Connect with us

Americas

Similarities Between Life Under Former USSR KGB, East German STASI, and US COPS Program

Published

on

Even a cursory and abbreviated view of life and conditions of the People living under East Germany’s secret police STASI, the former USSR’s KGB, and under the modern day United States after 1994 under Joseph Biden and Bill Clinton’s Community-Oriented Policing (“COPS”) program, will demonstrate in a glaring and obvious fashion the similar living conditions under those repressive regimes.

All 3 of these systems of secret police governance, founded under the supervision and aegis of the country’s secret society Freemasonic Brotherhood, came during a time when a belief in God was at its all-time low, and when the economy was purposefully destroyed by the Plutocrats of its day in conjunction with their greedy Central Banker systems, who hoarded away cash and liquidity from the economy and its people so that they were left with very little, if anything, to buy and sell goods with, or to just basically live, eat, and pay their bills and rent.

The plutocrats, fearing the masses, pressured their governing leaders to institute more and more repressive policing systems so that it would be easy to marginalize, jail, incarcerate, and even murder any “trouble makers” living in their societies.

This was obviously done to remove any threats or impediments to the continued looting, exploitation of, and enslavement of the nation’s resources, people, and labor force.

East German STASI

For example, in East Germany’s STASI headed by Markus Wolf, one of its main tasks was spying on the population, mainly through a vast network of citizens turned informants (“if you see something, say something” as per New York City’s subway signs and scattered throughout all of the United States post-911), and fighting any opposition by overt and covert measures, including hidden psychological destruction of dissidents (Zersetzung, literally meaning decomposition).

The STASI Ministry for State Security were responsible for (1) the surveillance of mail and telephone communications; (2) the reliability of the National People’s Army (Nationale Volksarmee, NVA) personnel; (3) secret, unofficial networks of informants within the NVA; (4) protection against “sabotage” or “espionage;” (5) analyzing garbage for any suspect western foods and/or materials; (6) protecting high government and party buildings and personnel; (7) surveillance of foreigners—particularly from the West – legally traveling or residing within the country, including the diplomatic community, tourists, and official guests; (8) provided personal security for the national leadership and maintaining and operating an internal secure communications system for the government; (9) enforcing the political security of East Germany; (10) its own penal system, distinct from that of the Ministry of the Interior, comprising prison camps for political dissidents, as opposed to criminal offenders.

As was stated above, the Stasi perfected the technique of psychological harassment of perceived enemies, in a process called Zersetzung – a term borrowed from chemistry which literally means “decomposition” or “biodegradation.”

The goal was to destroy secretly the self-confidence of people, for example by damaging their reputation, by organizing failures in their work, and by destroying their personal relationships.

The Stasi didn’t try to arrest every dissident.

It preferred to paralyze them, and it could do so because it had access to so much personal information and to so many institutions.

It was recognized that psychological harassment was far less likely to be recognized for what it was, so its victims, and their supporters, were less likely to be provoked into active resistance, given that they would often not be aware of the source of their problems, or even its exact nature.

Zersetzung was designed to side-track and “switch off” perceived enemies so that they would lose the will to continue any “inappropriate” activities.

Tactics employed under Zersetzung generally involved the disruption of the victim’s private or family life.

This often included psychological attacks, such as breaking into homes and subtly manipulating the contents, in a form of gaslighting – moving furniture, altering the timing of an alarm, removing pictures from walls or replacing one variety of tea with another.

Other practices included property damage, sabotage of cars, purposely incorrect medical treatment, smear campaigns including sending falsified compromising photos or documents to the victim’s family, denunciation, provocation, psychological warfare, psychological subversion, wiretapping, bugging, mysterious phone calls or unnecessary deliveries, even including sending a vibrator to a target’s wife.

Usually, victims had no idea that the Stasi were responsible.

Many thought that they were losing their minds, and mental breakdowns and suicide could result.

One great advantage of the harassment perpetrated under Zersetzung was that its subtle nature meant that it was able to be plausibly denied.

Former USSR’s KGB

It was Cold War policy for the KGB of the Soviet Union and the secret services of the satellite states to extensively monitor public and private opinion, internal subversion and possible revolutionary plots in the Soviet Bloc.

