NSA spying on Merkel update


This video says about itself:

24 Oct 2013

German SPD politician Thomas Oppermann spoke in Berlin Thursday, on the same day that the US Ambassador has been summoned to meet the foreign minister. Allegations that the US National Security Agency tapped the phone of Chancellor Angela Merkel without permission pushed underlying issues over privacy to the surface between the two nations.

Oppermann emphasised that if the allegations of NSA spying are verified, it is a clear breach of German sovereign rights, and of the German people.

Steffen Seibert, spokesperson for Merkel said that the Chancellor had spoken on Wednesday evening with President Barack Obama, via telephone. Seibert said that government communications should not be monitored ‘among close friends.’

By Agence France-Presse:

Obama personally informed of NSA spying on Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2010: German media

Sunday, October 27, 2013 10:54 EDT

US President Barack Obama was personally informed of phone tapping against German Chancellor Angela Merkel, which may have begun as early as 2002, German media reported Sunday as a damaging espionage scandal widened.

Bild am Sonntag newspaper quoted US intelligence sources as saying that National Security Agency chief Keith Alexander had briefed Obama on the operation against Merkel in 2010.

“Obama did not halt the operation but rather let it continue,” the newspaper quoted a high-ranking NSA official as saying.

News weekly Der Spiegel reported that leaked NSA documents showed that Merkel’s phone had appeared on a list of spying targets since 2002, and was still under surveillance weeks before Obama visited Berlin in June.

As a sense of betrayal spread in many world capitals allegedly targeted by the NSA, European leaders are calling for a new deal with Washington on intelligence gathering that would maintain an essential alliance while keeping the fight against terrorism on track.

Germany will send its own spy chiefs to Washington soon to demand answers.

Meanwhile several thousand protesters gathered in Washington Saturday to push for new US legislation to curb the NSA’s activities.

Swiss president Ueli Maurer warned that the scandal risked “undermining confidence between states”.

“We don’t know if we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg or if other governments are acting in the same ruthless manner,” he told the Schweiz am Sonntag weekly.

Merkel confronted Obama with the snooping allegations in a phone call Wednesday saying that such spying would be a “breach of trust” between international partners.

The suspicion also prompted Berlin to summon the US ambassador — a highly unusual move between the close allies.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung reported without citing its sources that Obama had told Merkel during their call that he had been unaware of any spying against her.

Der Spiegel said he told her that if he had been informed of the operation he would have stopped it at once.

Other media reports said that Obama’s National Security Advisor Susan Rice had also told German officials the president knew nothing of the spying.

Two phones monitored

Merkel’s office declined to comment on what he told her during their conversation.

The White House has said it is not monitoring Merkel’s phone calls and will not do so in future, but it has refused to say whether it did previously.

Two phones monitored

Bild am Sonntag said that Obama wanted to be informed in detail about Merkel, who has played a decisive role in the eurozone debt crisis and is widely seen as Europe’s most powerful leader.

As a result, the report said, the NSA stepped up its surveillance of her communications, targeting not only the mobile phone she uses to conduct business for her conservative Christian Democratic Union party but also her encrypted official device.

Merkel only acquired the latter handset over the summer.

Bild said US intelligence specialists were then able to monitor the content of her conversations as well as text messages, which Merkel sends by the dozen each day to key associates.

Only the specially secured land line in her office was out of the reach of the NSA, which sent the intelligence gathered straight to the White House bypassing the agency’s headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland, according to the report.

Bild and Spiegel described a hive of spy activity on the fourth floor of the US embassy in central Berlin, a stone’s throw from the government quarter, from which the United States kept tabs on Merkel and other German officials.

Spiegel cited a classified 2010 document indicating that US intelligence had 80 high-tech surveillance offices worldwide in cities including Paris, Madrid, Rome, Prague, Geneva and Frankfurt.

If the spying against Merkel began in 2002, it would mean the United States under then president George W. Bush targeted her while she was still the country’s chief opposition leader, three years before she became chancellor.

