Rosenstein – Nine Iranians Charged in Tehran-Sponsored Hacking Scheme


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Posted to YouTube 3/23/2018

  • Iranian hackers worked on behalf of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps;
  • Hacks involved 320 universities in 22 countries, 144 of which involved American universities;
  • Estimated value of intellectual property developed and stolen: $3.4 billion;
  • Madna Institute mission: stealing intellectual property for IRGC, Iranian Universities,or sale;
  • Charges include computer fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy, and identity theft;
  • The indicted are fugitives who may face arrest and extradition in more than 100 states.


Nigeria: ‘Fulani’ Herdsman, Razed Villages, Arms Running, Hezbollah, Even Turkish Diplomats –>


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BackChannels source this morning relayed the following from Lagos, Nigeria in relation to raids by apparent herdsman against largely disarmed villages.

  • Since the first of the years, source claims, more than 500 Nigerians have been slaughtered in raids and no arrests have been made;
  • The number of Internally Displaced Persons associated with the conflict exceeds 200,000;
  • The Nigerian government has been repossessing simple weapons from villagers while attackers typically carrying AK-47s surround their targets and destroy buildings and stores with burning petrol;
  • The complement attending raids may average about 100 or more fighters;
  • Source of arms: Libya, other Arab nations, and Turkey.

In 2013, news reports mentioned a Hezbollah cell and weapons cache in Nigeria; the latest weapons seizure of similar scale in 2017 appears to have originated through Turkish channels.

Although Fulani herdsman have been blamed en masse for the aggression noted, BackChannels has heard suggestion that the weaponizing may devolve to the same forces backing extremist organizations elsewhere.  The 2013 Hezbollah connection and the more recent 2017 interdiction involving Turkey would appear to support that thesis.

Recruitment into raiding units would also appear to correspond to conditions channeling fighters into rogue organizations elsewhere.

Dr. Omolade Adunbi, Assistant Professor, Political Anthropology, University of Michigan noted the following earlier this year in the publication Africa is a Country:  “The question then becomes, how are these insurgents with no clarity of purpose able to recruit members into their dysfunctional group? The answer to this question is not far-fetched. First, the effect of climate change on the rise of social inequality in many parts of the country has meant the increased susceptibility of socially vulnerable groups to recruitment.”

Related on YouTube

Posted to YouTube 3/28/2014

Posted to YouTube 1/11/2018

Posted to YouTube 8/2/2016

BackChannels can never “vet” these videos, but most recognize this conflict in Nigeria as involving cattlemen, basically, and farmers.  Less played may be the role played by religion in the conflict, which here has been made apparent:

Posted to YouTube 1/16/2018

Considering the 2013 Hezbollah weapons cache story, the latest interdiction of arms involving Turkish (criminal, of course) channeling, the claim of arms coming from Libya and more recent participation associated with Turkey and the activities of Moscow and Tehran in manipulating conflicts and extremism into existence (listen to the BBC interview of a once Soviet admiral on the Ogaden War), the drivers of this latest tragedy in Nigeria may start to surface.


Abiodun, Eromosele.  “Turkish Govt to Deal with Collaborators of Arms Shipment to Nigeria.”  This Day Live, September 27, 2017.  Denial —

The Turkish Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Hakan Cakil, in a meeting with the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), over importation of four containers of pump-action rifles into Nigeria in last eight months vowed to help Nigeria fish out criminals behind the illegal arms shipment to Nigeria.

Adunbi, Omolade.  “How did Fulani herdsmen become such bogeymen in Nigeria?”  Africa Is A Country, February 1, 2018

The question then becomes, how are these insurgents with no clarity of purpose able to recruit members into their dysfunctional group? The answer to this question is not far-fetched. First, the effect of climate change on the rise of social inequality in many parts of the country has meant the increased susceptibility of socially vulnerable groups to recruitment . . . .

Amnesty International: Nigeria 2017/2018.

Amnesty International.  “Nigeria: Dozens killed as military launches air attacks on villages beset by spiralling communal violence.”  January 30, 2018 —

On 4 December 2017, Nigeria’s air force sent fighter jets to fire rockets at villages as a “warning” to deter spiralling communal violence, as hundreds of herdsmen attacked at least five villages in Adamawa state to avenge the massacre of up to 51 members of their community, mostly children, the previous month in Kikan.

