Tag Archives: Germany
3 April 2014
The exchange of information between Dutch intelligence services and the United States National Security Agency (NSA) is no longer taking place entirely outside the public eye. After a graph published in German news magazine Der Spiegel in August 2013 initially seemed to suggest that the NSA had intercepted 1.8 million records of metadata from Dutch phone calls in the period of December 2012 to January 2013, it became clear this February that Dutch intelligence services had gathered these records themselves, and had subsequently shared them with the NSA. This information consisted of metadata records gathered in the context of anti-terrorism and military operations abroad.
A substantial share of Dutch intelligence efforts is directed towards Somalia, and millions of Somali phone calls have been intercepted from both the Dutch town of Burum and Dutch navy ship HMS Rotterdam. The Netherlands has been collecting this information in order to support the Dutch contribution to the navy missions combating piracy in the Gulf of Aden. The (meta)data is shared with the NSA (who do not have access to Somali telephone traffic) and in return the US has provided the Netherlands with technical support needed to intercept local telephone traffic from the HMS Rotterdam. (more…)
21 March 2014
The German government has requested federal prosecutors to investigate if German companies violated the law by exporting materials to Syria during the 1980s and early 1990s that may have enabled the country to develop a chemical weapons programme. Based on information given to it by Syria, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has provided a list of companies to Germany, said a spokesman of the German ministry of economy on 19 March 2014. According to a report by the Süddeutsche Zeitung on 19 March 2014, Russia, France and China were also involved in providing Syria with materials that could be used to produce chemical weapons.
Source: Reuters | German prosecutors probe firms for Syria chemical weapons links
4 February 2014
A hacker organisation in Germany, The Chaos Computer Club, accuses Chancellor Angela Merkel and her government of helping US and British intelligence agencies to spy on German citizens. Furthermore, the organisation has filed a criminal complaint against Merkel with the Federal Prosecutor General, however, it is not guaranteed that an investigation will ensue. The complaint alleges that Merkel’s government violated the personal privacy of German citizens through ‘illegal and prohibited covert intelligence activities, along with aiding and abetting such activities’ by allowing and assisting US and British agencies.
Edward J. Snowden, former contractor for the NSA, told reporter Hubert Seipel in an interview that Germany’s intelligence service and the NSA have an ‘intimate’ relationship. Additionally, Snowden stated that ‘[t]hey not only share information, the reporting of results from intelligence, but they actually share the tools and the infrastructure.’ While Steffen Seibert, Merkel’s spokesman, said that to file such a criminal complaint is the right of every German citizen, he declined to comment further on the situation.
Source: The New York Times | Hacker Group Accuses Merkel Government of Helping to Spy
3 February 2014
An US-backed campaign for the past three months to discreetly destroy Libya’s lethal arsenal and chemical weapons successfully ended last week. Hundreds of bombs and artillery rounds filled with mustard agents, which the US feared could fall into terrorists’ hands, were destroyed. The programme took 45 million US dollar from the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction fund and the Pentagon assigned Parsons Corporation to work with Libya to rebuild and safeguard the disposal site. Additionally, Canada donated 6 million US dollar to the site to restore water, sewage and electricity, and to build living quarters, while Germany agreed to send international inspectors to the site.
Paul F. Walker, an arms control expert with Green Cross International, stated ‘[e]ven though Libya’s chemical stockpile was relatively small, the effort to destroy it was very difficult because of weather, geography and because it’s a dangerous area with warring tribes, increasing the risks of theft and diversion.’ The disposal site is located in the desert where Islamist militants are gaining more influence and where the eastern and western provinces struggle over political power and oil revenue.
The programme used a Swedish custom-built device to destroy the chemical weapons. The device is like a giant, high-tech oven in which the weapons are fed into a gas-tight chamber, where the toxic materials are vaporised at temperatures up to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The easily transportable technology used to destroy Libya’s chemical weapons has become a model for the programme in Syria to destroy their chemical weapons now underway.
Source: The New York Times | Libya’s Cache of Toxic Arms All Destroyed
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28 January 2014
The English edition of The Armenian Genocide: Evidence from the German Foreign Office Archives, 1915-1916, compiled and edited by Wolfgang Gust, has been released by Berghahn Books.
The book analyses official German diplomatic documents relating to what is referred to as the Armenian genocide. At the time only Germany had the right to report day-by-day in secret code about the ongoing atrocities.
The website of the publisher quotes from the review in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of the orginal German edition, as saying that ‘The documents collected here illustrate clearly the shared responsibility of the Kaiserreich, the most important ally of the Ottoman Empire during the First World War.’ The Forum Wissenschaft wrote that ‘Wolfgang Gust documents in this excellent political-historical edition from contemporary German sources and the Foreign Office of the Reich government the murderous events themselves (…) as well as the political co-responsibility of the German state.’
Source: Berghahn books | The Armenian Genocide: Evidence from the German Foreign Office Archives, 1915-1916 | Compiled and Edited by Wolfgang Gust | Translated from the German | Foreword by Vahakn N. Dadrian | 820 pages | Published December 2013