Echelon, Frenchelon, the Technische Aufklärung, etc.



A close inspection of the material in these Wikipedia articles will reveal that not only do "Gentlemen read others' mail" but they do it in international cooperative groups and often for decades at a time, many decades.

"The UK/USA intelligence community was assessed by the European Parliament (EP) in 2000 to include the signals intelligence agencies of each of these member states:
the Government Communications Headquarters of the United Kingdom,
the National Security Agency of the United States,
the Communications Security Establishment of Canada,
the Defence Signals Directorate of Australia,
the Government Communications Security Bureau of New Zealand, and
the National SIGINT Organisation (NSO) of The Netherlands.
The EP report concluded that it seemed likely that ECHELON is a method of sorting captured signal traffic, rather than a comprehensive analysis too."  Wiki on "Echelon"


Note that all these governments are full participants in Echelon."  No one coerced them into cooperation.  They joined this SIGINT collection alliance because they believed that to do so would be advantageous to their country.  Note the presence of the Netherlands in this group.

The "Technische Aufklarung"  (German SIGINT) is subordinated directly to Chancellor Angela Merkel's office.  It is reported that signal intercept operations by this branch of the BND has increased markedly since she has been in office.

"Frenchelon," the gallic equivalent of "Echelon" is particuarly large and robust.

In the case of the US/UK relationship the two services are so closely linked that might as well be one.

There is no possibility – zero -none, that Barack Obama, David Cameron, Hollande and Merkel did not know of the collection activities of their countries' services.

IMO all this noise is symptomatic of the process of divorce now underway between the US and Europe.   If the hypocrisy emerging from European capitals continues, the cooperation should end.  pl,_nations_and_industries#Spain


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78 Responses to Echelon, Frenchelon, the Technische Aufklärung, etc.

  1. If you want a real snapshot about the NSA scandal over the past few months but also much more, watch this :
    (this video was extracted from Very interesting results on this topic: How the NSA has secretly made the internet less secure, how the NSA spies on every US citizens, what’s its impact on global financial transactions, what were its relations with foreign countries.

  2. amspirnational says:
    Then you disagree with Cole re Obama possibly in the dark.
    No matter, the US should really divorce (liberate) Europe. No bases. No Nato. If we want an empire, we should have gone southward and kept the Monroe Doctrine intact.

  3. mbrenner says:

    European leaders may be hypocrites – at least to some degree. I have written about them in today’s Huffington Post:
    That still leaves a few troubling questions:
    1. Do their citizens have the right to be free of American surveillance?
    2. How would we feel if American citizens in the US were the object of massive surveillance by any of the agencies mentioned?
    3. Just what is the value gained? So far, we have no evidence of any serious plots being thwarted. Alexander et al came up with the number of 56. Now it is down to “one or two” – still with no evidence presented. As for non-terrorist intelligence of value that allegedly has been gathered, we have nothing at all. Merkel’s views in 2002, when in opposition, about the Iraq invasion? We didn’t even give a damn what Chancellor Schroeder’s views were – and they were public.
    Sorry to be beating a dead horse – but let’s acknowledge that it is dead and draw the implications.

  4. John says:

    Every advanced country eavesdrops on all other countries, as much as they covertly can. They should. Indeed they have to, in our dynamic and dangerous world. It is a huge disadvantage if they don’t, even if it is on allies. Information is power; the lack of it makes a country vulnerable.
    The President had to know. Perhaps he was given plausible deniability whereby he knew we snooped on all world leaders, but was never given the specific names of the individuals. (Yeah, right.)

  5. Bandolero says:

    The more I read here about the US SIGINT row with Europe, the more I think, the US doesn’t realize what kind of coalition of forces they are up against.
    I think in the essence that row is a US-German row. Differences with the UK, France, Spain, NL and so on I would deem minor. In those EU countries such a “privacy protection” coalition of forces is not present in the same way as it is in Germany. In Germany, I would compare the public outrage over NSA SIGINT gathering to be something similar as it was in Afghanistan, when US forces burned holy Quran books in trash. As ‘b’ noted here recently, the German high court recently declared data privacy a constitutional right in Germany, which may only be broken for very good reason, such as suspicion of terror or other heavy criminality.
    You linked the BND article of Wikipedia. I may quote a sentence of that: “The annual budget of the BND for 2009 was €460,000,000.” Recently, the BND got 20 Million Euro more each year for five years. And of course, the German public knows that the internal intelligence agencies BfV get a similar budget. A large chunk of the German public is really outraged about such a high budget for intelligence, especially when that figure is put into relation to the fact that the German economy is only as small as 3,5 trillion US-Dollar. However, the German government did it anyway, and given the balanced German budget, it has no problem of financing the 20 millions extra per year.
    Each year “Freedom not fear” demonstrations are held in Germany. The mostly leftwing coalition of organizers reaches from the largest unions over all opposition parties currently in parliament and both, major protestant and catholic, church organisations up to professional organisations of lawyers and dentists. See here a selection of that coalition in Wikipedia:
    Now, it was reported that the US spied on Merkels mobile phone. The data protection colaition laughs loud about that, especially as it knows that rightwing Merkel did, to say the least, very few things for data protection in Germany. But enraged is now the elsewhere pro-US nationalist wing. The German BND chief Schindler just said, US politicians were deliberately spared from being a target for for German SIGINT in the US. I wouldn’t trust him even if he only would tell me 2+2=4, but the rightwingers give a lot on what he says, and the mood there is, if the US spies on Merkel, either that has to stop or Germany should spy on Obama, too.
    So, from here, what’s currently brewing together in Germany seems to be like a perfect storm, from left to right, the whole political landscape is united, that what US SIGINT in Germany did is indefensible.

