Fortsetzungsfeststellungsklage

“Continuation determination complaint.”

A complaint before a German administrative court, financial court or social court asking the court to declare that an administrative act that was performed by an organ of the government was not lawful.

On 01 Jun 2013 police in Frankfurt used clubs and pepper spray to force their way into a permitted march of 10,000 demonstrators and kettle 1000 of them for about ten hours. The then-Hessian interior minister* defended the action by saying those particular protesters’ masks and passive weapons looked threatening.

Individual protesters’ Fortsetzungsfeststellungklagen asking to find that the police’s banning them from being where the protest was [Platzverweis] was illegal are being heard by the Frankfurt Administrative Court [Verwaltungsgericht], while individual protesters’ lawsuits asking the court to find that the police’s kettling act was illegal are being heard by the Frankfurt District Court [Amtsgericht]. Many criminal proceedings against the demonstrators are still ongoing.

* Now Boris Rhein (C.D.U.) is in charge of Hesse’s universities, as the Hessian State Minister for Science and the Arts.

(FOTT zets oongs FEST shtell oongs CLAW gah.)

Ein Duke kommt selten allein

“A Duke Rarely Comes Alone,” the German name of the Dukes of Hazzard television series.

German titles for U.S. television shows sometimes don’t come alone. I saw three different ones used for Home Improvement: the Heimwerker (home handyman), the Dünnbrettbohrer (someone who drills thin boards as if they were difficult-to-drill thick boards), and finally Hör mal, wer da hämmert (Look Who’s Hammering).

(Eye n   DUQUE   come t   zell ten   ah LINE.)

Söldnerfirmen

Mercenary companies. Private military contractors in Europe include:

United Kingdom:

G4S, formerly Group 4 Securicor, is based in London and is one of the world’s largest employers, employing ~620,000 worldwide. Created in 2004 when the U.K.’s Securicor merged with the British-Danish Group 4 Falck.

G4S acquired a large U.K.-U.S. competitor and Iraq & Afghanistan contractor, Armorgroup, in 2008 (cf. Defence Systems Ltd below).

Other interesting G4S acquisitions:

Wackenhut (U.S.A., 2002), Progard Securitas (Serbia, 2008), ArmorGroup (see Defence Systems Limited below; U.S.A./U.K., 2008), Touchcom which “installs and maintains web-based electronic security systems and facility management software” (U.S.A., 2008) and GLS, “a provider of outsourced justice services,” i.e. a prisons contractor (U.K., 2008). English Wikipedia listed, among the 2009 acquisitions, “Secura Monde International Limited and Shiremoor International Engineering Limited, together, the UK’s leading specialist banknote and high security technical and commercial advisory companies; All Star International for $60M, one of the premier facilities management and base operations support companies providing services to the US Government; Adesta, US-based provider of integrated security systems and communication systems; and Hill & Associates Consultants Limited, Asia’s leading provider of specialist risk-mitigation consulting services.” In 2010 they bought a large South African security firm. In 2011, they bought an electronic monitoring device manufacturer and what looks like a U.K. alarm system company.

Clients include Israel.

Complaints were made about Wackenhut’s guarding of U.S. nuclear facilities and military bases due to employee behavior that didn’t meet requirements. In 2013 G4S said they would be divesting themselves of their U.S. government services contractors.

Defence Systems Limited, an early private military contractor (est. 1981) that the founder of Hart Group managed before he left and founded Hart in 1999. DSL was run by Hart’s Richard Bethell, now Lord Westbury, and Sir Alistair Morrison. The company was bought in 1997 by a Florida manufacturer of body armor, riot-control equipment and armored vehicles, merged into a company headquartered in Wyoming, then became ArmorGroup, which was bought by the British giant G4S in 2008, bringing in about 9000 employees. It appears they also merged with an offshoot of the Soviet K.G.B., called Alpha-A (est. 1991), in 1997—the K.G.B.’s Alpha group is said to have helped with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and suppressing protests in Lithuania. Before G4S acquired them, DSL’s clients included oil companies, mining companies, government embassies, international organizations hiring them for post-conflict humanitarian missions and groups around the world hiring them for counterinsurgency training. ArmorGroup still existed after G4S’s 2008 buyout and removal from the London Stock Exchange, because in 2009 they lost the contract to supply the security for the U.S. embassy in Kabul due to employee behavior that didn’t meet requirements.

Hart Group, established in 1999 by former British military officer Richard Bethell, now Lord Westbury, the group’s headquarters are in Bermuda. A website said their website once said, “Hart specialises in mitigating security risk globally, across land, sea and air.” That is essentially what their website still says today, only bigger.

The originally-British Hart Group’s companies include: CTG Global, Erinys International, Hart, Longport Aviation, Symbion Power and Hart Maritime Hubs:

CTG Global: part of Hart Group, which says CTG does “human resource management and consultancy services.” Their website says they specialize in post-conflict humanitarian work.

Erinys International, a British private security company headquartered in the Virgin Islands. Founded in 2001 by a former British military officer, it grew big in 2004 fulfilling contracts in Iraq. A subsidiary of Hart Group, which says Erinys does “risk mitigation across Africa primarily in the Oil and Gas sector.”

