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Secret Documents: NSA monitored 500 million connections in Germany (translate.google.com)
313 points by susi22 1427 days ago | hide | past | web | 147 comments | favorite

Original (this is on the front page of Spiegel today):


This was also posted yesterday (was on yesterday's front page of Spiegel):


Article says that the NSA used bugs to spy on EU offices.

Both articles, the comments of SPON (SPiegel ONline): Germans are pissed (We take privacy serious [1]). They're expecting the EU and chancellor Merkel to do something or she's going to have a really tough time being re-elected in the fall.

Thers is way more comments on this article than many other front page articles. From experience they usually accumulate around 50-100 comments. This article has more than 650 as of now. People are definitely not amused.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Street_View_privacy_conc...

> Germans are pissed (We take privacy serious [1]). They're expecting the EU and chancellor Merkel to do something or she's going to have a really tough time being re-elected in the fall.

How is this affecting the Pirates' poll ratings? If they hold the balance of power in the Bundestag, it's likely the next German government would have to do something.

The Pirate party in Germany has become such a sad display of juvenile trolling, aggressive genderism and political incompetence that I doubt their numbers will increase.

+1. unfortunately the german pirate party is badly organized, suffers from having no real leadership and thus they don't have a clear road (nor program). i'm gonna vote for them anyhow - just because it's better having them in the bundestag than not.

I can't say I know very much about the German Pirate Party, but how did "aggressive genderism" end up becoming associated with them? Are they trying to focus on questions outside Internet-related ones and made a blunder?

The same problems as every other group of (essentially) anarchists that try to organize.

It might as well be called the 4chan party.

Piratenpartei now is at 3% instead of 2%. :-/

(You need 5% to enter the Bundestag.)

60% there then.

Has there been polling as to whether support for German Pirate Party has increased?

Probably not because our Pirate Party is only known for drama and the media portrays them as an disorganized bunch of kids who fight over internal power.

Not that the media would be particularly wrong with this. When the party was founded I had some hopes ... now I have given up on them.

That reads like you have simply bought in to the media smearing. Sound familiar?

See here in the UK, our media represent the whole of the EU like that.

Don't give up, get involved.

> That reads like you have simply bought in to the media smearing. Sound familiar?

I wish it was just that. But you don't need the media to get the full drama experience. Their twitter flame wars are famous and the fall-out from certain actions (like devastating a congress centre and blowing up the bill to over 20k eur where initially 1700 eur were planned as expenses) can be read in their official wikis.

I was a member in the SPD party (some of the bigger German parties) some years ago and quit shortly after becoming a member because it was all about internal power struggles - even with a local 'branch' in a 30k pop town. I decided politics wasn't for me. I had better things to do than wasting them on bullshit.

Then after I got invited by a friend to come along to one of their meetings (for a 250k pop city) I decided to give politics a second chance. And I swear - it was the same like what I had experienced before with the SPD. Only there were significantly more mobile computing devices around. It was 90% about administration (who and how should do what and why that someone was a bad choice mixed in with some feminism/sexism debate) and the real issues (data retention, privacy, etc) weren't even discussed.

In politics I think there are many people who do care about the core issues - but there are far too many egomaniac assholes around destroying every constructive discussion with their bullshit. And after what I've seen I don't believe that the pirate party is immune to that.

Unfortunately it is not just media smear. In Germany we have at the moment roughly ten percent of the electorate who are deeply future shocked and are just random walking around the political landscape. ( They did push the FDP to 14% in the last parliament election, pushed the Greens to win the Baden Wuerttemberg election and voted the Berlin Pirates to 13% two years ago. ) And some of these guys did overrun the original pirate party.

For example, they did recreate a lot of the problems voting machines have with their 'liquid feedback' system, and when called out on that answered that they do not know, but since 1337 pirate party instead of evil(TM) Diebold suggested it, there is surely a way. ( And to rant a bit, at their last party convention they did petition that the parliament publishes their schedule on the INTERNET, which the parliament of course does. But there is no one left in the pirates who is able to google.)

So by now I tend to think of the German pirate party as the party of cargo cult modern, in the sense that modern does not mean a opinion informed by deep technical understanding, but modern in the sense of the latest Techcrunsh fad, independent if that is Instagram, Stasibook or Anonymous.

No, the pirate party in Germany is a fucking mess. Unelectable. (This opinion is based on reading the parties’ own writing and discussions, not on anything the media wrote.)

A foreginer here. Would you like to elaborate why they seem unelectable?

They are unable to settle on a real party manifesto. Also they have problems to organize themselves. Even worse, they regularly contradict each other in public. (My personal view)

It's not so strange, because the core issues of the pirate parties are orthogonal to the classical left-right spectrum.

