STASI – American Style

After the Berlin Wall came down, many residents of the former East Germany learned that they had been spied on by the Ministry for State Security (“STASI”). A combination of the secret police, intelligence service and bureau for investigations of political criminal cases, this organized network of government informants numbered almost ninety thousand people, one out of every 30 East Germans.

A similar network still exists in present day Cuba and is known as the Committee for the Defense of the Revolution, with chapters on each block, charged with turning in their neighbors for such heinous crimes as buying rice and beans on the black market or selling a used washing machine without a government permit. How far away are we from this system in this country?

Consider the following transcript from the Morning Edition show on National Public Radio on January 5, 2022:

NPR host “A” Martinez: In the days after the attack on the U.S. Capital, an informal community started coming together online to identify people who took part. These amateur sleuths have come to be known as “Sedition Hunters.” And they’ve been a big help to the police. NPR’s Odette Yousef is here to tell us more. Odette, all right, Sedition Hunters has a HGTV reality show vibe to it. Who are they?

Correspondent Yousef: (Laughter) Well, at the beginning it seemed like they were everybody with a laptop, a free hour, and some outrage over what they witnessed over live television last January.”

The interview continues with conversations with the actual Sedition Hunters themselves. Yousef cheerfully admitted that, “In the beginning, there were mistakes. Some people were incorrectly identified as being at the Capital.”

In other words, these endearing amateur sleuths falsely accused people of crimes. Another Sedition Hunter, who would only give her first name (“Mary”), said she “investigated” all members of the Oath Keepers (the right wing activist group) “who showed up that day, regardless of whether they entered the Capital or committed a crime.” Interestingly, several of the people interviewed don’t even live in the United States. One was identified as “a German American living in Switzerland.” None seem to have been the least bit bothered by turning innocent people-who they admit had committed no crime-into the FBI for investigation.

This zeal to be a Junior G-man, a government informant, is reflected in the number of “tips” the FBI January 6 hotline received in the first 30 days it was operational: 200,000. This meant there were 100 “Sedition Hunters” for every protester.

It would also refute the insistence by many commentators that the amateur sleuths had to make “regrettable” “painful,” “agonizing,” “anguished,” “upsetting” decisions on whether to turn someone into the feds. (All these adjectives were used to describe how people struggled with their conscience before “dropping a dime” on someone. Yeah, right!)

If you were appalled and shocked by January 6 you should be just as appalled by the travesty of the disruption of Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation process. Not only were the hearings repeatedly interrupted by screaming protesters, but at one point the Hart Senate Office was occupied by protesters, who also had to be physically removed just like those disrupting testimony in Capital hearing rooms. (“Anti-Kavanaugh Protesters take over Senate Building,” CBS News, 10/4/2018). Later protesters forced their way into the actual U.S. Senate Chamber while the roll call confirmation vote was proceeding. Their shrieks from the Gallery and pounding on the doors to the Senate Floor can be heard in the audio of the vote on C-Span and all the other networks. The anti-Kavanaugh protesters also confronted individual senators in their offices and the Senate corridors and upbraided them to vote against the nominee.

Finally, another mob tried to force its way into the Supreme Court Building to stop Kavanaugh’s swearing in after his confirmation. All told, at least 700 anti-Kavanaugh protesters disrupted the confirmation process, which, after all, is an important government proceeding, just like certifying electoral college votes.

As infuriating as these actions were, none of the Kavanaugh protesters has faced multiple felony counts for actions virtually the same as those charged for the January 6 protests!

None has been held in a special political offender’s jail for years without trial. None has been imprisoned in appalling conditions, without medical care, sanitary conditions, and in solitary confinement. None was preemptively labeled a white supremacist leaving them at the mercy of sadistic prison guards. None was submitted to such an ordeal that their lives were destroyed, and they committed suicide. Nor should they have been, as obnoxious as they were. I only ask why the Left thinks it’s funny that the 6th protesters have been subjected to an unending nightmare for the same behavior as the Kavanaugh protesters that was ignored.

At least the amateur sleuth’s or Sedition Hunters’ (one such group called itself the “Deep State Dogs”- cute!) motives were clear. They want to imprison and impoverish their political opponents, starting with Donald Trump, for their crimes against humanity. This means, of course, not supporting the Democratic mission to turn the country into a one-party, police state.

What’s even more repellant is the glorification of the turning in of family and friends for the moral atrocity of protesting at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, regardless of the form it took. (Just as there are “Many Mansions in My Father’s House,” there are many guises of Election Denialism).

The sophistry employed by liberal apologists for the Family and Friends Chapter of “Sedition Hunters” is more studied. You need to understand, they say, that informing on those near and dear to you is actually an act of “tough love” for those who “won’t take your help.” “Help” is, of course, understood to mean being able to force someone to renounce political beliefs you don’t agree with.

