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German forces raid offices of “Hezbollah affiliated” charity

Al-Akhbar | April 8, 2014

German authorities on Tuesday raided the offices of a charity organization that allegedly has ties to Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement, accusing it of raising money for the group.

Around 150 police officers searched premises across six states and confiscated cash, computers and around 40 boxes of files.

Two bank accounts with a total of around 60,000 euros were frozen but no arrests were made, the German interior ministry said.

The ministry said it had outlawed the “Waisenkinderprojekt Libanon” (Orphan Children Project Lebanon) with immediate effect.

“The name of the group masks its actual purpose,” ministry state secretary Emily Haber said in a statement.

She said the organization based in the western city of Essen had raised 3.3 million euros ($4.5 million) in donations between 2007 and 2013 for the Lebanese Shahid Foundation, which supports families of fallen Hezbollah fighters.

Haber claimed the funds were used to recruit fighters “to combat Israel, also with terrorist measures” and compensate the families of suicide bombers.

The statement did not cite its evidence. Hezbollah used to carry out suicide missions against Israeli occupation forces in South Lebanon prior to their retreat in 2000.

The group has not used that tactic since Israel pulled its army from Lebanon 14 year ago.

“Organizations that directly or indirectly from German soil oppose the state of Israel’s right to exist may not seek freedom of association protection,” Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said in the statement.

He said the group’s goals violated Germany’s constitution.

The European Union in July last year also listed Hezbollah’s so-called military wing as a “terrorist organization.” But the EU said it would continue to deal with Hezbollah as a political entity.

The German interior ministry said it had put Waisenkinderprojekt Libanon, which has about 80 members, under surveillance since 2009.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

April 9, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

German forces raid offices of “Hezbollah affiliated” charity

Al-Akhbar | April 8, 2014

German authorities on Tuesday raided the offices of a charity organization that allegedly has ties to Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement, accusing it of raising money for the group.

Around 150 police officers searched premises across six states and confiscated cash, computers and around 40 boxes of files.

Two bank accounts with a total of around 60,000 euros were frozen but no arrests were made, the German interior ministry said.

The ministry said it had outlawed the “Waisenkinderprojekt Libanon” (Orphan Children Project Lebanon) with immediate effect.

“The name of the group masks its actual purpose,” ministry state secretary Emily Haber said in a statement.

She said the organization based in the western city of Essen had raised 3.3 million euros ($4.5 million) in donations between 2007 and 2013 for the Lebanese Shahid Foundation, which supports families of fallen Hezbollah fighters.

Haber claimed the funds were used to recruit fighters “to combat Israel, also with terrorist measures” and compensate the families of suicide bombers.

The statement did not cite its evidence. Hezbollah used to carry out suicide missions against Israeli occupation forces in South Lebanon prior to their retreat in 2000.

The group has not used that tactic since Israel pulled its army from Lebanon 14 year ago.

“Organizations that directly or indirectly from German soil oppose the state of Israel’s right to exist may not seek freedom of association protection,” Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said in the statement.

He said the group’s goals violated Germany’s constitution.

The European Union in July last year also listed Hezbollah’s so-called military wing as a “terrorist organization.” But the EU said it would continue to deal with Hezbollah as a political entity.

The German interior ministry said it had put Waisenkinderprojekt Libanon, which has about 80 members, under surveillance since 2009.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

April 8, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture, Wars for Israel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Merkel not ready to back economic sanctions against Russia

RT | March 27, 2014

The West has not yet reached a stage where it will be ready to impose economic sanctions on Russia, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, stressing that she hopes for a political solution to the stalemate over Ukraine crisis.

The chancellor said she is “not interested in escalation” of tensions with Russia, speaking after Wednesday meeting with the South Korean president in Berlin.

“On the contrary, I am working on de-escalation of the situation,” she added, as cited by Itar-Tass.

Merkel believes that the West “has not reached a stage that implies the imposition of economic sanctions” against Russia, advocated by US President Barack Obama. “And I hope we will be able to avoid it,” she said.