They're trying to form a party out of a fraction of a full platform, with the result that they will either need to find a way to agree to disagree about large swathes of politics, or they will drive away large parts of their potential supporters.

Don't read the mailing lists, they're public and thus a trollfest. I was also somewhat disillusioned in the recent months, but that is over now. I went out setting up campaign advertisement signs in 2009 and I'm doing it again this year.

This is our only chance. Remember, even though some of the Berlin scene wish to "reboot" the Pirate Party in a way that is more to their liking, it is far too late for that. The Pirate Party has seats in west German state parliaments, which is a lot more valuable as a gauge for the chance of success than what the blogosphere thinks. If we fail now, after having come so far, then the project is eternally burned. We are at 2-3 % and the party is well beyond 10000 members. This is the window of opportunity to make a difference.

Here you go http://www.wahlrecht.de/umfragen/index.htm. (Click on the headings for results of previous weeks for a specific pollster.) Piraten are fairly stable around 3%.

I think these polling results are not very meaningful in regard to the Pirate party. At the last election only one pollster saw them at 1% all the others at NA [1]. In the end they won 2.0 %.

Pollsters still rely primarily on land line telephone interviews, and Pirate voters are therefore heavily underrepresented. Of course pollster know that and try to compensate for this effect but as long as they don't change the sampling method the error for the Pirates will be large. Peter Norvig's FAQ about the U.S. Presidential Election [2] has some excellent explanations of these effects.

[1] http://www.bundestagswahl-2009.de/wahlumfragen/

[2] http://norvig.com/election-faq-2012.html

They don't get the media attention (if they are doing something at all). My biggest fear is that the Liberals (FDP) gain votes through this...

Why would the FDP profit from this? AFAIK they never positioned themselves in favor of privacy.

I think the green party (Bündnis 90 / Die Grüne) will profit considerably more from this. They are know promoters of privacy and personal rights. "Die Linke" could also profit from this.

Of course they did. They made their position against the Vorratsdatenspeicherung several times in the last years (See their statement here: http://www.fdp-fraktion.de/Vorratsdatenspeicherung-nicht-bes... ).

With Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger they also have the last privacy wall before the Constitutional Court.

They of course have absolutly no problems with corporate data mining...

The liberals are very vocal about privacy and interfering of the state in the people's affairs. They just don't do a very good job making people aware of these positions...

Or fighting for those positions.

Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger has been pretty consistent, though.

If it weren't for their neo-liberal/laissez-faire approach to economics, I'd consider voting for them...

SLS usually does. But to me it always seems like she is rather alone in her party. And even she had some slip ups. If the FDP were a liberal party they'd never ally with the CDU as they are probably the most anti-liberal party we have.

> "Die Linke" could also profit from this.

That would be a bit ironic, given that Die Linke includes former PDS.

(for those not following German politics: PDS was "Party for Democratic Socialism", formed from the remains of the old "SED" - Socialist Unity Party, better known as the ruling party of DDR and originators of Stasi)

They already made posters with the title abolish intelligence agencies.

I find it hard to believe them, though. They seem to be against anything as soon as it gets unpopular.

Perhaps one should translate to American: The Greens are the liberals in German politics, the FDP is the free market party, which results in a mix of libertarian and crony capitalist politics. (Similar to the pro business wing of the republicans.)

I would not call the FDP a free market party. Crony/lobby capitalsim yes, free markets...no

"Free markets" is the American term for businesses can do what they want, the middle and lower classes foot the bill.

Here is some useful info to avoid this from happening: Whenever it comes up in conversation that the FDP might be a viable alternative, tell people that an FDP man acted as a mole for the US during the last coalition negotiations[1]. The party leadership made him a lone gunman, but hey had to be pushed by their base to ostracize him.

Also, if, during coalition negotiations, there is a choice between more privacy for everybody or Westerwelle retaining his post as Minister of Foreign Affairs, what will they chose? Bringing up that question is usually sufficient to get people to distance themselves from the thought of voting for the FDP.

[1] http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=de&tl=en&js=n&prev=...

Isn't Der Spiegel a weekly release? Or when you say "front page" do you mean "of their website"?

Correct, the proper terminology is Spiegel Online (SPON) and "Der Spiegel". SPON is very popular among Germans and has been one of the best journalistic sources of Germany. It's also received the embassy cables last year:


with El Pais, Le Mond, The Guardin and NYT.

For this very story: It has received some new presentation slides in the recent days that it's currently publishing. The FAZ and other German newspapers are referencing SPON for this particular story. So for this story SPON is the first/primary source.

That magazine cover is tomorrow's so that makes sense, but the way he worded it suggests that two days running it was on the "front page".

