Quick reality check. The Boston Globe, May 2006:
"Matthias Melster, 40, says he still suffers nightmares from his time at Hohenschoenhausen, a notorious Stasi prison that today serves as a museum. He was inmate number 312. As with all Stasi prisoners, his guards and interrogators addressed him only by the number of his solitary confinement cell. Melster was more fortunate than most inmates -- he at least knew why he was shoved into a windowless van in 1987 and hauled away to prison. He and his girlfriend had plotted an escape to West Germany, a major offense.
``I liked the idea of freedom, and that made me an it antisocial element," Melster recalled as he led visitors along the same dimly lit corridors through which he was frog-marched as a terrified teenager. He passed rows of solid cell doors to the monotone chamber -- looking like the lair of the blandest of bureaucrats, with its wooden-veneer desk, clunky telephone, and metal file cabinet -- where he was grilled 10 hours a day for five months before being sent to another prison.
``At first you think, `I'll tell them nothing,' " Melster said. ``In the end, you tell them everything. Whatever they want to know, you tell."
Melster's life has never quite gotten back on track. He's nervous. He chain-smokes. His voice is flat, affectless. ``Was I beaten? No, I was never beaten. I have no scars to show," Melster said.
``Stasi torture was psychological. It was sleep deprivation and disorientation," he said. ``It was intimidation through insinuation -- the guard who would start screaming and touching his weapon, as if you were just seconds away from a bullet. The interrogator whose hints of `worse to come' were somehow more terrible than an actual fist to the face.
``It was months of never seeing another human, except for guards and interrogators. It was never hearing your own name, only your cell number," he said. ``It was being stripped of your humanity, layer by layer."
Sleep deprivation, intimidation through insinuation, months of never seeing another human, except for guards and interrogators. Hmmmm. Where have we heard that before? It's on the tip of my tongue...
... got it! The Guardian!
Hey, if there happens to be a The Guardian sonofabitch out there reading this, I just want you to know that I consider you a piece of shit and that I'd like to kick you in the balls!
That's all. good night!