Berlin is very much dependent on economic ties with Russia with bilateral trade volume equaling to some 76 billion euros in 2013. Further around 6,000 German firms and over 300,000 jobs are dependent on Russian partners with the overall investment volume of 20 billion euros.

Germany is currently the European Union’s biggest exporter to Russia. German car manufacturing companies are likely to suffer first if sanctions against Russia become more substantial, as about half of German exports to Russia are vehicles and machinery.

Volkswagen, BMW, and lorry maker MAN all have Russian operations, with VW willing to inject another €1.8 billion in its Eastern European segment by 2018, the Local reports. Opel, a German car maker which sold over 80,000 cars in Russia in 2013, last week said that the company was “already feeling the stresses and strains from the changing course of the ruble,” Karl-Thomas Neumann, boss of car makers Opel, told Automobilwoche magazine.

On the retail side, German Metro stores wanted to take its Russian subsidiary public this year, but the plan is now imperiled, Der Spiegel reported.

Earlier this month Germany’s KfW development bank canceled a contract with Russia’s VEB bank worth €900 million in investment initiatives for mid-sized companies. Under the deal Germans were to have invested €200 million in Russia.

In addition, Germany is heavily dependent on Russian energy with around 35 percent of its natural gas imports coming from Russia.

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov commented on Russia’s economic situation on Wednesday.

“At present, the investors’ worries are connected with the consequences of sanctions. We see ratings agencies lower the outlook on Russia’s ratings. It certainly puts us on alert. There are no basic grounds for changing the general stability of Russia’s economy,” Siluanov told Russia-24 TV channel.

Standard & Poor’s (S&P) global credit rating agency changed the outlooks for Russia’s large energy companies on Wednesday. Gazprom, Rosneft, Transneft and Lukoil ratings were reduced from stable to negative outlook for having “very strong links” with the Kremlin. Last week S&P and Fitch Ratings lowered Russia’s overall creditworthiness. Both companies affirmed Russia at BBB.

Yet Siluanov defended Russia’s economy and trustworthiness saying that foreign investors hope that the any sanctions against Moscow are temporary.

“The measures that were taken regarding certain persons and companies have their effect. The general mood around Russia has become nervous. But we have good conditions for business,” he said, adding that “neither Western companies nor Russia need the sanctions.”

March 27, 2014 Posted by | Economics | , , , | Leave a comment

Debunking the myth of Nazi mosquito-borne biological weapons

By Jean Pascal Zanders | The Trench | March 4, 2014

Starting at the end of January, several press items reported on an academic article published in the December edition of the quarterly magazine Endeavour. Based on documents from the Dachau concentration camp, Dr Klaus Reinhardt, a biologist at the University of Tübingen uncovered that Nazi scientists wanted to use mosquitos as insect vector for the delivery of malaria plasmodium protozoans. According to the article abstract:

In January 1942, Heinrich Himmler, head of the Schutzstaffel (SS) and police in Nazi Germany, ordered the creation of an entomological institute to study the physiology and control of insects that inflict harm to humans. Founded in the grounds of the concentration camp at Dachau, it has been the focus of previous research, notably into the question of whether it was involved in biological warfare research. This article examines research protocols by the appointed leader Eduard May, presented here for the first time, which confirm the existence of an offensive biological warfare research programme in Nazi Germany.

In 1999, while at SIPRI, I oversaw the publication of a volume in the Chemical & Biological Warfare Studies series edited by Erhard Geissler and John Ellis van Courtland Moon on Biological and Toxin Weapons: Research, Development and Use from the Middle Ages to 1945. Geissler, now a retired professor in molecular biology and genetics, wrote the chapter on Germany’s biological warfare programmes before and during World War 2. He basically debunked the myth that the SS was conducting a secret offensive biological warfare programme against Hitler’s explicit orders not to investigate such weapons.

