Podcast Tips in May: Enemy Systems – Media

The Khaled el Masri Story


On the one hand, there are the lawyers, journalists and politicians who, with their analyses, show what double standards the German constitutional state is capable of. Above all, there is the soft voice with a slight Swabian touch: It belongs to Khaled el-Masri, a German with Lebanese roots who lived in Ulm and actually only wanted to go on a short vacation at the end of 2003. He was pulled from a bus on the Serbian-Macedonian border and taken to a secret CIA prison in Kabul. As we know today, he was confused with a Spanish citizen of the same name. During the “War on Terror” at the time, no official wanted to be accused of not having followed a lead. The kidnapping practice of the US secret services became known through el-Masri’s case, in four half-hour episodes he describes podcast by Stefan Eberlein, how the Federal Republic simply tried to ignore the illegal programs of the USA. El-Masri, who subsequently became paranoid about persecution and also committed crimes, now lives traumatized and under precarious circumstances in Graz. “He’s – and that’s not just from a legal point of view – hopelessly screwed,” says his former lawyer. And so Eberlein’s podcast not only documents a frustrating piece of contemporary history, but also a frustrating piece of the present: To date, no one has apologized to el-Masri. Moritz Baumsteiger

The spy in our phones


The Pegasus software has revolutionized digital surveillance. It enables security agencies to take full control of smartphones unnoticed and helps prevent terrorism and crime. But many states use Pegasus as a weapon against other enemies: human rights activists, members of the opposition and journalists. This is shown by research into an international cooperation in which the Time was involved. The software from the Israeli company NSO Group was misused on a massive scale to restrict human rights, freedom and democracy. In the podcast “The spy in our cell phones” reporters from the investigative department talk about Time and time online of how the spyware was exposed. The podcast relies on dialogic storytelling between podcast editor Jannis Carmesin and changing colleagues. The victims have their say in recordings, as do the inventors of the software and their opponents; These are, for example, researchers from the University of Toronto, who are playing a game of rabbits and hedgehogs with the manufacturers of the spy software. The first episode revolves around the murder of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi. It’s a thriller made even more incomprehensible, gripping and frightening by the sober voices of the narrators. So much so that you want to throw your iPhone out the window. Daniela Gorgs

Dark Matters


“The secrets of the secret services” is the subtitle of the podcast produced by Bose Park Productions for SWR and RBB. The host Eva-Maria Lemke describes ten prominent cases of terrorism and the threat to internal security with the support of the ARD secret service experts Michael Götschenberg and Holger Schmidt: In the opening sequence, the putsch attempt by Reich citizens around Heinrich XIII. Prince Reuss in focus, the further course is about the NSA wiretapping scandal, the kidnapping of the German freighter Hansa Stavanger by Somali pirates and the right-wing extremist network to which Bundeswehr officer Franco A. belonged. In all of these cases, at least one German secret service is investigating. Sometimes the intelligence services do a good job, sometimes they don’t. Above all, Götschenberg and Schmidt classify things in their sober, distant way, which is a pleasant counterpoint to the sometimes sardonic Eva-Maria Lemke. There is a separate background discussion for each episode, which explains how the respective services work in principle, what powers they have – and how they work together and against each other. Very enlightening. Stephen Fisher

Agents & Spies


What spy technology does the CIA use? How does nuclear espionage work? And how do you sabotage enemy networks? The Spotify original podcast “Agents & Spies” gets to the bottom of these questions. In the storytelling project produced by Parcast, hosts Tobias Zwior and Mila Weidelhofer retell history’s greatest espionage cases. It’s about Sidney Reilly, a British secret agent with Ukrainian roots, who became a legend mainly through his affairs and his extravagant lifestyle and is considered the inspiration for James Bond. Or Alan Turing, whose theories helped develop “thinking machines” and who managed to decode German radio traffic. Or about Mark Felt aka “Deep Throat”, who reported the illegal activities of the Nixon administration to the FBI and thus triggered the Watergate affair. Accompanied by acoustic effects, the podcast enters a hidden intermediate world and creates a scary, exciting audio book experience. Certainly nothing to fall asleep to, but the podcast is guaranteed to keep you on the ball from start to finish. Livia Lergenmuller


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