Bild said Merkel’s predecessor Gerhard Schroeder was also in the NSA’s sights because of his vocal opposition to the US invasion of Iraq and close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

As anger simmered in Berlin, Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich sharpened his tone.

“Surveillance is a crime and those responsible must be brought to justice,” he told Bild.

A poll for the newspaper found that 76 percent of Germans believe Obama should apologise for the alleged spying on Merkel, and 60 percent said the scandal had damaged German-US ties.

The scandal derived from documents acquired from US fugitive defence contractor Edward Snowden by Spiegel.

The Social Democrats’ chief whip Thomas Oppermann told Bild that German MPs would now like to question Snowden.

Snowden’s accounts seem credible while the US government apparently lied to us about this matter.”

The US government spies a lot on their own citizens. But these days, who doesn’t? Here’s just a partial list of the other governments around the world who have been caught wanting to know too much: here.

Far from giving up on its habit, the US National Security Agency is reportedly still wiretapping some 320 prominent German economists and politicians. Although President Barack Obama has allegedly delivered on his promise to leave German Chancellor Angela Merkel alone, America’s omnipresent spy agency is still keeping tabs on hundreds of her compatriots, the crème de la crème of the German political and economic world, including Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière. This is according to the Bild am Sonntag: here.

German minister’s plagiarism again


This video from Germany is about Annette Schavan of the Christian Democratic Union in Germany, the CDU; about the plagiarism scandal of Minister Schavan.

From the New York Times in the USA:

University Revokes German Official’s Doctorate

By CHRIS COTTRELL

Published: February 5, 2013

BERLIN — A German university has moved to strip the country’s education minister of her academic title after ruling that she plagiarized parts of her doctoral dissertation some 30 years ago.

A body of scholars at Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf voted late Tuesday to revoke the doctorate of Education Minister Annette Schavan, a leading member of the governing Christian Democrats and a close confidante of Chancellor Angela Merkel, according to a statement made available on the university’s Web site.

The case against Ms. Schavan represented the second time a member of Ms. Merkel’s cabinet had had such problems with long-ago academic work. In 2011 Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, a leading member of the Bavarian-based Christian Social Union, the sister party of Ms. Merkel’s Christian Democrats, left politics after it was revealed that he plagiarized parts of his dissertation.

Ms. Schavan was an outspoken critic of Mr. Guttenberg’s academic failings at the time.

Bruno Bleckmann, a dean at the university, said Ms. Schavan’s failure to attribute certain information properly had “resulted in the general conviction of the faculty council that the former doctoral student systematically and deliberately faked a mental performance throughout the entire dissertation that was in reality not her own.”

Ms. Schavan has long denied she copied other scholars’ work in her thesis, and a statement released by her lawyer shortly after the university announced its decision said she would appeal the ruling. Since accusations of plagiarism were first raised against Ms. Schavan by an anonymous blogger last year, the minister has enjoyed the wide support of her fellow Christian Democrats, including Ms. Merkel. …

Nevertheless, the episode stands as an embarrassing political setback for Ms. Merkel before federal elections in September. “It’s not just about my Ph.D., but my integrity,” Ms. Schavan, who assumed office in 2005, told Germany’s Südwest Presse last month.

The second time, after Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, for a member of Ms. Merkel’s cabinet.

Meanwhile, a prominent member of Merkel’s government’s FDP coalition partner party resigned in a plagriarism scandal as well.

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Merkel’s Hitler moustache on Dutch TV


Angela Merkel with moustache on Dutch TV

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

NOS stage design gives Merkel a mustache

Sunday, July 8, 2012, 19:37

In the NOS news show of 18.00 [German] Chancellor Angela Merkel ‘accidentally’ because of the stage design had a small mustache.

An “unfortunate coincidence”, says editor Marcel Gelauff about Merkel’s mustache, strongly reminiscent of Hitler‘s one. In a tweet Gelauff apologized.

“One of the parts of the stage accidentally ended up in front of Merkel’s face. That was all.”