Fiercely critical of NSA, Germany now answering for its own spy practices

Germany is embroiled in a spying controversy that is causing political upheaval and sparking a national debate about surveillance. 

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel discovered in 2013 that the National Security Agency had been snooping on her countrymen, and even tapping her own cellphone, through the media leaks by former agency contractor Edward Snowden. Soon after, she famously remarked, “Spying between friends, that’s just not done.”

Now, in something of an ironic twist, Germany is coming to terms with its own spy agency’s surveillance tactics and cooperation with the NSA. Continue reading

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The Flawed German Debate on Armed Drone Acquisition: “What Does This Have to Do with Our Procurement Plans, for God’s Sake?”

Image: Flickr/UK Ministry of Defense

 

In Germany, defence and military policy is rarely a subject of great interest to the general public. The pacifist mainstream view and the “friendly disinterest” in the Bundeswehr means that military matters are seldom discussed in detail by the general media.

There is one military topic, however, which has been discussed repeatedly and heatedly over the last few years: whether the German Bundeswehr should procure armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly called ‘drones’.

The Bundeswehr has been using drones – the unarmed types – since the 1970s and, until recently, had five different UAV models in use in Afghanistan. German firms produce smaller military surveillance UAVs and sell them to both the Bundeswehr as well as abroad. Until recently, however, the general public did not show a particular interest in these aircraft. Continue reading

Hamburg’s Terror Cell

by Stephen Brown

Posted by Stephen Brown on Oct 12th, 2009 and filed under FrontPage

Eight years after 9/11, the city where the attack was planned is once more enjoying a sad reputation as a center for Islamic terrorism.

The German media reported earlier this week that German security officials are tracking in Hamburg a new, ten-man Islamic terrorist group. Hamburg is the city that hosted Mohammed Atta and other key, 9/11 terrorists, while they planned their strike against the World Trade Center. Afterwards, history bestowed the city’s name on Atta and his associates, who ever since have been collectively called the “Hamburg Cell.”

According to an internal intelligence report composed by Hamburg’s security agencies, ten Muslims from the northern German port city travelled to Pakistan’s wild border region last March for training in an al Qaeda camp. Taking part in this “conspiratorial action”, were two German converts.

“The individual group members dispose …of a fundamental jihadist attitude and are numbered among the violent jihadist scene in Hamburg,” the intelligence report stated. Continue reading

Nazi suspect ordered to surrender

Page last updated at 21:09 GMT, Friday, 8 May 2009 22:09


John Demjanjuk denies the charges against him

A man wanted in Germany for Nazi war crimes has been ordered by US authorities to surrender to an immigration office for deportation.

John Demjanjuk, who lives in Ohio, has been fighting deportation since March, when Germany filed charges against him.

On Thursday, the US Supreme Court rejected a request by Mr Demjanjuk, 89, to intervene in the case.

He denies accusations that he worked as a guard in the Sobibor Nazi death camp during World War II. Continue reading