Longport Security‘s website says, “Prevent acts of unlawful inteference with Civil Aviation.” This is another subsidiary of Hart Group.

Symbion Power is a U.S. engineering firm that has been awarded massive contracts for rebuilding Iraq’s electricity infrastructure. A member of Hart Group.

Aegis, a British firm hired by the U.S. to oversee U.S. contractors in Iraq. Aegis employees were allegedly the ones shooting at Iraqi civilians in video that surfaced in 2005.

Rubicon International, a British firm that e.g. recruited for Erinys and merged with Aegis in 2005.

AKE Group, a U.K. firm (est. 1991) with offices around the world that provides security and intelligence services.

Babylon Gates Ltd provides patrol and detection dogs, de-mining and security services.

Control Risks Group, a British firm that provided guard services in Iraq. Apparently originally founded in 1974 to provide risk analysis to Lloyd’s of London? Now a major private military contractor.

Edinburgh International, based in London and Dubai, provides “risk management and security.”

FSI Worldwide might be a British company that provides military services. Their website says they got their start in 2006 providing Gurkha contracting and they have a British charity.

Genric Security, a British firm that provided security services in Iraq in partnership with the Kuwait-based Arab Orient Group.

Global Risk, a British firm that provided security in Iraq.

Henderson Risk, a British firm that worked in Iraq. Today their website says they provide “Business Intelligence, Asset Protection and Crisis Management services.”

Infinite Security Solutions, a company registered in Anguilla, the Virgin Islands, Ghana, Hong Kong, Singapore and the U.K. that provides risk management services on land and sea. Affiliated with London insurance companies.

International Defence Systems UK Ltd, a company that provides air support parts and services.

Risk Advisory Group, a British umbrella group for private military contractors.

Janusian, a risk management subsidiary of the British Risk Advisory Group.

New Century consulting, founded by a Belfast-born top British officer in Iraq. Provides police and military services and training.

Olive Group is a for-hire security services company headquartered in Dubai who are apparently helping write some of the U.K.’s standards and codes of conduct for private military companies. During the second Iraq war they had an office in Mayfair, London, U.K.

Restrata was an Olive Group company guarding a large housing development construction project outside Baghdad.

Pilgrims Group, a British firm that provides security and intelligence support and training, as well as security, surveillance and communications equipment.

Saladin Security, Ltd, previously known as KMS, Ltd, is a London-based company established in 1975 that provides security services, equipment and training. And kidnap & extortion mitigation.

Security Support Solutions, 3S, a London company founded in 2003. Bloomberg Businessweek’s profile said 3S “provides armoured vehicles; helicopter solutions; aviation security; maritime security; and security consulting, including risk assessment, threat analysis, and vulnerability assessment. It serves governments, NGO’s, private security companies, news agencies, and the military sector.”

Malta:

Tangiers Group, an organization based in Malta and affiliated with Lloyd’s of London that has the following subsidiaries:

Tangiers International, “the high touch, frontline medical and emergency services division of the group.”

Tangiers Global, “the insurance underwriting and brokerage arm of the organisation.”

The Organisation for Better Security or OBS, “a membership community for Tangiers’ clients that provides actionable intelligence about conditions in conflict zones.”

Ireland:

Reconnaissance Group, based in Dublin. Their website says they enable business to be done in hostile environments, providing services under the categories of “Reconnaissance Market Entry, Security & Risk Management, Executive Protection, Project Support, Crisis Management, Intelligence & Investigations, TSCM (de-bugging), Cultural Awareness Training.”

Reconnaissance Trace Management Security Services & Key Holding, a subsidiary of Reconnaissance Group, says their name stands for Tracking, Reconnaissance Intelligence Management Solutions (RIMS), Alarms, CCTV and Electronic Surveillance Counter Measures.

Sweden:

Securitas AB, in Sweden. Owns the Pinkerton detective agency now. In 2012, they had about 300,000 employees around the world.

The company that became Group 4 was formed as a division of Securitas AB in 1968. In 1981 it was it was separated from Securitas AB when the owner’s sons divided the company’s Swedish and international operations after buying out their father. The international entity became known as Group 4 because it combined four British security companies. They merged with the Danish Falck in 2000 to form Group 4 Falck, which merged with the British Securicor in 2004 to form the world’s biggest security firm by revenue and the world’s second or third-largest employer by employees, G4S.

 The Securitas founder’s sons bought the company from him in 1976 and reorganized it in 1981. The Securitas remainder was sold in 1983. The company’s enormous expansion began in 1989.

Security firms acquired by Securitas include, in addition to the famous Pinkertons,

Protectas SA, a Swiss security company.

Update on 08 Jul 2014: Munich police searched 13 Securitas “objects,” including offices and a suspect’s villa, because the company is suspected of subcontracting work in exchange for bribes. The company informed police themselves after receiving a tip. Securitas’s Munich branch has about 1400 employees and is subordinated to a holding company in Düsseldorf.

Denmark:

Falck, which merged into Securitas AB and then G4S, was a Danish security company.

