Monday, May 03, 2021

Past as prelude

Americans and Brits living in their respective surveillance societies would do well to learn from the East Germans, whose Stasi were a precursor to today's social media thought police:

1) They Were Gaslighting before It Was a Thing

The Stasi were prolific gaslighters. In the 1950s, repression was brutal, physical torture. Early in the 1970s, eager to be accepted on the international stage, the East German Secret Police had to get more subtle. The aim of Zersetzung (a repurposed military term meaning disintegration or corrosion) was to “switch off” any activist individuals and groups who might threaten the Party. Police collected medical, school, and police records, interviews with neighbors and relatives, and any other evidence they could get and would then customize a direct hit on an individual’s mental health.

If someone looked like he might challenge the Communist Party’s legitimacy or control, the Stasi systematically destroyed his life. They used blackmail, social shame, threats, and torture. Careers, reputations, relationships, and lives were exploded to destabilize and delegitimize a critic. Some forms of harassment were almost comical: agents spread rumors about their targets, flooded their mailboxes with pornography, moved things around in their apartments, or deflated their bicycle tires day after day. Others were life-altering: Individuals labeled as subversives were banned from higher education, forced into unemployment, and forcibly committed to asylums. Many suffered long-term psychological trauma, loss of earnings, and intense social shame as a result of Stasi lies.

2) They Were (Almost) Everywhere

The Stasi had 91,000 employees at its peak—roughly one in every 30 residents was a Stasi agent. More than one in three East Germans (5.6 million) was under suspicion or surveillance, with an open Stasi file. Another half million were feeding the Stasi information. This level of surveillance and infiltration caused East Germans to live in terror—you really never knew if you could trust anyone—though most had no idea of the scope of these activities until after the Berlin Wall fell.

3) They Kept a Crazy Amount of (Meticulous) Records

Stasi files laid out together would cover about 69 sq. miles. Recording detailed personal information on a third of the populace required a tremendous amount of paper. More pages of printed text were generated by the Stasi than by all German authors from the Middle Ages to WWII. Thousands of citizens were targeted as anti-government “trouble makers,” their homes were searched, phones and cars—if they were lucky enough to have either—were bugged, their letters opened and copied, and their movements secretly filmed or photographed. Every document went into a personal Stasi file. So far, hundreds of millions of files, 39 million index cards, 1.75 million photographs, 2,800 reels of film and 28,400 audio recordings have been recovered from Stasi archives. Millions more were shredded before they could be made public.

The deplatformings and ritual denouncings of today are the modern equivalent of the Zersetzung. Remember, everything you do is now recorded and will be used against you, so don't fool yourself into thinking otherwise.

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Blogger bramley bramley bramley May 03, 2021 6:54 AM  

The Lives of Others is a great illustration of this system. It's quite horrific. Yet modern surveillance is even more pervasive and all the more subtle, as the totality of our data, whether suspected of any crime or not, is in the hands of state security agencies plus advertising corporations who will sell it to any bidder. And it will never end, unlike the DDR.

Blogger Doktor Jeep May 03, 2021 6:56 AM  

What if everybody practiced their own hypersurveillance, SIGINT, electronic monitoring, etc?

Imagine if you catch your neighbor letting the air out of your bike tires. There is a lot of at-hand tech. Look at how the weaponized autism division at /pol has shown to be a step ahead of the feds and media.

Waiting and begging for a government to protect us certainly is not working.

Blogger Olga May 03, 2021 7:14 AM  

Protestant Christians in the Soviet Union, among others, were treated similarly. Among them was created a culture of "If this is what the state is capable of, imagine the records that God keeps. And he has the power of the second death of the the soul. Whom, then, should we fear?"

Blogger Lazarus May 03, 2021 7:34 AM  

Three million individuals have applied to see their records, with decidedly mixed results. Many former subjects of Stasi investigation or surveillance found out only from these files—20 years later—that their parents, children, spouses, or lifelong friends had been informing against them.

Keep this in mind at the next family gathering or when you be chillin' with yer Buds.

Blogger Balkan Yankee May 03, 2021 7:43 AM  

Even if your online behavior is pristine, TPTB can and will plant lies and hammer you that way.

