Secret Swagger Or Bausünde?

I know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that but I think I’ll still go with Bausünde here.


Berlin’s post-war high rises were built with practicality, not beauty, in mind. The hulking buildings were designed to house as many families as possible, and though they were once desirable, today they aren’t generally considered great places to live. But photographer Malte Brandenburg casts them in a new light with his series Stacked

The photographer started the project late last year, and shot over a dozen high rises throughout Berlin. He lives in Copenhagen and scouts locations whenever he visits Berlin, seeking out buildings set against an uncluttered skyline. Brandenburg shoots from nearby buildings, parking garages, and other elevated spots so he can capture the towers as directly as possible, using a telephoto lens to help correct the perspective. “I would ring the doorbells of the tower buildings across the street and ask the people to let me in so I could shoot from the stairways,” he says.

German Of The Day: RIAS

That stands for Rundfunk im amerikanischen Sektor and means radio (or broadcasting) in the American Sector – of a place they used to call “West Berlin.”

Now Father Time has managed to take care of something that the East German jamming stations were never able to do back then in the good old bad old days: Shut this broadcasting tower down. With explosives, in this case.

Von Britz aus ging 1946 der Rundfunk im Amerikanischen Sektor (Rias) auf Sendung. Später entstand dort Europas damals leistungsstärkster Mittelwellensender, mit dem jahrelang auch die Störsender aus Ost-Berlin überwunden werden mussten. Heute gilt die Übertragung per Mittelwelle als veraltet.

Forget The Ploughshares

We’re going to turn our old Cold War military bases into wildlife preserves.


The German government has announced plans to convert 62 disused military bases just west of the Iron Curtain into nature reserves for eagles, woodpeckers, bats, and beetles (personally, I wouldn’t trust a woodpecker as far as I could throw one).

Jeepers. It’s not like Germany has a need for a military presence anymore or anything.

We are fortunate that we can now give these places back to nature,” says German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks. Whatever that is. Nature, I mean.

Practice Your German Tonight

And your Cold War attitudes from the 80s, while you’re at it. Looks like we might be needing them again.

Deutschland 83

“Deutschland 83” premieres 11 p.m. Wednesday on SundanceTV.

SundanceTV’s “Deutschland 83” is the first German-language series ever broadcast on a U.S. network. The eight-part fictional spy thriller is set in 1983, when the then-split Germany was the hot spot for escalating nuclear tensions between NATO and the Soviet Union.

Vladimir Putin: “More than 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles able to overcome even the most technically advanced anti-missile defense systems will be added to the make-up of the nuclear arsenal this year.”

Just Out Of Cold War Storage

Demothball: to remove (naval or military equipment) from storage or reserve, usually for active duty; reactivate.

Leopard 2

Germany plans to bring 100 mothballed tanks back into service in what is widely seen as a response to rising tensions with Russia over Ukraine.

Die im Zuge der Neuausrichtung der Bundeswehr festgelegte Obergrenze von 225 Kampfpanzern Leopard 2 soll auf 320 erhöht werden.

Stop Hurting Russia’s Feelings Already

Who would have expected that? The German Left Party itself (they used to be called the PDS or Partei der Stasi) has expressed grave concern over the EU’s aggressive stance toward the Soviet Union, I mean Vlad Putin’s democratic Russia.


Rosa Luxemburg, I mean Sahra Wagenknecht herself has sharply critisized European crisis management with regard to the Ukraine conflict, saying it consisted of “vile Russia bashing right out of the Cold War” and that the West is pursuing a vicious anti-Russian policy of exclusion and unniceness and rottenness and that everybody, those damned faschist Ukrainians included, should finally just leave our commrades, I mean Russian partners alone already.

May Day, May Day… Earth to Wagenknecht. Earth to Wagenknecht. Can you read me?

Das ist übles Russland-Bashing aus Kalter-Krieg-Zeiten.

Goethe OK, But The EU ITSELF?

As if NSA surveillance, Google Street View (and Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), scary drone technology, unbridled imperialism, world domination and McDonald’s were not enough already, a well-intended leak has shown that American diplomats are now even using bad four-letter words when referring to the EU and other sacrosant international-like institutions, too.


And the Chancellor HERSELF is really pissed off about this one this time. Eavesdropping on her cell phone is one thing, but using the F-word is “absolutely unacceptable.”

Of course, how German officials were even able to find out about the story is a bit of a mystery to me. The four-letter word in question is not allowed through their porno censorship system.

U.S. officials blamed Moscow for the Internet leak of recordings of Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and the U.S. ambassador in Kiev discussing a possible future government for Ukraine, where Washington and Brussels back anti-Kremlin demonstrators.

PS: Talk about stealing candy from a baby. Thieves had no problem breaking into a Bundeswehr barracks in Seedorf (no, it’s not in Afghanistan) and stealing 28,000 rounds of ammunition.


From Russia With Love?

I think it’s more like Goldfinger.


Or maybe Live and Let Die?

Khodorkovsky will make a statement to the media from Berlin later on Sunday.

Chodorkowski verlässt Russland – wie viele Milliarden Dollar vor ihm (Khodorkovsky leaves Russia, like the many billions of dollars before him)

PS: I think it’s really Edward Snowden in one of those Mission Impossible mask thingies.

Some Things Never Change

And this is supposed to be news? “Berlin is the European capital for secret agents.”


Or how about this one: “Most of the foreign agents active in Berlin enjoy diplomatic status and can therefore not be collared by German law enforcement authorities.”

Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like I’m living in Wunderland sometimes. In “the old days” everybody knew the deal and nobody ever even raised an eyebrow (“früher war alles besser“). Now everybody’s got hurt feelings all the time. I do wish someone would finally call their parents and have this all explained to them.

“Die meisten ausländischen Agenten, die in Berlin tätig sind, verfügen über einen Diplomatenstatus und sind damit für die deutschen Strafverfolgungsbehörden nicht fassbar.”

With A Little Help From My Friends

To keep Willy Brandt as Chancellor, the GDR was prepared to bribe members of German Parliament. Brandt’s intimate friend Egon Bahr (both SPD) negotiated with a GDR mediator in 1972 about payoffs for CDU and CSU parliamentarians. This has emerged in Stasi documents available to Der Spiegel. Brandt should thereby be kept in office. Bahr was State Secretary of the Chancellery at that time.


And this is completely unrelated, of course, but for you history buffs out there: There was a very controversial Misstrauensvotum (vote of no confidence) in German Parliament back in 1972 which Willy Brandt won – with two decisive votes mysteriously missing for the conservative opposition that had proposed it.

“Das muss absolut verschwiegen bleiben.”