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Satire is dead: Cops question German after he jokes about NSA on Facebook

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If anyone still doubts that they’re potentially being watched online by the U.S. intelligence services, or that those agencies share information with countries that are not supposed to be spying on their own citizens, say hello to a 28-year-old German man named Daniel Bangert.

Bangert made a joke on Facebook(s fb), setting up an event for an NSA spy-spotting walk around the so-called Dagger Complex, a U.S. military installation near Griesheim, south of Frankfurt. The event was described humorously in the terms you might associate with a nature stroll, referring to “the threatened habitat of NSA spies” and so on.

Four days later, the German police showed up on Bangert’s doorstep to question him about his putative “demonstration” and apparently non-existent anarchist links. He denied having any such links or planning any kind of demonstration, but the police told him to get a permit nonetheless. They asked him not to tell anyone online about their visit.

That clearly didn’t work. After the story got reported by a local paper, it eventually made its way to Der Spiegel, which got confirmation from a police spokeswoman that the alarm had been raised by the U.S. Military Police. It seems the U.S. Military Police found Bangert’s Facebook post and alerted the local authorities — hence the visits to his house.

In the end, the interest raised by the story led 70 people to join Bangert’s “NSA safari”, although they apparently didn’t see any spies in their natural habitat.

It’s a story that’s both funny and disturbing. Unless he’s just pulled off a brilliant double-cross with the media, Bangert is not a terrorist — he’s just an ordinary chap who was being sarcastic online. And even if he was being serious, all he was doing was threatening to go for a walk around the perimeter of a so-called top secret facility that’s not actually top secret.

Honestly, if the police hadn’t fessed up I’d think this story had been concocted as a viral case study for the anti-PRISM campaign. But it wasn’t.

12 Responses to “Satire is dead: Cops question German after he jokes about NSA on Facebook”

  1. InnocentSwede

    Well, the British have no sense of humour either. Recently, my SMS text messages had trouble reaching my wife, when she was visiting Britain. Jokingly (or sarcastically, if you like), I wrote that my messages might have been intercepted, and added the word “Bomb” a few times at the end of a message. Of course, I had heard that the British equivalent if the NSA are listening to all comunications, and that they have some trigger words, but I seriously didn’t think they’d be this daft. But a few days later, my wife, travelling back home with a young child, was strip-searched at the airport! Satire is dead, indeed.

    • As a Brit, we lost satire a long long time ago. GCHQ is worse than the NSA. Our intelligence service is probably the most disruptive globally. For a little island, we have caused so much turmoil around the globe and we are still stoking the fires today. England is Orwell’s dream with 1 CCTV camera for 14 people.

      People won’t wake up to it until the ones who said ‘if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear’ get the 5am knock.

  2. Sounds like the German Police are polishing up those boots again. This has a very familiar ring about it. As for the USA, considering they are the worlds biggest terror organisation, the NSA is nothing more than a paranoid, control freak organisation that seems to be suffering a severe mental illness. The NSA has been spying on Germany, the Germans should be livid, but reality tells us that the Germans are COMPLYING with their masters. Think twice about what the MSM want us to believe

            • Anton Spi

              ok :-) you talk knock i talk knock-knock, so we have this cleared ok?

              so the guy Bangert had the knock-knock cop on his door, but let me tell you, if this would have happend a year ago, you could find it on page 5 -10 in the newspaper, this year we ( germans ) have federal elections, so it’s graet to have some that distrcts from the problems we do have

            • We both know what we mean now:-) I’m glad Germany might be waking up to whats going on, the plethora of benign TV distracts the English, meanwhile GCHQ / Government do what they want. We’ve got our elections to come in which we will find ourselves in the situation you are in, plus, on top of that another Royal Baby which will make the UK “Best in the world” again for all of 5 minutes like the Olympics and Andy Murray. The sheep lap it up. Good days to bury bad news and boy! have we got a lot to bury.

            • Anton Spi

              Good morning, i hate to say, but most germans will not wake up. The young kids like up to 25 don’t give a dammmmm, cause what they learn at school in this matter is more or less sh.., cause them teachers ( most of them )are not interesseted to open such a subject. the midage population got to see how to make ends meet and so it’s for us 50+ to open the mouth and not making friends with what we say.
              Never the less i hope you will have a nice weekend.