France:

Secopex, based in Carcassone and founded in 2003, with a structure “based on the large Anglo-American companies that dominate this sector,” according to a 2011 newspaper article written because one of their top officers was killed in Benghazi.

Germany:

Ecolog International provides services to the German Bundeswehr and clients from other N.A.T.O. countries and was able to grow as a company via contracts in the post-9/11 interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq. German media said Ecolog has created a complicated Geflecht of subsidiaries around the world that are legally independent entities, making the enterprise less transparent. Employees of the company have been investigated in several countries for money laundering and drug smuggling.

Interesting story in the Frankfurter Rundschau: During the Bundeswehr’s deployment in Afghanistan, they had problems in 2006 with camouflage uniforms coming back from Ecolog’s laundry services slightly pink in color, which could make the soldiers more visible on night patrols, “with appropriate viewing devices,” F.R. said. It was attributed to using the wrong soap, and contracts were changed twice to prescribe which soap should be used. But it sounds like someone just threw in a red sock at the laundry.

Spain:

Ge2b Seguridad Internacional, a Spanish company that provides security-related manpower and services to governments and industry.

(ZILLED nah FEAH men.)

NSA-Untersuchungsausschuss

N.S.A. investigative committee of the Bundestag, which began meeting on 03 Apr 2014.

The committee’s chair is Clemens Binninger (C.D.U.), a former policeman.

It is tasking itself with investigating the involvement of German police and intelligence agencies—domestic, foreign and military—in the massive spying on people and companies that is now known to have been done by the U.S. and U.K. governments and their contractors.

Also it will now be investigating Germany’s culpability in the U.S.’s drone wars. Since the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) and Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR) reported that the U.S. is using its Ramstein airbase inside Germany to support drone attacks in Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan, violating international law while killing hundreds of civilians, Germany’s government (C.D.U./C.S.U. + S.P.D.) can no longer pretend they don’t know this is happening.

The committee repeated that they would like Edward Snowden and other informed whistleblowers to give statements and answer questions for these Bundestag inquiries. Journalists repeated that the whole world will be watching this inquiry to see what the committee discovers and which stones they leave unturned.

Update on 09 Apr 2014: Clemens Binninger stepped down as chair of the N.S.A. investigative committee after only six days. He said he was resigning from the position because he felt people from the opposition parties were too interested in hearing from N.S.A. whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Update on 10 Jul 2014: A Spiegel article about Germans’ angry responses to spying by the U.S. mentioned that Clemens Binninger is chairing the Parlamentarisches Kontrollgremium, the secret Bundestag committee supposed to monitor Germany’s intelligence agencies.

(Enn ess ah   oon tah ZOO chh oongs OW! ss shoes.)

Kanzleramtschef, ChefBK, Kanzleramtsminister

“Chief of the chancellory,” Angela Merkel’s chief of staff, whose duties include coordinating and controlling/monitoring Germany’s secret services as the boss of the federal government’s intelligence agencies officer [of the person with the job title Beauftragter der Bundesregierung für die Nachrichtendienste].

Update on 25 Jul 2013: After Bundeskanzleramtschef Ronald Pofalla testified secretly before the Parlamentarisches Kontrollgremium, the parliamentary committee that is pro forma in charge of Germany’s intelligence services, he made a statement to the press saying absolutely everything done so far by Germany’s spy agencies had been legit and in compliance with German law. Also that German data protection law had not been reinterpreted. Supervisory committee members from opposition parties (parties that were in the ruling coalition when the information exchange began between German and U.S. intelligence agencies, as far as we know so far) gave counterstatements to the press indicating they were not satisfied with Mr. Pofalla’s responses to their catalog of questions about the U.S.A.’s Prism program.

Amusingly, artists at one news show edited Mr. Pofalla’s sound bite into their report to begin just he was saying “This statement is clearly false…”

(KANT’s lah omts chef,   CHEF bay kah,   KANT’s lah omts minn iss tah.)

Patienteninformation & Patienteneinwilligung

“Patient information form and patient consent form,” often translated into English as “informed consent” which sounds like a single document rather than the German pair of patient information materials + patient’s consent statement [Einwilligungserklärung].

Medical ethics require patients agreeing to participate in pharmaceutical testing to be adequately informed about the drug or device trial and associated risks and benefits, and then to give their written consent to participate in the trial so described. Translators of these forms must take extra pains to render them in clear language because the people reading them might not be in the best of health.

As recovering law student and standup comedian Susan Calman said, “there’s no consent without informed consent!”

General practitioners in the U.K. are concerned, she said, that people there have not been sufficiently informed about the National Health Service’s plans to put physicians’ records and hospitals’ records on a “superserver,” central database, to which more than just health professionals will have access. The patient data will be at least partially anonymized, proponents said. It’s unclear what the rules will be for selling or sharing patients’ data with third parties.

People not worried about data privacy might nevertheless be concerned about any unclarity in David Cameron’s government’s communications about how it will share or not share the U.K.’s digitized medical records because his coalition’s recent privatization projects have been accused of selling at too-low prices. Protection adequacy is also in question now since the Snowden revelations.