  6. Tony says:

    All those leaders who are whining about the surveillance must have known about it. IMO, the only reason they are reacting to it is simply because the surveillance is now publicized and these leaders have to say something.

  7. The Twisted Genius says:

    I’m not as convinced as Colonel Lang that Barack Obama, David Cameron, Hollande and Merkel were aware of the full scope of their services’ SIGINT activities to include specific targets. I would think something like Merkel’s cellphone would, at least, need approval of the White House. If it was a HUMINT operation, it certainly would. I’m not familiar with the coordination/approval process for SIGINT. HUMINT operational proposals of any real import require a painstaking risk vs. gain assessment. Clan HUMINT scares people. SIGINT doesn’t have the same effect, as evidenced in Alexander’s “collect it all” attitude. You would never hear of a recruit them all attitude. I have a feeling risk vs. gain will be a bigger concern in SIGINT operations in the future.
    An interesting discussion along these lines is in the LA Times claiming the NSA and other U.S. intelligence agency staff members are angry at President Obama for denying knowledge of the spying. The White House says it didn’t know about it until this Summer when it stopped the operations against 5 out of 33 world leaders.,0,3235295.story#axzz2j4rFUbcA

  8. ISL says:

    amspirational: Juan cole’s assertion is laughable at best. That NSA would collect information directly about Merkel’s positions on important negotiations, etc., and then NOT pass it to the president? defeats the point of collecting it. So why is juan cole flogging a denial trial balloon by the admin? that has already been reported to be non-factual.
    I presume from all this, many will invest in better encryption, some of which will not have back doors, and the internet will balkanize, killing a lot of US corporate dominance in the field. And I assume after all the fuss dies down vacuuming will continue because it is technologically possible and provides advantages.
    A big concern of mine, though, is whether commercially relevant info is passed on to select US companies. If so, it would greatly accelerate US crony capitalism, “the Italian disease” where it is not the quality of your product/service that determines success but who you know that determines success. This is a dangerous road and could hurt one of the main US competitive strengths.

  9. Ursa Maior says:

    Of course they all knew about it. The only difference is in my opinion, that it took that long for the EU leaders to grasp that they fell out of the hat. The USA sees (and has always seen IMO) a strong and unified EU as a competitor, not as a close ally. It was clear from Dubya’s actions and it got clearer under BHO. The EU leaders have realized it only recently and began taking countersteps.
    As a sidenote, the more the US leadership drive the country towards a real empire the faster the gap between perception and reality will be at least for the US voters. The stronger the American Empire the less attractive.

  10. confusedponderer says:

    I have only a few complaints about COMINT, and that would be in that order:
    I lament that Germany’s SIGINT capability is not better. For instance we should have bought LAPAS decades ago. And I lament that our Com and IT security is apparently not good enough as to defeat NSA tapping into our chancellors phone.
    Then there is the point b rightly point to earlier – Germans do have a historic baggage with spying. We do not like to be sniffed on. It makes no difference to me for instance whether it is the Gestapo or the Stasi keeping a file on me or the NSA. I don’t like it either way. I expect my government to respect that, and to protect me from others who don’t.
    IMO seydlitz89 made a good point on that, when he wrote of the corrosive aspect that the US attitude towards Sigint has on alliance relationships.
    I think that is quite acurate. Excess is basically a backlash in the making. As I see it, the intensity of US SIGINT directed against the world is such as to suggest that is not a concern.
    As for the US, and their espionage, they may just overdo it. I think to some extent the US do it because they can. There is no consideration as to what is being targetet, the only restraint is the technical capacity (and that goes for the US domestically also).
    Because working relationships of intelligence services and countries are transactional, a degree of trustworthiness is still desirable. That can be offset to a point by capability and the degree that partners are dependent, but only to a point.
    One may decry European hypochrisy all day, but what goes around comes around. If the US spy as relentlessly as they do on any communication they can get into, there is a price to it if it comes out. Either the US don’t care considering that, or they think it’s worth it. I believe it is the latter.
    It is quite simply inevitable that the European governments express their outrage, outrage, because it is about reasserting their sovereignty to their domestic audiences (which is why the British government, given their complicity in NSA spying, finds itself in such an inconvenient situation). But this will pass.
    The reaction would be pretty much the same, or worse, in the US if it became known that German intelligence had succeeded in tapping, say, Obama’s mobile. There is the odd chance, considering how nutty congress is generally and in particular of late, that a few confused congressmem introduced legislation to declare war on Germany (Iran for that matter) over such an incident, and that it passes.