And I think that using "on their front page" when talking about the website of a magazine is misleading, in part simply because it suggests magazine not website, and in part because being on the front page of their website really means absolutely nothing when it comes to importance - or at least, it means no more than saying "Spiegel wrote a story about it". The front page of their website is just the hub where they link off content as and when it gets published, both important and less important items.

The Spiegel homepage is hugely popular in Germany.

Look at the table on the bottom [1]. Note that the data is a little bit older and Bild is yellow press and recently introduced a pay wall.

If a topic is prominent on the Spiegel homepage mainstream Germany will talk about it.

[1] http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=&sl=auto&tl=en&u=ht...

I get that it's popular, but still.. maybe it's just a cultural difference, I don't think in the UK we would specify website (e.g. "it's on the front page of The Guardian's website"), and even then I don't think we'd refer to the front page of a newspaper/magazine's website as a big deal, we'd maybe specifically highlight how prominent on the front page it is.

I mean, on Spiegel.de right now, sure the NSA story is at the top, but other items that could be described as being "on the front page" include BBC Nature: The man who lives with the grizzlies, F1: Hulkenberg Sauber team threatens to bankrupt and Jennifer Lopez in Turkmenistan, to pick out a few.

Do you work for NSA? Is it really your interest to discuss technicallites instead of story itself? Do you also think the main story and focus should be on Snowden instead of espionage?

Why does my curiosity about the wording of someone's comment imply that this is more important than the story itself? I presume you too will at some point today have a conversation with someone, whether online or offline, about something other than the NSA. That's the beauty of being a species capable of thinking about more than one thing at once.

I wasn't complaining about the original comment, I was literally curious to check whether I had misunderstood the publishing schedule of the magazine, or whether it was just worded in a way that didn't quite make sense to me.

Yes, "Der Spiegel" is a weekly magazine. This is about "Spiegel Online", the related website.

That headline is blatant editorialising and whether or not you consider what the NSA is apparently doing as an indication they view Germany as an enemy, the text of the article does not in any way support that the NSA itself sees it that way.

(in case it is modified, this is the headline as of writing: "NSA: Germany considered an enemy. Intercepting 500mill messages per month")

"Aus einer vertraulichen Klassifizierung geht hervor, dass die NSA die Bundesrepublik zwar als Partner, zugleich aber auch als Angriffsziel betrachtet"

... sees Germany as a "military target".

You're right, I should've used "military target" instead of enemy

"Angriffsziel" in general is not synonymous with "military target". I'd translate it simply as "target".

That would be wrong. Target is simply Ziel. Angriffsziel is attack target which has a military connotation. The translation is sound in that regard, though the real headline indeed is only "secret documents: NSA monitors 500 million connections in germany".

Ziel is literally a target, but in truth it translates as "destination". "Angriffsziel" could be translated as "target" in this sense, so Stephan is not wrong - but perhaps soft-pedaling a little. Where you're right is that "Angriff" ("attack") makes "Angriffsziel" sufficiently explicit in its connotation of a military target. I'd consider "target of attack" in that "Angriff" doesn't necessarily connote a military attack, but could also imply, say, a hacking attack.

Maybe "country of interest"?

Ziel is both, it can mean target and destination. In that case, it is more of a target (attack destination? na, the NSA is not currently in an airplane flying into battle).

> Maybe "country of interest"?

Yeah maybe, but that sounds a bit harmless, doesn't it?

It does sound harmless, which is why it's the Orwell-approved nomenclature. In fifty years it won't sound at all harmless, and there will be a new euphemism.

"Attack destination" made me smile. The English word destination doesn't work like that, but maybe it should.

Eavesdropping or even "hacking" attacks don't have to be military in nature.

That is correct. But in case of the US Internet War, it is. Hacking done by the NSA on a foreign country is not not military in nature.

What "internet war" are you talking about? And although the NSA is an agency of the US DoD, I don't think they would consider all targets of their eavesdropping measures as "military" targets.

In addition to the comments below, consider that these are presumably translations from an English source document. I'd be shocked if the original documents referenced by Der Spiegel used the term "military target" as opposed to simply "target".

I agree. Germany was more of a "target", and considering involvements of the German muslim minority in 9/11 this isn't very surprising either.

Still I really don't like what the NSA is doing to us...

Considering the massive immigration of Muslims and their continuing radicalization instead of assimilation, the whole of western Europe including Germany is going to turn into an "enemy" 20-30 years down the road.

Europe is an US ally today not because of the geography, but because of the Europeans. But the Europeans have mostly given up making babies and will in 1-2 generations be mostly replaced by more fertile Muslims hostile to the US.

For example the English population in the capital of the UK, has fallen below 50%. The English are already a ethnic minority in their own capital. It is just a matter of time when the people making decision about the UK nuke arsenal and military infrastructure are Muslims loyal not to the Queen but to Pakistan, Somalia or some other Jihadi US hating shithole.