Reinhardt claims to have recently uncovered fresh documents from Dachau and suggests that the earlier assessments of Germany’s offensive BW activities are wrong. Being familiar with Geissler’s investigations — particularly with the 900-page mastodont, emphatically entitled Biologische Waffen – nicht in Hitlers Arsenalen — and other historical research on the origins of offensive biological warfare programmes on the eve of and during World War 2, I was mildly sceptical of the new claims. While the possibility of finding new archival material always exists, contradicting a central conclusion of extensive historical research is quite a different matter. An article in National Geographic summarised Reinhardt’s findings, but also noted that they are controversial among researchers. His conclusions were therefore not as absolute as some press items were suggesting, I therefore assumed.

Yesterday, however, Erhard Geissler posted a blog commentary, calling the findings ‘disinformation’ :

Despite the thrilling headline Reinhardt in his article does not provide any new material regarding the dual-use activities performed in the Entomological Institute of the Waffen-SS beyond that what was already published. The low-scale experiments performed by Eduard May in September 1944 on the survival of food-deprived mosquitoes, can hardly assessed as confirmation of “the existence of an offensive biological warfare research programme in Nazi Germany”. Besides that, the main body of Reinhardts paper including its concluding paragraph does not pick up the alleged BW preparations but deals with the “enigmatic figure” of its director, Eduard May.

Geissler concludes:

Up to today there is no evidence of offensive biological warfare research in Germany after the unsuccessful attempts of German biosabotage in WWI. It is a pitty that the misleading heading of Reinhardt‘s article similar to other disinformation campaigns are favored by some media’s apparent craving for a breaking story that often supersedes thorough investigation.

This is pretty categorical debunking of research findings. To be continued?

Jean Pascal Zanders (Belgium) has worked on questions of chemical and biological weapon (CBW) armament and disarmament since 1986. He was CBW Project Leader at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Director of the BioWeapons Prevention Project and Senior Research Fellow responsible for disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation questions at the European Union Institute for Security Studies.

March 4, 2014 Posted by | Deception | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Their history and ours: the first world war that won’t be commemorated in 2014

By Neil Faulkner | No Glory in War | January 5, 2014

Military historian Max Hastings and education minister Michael Gove say we should should blame the Germans for World War I and celebrate the victory for ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’. Archaeologist Neil Faulkner disagrees.

Max Hastings has his new book on 1914 out already (Catastrophe: Europe goes to war, 1914). In it he pulls no punches. Even the dustcover proclaims the forthright revisionist message.

‘He [the author] finds the evidence overwhelming that Austria and Germany must accept the principal blame for the outbreak. While what followed was a vast tragedy, he argues passionately against the ‘poets ‘view’ that the war was not worth winning. It was vital to the freedom of Europe, he says, that the Kaiser’s Germany should be defeated.’

UK secretary of state for education, Michael Gove, writing in the Daily Mail, takes the same view:

The First World War may have been a uniquely horrific war, but it was also plainly a just war… The ruthless social Darwinism of the German elites, the pitiless approach they took to occupation, their aggressively expansionist war aims and their scorn for the international order all made resistance more than justified.

So there you have it. Just as the rulers of Britain and France argued at the time, it was all Germany’s fault. Never mind that Britain had the largest empire in the world, ruling over one-fifth of the world’s land mass and one-quarter of its people. Never mind that Britain’s navy was almost the twice the size of Germany’s. Never mind that Britain had formed a military alliance with Russia and France, leaving Germany’s rulers feeling corralled and threatened in an arms race they were losing.

This is not to exonerate the Kaiser. It is simply to say that he was no worse than the rulers of Britain and France. All were imperialists and warmongers. All were prepared to plunge the world into an industrialised war for the power and profit of a few. The vast majority of humanity – the vast majority of the people these rulers were supposed to represent – had no interest in the war. The conscripted workers and peasants of Europe were the victims of a millionaires’ war.

‘No poet,’ says Hastings, ‘ever identified a route by which the British, French, and Belgian people could have escaped the conflict, save by accepting the Kaiser’s domination of Europe.’ This claim appears in a Daily Mail article in June this year headlined Sucking up to the Germans is no way to remember our Great War heroes, Mr Cameron‘.

