expressed at that time is absolutely correct and understandable. However, we already know that the BND service did the same things [as the NSA]. Perhaps on a smaller scale than the NSA, but it also spied on many European governments, ministries, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, etc. And in all these cases, it violated legal norms, laws and the Constitution," Hahn said.

The investigatory committee into the German Bundestag was established in 2014 and was tasked with finding out how and to what extent foreign secret services had been spying on European citizens, including German high-ranking politicians and top-officials. Later, a series of documents also revealed that not only the NSA, but also the BND was actively involved in espionage against German citizens.

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some explaining to do...

On Thursday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to give testimony on the 2015 espionage scandal where Germany's Federal Intelligence Service (BND) came under heavy criticism when it became known that it helped US intelligence agencies spy on European institutions.

In an interview with Sputnik Germany, André Hahn, a Bundestag MP and a member from the Die Linke Party commented on the issue.


In particular, the politician recalled Merkel's statement from 2013, in which she said that "spying among friends is unacceptable." The politician agreed with this position, but stressed that now Merkel will have to explain to the Bundestag investigatory committee how spying took place on those in her own ranks and why she wasn't informed about the situation.

"The idea she expressed at that time is absolutely correct and understandable. However, we already know that the BND service did the same things [as the NSA]. Perhaps on a smaller scale than the NSA, but it also spied on many European governments, ministries, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, etc. And in all these cases, it violated legal norms, laws and the Constitution," Hahn said.

The investigatory committee into the German Bundestag was established in 2014 and was tasked with finding out how and to what extent foreign secret services had been spying on European citizens, including German high-ranking politicians and top-officials. Later, a series of documents also revealed that not only the NSA, but also the BND was actively involved in espionage against German citizens.

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obstruction from berlin and washington...

The work of the Bundestag NSA investigation committee, which presented its final report on Wednesday, faced obstruction from Berlin and Washington, Hans-Christian Stroebele, a Green politician who served on the committee, told Sputnik Deutschland.

On Wednesday, the parliamentary committee investigating NSA spying in Germany presented its 1,822-page final report detailing the intelligence agency's activities, which came to light in 2013 after former CIA and NSA employee Edward Snowden leaked information regarding extensive internet and phone surveillance by US and UK intelligence.


It emerged that the intelligence services had collected and shared information on millions of ordinary people, as well as intercepted the communications of European politicians including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

In light of the revelations, the German parliament launched an investigative committee in March 2014. Hans-Christian Stroebele, former chairman of the Alliance 90/Greens party in the Bundestag, told Sputnik Deutschland that there were many obstructions to the enquiry, which nevertheless managed to constitute some important facts.

Stroebele, the deputy of Greens representative Konstantin von Notz on the committee, said that "Edward Snowden was right, it is true that massive amounts, millions, of telecommunications in Germany and from Germany were intercepted and recorded," Stroebele said.

"A large part was available to the NSA; 40,000 NSA selectors [search terms] were used. These search terms should not have been used, because the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) was also of the opinion that they are not permitted."

Despite that, the BND helped the NSA to gather data on German citizens in return for US monitoring technology. The BND itself used 3,000 selectors to spy on German telecommunications, Stroebele said.

The enquiry also brought to light some new information about the US military's controversial use of the Ramstein military base in Germany for drone operations in other countries, and the extent of the German government's knowledge of Ramstein's operations.

"We also learnt other things, for example that Ramstein was used to conduct killer drone operations in Africa," Stroebele said.

Last December, Berlin finally admitted after parliamentary questioning from Die Linke that the US Air Force uses the base to carry out drone strikes and extra-legal killings. The US had confirmed Ramstein's major role in its drone operations to the German government in August 2016. As US drone operations violate German and international law, the revelation has led for calls to close the base.

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commercial pentagon funds for german universities....

Although most German universities are allowed to conduct only non-military research, some of them have received grants from the US Department of Defence for projects with dual commercial and military purposes from explosives to radar systems, as Spiegel found out. 

German universities and research institutions have received $21.7 million worth of grants from Pentagon since 2008, the German magazine Spiegel calculated after examining the US budget data. According to the outlet, 260 of such transfers have been registered with some of the universities repeatedly receiving financing from the US military. The support is focused on technical and scientific disciplines.