It would be silly to declare a quickly dying/changing continent an perpetual ally and stop monitoring them just because they have been allies 20 years ago.

You seem to think that if someone isn't "White British" then they are automatically a Muslim extremist.

The ethnic breakdown of London is far more complex than that:


At the moment, about 8.5% of London's population is Muslim:


Also worth noting is that across the UK the Muslims only make up 2.7% of the population:


I'm completely mystified how anyone could see this tiny minority as a threat - especially, as far as I can see, the overwhelming majority of this community are as decent and law-abiding as everyone else.

> I'm completely mystified how anyone could see this tiny minority as a threat...

Paul Weston - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bG77qpLi4oc

There are a lot of people in the UK (near or in the parts that are "diverse", or "multicultural") that will disagree with you about the disproportionate amount of crime (murder, rape, mugging, etc) and destruction that is committed by the non-"White British", and the effects this has on the stability and prosperity of the country (and more than likely so will basic crime statistics).

Just a few months ago there was a couple of non-"White British" guys trying to cut off a guy's head with a knife, hands covered in blood, while proclaiming something about their religion, god, and kin, on camera and in front of witnesses.

> Also worth noting is that across the UK the Muslims only make up 2.7% of the population

Yes. The fastest growing demographic in the country that will blow up in just a decade or two...

It's not the 2 year olds you have to worry about, nor the 80 year olds, it's the 16-2x age group.

The crime rates are often an excuse for hate-motivated agitation. But dig a bit deeper, and you have to change your mind:

Most agitators will pose some "fact" as "crime rate among muslim is double as high". Yeah, right, but still the rest of the population is committing way more crimes. There's no reason to feel more threatened by them. If you are going to get mugged, killed or whatever, most likely it will be by the majority population - except if you are living in a neighbourhood or city where the majority has segregated the minority...

Extrapolating the behaviour of two nutters is a dangerous thing to do - every comment I heard from those who represent the Muslim community in the UK sounded as horrified as everyone else by what those guys did:


London attracts a lot of internationals because of opportunities for education & employment. That's why the ethnic English population is less than 50%. It's important to note that the >50% of internationals are not all muslim, at all.

When it comes to birth rates, they vary a lot depending on a family's country of origin. Take Pakistan: in general first generation Pakistani immigrants do have more children than Europeans - but after a generation or two, the demographic pattern is very similar to that of the host country.

There is a radicalisation issue, but it's dangerous to start implying that all or most muslims are "hostile to the US" or "Jihadi". It's a very small minority, and especially in England. Almost a quarter of the world's population is muslim, they're just regular people. It's xenophobic to assume that they all hate you.

That's BS, pardon my french. Whip out your IPython notebook and do some calculations. In Germany for example, if you are very generous about muslim birth rates and immigration, we can't expect the muslim minority to reach 50% in the next 200 years. If you assume sinking birth rates among Muslims, as was the case for the past decades in Germany and most Muslim countries, especially turkey, the time span is too long to be still talking about Germans vs Muslims.

Same with the UK. What islamophobics also conveniently ignore is the unequal distribution and segregation due to subtle and not so subtle discrimination, similar to the Schelling effect. Basically, if London has more than 50% "immigrant" population (most of which aren't muslim), that's not any indication for the rest of the UK.

Spot on. I am surprised you are not down voted by the hordes of politically correct people here.

Spot on as an example of paranoid neo Nazi bullshit? Definitely. And you did a good job of adding then usual pathetic victim posturing sauce.

Really? Are we going to accuse people who uphold fact-checking, our respective constitutions and general political debate as "politically correct"?

I haven't seen an argument why we shouldn't extend human rights to Muslims. And yes, what most people who talk about muslims committing more crimes on average (which is true, if you restrict it to the relative proportions and avoid any proper statistical analysis) are talking about is a violation of constitutional rights:

It's impossible to punish millions of people for the crimes of the few.


Probably a reference to the Hamburg Cell:


NB From what I can see most of the members of this group were not German nationals

Yes, but they were living in Germany, and we do have a small population of salafists, among which potential terrorists can hide. A lot of these salafists are indeed German nationals, some by birth and ethnicity.

I'm also stressing that I don't find the surveillance "surprising", while I don't condone it in any way.

Some of the attackers previously lived as engineering students in Germany.

This would be a good opportunity for Germany/EU to give Snowden asylum, if only to show US that they screwed up so much, it's EU itself, their ally, who will give him asylum.

You are operating under the assumption that our politicians didn't know about this before. There's a really really low chance this is true.

It's much more plausible that everyone has been spying on everyone else and countries with restrictions regarding spying on their own citizens have backroom deals to get access to intelligence via other nations.