During the Cold War, the KGB actively sought to combat “ideological subversion” – anticommunist political and religious ideas and the dissidents who promoted them, which was generally dealt with as a matter of national security in discouraging the perceived influence of hostile foreign powers.

KGB dissident-group infiltration featured agents provocateur pretending “sympathy to the cause,” smear campaigns against prominent dissidents, and show trials – once imprisoned, the dissident endured constant KGB interrogations and sympathetic informant cell-mates.

Mikhail Gorbachev’s glasnost policies lessened persecution of political dissidents.

United States Community-Oriented Policing (“COPS”) Program

Community policing, or community-oriented policing, is a “strategy of policing that focuses on police building ties and working closely with members of the communities.”

In the United States, the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 written by former Senator Joseph Biden and enacted by then President Bill Clinton established the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (“COPS”) within the US Justice Department to promote “community policing,” implemented by illegal and unconstitutional coordination by and between the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection, local police departments, and others.

This has resulted in over 68 million Americans with criminal records, more than the population of France, with 1/3 of all Blacks, 1/6 of all Latinos, and 1/11 of all Whites in America having spent time under arrest and in prison, in violation of the US Constitution, without due process, without evidence, and without probable cause.

Community policing is a policy that requires police to inherit a “proactive approach” to address public safety concerns.

Community-oriented policing was a cornerstone of the Clinton Administration and gained its funding from the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act.

Community policing is a philosophy of full service personalized policing, where the same officer patrols and works in the same area on a permanent basis, from a decentralized place, working in a proactive partnership with citizens to identify and solve problems, ie, extensively using gang-stalking and informants.

Community policing creates unconstitutional partnerships between law enforcement agencies and other organizations like government agencies, community members, nonprofit service providers, private businesses and the media.

Common implementations of community-policing include: (1) Relying on community-based crime prevention by utilizing civilian education, neighborhood watch, and a variety of other techniques, as opposed to relying solely on police patrols; (2) Re-structuring patrol from an emergency response based system to emphasizing proactive techniques such as foot patrol; (3) Increased officer accountability to civilians they are supposed to serve; (4) Decentralizing the police authority, allowing more discretion amongst lower-ranking officers, and more initiative expected from them (extensive use of informants and gang-stalking techniques).

Continue Reading
Comments

Americas

Wendy Sherman’s China visit takes a terrible for the US turn

Published

on

Photo: Miller Center/ flickr

US Deputy Secretary of State, Wendy Sherman, had high hopes for the meeting in China. At first, the Chinese side did not agree to hold the meeting at all. The reaction had obvious reasons: Antony Blinken’s fiasco in Alaska left the Chinese disrespected and visibly irritated. This is not why they travelled all the way.

So then the State Department had the idea of sending Wendy Sherman instead. The US government actually needs China more than China needs the US. Sherman was in China to actually prepare the ground for Biden and a meeting between the two presidents, expecting a red carpet roll for Biden as if it’s still the 2000s — the time when it didn’t matter how the US behaved. Things did not go as expected.

Instead of red carpet talk, Sherman heard Dua Lipa’s “I got new rules”. 

That’s right — the Chinese side outlined three bottom lines warning the US to respect its system, development and sovereignty and territorial integrity. In other words, China wants to be left alone.

The bottom lines were not phrased as red lines. This was not a military conflict warning. This was China’s message that if any future dialogue was to take place, China needs to be left alone. China accused the US of creating an “imaginary enemy”. I have written about it before — the US is looking for a new Cold War but it doesn’t know how to start and the problem is that the other side actually holds all the cards

That’s why the US relies on good old militarism with an expansion into the Indo-Pacific, while aligning everyone against China but expecting the red carpet and wanting all else in the financial and economic domains to stay the same. The problem is that the US can no longer sell this because there are no buyers. Europeans also don’t want to play along.

The headlines on the meeting in the US press are less flattering than usual. If the US is serious about China policy it has to be prepared to listen to much more of that in the future. And perhaps to, yes, sit down and be humble.