Update on 24 Feb 2014: Despite reassurances from the British agency currently in charge of patient medical records in the U.K., the Health and Social Care Information Centre, that “data held in the new giant database would never be used for insurance purposes, stating that any such actions would represent a criminal offence,” the Telegraph.co.uk has discovered that David Cameron’s government already sold the N.H.S. medical records, to an actuarial firm that advises “insurers and actuaries on how to ‘refine’ critical illness cover,” in 2012, for two thousand pounds.

The contract to extract and anonymize patient data from individual physicians’ office records for the new central database has been awarded to a company called Atos. Atos has asked for early release from its previous government contract because of death threats to its employees.

Update on 03 Mar 2014, from the Guardian:

“A prominent Tory MP on the powerful health select committee has questioned how the entire NHS hospital patient database for England was handed over to management consultants who uploaded it to Google servers based outside the UK.”

This database contained H.E.S., hospital episode statistics, and these management consultants called themselves PA Consulting. In addition to Google, anyone tapping communications lines leading to Google, actuaries and consultants, N.H.S. patient records might have already been obtained by or available to “pharmaceutical firms, government departments [including police] and private health providers.”

(Pot YENT en in foh mah tsee own   oont   pot YENT en eye n vill ee goong.)

Doch drohnenfähige Handydaten!

Cell phone data are droneable after all!

Last summer Germany’s foreign intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst or BND, admitted they’d been sharing phone data with U.S. intelligence agencies for years but said it was okay because cell phone data couldn’t be used to locate people and something about the N.S.A. promised not to use German-supplied phone data to kill anyone. Regarding the first claim, whistleblowers from U.S. drone programs have now explained to reporters how phone data were used for targeting assassinations around the world.

One whistleblower, describing countermeasures persons of interest have taken to keep using phones while evading geolocation and how these countermeasures can deliberately or accidentally increase the drone strikes’ already terrible civilian casualties, called the U.S. drone programs “little more than death by unreliable metadata.”

Details from the article and online discussions included:
“Pods” on U.S. drones (and presumably on urban utility poles because this might be what police have been quietly installing in U.S. cities using Dept. of Homeland Security funds) can spoof cell phones into providing data and can vacuum information off wifi networks from altitudes of four miles. Telecommunications standards in some “countries of interest” make it possible for many users there to share data the U.S. uses to identify targets’ cell phones. Wireless “party lines” quietly shared by pools of low-income civilians increase the chances that countries indulging in drone assassinations will accidentally kill party line participants and their families and neighbors, or be tricked into killing their enemies’ enemies, such as by firing missiles at wedding parties or legislatures after someone hides a cheap phone there.

(Daw chh   drone nen fey igga   HEN dee dotten.)

Verjährungsfrist verlängern

Extending the statute of limitations period.

At the Fourth World Conference on Doping in Sport in Johannesburg in November 2013, the World Anti-Doping Agency (W.A.D.A.) agreed to increase the ban on athletes caught doping from two years to four years, increase the statute of limitations for using illegal performance-enhancing drugs from eight years to ten years, and increase the world anti-doping agency’s power versus sport associations and country-level athletics organizations. Athletics support staff, wrote MiamiHerald.com, such as trainers, coaches and officials, “were not subject to the same anti-doping rules as athletes” but that has now been changed. W.A.D.A. and the International Cycling Union said they will also be creating an inquiry commission to investigate bicycling’s lethally performance-enhanced history. These changes will go into effect 01 Jan 2015, in time for the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.

MiamiHerald.com reported drugs testing in sport is starting to focus more on intelligence gathering, “as a complement to” traditional urine and blood sampling, and that such “investigation” is how the evidence was acquired for the recent BALCO, Operation Puerto and Lance Armstrong discoveries. At least Bundesliga soccer has not been fully participating in effective anti-doping sampling regimens, taking few samples and discarding them early.

In October 2013, ARD tagesschau.de broadcast an interesting report on the assignation of guilts in a German cyclist’s doping trial. If the cycling team’s managers knew about doping on the team, the judges decided, then after cyclists get caught doping their managers can’t sue them for violation of the team’s official rules.

“This first criminal trial against a doping sinner shows that with the existing criminal laws it could be difficult in principle to achieve a deterrent effect on professional athletes. For a long time now people have been discussing the introduction of a specific paragraph about athletic cheating, making it a crime to ‘distort competition’ [Wettbewerbsverzerrung], as occurs during doping.”
–Frank Bräutigam, excellent legal correspondent for ARD tagesschau.de

A pundit complained that if the cyclist had been found guilty, the verdict would have had far-reaching negative effects such as not punishing team doctors for doping while punishing athletes caught doing it, even though the athletes probably aren’t aware of the full spectrum of harmful side effects and the team doctors are.

(Fair YAIR oongs frissed   fair LENG airn.)

Berlin-Hohenschönhausen-Ausstellung

Permanent exhibit in the former Stasi interrogation prison at Berlin-Hohenschönhausen, where 40,000 East Germans were held prisoner. Includes photos of the prisoners, descriptions of how they were treated (torture, solitary, permanent surveillance, silent shoes on the guards, and prisoner uniforms deliberately issued in the wrong sizes, in “a system designed to break people”), evidence found of prisoners’ courage and good humor (bronx cheers and Latin vocabulary exercises written on napkins using coffee as ink). Also, as director Hubertus Knabe pointed out, the museum has added a new section with information about the Stasi prison’s guards. “What kind of people worked here? How did they live? How were they held together ideologically and brought in line? You can find that out here too.”

