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.)

Energiewende-Bremse protestieren

Protesting a brake decelerating the Energiewende, Germany’s switch to renewable energy sources and more energy independence.

Tens of thousands of people protested creatively in several German cities on 22 Mar 2014 because they are afraid the new oppositionless grosse Koalition government wants to slow down Germany’s switch to solar and wind power, and delay the shutdowns of coal and nuclear power plants. Protesters interviewed said governments should speed up the switch to renewables, not slow it down.

The first draft of the new coalition’s Energiewende reform is supposed to be ready in early April 2014.

(En nog EE venned ah   bremz ah   pro tess TEA ren.)

Sondergerichte vs. Schwurgerichte

Special courts vs. jury courts (lit. “oath courts” because jurors are sworn in).

Apparently Turkey has been under international criticism for years for using special courts [Sondergerichte] to try serious political crimes. Now Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government has announced they will be using normal Schwurgerichte [jury trials] for these crimes as well. However, the announcement comes after Mr. Erdoğan’s government made other, unhelpful changes to Turkey’s judicial system: Human Rights Watch asked Turkish President Abdullah Gül not to sign a new law passed in the second week of this month that reduced the autonomy of Turkey’s High Council of Judges and Prosecutors or H.S.Y.K., saying the law exclusively serves to increase the government’s control over that council.

The Sondergerichte/Schwurgerichte legislation package passed in the third week of this month did contain some mild improvements. In addition to eliminating special courts for trials of serious political crimes it also reduced the maximum time you can be held in Turkish prison while they’re investigating you for a crime, from 7.5 to 5 years. In future, arrest warrants and house razzias can only be executed on the basis of “concrete evidence.” Supposedly this legislation made tapping phones more difficult.

However, in the first week of this very busy February 2014, after having quickly replaced the head of Turkey’s telecommunications oversight authority, Telekomünikasyon İletişim Başkanlığı, Mr. Erdoğan passed Turkey’s now notorious new Internet surveillance and censorship law that expanded the agency’s powers to collect data about people’s internet surfing and to block web pages.

In the second week of this month, fistfighting is said to have broken out in the Turkish parliament during debate over Mr. Erdoğan’s bill to get more control over the national board of prosecutors and judges, H.S.Y.K. They passed the legislation anyway. One M.P. had to go to hospital for a broken nose.

In the third week of this very busy February, the government put forward draft legislation expanding the power of the country’s National Intelligence Organization (Milli İstihbarat Teşkilatı or M.İ.T.). It would define prison sentences of up to 12 years as punishment for publishing secret M.İ.T. documents, for example. Update on 17 Apr 2014: The parliament passed this. Prosecutors are no longer allowed to investigate M.İ.T. agents for crimes if the agents say they were on government business. M.İ.T. is to have access to all government data, to be able to listen without a court order to phone calls inside and outside Turkey, and to be given all businesses’ data about their customers if they request it.

The brief time span in which three terrible laws were created—the drastic Internet law on 06 Feb, the kneecapping of judges and prosecutors on 15 Feb, and now this latest proposal on 21 Feb announced as democratic reforms in response to outside criticism of the Ergenekon trials—cloaked the scope of these anti-democratic changes to the rest of the world.

Turkish protesters’ anger over all the bills and the trend they indicate was easily misinterpreted by outsiders as a response to the first, internet law. Attempts to mitigate or react to one of the new terrible laws interfered with attempts to prevent the next one. The winter Olympics in Russia and the historic events in Ukraine also diverted attention from Turkish politics.

Update on 11 Apr 2014: Turkey’s Constitutional Court found the reforms unconstitutional that gave Mr. Erdoğan’s justice minister sweeping powers over the H.S.Y.K. board that appoints and fires prosecutors and judges. The F.A.Z.’s article only said the court overturned parts of this reform, however.

