Bouffier

The slightly creepy governor of Hesse, which includes the financial metropole Frankfurt am Main. The guy he replaced, Roland Koch, was also slightly creepy.

Bouffier it turns out was Hesse’s interior minister when the bank-robbing neonazi serial killers shot someone with an immigrant background in Kassel in 2006. Bouffier forbade direct interrogation of any V-people in the matter, even though a V-man of the Hessian Verfassungsschutz happened to be sitting in the café at the time of the murder.

Update on 02 Oct 2013: The “V-man” in question, Andreas T., was not a “Vertrauensmann” or police snitch being “run” and paid by the Hessian Verfassungsschutz but was in fact a Verfassungsschutz official who worked for that domestic intelligence agency. This week he testified at the Munich trial of the surviving neonazi terrorist cell member. He, and two other customers who were there when café operator Halit Yozgat was shot, said they didn’t hear the sound of the shot or thought a computer had been dropped in the next room. The Verfassungsschutz official walked out of the café without noticing or helping the dying man. At the neonazi’s trial, Halit’s father described how he found his son lying on the floor and held him as he died.

After the murder was announced in the news, Andreas T. still didn’t report in that he’d been at the café when it happened. In his trial testimony, he said this was because he’d been flirting with several women online while his wife was pregnant. For years, Kassel police suspected the victim’s family and friends of having committed the murder. Now German voters suspect state and federal police and/or spies of a cover-up, because their actions taken together made it look like that might be a possibility.

(Boof yay.)

Hochgeschwindigkeitshandel

“High-speed trading.” On 25 Sept. 2012 the German social democrat party SPD (the opposition to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU + FDP coalition) announced their new proposed financial platform of increasing banking regulation, splitting “universal” banks into a business bank and an investment bank, creating an FDIC-type emergency fund with the banks’ own money to save troubled banks, capping mortgage debt at 80% of the unit’s value and limiting high-speed stock trading. One day later, on 26 Sept., Germany’s financial minister Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU) announced that the German government wants to limit high-speed stock trading.

ZDF heute journal said the government was now calling for the following: registration of high-speed traders, disclosure of computer code if a problem occurs and higher fees after too many “fake attacks” in which high-speed traders pretend to buy a stock in order to drive up the price, then rapidly cancel the larger purchase and sell what they were actually holding at the new higher price.

Respect for Wolfgang Schäuble’s quietly reasoned-sounding explanations. Simple, straightforward, highly credible-sounding. He does a great job with them. He’s also quite clever, distracting me from banking reregulation by seizing on this high-speed trading point.

According to tagesschau.de, Schäuble is calling for “mandatory licensing for high-speed traders. Transparency that enables the supervisory authority to identify abuses faster. And the ability for the stock market supervisory authority to, when bad developments are identified in the market, to immediately halt trading.” On 26 Sept. his political opponent in the SPD responded that this doesn’t go far enough and called not only for licensing of trading firms but also of trading algorithms. Germany’s Green Party said the simplest way to handle this would be to forbid high-speed trades, and furthermore that the government is limiting itself to too much of an observing, witness, role, rather than regulating. And the techie German Pirate Party said…?

(HOKE geh SHVIN dig kites hon dell.)

Gruft

“Crypt,” from which the 1980’s German slang term for goths was derived. A goth punk or Grufti was thus literally a “crypty,” “tomb-y” or perhaps “burial vaulty.” According to dict.leo.org, Grufti is now also slang for an old person.

(Grew ft.)

Kluft

Garb, gear, uniform, drag clothing.

(Clew ft.)

GSG 9, Grenzschutzgruppe 9

“Border Protection Group 9.” The German equivalent of SWAT teams. Formed 40 years ago after the incident at the Munich Olympics.

(GAY ESS GAY noy n.)

Man muss die Feste feiern, wie sie fallen

You have to celebrate the holidays on the days they occur.

(Mon moose dee FEST eh fire n, vee zee foll en.)

Fassanstich

Barrel poke,” “barrel sting.” When a Bavarian politician ceremoniously taps a large barrel of beer with as few hammer blows as possible to open Oktoberfest. The traditional 1-liter glass of beer will cost up to 9.5 euros at this year’s Oktoberfest.

(FOSS on shtick.)

Rechtsextremismus-Datei

The federal government of Germany has created a central file to collect data on right-wing extremists who are willing to use violence. The file is not intended to collect data on nonviolent people with right-wing extremist thoughts and feelings. All German government entities investigating violent right-wingers are to send all their relevant information to this central file. ZDF heute journal says this is the first visible structural governmental change made in response to the recently discovered organizational failures.