(Bear LYNN   ho! en shin HOW’S en   ow! ss shtell OONG.)

Sittenpolizei

“Morals police.”

For over thirty years, professional and amateur morals police in Iran have beaten women who appeared outside the home in clothing the morals police felt was inappropriate.

Now, new president Rouhani has said, women will no longer be arrested for appearing unveiled in public.

“Good manners [Sittsamkeit] is more than just wearing the hijab. The way the guardians understand modesty awakens contradictions in our society. It has negative consequences, contradicts the teachings of Islam and is unconstitutional.” —Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

Iran’s chief of police, General Ismail Ahmadi-Moghaddam, “confirmed that women’s clothing will no longer be a law enforcement matter,” Süddeutsche.de reported, adding that the general was concerned about the bad reputation Iran’s police had accrued from this since 26 organizations had been tasked with the “Gaschte Erschad project,” he said, with millions budgeted for their work.

Update on 22 Nov 2013: A leader in the dreaded Basij militias, Sardar Naghdi, said at Friday prayers at the University of Teheran, where hardcore defenders of the 1979 Revolution governments have been meeting, that Facebook, YouTube and Google are instruments the U.S. has been using to subjugate Iran. He said this because President Rouhani’s government was considering allowing internet-based social networks in the country again.

(ZITT en pole eats eye.)

Gemeinsames Terrorabwehrzentrum, G.T.A.Z.

“Joint Terrorism Defense Center.” Apparently the German police and secret services have been working together at this institution since its founding in 2004 under poor Otto Schily. Many Germans are terrified by the idea of police and spies working together.

If the reasonable, brave, intelligent, energetic and left-leaning defense attorney Otto Schily, cofounder of the German Green party in 1980, could as interior minister in an S.P.D. + Green party coalition federal government help set up the “antiterrorism” cooperations that Otto Schily apparently did, then institutions in governments around the world could use a good hard review by politicians who don’t want to see themselves forced into similar stances in the very near future.

A recent review of Germany’s antiterror laws by the interior ministry and the justice ministry, examining in particular who has what authorities and who checks their work, has concluded and published its nonbinding report. Interior minister Hans-Peter Friedrich (C.S.U.) was satisfied with the current laws but justice minister Sabine Leutheusser-Scharrenberger (F.D.P.) is not: she is calling for a new law providing uniform and limiting rules for antiterror centers where police and intelligence services exchange information.

“When we’re talking about intervention authorizations that go deep, precisely the ones that penetrate into the privacy and personality spheres of individual people, then there have to be definitive rule-of-law procedures, mandatory notifications, inspection and controls, transparency.”

(Geh MINE zom ess   TARE or OB vare tsent room.)

Bettgeflüster

“Bed whispers,” German title of the old movie “Pillow Talk” starring Doris Day and Rock Hudson. Ezra Klein’s blog on the Washington Post recently posted about different types of public and private employees who have been caught or might be caught inappropriately making use of the vast phone and internet databases being collected and shared by e.g. the N.S.A.; one of the the least problematic bad uses so far has been to laugh about people’s private pillow talk.

Policemen: Police officers around the U.S.A. were caught using the F.B.I.’s huge N.C.I.C. database to snoop on each other, their significant others or, in one case, women a policeman wanted to cook and eat.

Military: The N.S.A. is part of the military. Fwiw, they said only a small number of people can search their phone records database (Edward Snowden?). A former N.S.A. employee told ABC in 2008 that N.S.A. employees used to listen to overseas soldiers’ phone sex.

Spies: There are fears inside and outside the U.S.A. that intelligence agencies around the world are spying on each other’s domestic populations as a favor to help local agencies circumvent laws protecting their citizens against domestic surveillance by their own governments. As a favor then your country’s communications data would be bulk-hoovered by at least one other country’s intelligence agencies and stored there before being shared with your country’s intelligence agencies…

Mercenaries: If 70% of the U.S.’s intelligence budget has been spent on private contractors in recent years, including on Edward Snowden’s former employer, then tens of thousands of guys must have worked these jobs by now with access to databases and powerful tools.

Telecommunications companies: Ars Technica posted that U.S. intelligence agencies partner with a U.S. telecom company to (somehow) collect phone and internet data from local telecom companies in foreign countries. Providing historical perspective, WaPo wrote that when giant fiber optics network operator Global Crossing went bankrupt in 2002 and was being bid on by firms from Hong Kong and Singapore, the U.S.A.’s F.C.C. held up approval of the deal until systems for U.S. government access to those networks had been agreed to. That model, worked out by reps from Defense, Justice and Homeland Security departments, has now been used by the F.C.C.’s “Team Telecom” for other telecom companies too. Phone companies, phone companies that provide internet connections, cable television companies that provide internet connections and companies that run, maintain or manage copper, fiber optic, satellite and other networks: all have employees and consultants that might also be able to access such data.

