According to a new report in German newspaper Der Spiegel, Israeli officials intercepted phone calls made by Secretary of State John Kerry during peace talks between Israel, Palestine, and Arab states last year. Israel reportedly used information gleaned from the calls to better position themselves in negotiations.
"Gamification" is an increasingly popular con to trick people into doing horrible things by pretending they are fun games. From dieting apps that bestow badges on users for eating broccoli, to a "virtual incarceration system" that gives prisoners points for adhering to their house arrest, nothing is so unpleasant that bureaucrats and Silicon Valley thinktrepreneuers have been unable to gamify it. Unsurprisingly, the NSA is a big fan of gamification, expertly exploiting humanity's universal love of accumulating points and meaningless trophies in its quest to preserve the world's Facebook status updates and Google searches for future generations of spies.
The German newspaper Der Spiegel somehow got its hands on photographs of U.S. soldiers posing with a corpse, and published them, and the Army wants you to know it feels really terrible. "Today Der Spiegel published photographs depicting actions repugnant to us as human beings and contrary to the standards and values of the United States Army," spokesman Col. Thomas Collins said in a statement. "We apologize for the distress these photos cause." The photos apparently depict Cpl. Jeremy Morlock and PFC Andrew Holmes—both charged, along with three others, with killing Afghan civilians—posing with the corpse of an Afghan man named Gul Mudin (Morlock, in his photo, is apparently "smiling as he lifts the head of a corpse by the hair"). Well, no hard feelings, Army! Let's maybe just keep the war crimes to a minimum in the future, okay? [NYDN]
What if you started reading a friend's private diary, and in it he took great pains to say how pathetic you were? That's pretty much the feeling you get reading the anti-American issue of Der Spiegel. The America hatefest starts with an angry Uncle Sam, and asks such pertinent questions as "Can Condoleezza Rice Emancipate Herself from Bush?" and "When Will America Collapse?" The German vision of America is a racist, broken country, and they're not afraid to pronounce us dead. Click for the full eulogy.The German problems with America aren't limited to our recent economic collapse. We have a host of faults to atone for, and while electing Obama would be a good start, we suck in so many other ways:
Back when we had party correspondent Megan McCarthy to kick around, I made a point of assigning her all interviews with the German press. But now Leggy's headed to Wired, so when Der Spiegel called to interview me about Larry and Lucy's wedding, I had to handle it myself. And I think I acquitted myself pretty well. I think. The Google translation was a little unclear. "Webgemeinde baffles," indeed. Larry, when you get back, could you get someone working on this?