Tag Archives | Germany

German Pussy Riot Copycats Face Jail For Church Protest

The two-year prison sentences handed down to Pussy Riot supposedly revealed how oppressive and backwards Putin’s Russia is, in contrast to our Western democracies. But now three colorfully ski-masked Germans who tried to stir a commotion at the historic Cologne Cathedral earlier this week are staring at the possibility of three years behind bars. Any guesses on what would happen to a U.S. Pussy Riot, assuming some sort of terrorism charges would be thrown at them?

Continue Reading

Neo-Nazi Flash Mobs A Trend In Germany

Over the last few years, flash mobs have gradually shifted from annoying to terrifying. Via CNN:

A German neo-Nazi group has been harnessing 21st century technology to stage terrifying flash-mob protests that echo the fascist torch rallies of the 1930s.

In a demonstration on May 1st in Bauzen, Germany hundreds of black-clad figures with white masks suddenly converged in a street carrying torches and signs with extreme nationalist slogans. The group uses an outdated word – ‘Volkstod’ – on their signs, the newspaper noted, intentionally harking back to the days of the national socialism. It’s a turn of phrase that neo-Nazis use to describe what they perceive as the degredation of the German race taking place under democratic government.

A Neo-Nazi group in the state of Brandenburg called ‘Spreelichter’ first came up with the idea of organizing flash mob protests in 2009, according to Die Zeit.

Continue Reading

Karl Marx-Themed Mastercards Are A Hit In Germany

The ultimate indignity for the great critiquer of capitalism? Or a subtle expression of mass dissatisfaction with the current financial paradigm? Via Reuters:

Two decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, some eastern Germans are once again carrying round images of Karl Marx – if only in their pockets. More than a third of customers at Sparkasse bank in Chemnitz opted for the picture of a bronze bust of the bearded 19th century German-born philosopher, bank spokesman Roger Wirtz said. Marx’s stern face is depicted gazing towards the logo of Mastercard.

The east has witnessed a wave of nostalgia in recent years for aspects of the old East Germany, or DDR, where citizens had few freedoms but were guaranteed jobs and social welfare. The trend is not limited to the region. A 2008 survey found 52 percent of eastern Germans believed the free market economy was “unsuitable” and 43 percent said they wanted socialism back.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Germany Sets New Solar Record By Meeting Nearly Half of Country’s Weekend Power Demand

Photo: Túrelio (CC)

Photo: Túrelio (CC)

This story from inhabitat has the sustainable energy movement incredibly excited, and rightly so methinks:

Germany fed a whopping 22 gigawatts of solar power per hour into the national grid last weekend, setting a new record by meeting nearly half of the country’s weekend power demand.

After the Fukushima disaster, Japan opted to shut down all of its nuclear power stations and Germany followed suit after considerable public pressure. This seems to have paved the way for greater investment in solar energy projects. The Renewable Energy Industry (IWR) in Muenster announced that Saturday’s solar energy generation met nearly 50 percent of the nation’s midday electricity needs AND was equal to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity! …

By meeting a third of its electricity needs on a work day and nearly half on Saturday when factories and offices were closed, Germany’s solar power industry has broken all previous records.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Authorities Define “Violence” As Any Restriction Of Capital Flows

6269542564_1930ee174e_nCritical Legal Thinking on the German government response to Occupy Frankfurt — peaceful protest is now defined as “violent” if the target is financial institutions:

As debate spilled over into a shouting match in the Hessian State Parliament concerning the effective ban of Blockupy protests this 16-19 May in Frankfurt am Main, the administrative decision that effected this ban has come to light. The key finding being that:

The blockade action cannot be assessed as peaceful. To make blockades and hinder traffic with the goal of closing down the entire financial district...has to be defined as violence. The European Central Bank ‘must be functional, especially in times of financial crisis around the clock’. This includes things like ‘the operation of large-value payment system TARGET2′.

So in effect, a civil disobedience directed against the Eurozone’s financial authorities cannot take place because the obligation of the Frankfurt government to support the operation of the Euro-system overrides the right of European protesters to assemble and demonstrate against that very operation.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Did Germany Launch A Manned Rocket Into Space In 1933?

medium2Could there be any truth to tales of early space travel success in 1930s Germany? Just imagine how different the World War II outcome could have been had it involved Astro-Nazis. Via io9:

On October 29, 1933, the London Sunday Referee published a report from Rugen, an island in the Baltic Sea, just off the coast of Germany. Someone named Otto Fischer had flown inside a 24-foot steel rocket, to an altitude of six miles. Were the Germans really testing out a rocket that could carry people, nearly three decades before Yuri Gagarin?