Leftists parliament member Petra Pau (Die Linken) says if this central file had existed during the thirteen-year rampage of a recent neonazi terrorist cell it would not have solved the case because the investigating police never considered the murderers might be right-wingers, deciding instead the killings were due to immigrants’ fighting amongst themselves. There was an institutional failure to consider neonazis dangerous. Tagesschau.de notes that right-wing extremist V-people, paid informants, will not be registered as informants in the new file.

(WRECKED ex tray miz moose   dot EYE.)

Das Mobbing

Exotically foreign-named problem of German workplace bullying that can be so stressful it makes people ill.

(Doss MOB ing.)

Sonderermittler

“Special investigator.”

In February 2012 Berlin state senator and state interior minister Frank Henkel (CDU) learned important Berlin police information about the neonazi terrorist cell but never passed it on to either parliamentary committee investigating the disaster. In March 2012 he did share the information with the federal Attorney General of Germany in Karlsruhe, who apparently informed the two investigating committees about it in Sept. 2012. Henkel now says he regrets people didn’t understand him better. He cites security concerns as the reason he didn’t tell the state and federal parliamentary investigating committees the things he was supposed to tell them. He says it was the federal Attorney General’s idea to maintain silence. (The federal Attorney General sent a letter to news agencies on 19 Sept. 2012 stating that there was no secrecy agreement.) Henkel is now considering appointing his own Berlin state Sonderermittler or special investigator to investigate the terrorist cell.

Update on 26 Sept. 2012: Senator Henkel said his police top managers are the ones who credibly indicated to him that there was an agreement with the Attorney General in Karlsruhe to keep this information secret. His police top managers wrote a letter contradicting this—on 3 April 2012. His police top managers said Spiegel’s quotes from this six-page letter are out of context. Spiegel published the entire letter online in response.

Update on 27 Sept. 2012: Henkel’s man has been named. He is a “senior prosecutor” and will investigate for three months, making regular reports including to the Berlin parliament and the Bundestag’s investigating committee.

(ZONE der err MITT lerrr.)

Untersuchungsausschuss

“Investigating committee.” There appear to be two parliamentary committees investigating the organizational failures in Germany’s federal, state and local law-enforcement, and domestic, foreign and military-intelligence, pursuits of a right-wing terrorist cell of bank-robbing serial killers that rampaged through Germany for more than a decade. The Thuringian state parliamentary committee investigating the affair is based in Erfurt. The federal investigating committee, consisting of Bundestag members, is based in Berlin.

Apparently Germany has a federal Attorney General in Karlsruhe [Bundesanwaltschaft] who is also looking into this. Some of the key organizational failures appear more willing to open their files to the federal Attorney General than to the responsible Untersuchungsausschuss committees.

Update on 16 Feb 2013: The federal investigating committee traveled to Ankara, Turkey, on 15 Feb 2013 to inform the Turkish government about the progress of the investigation. Eight of the ten people allegedly murdured by the neonazi cell had Turkish backgrounds.

(OON ter ZOO koongs ow! ss shooss.)

Bärlauch

Bear leek.” Wild forest leek whose leaves look like lily-of-the-valley but smell oniony. Makes a great soup when its wide dark-green leaves are chopped up, sautéed with butter and olive oil, cooked with chicken broth, refined with heavy cream and puréed. It is not the same plant as Pennsylvania’s wild garlic (where these days I would probably grill the bulbs and cut up the chive-like stems for raw garnish, though I’ve never experimented with it as an adult).

Not too long ago word was that German bärlauch only grew wild in the woods, and cooks had to collect it there in springtime, in the healthy fresh air; but I saw delicious-smelling bärlauch growing in a Cologne botanical garden last Easter.

(BARE l ow! k.)

Bundeskriminalamt, BKA

Federal-level German police. Like the Verfassungsschutz, the German police are managed in state and federal offices with some degree of mutual autonomy.

Thirteen suspects are under investigation by Germany’s Attorney General (Generalbundesanwalt) in the matter of the neonazi terror cell that murdered people of immigration backgrounds for more than 13 years without getting caught. The Berlin state police (Berlin Landeskriminalamt) are now in trouble after the investigating parliamentary committee discovered, last week, that one of these suspects, who supplied explosives to the neonazi terrorists, was a paid informant to the Berlin police. From 2001 to 2011. Berlin state interior minister Frank Henkel (CDU) found out about this in Feb. 2012 and informed Germany’s Attorney General about it in March 2012. But, says this Spiegel-Online article, the investigating committee in Berlin only found out about it last Thursday morning (13 Sept. 2012), and was informed not by the state of Berlin but by Germany’s Attorney General.