The prime minister’s son’s foundation received donations of >72 million euros from outside Turkey and ~10 million euros from inside Turkey. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s son and daughter Bilal Erdoğan and Esra Erdoğan are members of the Türgev foundation’s management board [Vorstand]. The organization is supposed to support Turkish youth and education; the opposition C.H.P. party said it’s a corruption center where businesspeople launder bribes they have to pay to get public contracts.

(ZONE dah gr-r-r ICHH tah   vair seuss   SHVOOR gr-r-r ICHH tah.)

Selbstschutz

“Self protection,” i.e. self-policing groups that the Ukrainian opposition organized in multiple cities to “arrest” plunderers and actual and accidental provocateurs during the protests.

In the town of Lviv this week, in western Ukraine, police and military buildings and barracks were occupied and then guarded by Selbstschutz volunteers, said ZDF heute journal. “Anyone whose blood is boiling can go to Kiev,” said one such guard, speaking into a megaphone.

After protesters stormed President Janukovytsch’s huge country residence at Mezhyhirya on 22 Feb 2014, the paramilitary Selbstschutz found themselves guarding it as well. “Why should we plunder what belongs to us?” At first they tried to admit only small groups of people but, when the students and families with children massed outside threatened to tear the gates off the hinges, they let everyone in after asking them not to trample the lawns. Amazing photos resulted of Ukrainians wandering bemused around the giant hunting lodges, zoos and one fake 16th-century? Spanish galleon.

(ZELBST shətz.)

Erste erfolgreiche paneuropäische Bürgerinitiative

“The first successful paneuropean citizens’ initiative” was handed in to officials in Brussels, who said they were overjoyed to be meeting with privatization opponents to mark such a happy milestone for grass roots democracy in Europe. They were serious.

The group Right2Water collected 1.6 million signatures protesting new rules that would have made it easier to privatize European water utilities, and in ways large companies would have dominated. Not only was theirs the first initiative to meet the Lisbon agreement’s requirements but “who knows what would have happened” without the discussion Right2Water created, said Süddeutsche.de. In response to the signatures campaign, the commission officials under Michel Barnier canceled plans to enable privatization of municipal water utilities with bidding open to companies from all of Europe. They announced public water utilities would not be subject to the internal market’s liberalization rules.

Currently, a citizens’ initiative that fulfills the Lisbon agreement’s criteria of collecting >1 million signatures from at least seven Member States will get a hearing from the European Parliament and from the European Commission. The European Commission is obligated to issue a statement in response within three months, so in this case by 19 Mar 2014.

Right2Water organizers made three demands: that all Europeans have a right to water and basic sanitation, that the E.U. push internationally for universal access to water, and that the potable water supply not be subjected to the interior market’s rules.

The group clearly achieved some progress on the third demand, preventing the worst from happening for the time being. Regarding the second demand, European parliament president Martin Schulz (S.P.D., Germany) recently caused a scandal in the Israeli Knesset by asking why the discrepancy between the per capita water volumina available to Palestinians and to Israelis.

(Eh ah stah   eh ah FOAL gry chh ah   ponn oy roe PEI ish ah   BIR gah ee nee tsee ah TEE vah.)

Bliff

What the Ukrainian word for “bluffed” sounded like in the commentary of protesters behind frozen snow walls in Kiev’s icy Maidan square last week. They were analyzing Viktor Janukovytsch’s offer of cabinet posts to two of the three opposition leaders, with himself remaining at the helm and no early elections before the scheduled one in 2015.

The offer was made on 25 Jan 2014 and the Ukrainian opposition turned it down on 26 Jan 2014.

Veteranen wissen um den Wert des Lebens

Veterans know how valuable life is.

Military veterans among the protesters in Ukraine have been quietly doing excellent work. They help calm down the angriest protesters. They started cleaning up Kiev’s convention center the day after protesters stormed it. The night protesters took over the convention center, veterans organized the peaceful retreat of a hundred police who had been assigned to defend it.

The very well-spoken Ukrainian veteran of the Soviet war in Afghanistan who said soldiers know life’s value also told reporters, “There were some who said let’s beat the police, take their clothes away, humiliate them. But I said let’s not be like they are. Let’s set our own example.”