An Amnesty International team visited the villages in the aftermath of the air raids and gathered witness testimony from residents who described being attacked by a fighter jet and a military helicopter as they attempted to flee.

BBC News.  “Nigeria: Hezbollah armoury discovered in Kano city.”  May 30, 2013

The cache, including rifles, anti-tank weapons and an RPG, were found in a warehouse in the city of Kano, he said.

Nigeria’s State Security Service said they were intended for use against “Israeli and Western interests”.

BBC News.  “Nigeria: How Customs seize 1,100 guns for port.”  September 11, 2017.

BBC News.  “Nigeria’s Benue clashes: Mass burial after farmer-Fulani clashes.”  January 11, 2018 —

Mr Onoja, who was at the funeral, said 73 people were being buried.

He defended his state’s controversial ban on open cattle grazing implemented in November, which Fulani herders have complained targets them unfairly.

“Our economy in Benue State depends on agriculture,” he said. “Take that away and we have a serious problem.”

Come to Nigeria.  “Hausa and Fulani People”.

Eboh, Camillus.  “Nigeria says arrests Iran-linked cell targeting U.S., Israel.”  Reuters, February 21, 2013.

(Reuters) – Nigeria’s secret service say they have arrested a “terrorist cell” trained in Iran who planned to attack U.S. and Israeli targets in Africa’s most populous nation.

The State Security Service (SSS) said they arrested Abdullahi Mustapha Berende and two other Nigerians in December after Berende made several suspicious trips to Iran where he interacted with Iranians in a “high profile terrorist network”.

Inyang, Ifreke.  “No one can defeat us in Nigeria — Fulani national leader, Bello boasts.”  Daily Post, January 29, 2018.

The National Chairman of Fulbe (Fulani) Development Association of Nigeria (FULDAN), Malam Ahmad Usman Bello, has declared that they cannot be defeated by any ethnic group in the country.

Bello made the remarks while speaking with Saturday Tribune in Kano, amid the widespread outcry against the murderous activities of Fulani herdsmen in Benue, Plateau and Taraba states and many other parts of the country.

Sahara Reporters.  “470 Guns Seized at Lagos Port.”  September 22, 2017.

The federal government is set to meet Turkish diplomats today over the spate of illegal importation of rifles from Turkey to Nigeria.

Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Comptroller-General (CG) Col. Hameed Ali (retd) said this when he briefed reporters over the seizure of another 470 rifles at Tin-Can Island port in Lagos.

Sahara Reporters.  “Amnesty International Brands Nigeria’s Response To Fulani Herdsmen Violence Inadequate, Reveals 717 Killed In Less Than 2 Years.”  January 29 2018.

The body also said communal clashes have claimed over 700 lives since last year. AI made its position known in a statement issued on Monday. It stated that clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Adamawa, Benue, Taraba, Ondo and Kaduna states have resulted in 168 deaths in January alone.

Sahara Reporters.  “Fulani Herdsmen Kill 4 Soldiers in Garrison Commander’s Convey, Injure Scores in Plateau.”  March 17, 2018.



FTAC: Middle East Conflict: Misled


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Prompt: ” . . . the Arabs . . . will become the majority in Israel, and things will  . . . change.”

The apartheid — the separation of Palestinians in camps in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and Egyp — is Arab.

The exploiting of misery and leveraging of anti-Semitic perception is Russo-Arabian from the Soviet Era (and Russia’s 19th Century history as regards the libel of “The Protocols”).

Political suppression — suppression of criticism, of open speech, of election — may be credited to PLO/PA and Hamas.

Corruption and the skewing of financial distribution of UNRWA support has produced wealthy leaders — Arafat, Abbas, Haniyeh, Mashaal — and affluence among the patronized.

For those who feel diminished by not getting “one-up” on the Jews, the Jews in liberation theology got one-up on Pharaoh.

So many of the things you have heard have, perhaps, been intended to manipulate you, to make you angry, to exploit a bad situation.

Palestinian general good: never so loudly addressed.

The interest is there. The conscience, modernity, and will: absent.

Addendum – From the Same Day

The prompt had to do with Jews as outsiders, a trope coughed up frequently by the Palestinian holdovers from the era of Soviet cadre.  (URL added, of course).

The Point of No Return blog will tell a substantial part of the story of the Jews and their return to capital and land of the Hebrews.

A fast look-up of “KGB, Arafat” and “KGB, Abbas” will tell you a little bit about the origin, design, and handling of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, PFLP, and others.