  11. RetiredPatriot says:

    @Prof Brenner,
    You write: “How would we feel if American citizens in the US were the object of massive surveillance by any of the agencies mentioned?”
    Indeed, US citizens ARE already the object of massive surveillance through the auspices of the ECHELON group noted above. That is what is already galling. European citizens are (supposedly) provided lawful “privacy” and so were US citizens before 2001. Just like torture, the USA “outsourced” collection against targetted citizens to its allied partners in ECHELON; similarly, its doubtful we would not return the favor when allied partners seek to circumvent their own laws (in secret, of course). Snowden’s revelations put the lie of privacy protections front and center. And this is why there is such fury at his actions.
    Merkel was collected against by the US? So what? That US citizens are collected against by the US without the legal cause? THAT gets my goat.
    I agree with the Colonel. Europe is putting far more open water between our nations; they have made a decision to withdraw from under the hegemon’s umbrella. This should make our own defense department & its budget far smaller – to the benefit of our citizens first and not Europeans. They want their own way, good luck with that. And pick up your own tab for defending the frontier.

  12. turcopolier says:

    “I lament that our Com and IT security is apparently not good enough as to defeat NSA tapping into our chancellors phone.” It appears that Merkel was conducting the business of your government on an ordinary cell phone. This is a radio. All that was needed to listen to it was to tune the receiver to the right frequency. It was not encrypted. she appears to be technologically challenged in basic knowledge concerning activities that German SIGINT conducts in direct subordination to her office. Given the way she was conducting herself I would estimate that a great many non-German governments were listening to her. pl

  13. TTG,
    Is there enough evidence to be clear as to whether Merkel was or was not aware that her cellphone was tapped?
    In a report in the FT, Quentin Peel comments that cynics would say that her statement that ‘spying between friends is something that is just not done,’ is ‘naïve’, but goes on to argue that ‘the depth of the chancellor’s anger, and the feeling of personal betrayal, was clear for all to see.’
    (See )
    It may very well be that the truth lies on the surface, that Merkel was naïve, and that her discovery that she was tapped is awakening all kinds of bad memories of the Stasi. However, this would require not only that she was naïve but that none of her entourage, or of the people to whom she sent messages over the cellphone, pointed out to her the very obvious risks.
    Accordingly, although the scenario still seems to me unlikely, I do not think one can entirely discount an alternative possibility: that the messages she sent via the cellphone were ones she was happy to have people – and in particular the Americans – hear.
    There are two obvious sets of circumstances in which someone might deliberately send messages through insecure channels. One would be if they wanted to allay unjustified suspicions of their good faith, the other if they wanted to create an unjustified confidence in that good faith.

  14. Matthew says:

    Col: Since the cold war has ended–decades ago–why do we still have NATO? The hypocrisy is just a symptom of irrationality in the alliance structure. If our government were to do a strategic review of our alliances and relationships, how many alliances could withstand the scrutiny.

  15. Fred says:

    You mean St. Barrack Obama, Nobel Peace Prize winner and constitutional lawyer (JD from the proletarian Harvard Law School) was unaware of the actions of the NSA after almost a decade of time as ‘commander in chief’? I’m not shocked at him; but at the ongoing naiveté of his supporters in the Democratic party, who have yet to vote out of office a single member of Congress who have been complicit in his (Obama’s) conduct. At least the tea party got off their collective asses and did something.

  16. The surveillance is correlated to corruption. What few Americans seem to understand is the deep corruption of American culture and its elites. Many businesses can only survive by surveillance. The same for many governments and government officialdom.
    Both Hitler and Stalin taught the USA and others many bad lessons in modern governance. By patting ourselves on the back and claiming “we” are the good guys we ignored doing the hard work of protecting our democracy [republic] and Constitution.
    There is almost nothing controlling the intentional misuse of information by anyone or any organization. And this is the policy in the USA and elsewhere!

  17. turcopolier says:

    My only cavil at your tirade against the decline of our culture is that I do not think our SIGINT products are given to private companies to make them more competitive. pl

  18. turcopolier says:

    David Habakkuk
    I am not TTG but will comment anyway. Having been deeply involved in the regulation and management of SIGINT products at the level of the army general staff, I find it absurd to think that Merkel would not have been aware of the ease of intercept of her conversations. I am very doubtful that she would have used her cell phone to “broadcast” planted information to NSA/GCHQ. To have a politician do that would be a great risk that the BND, who surely listened to her phone, would have desperately tried to stop. The technology required to intercept cell phones is very old. The BND understood and understands very well what is involved. pl

  19. As to PL’s conclusion that the EU and USA are drifting apart how could it not be so? And is it a good or bad thing?
    IMO it is the former but given the large devastation to Western Civilization caused by governments and organizations
    west of the URALS how could it not be so?
    Check out C. Vance Woodward’s THE POWER ELITES published around 1955.

  20. turcopolier says:

    I have written repeatedly that all these old Cold War alliances have outlived their usefulness. pl

  21. PL! Ask yourself who gets the patent rights for the IC contracting community?

  22. Babak Makkinejad says:

    She is supposed to have had a degree in Physics…

  23. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I agree with you.

