“Alarming… But Not Surprising”

Massive cyber attacks affect the German Bundestag and other government agencies on a regular basis here. Nobody cares. Just have the press officer read his prepared statement about how nothing important was stolen and ab ins Wochenende (off to the weekend)!

hackers

Personal data and documents from hundreds of German politicians and public figures have been published online, in what appears one of the most far-reaching cyber attacks in a country that has become a target of choice for hackers.

It was unclear if the breach, which triggered an emergency meeting of the national cyber defense agency, was the result of a hack or a leak, an Interior Ministry spokesman said.

Chancellor Angela Merkel was affected, but an initial analysis showed no sensitive material from her office was released, said a government spokeswoman.

If the data release does stem from a hack, it would be the latest in a number of hi-tech assaults on political institutions and key individuals in Germany.

Last year, lawmakers said a powerful cyber attack breached the foreign ministry’s computer network.

“Whoever is responsible, wants to intimidate politicians. That will not succeed.”

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The Bundeswehr Is Kaputt So Let’s Put It In Charge

Makes sense. Sort of.

Bundeswehr

As of Jan. 1, Germany is on the hook to provide 5,000 soldiers for NATO’s so-called Very High Readiness Joint Task Force, or VJTF. The formation must be ready to fight wherever it is needed within 48 to 72 hours. Partner nations for this year’s rotation include the Netherlands, Norway, France, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Latvia and Lithuania, bringing the total package to around 8,000.

A key rationale for the quick-reaction force is to display to Moscow the ability to ferry combat power across Europe rapidly at a time when speed is believed to be a Russian advantage. Governments here are on edge from the 2014 Russian invasion of Ukraine’s Crimea, and more recently from a naval standoff between the two countries in the Sea of Asov. Both incidents fit into a pattern of Russia steering clear of outright war while trying to shake up the post-Soviet order around its borders, according to issue experts…

The Bundeswehr, plagued by equipment shortfalls, management problems, or both – depending on who is asked, has had to dig deep to assemble the needed equipment for the task force lead. In the end, funneling supplies from across the force to the tip of the spear appears to have worked, but it has depleted the readiness of many units, said Christian Mölling, an analyst with the Berlin-based German Council on Foreign Relations, DGAP.

“It means the rest of the Bundeswehr is no longer the kind of deterrent it is meant to be.”

Mutti Wants More Multi

You must take on more responsibility in the coming year, my fellow Germans. For all of the mistakes I have made in the past, I mean.

Merkel

And these have been multiple mistakes, although we never openly discuss them here. No one knows why that is but that’s what we Germans do. Or don’t do. Anyway, that is why, for 2019, I expect you to multiply your efforts in becoming more multicultural, multireligious, multinational, multilingual and multidisciplined in your efforts to clean up the multifarious mess that my bat shit crazy good intentions have brought raining down upon this country.

I, for my part, have already contributed a great deal to the multi-movement by making Germany a much more multiparty place to live (see AfD). At the expense of my own party, I know, but still. And in the coming year I will concentrate much more on multilateralism. Multilateralism is very important on the international stage for us because, as you know, we Germans are notoriously risk-averse and never do anything on our own internationally unless it has to do with multiplying our profits. Take defense, for example. Please. Multilateralism allows us to shirk our international responsibilities while simultaneously allowing us to vilify those who are actually defending us. It’s a win-win situation for all. For all Germans everywhere. But that’s just one small example. It’s time to press on. The Sekt corks are already popping. 2019 is calling.

Stay multivated, my fellow Germans, and have a multiplicitous New Year!

“In our own interest, we must take on more responsibility.”

Harsh Reality Has A Way Of Ruining Dreamworld Fantasies

Today we see the end of the West German Dream, of an egalitarian “social market economy” with “prosperity for all,” added to the death of the East German Dream of a socialist society leaving capitalism’s insecurities, crises, and class divisions behind.

Merkel

When Angela Merkel became chancellor in 2005, the two big “Volksparteien” (the mass “catch-all” parties, the Christian Democratic CDU/CSU and the Social Democratic SPD), together still commanded 69.4 percent of the vote. Yet during her chancellorship, these parties have been forced to govern together in three ever-shrinking grand coalitions. Today, a year after federal elections saw a far-right party enter parliament for the first time since 1952, these two forces no longer represent a majority of Germans. The polls give them a combined tally of just 42 percent.

But Then Who’s Going To Protect Us?

German ISAF (I Saw Americans Fighting) are already packing their bags in Afghanistan.

ISAF

President Donald Trump’s mooted decision to pull half the US troops out of Afghanistan could mean that the German military follows suit, according to a former head of the Bundeswehr.

“If the United States reduces itself to a small contingent in Afghanistan there’s no reason for us to continue the mission anymore,” retired General Harald Kujat, inspector general of the German military between 2000 and 2002, told the Tagesspiegel newspaper on Thursday.