A revisiting of the Gaza’s historic Jewish community, its more recent (2005) displacement by force, and the destruction of its synagogues, which were to remain accessible, will tell you also about where Israel’s Jews have come from and what they valued where they were settled.

We do not reconcile good with evil: we grow the good — and “the good”, if it is good, has integrity.


FTAC: A Question About the Trump Presidency


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And the incumbent President has not been so? Has the news really been fake? Had his vendors been paid completely and on time at completion of work? And then with hindsight, we could update this chart appearing in POLITICO last March:

Here’s the nut: “Did he or didn’t he?” doesn’t matter.

What matters is America’s coherence in its confidence in its presidency.

Where is that now?

The prompting statement to the effect that the “Clintons are pathological liars.”

Even if accepted in the nonpartisan spirit, where are Americans with their critical evaluation of the present leadership?

While drafting this temperature-checking note, I had asked “Where is the United States today as regards the Skripal poisoning in the United Kingdom?”, and I had expected to find not much given President’s Trump image as an autocrat in line with Putin’s encouragement of EU / NATO “New Nationalism”, an element part and parcel in the prying apart of the Alliance.

Here’s what turned up in Business Insider yesterday afternoon:


Price, Rob.  “Trump told May that the US is with the UK ‘all the way’ over the Sergei Skripal poisoning”.  Business Insider, March 13, 2018.

The two log lines — ” . . . with UK ‘all the way'” and ” . . . hesitant to blame Russia for the attack . . . .”  address the ambivalence and suspicions that have dogged the Trump Presidency from before the elections (perhaps starting with the eyebrow-raising Trump campaign association with the now indicted Paul Manafort).

However Americans may feel about the American President at this moment, it’s the “Phantom of the Soviet” and the “phantoms of the Soviet” in issues that are being spotlighted in relation to KGB-style political assassinations that in turn have been evaluated by the intelligence services of the three NATO states now apparently in agreement on their origins.



Fulani Herdsman Rampage Through Dundu Village, Kwall District, Bassa, Plateau State, Nigeria


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BackChannels’ source has reported nineteen men, three women, and three children killed by Fulani herdsman Monday night (March 12, 2018) in Dundu Village, Kwall District, Bassa Governate, Plateu State, Nigeria.  The attack follows by three days the burning of 50 homes and the killing of two children, twins, and 9 adults  in Jos, the capital of Plateau State.

Source claims Nigerian President Mohammadu Buhari “has been paying lip service to the atrocities committed by Fulani terrorists.”

President Buhari has urged patience on the part of the Nigerian public:

Nigeria’s issues with the nomadic Fulani, pressured by drought and motivated some by Islamic supremacist egotism, has been a developing conflict issue in Nigeria for some time.  Herewith a smattering of related reports and news news reports and fair use excerpts from them.

Fast Reference

All excerpts are partial (there’s more to be read at the source) and dated either in the address line or short after the URL. – 2014

Fulani herdsmen and farmers conflict in Nigeria is a land resource based conflict in north-eastern Nigeria. According to a Human Rights Watch report of December 2013 violence between Fulani herdsmen, farmers and local communities had killed 3,000 people since 2010.

Attributed to Chief Adebanjo:

On herdsmen, Adebanjo said he had no trust on the ability of the police to quell the activities of the group as the police hierarchy had already described the killings as communal clashes.

He further lambasted President Buhari over his handling of the killings, stressing that “even when someone in the caliber of Falae was kidnapped, he didn’t utter a word. He has also refused to identify Fulani herdsmen as terrorists. – 3/10/2018

President Muhammadu Buhari had barely left Plateau State when the attacks were launched on Ganda village of Daffo District in Bokkos Local Government Area and Miango village in Bassa Local Government Area. The communities were attacked few hours after the inauguration of Plateau State Peace Building Agency by the President, who was in Jos, the state capital, on a working visit.

He said: “Twenty-five people lost their lives in a fresh attack on Dundu village of Kwall District of Bassa Local Government Area. The incident occurred just as the Irigwe community had planned a mass burial for four of the five earlier killed in a similar attack on Nzhauvo village.

“When we reacted to a claim by the Miyetti Allah group in January of missing cattle, we told you it was a ploy to justify another round of killings. True to this, the Fulani militia, which the Federal Government has refused to brand a terrorist organisation to the dismay of Nigerians, have continued to visit our villages with orchestrated and unwarranted carnage. – 3/14/2018

Daily Sun gathered that the attack, which occurred at about 7pm, left several houses burnt and scores injured.