  24. confusedponderer says:

    That then is just naive-stupid.

  25. Colonel Lang,
    I was not really thinking of planted information. Rather that, as ‘bandolero’ ha suggested, it is in the logic of Germany’s current strategic position that both in terms of internal political management and the management of external relations it may make sense to say rather different things to different people.

  26. turcopolier says:

    David Habbakuk
    Well, if you say things on an unencrypted cell phone you are saying them to everyone in Berlin. pl

  27. confusedponderer says:

    I think you rightly point to the question of risk vs. gain assessment.
    Apparently, they did it because they can. It’s a supervision issue.
    I wonder, is, in face of the immense quantity of data swooped up by the US, supervision of intercept operations operationally and practically feasible?
    I would think that a simple blacklist could exclude Merkel from being listened to. So probably it was quite deliberate, and the consequences of discovery be danmed.
    As I said, excess is basically a backlash in the making, and if the US don’t like the fallout now, they brought it on themselves.

  28. Colonel Lang,
    At the time I responded to TTG, I had not realised that this was a case of an unencrypted cellphone, rather than American decryption capabilities being superior to German encryption ones. That Merkel should have been using a cell-phone that anyone in Berlin could intercept reinforces my suspicion that something very odd was going on.
    Moreover, from what little I know of her, Merkel is not naive at all, but a very canny politician indeed.
    The Bild am Sonntag reports suggests that the background was that Obama suspected that Merkel might have been more like Schroder than she let on:
    ‘Bild am Sonntag said Obama in fact wanted more material on Merkel, and ordered the NSA to compile a “comprehensive dossier” on her. “Obama, according to the NSA man, did not trust Merkel and wanted to know everything about the German,” the paper said.
    ‘White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden declined to comment and reiterated the standard policy line that the United States gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations.
    ‘Bild said the NSA had increased its surveillance, including the contents of Merkel’s text messages and phone calls, on Obama’s initiative and had started tapping a new, supposedly bug-proof mobile she acquired this summer, a sign the spying continued into the “recent past”.
    ‘The NSA first eavesdropped on Merkel’s predecessor Gerhard Schroeder after he refused to support President George W. Bush’s war in Iraq and was extended when Merkel took over in 2005, the paper said.
    ‘Eighteen NSA staff working in the U.S. embassy, some 800 meters (yards) from Merkel’s office, sent their findings straight to the White House, rather than to NSA headquarters, the paper said. Only Merkel’s encrypted landline in her office in the Chancellery had not been tapped, it added.
    ‘Bild said some NSA officials were becoming annoyed with the White House for creating the impression that U.S. spies had gone beyond what they had been ordered to do.’
    (See )

  29. turcopolier says:

    Once again, I think you are not living in the real world. Cloud Cuckoo Land maybe? You do not think that listening to Angela’s cell phone was worth the risk? What risk? The risk that growing European anti-Americanism will be encouraged? This is not the days of the Cold War and we do not need NATO. The BND must be begging her now to shut up before their very “good deal” with American intelligence is ruined. The same thing must be true in regard to the DGSE in France. I will try to explain to you by analogy the value of such intercepts. Let us say that you are in business and you are going to attend a meeting where important issues will be discussed and decided. At the meeting will be strategic partners as well as competitors. Strategic partners do not always share their innermost thoughts and often have private agendas. An ability to know the actual position of your partners BEFORE the meeting is invaluable, simply invaluable. pl

  30. Bandolero says:

    I tend to disagree that Merkels GSM handy is a radio, all what was needed was to tune in and that it was not encrypted. As far as I know the Vodafone GSM is encrypted with the A5 algorithm. Of course, as is long known to the public, that’s quite easy to crack.
    So, I would compare Merkel’s “Partei-Handy” – that’s supposedly the one the US listened to – with a house of your neighbor and friend, who has secured his house with an ancient lever tumbler lock.
    Technically, the difference might be neglectable. But, if one is caught going into the neighbors house and questions come up, for example in court, then it makes a rather big difference whether the door was open, or whether you did lockpick an ancient lever tumbler lock to enter.
    I think, the German public sees a similar situation in regard to Merkels “Partei-Handy” – it is easy to hack, but who does, can fall into a PR desaster trap.
    My explanation, just a theory, nothing of substance: I think, the trap was laid out deliberately by Merkel and the most likely party Merkel would have liked seeing to fall into such a trap might have been her rival SPD party. Now, ironically, instead of the SPD her “sacred US allies” fell into the PR desaster “Partei-Handy” trap she deliberately laid out for the SPD.
    Regarding the communication that Merkel let run over that handy, Merkel said something like, that it must have been boring for those who listened, because her message is anyway everywhere the same, but of course, for relevant communication she uses secure ways of communication.

