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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-13-13 04:07 AM
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"United Stasi of America" Berlin police search for light artist
Berlin police are investigating a light artist for projecting the phrase "United Stasi of America" onto the the US Embassy in Berlin. The phrase refers to the former East German secret police and was meant as a protest against American spying. But can the artist really be prosecuted?


Officially, a Berlin spokesman confirmed on Friday, Bienkowski is suspected of having violated a law against "insulting organs and representatives of foreign countries." So far, however, the artist has not yet even been approached by the authorities, though the Berlin police said he would soon be invited in for questioning.

The projection, which included an image of Internet activist and hacker icon Kim Schmitz, aka "Kim Dotcom," took place at around 1 a.m. local time on Sunday night and lasted for a mere 30 seconds before police guarding the embassy asked him to move on. "Stasi" is a reference to the infamous East German Ministry for State Security, which managed a vast network of spies and informants in communist times -- but which also persecuted the state's political opponents.

Bienkowski told SPIEGEL ONLINE that his goal was to "do things that people will see and try to get them to think." Specifically, he wanted to voice criticism of US web surveillance, the vast scope of which was revealed recently by whistleblower Edward Snowden. Bienkowski says he even spent 5,000 ($6,500) out of his own pocket to finance the costs of the guerilla light projection.

Free Speech?

Despite the slow pace of the investigation thus far, the artist has already hired a lawyer. And in a press release issued this week, the law firm made clear that it sees the case as having little merit. For one, the law firm D. Breymann Rechsanwlte says that a complaint has to have been made by the US Embassy for the case to be pursued. But the embassy has told Berlin daily Tagesspiegel that it does not intend to file such a complaint. For another, the supposed insult was not directed at a specific individual.

I don't know, folks. The Egypt thing is big news. The Snowden thing is big news. But, is anyone paying attention to the leaks about TPP?

With all due respect to Snowden, that is going to hurt Americans even more than mass surveillance.

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Enthusiast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-13-13 10:23 AM
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1. Thanks, No Elephants.
Looks like free speech to me. But we wouldn't want to embarrass the United States. :rofl:
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-14-13 03:41 AM
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2. Looks like free speech to me, too. Vandalism would have been different, but a light display?
A bit of irony. Thomas Drake (I think I got the name right) was a whistleblower who was harassed quite a bit. I watched a video of a talk he gave about it. Near the end of the video, he says that an Eastern European couple approached him after an earlier talk he had given pre-Snowden, saying something like, "We know that we live in a post-fascist state, but Americans are living in a pre-fascist state and don't even know it."

Well, per the Snowden disclosures, Eastern Europeans are still being surveilled--and not only by the U.S. So, I guess those poor people did not know as much as they thought. No one seems to know less about the U.S. though, than we who live here.

Thank heaven for the internet.

A lot of crap on the the internets, for sure, but also a lot that is not crap that we need to know.
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