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Teufelsberg NSA Listening Station
Germany

From Wikipedia, Teufelsberg. (2011, November 20). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 19:57, November 21, 2011, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Teufelsberg&oldid=461586049

The Teufelsberg (German for Devil's Mountain) is a hill in Berlin, Germany, in former West Berlin. It rises about 80 meters above the surrounding Brandenburg plain, more precisely the north of Berlin's Grunewald forest. It is an artificial hill with a curious history: it was built by the Allies after the Second World War from the rubble of Berlin during the following twenty years as the city was rebuilt. One estimate for the amount of rubble is about 12 million cubic meters, or about 400,000 buildings. It is as high as the highest natural hill (Großer Müggelberg) in the Berlin area.[1] Teufelsberg's origin does not in itself make Teufelsberg unique, as there are many similar man-made rubble mounds in Germany (see Schuttberg) and other war-torn cities of Europe. The curiousness begins with what is buried underneath the hill: a Nazi military-technical college designed by Albert Speer. The Allies tried using explosives to demolish the school, but it was so sturdy that covering it with debris turned out to be easier.

Listening station

The US National Security Agency (NSA) built one of its largest listening stations on top of the hill, rumored to be part of the global ECHELON intelligence gathering network. "The Hill", as it was known colloquially by the many American soldiers who worked there around the clock and who commuted there from their quarters in the American Sector, was located in the British Sector. Prior to establishing the first permanent buildings there in the very late 1950s, Mobile Allied listening units had driven to various other locales throughout West Berlin hoping to gain the best vantage point for listening to Soviet, East German, and other Warsaw Pact nations military traffic. One such unit drove to the top of Teufelsberg and discovered a marked improvement in listening ability. This discovery eventually led to a large structure being built atop the hill, which would come to be run by the NSA (National Security Agency). At the request of US government, the ski lifts were removed because they allegedly disturbed the signals. The station continued to operate until the fall of East Germany and the Berlin Wall, but after that the station was closed and the equipment removed. The buildings and radar domes still remain in place. During the NSA Operations some other curious things happened: It was noticed that during certain times the reception of the radio signals was better than during the rest of the year. The 'culprit' was found after a while: it was the Ferris wheel of the annual German-American Festival on the Hüttenweg in Zehlendorf. From then on, the Ferris wheel was left standing for some time after the festival was over. While there were rumors that the Americans had excavated a shaft down into the ruins beneath, that was never proven, and was likely based on reports that those who maintained equipment in one of the first enclosed antenna structures accessed the upper levels of the inflated dome via an airlock that led to a "tunnel" that was embedded in the structures central column. Speculation as to what might have existed within the highly restricted area frequently gave rise to rather elaborate but false rumors; one theory stated that "the tunnel" was an underground escape route. In the 1990s, as Berlin experienced an economic boom after German reunification, a group of investors bought the former listening station area from the City of Berlin with the intention to build hotels and apartments. There was talk of preserving the listening station as a spy museum. Berlin's building boom produced a glut of buildings, however, and the Teufelsberg project became unprofitable. The construction project was then aborted. As of the early 2000s, there has been talk of the city buying back the hill. However, this is unlikely, as the area is encumbered with a mortgage of nearly 50 million dollars. Recently the site has been vandalized heavily since the company abandoned the project. Following the announcement of plans to raze the facility and reforest the hill,[2] talk of preserving the facility resurfaced in 2009, spearheaded by the Field Station Berlin Veterans Group, which hopes to have the memorial named in honor of Major Arthur D. Nicholson, the last military Cold War casualty, the U.S. Military Liaison Mission tour officer who was shot and killed by a Russian sentry near Ludwigslust on March 24, 1985.[3] After no further construction was done after 2004, in 2006 the hilltop was categorized as forest in the land use plan of Berlin, thereby eliminating the possibility of building.[4]

Copyright: Florian Kraemer
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Uploaded: 05/11/2011
Updated: 16/10/2014
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Tags: teufelsberg; listening station; nsa; urban exploration; abandoned; decay
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