To give an example how tight the relations are between the US and Germany, start reading how our secret service came to be: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gehlen_Organization

I don't see that assumption in the parent's post. You apparently are operating under the assumption that politicians are less two-faced than they are.

So, you think Germany would pretend to be pissed off enough make moves against the US, instead of making their usual hollow threats that go nowhere?

Of course! The government will go as far (and only as far) as it takes to quell the dissatisfaction brewing among the people. If that goes as far as real action, that's what will happen.

IMO that would be a too strong a response for a country that heavily depends on export.

What is your point exactly? I'm not saying they will. I'm saying they would.

He would only stand a chance for asylum in Germany if he classifies as under political repression.

Application in an embassy is not possible. If he would manage to come to Germany he could not be extradited if there is a real risk of torture or death penalty.

Depending on whether the German government thinks it's worth the hassle, I think a reasonably good case could be made that he does indeed qualify for political asylum. Especially since this article suggests the US sees itself in the middle a cold war with the EU/Germany (...of all places. One would think that China is the enemy, but apparently one would be wrong).

If anything, this proves that the US leadership has gone of the rails. Nobody in western Europe considers the US the enemy or even a competitor. We consider them good friends.

As a german citizen, i would love to see this!

During Kim Dotcom coverage, some news articles mentioned that Germany does not extradite German citizens. Any chance the Bundestag can grant Snowden German citizenship?

I Denmark anybody can be granted citizenship, as long as it is passed as an act of parliament. Application isn't technically necessary.

That said, we do extradite citizens, so don't come here.

He probably could be, but he'd have a snowballs chance in hell of that happening.

Like that would ever happen. Especially in a country where US runs the shop since the end of WW2.

Maybe I am misunderstanding you but I disagree that the US runs Germany. Or what do you mean by saying "the US runs the shop since the end of WW2"?

Yes, the US has stationed troops and nuclear missels in Germany but this is far from "running the shop".

    I disagree that the US runs Germany.
I wouldn't use the word "runs", but Germany often does what the US tells it to do. For example, the German government gave in to US pressure and didn't pass warrants to Interpol for the 13 CIA agents who were responsible for the kidnapping and torture of an innocent German citizen.[1][2]

[1] http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/02/07BERLIN242.html

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khalid_El-Masri

I seriously doubt that even today Germany has a final say without US weighing in first in anything related to their military, intelligence, foreign policies. France on the other hand plays hard ball, I'd like to see something like that escalate in France.

If you'd ask me a week ago who the U.S. is spying on the most in the EU, I'd told you without hesitation: France. One can only wonder...

Basically, the US never stopped spying on Germany after WW2. I'd guess they kept upgrading their hardware during the cold war, and apparently never stopped after its end.

Also, the occupation authorities were instrumental in establishing the German intelligence service from the get-go, liberally making use of the existing NS personnel (Wikipedia[1] lists Reinhard Gehlen, Klaus Barbie, Alois Brunner, Wilhelm Krichbaum, Franz Rademacher, Walther Rauff, Konrad Fiebig, Franz Alfred Six as prominent examples).

[1] http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bundesnachrichtendienst#Geschic...

I think Germany is fairly autonomous. However the conservative parties are basically US fanboys.

Interesting. Is the US army inside Germany a left over from cold war? Do they have the capability to own the country if necessary?

At least not by law http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=de&tl=en&ie=UTF-8&u...

And yes, the US army bases in Germany are left overs from the allied occupation after WW II

The Heidelberg base is being abandoned by 2015. Lots of free space for student buildings! :)

If Heidelberg's administration is anything like Darmstadt's, the buildings will be abandoned and empty but well guarded till they fall into a state of dilapidation. At least by now none of the well maintained and repaired buildings there have been turned into student homes.

The US has the ability to take control of any country within 24 to 48 hours. Every year we draw up invasion plans for everyone else in the world. The CIA World Factbook [1] is the unclassified by-product of this effort if you are interested at poking into the details.

As with any other country with a large standing army (Germany sits somewhere between South Korea and France in terms of capabilities), it would probably begin with large scale air strikes with stealth bombers against military targets. Within the first 4 hours, most militarized airfields and radar installations would be destroyed. The ground forces would invade from probably Italy and Poland, both highly US dependent states, assuming that France and the UK would stay neutral in such an attack. You'd probably see some guerrilla warfare because the Germans are strong-willed, but the vast majority of the population is westernized enough to not put up a real fight. But none of this would happen until the US has at least 2 carriers in the Baltic Sea, so Germany would definitely have advance warning, and hopefully the foresight to negotiate.

Germany has no nuclear deterrent, as it simply hosts US missiles by way of NATO [2].

EDIT: This spells it out pretty clearly, the US has more helicopters than Germany has tanks ships and planes combined: http://www.globalfirepower.com/countries-comparison-detail.a...

1. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/ 2. http://www.rusi.org/publications/occasionalpapers/ref:O4B991...

That's all very nice, but while the US seems to be able to invade countries at will, they don't seem capable of occupying even the weakest of countries - Iraq and Afghanistan being cases in point.

This is almost unthinkable, but a very exciting proposition :) However, there's a problem of extensive CIA operation in the EU and history of kidnappings. Can be a little tricky.

"A confidential classification shows that the NSA considered the Federal Republic does as a partner, but also as an attack target. Thus, Germany is one of the so-called third-class partners. Specifically excluded from espionage attacks are Canada, Australia, Britain and New Zealand, which are performed as a second category. "We can attack the signals of most foreign partner third class - and to do so," it said in a presentation."

Here's a better translation of a passage that made me particularly irate: "On Christmas Eve 2012, the NSA eavesdropped and stored about 13 million telephone connections"

Merry Christmas, German friends.

I find it interesting that the set of five countries: UK, US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. I'd like to know how the US came up with this list. Is it because we speak the same language? Is it because we share the same heritage? Where does this leave France? What did France do to us that we need to spy on them?

To gain some perspective here, imagine this scenario where Germany was in the US' position and it makes a list of countries: Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Switzerland as nations to exclude from espionage attacks. Imagine that we are in a military alliance with them (NATO) and Germany has military bases spread across the US.

Would that not make you feel uneasy to suddenly learn one day that not only you are a possible military target but also that you are an active espionage target? How can you trust someone who does not trust you and feels the need to spy on everything you do and every word you say?

> I find it interesting that the set of five countries: UK, US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. I'd like to know how the US came up with this list. Is it because we speak the same language?

These are the "Five Eyes" countries and have been closely linked for national intelligence since World War II. The U.S. will monitor literally everyone else that it can, and has done so since WWII proved how useful national security intelligence is for toward national security.

For years you've been able to Google "In God We Trust; All Others We Monitor" and find various intelligence community posters, unit patches, etc.

The leak to SPON helps confirm that with numbers. But Germany's leaders have undoubtedly known it was going on, just as France's, Russia's, etc.

Probably because those are the five participating nations in the UKUSA agreement.


Judging by the revealed alliance with GCHQ in UK, and the long term history of joined espionage programs here in Australia, there is a good chance that top tier list are already in strategic negotiations with the US and the NSA.

War on terror my a∗∗

It's a "spy-on-everyone including our own citizens under whatever excuse we can get away with".

Little update at:


Politicians of all major parties are pressuring chancellor Merkel to react. One party is proposing to question the American ambassador.

Interesting that Germany seems to be the only place where there is real outrage over the situation. Go Germany.

Germans still have a recent experience of a surveillance+police state

And this is how the US treats its "allies".

I can see this having far-reaching consequences in international relations, all of them negative, for America.

Except that most of these nations are willing participants in the spying programs. They may make noises to try and pacify the electorate, but I doubt the governments are interested in changing much.

People keep saying this. A democratic nation derives its power from its people. These nations are not willing participants in the spying program. What you mean is that their elected representatives have sold out their country.

>What you mean is that their elected representatives have sold out their country.


In light of this, EU countries should have come forward and offer an asylum for Snowden. I'm sure there could be some legal way to do so, given the hostility of US intelligence.

Not that I'm not one bit surprised by any of this. Every government with the technical capability to spy, does so. On allies, on enemies and on civilians; everyone is a fair target. NSA was just caught red handed.

Don't forget that the 9/11 attacks were planned out of Hamburg and that some of the WTC bombers of 1993 were living and captured in Germany.

How is that even relevant? How does that justify the interception of 500 million messages per month?

It simply shows that there had been ongoing planning activities by terrorist cells in Germany.

That comment simply shows that while the lights may be on, there is nobody home.

Why the downvote? The cell planned and coordinated with AQ while they were living in Germany and the BND did not detect their activities. Since then the US intensified their activities in Germany. I am not saying this is fair for Germany or not, but it's simply a logical conclusion from the US point of view in light of activities such as the patriot act and the creation of the DoHS.

I did not downvote you, only verbally if you will. But I will elaborate, to me it sounded as if you were saying that the NSA is only ever going after terrorists [whatever that even means, considering activists also seem to fall under that umbrella], so no matter what they do, it must be required to fight terrorism. By definition. [that's a great way to create fiscal black holes, but rather shoddy reasoning]

So why was COINTELPRO not required to keep the US from being destroyed by, uhh, black supremacists? The CIA did it, it's concerned with "criminals", that's in the name -- good enough, no?

The cell planned and coordinated with AQ while they were living in Germany and the BND did not detect their activities.

