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)

Crowdfunding English translations of public-domain German science fiction


Bradley Hall writes, "I am trying to get funding via Indiegogo so that I can spend more time translating old public domain German sci-fi books. So far I have translated Robert Heymann's 'Der Rote Komet' (The Red Comet) and am currently working on Bernhard Kellerman's 'Der Tunnel' (The Tunnel). Neither of these books have been translated to English before."

English sf is greatly impoverished by the lack of translations from other languages. You meet German sf fans who're conversant with English, Danish, Swedish, Italian and French authors through translation. We get by on a little Lem and Strugatsky.

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Hitler's bookbinder

Michael Shaughnessy reports the untold story of Frieda Thiersch—and the mysteries of her life, her motives and her books

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Comic strip etched into a human hair

The folks behind EHSM2, the upcoming maker/hacker conference in Hamburg, have released a video of comic strip that has been etched into a human hair using a focused ion beam. The comic, by Claudia Puhlfürst, can be seen in more detail in this github repo.

Spooky ruin and erotic car-wash

From the shrewd eye and camera of Regine Kelaita, an erotic car wash ad on a ruined mansion in Dresden (click through for full-size). (via Kadrey)

Edible cookbook embossed upon lasagne noodles


Korefe presents "The Real Cookbook," a book whose leaves are large lasagne noodles, impressed with a recipe for lasagne. As you read the recipe, you peel off each page and slather it with sauce and cheese, building up the dish described in its pages, leaving behind no trace save for your satisfied appetite and a slight propensity to insulin resistance.

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Bruno the bear's tragic demise commemorated in sleeping bag form


In 2006, Bruno the bear appeared in Bavaria, the first wild bear spotted in the region for 170. So they hunted him down and killed him.

Artist Eiko Ishizawa has commemorated Bruno's life and death with a sculptural sleeping bag shaped like Bruno's hide and head, which you climb into and zip shut. She's making a limited run, based on commissions. They're $2350 for adult bears and $2050 for kid-sized bears. If you buy one, Ishizawa would like you to photograph yourself in it around the world for a gallery of the wanderings of Bruno's avatars.

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