Internet censorship and spying in Germany


This German video is about a demonstration in Berlin on 1 August 2015, pro free press, against Internet censorship and spying, and against the prosecution of bloggers for ‘treason’.

By Ulrich Rippert in Germany:

German government fires prosecutor over treason charge against Internet blog

5 August 2015

On Tuesday evening, the German government fired the chief federal prosecutor, Attorney General Harald Range, for his unprecedented defiance of the government in bringing treason charges against an Internet blog that exposed plans for mass spying by the federal intelligence agencies. Justice Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) consigned Range to retirement on the grounds that his trust in Range’s administration had been “permanently damaged.”

The firing came only hours after Range openly attacked the government, and Maas in particular, at a hastily convened press conference. He spoke of “intolerable interference” by politicians into the independence of the justice system because he had been compelled to drop the investigation of the Netzpolitik.org blog for treason charges.

“To influence an investigation because its possible outcome does not appear politically opportune” is unacceptable, Range said. While the freedom of the press and of expression are of great value, he continued, “these freedoms do not apply without limit on the Internet. It does not exempt journalists from observing the law.” To watch over this was not the task of politicians, but of the justice system, he maintained.

Such an attack by the most senior criminal prosecutor (Range) on the justice minister is unprecedented in the history of post-World War II Germany. The justice minister is the employer of the attorney general and is authorized to issue instructions to him.

The investigation for treason directed against journalists from the Netzpolitik.org blog by the German attorney general has met fierce public opposition. In Berlin on Saturday, 3,000 people demonstrated against this attack on press freedom. In other cities such as Frankfurt, Munich, Cologne and Karlsruhe there were also protests against press intimidation.

Many in the media have also criticized the actions of the secret service and the attorney general and sharp conflicts have broken out inside the state apparatus itself. It is increasingly clear that the intelligence services act as a state within the state, accountable to no one. The situation is reminiscent of the last years of the Weimar Republic in the early 1930s, when the security agencies and Reichswehr (Army) acted largely independently and contributed significantly to helping the semi-dictatorship of Papen and Schleicher to power, which was followed by the Nazis.

From what is known so far, the attack on the Netzpolitik.org journalists was initiated by the president of the Federal Office for Protection of the Constitution (as the secret service is called), Hans-Georg Maassen. He had long complained that the intelligence community was being repeatedly criticized publicly over the neo-Nazi National Socialist Underground (NSU) and spying by the US National Security Agency (NSA).

It is now known that the domestic secret service has been closely involved with the NSU, which is accused of committing 10 racist murders, two terrorist attacks and numerous bank robberies; and that the Foreign Intelligence Service (BND) is working closely with the NSA in spying on politicians, companies and broad sections of the population in Europe and Germany.

To try and put a stop to the revelations and intimidate journalists, Maassen leveled charges in March against Netzpolitik.org for publishing two documents classified by the secret service. The charges were forwarded to the attorney general in Karlsruhe, who had the secret service confirm that the documents published involved “state secrets,” and who then opened a criminal investigation on May 13 on charges of treason against those responsible for the online blog.

As became known last weekend, the government had known about the investigation for some time. According to Spiegel Online, the attorney general had informed the Justice Ministry on May 27 about launching the proceedings.

The Justice Ministry confirmed this information, but claimed that Maas had subsequently made clear at all levels of the attorney general’s office that he considered such an approach to be “too tricky, too explosive and hopeless” ( Spiegel Online ).The attorney general’s office reacted promptly and let it be known that there had not been any such clear opposition from the Justice Ministry at any time.

Maassen, who is subordinate to the Interior Ministry and the Chancellery, had already responded to the public criticism with another attack against the media and indirectly the government on Sunday. It had been necessary to proceed legally “against the publication of documents classified as confidential or secret,” he told Bild am Sonntag. It was a matter of ensuring the “viability of his service in the fight against extremism and terrorism.”

The government could have prevented the investigation against Netzpolitik.org from the outset, he said. But they evidently did not want to do so. They only responded when disclosure of the proceedings met with fierce protests.

