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Forum Locked"Stasi"- the best intelligence agency?

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    Posted: 06-Sep-2005 at 16:10
Just took a quick break from AE, to watch a TV program about the former GDR ( German democratic Republic).

It was a portray of Erich Mielke, the former head of the now defunct ‘Ministerium für Staatssicherheit” (ministry for state security), or “Stasi” as it was popularly known. The Stasi’s task was, apart from a responsibility for the safety of the borders of the GDR, the constant surveillance of the population of the GDR, the identification and detection of any opposition against party and state. It was widely regarded as one of the most efficient and best organized secret police forces in the world.
How good organized it was, I found only out tonight.
Next to some wonderful footage of Mielke going rabbit hunting and waltzing away at birthday parties, the program revealed a number of staggering statistics. The stasi employed an enourmous quantity of agents, in its heydays about 90.000 full time employees and probably three times as much part-time agents and volunteers.
The ratio of 1 agent for 180 citizens was the highest in any of the former Warsaw Pact countries, much higher than 1 for 600 in the SU, 1 for 900 in Czechoslovakia and 1 for 1600 in Poland, for example. Which made the population of the GDR the best controlled and monitored of them all. Another example of German efficiency, the nation can be proud of.
So, my claim is, the East-German “Stasi” was the best and most effective internal intelligence agency in the entire universe. Any other contenders?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Decebal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Sep-2005 at 16:15
Where did you find the numbers for members of internal security agencies of other countries in the Warsaw Pact? I remember growing up in Romania that the figures vehiculated for the membership of the Securitate were as high as 700,000 for a population of 23 million. Or 1 agent for every 33 people. Of course, these figures may have been wildly exagerated, but it'd be interesting for me to reconcile figures accepted today to what was believed back then.

Edited by Decebal
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Komnenos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Sep-2005 at 17:06
They were given in that TV program I mentioned.

Quote I remember growing up in Romania that the figures vehiculated for the membership of the Securitate were as high as 700,000 for a population of 23 million. Or 1 agent for every 33 people. Of course, these figures may have been wildly exagerated, but it'd be interesting for me to reconcile figures accepted today to what was believed back then.


Figures about the Securitate were not given. German Wikipedia alleges 40.000 official and ten times as many unofficial agents. But where they as efficient as the Germans?

Maybe you could find some answers here.

Securitate Homepage
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mixcoatl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Sep-2005 at 17:12
10% of all East Germans has done some job for the Stasi (most of them as Inofizieller Mitarbeiter) and they kept files of over 25% of their population. Also in 1973 the Stasi managed to bribe enough West German MP's to get the DDR recognized by the BRD.

So I'd say: yes, it was the most effective intelligence agency.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Sep-2005 at 17:29

Originally posted by Mixcoatl Mixcoatl wrote:

10% of all East Germans has done some job for the Stasi (most of them as Inofizieller Mitarbeiter) and they kept files of over 25% of their population. Also in 1973 the Stasi managed to bribe enough West German MP's to get the DDR recognized by the BRD.

So I'd say: yes, it was the most effective intelligence agency.

Stasi = Red Gestapo.  It was much more internal secret police than intelligence agency.   

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Komnenos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Sep-2005 at 17:38
Originally posted by pikeshot1600 pikeshot1600 wrote:

Stasi = Red Gestapo.    



I wouldn't go that far.
The Gestapo was involved in numerous war crimes in the occupied countries, instrumental in conducting the Holocaust(agaist the Jewish and other groups), apart from brutally securing the Hitler regime.
The Stasi was an unpleasant lot, but it cannot really be compared, both in terms of methods applied and victims murdered, with the Gestapo.

Edited by Komnenos
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Spartakus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Sep-2005 at 07:37
One of the most cruel intelligence agencies,i would add.They were putting their prisoners into prison shells,and they were scanning then with gama or X rays( i cannot remember) to torture them.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Decebal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Sep-2005 at 10:37

Originally posted by Komnenos Komnenos wrote:

They were given in that TV program I mentioned.

Quote I remember growing up in Romania that the figures vehiculated for the membership of the Securitate were as high as 700,000 for a population of 23 million. Or 1 agent for every 33 people. Of course, these figures may have been wildly exagerated, but it'd be interesting for me to reconcile figures accepted today to what was believed back then.


Figures about the Securitate were not given. German Wikipedia alleges 40.000 official and ten times as many unofficial agents. But where they as efficient as the Germans?

Maybe you could find some answers here.

