Despite the propaganda machine of the DDR trying to kid on that their land was a socialistic paradise where free speech and equal rights reigned supreme, the opposite was the truth.
Newspapers would be heavily censored as would personal letters sent in the mail to friends and family.
Punishment ranged from restrictions on employment to prison itself.
Thankfully both East Germany and the Stasi with it have long since gone.
However, you can always rely on 'Planet Fitba' to produce a tribute act.
Yes a section of the Rangers support have been at it again demanding that censorship and restriction be imposed on people because they offer a viewpoint contrary to their own.
Unfortunately, there are precedents for this both here and here.
The latest target? The Football Blog Awards.
Disclaimer: This blog was entered for the "Best New Blog" section but lost out in the voting. Fair enough and all the best to those who make the final six.
However, one entry that made it to the final list of the "Best Established Blog", a certain blog by Donegal-based journalist, Phil Mac Giolla Bhain. He is currently the subject of certain Rangers fans lobbying those who run the Football Blog Awards to have him disqualified from the event.
Here's one example.
Now, as I've stated on another blog entry on this site, I do not know Mr Mac Giolla Bhain. I've not even met him and any interaction has been, as with so many others of different race, gender, political persuasion, has been via the social media site Twitter.
But regardless, forced censorship is unacceptable just because someone writes something you don't like.
For those who don't know the story behind this, Mr Mac Giolla Bhain has for the last few years produced a series of investigative articles that blew the lid on the financial shenanigans that had been going on at Rangers which led to that club being liquidated.
In most cases, his articles were ahead of the mainstream media. Despite many accusations of him being a 'typical Celtic supporter just stirring', subsequent events demonstrated that his information was spot on (Craig Whyte's plan to fund Rangers via advance season-ticket sales being one. Visits from the taxmen being another).
He has continued this line of investigation with the new club that was formed and - to date - has again been on the mark with what has happened.
There is a natural knee-jerk to 'blame the messenger' and some Rangers fans did do this at first.
But after five years, the penny must surely have dropped that maybe this guy's sources of information are not only reliably but correct as well?
Not so. Vitriol, abuse and even threats made to book sellers selling the journalist's book on the collapse of Rangers, "Downfall", have been some of the actions performed by a section of the Rangers support.
Lest we forget falsely claiming to have the aforementioned journalist 'blacklisted' by the Belfast Telegraph - something that newspaper's editor strongly refuted.
Such has been the desperation to silence someone, who has relayed accurate information on the state of their club (compared to the cheerleading of other media outlets which only served to mask the cracks), a simple blog award ceremony has now been targeted.
Whatever happened to the novel concepts of:
1. Voting for someone else?
2. Not reading something if you don't like it?
As stated earlier, yes a 'shooting of the messenger' would be a natural initial reaction, but this seems to have gone beyond the pale.
If a journalist of a Hibs persuasion had reported on the Chris Robinson/Vladimir Romanov disasters that nearly destroyed Hearts, Jambos fans would probably have initially done the knee-jerk of taking pot-shots at the messenger but would eventually have put all the pieces together to see that all that they were being told was on the level.
A guess perhaps, but one based on the fact that many Hearts fans eventually worked out for themselves that all was not right.
Instead of waiting for a mysterious sugar-daddy (that for Rangers fans would never come), Hearts fans rallied round themselves to save their club while another set let their own club die.
There are plenty of Rangers fans still in denial over what happened to their old team and what is happening with their current one.
Mr Mac Giolla Bhain is not the only journalist to suffer from such intimidation.
BBC Scotland saw a protest from Rangers fans following Mark Daly's documentary that exposed Craig Whyte, not as a billionaire with off the radar wealth as one media outlet claimed, but as a charlatan who had been disqualified from being a company director for seven years.
Those Rangers fans accused the BBC of doing 'a hatchet job' yet as events would prove, Daly had Whyte bang to rights.
Alex Thomson of Channel 4 News received abuse and was even sent a threatening email by a Scottish journalist 'warning' him to stay out of the Rangers story.
Angela Haggerty, the current editor of the Commonspace website, edited Mr Mac Giolla Bhain's book, "Downfall". By 'guilt' of association, she had her address published online by a Rangers fan and was also threatened on a Rangers fans' podcast. The latter saw the perpetrator of that incident sent to prison.
Jim Spence when at BBC Scotland suffered a vitriolic campaign from Rangers fans to have him sacked.
His crime? For saying, live on air, that the current incarnation of Rangers are a new club - which is correct. The last one had been liquidated.
Spence was also abused on the streets of Dundee when out with his wife by a Rangers fans.