Ludwig Maximilians University (LMU) in Munich is said to be the leading individual recipient as it has received nearly $ 3.7 million from the US Department of Defence since 2008 by 23 individual transfers. Besides, it was the Bavarian university that was apparently paid the biggest single grant as it received $1.72 million to finance a project, researching chemicals and possible replacements for the explosive called RDX, widely used in the military.

Other leading recipients are the Technichal University Darmstadt and the RWTH Aachen, which has been provided with more than $1 million since 2008.

The outlet points at the contradiction with the education regulations, stating that universities should be committed to peaceful goals and fulfill their special responsibility for sustainable development, which some interpret as a clear requirement to reject military funding.

The corresponding clause was introduced in one of the German states, North Rhine-Westphalia, and remains in force despite discussions to abolish it. However, the data, studied by Spiegel, suggest that 3 universities there have been funded by Pentagon since 2014: the RWTH Aachen University, the Ruhr University Bochum and the University of Paderborn.

ommenting on the issue, the RWTH Aachen expressed commitment to the peaceful research and denied that it conducted armaments research, saying its goal is to “be the academic foundation for sustainable solutions to respond to today's and tomorrow's civil challenges."

As Spiegel concludes, the problem is that many research results can be used for both militarily and civil purposes, ranging from the communication technology to robots and software, so accepting the US Department of Defence’s funding is “a tightrope walk.”

The US military notes unambiguously in several project descriptions that it is interested in basic research, which is "related to the improvement of army programs and operations or has such a potential." Other documents outline the objective of "maintaining technological superiority in the scientific fields relevant to the needs of the Air Force” as well as the goal to prevent "technological surprises for our nation,” meaning the US, and develop such surprises "for our opponents".

The examples of such dual-purpose research include RWTH Aachen’s several projects. However, the university defended its ventures, including the $ 530,000 grant for research called "A scalable and high-performance approach to the readout of silicon qubits," which explores important components of quantum computers. The university insisted in a statement that although it was initially driven by the ability to decrypt messages, economic usage is now in the foreground. Another project is the development of particularly stable power supply for ships, also funded by the Pentagon.

Despite receiving $300,000 from the US military, the university argues that it was “basic research that could be applied to any kind of ships." Besides, one of the RWTH projects developed textiles for military and commercial applications that are designed to repel insects using only physical agents without insecticides.

Non-university research institutes also were among US funding recipients with dual-use findings projects. The most generous grants have gone to Max Planck Society, to the German Aerospace Center and to the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven. They included funding infrared-based automated whale detection project by the AWI researchers, who received $ 973,000 in total. As the outlet points out, it might also be interesting for hunting not only gigantic mammals but also submarines.


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MAD and neo-nazis...

The head of Germany’s military counter-intelligence service has been dismissed amid a sweeping probe into hundreds of soldiers for suspected links to far-right extremism, the military’s latest effort to overhaul the agency.

Christof Gramm will go into early retirement next month after leading the intelligence organization – known by its acronym ‘MAD’ – for five years, the German Defense Ministry announced on Thursday, adding that a successor would be “decided shortly.”

The move comes as the latest shake-up at MAD, which has come under fire in recent months over its handling of investigations into more than 500 soldiers for suspected right-wing radicalism, some even thought to belong to neo-Nazi groups. 

In May, investigators uncovered a trove of Nazi memorabilia and a large cache of stolen explosives and ammunition on the property of a commander of an elite special forces unit, the KSK. In recent years, 48,000 rounds of ammunition and 137 pounds (62 kilograms) of explosives have disappeared from the unit, only a portion of which has been recovered. One month after the discovery, an employee at MAD was suspended for passing documents related to the ongoing KSK investigation to a member of the unit, triggering a separate probe.

While Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer ordered one of the KSK’s four companies disbanded in July – with 20 of its members suspected of links to far-right ideology – she rebuked MAD’s work in rooting out extremists as “not satisfactory” and “still not enough” after the most recent scandal.

Though the Defense Ministry’s statement announcing the intelligence chief’s departure hailed Gramm’s efforts to rein in extremism in the armed forces, it said the initiative would require “additional effort and momentum”going forward, calling for a “renewal of organization” within MAD. The ministry also noted Gramm had been released from his job “with his consent.” However, a report in Der Spiegel suggested the move was done primarily at the urging of the defense minister.


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