  31. turcopolier says:

    David Habakkuk
    “a new, supposedly bug-proof mobile she acquired this summer..” This is something I did not know. That would make some sense. Perhaps she started using this encrypted phone for some government calls. Circuits that are terminated at one end by a cipher device must be terminated at the other by a similar device. This naturally limits the number of people to whom one can talk unless the cipher feature can be turned off. pl

  32. turcopolier says:

    “Vodafone GSM” This is essentially unencrypted. The software need to reduce these algorithms is readily available. The rest of that conspiratorial business is something you should try to sell as fiction. pl

  33. Bandolero,
    I do not quite understand. Are you suggesting that Merkel was hoping that the SPD would be caught tapping her ‘phone?

  34. Bandolero says:

    David Habakkuk
    “Are you suggesting that Merkel was hoping that the SPD would be caught tapping her ‘phone?”
    Yes, I assume that to be a sensible theory fitting to the facts.
    Some facts:
    Merkel is not naive. She always gives a kind of an impression to be a little bit naive. She is not. Look at her record: her record is that of a heavy weight boxer with a 50 to 0 balance of knockout wins.
    Merkel said she deliberately used a standard GSM phone for communiacation within her party (the Partei-Handy that was monitored by the NSA), and she also admits that she was repeatedly told by her security people that it was very easy to hack. Merkel decided to use that handy anyway – for practical reasons.
    To think that Merkel doesn’t know nothing about surveillance is ignorant. Merkel is from eastern Germany (Stasi-Land), so I’m sure she learned how to deal with Stasi and surveillance since she was a child.
    And Merkel is also on the record saying that what she spoke over that handy was always just all the same message that she told in public. For “relevant” communication, she further elaborated, she used “secure” communication means.
    So, that’s the factual basis for my idea that it was a deliberate trap set by Merkel. And I think that the SPD was in real danger to be destroyed by that trap.
    I wait for a better explanation, though. The one, that makes absolutely no sense, is that Merkel is just “naive” or “incompetent.” She is not. Looks at her record.

  35. confusedponderer says:

    Since you put it hat way, indeed such information is indeed the crown jewel as it allows to plan negotiations beforehand and prepare the negotioators accodingly.
    And indeed, for the US this is not going to hurt a lot. Since we apparently do depend a lot on the US, we have essentially very little leverage to use on the US to punish them for their infractuion without hurting ourselves.

  36. turcopolier says:

    “For “relevant” communication, she further elaborated, she used “secure” communication means.” That is not a factual basis. you choose to believe her to salve your national pride. If that were true NSA would not have had any interest in what she said. They don’t care about her personal business. pl

  37. turcopolier says:

    “Dissatisfying.” I understand. I am dissatisfied over many things. pl

  38. CP,
    In what ways do you ‘depend a lot on the US’?
    I am not prejudging the answer to the question — I simply think it needs to be asked.

  39. confusedponderer says:

    the salient point is whether it is still an alliance when one side can’t afford to say ‘Go eff yourself’ to the other side.
    We can’t do that, apparently, because apparently there is too much gain from a continued working relationship with the US, suggesting their means to gather intel are so superior that without them we’d be seriously hobbled. That’s why this slight will go unpunished.
    My approach would be to build capability to regain the ability to say ‘Go eff yourself’ to the other side if necessary.

  40. confusedponderer says:

    See my reply to DH above.

  41. turcopolier says:

    “… suggesting their means to gather intel are so superior that without them we’d be seriously hobbled.” Well, that is true. Go for it and be prepared to spend the money needed to achieve that goal. Your present % of GDP put into defense is paltry. pl

  42. The beaver says:

    FWIW: If hackers can do it, no surprises that intel community is on top of how to do it.
    Whether it is using $1500 phone or sophistical one at $50K, it is what the French would say: Facile comme deux doigts dans le nez”:

  43. Bandolero says:

    I’m not a supporter of Merkel. She is not only clever, but also cold. She is the person responsible for “Verfolgungsbetreuung.”
    But that she didn’t run “relevant” communication on the GSM phone I believe her. I believe she simply doesn’t trust any telecommunication to be secure and I think “secure communication” means for her to invite the people to a cozy place and talk in persona.
    Her way of running of state affairs by invitations to a cozy cup of coffee in the Kanzleramt are as famous as her cozy tea parties with trusted friends are, like Friede Springer:
    For “relevant” communication over distance I think she uses trusted people as emissaries instead of telecommunication. Telecommunication, I think, she handles as if tomorrow every word spoken on phone would be written in a newspaper or if it’s sure to fall in the hands of an adversary.
    How does it come? Merkel grew up in eastern Germany and many people there handled telecommunication this way because people there thought the Stasi was always listening.
    I think Peter Galbraith got this point right in his recent comment at the Guardian, though he didn’t call Merkel by name there:
    “Europeans are mindful – in a way Americans, with their different history, are not – of how totalitarian regimes maintained extensive files on their citizens and, more importantly, how they used the data. An unguarded comment in an intercepted phone call could lead to a concentration camp or gulag, or worse. And not only the speaker was at risk. A listener who failed to report on the speaker might meet the same fate. And even those who informed could be deported for consorting with a state enemy.”
    I think Merkel just didn’t change her communication patterns after Germany was united.

  44. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Is Germany going to arm herself with thermonuclear weapons based on nuclear submarines?
    Anything else is just not serious.