Yes, and as I said elsewhere, I can totally see why they wouldn't leave anything serious that could possibly be a threat to the US to German intelligence. But I still don't see how 500 million messages per month could figure into this, unless they are spying on everyone who knows someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows someone who visited a jihadist website...?

If guessing how much it costs to wash all windows in Seattle is a normal job interview question for some, maybe they can help? I wouldn't even know where to begin, myself. But 500 million seems like a lot no matter how I look at it.

Since then the US intensified their activities in Germany.

Oh, so they "intensified it", and that explains everything? 500 million messages, or 500 billion, who cares?

To me that sounds like chocolate rations are up 5%. And I don't mean you, either: without anything to go by, no solid ground to stand on, both of us are pretty much guessing. You inherently trust, I inherently distrust, but I can't see a way for us to find out who the NSA is spying on and why. But even just the acceptance of that annoys me :/

I personally find it problematic that such an infrastructure is set up, because it can be used for industrial espionage (which is also a matter of national security). So anyway, I don't trust :) But my point was just that if the NSA has these surveillance programs all over the world, it should not surprise Germany that they are under stronger observation by them than for example the UK, which operates a CCTV surveillance state and shares all its data with the US.

Yes. I could see not trusting the competence of the BND on this stuff... but 500 million messages per month?

How many phone calls, e-mails and SMS does Germany generate per month in total, by the way? I would assume corporations generate a lot more than individuals, but it seems fucking bad either way.

The BND has a tradition to focus on political extremist groups in Germany, while domestic surveillance in the other large EU countries such as Britain, France and Spain have always had a stronger focus on Islamist groups. So I don't think it's a question of competence, but rather of focus.

The BND has a tradition to focus on political extremist groups in Germany

Which is actually one of the reasons they seem so incompetent, they're not very good at that. [also, did you perchance confuse the BND with the Verfassungsschutz? Not that it matters, the Verfassungsschutz is probably worse than the BND, they help Neonazis more than harming them] Also, BND officials say some hilarious stuff when it comes to computers.

Not the IRA and ETA ?

Some of them were living in New York as well. The 9/11 attackers trained in the United States, but as Saudi nationals they were protected by the Bush Administration.

While the Germans used regular police work to find their own terrorists, we decided to spend more money attacking an unrelated nation than the United States had ever spent on a war before.

So who do you trust more in finding and stopping terrorists? I'll take Germany and competence over America's war profiteering on flimsy pretext any day, thanks.

"Germany is similarly strong monitored such as China, Iraq or Saudi Arabia"

There could be many different explanations for that:

1: US foreign intelligence is incompetent. Viewing Germany or France as a military threat to America in 2013 is just nonsense.

2: The US uses its foreign intelligence to gain competitive advantages in businesses. I can't help wondering what kind of information flows the other way, i.e. from US government to US businesses, now that so many US companies have readily granted access to user data to the US government.

3: The US targets Germany and other European countries because it's easy to spy on us. More American government agents know German or French than Arab or Chinese, and a bigger portion of Europeans have internet connection and we host more data in the Cloud than the Chinese or Iraqi population, especially we host more with the American companies that NSA has direct access to.

My bet is mostly 2 and I have a 4.

4: Germany has more internet traffic than other european countries and therefore the absolute number of monitored connections is higher in Germany than in the other countries.

I don't have hard numbers to back up 4., but

- Frankfurt DECIX overtook Amsterdam as the largest exchange

- Internet Census 2012 [1], Germany lights up like a Christmas tree, you can almost see the German borders

- Broadband coverage is fairly good [2]

[1] http://internetcensus2012.bitbucket.org/images.html

[2] http://point-topic.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Studyonbro...

You could see that from the previously leaked slide, too:


Yes it's terrible, but I'm amazed that people are surprised at all this NSA stuff. Look at America's history, it's been a global hegemon since the 1940s. I don't think they're likely to stop any time soon.

Maybe not "surprised", but still outraged. Before even if you were outraged about this, there was no one to listen to you, because it would still sound a bit "conspiracy-theory-like".

Plus, I'm not sure if everyone actually thought their e-mail is being collected and could be easily accessed by NSA and others. Maybe they would suspect NSA could do that, but to the bad guys. Not to them. Isn't that what they keep saying in public now? That they only look at the "bad guys' data"? So the outrage, and even surprise to some degree, is very warranted.

> I'm amazed that people are surprised at all this NSA stuff

Me too. People who could put two and two together knew what Snowden 'leaked' to the mass media.

Most people cannot put two and two together.

So I guess us, the innocent people, are collateral damage in the interception business?

These terrorist cell must be quite chatty if they intercept 500M messages per month.

I am so pissed about this. Born in 1969 I've been growing up in a Germany where we viewed the U.S. of America as a friend. An example in freedom and democracy where we have had failings of our own.