(Vet tare ON en   VISS en   oom   dane   VAIR t   dess   LAY benz.)

Vermummungsverbot

Mummery ban.

On 17 Jan 2014, Ukrainian president Viktor Janukovytsch signed into law bills “limiting freedom to demonstrate and freedom of opinion” passed quickly in parliament by a show of hands from his affiliated M.P.’s. Newly forbidden: setting up tents, stages or loudspeakers in public without a permit, “slandering” government officials (now punishable by a year of “corrective labor”), blocking public buildings (up to five years in prison), car protests involving more than five cars (“Automaidan”!). The ruling coalition also harshened punishments for the crime of mummery.

Apparently the Ukrainian parliament usually votes electronically, leaving the government parties open to accusations that they knew they didn’t have the votes to pass this.

After the new legislation, and after a court arbitrarily banned protests in downtown Kiev until 08 Mar 2014 without citing grounds for the decision, opposition leaders said a Staatsstreich, coup d’état, had occurred. Protests quickly got more violent.

One wonderful bright aspect was the costumes protesters wore to make fun of the “mummery” ban. German news showed an elegant red construction helmet decorated with black feathers and a black velvet Venetian carnival mask trimmed in gold. A lady was interviewed who wore a black-brimmed winter hat wreathed in colorful plastic flowers and berries, and long silk ribbons, with a large fur hood. Beautifully painted flames on an army helmet. One Spiegel.de photo showed even rugose mummery, with what looked like ceratopsian dinosaur horns.

Opposition protesters took to the freezing streets wearing cooking pots, metal colanders, kitchen sieves and cardboard boxes on their heads, “to make the new sanctions laughable” said Spiegel.de.

Update on 23 Jan 2014: The U.S.A. threatened Mr. Janukovytsch’s government with sanctions if the new antidemocratic laws aren’t recalled. Chancellor Merkel’s government told reporters she too phoned the Ukraine to urge the government to enter into dialog with protesters: “That includes examining and recalling quickly-passed laws used to restrict burgher rights.”

Update on 28 Jan 2014: Ukrainian prime minister Mykola Azarow resigned, and Ukraine’s Rada parliament rescinded the anti-demonstration laws. In post-WWII Germany’s version of parliamentary democracy, a prime minister would be more powerful than a president. But throughout these protests Mr. Janukovytsch has seemed to have more power than Mr. Azarow.

(Fair MOOM oongs fair BOAT.)

Reibach, Rebbach

Profit.

After international news showed architect’s drawings of the thoughtless shopping center scheduled to replace one of Istanbul’s last green parks, people outside Turkey started wondering how much excess power the country’s developers might be exercising over the country’s democratic processes. And if developers could pull such strings, who else could?

Now a recent kerfuffle has exposed that the state might be one of the developers.

Last week Istanbul police made dawn arrests to bring in for questioning “scores” of people who included three sons of Erdoğan ministers, an Erdoğan-party mayor, three “lions of construction,” “the general manager of Turkey’s largest housing developer, the partly state-owned Emlak Konut GYO” and the boss of a government-owned bank; one of the construction tycoons “recently made headlines with controversial mega-projects and works for the notoriously opaque state housing agency (Toki),” according to the Guardian. At the time of the arrests, the accusations in the air were wild and wonderful: hoarding millions in shoeboxes, bribery, building illegally, illegally converting nature preserves into development land, money laundering, “dubious gold deals with Iran,” reported Süddeutsche.de.

Less than a day later, the heads of five Istanbul police departments involved in the arrests, which Süddeutsche.de described as an “anti-corruption fishing expedition,” had lost their jobs. The decapitated police departments included Financial Crimes, Organized Crime and Smuggling units, and the unsonned cabinet ministers were Interior, Economics and Environment & City Planning, according to the Guardian.

Süddeutsche.de said Gezi Park protesters had always claimed that large construction projects in Istanbul were corrupt and used to make “the big Reibach.” If you had connections to Mr. Erdoğan’s conservative-religious AKP (“Party for Justice and Development”).