  45. My guess is the American Century not quite over! But will the next be Chinese or German? Oddly perhaps but IMO the effective control of the resources of Siberia may tip the answer either way!
    The course of the world’s extractive industries including water availability will dictate the politic of the next century after 2045!

  46. Ulenspiegel says:

    BM wrote: ”
    Is Germany going to arm herself with thermonuclear weapons based on nuclear submarines?
    Anything else is just not serious.”
    That is very one dimensional and partially wrong:
    1) You can put nuclear weopons on conventional subs, who btw built the ones used by Israel for years?
    2) The economic sitution of UK and France offers “European” solutions, that are shaped by Germany.

  47. confusedponderer says:

    It’s about collection means in my mind, that would give us a degree of independence.
    The US, for all their faults, don’t hold us at nuke point. We’re not talking about vis absoluta or vis compulsiva here.

  48. confusedponderer says:

    Re (2)
    Wiki reports that “in September 2007 the French president Sarkozy offered Germany to participate in the control over the French nuclear arsenal. Chancellor Merkel and foreign minister Steinmeier declined the offer however, stating that Germany “had no interest in possessing nuclear weapons”.”

  49. CP! IMO Germany the least targeted of the world powers and wants to stay below the horizon of being identified as e nuclear power! The Germans knowledge of employment of nuclear weapons in actual military usage and doctrine may in fact be the world’s best.

  50. Ulenspiegel says:

    CP, personally I do not see a need for German nuclear weapons or control over French or British ones as long as UK and France are signatory states of the Lisbon Treaty.
    My point was, that Germany has in the current economic framework, which is IMHO relevant for the next two decades, enough economic options to get nuclaer weapons, IF there is need. Thew non-european solution may even be to exchange subs for missiles.

  51. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I think in the absence of an independent German ability to annihilate Russia cities, the news of German separation from US (or NATO or the Atlantic Community) are highly exaggerated.
    German leaders, in my opinion, may huff and puff but they clearly are not leaving this alliance.
    That they are selling VW cars in Russia is devoid of strategic importance, just like US – through Opel – selling cars in Russia.

  52. Babak Makkinejad says:

    You are quite right.
    If EU states do not like America they could build a joint nuclear command around Franco-German Entente and go from there.
    This is all a storm in a teacup.

  53. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I seriously doubt it.
    What are the European solutions to the war in Syria – supported by key EU states?
    Or to Iran?
    Or to the war in Palestine?
    Please be serious; EU has no strategic capability without the United States.

  54. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I think it was sometime in early 1980s that it was revealed in the French Press how the French Police had kept all the files collected and gathered in Marseille by the Gestapo on French Jews.
    “Someone had gone into great trouble to collect them, would be a shame to destroy them.”
    The distinction that Peter Galbraith makes is not one of quality, in my opinion, but one of degrees.

  55. confusedponderer says:

    IMO Germany is firmly Atlanticist.
    That even largely applied to Schroeder, even though he tried to counterbalance US influence by improving ties with Russia.
    The main indication that he wasn’t Atlanticist, was his refusal to join up in the foolish and ill conveived enterprise called ‘coalition of the willing’, and petulant US indignation over such impertinence.
    Apparently we were expected to salute smartly and send our auxiliaries to suggest that the war with Iraq was not an idea cooked up in fever ravaged minds in the Bush administration but had international support. We were to legitimise it, nothing more.
    To interpret Schroeder not playing that game and paying for it as anti-Atlanticist IMO owes much to US paranoia reading these events, a sense of what a global hegemon expects from its subjects and the heat of the moment.
    For whatever reason, Schroeder exercised some sound judgement on the matter, though I despise how he used the issue in electoral politics. He made the right call for the wrong reasons.
    His commitment to the Altantic alliance should have been never in doubt IMO.

  56. The real litmus test for Merkel is did she fire anyone involved in her security physical or cyber?
    And of course has Obama fired anyone?

  57. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Thanks, that is what I was trying to convey.
    EU is impotent without US and one gets tired of all their genuflections and pretensions to be something other than they are.
    And EU has no, zero, independent foreign policy away from core US interests.
    I am still waiting for EU to break diplomatic relations with Israel and sanction her.

  58. Ulenspiegel says:

    Please try to understand the difference between nuclear retaliation, i.e. the last step in a defensive strategy on one hand, and of offensive conventional operations especially as parts of so called “wars of choice” on the other hand.
    Then answer the simple question how the political structure of the EU affects both.
    Syria: Only idiots get without need involved in civil wars. Problem solved.
    Iran: Economic pressure works, or did I miss a war against Iran?
    Palestine: are you serious?
    BTW Even the impressive military/political force of the USA has not solved one of the three conflicts, what does this say about the inherent logic of your arguments?