Now it turns out our friend betrayed us. It views us as the enemy. Everything imagined as a paranoid bad joke is true.

But the worst of all: In the USA there is no outcry. The people don't even care about this. Thus: We are not seen as friends.

Greatly done, USA. From now on you are alone. Fuck yourself.

ex-NSA off-grid Edward(!) `Brill' Lyle, (aka `Harry `The Call' Caul' The Conversation (film) 1972 (~prequel)) in Enemy of the State (film) 1998 (~sequel), teaches us a way to get reins on NSA's wild horses is to bug(1) and wiretap Clapper's and Kieth Alexander's homes. In addition to heroic(martyr?) whistleblowers, the world needs angry and experienced curmudgeon tradecraft operatives:

(1) "...will find them and have the NSA start an investigation. Lyle also deposits $140,000 into _______'s bank account to make it appear that he is taking bribes.

Seriously, what has Germany done to harm America after the war?

They are a strong component of the European Union which is designed to act as a large trading block and compete with the US. The Euro is a competitor to the US Dollar. As the Euro displaces the USD throug out Europe, the US loses more of its "exorbitant Privilege" in being able to print money and export the inflation to the rest of the world.

It is economical harm, which impedes and on the long run destroys hegemony.

Recent examples: Opel attempting to buy itself out of GM (saved by Gov't bailout), Creditor Deutche Bank National Trustcompany (housing debt), most SV chip machinery comes from DE such as Zeiss etc.

Overall, the single biggest problem is the € and the success of western Europe (it seems one might take Bruxelles bureaucrats for terrorists). Most of the decisions for the € is taken from Frankfurt given it is almost a refitted DM, and which needs to be countered by all means (ie. proxies such as Greece).

They have not bought Monsanto as they were supposed to?

They're making money that could be made by Americans?

"Its the economy stupid." Industrial espionage. Innovation that can be copied.

Its the government equivalent of Angies List/beenverified.com.

This has got to be

1) a decoy outfit whose entire purpose is meant to deflect criticism from China and Russia - who are in all likelihood the biggest receiving parties of American intelligence attention - which often complain about America's far-flung surveillance activities.

2) a conventional operation, by the NSA, involving "listening station" activities for the entire European region ( like at RAF Menwith Hill in the UK )that listens to chatter and helps thwart terrorist threats in conjunction with mainland intelligence agencies.

3) some other unknown listening operation that keeps tabs on primarily homegrown threats from militant Islamists and converts to Islam, in Germany.

a. CIA is said to have recruited Danish agent (and convert to Islam) Morten Storm to find a bride for radical anti-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. Croatian Muslim convert 'Aminah' - born Irena Horek - was recruited on Facebook by Morten Storm who claims he worked with the CIA to infiltrate al-Qaeda and became a matchmaker to the terrorists. )




b. The members of the Hamburg cell were the key operatives in the 9/11 attacks. Around 4.3 million Muslims live in Germany, one of the larger compositions in Europe (5.4% of the population) or in any Western nation.






Edit: Formatting

What have they ever done to deserve that?


Here are some reasons:

* Germany was at the frontline in the cold war. So Germany is traditionally both a target and a host of US spy activities.

* Germany hosts important US military facilities: US nuclear bombs, US central commands for Europe and Africa, military airports, military logistics, military hospitals.

* Germany was reunited with a communist part, which was under the influence of the soviet union. Thus it hosts a lot of former communists, former Stasi (East German State security, ...), a lot of KGB contacts, etc.

* from Germany it is easy to spy on East Europe

* Germany has a successful industry which is a great target. Germany has about 1500 so-called hidden champions, SMEs active in (often high-tech) niche markets and dominating them. Germany has SAP, one of the largest software companies world-wide, whose software is used at the core of the business of most of the large companies world-wide.

* Germany is a part of the EU, something which the US likes to understand and influence

* Germany has no direct border controls to neighbor countries, so there is a lot of illegal immigration to Germany, which makes it interesting for the US

* Germany is very active in high-tech and especially the Internet. Germany hosts one of the most important Internet exchange nodes.

* Germany has deep trade and diplomatic relations with Russia and China.

* Germany hosts some international relevant institutions, above all the European Central Bank.

* Germany has a relatively large military industry and exports military goods (tanks, airplanes, submarines, ships, satellites, ...).

* Germany has active left and green parties. Suspicious!

Plus Germany lost WWII and had to give up rights, some of them the US still has - so it may be still legal for the US to spy in Germany.

So the US has always been super buddies with Japan? http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/08/nsa-boundless-in...

What does Germany have to hide......?

In fact, hello US gov, what do you have to hide?

It's all clear now, prism is German project. There are also theories that NSA could potentially be German project also. Nazis.

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