“Hardliner” law-and-order Berlin state senator, and Berlin interior minister in charge of the Berlin police, Frank Henkel (CDU) is now being asked by the SPD party to finally provide all relevant files or resign from government.

The Berlin police received at least five tips from the TNT-delivering V-man between 2001 and 2005 reporting hearsay about the location of the underground cell, but they didn’t forward the information to Thuringian Verfassungsschutz, which had been actively looking for the bank-robbing neonazi serial killers since 1998. Federal Verfassungsschutz even routinely investigated this informant for a security clearance once when he applied for a “sensitive job,” and gave him the clearance because the Berlin police hadn’t passed on the fact that he was their connected neonazi. Thuringian Verfassungsschutz apparently didn’t pass on much about him either. He won’t be charged for supplying explosives to the right-wing terror cell, due to the statute of limitations.

(BOON dess CREAM een oll omt.)

Der Elefant im Porzellanladen

“The elephant in the porcelain store,” German equivalent of the bull in the china shop.

(Derrr eh lay FONT im por tsell ON lodd en.)

Goldesel

“Gold donkey,” the German equivalent of a cash cow.

(GOLD eh zel.)

Klientelpolitik

“Client politics.” Politicians who pursue the interests of certain of their “clients,” to the detriment of the general good. This has been translated as pork barrel politics, but I think that’s inaccurate because pork barrel politics indicates a federal politician is harming the general good of the country to benefit the general good of his state, whereas client politics is more specific than that.

(Klee en TELL pole ee teek.)

Bundesnachrichtendienst, BND

“Federal news service,” the German foreign intelligence agency. Wikipedia said maybe 6500 employees, with maybe 100 domestic offices (of which ~70 have been captured by Bavaria, i.e. Merkel’s Texan sister party the CSU) and perhaps 100 offices abroad. In 2011 the domestic German offices were all supposed to move to new premises in Berlin, but the CSU managed to wrangle some remaining presence in Bavaria.

The predecessor “Gehlen organization,” formed in 1945 in a hurry by the Allies under Wehrmacht spymaster Reinhard Gehlen, became the BND in 1956 but no law was created regulating it until 1990.

There has been an interesting tango between the BND and renowned historians for the past few years, in which historians with good reputations have been invited to view the BND’s records and write up its history but were then ultimately blocked from doing so.

(BOON dess NOCK rick ten DEENST.)

MFGBND, Mitteilungen der Forschung- und Arbeitsgruppe ‚Geschichte der BND’

In 2010 a committee of four history professors from the universities of Cologne, Marburg, the Technical University of Dresden and Humboldt University of Berlin was commissioned to spend four years studying the history of Germany’s Bundesnachrichtendienst foreign intelligence service, originally assembled under the head of the post-Nazi German army Reinhard Gehlen by the Allies in 1945 in a hurry for Cold War purposes. This committee’s results will be published under “Reports by the Research and Work Group ‘History of the BND’” (MFGBND).

There are probably other issues, but the initial haste that led to many former Nazis and worse being hired and given new identities by the Gehlen organization that became the BND ultimately became a security weakness when at least one former SS officer was blackmailed for his nazi past into turning into a double agent by the KGB. A CIA report, fwiw, from the early 1950’s estimated that the BND contained around 25% former Nazis, and it said a similar percentage had been voted into the second Bundestag. Good thing the former Nazis’ children started posing hard questions in ~1968.

Bundesverfassungsgerichtsentscheidung, BVerfGE

Decision of the “Federal Constitutional Court,” the German equivalent, more or less, of the USA’s Supreme Court. The Court consists of two Senates and six chambers, each specializing in different fields. Each Senate currently consists of eight judges. The Bundesverfassungsgericht (BVerfG) is located in Karlsruhe and has a staff of about 120 people.

At 10 a.m. on Wed., 12 Sept. 2012, the eight members of the second Senate of the Bundesverfassungsgericht will announce their decision on a challenge raised to Germany’s participation in the ESM, the European Stability Mechanism, an entity with 700 billion euros in capital but whose total potential financial assistance to troubled eurozone countries is capped at 500 billion euros. The Bundesverfassungsgericht scheduled an unusually long time period to deliberate the ESM challenge—eight weeks—and in the meantime last week the ESM’s importance was somewhat diminished by the European Central Bank’s announcement that it will buy an unlimited amount of state debt from troubled eurozone countries.