I myself have had all sorts of vitriolic and abusive posts on my Twitter feed since beginning this blog site.
One so-called Rangers fan even took to telling a writer/politician whose account I follow (and she in turn follows mine) that she should "keep clear" because (for the 'crime' of interacting with Mr Mac Giolla Bhain, Miss Haggerty and Mr Spence on Twitter) I was 'in' with 'IRA people'.
Untrue and defamatory towards the other three individuals to say the least.
Thankfully this lady (who has had her own problems with idiots posting abuse and threats on her line for her political views and stance on human rights) saw this for what it was and paid no credence to it.
Smearing is not a new tactic.
The leader of the Rangers Supporters Trust (and former club director until a racist post by him on Twitter saw him quit that role after three days), Chris Graham, once putting up a 'list' earmarking supposed 'enemies' of Rangers for fans to read.... and draw your own conclusions on how they were supposed to receive and act on this information.
It is published below in full:
The Enemies of Rangers Football Club
February 16, 2012
“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” Winston Churchill
It has been interesting, if not surprising, to watch the emergence of the enemies of our football club over the past few days. I think there is a danger over this period when our minds are rightly focussed on making sure Rangers survive and prosper that we forget some of the people who wish to see the club die. There are some obvious ones who we are well aware of already like Philip McGillivan and Peter Lawwell but there are others who will now be jumping on the bandwagon. So, with that in mind I’ve decided to keep a note of them. This post will be updated with the names and quotes from the people who want to see our club go out of business and are revelling in the possibility.
1) Mike Small – ” Who?” I hear you ask. Well it seems Mike is a friend of Philip McGillivan (Rangers hater and IRA supporter). He is described on the Guardian website, who gave him the platform to spew his hatred, as “the Editor of Bella Caledonia”. This in fact appears to be a blog much like this one but Mike clearly has ideas above his station. I won’t be providing links to either the Guardian piece he wrote on the 14th February or his blog because, frankly, I would prefer not to give them the hits but let me provide you with a few quotes from it.
“The club’s slide into administration could help rid Scottish football of ritualised bigotry and intergenerational hatred”
“After the loyalty she has been shown over the years, how can Her Majesty allow her Revenue & Customs to behave in this manner?”
“Establishment voices mutter confidently of the club’s fanbase and that the “”club will never die”. Such macho posturing is a default setting from the club’s supporters (who numbered 17,822 at the recent home defeat to Dundee United)”
“Rumours swirl that Graeme Souness waits in the wings like a moustachioed Sauron.”
I’m sure we can all agree that Mike is a funny guy….He may just be an idiot who believes everything his pal Philip tells him but I suspect he has his own hatred to keep him going, with his perception that Rangers are the root of all bigotry being a particular give-away.
2) Iain McGill – Again a rather obscure one but he is the Conservative Party candidate for Edinburgh Central and as such represents his party in what he says. He is also pictured on his website shaking hands with David Cameron. I wonder what the PM would think of McGill’s views after his wholehearted support for Rangers today? Mr McGill had the following to say on Mike Small’s piece in the Guardian:
Mr McGill not only has political aspirations but describes himself as a “businessman”. He is a director of Harmony Employment Agency http://www.harmonyemployment.com/meet-the-staff.html. Maybe he will find that Rangers fans who unwittingly use his services may decide not to, given his hatred for our club? Then perhaps he will see just how funny it is when businesses get into trouble and people face losing their jobs. Anyone who is not on Twitter and would like to contact Iain to discuss his views can do so via this linkhttp://www.voteiainmcgill.com/contact.aspx
3) Peter Lawwell – Well he had a chance to act in a dignified and magnanimous way but that isn’t really Peter’s way is it? Despite all evidence to the contrary he is adamant that his club don’t need Rangers. Perhaps he thinks people are interested in the outcome of a one team league? But really it’s just another chance for him to have a dig. Here is the quote today, I’m sure there will be many more…
“We are very disappointed with the First Minister’s claims that Celtic ‘need’ Rangers and that Celtic ‘can’t prosper unless Rangers are there’.
“This is simply not true. In a series of interviews given just three days ago, we made it abundantly clear that Celtic has a well defined strategy and a business plan independent of the fortunes of any other club. That remains absolutely the case.”
4) Matt McGlone – Now I hesitated to add this because Matt’s performance on Scotland Tonight on the 16th February was so shambolic that he’s more a figure of fun than a serious enemy. Indeed you could argue that the sight of him and Michael Kelly bickering was a genuine moment of light entertainment for us in hard times. Perhaps one day we will learn what the stuttering McGlone means when he says that Celtic are a “culture of people”?