It was learnt that the attackers took the villagers unawares when they were preparing to take their dinner and the entire village was enveloped by gunfire from the attackers, leaving children, women and the aged scampering for safety.

A youth leader, Lawrence Timothy, said 25 corpses have been found, while more were still being recovered from the bush – 3/14/2018

Attributed to Lawrence Zongo, spokesman, Miango Youth Development Association:

“Others, including two women are now receiving treatment in a nearby hospital in the community. One girl later died in the hospital, making it 26 victims. This is too bad as we are planning for a mass burial of the last attack. So far, we have more than 500 in Internally Displaced Persons camp. The international organisations should please come to our aid.”


Source and Search:

Notice the spike on the chart from 2010 into 2016.

START.  “Annex of Statistical Information: Country Reports on Terrorism 2016.”  Page 12.  National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism.  July 2017.

Information about perpetrator groups was reported for 77% of terrorist attacks in Nigeria in 2016.  Due to a 63% decrease in the number of attacks carried out by Boko Haram and a 62% increase in the number of attacks carried out by Fulani militants, Fulani militants were responsible for the most terrorist attacks in Nigeria in 2016. – March 16, 2014.

In recent weeks, Nigerian security forces have claimed that some groups of semi-nomadic Fulani herdsmen engaged in bitter and bloody conflicts with farmers in several Nigerian states are actually composed of members of Boko Haram. A statement from Nigerian Director of Defense Information Major General Chris Olukolade claimed the potentially dangerous identification came during the interrogation of Fulani herdsmen arrested after a series of killings and arson attacks in Taraba State (Vanguard [Lagos], April 23; Leadership [Abuja], April 24; Nigerian Tribune, April 24). Reports of Boko Haram members (who are mostly members of the Kanuri ethno-cultural group) disguising themselves as Fulani herdsmen while carrying out attacks in rural Nigeria are common. Though many of these reports may be attempts to deflect responsibility from Fulani herders for attacks on sedentary farming communities throughout north and central Nigeria, even the perception that the Fulani herdsmen have joined forces with Boko Haram could propel Nigeria into a new and devastating civil war.

Note: because Russia has been cited as arming the Taliban in Afghanistan in its war against liberal and democratic modernity in that state, BackChannels may suggest searching for similar connection in the “handling” of both Boko Haram and the portion of Fulani Herdsmen engaged in creating chaos, dispossession, and ruin in Nigeria.

It should be evident worldwide that Soviet / post-Soviet Moscow works to weaken states: Syria has been half destroyed in association with Moscow, Crimea invaded and today badgered daily by related military and terrorist-type elements, and so one may ask — or must ask — where else?  And for whose benefit?

For more immediate Nigerian and practical realpolitik, the response to Fulani “softening” for incursion may turn out the state’s army and armed local militia.


Will the West Abandon Its Kurdish Allies in the Battle Against ISIS as Well as Their Efforts to Produce a Democratic Modern State?


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America: have you no dreams, faith, ideals, memories, values?

One cannot argue with the Soviet origins of the PKK — nor today it’s probable conflation with “TAK” terrorists operating occasionally in Turkey — and the long-term effects of the Kurdish-Russian relationship that is today being leveraged by a potentially genocidal (proven once — has the world to see it again proven?) Turkish and neo-Islamist authoritarian state.  However, modern Kurdistan and the “Rojava Experiment” with liberal democracy may be more “western” than commonly acknowledged.



Credit Turkish President Erdogan with Soviet-style defamation when he frames all Kurds as action-producing PKK terrorists.

Credit American Revolutionary memory to with what had to be brought together to overcome an avaricious king and to mark its first steps on the road to becoming not only self-governing but uniquely so as the redoubt of freedom from all political and religious tyrannies.

The Kurdish Community may need to advance its own inter-tribal cooperation and perhaps temper the power of its own autocrats to achieve meaningful, responsible, and responsible authentic democratic governance; however, both Moscow-Damascus and “Moscow-Ankara” would seem to be working to squeeze the community back into political impotence and from there out of existence.

Followers and readers with timely information and insight into the Kurdish community’s political makeup, its arrangements with other powers — including Russia and related energy projects — and its desire for autonomy, dignity, and freedom are welcome to contact the editor through the contact page and form on this blog.