It is assumed that the Bundesverfassungsgericht will not overturn participation in the ESM but may define interesting conditions. For example, according to Der Spiegel, conditions for receiving aid from the ESM have not yet been defined. Do eurozone countries have an ESM veto right? What will be the interplay between the ECB and the ESM? The conditions for receiving money from the ECB are said to be rather loose right now.

(BOON dess fer FOSS oongs ger ICKTS ent SHY doong.)

Ägide

Aegis.

The Erfurt committee investigating the cell of neonazi serial murderers who only got caught posthumously (after they decided to commit suicide while setting their apartment on fire) has invited Helmut Roewer back to answer difficult questions about how Thuringian Verfassungsschutz paid ultimately-unhelpful neonazi informants 1.5 million euros in cash under Roewer’s aegis. 1.5 million is a lot to be unaccounted for or misspent in German government. Roewer was in charge of the state Thuringian Verfassungsschutz office from 1994 to 2000.

Roewer also appears to have personally made unusually high information payments to a “Günther” who was known only to Roewer and does not appear in the agency’s other files. Tax authorities have been asked to look into whether all V-people payments were properly reported on individuals’ income tax returns, as income to social welfare offices, and by Thuringian Verfassungsschutz as outgo.

If I understand this correctly, in 2006 Germany’s federal government ruled that informants receiving money from Verfassungsschutz and the Bundesnachrichtendienst owe 10% tax on those monies. Normal tax rates would range between 15% and ~42%.

(Ague EE deh.)

Kniefall

The “knee fall.”

Willy Brandt (whose birth name was Herbert Frahm), had a difficult childhood and fled as a young socialist to Oslo in 1933, tasked with starting an underground cell there to fight Hitler. He was able to start studying history in Oslo, after never being able to afford college in his native Germany. In 1936 he briefly returned to Nazi Germany posing as a war reporter with a Norwegian accent. He also reported from the Spanish Civil War. In 1940 he was arrested in occupied Norway but managed to flee to Sweden, where he founded a Norwegian-Swedish press agency that supplied news to 70 dailies.

In 1940, Brandt had a daughter in Stockholm who was named Ninja.

Brandt returned to Germany in 1945 to report on the Nuremberg Trials. He assumed a cover name he had been using since 1934, “Willy Brandt,” and moved to Berlin because it was a bit more cosmopolitan.

After becoming a Bundestag member (SPD), the mayor of West Berlin, foreign minister, and the Chancellor of Germany (slogan: “Dare more democracy”), Willy Brandt traveled to Poland in 1970 and fell to his knees to demonstrate sorrow at a monument commemorating the Warsaw ghetto uprising of 1943. This is called the Kniefall in German and was made with great respect.

(Derk NEE foll.)

Brandschutzanlage

“Fire protection system,” fire safety system. The most expensive failure at Berlin’s new airport, blamed for over a trillion euros in unplanned costs and delays of more than a year. It seems the Willy Brandt airport’s architects decided traditional smoke extraction systems, in the form of vents and fans hung under the airport’s ceilings, where smoke actually rises to, would put too many ugly ducts in view. They decided to run the smoke extraction system under the airport’s flooring, necessitating extra-powerful fans and kilometers of conduits for the extra cabling required. But apparently construction proceeded too rapidly while these design decisions were being taken, and communication with the construction side was poor, because the in-floor smoke extraction system was built without conduits for all its cables. The airport’s floors are now being torn up to create these. A new top manager has been brought in, with experience from large projects at Frankfurt/Main airport. He says things are going to work out fine.

A similar jaw-dropping story happened when the well-known Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe high-speed train station was built.

(BROND shoots on log eh.)

Bastardfall

Medieval law or custom stating that children of unmarried parents became the property of the local lord.

(BOSS tard fall.)

Lauschangriff

Literally, “eavesdropping attack.” Lauschangriff was coined in 1977 after an illegal government bugging operation first reported by Der Spiegel.

The phrase “der grosse Lauschangriff,” the great or big eavesdropping operation, has been around since at least 1997 and describes legal government bugging of the residences of groups of people or professionals. This was apparently legalized by constitutional amendment in 1998. In 2004, Germany’s constitutional court required amendment of the amendment however, ruling that the grosser Lauschangriff violated the constitutional right to human dignity.

The “kleiner Lauschangriff,” small Lauschangriff, is the right accorded to German police and Verfassungsschutz to secretly listen in on and record conversations in public areas, offices and business premises that are accessible to everyone.

The above info was taken from this entertaining Deutsche Welle article, which further notes that eavesdroppers hear “their own shame” and other bad things about themselves.

(LOUSE shon griff.)