But this is nonsense. There was a Europe-wide movement against war. Just days before Germany’s declaration of war there were 100,000 anti-war demonstrators on the streets of Berlin. Across Germany, during four days of mass protest in the final days of peace, there had been no fewer than 288 anti-war demonstrations involving up to three-quarters of a million people.

Across Europe that last summer of peace, as millions of people took action against their own rulers, there was a widespread mood of internationalism and solidarity. But when the leaders of all the mainstream parties lined up in support of the war effort, they reinforced a tide of jingoism that the killed the anti-war movement and swept the people of Europe into internecine carnage.

But that mood would resurface, and when it did, beginning in 1917, it would be charged with bitterness at the slaughter and impoverishment, becoming a giant wave of revolution crashing across the continent, ending the war, toppling tyrants, and shaking the foundations of the entire social order.

‘Far from dying in vain,’ continues Hastings, ‘those who perished … between 1914 and 1918 made as important a contribution to our privileged, peaceful lives today as did their sons in World War II.’

And Michael Gove agrees:

‘For all our mistakes as a nation, Britain’s role in the world has also been marked by nobility and courage. Indeed, the more we reflect on every aspect of the war, the more cause there is for us to appreciate what we owe to our forebears and their traditions.’

These are extraordinary claims. The British and the French used their victory in 1918 to re-divide the world, helping themselves to German colonies, hacking off chunks of German territory in Europe, and imposing crippling reparations payments on the German people.

Meantime, to control their enlarged empires in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, they gunned down protestors demanding democracy and independence. This imperialist carve-up – ‘a peace to end all peace’ – created the preconditions for the Second World War two decades later.

The cost of the First World War was 15 million dead. The cost of the sequel was 60 million dead. More human beings have been killed by war in the last century than in the whole of the rest of human history put together.

The immense potential of industrial society to provide the goods and service we all need has, again and again, been turned into its opposite: means of destruction and waste on an unprecedented scale.

This is not something to be rationalised into a choice between ‘good’ empires and ‘bad’ empires; a choice between ‘democratic’ Britain and France as against ‘autocratic’ and ‘expansionist’ Germany. This is to trivialise historical events, reducing them to little more than a banal discussion about who sent the final ultimatum, who mobilised first, who fired the first shot.

Max Hastings and Michael Gove want us to side with one empire against another. He wants us to wave a Union Jack, celebrate a British victory, and promote the lie that the 15 million dead of the First World War were ‘a necessary sacrifice’.

What is required is an analysis that roots tragedies like the First World War, and all the other imperialist conflicts of the last century, in the madness of a world divided into competing corporations and warring nation-states.


No Glory – the real History of the First World War
Neil Faulkner’s new pamphlet published by No Glory in War
More details and how to buy…


Neil Faulkner is a First World War archaeologist and editor of Military History Monthly. He is one of the founders of the No Glory in War campaign.

March 4, 2014 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 2 Comments

NSA bugs Merkel aides instead of chancellor

RT | February 24, 2014

In the wake of President Obama’s promise to stop spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the US intelligence has switched its attention to her top government officials, a German newspaper reported.

Washington’s relations with Germany were strained last year after revelations that the US National Security Agency (NSA) was conducting mass surveillance in Germany and even tapped the mobile phone of Chancellor Merkel.

Facing the German outrage, President Barack Obama pledged that the US would stop spying on the leader of the European country, which is among the closest and most powerful allies of America.

After the promise was made, the NSA has stepped up surveillance of senior German officials, German newspaper Bild am Sonntag (BamS) reported on Sunday.

“We have had the order not to miss out on any information now that we are no longer able to monitor the chancellor’s communication directly,” it quoted a top NSA employee in Germany as saying.

BamS said the NSA had 297 employees stationed in Germany and was surveying 320 key individuals, most of them German decision-makers involved in politics and business.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere is of particular interest to the US, the report said, because he is a close aide of Merkel, who seeks his advice on many issues and was rumored to be promoting his candidacy for the post of NATO secretary-general.

A spokesman for the German Interior Ministry told the newspaper it would not comment on the “allegations of unnamed individuals.”