“Kurdish YPG Engages ISIS In / Near Raqqa, Syria”

Posted to YouTube Dec. 18, 2017.

Additional Reference

Adalian, Rouben Paul.  “Turkey, Republic of, and the Armenian Genocide.”  Armenian National Institute, n.d.

Dominique, Callimanopulos.  “Kurdish Represseion in Turkey.”  Cultural Survival Quarterly Magazine, June 1982:

During Turkey’s war for independence, Turkish leaders, promised Kurds a Turkish-Kurdish federated state in return for their assistance in the war. After independence was achieved, however, they ignored the bargain they had made.

Months after the declaration of a Turkish republic, Ankara, under the pretext of creating an “indivisible nation,” adopted an ideology aimed at eliminating, both physically and culturally, non-Turkish elements within the Republic. These “elements” were primarily Kurdish and Armenian.

Letsch, Constanze.  “In Turkey, Repression of the Kurdish Language Is Back, With No End in Sight.”  The Nation, December 21, 2017:

On the night of December 31, 2016, 94 associations, including the institute, were shut down on allegations of “connections to terrorist organizations.” A month later, the authorities confiscated all documents, course materials, and hardware—computers, two projectors, a TV—as well as the school’s furniture. The institute’s website was taken down. In theory, the institute has the right to appeal the shutdown through a state-appointed commission, but human-rights organizations such as Amnesty International have criticized it as insufficient, as more than 100,000 cases are pending review by just seven commissioners within a two-year deadline.

Ismael, Yousif.  “Once again, Turkey Refuses Solutions in the Syrian Civil War.”  Washington Kurdish Institute, September 21, 2017.

Mohamad, Sinam.  “Once We Beat ISIS, Don’t Abandon Us.”  Op-Ed.  The New York Times, May 11, 2017.

Rice, Bill.  “America Must Live Up to Its Own Values and Support Kurdistan’s Independence.”  Washington Kurdish Institute, September 21, 2017.

Weiss, Stanley.  “It’s Time to Kick Erdogan’s Turkey Out of NATO.”  HuffPost, n.d.

For nearly seven decades, this combination of factors has been the potential Achilles heel of NATO: that one day, its members would be called to defend the actions of a rogue member who no longer shares the values of the alliance but whose behavior puts its “allies” in danger while creating a nightmare scenario for the global order.

After 67 years, that day has arrived: Turkey, which for half a century was a stalwart ally in the Middle East while proving that a Muslim-majority nation could be both secular and democratic, has moved so far away from its NATO allies that it is widely acknowledged to be defiantly supporting the Islamic State in Syria in its war against the West.

Related on BackChannels



FTAC: Essential Truth and the Palestinians


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Prompt: the host had assigned a loose title about “ethnic cleansing” to historian Benny Morris.  “Thought leaders” on the web will either traffic in earnest speech (when earnest) or make themselves worthless with disingenuous and false claims.

Cultures engage in “magical thinking” in their fairy tales, legends, and myths. They are part of the spirit of the place. Engaging in the same in the context of study produces only “revisionism” favorable either to the narcissist in the mirror or the one in power. Differentiation between what is true — and what a joy it would be for Palestinians to know what is true! — and what seems (!) flattering and patronizing plays a major part in the installation and maintenance of the world’s dictatorships. Among the _malign_, the narcissist can never be wrong.

From other and prior portions of the same conversation:

_The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine_ was authored by Ilan Pappe — this represents his reputation today:


Benny Morris, by comparison, has been a tough “New Historian”. This is his page on Amazon (USA):

I have been through _1948_, not the others, but even so it mentions the Jewish neighbors who begged Arabs to stay home while Arab forces encouraged flight before their own onslaught.

Efraim Karsh — _Palestine Betrayed_ — may be worth a mention as well.

Again, the Russo-Arabian “framing” of the conflict would seem after 70 years of insistent repetition on the way to being . . . found out.

Related on BackChannels:

In the same ballpark

” . . . to hate and resist occupation and occupiers . . .” would be to hate and resist Fatah and Hamas who insist on their own power while depriving Palestinians of their vote, their right to assemble in opposition to either, and of their right to speak freely, openly, without fear.