Militärischer Abschirmdienst, MAD

“Military shield service.” Germany’s military intelligence agency, for which Wikipedia gives the following numbers:

– about 1250 civil and military employees

– central office in Cologne with twelve branch offices around the country

In October 2010 the Bundestag’s confidential committee (“Vertrauensgremium”) responsible for budgetary oversight of the three national intelligence services Bundesnachrichtendienst (foreign intelligence), federal Verfassungsschutz (domestic intelligence) and Militärischer Abschirmdienst (military intelligence) asked the federal government to review whether more efficiency could be achieved by giving the military intelligence service’s remit to the Bundesnachrichtendienst and federal Verfassungsschutz. Because this proposal was not supported by the SPD, Green Party and Leftists (Die Linken), it appears the query was made by (and to) the parties in Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition. In July 2012, it was reported that Merkel’s coalition partner the FDP party had openly called for reform of Germany’s intelligence agencies and elimination of MAD. This time it was supported by the Green Party and Leftists (Die Linken). The SPD said they at least wanted the current system to be reviewed. Merkel’s CDU/CSU party wanted to maintain the system as was.

In June 2012, there were reports that MAD too had paid informants in the right-wing German group from which the neonazi serial-killer cell arose (and that some of this money was passed on to the underground cell to support them in their life on the run). It was unclear why military intelligence was involved in this. When the terrorist cell disappeared from one location, MAD received a tip about their new hideout but kept the tip to itself for some reason. In July 2012 the chair of the Berlin committee investigating the neonazi serial killers, Bundestag member Sebastian Edathy (SPD), complained that MAD was not sending his committee their relevant files.

Update on 12 Sept. 2012: Despite being asked multiple times by many Bundestag members for all its information on the neonazi serial killers, on 11 Sept. 2012, in response to a written request by a Green Party Bundestag member, MAD made a surprise announcement that they’d actually started a file on one of the killers in 1995, after he drew attention for right-wing extremist behavior during his mandatory military service and MAD apparently wanted to recruit him as an informant. MAD has known about this file since March 2012. MAD destroyed this file but copies of its contents were found in some Verfassungsschutz offices, including that the guy was asked if he wanted to supply information on the right-wing scene to MAD. MAD’s president says no way did MAD ever intend to acquire the guy as a source–they just wanted to know if he’d bettered his ways–and that they didn’t lie about having the file because they didn’t have the file because they’d shredded it.

This may be nothing, but MAD said when they interviewed the neonazi serial killer in 1995 he was part of a group of six interviewees. On the recovered copy of the shredded interview, I think I saw that the guy was identified as number (6). MAD might be understating how many people they interviewed.

(Meal eat TARE ish er    OB shirm deenst.)

Spitzel bespitzelt Spitzel

“Spy spies on spy.” A quote from left-wing Thuringian state parliamentarian Martina Renner (Die Linken) and the subheadline to this Spiegel-Online article reporting that the Thuringian state parliament’s investigating committee now calculates there were about 40 “V-people, spies or informants” in the 1990’s group whence came the Thuringian neonazi cell that murdered people with immigrant backgrounds for years without getting caught. Thus it appears the Thuringian state Verfassungsschutz, the federal Verfassungsschutz and other agencies paid about one out of every four people in the cell’s source group for information.

Thuringian Verfassungsschutz violated its criteria in selecting these paid informants and apparently also in evaluating the results obtained from them (cf. updated V-Mann, V-Frau).

The investigating committee in Erfurt has had access to V-people acquisition and evaluation files since last week. The investigating committees in Erfurt and Berlin now have access to about 2000 files, including 795 from Verfassungsschutz and 685 from the police.

The three secret services dealing with this problem at the time were the Thuringian state Verfassungsschutz (LfV), the federal German Verfassungsschutz (BfV), and the Militärischer Abschirmdienst (MAD), a new one to me.

(SHPITS el   beh SHPITS elt   SHPITS el.)

Aufreissergrau

“Pickup-artist gray.” An attractive older man’s graying hair.

(OW! f rye sir grrr OW!.)

Augenweide

“Eye pasturage,” “eye meadow.” A feast for the eyes, ocular candy.

(OW! gen VYE da.)

The Gorch Fock

Both an impressive wooden sailing ship still used as a teaching vessel by the German Navy (the Gorch Fock Two), and a high-speed train. Originally, Gorch Fock was the pen name of plattdeutsch poet and novelist Johann Wilhelm Kinau, a very good-looking man. He was drafted into World War I, where he served as a lookout on the front mast of the S.M.S. Wiesbaden and drowned in 1916. Kinau quotes I’ve found online seem quite gung ho.

(Gorch Fock.)

Bittsteller

Requestor.

(BITCH teller.)

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