East Germans feared Jackson would be 'politically provocative' in concert

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The Independent Online

The sinister Stasi secret police of former East Germany opened a file on late "King of Pop" Michael Jackson because they felt he would be "politically provocative" when he gave a concert in West Berlin.

The Stasi, which turned one-in-three citizens of the Communist German Democratic Republic into informers, were horrified when Jackson announced he would sing on the other side of the Berlin Wall on 19 June, 1998.

Agents were put on the case to judge the danger that Jackson represented to East German youths who would hear his concert drifting over the wire and watch towers of the hated barrier.

The memos detailing the fears of the spymasters were found this week in Berlin among the 120 miles of yellowing paper that the Stasi didn't have time to shred and burn in the hours before East Germany collapsed in 1989.

One dated 20 May, 1988 from the Stasi High Command reads: "Youth from all backgrounds will seek to experience this concert in the area of the Brandenburg Gate." It said it feared "excesses" among the young ones exposed to The Gloved One's music.

It went on: "A mentioned youth (the name is blacked out in the file) is calculating on a confrontation with the peoples' police as a result."

The Stasi wanted to lay on a "deflection concert" of its own in the east to keep hordes of young people away. But the East German politburo ruled out the idea and instead gave instructions for "zero tolerance" for youngsters trying to make it to the wall to listen to Jackson on the night.