Software and content providers: “nine major” U.S. companies including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo and AOL have been sharing customer communication data with U.S. intelligence agencies; their employees and consultants might also be able to access these data.

News agencies and newspapers: Rupert Murdoch’s phone-hacking scandal in London indicates at least U.K. journalists have succeeded in paying police to acquire the kind of private information stored in these big databases. Such news companies’ employees and consultants, and their subsidiaries’ and parent corporations’ employees and consultants, and anyone capable of tapping journalists’ insecure computers and phones, might access all journalists’ data including those data obtained from police.

(BETT geh FLÜÜ stah.)

DGSE; DCRI, DNRED, DPSD, DRM, Tracfin, Service du renseignement de la Préfecture de police de Paris

The French foreign intelligence service and the six agencies with which it shares phone and computer data it bulk-collects inside and outside France. Le Monde reported on 04 Jul 2013 that there is a French equivalent to the NSA’s “Prism” program. The DGSE appears to have a huge budget: 640 million euros? in one year?

DGSE: Direction générale de la sécurité extérieure. French foreign intelligence.

DCRI: Direction centrale du renseignement intérieure. French domestic intelligence.

DNRED: Direction nationale du renseignement et des enquêtes douanières. French customs.

DPSD: Direction de la protection et de la sécurité de la défense. French military intelligence.

Tracfin: Traitement du renseignement et action contre les circuits financiers clandestins. ??? An intelligence agency that fights money laundering?

Service du reinseignement de la Préfecture de police de Paris: Paris police intelligence.

Zentrales Waffenregister

Central weapons register. Gun owners in Germany currently have to register their guns at several hundred (~550) small separate offices that don’t coordinate with one another. Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich (CSU) says the government has scheduled the creation of a central gun registry in Germany, which police will be able to use to check weapon ownership starting in early 2013. The central registry is being created in response to an EU guideline that would have allowed two more years for implementation.

Update on 15 Nov 2013: Research by Süddeutsche Zeitung and the Norddeutsche Rundfunk has discovered that development of the Waffenregister (and development of a central registry of personal I.D.’s, Personalausweisregister), were two of ~100 jobs the German government outsourced in the past five years to a German subsidiary of Computer Sciences Corporation (C.S.C.), a U.S. company very firmly entwined with the U.S. intelligence sector whose software probably can’t be trusted. C.S.C. helped develop surveillance software for the N.S.A. and was, Süddeutsche.de reported, involved via another subsidiary in the C.I.A.’s Verschleppung of the German citizen Khaled el-Masri in 2004.

Süddeutsche.de said C.S.C. helped test the Bundestrojaner malware of the Bundeskriminalamt and support the introduction of electronic files into the German courts. It helped with the introduction of a nationwide “electronic passport” and Germany’s recent “secure email” project known as De-Mail.

“The company is part of the American shadow army of private companies that work cheaply/favorably [günstig] and invisibly for the military and secret services. The company belonged to a consortium, for example, that was awarded the N.S.A.’s so-called Trailblazer Project, which was said to include development of the recently disclosed Prism program. Some of these problematic involvements have been known for years, yet supposedly not within the Ministry of the Interior, which signed the framework contracts with C.S.C.”

Interior Ministry spokespeople said the ministry had no “own knowledge” of these entanglements but that the framework contracts “usually” included clauses forbidding transmission of confidential data to third parties.

(Tsen TRALL ess   VOFF en reh GIST er.)

Anti-Terror-Datei

Central federal file of police and intelligence services’ information about potential and actual terrisss but also possibly about innocent burghers. Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich has said this central file is Germany’s most important tool in the fight against tare. The “anti-terror file” is now being evaluated by the highest court (Bundesverfassungsgericht, Federal Constitutional Court) to see whether it violates the German Civil Code. Questions also include what information goes into the file and which German institutions and foreign intelligence services have access to it.

(AUNTie   TERRor   dot EYE.)

Spusi

Yet another cute German abbreviation, this time for “Spurensicherung,” the “evidence securers” crime scene specialists.

(SHPOO zee.)

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.)

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.)

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.)

V-Mann, V-Frau

“V men” are police snitches in certain milieux. For a long time I thought V in this case stood for Verfassungsschutz, but apparently it stands for Verbindungs– or Vertrauens-? In the latter case, the paid informants in the German right-wing scene who have supplied questionable information to the police might actually be called “confidence men.”

Update on 4 Sept. 2012: The Thuringian state Verfassungsschutz office apparently ignored its own rules for selecting V-people. German constitutional law requires V-people to be neither leaders nor criminals, “yet V-men in Thuringia often fulfilled both those criteria,” according to Der Spiegel. Furthermore, the Thuringian Verfassungsschutz paid for lawyers, cars, computers and workshop rent for these guys, “keeping the neonazis mobile” as left-wing Thuringian state parliamentarian Martina Renner (Die Linke) described it.

Update on 15 Sept. 2012: Not only police kept V-people. German foreign intelligence, domestic intelligence (state and federal), military intelligence, and police (state and federal) paid V-people for information. Vertrauen means trust or confidence. As Spiegel-Online noted in this excellent article about one of the Berlin police’s neonazi V-men, it is not always clear in these situations who is trusting whom.

