back to article Red-faced Germans halt NSA cooperation after Euro spying revealed

Germany has reportedly pulled the plug on cooperation with the NSA following controversy over the role of its BND secret service assisting with US spying ops targeted at European politicians and firms, including Airbus.‬ BND's listening station in Bad Aibling has reportedly stopped passing on intelligence harvested from local …

  1. codejunky Silver badge

    Hmm

    "Stasi secret police in Communist East Germany and by the Gestapo"

    Too far left or too far right you still end up in the same place.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

      Re: codejunky Re: Hmm

      "....Too far left or too far right....' I personally believe that's because it's actually a circle of self-interest where the ends bend round to meet in an orgy of self-gratification and corruption.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmm

      Where does the far right, or even the right, come into this? You have mentioned the left - communists - and the far left - Gestapo.

      1. Your alien overlord - fear me

        Re: Hmm

        @ivan 4

        gestapo were right wing as was the Nazis - where did you get educated?

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Your alien overlord - fear me Re: Hmm

          "gestapo were right wing as was the Nazis...." Well, the term "Nazi" comes from Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP - the National Socialist German Workers' Party. The Nazis stood on many populist themes common to other socialist groups (and even to the Communists they so vehemently opposed) then and now. Indeed, the father of fascism, Mussolini, developed his political arguments whilst leading an Italian socialist party and working as a widely-published socialist author (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benito_Mussolini#Political_journalist_and_socialist). Whilst the Left likes to pretend there was and is a big sea of difference between themselves and the "hateful" Nazis the truth is they are a lot closer than they want to acknowledge.

        2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
          Holmes

          Re: Hmm

          gestapo were right wing as was the Nazis

          The Secret State Police (aka. Geheime Staatspolizei) was a typical Omnipotent Government outfit - no wingery here, just action - and these have to be eliminated with extreme prejudice, and I mean literally by cracking heads including those of the suave politicians that propose them, and in the early days of their making. Alas, this never happens, because "terrorists" are those that act or refuse to obey.

          As for the left-wing/right-wing thing (ultimately a sterile exercise as one has to look at the actions, real or proposed, through the smokescreen of politically vapid promised of "better times" instead of using tired old labels arranged on a 1-dimensional strip by the masters of thought control) we read in War Revisionism, Fascism, and the CIA:

          As you will recall from history, both Germany and Italy respectively became unified nations in the latter part of the 19th century. The ideas of Marx and communism constituted an international movement advocating violence and force to eliminate private property and capitalism. Another international movement was socialism which also attacked property and individualism yet many socialists stated that socialism could be established through democracy rather than force by expanding the number of eligible voters. After World War I, communism became a severe threat to take over Italy. Mussolini was a dedicated socialist and journalist who supported fascism as a national rather than an international movement to fight international communism and socialism. He advocated force and war as the method to combat the violence of communism. There was no racism connected to fascism in Italy. (....)

          One of the 20th century’s most astute intellectuals in political theory was Erik von Kuehenelt-Leddihn who agrees completely with me and Jonah Goldberg on placing fascism on the left. He covers this in his book entitled Leftism Revisited. In chapter four of that book entitled “Right and Left”, he points out that in Germany after World War I the National Socialist (or Nazis) were, seated on the far right of the Reichstag or Assembly because on the left side of the assembly were the internationalists who were the communists and the socialists. The conservatives and monarchists were national movements and were seated on the right. Since Nazism or fascism was a national movement in Germany rather than international, they were seated on the right with the conservatives. He explains this is how fascism became to be placed on the right rather than the left in political dialogue.

        3. DougS Silver badge

          "Socialism" in the name

          Irrespective of where they belong on the left/right scale, having "socialist" in the name does not mean they actually are socialist. Ever read 1984?

          1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
            FAIL

            Re: Doug S Re: "Socialism" in the name

            "....having "socialist" in the name does not mean they actually are socialist...." Ah, the old only-the-socialists-I-want-to-acknowledge-as-socialists-are-allowed-to-be-called-socialists mantra. And 1984 (and, more pointedly, Animal Farm) were written by Orwell after his firsthand experience of the "good socialists" massacring the "bad socialists" during the Spanish Civil War.

          2. AdamT

            Re: "Socialism" in the name

            similiar to a country having "democratic" in its name... (c.f. Yes Minister for those of you with long memories)

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hmm

          @Your alien overlord - fear me,

          You are the one that has fallen for the propaganda of the left with their greatest triumph of painting the National Socialtist party as a party of the far right.

          Maybe you should do a little reading http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/danielhannan/100260720/whenever-you-mention-fascisms-socialist-roots-left-wingers-become-incandescent-why/ or talk to those that lived through that period or just after.

    3. Graham Marsden

      @codejunky - Re: Hmm

      This is why http://politcalcompass.org/ is worth a look.

      It doesn't just rely on a "Left/ Right" scale, but also "Authoritarian/ Libertarian" (that's Libertarianism which supports rights and liberties, not the American version which means "I should be allowed to have as many guns as I like!")