  59. Bandolero says:

    Babak Makkinejad
    Why should Germany need “thermonuclear weapons based on nuclear submarines?” What is the threat that is good against?
    The reality is that Germany has – except some minor non-state actors far away – no enemies. Regarding states, Germany is not only a friend of all it’s neighbors and all major global powers, but also with Northern Korea, Cuba and Iran Germany has quite workable relations.
    So, does Germany need “thermonuclear weapons based on nuclear submarines” to prevent pirates off the coast of Somalia to enter German merchandise ships? I doubt so.
    The biggest threats seen in Germany are not the nukes of Germany’s Russian and Chinese friends, but more likely a nuclear energy disaster of the Chernobyl/Fukushima type, or a bad accident with US nukes stored in Germany.
    Foreign minister Westerwelle therefore wanted the US to take it’s nukes out of Germany, and only after some tough US lobbying against it (the US said it feared other states like Turkey might follow such an idea), he gave in to have them further stored in Germany.
    The cash-strapped British forces announced a couple of months ago to leave Germany until 2019. Nobody in Germany is up against that. If the US forces want to leave Germany, too, I don’t see any problem with that.

  60. Bandolero says:

    When Schröder became Chancellor he was a staunch transatlantist. And he acted so from bombing Belgrad, having the Bundeswehr fight in Afghanistan, cutting social networks and union rights up to deconcentrating the Deutschland AG. He gave them what they wanted and couldn’t get from Kohl, and Schröder was convinced that he did the things which were the right things to do.
    Anyway the ideologiacally driven GW Bush Republican crazies and their German fellows wanted to oust Schröder in the September 2002 elections, because Schröder’s party SPD was a “socialist” party and they hated socialists.
    Schröder reacted to these transatlantic efforts by siding with Chirac in opposing the Iraq war and make the Iraq war the main election topic 2002. After Schröder won the elections, the GW Bush crazies wanted to punish Germany economically and politically. Schröder reacted to that stupidity by building strong German economic ties with China and Russia, before they managed to push him out of office and put the conservative transatlantist politician Angela Merkel in place.
    Angela Merkel is always nice to the US and Israel, but, after a while, she chose to keep the very profitable German business relations with Russia and China. And, as became surprisingly clear in her dealings with the Libyan and Syrian situations, she is very wary of getting Germany entangled in risky US-led military engagements far away from home.

  61. LUIS says:

    What can I say about the 60 million calls that have been collected by the NSA in Spain?
    Will Spain is involved in SIGINT?
    I’d like to know to publish information.

  62. Thomas says:

    “My guess is the American Century not quite over! But will the next be Chinese or German?”
    The Pacific Century once the three prominent players develop and approve a new multilateral institution to enhance dialogue, resolve important disputes, and park petty political problems.

  63. turcopolier says:

    “If the US forces want to leave Germany, too, I don’t see any problem with that.” I agree. IMO we should have left after the fall of the USSR. pl

  64. Babak Makkinejad says:

    My point is made clear by your statements: EU is a nothing geopolitically without the United States.
    That her policies never deviate from core US interests.
    That is all fine, I just do not like the airs Europeans put on – excepting the Swiss.

  65. Babak Makkinejad says:

    In my opinion, modern strategic power is predicated on the possession of means to annihilate cities.
    Without that ability, a state is at the mercy of others that have such weapons.
    Sure, Germany has no enemies now, she did not have them in 1939 either and in 1941 she went out of her way to go to war with USSR.
    I just do not see how when the strategic forces are being based on missiles and survivable nuclear weapons Germany could avoid having her own independent nuclear forces.
    UK and US land and air forces could leave Germany and Germany would still be under the protection of US.
    This is not going to change – in my opinion – no matter how many cars Germany sells in Russia.
    Again, Germany is dependent on US for her protection – she could switch sides and go to Russia – I suppose – but she still will not have an independent strategic capacity.

  66. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Your conventional diesel-electric subs have to surface and thus can be detected.
    What is the flight time from a missile launched from beyond Urals to Munich, do you think?

  67. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Indeed, so an independent Germany requires her own nuclear weapons, which necessarily will make her a potential US target.
    My advice: Stay with US and avoid the headache.

  68. different clue says:

    If the problem of excess CO2 skydumping is not solved and reversed by 2045, I predict that this century will become the century of unpredicted chaos in many places.

  69. confusedponderer says:

    Least targeted – now, and that’s a good thing.
    When in the army, word was that during the Cold War my garrisson town, Koblenz, had been targeted by about twenty odd Soviet tactical nukes.
    A clash between the Warsaw Pact and NATO, especially if it had gone unconventional, would have probably been fought to the last German, with some geographical reshaping if those detonation shafts for nuclear landmines were any indication.
    Even if it hadn’t, the intensity of the fighting would have left a wasteland.
    The Fallujans today complain about cancer rates and health defects as a result of US weapons.
    Then there is the sinister problem posed to them (and US vets for that matter) by the US having used DU (alpha emitters are just not the thing you want to ingest). On the German battlefield both NATO and the Warsaw pact would have used DU ammo promiscuiously against each other.
    We are quite fortunate it never came to that.
    Being allied with the US and having good relations with Russia is quite preferable for Germany.
    That is of course unacceptable for those adhering to Promethean concepts (in Poland and the US alike) or those incorrigible souls who just need to put the boot in once more when Russia was down. They’re all fools.