However he has been added because despite the clown like fashion in which he put his point across there was no mistaking the hatred and desperation behind it. Michael Kelly might have been added too but actually after getting off to a bad start with the political point scoring he obviously felt necessary he seemed to return to his senses and realised that Celtic do indeed need Rangers and that Rangers “will continue”. Of course with crowds of 60,00 every week at Celtic Park ( no sniggering) they will soon be playing in the EPL…….
5) Neil Lennon – Well it was never likely that old popcorn teeth was going to be able to keep his mouth shut was it? Fresh from moaning about people commenting on his club he decides to comment on ours. Suffice to say he just couldn’t stop himself but with his past behaviour and abuse of our fans and players he could have been on this list straight away anyway
6) Hugh Keevins – Once again this is not a surprise name to appear on the list. Hugh has a long history of putting the boot into Rangers whilst sticking up for his team, Celtic. However this time he’s written a piece in the Daily Record ‘blog’ on 19th February which even the Celtic View might have thought twice about publishing. It’s long been a tactic of the media in Scotland to feed Celtic fans’ paranoia and this should do the job no matter what the outcome of Rangers’ administration. Well done Hugh, it’s quite possible that somebody, somewhere will be the victim of an act of violence because you felt the need to write lies in your paper. I’m sure the irony in the last quoted line of his ridiculous article won’t be missed. It’s you and your ilk who stoke the hatred with lies Hugh – and you know that.
“ the unmissable smell of favouritism has started to rise from Rangers’ journey back from administration”
“Celtic fans have carried the firm conviction for 100 years and more that Rangers are the ‘Establishment’ club in Scotland – and now they’re getting evidence to support their claim”
“ he said Rangers were “part of the fabric of society” in Scotland. Which makes Celtic what, precisely?”
“ the public purse has been dipped in a way that’s given cause to widespread concern and police intervention”
“Severe penalties will need to be imposed on the Ibrox club”
“a repeat of last season’s unedifying end to the championship looms on the horizon”
“now’s the time for the leading players in this off-field drama to be careful what they’re saying for fear of inflaming an already combustible situation”
7) Vespbar, 14 Drury Street, Glasgow G2 5AA – Obviously there are lots of Celtic bars out there that Bears would not frequent and vice versa. However, Vespbar in Glasgow’s city centre doesn’t advertise itself as such. It’s owners however have adopted the highly suspect “Jelly and Ice Cream when Rangers die” slogan to attract Celtic fans to their bar. I think it’s important that Rangers fans know just what the views of the owners of this place are and hopefully you will all choose to avoid it.
They have since deleted the offending tweet although they are retweeting Celtic fans on a regular basis with the #jellyandicecream tag. A tag which, if I supported a club that was embroiled in a child abuse scandal, I might choose to avoid…
“Got the Celtic game on today, showing on our big screen (120 inches). Ice cream and jelly at full time. “
8) Stuart Cosgrove – Stuart is a busted flush. It seems perhaps he knows this since his ‘comedy’ show “Off the Ball” on BBC Radio Scotland seems to have become more and more bitter as time has passed. Stuart seems to know about a criminal tax investigation that the rest of us are not aware of. He also seems to think he knows the outcome of this fantastical investigation which he unveiled on his show on the 18th February. Stuart has previous as a Rangers hater and is a big fan of using the word “hun” on his show. Not likely to be the only BBC employee on this list by the time we are done.
“Rangers have cheated their way to titles with illegal tax mechanisms”
I would ask those of you who read the blog to post comments here or tweet me including the names and quotes from people who revel in our misfortune over the coming weeks and months. If you can also provide links that would be helpful. I will update this post weekly so that when RFC is back on its feet we have a record of those who spoke out against us.
He still continues to post vitriol on his Twitter account against those who hold a different view to his own with regard to Rangers football club - even Rangers fans themselves such as the man behind John James' blog.
Mr Graham is not alone. There are many more like him. For a club's support that regularly sings, "No one likes us we don't care", they certainly 'care' enough to try and silence those who may have a different point of view.
They no doubt feel they are part of some Churchillian movement showing the spirit of Dunkirk by dam-busting anyone who dares to offer an alternative opinion.
But all they're doing is paying homage to Mielke and his Stasi thugs with their acts of intimidation and aggressive demands of selective censorship.
The wall that protected Mielke and Co. one day came crashing down. No tears were shed.
There will be none shed when Scottish football and Rangers football club themselves finally decides to purge the Stasi wannabes from Ibrox.