The arrests and police firings may have been an outward symptom of a fight for influence between Mr. Erdoğan’s associates and the associates of a Turkish cleric named Fethullah Gülen, “who directs an international religious community from his U.S. exile,” warned Süddeutsche.de. The two religious groups used to “dominate” Mr. Erdoğan’s ruling conservative-religious AK party. Mr. Gülen could help persuade voters, while Mr. Erdoğan could protect Mr. Gülen’s business interests, wrote Spiegel.de, which included media outlets, a bank, schools and training centers that have helped millions of high school students pass college entrance exams (“repetitories” in German, dershane in Turkish). In any case, the increased international attention on Turkish news and better information about Turkish politics and business is welcome.

The strange variety in the accusations against the arrestees might make more sense were they to indicate pieces of networks once used for circumventing the old embargoes against Iran:

“The flight into conspiracy theories doesn’t change the fact that it still must be clarified whether the manager of the state-owned Halkbank helped an Iranian businessman with money laundering, with the sons of the Interior and Economy Ministers allegedly assisting in various ways. Washington [D.C.] people had been taking negative notice for some time of the fact that Turkey was using detour routes to pay for its gas and oil deliveries from Iran ever since sanctions had excluded Teheran from the interbank system. Again and again, couriers with suitcases full of gold were spotted in the Istanbul airport. That’s why it’s remarkable that Ankara people are denying they knew anything about these questionable activities, long ago.” –Süddeutsche.de article

“Suitcases full of gold” must be a metaphor in the Turkish press.

Update on 22 Dec 2013: Mr. Erdoğan has now fired 70 top police and justice officials. He might be not only firing them but having some arrested as well.

FAZ.net concluded its update with an assessment of Mr. Erdoğan’s current situation:

“[Mr.] Erdoğan, who has held this office since March 2003, has taken a hit. Presumably he would still win any election that took place now. But the once-charismatic prime minister has turned into a table-thumping/blustering choleric. For him, democracy means having elections; liberal values such as protecting minorities are not part of his idea of democracy. More and more people are objecting to the fact that [Mr.] Erdoğan is acting as the nation’s morals police, who wants to tell people what to eat and how many children to have. He’s lost from view the fact that the AKP, which has been ruling without a coalition partner since 2002, owes its rise among other things to the image of being a ‘clean party.’ The kemalist parties that ruled Turkey until 2002 were voted out of office for, among other things, corrupt business practices that drove Turkey to the edge of bankruptcy in 2001. In recent years, corruption around [Mr.] Erdoğan has begun spreading like a cancer again. The Gülen movement is ‘clean’ though, says [Mr.] Arinc. The Erdoğan vs. Gülen war will continue.”

Update on 24 Dec 2013: Spiegel.de wrote that Mr. Erdoğan has threatened to break the hands of troublemakers and that more journalists were imprisoned in Turkey than in any other country.

Update on 07 Jan 2013: Last night Mr. Erdoğan fired hundreds of police, 350 in Ankara alone, according to the Dogan press agency and CNN Turk, said Süddeutsche.de. Those relieved of their duties included police officers and 80 higher-ranked officials in the divisions of Financial Crimes, Organized Crime and the anti-smuggling authority.

Update on 08 Jan 2013: Mr. Erdoğan removed from their posts Turkey’s deputy police chief and the police chiefs of 15 provinces, including the capital city of Ankara. On Tuesday night his party submitted draft legislation to give the government more power in naming judges and prosecutors. The E.U. commission is concerned, the Financial Times said, “that government moves to remove, reassign and fire police officers and investigators ‘could undermine the current investigations and capacity of the judiciary and the police to investigate matters in an independent manner'” in Turkey.

(RYE bochh,   rebb ochh.)

Ausserparliamentarische Opposition, A.P.O.