Update on 4 Nov 2012: The new head of German Verfassungsschutz, Hans-Georg Maaßen, has called for a central national register of all V-people. This must replace the current system wherein each German state pays its own set of informants and is not required to share information about them, he told the Welt am Sonntag. “Central knowledge is indispensable for effective management of the federal and state V-people.”

Update on 8 Dec 2012: The central list of V-people will go active by 1 Jan 2013.

Update on 4 Feb 2013: There is an argument in the committee investigating the band of neonazi serial killers because a government office refused to have a V-man connected to the cell, “Thomas R.,” appear to testify before the committee. Apparently the bureaucrats running the V-people were and remain also assured complete secrecy and apparent immunity.

Update on 5 Feb 2013: Europol used V-people in its investigation of the UEFA and FIFA soccer betting scandal that so far has turned up at least 380 manipulated games around the world between 2008 and 2011, with profits of at least 8 million euros in Germany alone. In this investigation Europol also accessed phone conversations and evaluated 13,000 emails.

Update on 27 Apr 2013: As part of their 2013 election platform, the Green Party wants to get rid of all V-people.

Update on 23 May 2013: The federal + states commission investigating the investigation of the neonazi serial killers published its highly critical report, which included a recommendation to continue the option of immunity for V-people who commit crimes. Saying such crimes were scarcely avoidable, commission spokesman and Munich attorney Prof. Eckhart Müller indicated the immunity was actually for the government officials paying the V-people, to keep these authorities from being prosecuted under German laws against incitement to crime.

Update on 16 Jul 2014: After a V-Mann testified this week that he gave his snitching fees to the neonazi bank-robbing cell of serial killers—he was available to testify inter alia because he’s been arrested for sexual abuse of a child—someone leaked a 1997 letter to ZDF in which the federal police firmly warn Verfassungsschutz about V-people, saying some were in “exposed positions” and fearing there could be an “incendiary effect.” By this I think they mean now that the authorities were paying neonazi leaders good money, though it sounds like at the time these words could mean they were worried about their sources’ safety. They think now there were seven paid V-people who were in contact with the neonazi serial killers. The 1997 letter mentions two of them by name.

In 1998 the authorities found a bomb-making workshop used by the cell, with one of the terrorist’s contacts list in it. The list was never used by investigators—perhaps because it contained the names of many V-people?

The Thuringian state legislature has passed stricter rules for the V-people paid by Thuringian state Verfassungsschutz. The income cannot be the source’s livelihood. Also, the Thuringian Verfassungsschutz has been made a part of the state’s interior ministry; previously, it was independent.

(F OW! mon. F OW! frrr ow!.)

Verfassungsschutz

“Constitution Protection.” The name for a federal German police agency that has state branches. I don’t know much about it. The name might be intended to convey the idea that federal police are needed to keep a democracy from falling into dictatorship.

Wikipedia says the Verfassungsschutz offices are responsible for domestic intelligence, the Bundesnachrichtendienst for foreign intelligence, and the Militärischer Abschirmdienst for military intelligence.

The Süddeutsche Zeitung said federal Verfassungsschutz is responsible for defending Germany against spying.

Update on 28 August 2012: Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich (CSU) has announced that he would like to reform the Verfassungsschutz, including a mandate that all state-level Verfassungsschutz organizations would have to send all their information to a central federal office (some state offices have already protested this) and that a central federal list be kept of all Verfassungsschutzmänner and -frauen who are providing information to these police in return for money. See V-Mann, V-Frau.

Update on 29 August 2012: The state and federal reps supposedly only discussed for one hour before agreeing on a framework for reform, which even the opposition SPD party now supports. Not only will state Verfassungsschutz offices be required to share all information with the federal office, but the federal office will be required to share all information with state offices as well (there are currently a total of 17 Verfassungsschutz offices). The state reps negotiated away Hans-Peter Friedrich’s proposal that the federal office be made the sole boss of  investigations of (potentially) violent groups. Angela Merkel’s libertarianesque coalition partner, the FDP, criticizes that these changes are just moving furniture around and the old system, with its redundancies, remains the same.

Update on 03 July 2013: Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich (CSU) and the head of federal Verfassungsschutz, Hans-Georg Maaßen, announced the Verfassungsschutz agencies will undergo fundamental reforms of structures and procedures, imposing uniform standards on the state and federal offices. The changes are to include: new guidelines for the use of V-people (“persons who have committed the most serious crimes are not to be acquirable as V-people” —Maaßen; informants are no longer to receive fees high enough that they could live on that income alone; handlers are to be swapped every five years at the latest to prevent friendships and Seilschaften; and a central file of state and federal V-people is to be created e.g. to prevent multiple Verfassungsschutz offices from paying the same informant); new rules for working with state Verfassungsschutz agencies (which will have to send the knowledge they acquire in unfiltered form to the federal office) and in future files are only to be destroyed after multiple-step reviews (with destruction training and a “file destruction officer” appointed for each department). “Cross-thinkers” [Querdenker] in the offices are supposed to observe, question and criticize what they see, hopefully spotting real trends and catching when departments are on wrong or slow tracks. These initial reforms are said to be in response to the failures discovered in the investigations of Germany’s decade-long serial-killing bank-robbing neonazi terror cell, not to the revelations of whistleblower Edward Snowden. Because there is a German election in two months it’s possible these announced reforms will not be enacted and/or funded, as has apparently been the case with some of Health Minister Daniel Bahr (FDP)’s pre-election reform announcements. The opposition criticized them as purely cosmetic and piecemeal anyway. Thomas Oppermann (SPD) called for a mentality change at these agencies and training employees so that they “have a sense of where the real dangers to our democracy lurk.” Hans-Christian Ströbele (Green party) said Verfassungsschutz should be eliminated “such as it is. We can’t let people just continue on who failed like that.”