Continue Reading

Americas

Why Jen Psaki is a well-masked Sean Spicer

Published

on

When Sarah Huckabee Sanders showed up on the scene as White House Press Secretary, the reaction was that of relief. Finally — someone civil, normal, friendly. Jen Psaki’s entry this year was something similar. People were ready for someone well-spoken, well-mannered, even friendly as a much welcome change from the string of liars, brutes or simply disoriented people that the Trump Administration seemed to be lining up the press and communications team with on a rolling basis. After all, if the face of the White House couldn’t keep it together for at least five minutes in public, what did that say about the overall state of the White House behind the scenes?

But Psaki’s style is not what the American media and public perceive it to be. Her style is almost undetectable to the general American public to the point that it could look friendly and honest to the untrained eye or ear. Diplomatic or international organization circles are perhaps better suited to catch what’s behind the general mannerism. Jen Psaki is a well-masked Sean Spicer, but a Sean Spicer nevertheless. I actually think she will do much better than him in Dancing With The Stars. No, in fact, she will be fabulous at Dancing With The Stars once she gets replaced as White House Press Secretary.

So let’s take a closer look. I think what remains undetected by the general American media is veiled aggression and can easily pass as friendliness. Psaki recently asked a reporter who was inquiring about the Covid statistics at the White House why the reporter needed that information because Psaki simply didn’t have that. Behind the brisk tone was another undertone: the White House can’t be questioned, we are off limits. But it is not and that’s the point. 

Earlier, right at the beginning in January, Psaki initially gave a pass to a member of her team when the Politico stunner reporter story broke out. The reporter was questioning conflict of interest matters, while the White House “stud” was convinced it was because he just didn’t chose her, cursing her and threatening her. Psaki sent him on holidays. Nothing to see here folks, move along.

Psaki has a level of aggression that’s above average, yet she comes across as one of the most measured and reasonable White House Press Secretaries of the decade. And that’s under pressure. But being able to mask that level of deflection is actually not good for the media because the media wants answers. Style shouldn’t (excuse the pun) trump answers. And being able to get away smoothly with it doesn’t actually serve the public well. Like that time she just walked away like it’s not a big deal. It’s the style of “as long as I say thank you or excuse me politely anything goes”. But it doesn’t. And the American public will need answers to some questions very soon. Psaki won’t be able to deliver that and it would be a shame to give her a pass just because of style.

I think it’s time that we start seeing Psaki as a veiled Sean Spicer. And that Dancing with the Stars show — I hope that will still run despite Covid.

Continue Reading

Americas

As Refugees Flee Central America, the Mexican Public Sours On Accepting Them

Published

on

Authors: Isabel Eliassen, Alianna Casas, Timothy S. Rich*

In recent years, individuals from Central America’s Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras) have been forced out of their home countries by extreme poverty and gang violence. While initial expectations were that the Lopez Obrador administration would be more welcoming to migrants, policies have slowly mirrored those of his predecessor, and do not seem to have deterred refugees. COVID-19 led to a decrease in refugees arriving in Mexico, and many shelters in Mexico closed or have limited capacity due to social distancing restrictions. Now that the COVID-19 situation has changed, arrivals could increase again to the levels seen in late 2018 or 2019, with overcrowded refugee centers lacking in medical care as potential grounds for serious COVID-19 outbreaks.

Mexico increasingly shares a similar view as the US on this migration issue, seeking ways to detain or deport migrants rather than supporting or protecting them. For instance, Mexico’s National Immigration Institute has been conducting raids on freight trains to find and detain migrants. Public opinion likely shapes these policies. In the US, support for allowing migrants into the country appeared to increase slightly from 2018 to 2019, but no significant majority emerges. Meanwhile, Mexican public opinion increasingly exhibits anti-immigrant sentiments, declining considerably since 2018, with a 2019 Washington Post poll showing that 55% supported deporting Central Americans rather than providing temporary residence and a 2019 El Financiero poll finding 63% supportive of closing to border to curb migration.

New Data Shows the Mexican Public Unwelcoming

To gauge Mexican public opinion on refugees, we conducted an original web survey June 24-26 via Qualtrics, using quota sampling. We asked 625 respondents to evaluate the statement “Mexico should accept refugees fleeing from Central America” on a five-point Likert scale from strongly disagree to strongly agree. For visual clarity, we combined disagree and agree categories in the figure below.

