Skip to comments.Leakers, privacy activists find new home in Berlin
Posted on 11/27/2013 10:39:18 PM PST by cunning_fish
BERLIN During the Cold War, Berlin was one of the most spy-ridden cities in the world. Now its the place where people go to escape government surveillance.
An international cadre of privacy advocates is settling in Germanys once-divided capital, saying they feel safer here than they do in the United States or Britain, where authorities have vowed to prosecute leakers of official secrets.
Documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras, who was one of former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowdens main conduits of leaked data, lives here now. So does Jacob Appelbaum, a former spokesman for WikiLeaks. They were joined this month by Sarah Harrison, a top WikiLeaks activist who stayed at Snowdens side for months in Moscow and now says she fears being harassed by the government if she returns to her native Britain.
In Berlin, they have settled in a counterculture paradise, home to hackers clubs, cheap rent and a fiercely supportive local population that in 2011 gave more than 10 percent of the seats in its regional parliament to the Pirate Party, a political organization that seeks to preserve Internet and information freedoms.
It is an ironic twist for a sometimes-bleak city that was once better known as a backdrop to John le Carré novels. The American listening post atop Teufelsberg hill, once the most important U.S. vantage point from West Berlin into Iron Curtain communications, now stands abandoned, fabric from its torn radar domes flapping in the wind. The spy swaps that once made Glienicke Bridge world-famous have receded into memory.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
Having lived in Germany...off and on...for twenty years....I can note some observations of the Pirate Party.
First, it’s a one-theme political party. Beyond that...they can’t establish any other topics that normal people would be concerned about. Examples: the economy, tax reform, pensions, infrastructure, foreigners in the country, civil code, and industrial growth.
Second, the Pirate leadership has never sent a five-star character up for public debate status on the Sunday night political talk show program. Germans tend to look for argument and debate, to demonstrate the leadership’s capability. They’ve never done much on this. When people have gone to ‘talk’....the themes are always limited.
Third, German journalists tend to see the Pirates as a anti-capitalist crowd...although mostly sitting and waiting for their day to surge forward and start on a anti-capitalist rant.
It’s a political party that will not ever gain more than three percent in the national elections....unless they come up with daring and dashing character as the leader.
As for Berlin being the playground for these new arrivals? The city is becoming start-up city for technology-based companies in Europe. If you had some great knowledge base and wanted to jump into something that might turn into Goggle in a decade....Berlin is the place you need to be.
At some point, the cost of living in Berlin will slide upward, and people will question the idea of staying in the city. That’s a decade away though. Meanwhile, just hang on and enjoy the ride.
I notice many times I ping my ISP out of East and West Germany on my TorGuard. Sometimes from Russia, but mostly from Germany. I run Stealth TorGuard, so it changes IP every hour or so looking for the most “unguarded” static IP. Mostly, it comes from Germany though.
Ping for post-turkey reading.