German politician arrested in Berlin for insulting Turkish president

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Bruno Kramm, leader of Berlin's branch of the German Pirate Party, was arrested Saturday for insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Kramm was detained while conducting a "literary analysis," in support of comedian Jan Boehmermann, outside the Turkish Embassy in Berlin. As part of the publicity stunt, he read two lines of Boehmermann poem ridiculing Erdogan.

The incident comes after chancellor Angela Merkel allowed prosecutors to file charges against Boehmermann, following Turkish demands that he be punished for broadcasting the poem on local television.

Boehmermann, however, was not physically detained by police.

RT reports that Kramm was "approached by several police officers" after he began citing the lines and taken into custody. Police dispersed the gathering, according to RT.

The arrest will further embarrass the German government, which sees itself as supportive of free speech but has failed to scrap an old law against insulting foreign heads of state. Merkel has promised to do so, but has also been criticized for condemning the poem and cosying up to the Turks to get them to accept more Syrian refugees. Read the rest

German chancellor allows prosecution of satirist who insulted Turkish president

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A German satirist faces court action after insulting Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan on television.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, in granting Turkey's request to allow the prosecution of Jan Boehmermann, cast her decision as adherence to the country's laws against insulting heads of state: “In a state governed by the rule of law, it’s not the domain of the government, but rather the prosecutors and the courts, to weigh individual rights.”

But critics say the law itself is an unacceptable infringement of essential freedoms, and point to another issue weighing heavily on Merkel's mind: the need to keep Turkey sweet so it will accept more refugees.

The furor has centered on Boehmermann, a comedian with public broadcaster ZDF who two weeks ago recited a poem about Erdogan that plumbed the depths of bawdiness in an effort to test the boundaries of acceptable satire under a law protecting foreign heads of state from libel. Merkel says her decision wasn’t a prejudgment on the satirist’s culpability.

Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said on Monday that the German comedian had committed a “crime against humanity” by insulting the Turkish head of state. “No one has the right to insult” Erdogan, Kurtulmus told reporters. Erdogan himself also filed a complaint with German prosecutors seeking legal action.

Boehmermann would receive no more than a small fine if convicted, according to legal experts. The poem was designed to test German limits on free speech, writes the BBC.

In true Boehmermann fashion, the poem was more complicated than simply a string of obscenities.

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Turkish government tells German ambassador to ban video satirizing president Erdoğan

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The Turkish government privately contacted Germany's ambassador to demand the censorship of a video satirizing the thin-skinned, famously corrupt Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, he of the 1,000-room palace whose erection required the razing of a nature preserve. Read the rest

Covert scan of museum's Nefertiti bust appears to be hoax

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Last month I blogged about Nora Al-Badri and Jan Nikolai Nelles, a pair of artists who released a high-resolution scan of a looted Egyptian bust of Nefertiti in the collection of Berlin's Neues Museum, which has a reputation for refusing to make data from its collection (including 3D scans) public. Read the rest

Crowdfunding an English translation of the story of activists who kept the Internet on during the Arab Spring

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Stephan Urbach is part of Telecomix (previously), activists who worked tirelessly to keep the Internet on during the Arab Spring, when endangered despots were killswitching net links in a bid to keep protest from spreading. Read the rest

Wikileaks: NSA spied on UN Secretary General and world leaders over climate and trade

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In less than an hour, Wikileaks will publish a set of TOP-SECRET/COMINT-GAMMA documents -- "the most highly classified documents ever published by a media organization" -- that document NSA spying on UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, former French leader Nicolas Sarkozy, and key Japanese and EU trade reps in an attempt to gain an advantage in negotiations regarding climate change and global trade. Read the rest

UPDATED Scanning artists de-loot stolen Egyptian treasure from a German museum

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Update: All is not what it seems: it appears that the artists and the public were duped by a third party into passing off an illicitly obtained official scan as one that had been made by covert means.

Nora Al-Badri and Jan Nikolai Nelles, an Iraqi/German artistic duo, covertly scanned a famous looted Egyptian treasure, the Bust of Queen Nefertiti, from its contested perch in Berlin's Neues Museum. Read the rest

Association of German judges slams US-EU trade deal for its special corporate courts

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Trade agreements like TPP and the US-EU TTIP are notorious for their Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clauses, which let corporations sue governments in secret proceedings, in order to force them to get rid of environmental, safety and labor laws that reduce profits. Read the rest

Videos from the thirty-second Chaos Communications Congress

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More overtly political than security events like Vegas's Defcon, more regular than New York's HOPE, CCC events in Hamburg are an annual gathering of the hacktivist tribes. Read the rest

Free talk on surveillance, copyright and DRM tomorrow in Berlin: "PINEAPPLE!"