“Extra-parliamentary opposition,” people who aren’t legislators making their policy criticism known in various legal ways. A.P.O. will have to get strong and loud in Germany again if the grosse Koalition agreement is approved, leaving a “bonsai” Bundestag opposition totalling only 19% (Leftists + Greens). That’s so small rules will have to be relaxed to let a group that size do the relatively powerless things it can do such as launch an inquiry [Untersuchungsausschuss], call a special meeting [Sondersitzung] or ask the constitutional court in Karlsruhe to determine whether laws are in compliance with the German constitution [Normenkontrollklage].

The coming grosse Koalition, Germany’s second-largest, will be able to change anything it wants, like a steamroller. Including constitutional amendments.

(Ow! sah pah lee ah ment A-R-R ish ah   opp oh zee tsee OWN.)

Neue ägytische Verfassung

New Egyptian constitution, to replace the one adopted and adapted by former President Morsi (Muslim Brotherhood) which took powers away from the judiciary.

Update in August 2013: Egypt’s temporary prime minister Hasem al-Beblawi emphasized the country’s commitment to democracy. The schedule still stands, he said: first a referendum on the new constitution, then parliamentary election and then presidential election by February 2014. “Egypt will not be a religious or a military state,” Mr. al-Beblawi said. “Our road map to democracy is still in place.”

Update on 30 Nov 2013: A ~50-member council representing a variety of groups in Egyptian society began meeting to discuss a new Egyptian constitution. After they report their results, the temporary government will prepare a constitutional referendum.

Update on 14 Jan 2014: The two-day vote on Egypt’s constitution referendum began today. ARD tagesschau.de said the military’s strong role is written into the new draft constitution as well: they’ll be able to decide who’ll become the next defense minister, for example. This is the third constitution referendum in three years. President Morsi’s shenanigans have given a new shine to Egypt’s new strong man, defense minister and military commander-in-chief General as-Sisi, who after helping usher in these latest, necessary reforms may run for president in the upcoming election. Outside observers said they were pleased that the new constitution strengthens women’s rights and “raised the hurdles for islamic laws.” They criticized the confirmation of the military’s primacy in the country.

ZDF heute journal listed the following points in the new Egyptian constitution:

  • More government, less religion
  • Burghers’ rights are strengthened
  • Freedom of religion guaranteed
  • Military primacy unchallenged

General as-Sisi may decide to not run for president and to remain “a figure of Egypt’s transition,” having helped his >80 million countrymen very much at a very important time without having had to start hurting them later, upholding an unbalanced regime.

(NOY ah   æ GHIP tish ah   fair FOSS oong.)

Ist es besser etwas zu wissen oder etwas nicht zu wissen?

“Is it better to know something or not to know something, Mr. Loest?” Question in a ZDF interview with the 87-year-old Leipzig writer Erich Loest, two weeks before he died recently.

Q: What condition is better, Mr. Loest? Knowing something or not knowing something?

Erich Loest: Knowing is always better. Because sometimes some other people know, and then things can get unpleasant. So knowing is always good.

Mr. Loest wrote over 50 books, including Nikolaikirche and the 1977 autobiography Es geht seinen Gang, which was censored by the East German S.E.D. regime. He asked that at his funeral celebration [Trauerfeier] there be no speeches and no lies, just champagne.

(Isst   ess   bess ah   ett voss   tsoo   VISS en   oh dear   ett voss   NICHH t   tsoo   viss en.)

Alle Bürger sind in ihrer Würde gleich vor dem Gesetz, ohne Unterscheidung von Geschlecht, Rasse, Sprache, Religion oder politische Meinung

Fundamental rights defined in the current version of the Italian constitution read by a protester into a bullhorn before the Italian supreme court on the day that court upheld Silvio Berlusconi’s criminal conviction.

This might be from Art. 3, “Tutti i cittadini hanno pari dignità sociale e sono eguali davanti alla legge, senza distinzione di sesso, di razza, di lingua, di religione, di opinioni politiche, di condizioni personali e sociali.”

All citizens are in their dignity equal before the law, without differentiation of sex, race, language, religion or political opinion [or personal and social conditions].