      Both the East Germans and the Nazis score high on the Authoritarian scale despite whatever other factors they may differ on.

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: @codejunky - Hmm

        "not the American version which means "I should be allowed to have as many guns as I like!")

        I thought 'libertarian' in american meant 'anybody I blame for the country not being how 'I' think it should be", I've heard too many americans I would view as being liberal (my definition of 'liberal') throw it around like 'commie' several decades ago. Quite the Disturbing Vicar.

      2. Matt Bryant Silver badge

        Re: Marsbarbrain Re: @codejunky - Hmm

        ".....It doesn't just rely on a "Left/ Right" scale, but also "Authoritarian/ Libertarian"....." Meh, I prefer to remove the political blather and use the old AD&D lawful-chaotic-neutral-good-evil matrix, I find it surprisingly accurate (once you remove the true neutral, which I think is impossible given that everyone I've ever met has some form of bias). It's also quite good for explaining how some sane and normal foreign people do what we Westerners consider evil yet claim they are doing good, and vice versa.

        1. Graham Marsden

          @Matt Bryant - Re: Marsbarbrain @codejunky - Hmm

          > It's also quite good for explaining how some sane and normal foreign people do what we Westerners consider evil yet claim they are doing good

          And can it also explain how some allegedly sane people do blatantly evil acts that we DO NOT want them to do, whilst claming to "represent" us?

          1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Marsbarbrain Re: @Matt Bryant - Marsbarbrain @codejunky - Hmm

            ".....And can it also explain how some allegedly sane people do blatantly evil acts that we DO NOT want them to do, whilst claming to "represent" us?" Or maybe how you convinced yourself they were doing "evil"....?

        2. asdf Silver badge

          Re: Marsbarbrain @codejunky - Hmm

          As amusing a joke as it was (why I gave an upvote, edit: except on second reading realize you are being serious and regret the upvote) you seem to be showing your blind spot to good or evil being able to be decided clearly irrespective of the speaker or one's point of view.

  2. auburnman

    Helping the NSA be naughty at a station in 'Bad Aibling'? You couldn't make this stuff up.

    1. RISC OS

      Bad is german for spa....

      it's like saying their listening station is in lemington spa

      1. auburnman

        Yes but then the joke wouldn't work unless they had coincidentally ordered a ton of lemons.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "lemington spa"

        Where exactly is that? Any discerning Commentards residing in Royal Leamington Spa will wish to know.

  3. RISC OS

    correction...

    ...they "say" that they have halted it.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: RISC OS Re: correction...

      "...they "say" that they have halted it." Oh, I expect they will have stopped this bit of co-operation, but I also expect there are other routes by which the German data could still end up in the NSA's paws. After all, if the political request is carefully worded by Angela - "Stop sending that data directly to the NSA if they do not justify each and every request!" - does not exclude the action of "But keep sending the data if the unqualified request now comes via the GCHQ under the guise of European anti-terror policing." The BND obeys orders when it stops sending the data directly to the NSA, Angela can claim she has quashed the issue and plead ignorance of any circumvention, and the data keeps flowing.

      And, of course, the NSA only has to "justify" each request, so you may wonder how much actual legal examination is given if the NSA say sends a request as "Spy on this guy at Airbus because we think he's making spares for an intermediary in Venezuela who is then selling them to Iran to keep their Boeing 707 tankers airborne" - does the BND ask to see the actual proof of that or just go "Jawhol"?

  4. msknight Silver badge

    Well...

    UK gets caught colluding with NSA and nothing much happens.

    Germany gets caught and the outrage causes cease of collusion.

    Hmmmmm........ says more about us Brits than the Germans, I think...

    1. SolidSquid

      Re: Well...

      That our politicians care significantly less about our opinions?

    2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: msknight Re: Well...

      ".....says more about us Brits than the Germans....." All it says is the Brits have get-out clauses in their laws for secret squirrel work that the German's don't (yet) have. As you may have noted, the Fwench have recently revised their own spying laws to gain similar leeway (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-32587377), and I'm sure the German politicians would love to have got a similar fix in place before this little fuss was broached. And it's not just Europe, the Canucks are playing catchup with Australia (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-32619046, http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/new-law-will-give-australian-spy-agencies-the-power-to-watch-and-act-against-homegrown-terrorists/story-fni0cx12-1226964322921). I'm pretty sure that after the current fuss dies down there will be a discreet move to introduce similar freedoms for the BND.

    3. Marketing Hack Silver badge

      Re: Well...

      @ msknight

      You're assuming that cooperation between the German government and the NSA has ACTUALLY stopped, vs. stopping for a cosmetic period to demonstrate faux outrage before starting up again. Or vs. stopping until Germany's security services start shrieking that they have lost visibility to key national security feeds, and can we please restart things with the NSA. Or vs. Germany wanting all this economic espionage continued for their own export-lead economic reasons, and quietly re-establishing the relationship with the NSA in return for more access to German intel....