Privacy issues are a very sensitive area in Germany, which holds the memory of invasive state surveillance practices by the Nazi government and later by the Communist government in the former East Germany.

Part of the outrage in Germany was caused by the allegation that US intelligence is using its surveillance capabilities not only to provide national security, but also to gain business advantage for American companies over their foreign competitors.

Berlin has been pushing for a ‘no-spying deal’ with the US for months, but so far with little success. Germany is also advocating the creation of a European computer network which would allow communication traffic not to pass through US-based servers and thus avoid the NSA tapping.

February 24, 2014 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

German Government Tries To Neuter FOI Requests By Refusing To Allow Responses To Be Published

By Glyn Moody | Techdirt | February 11, 2014

Freedom of information laws are one of the most powerful tools for holding governments to account. No wonder that every now and then, attempts are made to limit their effectiveness. Here’s an example from Germany, where the freedom of information (FOI) portal FragDenStaat.de asked for and received a five-page study written by government staff analyzing a ruling by the German constitutional court:

When the study in question was received from the Ministry of the Interior through an FOI request on FragDenStaat.de, the ministry prohibited publication of the document by claiming copyright. FragDenStaat.de has decided to publish the document anyway to take a stand against this blatant misuse of copyright. The government sent a cease and desist letter shortly after. The Open Knowledge Foundation Germany as the legal entity behind FragDenStaat.de is refusing to comply with the cease and desist order, and is looking forward to a court decision that will strengthen freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of information rights in Germany.

Of course, if it were not possible to publish information received through FOI requests, the latter would become almost useless, as the German government doubtless well knows. So it’s great to see the Open Knowledge Foundation Germany fighting this attempt to undermine the entire FOI system there (donations gratefully received.) It’s also interesting to note how, once again, copyright is being deployed not as a means for promoting creativity, but as a weapon against openness and transparency.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca, and +glynmoody on Google+

February 12, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception | , , | Leave a comment

“The Americans Lied to Us”

The German government and its intelligence services no longer believe the United States will stop spying on German citizens. Resentment is running deep.

By Hans Leyendecker and Georg Mascolo | Süddeutsche Zeitung | January 13, 2014
Translated by Ron Argentati, edited by Gillian Palmer | Watching America

The planned “no spy” agreement with Germany seems doomed. While negotiations are still officially underway, Germany has little hope that a bilateral agreement acceptable to the United States is likely. The Americans will not even make a commitment to refrain from snooping on German government and political officials in the future.

There is a great deal of disappointment in German intelligence circles where the Bundesnachrichtendienst [the German intelligence agency] is charged with carrying on the negotiations. One BND expert told the Süddeutsche Zeitung, “We’re not getting anything in return.”

BND President Gerhard Schindler is said to have told his staff that he would prefer to do without a no-spy agreement under such circumstances. Resentment among German negotiators is considerable. One high-level negotiator feels the Americans lied to them.

The U.S., for example, refuses to tell Germany the time frame in which Angela Merkel’s telephone was being monitored and whether America eavesdropped on other high-level German government officials’ telephone conversations as well.

Prior to eavesdropping on the German chancellor, the U.S. had guaranteed in writing that American intelligence would avoid doing anything counter to German interests. Requests by German constitutional lawyers for access to a suspected U.S. listening station on the top floor of their embassy on Berlin’s Pariser Platz were rejected by U.S. officials.

The German government had previously informed the U.S. government it would consider such a listening station to be a breach of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. The German attorney general’s office will determine whether a formal investigation should be conducted.

The U.S. refusal to sign an enforceable agreement came as a surprise to Berlin. As late as this summer, National Security Agency Chief General Keith Alexander told his German counterparts, among them BND President Schindler, that the U.S. was preparing a far-reaching no-spy agreement. But he always provided the caveat that such an agreement would have to be approved by the White House, saying his office had no authority to do so independently.

The Americans’ apparent engagement led the German government to expect a quick and positive conclusion. The word in August was that oral agreements with the Americans were already in place stipulating “no mutual espionage, no industrial spying and no infringements of national laws.” These supposed agreements have now vanished into thin air.

