Obama wins German transparency award

Tim Cavanaugh Contributor
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A German marketing consultant has awarded President Obama a “transparency award,” highlighting Obama’s role in the NSA affair.

The award is apparently not a joke.

Sven Lilienström, a self-described guerrilla marketer in Kaarst, a town outside Düsseldorf in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, announced Tuesday that he “would like to present Obama with the massive, almost 6-kg gold trophy in February 2014 in Washington.” At the current gold price, the award would have a melt value of $241,921.50.

“The Transparency Award for Exceptional Merits for President Obama is no satire,” Lilienström told The Daily Caller in an email. “The initiative Seniorensiegel Deutschland is fully independent. We pursue no political objectives. The Transparent Company seal is new, so President Obama is the first person who receives the ‘Transparency Award for Exceptional Merits.’ We would like to inform you before the presentation.”

“As the first person in the world, US President Barack Obama is to receive the ‘Transparency Award for Exceptional Merits’ of the initiative Seniorensiegel Deutschland in recognition of his diplomatic efforts as a mediator in the NSA affair and his courageous announcement of measures for more transparency in the US intelligence services,” Lilienström’s company Seniorensiegel Deutschland said in an English-language press release.

“It’s completely natural that intelligence services operate behind closed doors,” Lilienström said in the release. “We are very pleased that these doors are now open a tiny bit and we are proud to award President Barack Obama with the Transparency Award for Exceptional Merits for his announcement of measures to create more transparent conditions in the National Security Agency.”

Relations between the United States and the Republic of Germany crashed last fall after revelations in the Edward Snowden documents that the National Security Agency had been spying on the private phone of Chancellor Angela Merkel. Obama gave a speech on surveillance policy Friday that combined soaring rhetoric with almost no practical action. The speech was panned by the ACLU and received a tepid response from Merkel’s office. (RELATED: Obama praises NSA’s mission and people, as he sets new curbs)

Lilienström declined to address the Merkel issue, nor did he explain how a marketing consultant could afford to make a quarter-million-dollar gold trophy. Germany repatriated 37 tons of gold in 2013 and hopes to bring back 700 tons by 2020.

A Google translation of Lilienström’s biography says he is an expert in innovative marketing and PR strategies who holds a master’s degree in global management from the University of Applied Sciences in Koblenz. Lilienström’s professional highlight: “Responsible planning, organization and coordination of a live TV appearance by superstar LADY GAGA in Berlin with subsequent reporting in all media around the globe.”

Obama has already won the Nobel Peace Prize.

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