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"The Ministry for State Security (German: Ministerium für Staatssicherheit, MfS) or State Security Service (Staatssicherheitsdienst, SSD), commonly known as the Stasi, was the official state security service of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). It has been described as one of the most effective and repressive intelligence and secret police agencies ever to have existed. The Stasi was headquartered in East Berlin, with an extensive complex in Berlin-Lichtenberg and several smaller facilities throughout the city...
One of its main tasks was spying on the population, primarily through a vast network of citizens turned informants, and fighting any opposition by overt and covert measures, including hidden psychological destruction of dissidents (Zersetzung, literally meaning "decomposition"). It arrested 250,000 people as political prisoners during its existence."
Somewhere in California earlier this week, my female relative took 2 of her daughters to get a high-end pedicure & manicure salon in a college town. It was on the sly, the front door to the shop was closed & locked with the blinds drawn.
They were secretly ushered in the back door, and had finished their pedicures; one of them had also completed her manicure when there was a knock on the door. A female government agent was pulling on the door trying to get in, and taking pictures of the blinds with a professional camera (not a cell phone) with a wide lense. The enforcer also had an attache case with a bunch of papers in it.
The asian owner told everyone to 'stay quiet!' as she turned down the lights. She then announced "I'm sorry, but we can't continue services" as she quickly locked the back door. The owner did not have on a mask & there were no plastic particians. Two of the other workers had on masks though.
The owner called her husband who was apparently nearby serving as a lookout. He directed them to let the 3 customers out the front door, discreetly, one at a time. "I felt like I was in a different country," my relative said.
A few details I forgot to include:
1. when they first entered the back door of the business the nail salon owner said "sorry, we can ONLY take cash." (The asain owner is shrewd & knows govt tracking tactics.) The patron had brought cash, already 'knowing' how this stuff works (because of the way their father raised them). A cashless society would prevent this.
2. The government woman had slid a paper under the door & it warned of the consequences if they were caught open without permission. The owner showed it to my relative, & remarked "I'm just trying to earn a living."
3. My relative found the experience just stunning & angering, & said it makes her want to patronize more 'underground' rebel business.