    4. regadpellagru

      Re: Well...

      "UK gets caught colluding with NSA and nothing much happens.

      Germany gets caught and the outrage causes cease of collusion.

      Hmmmmm........ says more about us Brits than the Germans, I think..."

      Well, to be honest, GCHQ has long said to be a subsidary of NSA. It has been largely confirmed by Snowden documents also.

      So no-one should be surprised by the fact GCHQ is running hand in hand with NSA.

      German BND, at contrary, is another thing. Never was it allegated they were a sub of NSA ...

      Quite a shame on them, actually ...

  5. Captain Hogwash Silver badge
    Megaphone

    Re: "Surveillance is a sensitive issue in Germany"

    It should be everywhere.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: "Surveillance is a sensitive issue in Germany"

      Disappointed.

      I'd have liked to think Germany would be the last to 'forget' Warnings from history, having lived first hand under regimes that operated with impunity.

      You can maybe understand the arrogant 'it'll never happen here' attitudes of the ex-allied nations, still feeling the warm afterglow of victory and spent indignation.

      Nope, I give it another 20 years, tops, before the free nations are no longer recognisable to those who fought for freedom last century.

    2. Tom Maddox Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: "Surveillance is a sensitive issue in Germany"

      Surveillance pretty much is everywhere these days.

      Or is that not what you meant?

      1. Captain Hogwash Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: "Or is that not what you meant?"

        English grammar wasn't taught in comprehensive schools during the late seventies and early eighties. You know damn well what I meant.

  6. Little Mouse
    Headmaster

    Commando Comics

    I only know two German phrases - Both would seem appropriate in light of this story.

    "Gott in Himmel!" & "Aieeeeee!"

    1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

      Re: Commando Comics

      Too bad, because Germans have a very decent selection of strong words in the vocabulary, should the need arise. But we shall not utter these here.

      1. Richard Taylor 2 Silver badge

        Re: Commando Comics

        The German language allows the construction of some lovely descriptions. All the more reason to be bilingual - you can learn a lot.

      2. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

        Re: Commando Comics

        Plus so many other great words, like schadenfreude. German even has a word for "The depression felt when comparing the world as it should be to how it currently is", can't remember how to spell it though...

        1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

          Re: Commando Comics

          Ah, that would be Weltschmerz. English phrase "weary of the world" is quite close to it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Commando Comics

      I thought "Aieeeeee!" was Japanese.

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: Commando Comics

        "Aieeeeee!" is universal

        Generally used when surprised by extreme hentai tentacle manga or anime.

  7. Yag
    Headmaster

    including the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) and Eurocopter.

    Eurocopter (now renamed as Airbus Helicopter) is a subdivision of EADS (Airbus Group)

  8. knarf

    Hell why have your own Secret Police

    When the US will do it for free.

    1. Rainer

      Re: Hell why have your own Secret Police

      It's not really free - it comes at a great price :-(

  9. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Industrial espionage

    There is still no evidence that the NSA are spying on German car companies and leaking data to their competitors though.

    1. Dan Paul

      Re: Industrial espionage

      They don't have to spy when they can just hire the employees.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Industrial espionage

        The mistake was hiring East German car workers - and putting them in the design dept.

    2. regadpellagru

      Re: Industrial espionage

      "There is still no evidence that the NSA are spying on German car companies and leaking data to their competitors though."

      Read NSA's charter and come back here when you have a clue.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: egadpellagru Re: Industrial espionage

        "Read NSA's charter and come back here when you have a clue." Oh dear, someone missed the joke! The implication is that the NSA can't be spying on the German automotive industry due to the fact Yank cars are so poor in comparison. Obviously, looking at Hersheys, the European chocolate industry is also safe!

        1. Britt

          Re: egadpellagru Industrial espionage

          Sadly some people can't process a joke.

  10. J J Carter Silver badge
    Stop

    For you Yankee, the co-operations are overz!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Merkel is a money girl. I don't think there is much commitment to democracy and even though Germany is a founder of the EU it really doesn't give a hoot about the lives of people outside of Germany. There has been no effort whatsoever to ensure that low income groups in Greece even have basic food. They simply don't care.

    1. Jimmy2Cows
      WTF?

      Umm how's that relevant to Germany's apparent refusal to share intelligence with the NSA?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Duh

    Like every country doesn't spy on everyone else. What a world of naïve sheeple.

  13. Maty

    B'ND's listening station in Bad Aibling...'

    Bad, Aibling! Bad!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Welcome to the Future

    Welcome to the future.

    The NSA/ USA has pretty much told everyone they're never going to stop spying.

    So , it's time to divest ourselves from all USA electronics.

    Orange Juice.

    That's just about all that is safe to buy from the usa.

    Everything else, you're going to find your secret toy you've been spending years working on already copyrighted in the USA in the morning papers.

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