At a press conference on Monday, a journalist asked the spokesman for the justice minister why he had not used his authority to issue appropriate instructions if he did not agree with the approach of the attorney general’s office. An instruction from the Justice Ministry would have sufficed to stop the investigation into the journalists.

As long as a state prosecutor was not behaving illegally, there was no room for an instruction, was the curt reply by the spokesman.

The Interior Ministry responded similarly evasively. Its communication, said Minister Thomas de Maiziere (CDU), did not know about the proceedings in advance. Only his State Secretary Emily Haber and the department head involved had been informed by the secret service about the charges against Netzpolitik.org. However, the talk had been of charges for the betrayal of official secrets and not state secrets.

The Chancellery Office also said that German Chancellor Angela Merkel had only learned about the proceedings through the media. However, it was revealed on Friday that in the autumn of last year, Chancellery Minister Peter Altmaier (CDU) had complained to the chairman of the NSA Committee of Inquiry, Patrick Sensburg (CDU), that the secret service internal documents before the committee had been leaked and had threatened legal consequences. At that time, Netzpolitik.org had published the content of Altmaier’s letter to Sensburg.

While many media outlets have criticized the attack on Netzpolitik.org, they oppose any weakening of the secret services, let alone their abolition. Rather, they demand that these and the attorney general’s office increasingly focus their attention on the machinations of the US intelligence agencies and more aggressively defend Germany’s national interests.

For example, Heribert Prantl, the lead domestic commentator for the Süddeutsche Zeitung, begins a comment by accusing Range of not having “the independence one expects from an attorney general.” This had been shown in the criminal matters “affecting the German relationship with the US; Range had not dared look into this.”

The Left Party also argues along these lines, demanding the attorney general “take his hat home”—not because of the attack on press freedom, but because of the failure to crack down on the NSA. He has to go, demands Left Party Chairman Bernd Riexinger in Handelsblatt, “before more happened, or rather didn’t happen.”

The attacks by the secret service and the attorney general on the freedom of the press, which is largely being supported by the government, are inextricably linked to Germany’s return to a more aggressive foreign policy. Great power politics and militarism go hand in hand with the establishment of a police state and the suppression of all internal opposition. As always in German history, the secret services and the striving of the security apparatus to become a state within the state play an important role.

The events that led to the dismissal of the German Attorney General Harald Range show the true extent of the preparations to erect an authoritarian state in which freedom of speech and basic democratic rights are suppressed: here.

Creative Blogger Award, thank you Prasna!


Creative Blogger Award

Prasna of the blog ART PEACE has been so kind to nominate Dear Kitty. Some Blog for the Creative Blogger Award.

Thanks for your generosity, dear blogging friend!

This award is new for me; though I have been nominated for the Kreative Blogger Award; but that is with a K, so it does not count here :)

Here are the Creative Blogger Award rules:

* Display the Creative Blogger Award logo on your blog
* Nominate 15-20 blogs and notify all nominees via their social media/blogs
* Thank and post the link of the blog that nominated you (very important)
* Share 5 random facts about yourself to your readers
* Pass these rules on to them

Five facts about me:

1. Where did my blog get most visits from this month?

Top Views by Country for 30 days ending 2015-07-31 (Summarized)

Country Views
United States FlagUnited States 5,640
United Kingdom FlagUnited Kingdom 1,354
Netherlands FlagNetherlands 482
Jamaica FlagJamaica 384
Canada FlagCanada 329
Germany FlagGermany 314
France FlagFrance 272
Australia FlagAustralia 271
India FlagIndia 241
New Zealand FlagNew Zealand 121
Belgium FlagBelgium 109
Italy FlagItaly 105
Norway FlagNorway 91
Philippines FlagPhilippines 86
South Africa FlagSouth Africa 84
Sweden FlagSweden 80
Romania FlagRomania 80
Greece FlagGreece 64
Ireland FlagIreland 57
Spain FlagSpain 56
Bahrain FlagBahrain 51
European Union FlagEuropean Union 47
Turkey FlagTurkey 43
Thailand FlagThailand 43
Poland FlagPoland 42
Russia FlagRussia 40