A spokesperson for the German government refused to comment on the Süddeutsche Zeitung report because negotiations were still underway. The chancellor’s office stated it had hopes of a conclusion sometime within the next three months.

Germany – Süddeutsche Zeitung – Original Article (German)

January 16, 2014 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | 1 Comment

European Court of Justice officer argues against EU Data Retention Directive

DW | December 12, 2013

An EU law requiring companies to log telecommunications data for law enforcement breaches rights, an advocate-general of Europe’s top court has said. Germany in particular had challenged the Data Retention Directive.

Thursday’s opinion at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg responds to challenges against the directive in Ireland and Austria. Adopted the by the EU in 2006 following attacks on the London tube and trains in Madrid , the Data Retention Directive specifies that firms must save telephone and Internet data – user, recipient and length of calls – for a period of up to two years.

“The directive constitutes a serious interference with the fundamental right of citizens to privacy,” Advocate-General Pedro Cruz Villalon said. “The use of those data may make it possible to create a both faithful and exhaustive map of a large portion of a person’s conduct strictly forming part of his private life, or even a complete and accurate picture of his private identity,” he added.

Cruz Villalon argued that the directive increased the risk that corporations and individuals could use the data for unlawful and possibly fraudulent or malicious purposes – even more so as private communication companies controlled the information rather than public authorities. Cruz Villalon also called the directive invalid because it failed to sufficiently specify the circumstances for data access, storage and use – leaving this for member states to define. In addition, Cruz Villalon called one year a disproportionately long time to hold so much information – let alone two.

Relevance, ‘even urgency’

The advocate-general did recognize the “relevance and even urgency” of data retention measures. Should the court decide to follow his opinion, Cruz Villalon suggested that it grant a grace period to change the directive, rather than taking immediate measures against it.

At any given time, the European Court of Justice has nine advocates general, who provide legal but nonbinding opinion ahead of deliberations and decisions by judges.

Germany does not currently comply with the Data Retention Directive, owing in large part to a Constitutional Court ban on the legislation in 2010. The forthcoming grand coalition government hopes to limit data storage in Europe to three months.

December 12, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | Leave a comment

Brazil and Germany Proposed UN Resolution Against Mass Surveillance

By Katitza Rodriguez | EFF | November 12, 2013

On November 7th, Brazil and Germany jointly proposed a preliminary version of a resolution on online privacy at the UN General Assembly. At a time when public outrage over the reach and scope of U.K. and U.S. mass surveillance is at an all time high, the draft resolution is the first official recognition by the UN of the threat that mass surveillance poses to human rights. The draft resolution is significant in many respects but particularly because it condemns “human rights violations and abuses that may result from the conduct of any surveillance of communications, including extraterritorial surveillance of communications… in particular massive surveillance.”

The draft resolution calls upon all states:

  • To end privacy violations and prevent further privacy incursions and ensure that national laws, practices and procedures conform to existing international human rights obligations,
  • To establish independent national oversight mechanisms capable of maintaining transparency and accountability for state surveillance of communications,
  • Requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to submit a report to the General Assembly on the protection of the right to privacy.

If adopted, this will be the first General Assembly resolution on the right to privacy since 1988. This represents an excellent opportunity for states to update their understanding of international human rights law in the context of the massive technological developments that have taken place over the last 25 years.

While introducing the draft resolution, the Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nations New York drew attention to the 24th session of the U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC) side event organized last September by Germany and Norway. During this meeting, member states engaged in a robust debate of online surveillance. EFF, Privacy International, Human Rights Watch, Access, APC, Article 19 and a coalition of 290 NGOs presented formally the International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance, a set of principles that provide States with a framework to evaluate whether current or proposed surveillance laws and practices are consistent with human rights. These principles have been cited in the new Mexican telecom reform bill, in op-eds and editorials in different countries, refered by policy makers in Sweden and the United Kingdom, and translated in more than 31 languages. During the 24th HRC, we also submitted an official statement calling on states to ensure that advances in technology do not lead to disproportionate increases in states’ interference with the private lives of individuals.