Reports said that Otto was the brother of the rocket’s designer, Bruno Fischer. The flight had been made in total secrecy because of a fatal attempt at a launch the previous year, combined with the fact that the flight had been made under the auspices of the Reichswehr, the German War Ministry.

“It was a tremendous sensation,” Fischer reported.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

How Germany’s Pirate Party is Hacking Politics (With Liquid Feedback)

Piraten ParteiWould be great if this caught on in the United States. As David Meyer writes on GigaOM:

In the furores over SOPA, CISPA and similar bills, many have suggested that politicians just don’t get technology. That’s not an accusation that can be leveled at the Pirate movement, which is gaining traction in Europe at impressive speed.

The Pirates saw their first major electoral success in the European elections of 2009, when voters in the movement’s birthplace of Sweden returned a Pirate to the European Parliament. The Swedes didn’t vote the Pirates into their own legislature, mind you, but now big wins are coming in Germany, the continent’s largest economy and the ideological home of the hacker movement.

Why Germany? Because that’s what the Pirates are trying to do: hack politics, in the sense of making-and-tweaking-stuff sense, rather than destroying it. The movement may have begun with a narrow focus on intellectual property, but it has developed into an attempt to make the political process transparent — and of course better suited to the digital age.

Continue Reading

Racial Profiling is Legal in Germany

PolizeiVia the Local:

The young black German whose refusal to show police his ID led to a court ruling that cops could use skin colour as a criteria for spot-checks, says he will fight the case all the way.

Speaking to The Local, the 25-year-old student said he was disappointed by the verdict which has provoked a storm of outrage. One human rights lawyer called for the judge to be dismissed, while his own lawyer says he will take the case to the Constitutional Court if necessary.

“I don’t want to believe it — that my country now supports this, it is terrible,” the student said.

“The police have been told they can do this — no-one is thinking of the person getting hurt. I just wish every kind of racism would stop; it is horrid how people are treated by those who think they are lesser.” The student, who asked not to be identified, said he often took the train from Kassel, where he studies, to visit family in Frankfurt.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

The Terrible Truth About Germany

Lt. Col. Max Klaar (left)  Bundeswehr (retired) embraces Merrit P. Drucker, retired US army major at a ceremony in Washington marking Drucker's apology for atrocities against German prisoners in US camps. Photo: Monica Frim.

Lt. Col. Max Klaar (left) Bundeswehr (retired) embraces Merrit P. Drucker, retired US Army major at a ceremony in Washington. Photo: Monica Frim.

World War Two stopped in 1945, but it did not end.

The death rate among soldiers and civilians in Germany increased. No peace treaty was signed between Germany and its former opponents. And according to many Germans, there is still no real peace either, because the country is occupied and lacks a treaty.

It is identified by the United Nations as a “Hostile State;” the propaganda which helped to start the war still goes on against Germany; the conquerors have never been called to account for the atrocities they inflicted on their German prisoners of war, or for the deaths by forced starvation of millions of German civilians. Thuggish fascists still threaten freedom of speech. Thousands of political prisoners have been sentenced to jail in Germany for expressing opinions tolerated among the conquerors.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

German Government Spyware Transforms Citizen’s Computers Into ‘Big Brother’-Type Surveillance Devices

CCCDiscovered by the Chaos Computer Club, reports GlobalPost:

The use of so-called “Trojan horse” software by authorities in a number of German states came to light after the Computer Chaos Club, a hacker group, published details of their examination of spyware planted on a laptop in Bavaria.

It found that the software — developed by a private company called DigiTask for the Bavarian police — was capable of much more than just monitoring internet phone calls. It could take screenshots, remotely add files and control a computer’s microphone or webcam to monitor the person’s home. However, the authorities insist that they did not deploy these functions. Investigations are ongoing.

Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant with British computer security firm Sophos, which also analyzed the software, said that the spyware could “automatically update itself over the internet, so new functionality can be added. It can be used to install new software onto the computer, so people could actually alter the contents of a suspect’s hard drive.”

The scandal has led politicians and security experts to look at whether the country’s already stringent privacy laws need firming up.

Read the rest

Continue Reading