East German Stasi “Zersetzung” tactics arrive in the USA. Part 1 is by Darren Beattie, in 2021.
Victim of “disintegration” tactics
[In April 2021] the New York Times reported that [Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz] is under investigation for a possible sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl. To make the claims even spicier, the Times threw in words like “human trafficking.”
Weaker politicians might meekly put out a statement disputing the Times’s reporting. But Gaetz did more. He counterattacked, confirming the investigation while categorically denying any wrongdoing on national television just hours later. Instead of going silent in apparent shame, Gaetz vigorously defended himself online. Not only did Gaetz deny all criminal wrongdoing, but he countered that the leak was an effort to sidetrack a separate investigation into a $25 million extortion attempt against his family. And to prove it, Gaetz produced photos and text messages to support his story …
Is Gaetz guilty of a crime? Right now, nobody has produced any evidence of one. …
But another possibility exists: The attack against Gaetz is an act of “Zersetzung,” a tactic for crushing dissent invented by the East German Stasi secret police.
Twitter user Heywood Floyd recently described the meaning of “Zersetzung,” variously translated as “disintegration” or “decomposition” in a wildly popular twitter thread. He compares the East German Stasi tactic with modern-day cancel culture. …
The Disintegration Directive … was the approach that the East German secret police (the Stasi) took from 1976 onwards to crush dissent, or even potential dissent.
Before 1976, the Stasi used the conventional gulag-and-torture methods to control political opinion in the DDR. But in the 1970s, the DDR was seeking international recognition, so they needed a lower-profile method of suppressing opposition to Communism.
It specified a covert, much more psychological approach to maintaining the Communist monopoly on ideological discourse.
The goal was to destroy dissidents and potential dissidents socially and emotionally without resorting to arrest and imprisonment. The Stasi collected information about the victim’s private life, and proceeded to “disintegrate” their careers and their family and private life.
Damaging lies (or truths) would be conveyed to employers until the target was rendered unemployable. Relationships with spouses and kids would be poisoned with gossip by operatives, professional failure, and financial stress. Friends would be warned away through the grapevine.
The goal was to destroy the reputation of the target and make him so preoccupied with his personal difficulties and emotional turmoil that he had no will to question the government of the DDR. It was done covertly, and often victims weren’t believed even if they discovered it.
At this point, I think the parallels with the cancel culture of the modern West are obvious. To be clear, I’m not suggesting that the U.S. or other western governments are using these methods (yet). But I am suggesting that private groups and movements are doing so.
Is Gaetz being hit with a disintegration attack? At the bare minimum, this is exactly what it would look like if he was.
Just as the Stasi itself advised, the attack is based on a kernel of truth. Gaetz is a known associate of Joel Greenberg, a Florida politician and activist who has been indicted on more than a dozen charges from sex trafficking to stalking to manufacturing fake IDs. From that known association, the Times is inviting readers to consider extreme allegations about Gaetz himself. The attack itself is so salacious that it hardly even matters if it is true. Planting the seed of doubt is intended to damage Gaetz for life.
The whole point of such attacks is to end his potential political future, and prevent him from ever working again. …
The Deep State authorities of the national security state don’t care about prostitution, they care about people who pose a threat to their power. That is Gaetz’s real crime and that is why this conversation is taking place at all.
In just four years in Washington, Gaetz has distinguished himself as one of the most effective proponents of Donald Trump’s ideological realignment. …
But it’s about more than the issues. Matt Gaetz has been one of the most steadfast Republicans in refusing to submit to left-wing moral imperialism.
Other Republicans might condemn cancel culture, but Gaetz took actual risks to resist it. …
When Democrats whipped up a fake scandal over President Trump privately labeling impoverished hellholes as “shithole countries,” dozens of Republicans attacked the president. Not Gaetz. Gaetz pointed out that the entire scandal was fake, countries like Haiti are awful, and everybody knows it.
Gaetz, in short, is a rising Republican star, and a valuable asset in Washington. It makes perfect sense that the press would want him not only gone from office, but gone from public life.
Part 2, 16 February 2023. James Bickerton at Newsweek:
Matt Gaetz was informed on Wednesday by the Department of Justice (DOJ) that he will not face federal sex-trafficking charges, according to his lawyers.
The House Republican had been under federal investigation over allegations, which he strongly denies, that he was involved in recruiting women online for sex, including a 17-year-old girl who had her travel expenses paid. He was accused of then attempting to obstruct the course of justice. …
The Department of Justice declined to comment on the case when contacted by Newsweek.
The Fake News media endlessly propagandized my life and told lies about me because I’m effective at impacting legislation.
They always come for the fighters. We all have to watch our back because that’s where the target is. pic.twitter.com/GTEyX7Xw2m
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) February 16, 2023
Always one last smear:
Speaking to The New York Times, an [unnamed] insider said the decision not to prosecute Gaetz appeared to be partially motivated by concerns that “some witnesses likely to testify against Mr. Gaetz might not have stood up well under cross-examination.” …
Technically, Gaetz wasn’t exonerated. The allegations weren’t rejected in a court of law, but prosecutors did say they were unlikely to achieve a conviction. He is innocent in the eyes of the law.
Innocent of all charges? My shocked face suddenly appeared.