Blogger [Redacted] May 03, 2021 7:44 AM  

Remember Ephesians 6, and that the greatest protection is a moral life in service to God. The Stasi didn't last half a century, and the current surveillance tech hinges on globalized supply chains that are falling apart. Only those lacking faith have a reason to fear, and fear does not come from God.

Blogger shadohand (akuma sock account# 7373636 ...crazy only responds to crazy) May 03, 2021 8:05 AM  

"What if everybody practiced their own hypersurveillance, SIGINT, electronic monitoring, etc?"

The only people this works with are people who do the same thing. People you are going to catch doing anything are already of the unreasonably imprudent variety so they will notice you running any surveillance operation
,even if they are just imagining it. They will then ramp up the harassment tactics.

That means they will increase plausibly deniable suspicious activity ten fold. People like that are extremely good at running group level harassment, that doesn't cross the line. It's why Gangstalking is a thing. It's something one has to experience to understand.

Oh and the Authorities will side with the perps because only a Disgruntled Mentally Ill Paranoid Spectrum Lone Wolf Anti-Government Individual (that's the standard narrative) would go to those levels of surveillance to protect themselves, and their loved ones.

Come on Man Didn't you get the memo? This is The Real World and everyone is your friend and if you think otherwise, well it's time to see a Psychiatrist. YOU must be losing your mind and going crazy. Even if you have mounds of evidence to the contrary you will be disbelieved and the perps will be allowed to run rampant. Cause you know, "This is America and that would never happen here!" I'm speaking from experience btw.

Blogger Avalanche May 03, 2021 8:17 AM  

@7 "the Authorities will side with the perps because only a Disgruntled Mentally Ill Paranoid Spectrum Lone Wolf Anti-Government Individual"

Sorry, you've mis-spelled a word in the label they are already using, everywhere for anyone. That should be spelled:

...Disgruntled Mentally Ill Paranoid Spectrum Lone Wolf Anti-Government TERRORIST

Blogger Bernard Korzeniewicz May 03, 2021 8:51 AM  

Stasi had 30% citizens recorded as "the informant". I do not know how much of it was faked, but the East Germans supported their Stasi.
To compare - in commie Poland there were 70 000 informants for 35 000 000 citisens = 0,2% of population supported the oppresors.

Blogger Canadian Warlord May 03, 2021 8:57 AM  

It would be curious enough similarities, without the personified link of Marcus Wolf - hired by homeland security.

The spectre of Islamic terror turns many wheels, including normalizing the surveillance of all US citizens.

Just think - Angela Merkel emerged from that muck. All they wanted was blue jeans and volkswagens, instead they got nazi uniforms and trabants. So far our consumer choices are being narrowed in entertainment only.

The cultural war is quite central here as that's where the stazism is entering from.

Blogger Enjcj May 03, 2021 9:15 AM  

So this is just saying embrace the conflict because they're coming for you anyway?

Blogger Doktor Jeep May 03, 2021 9:58 AM  

It should be noted that something like a Stasi works best in homogenized societies and in particular Germans. The part about meticulous paperwork was no surprise.
You wont get as much Stasi in say the black community where "snitches get stiches".
I dont think the browns are as apt to spy on each other either. They can't even fight their own cartels. But look at what they do to informants. Its gruesome.
Asians you can forget it.

But goody two-shoes cuckwhites? Certainly. And with fervor and glee too.
The rest of the whites have to realize that yes, it's an actual war, and yes they want you dead.
Across racial lines a Stasi in the US will be easy on motivation but difficult in practice. They would be more than happy, as much as a cuckwhites even, to rat whites out. The nons are already brainwashed to hate and condemn whites, so any nons trying to be a friend of whites should be viewed with suspicion. Trying to be friends with any of them is probably foolish at this point. Just smile, talk about sports and weather, and that's it.
Sorry things have to be this way. But it is what it is.

Blogger Jab Burrwalky May 03, 2021 10:10 AM  

Open war is upon you, whether you would risk it or not.