He added that it was “out of the question” to maintain a military presence in Afghanistan if the protection and support of German troops could not be guaranteed, though he said he expected other NATO members, such as the UK, to increase their contribution to make up for any US withdrawal.

I mean, what on earth do the Americans expect the German army to do? Protect themselves? Like, with firearms or something?

Bundeswehr To Become More International

Because it can’t find enough Germans willing to serve.

Bundeswehr

Germany’s armed forces appeared ready to break with its German nationality prerequisite for fixed-term and professional soldiers Thursday by suggesting that other EU citizens could help fill its thinned ranks.

This makes sense. At least for Germany it does. Why have the army protecting your so-called “nation” (already an outdated notion in Europe) made up solely of those citizens born and raised here when you could recruit folks from other countries who have even weaker emotional ties to Germany than the Germans do? And why just limit it to European citizens? I’m thinking you could have the Russians, the Chinese and everybody else on God’s green acre protecting you from the Russians, the Chinese and everybody else on God’s green acre and you wouldn’t even have to fly in interpeters once the surrender negotiations begin.

Aus einem vertraulichen Ministeriumskonzept geht hervor, dass Ministerin Ursula von der Leyen vor allem Polen, Italiener und Rumänen für ihre Truppe anwerben will.

German Of The Day: Pessimistisch

That means pessimistic. As in pessimism. German pessimism, to be exact.

Optimism

German optimism is already pretty pessimistic so you can imagine what German pessimism must be like. And the Germans going through another pessimistic pessimism phase again these days.

A new survey indicates that a mere 17 percent of the population see the coming year with any kind of confidence or optimism. This is the largest drop in confidence in five years, the polling institute Ipsos says, and the turning point was the Flüchtlingsdebatte (refugee debate) that began in 2015.

2015 hatte die Flüchtlingsdebatte zu einem Stimmungseinbruch geführt. Die Sorgen im Hinblick auf die Integration der Zuwanderer sind noch immer da: 50 Prozent der Befragten befürchten, dass eine wachsende Fremdenfeindlichkeit den sozialen Frieden gefährdet. Das sind vier Prozentpunkte mehr als vor einem Jahr.

The Money Was Real, Though

Fake news reporters may fake their news like there’s no tomorrow but they rarely want anything to do with fake money.

Fake

Der Spiegel said Sunday it would file a criminal complaint against a disgraced reporter after it emerged he may have embezzled donations intended for Syrian street children.

Claas Relotius, 33, resigned this month after admitting to making up stories and inventing protagonists in more than a dozen articles in the magazine’s print and online editions.

Spiegel said it now had information that Relotius allegedly launched a campaign for readers to give money to help subjects of an article he wrote but that the bank details he gave directed the funds to his own account.

Spiegel said concerned readers had in recent days reported Relotius’ call for donations purportedly for orphaned Syrian children living on the streets of Turkey.

“Der Spiegel will give all the information it collects to public prosecutors as part of a criminal complaint.”

PS: And on that happy note, Merry Christmas!

Santa

Institutional Bias?

At Der Spiegel? At CNN? And systematically practiced by practically everybody else out there working in the media’s “mediation” machine?

CNN

No way. Or… Way? Wow. Who would have thought that possible?

The US government has waded into the scandal of the German journalist for Der Spiegel magazine who faked stories on a grand scale over years, calling it proof of “institutional bias” in the media against America.

In a scathing letter to the magazine’s editors, Richard Grenell, US ambassador to Germany, claims the journalism of Claas Relotius, who resigned from the German news magazine last week, was symptomatic of anti-American bias across the mainstream media. “It is clear that we were the victims of a campaign of institutional bias,” Grenell wrote to Der Spiegel, in a letter also seen by the daily newspaper Bild. He said he was aghast at the way “anti-American coverage” had been facilitated by the magazine.

“We are aware that the Relotius case makes the fight against fake news that much more difficult. For everyone. For for other media outlets that are on our side and for citizens and politicians who are interested in an accurate portrayal of reality.”

German Fake News Scandal Reaches Fergus Falls, Minnesota

“Reality is in the business of killing off fiction.”

Fake News

“In 7,300 words he really only got our town’s population and average annual temperature correct, and a few other basic things, like the names of businesses and public figures, things that a child could figure out in a Google search. The rest is uninhibited fiction (even as sloppy as citing an incorrect figure of citywide 70.4% electoral support for Trump, when the actual number was 62.6%), which begs the question of why Der Spiegel even invested in Relotius’ three week trip to the U.S., whether they should demand their money back from him, and what kind of institutional breakdown led to the supposedly world-class Der Spiegel fact-checking team completely dropping the ball on this one.”