Securitate Homepage

You really have no idea of the kind of repressive atmosphere Romanians lived in during the 1980's. People were known to dissapear mysteriously or be beaten for making a political joke. You never knew who was an informer or if your house was bugged, so people would often have conversations in the bathroom with the water running.  One would always assume that any phone conversation would be listened to. In order to get a job, that involved any sort of intellectual work, or management, one's Securitate file would have to be pretty clean. All typewriters had to be registered, so that no one could write anything seditious without being tracked down. So yeah, I'd say that they were pretty effective.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote yan. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Sep-2005 at 13:48

Mielke, the great philantropist  - is he still alive?

Big staff is usually no sign of great efficiency. In that regard, the gestapo accomplished much more suppression with much less people involved. OTOH one might suspect they could rely on widespread Denunziantentum (no idea how to translate it) more than the Stasi could.

The stasi was effective in collecting all the information theyy could get from their subjects (they even stood behind the windows, eavesdropping, when my grandparents in their small village were visited by american relatives), but the greatest part of that information must have been entirely worthless, while the level of spying lead to frustration inside the population.



Edited by yan.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Komnenos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Sep-2005 at 13:54
Originally posted by yan. yan. wrote:

Mielke, the great philantropist  - is he still alive?




Nope, he died in 2000. Unrepentant and still a die hard Stalinist. I'm however grateful, he could witness what happened to his life's work.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote yan. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Sep-2005 at 14:00
He seemed pretty disoriented in 1989 already. They didn't show his famous 'Aber ich liebe Euch doch alle' - speech, did they?

Edited by yan.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Komnenos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Sep-2005 at 14:02
Originally posted by yan. yan. wrote:

He seemed pretty disoriented in 1989 already. They didn't show his famous 'Aber ich liebe Euch doch alle' - speech, did they?



They sure did! I had tears in my eyes!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote yan. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Sep-2005 at 14:09

Too bad I missed it

 

Back on topic, I indeed think the Stasi contributed to the discontent it was supposed to monitor. Focussing on dissidents, phone surveillance etc. instead of trying to sound out anyone with contact into non-socialist countries and anyone otherwise noticeable would have cost less and kept the population happier.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Maju Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Sep-2005 at 17:17
I find curious that no one has mentioned Vladimir Putin yet. He's suppossed to have been the man of the KGB in Eastern Germany and, as such have surveilled, the activities of the Stasi. In fact he was nicknamed Stasis, when in the KGB. What do you know about the dark past of Putin? 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote yan. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Sep-2005 at 12:06
He 'worked' in Dresden, but I have no idea what he actually did. I thought he served in a rather subordinate position?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Sep-2005 at 12:15

Originally posted by Maju Maju wrote:

I find curious that no one has mentioned Vladimir Putin yet. He's suppossed to have been the man of the KGB in Eastern Germany and, as such have surveilled, the activities of the Stasi. In fact he was nicknamed Stasis, when in the KGB. What do you know about the dark past of Putin? 

In the breast of the Russian president beats the heart of a KGB man.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote yan. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Oct-2005 at 05:31

One thing is clear: He couldn't have had a political career in germany, with such a past. Schröder even would think twice before publicly shaking his hand!



Edited by yan.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote azwhoopin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Oct-2005 at 18:49
I was in Cafe Adler in East Berlin, while there, the cafe where Stasi agents met to exchange informations. Anyway, apart from Mielke, who was a famous Stasi chief? just wondering
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Komnenos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Oct-2005 at 12:28
Originally posted by azwhoopin azwhoopin wrote:

I was in Cafe Adler in East Berlin, while there, the cafe where Stasi agents met to exchange informations. Anyway, apart from Mielke, who was a famous Stasi chief? just wondering


The two other best known Stasi members are Markus Wolf, former head of Stasi foreign operations, and Guenther Guillaume, a stasi agent who became a close advisor of Chancellor willy Brandt. Guillaume's disclosure in 1974 caused Brandt's resignation.

Edited by Komnenos
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Genghis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Oct-2005 at 20:31
As an intelligence service the Stasi was almost as good as they were a secret police force, they had infiltrated practically every organization in the BDR and even recruited Helmut Kohl's secretary who fed the Stasi copies of Helmut Kohl's strategic intelligence briefings before Kohl himself read them.  America would be smart to reorganize its intelligence services with the Stasi hierarchy of one bureaucracy with one head as opposed to our current stupid little organization of 13 intelligence services under the Director of National Intelligence.
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