The NSA’s Collaboration with “Third Parties” (also “gang stalking”)

Latest in the Snowden news is a series of releases on the NSA’s foreign partnerships, including the disclosure that (as of Snowden’s access) there were up to 13 foreign sites providing quasi-official access to “high capacity international fiber transiting major congestion points around the world.” [1]

The biggest story, particularly in Germany, is the fairly massive disclosure of 200+ Snowden documents by Der Spiegel, which I started covering yesterday and for which there is now an English language article summarizing the situation. [2]

In this article is a minor bombshell — what may be the first confirmed “NSA leaks” from a non-Snowden source, in the form of the “Top Secret” 2002 Memorandum of Agreement on the operations at the NSA’s former listening post in Bad Aibling. (I may be wrong on this, but I can’t be bothered to look it up.)

The article also notes something odd. Contained in the documents are a list of “do not spy” websites, which were particularly singled out as entities which the NSA should not watch as they were definitely German and not terrorist. Among them are major firms like DHL and Deutsche Bank, but also some odd ducks, like —

http://www.feuerwehr-ingolstadt.org/
http://orgelbau.com/

While Robert Anton Wilson fans will perk up at the Ingolstadt reference, it’s wholly unclear why a site dedicated to the construction of church organs was added to the “white list.”

Notably the article doesn’t contain any clear “smoking guns,” even if it asks some very pointed questions. (It cites constitutional experts explaining that “basic constitutional rights such as the privacy of correspondence, post and telecommunications apply to Germans abroad and to foreigners in Germany. That would mean that surveillance performed by the BND and NSA is constitutionally unacceptable.”)

However the overall picture it paints is one of very close and eager cooperation between German intelligence and the NSA. To quote the article, “Given this close partnership, BND statements claiming they knew little about the programs and methods used by the NSA are, at minimum, startling.”

This partnership dates to at least 1962 [3] and possibly earlier, considering that Germany’s foreign intelligence agency (the BND) was more or less architected by… drumroll please… the CIA. (The “building materials” were supplied by the Organization Gehlen, remnants of Nazi intelligence.)

Not in the Spiegel article but noted by another, German-language commentator is that this partnership included the German side arranging to get German privacy law changed, in order to allow more data to flow towards the NSA. [4]

Last, something which caught my attention in passing. The first comment [5] in the First Look story is very strange, certainly paranoiac and describes an alleged ring of Stasi agents using classic ‘zersetzung’ techniques against some guy in California.

While it goes without saying that even at its height the Stasi’s foreign intelligence division did not have this kind of manpower, nor would they have risked exposure in this manner, the “gang stalking” phenomena is something that’s extremely puzzling and probably worth further study.

(For the record, I’m skeptical both that it’s a matter of ordinary mental illness — as it appears to the outside observer — or that there is an infrastructure of tens- to hundreds of thousands of people trained in this sort of thing, as it appears to the victim.)

[1]
https://firstlook.org/theintercept/article/2014/06/18/nsa-surveillance-secret-cable-partners-revealed-rampart-a/#comment-48882

[2] http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/the-german-bnd-and-american-nsa-cooperate-more-closely-than-thought-a-975445.html

[3]
http://www.spiegel.de/media/media-34000.pdf

[4]
http://www.zeit.de/digital/datenschutz/2014-06/nsa-dokumente-kooperation-bnd-verfassungsschutz

[5]
https://firstlook.org/theintercept/article/2014/06/18/nsa-surveillance-secret-cable-partners-revealed-rampart-a/#comment-48882

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