2. Which blog posts or pages attracted most visits this month?

Top Posts for 30 days ending 2015-07-31 (Summarized)

Title Views
Home page / Archives 911
Dadabhai Naoroji not the first Indian to be elected to British parliament 277
Texas civil rights activist Sandra Bland, killed by police? 185
Radioactive daisies after Fukushima, Japan 181
Rubens, Rembrandt, differences in what they painted 93
Most hated animals top 50 87
Great white shark mating discovery 85
Günter Grass poem on Greece and austerity, English translation 82
Dutch in Suriname, most cruel slave-masters 65
Bahraini king’s sexual harassment of Lebanese singer 63
About 61
Poverty in Britain 54

3. Most popular topics Dear Kitty. Some blog has written about

Topic Views
Human rights 626
Environment 364
Crime 323
UK 313
history 305
Economic, social, trade union, etc. 248
Peace and war 247
Racism and anti-racism 247
Politics 237

If you tag your posts effectively, this panel will show you which topics get the most traffic. Snapshot generated from your top posts over the past week

4. Which referrers referred most to my blog this month?

Referrers for 30 days ending 2015-07-31 (Summarized)

Referrer Views
Search Engines 6,392
WordPress.com Reader 231
widgets.wp.com 89
Facebook 76
WordPress Dashboard 71
Twitter 59
topix.com 49
kiekjesdief.nl 35

5. Which search terms brought most visits to my blog this month?

Search Terms for 30 days ending 2015-07-31 (Summarized)

Search Views
sandra killed by police 12
fukushima daisies 6
grass snake deity 5
crows give gifts to girl 5
radioactive daisies 5
neo nazis in germany today 4
spanish poet lorca 4
guardian owen jones lexit 4
first indian member of british parliament 4
update sandra bland 4

My nominees are:

1. Առլեն Շահվերդյանի գրական բլոգ

2. It Is What It Is

3. Concierge Librarian

4. greenmindvegheart

5. Benefit tales

6. Mogromo

7. Joshi Daniel Photography

8. ANGIE & JAMES DO STUFF

9. Kira Moore’s Closet

10. Denisa Aricescu

11. derwentvalleyphotography

12. A Patient Voice

13. Surrendering My Shield

14. facecameraaction

15. sheetal sharma

German government attacks bloggers exposing Internet censorship as ‘traitors’


This video says about itself:

German spy leaks website being investigated

30 July 2015

Germany’s federal prosecutors are investigating whether a website has committed treason.

Netzpolitik.org reported on plans to expand the country’s domestic surveillance of online communication earlier in the year.

The site says it has received a letter from prosecutors announcing the probe against two of its journalists and an unidentified source.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

German prosecutor investigates ‘treason’ by journalists

Today, 19:36

The German Public Prosecution Service is investigating two journalists for possible treason. The two have published on their blog excerpts from secret documents of the Stasi.

Stasi? Well, Google Translate translated as ‘Stasi’ here. However, that was the name of the secret service of the late German Democratic Republic, disbanded in 1990. While the NOS means one of the present secret services of the German Federal Republic, the Verfassungsschutz. Different name? Yes. Different practice? Not always so sure.

The investigation should find out whether the publications in the blog Netzpolitik.org also revealed actual state secrets. In two articles, which were published in February and April, they described plans to expand the surveillance of the Internet. The articles are based on leaked documents.

The investigation focuses on editor Mark Beckedahl, editor Andre Meister and the sources for the articles. Journalists call it an intimidation attempt and an attack on press freedom. “It’s quite long ago that Germany acted against journalists and their sources like this.”

Germany halts treason inquiry into journalists after protests. ‘For the good of media freedom’, Germany’s prosecutor general suspends investigation into reporters who said state planned to boost surveillance: here.