  70. Ulenspiegel says:

    Here one could add that the last US tank units have already left Germany.
    The difference between the leaving of US forces and the UK forces is stupid economy:
    US forces are in southern German states with bloody high real estate prices and low local unemployment levels, shutting down military installations often results in real gains for the local economy.
    In contrast, the UK forces are in regions with economic problems, the shutting down of military installations causes pain.
    Therefore, you will find quite different attitudes of the local population in different parts of Germany in respect to military installations.

  71. Thomas! Japan has committed SEPPEKU IMO! There are only two major Pacific powers now! And who knows! Perhaps better to be an Arctic power over the next 500 years.

  72. Bandolero says:

    Babak Makkinejad
    Main German thinking is just the opposite. Most Germans – people and leaders alike – see vast German military power – even more so offensive strategic military power – not only as not desirable as potentielly very dangerous to Germany.
    What is the danger? The danger is that such military power is followed by military and civilian leaders who want to use such German military power to have influence in and bully – or ven conquer – the world. The theory is that the military force will bring with it the very conflicts it was built to protect Germany against.
    It happened already twice in Germany – before 1914 and before 1939 – and it didn’t end well, neither for Germany nor for the world. The best way to counter such a danger – so the dominant German thinking – is to have no such strategic and offensive military forces.
    A second line of German thinking is, not dominant, yet, maybe, but growing, that there exists a danger of Germany being drawn into senseless armed conflicts of a similar type it doesn’t want by it’s NATO allies, especially the US. In a way, American messianism for bringing “democracy” with military means around the world, and expecting the German military to help in that effort, is arguably a real danger to Germany.
    The prime example is Afghanistan. It’s the most serious war German troops faught since the end of WWII. German troops fight in Afghanistan for no other reason than “to show solidarity” with the US. And arguably, that war is senseless and a greater threat to German security and well being than any external threat. The same goes for the war in Iraq, which was avoided by Germany only very narrowly. Look to the dire financial consequences these messianic operations had in the US and in the UK to understand that danger.
    Threats with a making from within are seen in Germany with good reason often as bigger than external threats. Germany doesn’t want to use it’s military to secure resources abroad and dominate trade routes. When German President Horst Köhler casually hinted to such a German military use three years ago, he was immediately made to resign as President of Germany afterwards.

  73. German language and culture and economic dominance is effective in a demographic block of over 500 million.

  74. confusedponderer says:

    I think that’s the idea anyway.
    I’m not sure however that you grasp the underlying reasons: There are British fears (as a German you only need to go into a British pub for two pints to get the idea). It didn’t need the holocaust for Churchill to consider wiping out the Germans as a people with Anthrax. The French would be less afraid, but the Russians probably wouldn’t be happy.
    And then there’d be the dozen treaties we’d need to quit or break. We’d start off our entry into the ever so exclusive nuclear club all on the wrong foot.
    I think that all that is precisely why Merkel said thanks, but no thanks to Sarko’s offer.

  75. Thomas says:

    I was implying Russia with China and US, though Japan, Korea and Australia are significant players that would be part of this Economic-centric system.
    Why do believe Japan has committed Seppeku? Is it their rising nationalism currently underway?

  76. different clue says:

    How much of Canada and Alaska and Russia/Siberia is permafrost and only a few feet to a few tens of feet above sea level? Given that a large percent of permafrost is ice, if the global warms enough to thaw all the permafrost; how much of that slightly-above-sea-level land would essentially dissolve and sink into the sea altogether? (Of course Canada, Alaska, and Russia/Siberia would still have enough land area to host major-power levels of population. And we could stock Lake Erie with alligators, mocassins, and water hyacinth just for fun.

  77. Thomas! And others! The melting of the permafrost layer a huge issue. Russian and Japanese demographics adverse to a major role in 21st Century. The economy of Russia and Japan rest on extractive industry for the former and talents of their population for the latter. Under current policies of both governments these are wasting assets. IMO of course!

  78. This article is about frozen ground. For other uses, see Permafrost (disambiguation).
    Wikinews has related news: Scientists warn thawing Siberia may trigger global meltdown
    Map showing extent and types of permafrost in the Northern Hemisphere.
    Slope failure of permafrost soil, revealing ice lenses.
    The red dotted-to-solid line depicts the average temperature profile with depth of soil in a permafrost region. The trumpet-shaped lines at the top show seasonal maximum and minimum temperatures in the “active layer”. The active layer is seasonally frozen. The middle zone is permanently frozen as “permafrost”. And the bottom layer is where the geothermal temperature is above freezing.
    In geology, permafrost or cryotic soil is soil at or below the freezing point of water 0 °C (32 °F) for two or more years. Most permafrost is located in high latitudes (i.e. land close to the North and South poles), but alpine permafrost may exist at high altitudes in much lower latitudes. Ground ice is not always present, as may be in the case of nonporous bedrock, but it frequently occurs and it may be in amounts exceeding the potential hydraulic saturation of the ground material. Permafrost accounts for 0.022% of total water[citation needed] and exists in 24% of exposed land in the Northern Hemisphere.]
    A global temperature rise of 1.5 °C (2.7 °F) above current levels would be enough to start the melting of permafrost in Siberia, according to one group of scientists.

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