Macedonia helped CIA kidnap and torture a German they mistook for a terrorist


Macedonia kidnapped a German citizen called Khalid al-Masri (previously, previously) and sent him to the CIA, mistaking him for a similarly named terror suspect; the CIA tortured him in Afghanistan and held him even after they realized they had the wrong name.

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Hand-illuminated edition of The Silmarillion


Benjamin Harff produced a hand-illuminated edition of Tolkien's The Silmarillion (a famously dense set of myths and background for Middle Earth) as a final project at art school; in this interview, he explains his motivation and his process.

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CCC website censored in the UK

The Great Firewall of Cameron is supposed to block "extremist" websites, and somehow, the website of the respected, excellent Chaos Computer Club, one of Germany's foremost centers for technology research and political analysis, has been blocked.

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Angela Merkel calls for end to net neutrality


The German Chancellor -- whose party is closely aligned with the telcoms sector -- says she wants a two-tier Internet; on the "fast" Internet, carriers will be allowed to slow down access to services that haven't paid bribes for "premium" carriage; on the "regular" Internet, ISPs will just give you the data you ask for.

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Fidget ring that's also a city-specific sundial


Glashütte's Nomos rings are clever little fidget-rings that act as sundials: you adjust the little sliding rings to the correct date, turn it to the sun, and the shadow cast by the little ring tells you the time.

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Pastafarian services advertised at German town limits



A reader writes, "In Germany, churches promote the times of their masses on signs at the town entrances. Now, for the first time, the 'Church Of The Flying Spaghetti Monster' in Templin/Germany was allowed to put sign there as well: 'Fridays, 10am: Noodle mass'."

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Expat activists and journalists leave USA for Berlin's safety

From Laura Poitras to Jacob Appelbaum to Sarah Harrison, Berlin has become a haven for American journalists, activists and whistleblowers who fear America's unlimited appetite for surveillance and put their trust in Germany's memory of the terror of the Stasi.

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Photos from Stasiland


Stasi -- Secret Rooms is a 10-year project by Daniel and Geo Fuchs, who took beautiful, striking photos of the stark interiors of the spaces used by the Stasi, the terrifying secret police from the former East Germany.

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A prison visit with The Pirate Bay's Peter "brokep" Sunde


Julia Reda, a German Pirate Party MEP, was allowed to visit Sunde in a Swedish prison, and came away with a sad and important report on his tenure there, and his views on the future of the Internet and copyright.

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Anti-NSA messages projected on US embassy in Berlin

Oliver Bienkowski, a guerrilla "light-graffiti" artist, splashed a projection of a caricature of Barack Obama's face on the side of the US embassy in Berlin, along with the phrase, "NSA IN DA HOUSE."

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Second German suspected of spying for NSA


The German government believes that one of its military personnel has been spying on the German state for the NSA.

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Germany spy arrested on suspicion of spying for NSA


A 31 year old employee of BND, the German foreign intelligence agency, has been arrested on suspicion of espionage on behalf of the NSA.

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Germany is NSA's largest listening post, according to new report based on Snowden leaks

A general view of the large former monitoring base of the U.S. intelligence organization National Security Agency (NSA) during break of dawn in Bad Aibling south of Munich, July 11, 2013. Chancellor Angela Merkel has defended Germany's cooperation with U.S. intelligence, dismissing comparisons of its techniques to those used in communist East Germany in an attempt to ease tensions a day before talks on the thorny issue in Washington.   REUTERS/Michael Dalder


A general view of the large former monitoring base of the U.S. intelligence organization National Security Agency (NSA) during break of dawn in Bad Aibling south of Munich, July 11, 2013. Chancellor Angela Merkel has defended Germany's cooperation with U.S. intelligence, dismissing comparisons of its techniques to those used in communist East Germany in an attempt to ease tensions a day before talks on the thorny issue in Washington. REUTERS/Michael Dalder

Using documents leaked by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, Der Spiegel reports that the NSA has turned Germany into its most important base of operations in Europe. "NSA is more active in Germany than anywhere else in Europe," reports the paper, "And data collected here may have helped kill suspected terrorists."

The German archive provides the basis for a critical discussion on the necessity and limits of secret service work as well as on the protection of privacy in the age of digital communication. The documents complement the debate over a trans-Atlantic relationship that has been severely damaged by the NSA affair.

They paint a picture of an all-powerful American intelligence agency that has developed an increasingly intimate relationship with Germany over the past 13 years while massively expanding its presence. No other country in Europe plays host to a secret NSA surveillance architecture comparable to the one in Germany. It is a web of sites defined as much by a thirst for total control as by the desire for security. In 2007, the NSA claimed to have at least a dozen active collection sites in Germany.

The documents indicate that the NSA uses its German sites to search for a potential target by analyzing a "Pattern of Life," in the words of one Snowden file. And one classified report suggests that information collected in Germany is used for the "capture or kill" of alleged terrorists.

"New NSA Revelations: Inside Snowden's Germany File" [Der Spiegel]

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Mein Kleiner Grüner Kaktus: German novelty tune WILL MAKE YOU HAPPY

Here's my jam today: the Comedian Harmonists' "Mein Kleiner Grüner Kaktus," in a modern arrangement performed with a choir and orchestra at a concert hall in Maastricht. If this doesn't put you in a good mood, I don't wanna know about it.

Tomorrow: Berlin sunrise mass whistle-in to commemorate Snowden leaks


A reader writes, "Just after sunrise on June 5, the NK Projekt in Berlin is leading a massive whistle-blowing session to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Edward Snowden's own whistle blowing activities."

(Image: I want you to blow the whistle, Mike, CC-BY-SA)