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I'm in Berlin to speak at OEB, a conference on technology and education. It costs a hefty sum to attend the whole event, but my talk tomorrow at 1200h, "No Matter who's Winning the War on General Purpose Computing, You're Losing " is free. Just show up at the Hotel Intercontinental on Budapester Strasse and check in at the OEB desk with the password "PINEAPPLE" for a voucher that will get you into my talk. Read the rest

This viral photo contains female breasts and hate speech. Guess why Facebook censored it?

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Warning: TITTIES.

Nipples, Nazi slogans, and racist slurs against Syrian war refugees have all collided on German Facebook to create the ultimate viral headline, and we at Boing Boing are *so very on it.*

A German photographer came up with a provocative way to pressure Facebook to do something about the recent surge in racist, xenophobic slurs against war refugees. His point: Facebook will censor images of female breasts in an instant, but anti-migrant hate speech is just fine by the social network's terms of use.

So last week, photog Olli Waldhauer posted this photo. The man is holding a racist sign that reads "Don't Buy From Kanaken," which references a Nazi-era slogan about stores owned by Jewish people. “Kanaken” is kind of like the n-word, but for refugees or migrants from the Middle East.

"One of these people is violating Facebook's rules," says the caption, and there's the hashtag #nippelstatthetze ("nipples instead of hate speech").

The image and the story are total viral crack for news outlets in Germany, and hey, we love boobs and outrage here in America too -- as well as our own racism and xenophobia.

Wonder if it'll lead to any change?

More on Verge, Washington Post in English. In German: meedia.de, tagesspiegel.de.

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Anti-surveillance activists send a drone to pamphlet-bomb an NSA complex in Germany

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Intelexit is an activist group whose mission is to get spies to quit their jobs; they've recently installed billboards around spy complexes in the US and UK. Read the rest

Springy, brilliant (but expensive) nutcracker

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Kent writes, "The $47 Naomi Nutcracker is a brilliantly designed nutcracker that uses a spring to cleanly crack the nuts inside of it." Read the rest

In Uganda, a white German aid worker becomes an unlikely local pop star

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Student Deena Herr, 22, has recently become a very unlikely superstar in the East African nation of Uganda.

The Book Cover in the Weimar Republic reveals a society's struggle for its identity

Books about book covers and jackets have long been a favorite of publishers, in part, I’m assuming, because the subject is at once self-congratulatory and economical. There are books devoted to American modernist covers, Penguin paperbacks, and covers designed by individual artists, such as the recent title on Edward Gorey. The Book Cover in the Weimar Republic, though, which focuses on covers and jackets created in Germany from 1919 to 1933, is unlike any of those tidy projects. Edited by book collector Jürgen Holstein, The Book Cover in the Weimar Republic is comparatively messy, revealing a society’s struggle for its identity after a humiliating defeat in the Great War, but before a new regime would rise up and instigate a conflict that would prove far, far worse.

Filled with 1,000 or so covers from Holstein’s collection, Weimar Republic is not designed merely to be a premonition of World War II. Instead, thanks to its thematic and publishing-house organization, we learn about the role of publishers in Germany, as we witness a young democracy trying to figure out everything from the limits of taste to the emerging prominence of film. Some covers depict Berlin’s notorious nightclubs. Others describe life in newly Soviet Russia. Naturally, considering his stature at the time, Upton Sinclair’s work figures prominently, including a 1930 Elias Canetti translation of Sinclair’s 1911 novel, Love’s Pilgrimage, whose cover features a disturbing photomontage of abortion forceps paired with a rose, the work of the great German artist John Heartfield. Read the rest

Germany's spy agency gave the NSA the private data of German citizens in exchange for Xkeyscore access

The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV -- Germany's domestic spy agency) coveted access to Xkeyscore, the NSA's flagship tool for searching and analyzing mass-surveillance data, so they secretly, illegally traded access to Germans' data with the NSA for it. Read the rest

German student ditches apartment, buys an unlimited train pass

Leonie Müller's undergrad thesis will include an analysis of her months living on Germany's high-speed trains, washing her hair in the bathroom sinks and writing her papers at 100+ km/h. Read the rest

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