Canada destroys Bernardo/Homolka video tapes
♦♦ Stephen Williams: Writer subject to Stasi-like treatment by Canadian police
♦♦ RCMP undercover operators would be more at home in the Stasi
From Wired: Spying: The
American way of life?
East German STASI
Thousands of Stasi files lost to history by Kohl ruling
John Hooper in Berlin, March 9, 2002, The Guardian
former chancellor, Helmut Kohl, yesterday won the right to block
all access to the files kept on him by East Germany's communist spymasters.
In December 1991 the Stasi Records Act was put into law and subsequently has been amended seven times.
The Berlin archives encompass a total of around 111 kilometres (about 68 miles) of documents and 1.4 million photos. Based on the provisions defined in the Stasi Records Act (StUG), the BStU allows access to these files to private citizens, institutions and the public.
The ruling, by an appeal court in Berlin, is expected to have a profound
effect on research into Germany's cold war history, as it also
puts out of bounds records kept on a vast range of people, from
former communist party bosses to headteachers.
even fears that already-published books and articles which draw
on such files might have to be withdrawn.
decision means that files kept on prominent public figures and
officials cannot, in future, be released without the subject's
and historians had applied to see Mr Kohl's records, and there
was speculation that their researches could have shed light on
a party financing scandal that left the former chancellor's reputation
in tatters three years ago.
The files of
hundreds of other officeholders - mostly East Germans - have
already been released under a law passed when the former chancellor
was himself in power.
But the authority
that now looks after the documents left by East Germany's intelligence
and security agency, the Stasi, does not allow researchers to
see private information.
In the case
of Mr Kohl, it was proposing to release only about 2,500 of the
7,000 pages in his dossier. The former chancellor nevertheless
sought an injunction on the grounds that any publication would
damage his "human dignity".
lot of the material is understood to consist of transcripts of
intercepted telephone conversations, Mr Kohl's lawyers also argued
that the Stasi's documents were bound to contain false and falsified
information. Last July they won an order from a lower court,
but the keepers of the files appealed and secured yesterday's
For a decade,
the relevant act had been interpreted as offering protection
only to leading dissidents and other indisputable victims of
communist state oppression. Thus the files of the former West
German chancellors Willy Brandt and Helmut Schmidt - along with
many prominent easterners - had already been released.
decision that Mr Kohl fell within the protection of the act will
enrage many in the formerly communist parts of Germany, not least
because several leading easterners saw their careers ruined when
sometimes questionable information was released under guidelines
that Mr Kohl's own governments never contested.
But the ruling,
which cannot be appealed, will delight anyone who held a senior
post in either the West or East - judges, soldiers, officials,
and even headteachers.
have so far processed some 5m requests for access to the agency's
records. Only 1.7m of these have come from easterners asking
to see their own files.
Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2002
Stasi still in charge of Stasi files
By Wikileaks' Julian Assange, Christopher Findlay & staff
By the beginning of 2007 the BStU had responded to over six million "Stasi file" record requests.
However from November 2006 allegations started to circulate, most notably in the German news paper Die Welt
that the BStU, tasked to guard the Stasi files, had been infiltrated by a number of former Stasi officers and
informers. In response the German government commissioned an investigation.
Complete Wikileaks article and report
Communist theme park to open its gates
Thu Feb 27,1 2002
- Hoping to capitalise on a wave of nostalgia for Communist East
Germany, a Berlin company is planning to build a theme park that
revives life behind the Iron Curtain in the country that disappeared
nearly 13 years ago.
GmbH hopes to recreate a 10,000-square metre (107,600 sq ft)
replica of East Germany, complete with surly border guards, rigorous
customs inspections, authentic East German mark notes, and restaurants
with regulation bland East German food.
"The aim isn't to make big joke out of East Germany," said Susanne
Reich, a spokeswoman for the company which is expected to invest
several million euros on the project, slated for the southeastern
Berlin district of Koepenick.
"It was an important part of Germany's history and the period should
be recreated as accurately as possible."
Nostalgia for East Germany has lingered ever since reunification in 1990. Known
as "Ostalgie", a play on the German words for east
and nostalgia, the spirit has given rise to scores of "GDR
parties", books, songs and popular films.
A German film "Good Bye, Lenin", in which a man recreates East Germany
in a 79-square-metre (850-sq-ft) flat to protect his ailing mother
from the shock of reunification after she comes out of a coma,
has surged to the top of the German film charts and more than
a million people have been to see it.
Even though East Germany lasted just four decades, Reich insists that the
project has the potential to go the distance:
"We've spoken to a number of tourist agencies in Europe and the United
States, and there's been plenty of interest."