A few weeks earlier, during the opening of the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly, the Brazilian President, Dilma Rousseff, made clear the indignation and repudiation in public opinion around the world regarding the revelations of a global network of electronic espionage:

“In Brazil, the situation was even more serious, as it emerged that we were targeted by this intrusion. Personal data of citizens was intercepted indiscriminately. Corporate information – often of high economic and even strategic value – was at the center of espionage activity. Also, Brazilian diplomatic missions, among them the Permanent Mission to the United Nations and the Office of the President of the Republic itself, had their communications intercepted.”

We hope that member states join Brazil and Germany in explicitly condemning mass surveillance by supporting the draft resolution as is currently written, and stay vigilant against watering-down of the text by countries who would continue their ubiquitous spying. Now is the time for all concerned citizens to call upon their governments to conform to the principles signed by 290 NGOs. If your organization hasn’t signed it yet, it can do so  here. It’s time to defend the Necessary and Proportionate Principles at the United Nations, and in every other regional or national policy space.

November 13, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

Britain’s GCHQ shepherding mass surveillance operations throughout Europe

RT | November 2, 2013

British intelligence agency GCHQ has helped counterpart entities in France, Germany, Spain, and Sweden develop methods of mass surveillance of internet and phone traffic in the last five years, a new report reveals.

Documents supplied by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden to the Guardian show the UK Government Communications Headquarters’ (GCHQ) enormous influence throughout Europe. The documents detail how the agency developed and promoted spying processes, built relationships with telecommunication companies, and evaded national laws that constrain the surveillance powers of intelligence agencies.

In the wake of outrage expressed over the past week across Europe regarding newly exposed NSA surveillance of European countries – including intercepted communications and the monitoring of phones belonging to officials such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel – documents released Friday by the Guardian show major European countries’ culpability in mass surveillance efforts shepherded by the GCHQ.

The GCHQ is part of the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence-sharing partnership between Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States.

US intelligence officials said the monitoring that received so much indignation from powers like Germany and France was carried out by those countries’ own intelligence agencies and later shared with the US.

In June, the Guardian revealed the GCHQ’s Tempora program, in which the agency tapped into transatlantic fiber-optic cables to execute bulk surveillance. Germany’s justice minister, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, said at the time that the program sounded “like a Hollywood nightmare” and warned that free societies and actions hidden under “a veil of secrecy” are not compatible.

A nation-by-nation scorecard

In a 2008 survey of European partners, the GCHQ marveled at Germany’s capabilities to produce Tempora-like surveillance. The British service said the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) had “huge technological potential and good access to the heart of the internet – they are already seeing some bearers running at 40Gbps and 100Gbps.” The term ‘bearers’ refers to the fiber-optic cables. Gigabits per second (Gbps) measures the speed at which data runs through them.

The documents also show the British were advising German counterparts on how to change or evade laws that restricted advanced surveillance efforts. “We have been assisting the BND (along with SIS [Secret Intelligence Service] and Security Service) in making the case for reform or reinterpretation of the very restrictive interception legislation in Germany,” the survey says.

The report also lauds the GCHQ’s French partner, the General Directorate for External Security (DGSE), especially for its cozy relationship with an unnamed telecommunications company.

“DGSE are a highly motivated, technically competent partner, who have shown great willingness to engage on IP [internet protocol] issues, and to work with GCHQ on a ‘cooperate and share’ basis.”

The GCHQ expressed desire to benefit from the DGSE’s relationship with the company.

“We have made contact with the DGSE’s main industry partner, who has some innovative approaches to some internet challenges, raising the potential for GCHQ to make use of this company in the protocol development arena.”

The GCHQ’s work with its French counterpart led to improved capabilities to carry out bulk surveillance, despite growing commercial emphasis on encryption.

“Very friendly crypt meeting with DGSE in July,” British officials said. French intelligence officials were “clearly very keen to provide presentations on their work which included cipher detection in high-speed bearers. [GCHQ's] challenge is to ensure that we have enough UK capability to support a longer term crypt relationship.”

