We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Examining the Stasi, Seeing the NSA

Click here to access article by Elizabeth Murray from ConsortiumNews.

After a group of former intelligence officers in the spy services of the US and Britain toured a Stasi museum in the former East Germany (German Democratic Republic), they commented on their observations. Here are two: 
Annie Machon, a ... former MI5 officer who lived in exile for three years after blowing the whistle on MI5 illegalities along with her then-partner David Shayler, commented that the techniques used by the Stasi “brought back a lot of memories for me from the 1990s. Despite it being the analog [versus digital] era, it was startling how much personal data they could capture — and how much worse it is now for all of us.”
Former FBI Special Agent Coleen Rowley ... commented that “what jumped out at me from that [Stasi Museum] tour in comparing all the excessive spying on the personal lives of citizens and oppression and abuse during that period of East German history was that — despite the use of different ideologies, religions and loyalty groups, and despite the use of new spy technologies — what remains constant is this form of ‘control-freak’ perceived need for domination.

“Those in power do tend to be ‘true believers’ in their own noble cause justifying their terribly wrongful, illegal methods.”

Rowley added that current “FBI-CIA methods against the Muslim community in the United States are not much different [from Stasi tactics], most likely also assisted by intelligence unlawfully gained through electronic surveillance to extort and coerce collusion.”
However, I think that authorities in the former East Germany had much more of an excuse to engage in such activities than their counterparts today in the Empire. They were very much under the threat of subversive activities from the West. Thus, their police state activities were purely defensive. This is not to justify such activities, but given the aggressive activities and intentions from the West, it is much more understandable.