PROSECUTORS dropped their treason investigation of two journalists yesterday, defusing a free-speech crisis at the heart of the German government. Markus Beckedahl and Andre Meister, who had reported on secret plans to expand online surveillance in Germany, were notified via website Netzpolitik.org in July by its founder that they were under investigation, prompting widespread criticism from free-speech advocates: here.

My Real Neat Blog Award, for ten bloggers again


Real Neat Blog Award

Late in 2014, I made this new award: the Real Neat Blog Award. There are so many bloggers whose blogs deserve more attention. So, I will try to do something about that :)

It is the first award that I ever made. I did some computer graphics years ago, before I started blogging; but my computer drawing had become rusty :)

The ‘rules’ of the Real Neat Blog Award are: (feel free not to act upon them if you don’t have time; or don’t accept awards; etc.):

1. Put the award logo on your blog.

2. Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.

3. Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.

4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.

5. Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)

My seven questions are:

1. Where do most visits to your blog come from?

2. What is your favourite sport?

3. What has been a special moment for you in 2015 so far?

4. What is your favourite quote?

5. What was your favourite class when still at school?

6. Anything you had wished to have learned earlier?

7. What musical instrument have you tried to play?

My nominees are:

1. Artist- Ted Giffin – Musician

2. kingtide

3. Barnaby Taylor

4. NatureQuest Photography’s Blog

5. nearlydead

6. Words that flow like water

7. Paint the world with words

8. My Latin Notebook

9. Verseherder

10. Miss Ayo Délé

My Real Neat Blog Award, for ten bloggers


Real Neat Blog Award

Late in 2014, I made this new award: the Real Neat Blog Award. There are so many bloggers whose blogs deserve more attention. So, I will try to do something about that :)

It is the first award that I ever made. I did some computer graphics years ago, before I started blogging; but my computer drawing had become rusty :)

The ‘rules’ of the Real Neat Blog Award are: (feel free not to act upon them if you don’t have time; or don’t accept awards; etc.):

1. Put the award logo on your blog.

2. Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.

3. Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.

4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.

5. Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)

My seven questions are:

1. Where do most visits to your blog come from?

2. What is your favourite sport?

3. What has been a special moment for you in 2015 so far?

4. What is your favourite quote?

5. What was your favourite class when still at school?

6. Anything you had wished to have learned earlier?

7. What musical instrument have you tried to play?

My nominees are:

1. The poor side of life

2. Welcome to Makandal

3. Country Woman Paints

4. Malleable Art

5. Be Good to Our World

6. You handmade me {happy}

7. Charms of a Gypsy

8. TeaTime with Lilly

9. Kaluza pelna mirabelek

10. Bryana Ashley

My other blog at blog.co.uk closing down


blog.co.uk logo

Today, I got a message that my blog at blog.co.uk and other blogs at that platform will be closing down at the end of 2015.

So, I will try to save blog posts there which should be saved by bringing them here at my WordPress blog. You will see some of them soon.

Real Neat Blog Award, congratulations, ten bloggers!


Real Neat Blog Award

Late in 2014, I made this new award: the Real Neat Blog Award. There are so many bloggers whose blogs deserve more attention. So, I will try to do something about that :)

It is the first award that I ever made. I did some computer graphics years ago, before I started blogging; but my computer drawing had become rusty :)

The ‘rules’ of the Real Neat Blog Award are: (feel free not to act upon them if you don’t have time; or don’t accept awards; etc.):

1. Put the award logo on your blog.

2. Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.

3. Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.

4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.

5. Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)

My seven questions are:

1. Where do most visits to your blog come from?

2. What is your favourite sport?

3. What has been a special moment for you in 2015 so far?

4. What is your favourite quote?

5. What was your favourite class when still at school?

6. Anything you had wished to have learned earlier?

7. What musical instrument have you tried to play?

My nominees are:

1. The Historical Diaries

2. Hethersett Birdlife

3. oahuhiking

4. gvonkapherr

5. Cakes The Biscuit

6. mypersonalteenlife

7. Traveling Rockhopper

8. Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

9. scalewings

10. Mohn Foto