Overall, a plurality (43.84%) opposed accepting refugees, with less than a third (30.08%) supportive. Broken down by party affiliation, we see similar results, with the largest opposition from the main conservative party PAN (52.90%) and lowest in the ruling party MORENA (41.58%). Broken down by gender, we find women slightly more supportive compared to men (32.60% vs. 27.04%), consistent with findings elsewhere and perhaps acknowledgment that women and children historically comprise a disproportionate amount of refugees. Regression analysis again finds PAN supporters to be less supportive than other respondents, although this distinction declines once controlling for gender, age, education and income, of which only age corresponded with a statistically significant decline in support. It is common for older individuals to oppose immigration due to generational changes in attitude, so this finding is not unexpected.

We also asked the question “On a 1-10 scale, with 1 being very negative and 10 very positive, how do you feel about the following countries?” Among countries listed were the sources of the Central American refugees, the three Northern Triangle countries. All three received similar average scores (Guatemala: 4.33, Honduras: 4.05, El Salvador: 4.01), higher than Venezuela (3.25), but lower than the two other countries rated (US: 7.71, China: 7.26) Yet, even after controlling for general views of the Central American countries, we find the public generally unsupportive of accepting refugees.

How Should Mexico Address the Refugee Crisis?

Towards the end of the Obama administration, aid and other efforts directed at resolving the push factors for migration in Central America, including decreasing violence and limiting corruption, appeared to have some success at reducing migration north. President Trump’s policies largely did not improve the situation, and President Biden has begun to reverse those policies and re-implement measures successful under Obama.

As discussed in a meeting between the Lopez Obrador administration and US Vice President Kamala Harris, Mexico could adopt similar aid policies, and decreasing the flow of migrants may make the Mexican public respond more positively to accepting migrants. Lopez Obrador committed to increased economic cooperation with Central America days into his term, with pledges of aid as well, but these efforts remain underdeveloped. Threats to cut aid expedite deportations only risks worsening the refugee crisis, while doing little to improve public opinion.

Increasingly, the number of family units from Guatemala and Honduras seeking asylum in Mexico, or the United States, represents a mass exodus from Central America’s Northern Triangle to flee insecurity. Combating issues such as extreme poverty and violence in Central American countries producing the mass exodus of refugees could alleviate the impact of the refugee crisis on Mexico. By alleviating the impact of the refugee crisis, refugees seeking asylum will be able to navigate immigration processes easier thus decreasing tension surrounding the influx of refugees.

Likewise, identifying the public’s security and economic concerns surrounding refugees and crafting a response should reduce opposition. A spokesperson for Vice President Harris stated that border enforcement was on the agenda during meetings with the Lopez Obrador administration, but the Mexican foreign minister reportedly stated that border security was not to be addressed at the meeting. Other than deporting migrants at a higher rate than the US, Mexico also signed an agreement with the US in June pledging money to improve opportunities for work in the Northern Triangle. Nonetheless, questions about whether this agreement will bring meaningful change remain pertinent in the light of a worsening crisis.

Our survey research shows little public interest in accepting refugees. Public sentiment is unlikely to change unless the Lopez Obrador administration finds ways to both build sympathy for the plights of refugees and address public concerns about a refugee crisis with no perceived end in sight. For example, research in the US finds public support for refugees is often higher when the emphasis is on women and children, and the Lopez Obrador administration could attempt to frame the crisis as helping specifically these groups who historically comprise most refugees. Likewise, coordinating efforts with the US and other countries may help portray to the public that the burden of refugee resettlement is being equitably shared rather than disproportionately placed on Mexico.

Facing a complex situation affecting multiple governments requires coordinated efforts and considerable resources to reach a long-term solution. Until then, the Central American refugee crisis will continue and public backlash in Mexico likely increase.

Isabel Eliassen is a 2021 Honors graduate of Western Kentucky University. She triple majored in International Affairs, Chinese, and Linguistics.

Alianna Casas is an Honors Undergraduate Researcher at Western Kentucky University, majoring in Business Economics, Political Science, and a participant in the Joint Undergraduate/Master’s Program in Applied Economics.

Timothy S. Rich is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Western Kentucky University and Director of the International Public Opinion Lab (IPOL). His research focuses on public opinion and electoral politics.

Funding for this survey was provided by the Mahurin Honors College at Western Kentucky University.

Continue Reading

Publications

Latest

Trending