Blogger Raker_T May 03, 2021 10:29 AM  

@11 YES! That's been my take for awhile anyway.
@6 You are a ray of light. Some of these comments are 'interesting' to say the least. I've had a number of strange encounters over the years; don't talk a lot about it because I don't want to diminish what credibility I have. Some thoughts, in no particular order:
I can tell you of a certainty that some gang stalking has a dark supernatural element to it; they don't need cameras and microphones. I think the end goal is for their leader, the adversary, to be omniscient, cuz he's a wannabe god. "Resist the devil and he will flee'
The whole surveillance apparatus relies on amoral and immoral people, and technology that has limits. Then there are those who make coin by turning molehills into mountains. Bar codes and RFID are examples. There is so much exploitation of fear, and it plays into their hands.
What ever happened to the "Oh yeah? Well WATCH THIS!" attitude? You wanna watch me? Let's rock baby. This dork loves a captive audience. Think about the poor souls assigned to surveillance. Watching hours and HOURS of ultra boring research and repair stuff. No TV for me, heck, they would need multiple shifts to get through each day.
That's just the part they can comprehend. Where it gets fun is to thrown in quirky things with no apparent explanation. If I can pass along nothing else here, remember this one thing: I'm vastly outnumbered (on a horizontal level) by them. They have more personnel,more technology, and more experience, all funded by the government debt. (Having to live withing our means would have solved so many problems.) So I can't know exactly what their up to. Annnnnd, THE LEAST I CAN DO IS TO RETURN THE FAVOR. Folks, we are a creative, innovative people, but we don't use it. Damn! We could have them in a mental tailspin if some of us just did inexplicable things here and there.
Over at SG, I suggested we start "Left Handed Mondays". That's just a fun practical thing to make yourself more ambidextrous. I do it when I can remember, which is often on Tuesdays, but oh well. Anyway, why not Faraday Fridays? A number of us put our phones in Faraday bags or boxes, just for the heck of it. Let them do mental contortions figuring out who, if any, among us are up to anything.
"The world is a stage". Indeed baby, let's act. Or not. maybe. I mean I just talk about this stuff, no need to take me seriously.

Blogger Iron Spartan May 03, 2021 10:41 AM  

Its going to get worse long before it gets better. It will be interesting to see how far the pendulum swings the other direction after the Fall of the west.

Blogger Fargoth May 03, 2021 11:06 AM  

Makes one wonder how the drug networks are tapped for surveillence work. The umderground drug trade is so massively pervasive in the US that it boggles the mind; it's easy to imagine offenders being recruited for infotmant work on more than just substance trafficking-related matters.

Academia, too, is doubtlessly full of individuals willing to perform these kinds of activities. Already used to living on government funds, easily brainwashed, and likely immigrants.

The question is who does all this serve? Who would be at the wheel of all this activity?

Blogger Jeroth May 03, 2021 11:24 AM  

When Trump and Pence kept saying "America will never become a socialist country" before the election, I always thought it had a "the lady doth protest too much" feel to it.

Blogger DeepThought May 03, 2021 11:29 AM  

The US will be worse. Technology allows them to gather more and more data

Blogger MichaelJMaier May 03, 2021 11:46 AM  

There's no one I trust to STFU about anything. People talk, they cannot help themselves. I have had people tell me things they really shouldn't have, for their own legal good. And I realized if I was anyone else, I'd've run my mouth to others about it.

Keep your yap SHUT, folks. OpSec isn't just for the military and everyone is a leak.

Blogger lynnjynh9315 May 03, 2021 12:41 PM  

I'm curious about that. There's a large community of slavic protestants here in the Ozarks. How did Protestantism even wind up in Eastern Europe? Did the West proselytize them?

Blogger The Last Roman May 03, 2021 12:52 PM  

The only things that make the disintegration of the West tolerable to me are: I am past my prime, I don't have much left to live for, I know dozens of communists from my time in academia, and I'm heavily armed

Blogger Kettlebells are my friend May 03, 2021 1:41 PM  

Everything electronic is recorded and processed by AI to generate a detailed record of the minutia of the lives of everyone in the Western world.

Blogger Akulkis May 03, 2021 1:56 PM  

>> What if everybody practiced their own hypersurveillance, SIGINT, electronic monitoring, etc?

Those are all team sports, not individual sports. Even signals security requires the other parties you are communicating with to have compatible equipment.