(OLL ah   burgher   zint   in   ear ah   VOORD eh   gly chh   fore   dame   geh ZETS.)

“Macht Krach!”

“Make noise!” Get involved in events. A quite decent message from Pope Franciscus at the World Youth Day in Brazil on 26 Jul 2013.

(Mahchht   krahchh.)

Basta!-Politik

“Because I said so!” policy, dictated from above without two-way discussion, learning or compromise.

(Boss ta! Poll ee TEAK.)

Sehr beeindruckend

“Very impressive.” The excellent foreign correspondent Dietmar Ossenberg reporting from Tahrir Square on the night of July 1, only a few hours after the Egyptian military issued its 48-hour ultimatum for anti-Morsi and pro-Morsi protesters to find a compromise.

When asked what would happen Monday night, Ossenberg said he didn’t know.

“I don’t know. Peacefully, I hope. It is enormously impressive to see how once more hundreds of thousands of people are demonstrating in this square before the [?] palace, and really very peacefully. Despite the images we just saw of the Muslim Brotherhoods’ main headquarters. The people here are not letting themselves be provoked. They talked beforehand with young people, they practically did training for this, to make sure these mass demonstrations would happen peacefully. So it is really very impressive… We have experienced many historical moments here, but this is really very moving. A speaker for the Egyptian military said today that these are the biggest demonstrations, and peaceful demonstrations, that Egypt has ever seen. That is true in fact, and simultaneously an indication of what side the military will put itself on. I think the erosion process of the power of the Muslim Brotherhood has started. Today we had eleven resignations of ministers, which Morsi refused. But that doesn’t mean anything because these ministers will no longer be carrying out their official business. From the provinces, five provinces, there were reports that the governors’ offices are closed. So people are refusing to follow the central government. So I think the Muslim Brotherhood will have to pivot. They will have to try to approach the people with a compromise. That could be a referendum, for example, which was under discussion tonight in the Muslim Brotherhood, a referendum about whether or not Morsi should stay in office. But I can’t imagine that would impress the people demonstrating in any way, shape or form. So I think that within 48 hours we will not have an agreement, that the military will take over power in a soft coup d’état, perhaps for a transition period, to then together with all the parties, as the Minister of Defense said today, form a type of round table to define a road map for the future. I can’t imagine after the last 48 hours that Egypt’s history is not about to be rewritten again. The sole hope remaining for us, however, is that this happens relatively peacefully. But this year the army promised they would try to prevent violent conflicts. However, one must respond to that by saying that the people here relied once before on promises made by the military and were bitterly disappointed.”

(Z air   beh EYE n drook end.)

Der stehende Mann

“The standing man.” Silent protesters lingering with intent to witness at the protests in Turkey.

(Dare   SHTAY end eh   MON.)

Tag der deutschen Einheit

“German unity day.” Celebrated on June 17 for years in West Germany to remember the popular uprising against the East German government 60 years ago this week.

The German unity holiday was changed to October 3 when East and West Germany signed the agreement to reunify on Oct. 3, 1990.

Bundespräsident Joachim Gauck, a regime-critical East German pastor who after the Wall fell led the so-called Gauck-Behörde, the agency created to figure out what to do with the Stasi files left behind by the secret police, said,

“Today it remains essential, everywhere around the world, to stand by / provide backup for those people who, though discriminated against and marginalized, courageously take a stand for freedom, democracy and justice.”

“Es gilt auch heute, überall auf der Welt, jenen beizustehen, die sich obwohl diskriminiert und ausgegrenzt mutig für Freiheit, Demokratie und Recht einsetzen.”

(TOG   dare   DEUTSCH en   EYE n h eye t.)