To support this rather interesting take on the virtue of betraying loved ones to the police for the crime of entering a public building, liberal journalists have frequently turned to some left-wing academics. You know, the ones ensconced at some bogus think tank with a name like “The Polarization and Extremism Research and Innovation Lab” at American University in D.C. (PERIL, get it?) I wonder how many left-wing extremists PERIL monitors?

One such academic is Elizabeth Jeglic of John Jay College of the City University of New York. She said of the January 6 protesters: “This is not Uncle Bob or Aunt Jane anymore. This is a mob of people attacking our nation, our freedom, our values, and this is not what families are about. When you see that it can be devastating. It’s like a betrayal of your family and you want to keep your family values whole.” NBC, 1/27/21

In other words, by betraying your actual family, like your father or brother, you’re upholding your figurative family. After all, doesn’t your primary loyalty run to the nation state, embodied in the government? Just because someone gave birth to you and raised you, what does that matter?

Of the thousand people initially arrested for January 6, fully a third were arrested based on tips from spouses or lovers. Do you believe this was anything other than people carrying out personal vendettas? Do you really expect us to believe that these informants were motivated by a respect for the Constitution and the democratic process?

To really bring it into focus, consider how, by contrast, an anti-Trump January 6, counter protester was treated by the authorities and his/her own family.

Leslie Grimes of Grand Rapids, Michigan was one of a group of six left-wing activists who went to Washington to confront Trump supporters at their Stop the Steal Rally on January 6, 2021.

The Michiganders got their way. Mr./Ms./Zhir/Zhey Grimes, a transgender woman who uses feminine pronouns, got into an altercation with MAGA types. After getting kicked in the stomach, Ms. Grimes and her comrades fled the scene, but their car was pulled over by the Washington Metropolitan Police.

In the trunk of Ms. Grime’s car, the police discovered a pistol without a license, unregistered ammunition, and a large ammunition feeding device. Grimes claimed that she had no idea these items were in the car but faced potential federal criminal charges that could have sent him/her/zhir to prison.

However, not only did she get away with all charges dropped, but her family bragged about her involvement. Her father, Robert Grimes, boasted that his daughter got away “scot free,” A fellow left-wing activist, Mr. Grimes said his daughter should never have been arrested in the first place because of, well, Trump. The newspaper account seemed to suggest that the decision not to prosecute Grimes was made so prosecutors could focus exclusively on Trump supporters for what occurred at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. See “Prosecutors Won’t Proceed with charges against Michigan woman arrested during Capitol Insurrection.” The Detroit News, January 8, 2021

This suggestion is further borne out by an unusual series of articles, totally three dozen or more, by K.C. Star writer Judy Thomas. These articles, appearing in the Star and other McClatchy papers, focused on January 6 protesters from this region. The whole point of the series was an unabashed exercise in class snobbery. Again and again, the modest socio-economic background of the pro-Trump protesters is stressed, to contrast their benighted, pathetic beliefs with the enlightened, educated views of their intellectual superiors, i.e. young journalists who watch Steven Colbert and therefore know what to think and say.

Recently, Thomas wrote an article about a young Trump supporter, who was arrested in July of this year, more than two and a half years after the January 6 protests he took part in when he was 21 years old. A Hispanic, Angelo Pacheco, is charged with four criminal counts for entering the Capitol and staying inside, wait for it!, for six seconds.

This is a cruel taunt by Thomas, meant to mock and ridicule her and the Star’s political enemies. It is saying that we can destroy your life for the most trivial of reasons and laugh in your face while we do it. “There will be no laughter, except the laugh of triumph over a defeated enemy.” George Orwell, 1984

Thomas’s words are meant as both derision and threat. It’s the Deep State using the press to intimidate its opponents.

If you are on the right side, like Ms. Grimes, you can come to Washington looking to inflict violence, armed and dangerous. You will not only be absolved of any crime but will be lauded as a hero! (Or should I say heroine?) If you are on the wrong side, like Mr. Pacheco, no matter how innocuous your actions, your life will be up-ended.

If there is any doubt this is happening considering what I just heard today on the news. Several hundred pro-Palestinians demonstrators are illegally occupying the Cannon House Office Building adjacent to the U.S. Capitol. Policemen have been assaulted by the demonstrators, who refuse to leave. Congress hearings have been disrupted but you can be sure that none of these people will be dealt with anything like the ferocity with which the January 6 protesters were treated, even though the offenses in virtually every instance were the same; trespass, “parading,” and disrupting a government proceeding.

Our republic has as its foundation equal justice under the law. Every day of the Biden administration that ideal seems more and more irretrievably lost given the actions of the Democratic Party and its media adjuncts.


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Photo: Trump supporters near the US Capitol following a "Stop the Steal" rally on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. The protesters stormed the historic building, breaking windows and clashing with police. Trump supporters had gathered in the nation's capital today to protest the ratification of President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory over President Trump in the 2020 election. (Photo by Selcuk Acar/NurPhoto via Getty Images)