Blogger Elder Son May 03, 2021 2:02 PM  

Speaking of which: Intelligence Surveillance Aircraft Has Been Circling AZ Audit Location And Collecting Information On American Citizens Working For Election Integrity

Spy Plane Identified Circling the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum Where the Election Audit Is Taking Place – What’s Going On?

Blogger Matamoros May 03, 2021 2:45 PM  

Angela Merkel was a Stasi agent. Says a lot that supposed "free" West Germany would elect her.

Blogger LES May 03, 2021 3:20 PM  

Biden administration wants to use third-party ‘extremism’ researchers to spy on Americans

Blogger LES May 03, 2021 3:31 PM  

“And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?... The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin's thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If...if...We didn't love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation.... We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.”
― Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn , The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956

Blogger Elder Son May 03, 2021 3:53 PM  

Commenting on Vox's blog is... OPSEC!

@22 said it.

Blogger SciVo May 03, 2021 5:37 PM  

My general philosophy is that if I act quirky but harmless, then that is how I will pigeonholed. Yes, I know, "security through obscurity" is a joke. But I'm just too lazy to do it the right way.

And they cannot read minds, so they will have no idea when it goes from "blah bleh blah" to "if I would go to prison for a mostly peaceful protest, then I might as well go to prison for something really worth it."

Blogger Arizona May 03, 2021 7:20 PM  

Curious thing about human nature is it's predictive behavior rarely gets acted upon before a horrible price is paid to incentivize remedial action.Either the heat of the stove isn't turned up fast enough or no one wants to hop off of it until others begin to. Historically speaking the rare exceptions being those few who pack their bags and get on the boat to healthier climes before they're packed into cattle cars for transport to extermination camps.

Blogger Based Boomer May 03, 2021 8:05 PM  

Apparently, before Luther, there was Jan Hus. It might have something to do with that?

Blogger Kevin Smith May 03, 2021 8:46 PM  

Great link. Thanks.

Blogger Kevin Smith May 03, 2021 9:03 PM  

By which I meant @26 LES:

Blogger Kevin Smith May 03, 2021 9:13 PM  

You might be interested in Catherine Austin Fitts article "Narco-dollars for Beginners" then consider
in that context.

Blogger SciVo May 04, 2021 1:04 AM  

Oh and just for the precious boasters, let me be clear: a secret is something that only one person knows. So the instant you tell someone, your boast is false. You cannot be honest and effective and also tell anyone else about it.

Blogger Jeff Schmidt May 04, 2021 2:29 AM  

Yes Lutherans sent missionaries to the Baltic states.

Also of note is that PM Viktor Orban is a Calvinist and Calvinism has been a plurality in Hungary for some time. This gives me hope that an illeberal Protestantism is indeed possible in the post-modern era.

Blogger Jeff Schmidt May 04, 2021 2:32 AM  

Am hopeful that encrypted apps like Proton Mail & Telegram will help against the incipient totalitarianism.

Also people really deep into radical politics should learn about communicating with One Time Pads.

Blogger lynnjynh9315 May 04, 2021 7:51 AM  

This gives me hope that an illeberal Protestantism is indeed possible in the post-modern era.

Precisely. Ex-soviets are a good white pill. Bad shit will happen, but we'll become spiritually stronger.

Blogger Valar Addemmis May 04, 2021 11:29 AM  

Jeff in OR wrote:Also people really deep into radical politics should learn about communicating with One Time Pads.

If you can securely transmit your One Time Pad, you can use the same secure channel to transmit your messages.

Any crypto with a modern algorithm (although I avoid ECC type stuff in case it's backdoored through magic numbers) *where you control your own key* should be reasonably secure enough. If you're worried about keylogging plain text on your end, that would affect OTP communications as well.

Blogger Akulkis May 07, 2021 8:27 PM  

>> If you can securely transmit your One Time Pad, you can use the same secure channel to transmit your messages.

Anything other than hand delivery is NOT completely secure.

Blogger Akulkis May 07, 2021 8:30 PM  

>> Yes, I know, "security through obscurity" is a joke. But I'm just too lazy to do it the right way.

All forms of encryption and secret codes are really just forms of security through obscurity. Because keys are just passwords.

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