Rasterfahndung

“Grid search,” “raster manhunt.” Pre-crime data dragnet. Controversial German police method pushed into law in the 1970’s “to deal with the Red Army Faction,” preserved through the 1990’s “because of organized crime,” briefly tried out after the 9/11 attacks and considered by its critics to have failed, in which police are given access to big data troves to search for suspects before a crime is committed. The police create profiles of people they think are likely to commit crimes, identify characteristics for those profiles, identify data markers they think indicate those characteristics, and then use computers to “filter” large data troves for people with those markers. Files are opened for closer investigation of those “caught” in the dragnet and their friends, family, neighbors and other associates.

Several million data sets were shared and examined in this way after 9/11 but no arrests were made. The Bundesverfassungsgericht ultimately decided this was not legitimate and said future data investigations of the magnitude used in vain to find “sleepers” in Germany would have to be in response to a “concrete threat to high-level Rechtsgüter,” which might mean legal goods or legally protected interests. At an anti-neonazi march in Dresden in 2011, police got a court’s permission to collect all mobile phone “connections” data [Verbindungsdaten] in a large zone around the demo for several hours. ~300,000 people’s phone data were collected according to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, some of which were then used for purposes other than originally submitted. Wikipedia says police also used drones and other cameras to record that demo. Videos from that march have been submitted as evidence in the trial of an anti-nazi youth pastor accused of urging people to throw stones at police.

(ROSS tah FOND oong.)

 

Volkszählungsurteil

“People-counting judgment,” the census decision made by the German constitutional court in the 1980’s. An online article I found on the history of Germany’s strongest interest in Datenschutz und Datensicherheit (data protection and data security) explained that country’s aversion to census-taking from a historical perspective. The Nazis took an infamous census of “greater German” territories in the 1930’s that collected data used to kill people later, supposedly with the aid of early computing machines. Later generations of Germans, especially the authority-questioning “1968 generation,” were early adopters of fears about the way a fact that is harmless in one context may become dangerous in another, meaning there is no longer such a thing as a harmless datum. It was and is the combination of mandatory registration with the local government of your residence and contact data, which all German residents still have to do, and a proposed resumption of census taking that set off the large protests against a census in Germany. Eventually the German constitutional court issued its decision reaffirming the first sentence of the German Civil Code, the right to human dignity, and saying control and protection of one’s information was protected by that right.

My source said the logic and humanity of the court’s granting of this protection, and seeing that the state obeyed the court’s decision and canceled the census, calmed the fears of the 1968 generation of antifaschist protesters and did a great deal to integrate them into civil society, which they now control.

(Folks TSAY loongs oor tile.)

“Denk mal nach”

Means both “monument afterward” and the more obvious “give it some thought (for once).” Scrawled in chalk on the pavement at the protests before the largest remaining piece of the Berlin Wall, sections of which are to be torn down to create accessways to new luxury apartment buildings in the former “killing zone.” Berliners were very upset at destruction of this last, art-covered piece of the Wall; they protested and the teardown was temporarily halted after removal of one section. At the protest, the handmade signs, chalk graffiti and interview comments of artists and demonstraters were excellent. Protesters also created and painted a replacement section out of Styrofoam to fill the new hole.

(Dengk moll nochh.)

“Wir brauchen keine Volksarmee, wir brauchen Butter!”

“We don’t need a People’s Army, we need butter!” The East German uprising of 1953  will celebrate its sixtieth anniversary on 17 June 2013. To spread the word about the general strike on 16 June, people went through the streets of East Berlin the night before calling out where and when to meet, as well as slogans like this one. During the day East German protesters apparently used loudspeaker cars and bicycles to communicate between strikes in the central and outlying districts, while the strikers themselves got around on public transportation such as trams and the metro. Wikipedia says a West Berlin radio station reported about the East Berlin strike, probably helping the protests spread to other East German towns.

Bertold Brecht wrote a poem about 17 June 1953 called “The Solution.”

After the uprising of the 17th June
The Secretary of the Writers Union
Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
Stating that the people
Had forfeited the confidence of the government
And could win it back only
By redoubled efforts.
Would it not be easier
In that case for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?

(Vir   brow chh en   k eye neh   FOLKS arm ae,   vir   brow chh en   BOO ter.)

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