Excerpt: _Stasiland_: How That Life Goes On


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He tells me he worked from 1961 to 1990 at the ministry of Potsdam, exclusively in counter-espionage.  He picks up the thesis and reads its title:

The Work of the Ministry for State Security on the Defence Against Intelligence Infiltration by the Secret Services of the NATO States against the GDR.  Presented from the Viewpoint of a Member of the Division for Counter-Espionage, Regional Administration, Potsdam.

‘This is a discussion paper I wrote based on my work at the ministry.  If you read this, you will learn a lot of what you want to know.’

I flick to the front page, and see that the paper was written in 1994 for the ‘Potsdam Working Group of the Insiderkomitee for the Reexamination of the History of the Ministry for State Security, Inc.’

— In BackChannels experience of the eternal present online (and in the library), herewith a gush —

Author Anna Funder has put together a delightfully cringey-queasy how-it-was  — Stasiland, Harper Perennial; Reprint edition, 2011(German Edition, 2006; first published in 2002 as suggested above)  — on the German Democratic Republic (GDR, 1949-1990), and along with remembrance of assorted adventures and certain manners and methods in suffering comes this eyebrow-raiser.



“‘ . . . we have changed our name to the ‘Society for the Protection of Civil Rights and the Dignity of Man’.”

Okay, then.

Here’s a chill —


Moore, Nicole and Christina Spittel.  Australian Literature in the German Democratic Republic: Reading through the Iron Curtain.  Pp. 224-225.  London & New York: Anthem Press, 2016

Link to the above on Google Books.

For corroboration here in the open source, another writer, Gary Bruce, has made mention of the same ghost:

The organization of former Stasi officers known as the Insider-Komitee, whose self-styled objective is to restore “balance” to the current literature on the Stasi by writing “objective” history of the Ministry for State Security, assisted me in locating an important Stasi officer for interview.

Bruce, Gary.  The Firm: The Inside Story of the Stasi. P. 33.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.  Link: Google Books.

As resources appear fairly wide open to the curious on the web, BackChannels will wrap up the gawking now that it has stumbled across the tracks of at least a few others, and including those of the author her brave self, for she acknowledges, “My great mistake was to imagine that the stories of resistance, courage and decency would be well received by Germans” — for who would show up at the launching of Stasiland in the ballroom “of the former Stasi Offices in Leipzig”?

The first two rows of seats were filled with ex-Stasi (or perhaps ex-Party) men. I know this because they were in the ex-Stasi (or ex-Party) uniform, which consists of polyester trousers with a nice firm crease, a bomber jacket and a significant amount of Brylcreem. They were sitting in their former ballroom, legs splayed, arms crossed, looking daggers at us.

Funder, Anna.  “Sound of silence.”  TLS, October 12, 2016.

The same crew would later make a show of walking out on the event.

An observation higher up in the above cited piece precedes the willies and seems more worth remembering:

When I encountered Miriam, Julia, Frau Paul and Klaus Renft, what they told me was deeply thrilling. Not only in the sense of the bravery it took to climb the Berlin Wall or dig an underground tunnel or defy a governmental declaration that you “no longer exist”. The thrill was more fundamental. I felt I was witnessing, alive and breathing and drinking coffee opposite me, heroic human decency.

Referenced and Related on the Web

Betts, Paul.  “Socialism, Social Rights, and Human Rights: The Case of East Germany.”  Humanity Journal, June 11, 2014.

MacDonogh, Giles.  “The spy’s the limit.”  The Guardian, June 7, 2003.

The GDR was a furtive and insidious tyranny. Through the Stasi it pried into every aspect of your life. It possessed armies of spies, paid and unpaid. Some estimates run as high as one for every six and a half members of the population. Any attempt to achieve success in East Germany involved a pact with the devil – you paid with your soul if you wanted to attend a university, enter a sports-club, become a lawyer or a clergyman or marry a foreigner – like Funder’s friend Julia. You could only avoid contact with the regime if you opted out, and went into “inner emigration” – not an option for the ambitious.

This was a regime ruled by dour old men – Marxisten-Senilisten.

Wikipedia.  “Stasiland” (bold added to excerpt):

Stasiland has been published in sixty nine countries and translated into a dozen languages. It was shortlisted for many awards in the UK and Australia, among them the Age Book of the Year Awards, the Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards, the Guardian First Book Award 2003, the South Australian Festival Awards for Literature (Innovation in Writing) 2004, the Index Freedom of Expression Awards 2004, and the W.H. Heinemann Award 2004. In June 2004 it was awarded the world’s biggest prize for non-fiction, the Samuel Johnson Prize.