New opportunities in future partnerships

GCHQ ties to Spain’s intelligence service, the National Intelligence Centre (CNI), were bolstered by Spain’s connections to an unnamed British telecom company, giving them “fresh opportunities and uncovering some surprising results.

“GCHQ has not yet engaged with CNI formally on IP exploitation, but the CNI have been making great strides through their relationship with a UK commercial partner. GCHQ and the commercial partner have been able to coordinate their approach. The commercial partner has provided the CNI some equipment whilst keeping us informed, enabling us to invite the CNI across for IP-focused discussions this autumn,” the survey said. It reported that the GCHQ “have found a very capable counterpart in CNI, particularly in the field of Covert Internet Ops.”

When Sweden passed a 2008 law allowing its National Defence Radio Establishment (FRA) to execute Tempora-like surveillance via fiber-optic cables, the GCHQ said in the report that “FRA have obtained a…probe to use as a test-bed and we expect them to make rapid progress in IP exploitation following the law change.” The GCHQ went on to express delight in future partnerships with FRA after the law passed.

The survey found strong ties between the GCHQ and Dutch external and internal intelligence services MIVD and AIVD, respectively.

“Both agencies are small, by UK standards, but are technically competent and highly motivated,” British officials said.

The GCHQ also helped AIVD in handling legal constraints to spying.

“The Dutch have some legislative issues that they need to work through before their legal environment would allow them to operate in the way that GCHQ does. We are providing legal advice on how we have tackled some of these issues to Dutch lawyers.”

Contrary to the other nations’ positive marks, the GCHQ country-by-country scorecard shows Italy’s intelligence agencies to be riddled with internal strife.

“GCHQ has had some CT [counter-terrorism] and internet-focused discussions with both the foreign intelligence agency (AISE) and the security service (AISI), but has found the Italian intelligence community to be fractured and unable/unwilling to cooperate with one another,” the report said.

A follow-up six months later noted the GCHQ still saw legal constraints in Italy as hampering AISI’s ability to cooperate.

This latest disclosure calls into question how involved the countries were in the overall surveillance of global citizens and world leaders led by the NSA and GCHQ.

November 2, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Brazil, Germany submit anti-spy resolution to UN

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Press TV – November 1, 2013

An anti-spying draft resolution written by Germany and Brazil has been submitted to the United Nations amid the US surveillance scandal.

The draft resolution put forward on Friday would reaffirm “the right to privacy and not to be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy, family, home or correspondence.”

The right is already protected in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Furthermore, the draft resolution would also reaffirm the “same rights that people have offline must also be protected online, in particular the right to privacy, including in the context of the surveillance of communications.”

The draft was to be processed by the UN secretariat before being handed over to the UN General Assembly’s human rights panel for discussions.

This comes as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff have both condemned the widespread spying by the US National Security Agency (NSA).

Merkel has demanded the United States enter a “no-spying” agreement with Germany and France by the end of 2013 amid recent revelations that the NSA spied on the two countries.

The Chancellor has also stressed that alleged espionage against Berlin and Paris, which are considered among closest allies of the US, should be stopped.

On October 26, a report published by German weekly Der Spiegel revealed that Merkel’s mobile phone had been listed by the NSA Special Collection Service (SCS) since 2002, and that her mobile phone number was still listed in June 2013.

Last month, Rousseff spoke at the United Nations General Assembly, calling for international regulations on data privacy and limiting espionage programs targeting the Internet.

Rousseff’s appeal came after reports were published in September by Brazil’s Globo television network, which revealed that the NSA spied on the president’s emails, phone calls, and text messages.

Snowden, a former CIA employee, leaked two top secret US government spying programs under which the NSA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are eavesdropping on millions of American and European phone records and the Internet data from major Internet companies such as Facebook, Yahoo, Google, Apple, and Microsoft.

The NSA scandal took even broader dimensions when Snowden revealed information about its espionage activities targeting friendly countries.

November 1, 2013 Posted by | Corruption, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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