Update on 19 Sep 2013: A state Verfassungsschutz office (Lower Saxony’s) was caught collecting and keeping information on at least seven journalists. Federal-level Verfassungsschutz was also caught cooperating with the C.I.A. and the Bundesnachrichtendienst to spy on a journalist, though Hans-Georg Maaßen issued a denial; the NDR journalist‘s name, passport number, mobile phone number and date of birth were on a U.S. list of names and data given to the German domestic and foreign intelligence agencies in 2010 with a request for more information about those people.

These reports showed that the German domestic intelligence Verfassungsschutz (state and federal) and foreign intelligence Bundenachrichtendienst agencies are supplying information for databases (now including ones named “Project 6,” “P6” and/or “PX”) that should have been inspected by data protection officers and subject to German data protection rules regulating among other things what information they can contain and for how long, after which the data must be deleted. However, the German data protection officers did not know about these databases, said Peter Schaar. He said this is no minor infraction, and “anyone running such a project absolutely must guarantee that all activities are completely documented and subjected to data protection control/inspection.”

The excuse for Lower Saxony Verfassungsschutz’s spying on journalists was fighting neonazis and the excuse for federal Verfassungsschutz’s spying on journalists was fighting terror. In his 2007 book Das Ende der Privatsphäre [“The End of Privacy”], Mr. Schaar said in the 1990’s the excuse tended to be fighting organized crime.

Update on 14 Mar 2014: New Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière announced the Verfassungsschutz will stop watching members of the Leftists party, which many S.E.D. politicians from the former East Germany joined twenty years ago, “unless they have good grounds for surveillance.” It will also “in general” stop watching Bundestag members, no matter what party they belong to. He said they reserved the right to investigate resumption of surveillance if they received new knowledge. Such as, that Bundestag members had connections to extreme milieux willing to do violence. Süddeutsche.de said this change of policy is in response to a case Bodo Ramelow (Leftists, and kept under observation for decades) brought to the supreme court, Bundesverfassungsgericht, in Karlsruhe. The court decided in October 2013 that “parliamentarians could only be watched who abused their mandate to fight against the free democratic basic order.” Süddeutsche.de said Mr. de Maizière’s formal statement did not say members of state parliaments would generally no longer be watched, and it noted that formally that his statement only commits the federal Bundesverfassungsschutz to suspend operations, not the 16 state offices.

Update on 08 Apr 2014: A company that represents companies in the Maschinenbau industry [“machine building,” industrial engineering] signed an agreement with federal Verfassungsschutz at this year’s trade show in Hanover. The agreement is supposed to encourage more German companies to consult Verfassungsschutz about suspected cases of industrial espionage. FAZ.net: “But Verfassungsschutz’s advantage is that unlike police they do not have to follow up on a crime, said the association. That is to say, the intelligence agency can pass on information to a company that’s affected; what happens with it after that is the management’s decision.”

(Fer FOSS oongs shoots.)

hohes Tier

“High animal.” Someone with an important job. Helmut Roewer, for example, the now-retired president of Thuringian Verfassungsschutz from 1994 to 2000. Spiegel-Online says his interests were “Wine, Women and Verfassungsschutz.” Apparently Roewer was difficult to work with or manage. According to the “Wine, Women” article, none of the responsible people can now remember appointing him to his post, and Roewer says he doesn’t recall who handed him the written appointment because he was drunk at the time.

Update on 04 Oct. 2012: Helmut Roewer has written a memoir, and Der Spiegel had to read it. “Roewer, who is considered vain and erratic, sees himself as a mover and a shaker.” Originally, Roewer was a West German lawyer. Spiegel calls his book “280 pages of justifications and assigning blame.”

(HO ess TEER.)

auf dem rechten Auge blind

Blind in the right eye. The accusation that for years state and federal German police failed to catch right-wing neonazi serial killers because of internal police failures that have yet to be clarified. At least three, now four, high-level heads have rolled so far. Mysterious documents were mysteriously shredded. The investigating committee now claims the shredded files have been recreated, reviewed and weren’t mysterious.

Apparently some German police have been paying people in the neonazi scene for information for years. This has undermined evidence when neonazis were put on trial, made it difficult to outlaw neonazi political parties and dropped a lot of money into neonazi treasuries, while failing to provide good information about e.g. neonazi serial killers.

(OW! F day m reck ten OW! geh blinn d.)

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