Gaslighting

IB  Ingrid Bergman in the 1944 film “Gaslight”

“…the Stasi often used a method which was really diabolic. It was called Zersetzung (gaslighting). The word is difficult to translate because it literally means “decomposition.”  But actually, it’s a quite accurate description. The goal was to secretly destroy the self-confidence of people, for example by damaging their reputation, by organizing failures in their work, and by destroying their personal relationships. Considering this, East Germany was a very modern dictatorship. The Stasi didn’t try to arrest every dissident. It preferred to paralyze them, and it could do so because it had access to so much personal information and to so many institutions.”
—Hubertus Knabe, German historian


One of the problems with en masse surveillance is that gives a government the power to psychologically attack anyone whom they do not like.  This has happened before, and it is happening now in some places. The STASI perfected gaslighting, and this perfection was based on their eavesdropping against the population.

STASI Vernam Cipher Table “TAPIR”

Cold War Encryption Systems (in German) Under “3.1 TAPIR” on the page linked to above one can download a WIndows .exe file and use a program to encrypt and decrypt messages the STASI (Ministerium für Staatssicherheit, MfS) way. Specifically, go to the line:  Programm: TAPIR Umsetzung für Windows per Download This file is compressed in the 7z format.  Go here to get the free download to open such files: http://www.7-zip.org/

Here we see the time tested and venerable “TAPIR” tapir

 

One-time pad cipher system    A digital picture of the card above

?????????????   A reworked version of the original “TAPIR”

Example of how these messages work:

1)  “Sicherheitsdienst Einzsatzkommando. Ostfront.”                -The message   (plaintext)

2)  Message transformed with the “TAPIR” table: 69253 14591 27069 54213 69708 31237 96907 07961 64636 30354 64828 98183 64697 95646 43708 28981 8383

+

-One Time Pad (key)

3)  Message will be encrytped with the One Time Pad below

64651 47703 77032 73245 23272 48788 31258 32815 85487 92553 67710 74204 43047 08318 60889 84435 78692 22960 85978 18412 36838 83027 73163 89243 68943 50392 29621 96950 70793 57365 58875 43986 53848 32228 32199 11014 17877 31116 91760 91366 17032 37177 90191 07652 36582 12960 96269 58905 22471 16963 21400 71763 30893 20974 46589 54063 90083 84253 54591 74336 91493 85185 96917 15605 52559 96840 50400 76941 18228 66881 42988 21217 93449 48066 53476 92474 23813 70158 14840 51375 66504 63508 75880 02146 18799 70229 00847 09464 96251 03907 11740 28727 77782 43779 02984 98137 59843 74340 83137 66038 _________________________________________________________________________________________________

4)  The result.  This is called the “ciphertext.”  This is the encrypted message now ready for transmission.

23804 51294 94091 27458 82970 79915 27155 39776 49013 22807 21538 62387 07634 03954 03587 02316 5142

This ciphertext is the core of the message.  Padding could be added to conceal its true length, and a non-sequential header could be added to identify which key should be used.  The message could be cut into two unequal pieces and those pieces could be switched.  This hides any salutations or common introductory phrases.  That method of dividing the plaintext is charmingly called “Russian Copulation.”

The point about this encryption system is that it is not susceptible to computational attack.

Some people may think think is merely a relic of history.  No.  This is the future.