By Katherine Verdery
Not anything in Soviet-style communism used to be as shrouded in secret as its mystery police. Its paid staff have been identified to few and their genuine numbers stay doubtful. Its informers and collaborators operated clandestinely below pseudonyms and met their officials in mystery destinations. Its records have been inaccessible, even to such a lot social gathering contributors. the folk the key police recruited or interrogated have been threatened so successfully that a few by no means informed even their spouses, and lots of have held their tongues to this present day, lengthy after the regimes fell.
With the tip of communism, a few of the newly verified governments—among them Romania’s—opened their mystery police records. From these documents, in addition to her own thoughts, the writer has performed old ethnography of the Romanian Securitate. secrets and techniques and Truths isn't just of ancient curiosity yet has implications for figuring out the quickly constructing “security state” of the neoliberal current.
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Additional resources for Secrets and Truth: Ethnography in the Archive of Romania's Secret Police (The Natalie Zemon Davis Annual Lecture Series Book 7)
Was it just good sleuthing—data that are replicated are more credible? Does it betray a pedagogical practice: the point was not (just) to get specific information about a person but to train many people in a process of producing it, through the repetition and circulation of a limited set of categories and techniques? Perhaps the point was not to produce information efficiently at all but rather to demonstrate that the officers were working hard; therefore the idea of “wasteful effort” makes no sense.
What more can we say about it? indd 34 2013-11-12 12:00:40 for selective retention and processes of power, and a second level relating to the fact that “the Securitate archive was created by and against the silence of the population being monitored. As it were, the role of the Securitate archive was to record everything that was being kept silent by the population. ”12 Poenaru’s reference to the archive’s “loquacity” reminds one of Stephen Kotkin’s observation, following upon Lefort’s comments about the loquaciousness of the Stalinist state: “Stalinism could not stop speaking about itself.
25 But I think the most important cause of this duplicative effort is to be found in practices aimed both at specialization and at maintaining the secrecy of Securitate personnel—practices of what they called conspirativitate, which I will translate as “conspirativity,” an aspect of the compartmentalization of intelligence work that is common to all secret services. Securitate actions were segmented into different branches—following people (“Service F”), censoring correspondence (“Service S”), intercepting telephone conversations (“Service T”), disinformation (“Service D”), and so on—as well as into different directorates specializing in internal information (Directorate I,) counterespionage (Directorate III), military counterespionage (IV), and so forth.