Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


This is k'oolbert:

 "Do you know why we are so strong? Because we are a unit, each of us is part of the greater whole, always under surveillance, even a commander such as myself. Always under surveillance." - - Commander Kor, Klingon occupation army.

We think of the Klingon Empire and all it's manifestations as being something that exists solely in the mind of some Hollywood screenwriter. Fiction. And of course the Klingons,their Empire, and their societal values are sci-fi fiction as seen in the TV series Star Trek. Also seen in the various big screen movies by the same name.

However, several aspects of the Klingons, their societal makeup and values have been mirrored here on earth. Cultural aspects found in the behavior of a few "earthling" societies. NOT fiction. Fact.

I am thinking in this case of extreme surveillance.

Surveillance as mentioned in the quote of Commander Kor.

Surveillance that basically went against the moral code of the Klingons. A code that called for an extreme emphasis placed on honor.

Kor was speaking at a time in the history of the Klingon Empire when honor had become passe'.

At a time when treachery was valued.

At a time when the Klingons had lost their way [their dao].

"At the beginning of this century, the belief in 'honor above all else' did not exist. Honor was considered a despicable trait"

"As always, a honorable man can be trusted. A dishonorable man must be monitored at all times."

The specific "earthling" society I am thinking about with regard to extreme surveillance was the Soviet Union.

Surveillance was found at all levels of Soviet society. The KGB apparatus for keeping a close eye and tabs on persons was all pervasive.

This was the stukachi system. Stukachi translates loosely as stoolie.

The most extreme form of surveillance of Soviet citizens was to be found in the military. Each unit of the Red Army at company level and higher [about 200 men], had their own political officer. This was the Red commissar who would set up an informer network. Stukachi were found everywhere within the Red Army. To prevent revolt from the military. Of primary concern to the communist authorities were the officer corps. To monitor dissidence and thwart any and all attempts at rebellion.

The communists KNEW that the Red Army were the only ones that had the physical wherewithal to rebel and succeed. It was necessary for the Communist Party survival to keep close watch and tabs on the military. Red commissars were the key to communist rule.

Red commissars, according to a number of defectors, were more or less universally disliked. Sometimes intensely so. It is reputed that during World War Two, army officers at the first chance would kill the commissar and make it look like a battlefield death. [in the movie "Hunt for Red October", the first thing Ramius does is kill the political officer aboard the submarine.]

Here is a description of the Red commissars, their stukachi, and the army officers in the moments leading up to the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968: [from Surorov.]

"We all rushed to our vehicles . . . Suddenly, from the other side of the column, a sizeable group of soldier and sergeants who had just received their instructions from the officers of the special department of the KGB, came running towards us. Stukachi, as KGB informers are nicknamed, are always given their instructions secretly. But here, at the very frontier, the special department had apparently received new instructions, which had to be passed urgently to its executives . . . What they were talking about was not hard to guess, they were being given the power to kill us, the officers, if we started to wipe the white stripes off our vehicles or tanks . . . Meanwhile, another dense group of soldiers and sergeants had detached itself from the armoured troops carrier belonging to the battalion commander's political deputy . . . these, too were Stukachi - - but of a slightly different kind. They were the legal stukachi . . . looking at the insolent faces of the legal and political stukachi, it was only too easy to guess that, only a moment before, the Party had given them the right to shoot without warning any officer who dared to obliterate any white stripes."

[during the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia, Pact tanks were painted with white stripes for identification.]

"Now, there was one last man running from the vehicle of the regimental propagandist . . . He was a Candidate Member of Our Great Party . . . there was only one like him in my company."

"he was yet another man authorized to shoot me in the back, if the KGB stukachi just happened to hesitate. And he would shoot at both the obvious and hidden KGB stukachi, if they faltered, and if, of course, I happened to be a second late in killing them."

"I am watching you!!"



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