.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Švejk [shvāke] Svejk

This blog is dedicated to the title character of The Fateful Adventures of the Good Soldier Švejk During the World War and his creator, Jaroslav Hašek.

My Photo
Name:
Location: United States

Sunday, August 28, 2005

HOMELAND SECURITY, OLD-WORLD STYLE

Proofreading of Book Three has begun.

The following excerpt is from Book Two, Chapter 2 of The Fateful Adventures of the Good Soldier Švejk During the World War titled "ŠVEJK’S BUDĚJOVICKÁ ['bood-ye-yo-vits-kah] ANABASIS". It might as well had been titled: HOMELAND SECURITY, OLD-WORLD STYLE:
__________________________________________________________

.... The State police Station Chief wrung his hands with pleasure, rejoicing over the richness of the collected material and the exact results of his interrogation method. He remembered his predecessor, Station Chief Bürger who would not speak with the detainee at all, would not ask him anything and send him immediately to the county court with a short report: "By the judgement of the Sergeant of the Watch he was detained for vagrancy and begging." Was that supposed to be an interrogation?

And the State police Station Chief, looking at the pages of his report, flashed a smile of vindication and pulled out of his desk the secret circular from the State police Headquarters of the Land in Prague marked with the customary ‘Strictly Confidential’ and read through it one more time:

"All State police stations are under strict orders to monitor with immeasurably increased alertness all persons passing through the area. The redeployment of our troops in eastern Galicia has brought about that some Russian military detachments, having crossed the Carpathians, have assumed positions in the interior of our Empire, whereby the front has been shifted deeper toward the west of the Monarchy. This new situation has allowed Russian spies, given the mobility of the front, deeper penetration into the territory of our Monarchy, especially into Silesia and Moravia, from where, according to confidential reports, a large number of Russian intelligence operatives have set out for Bohemia. It has been determined that among them there are many Russian Czechs educated at the Russian military staff colleges who, having perfect mastery of the Czech language, seem to be especially dangerous spies since they can and certainly will conduct treasonous propaganda among the Czech populace. The Land Headquarters therefore orders the apprehension and detention of all suspects and above all increased vigilance in those areas where nearby there are garrisons, military centers and stations with military transport trains passing through. The detained are to be subjected to an immediate search and transported to the next higher authority."

The State police Station Chief Flanderka flashed a smile of contentment again and deposited the secret circular, "Sekretreservaten", among the others in the folder labeled "Secret Directives".

There were many of those that were prepared by the Ministry of Interior State Security in cooperation with the Ministry of Land Defense to which the State police was subordinate.

At the Land Headquarters of the State police in Prague they could not copy and send them out fast enough.

There was:

The directive on controlling the local population’s views.

The guidance on how to monitor, in conversations with the local population, the influence of the news from the battlefield on its views.

A questionnaire regarding how the local population behaves toward the publicly tendered war loans and collections.

A questionnaire on the mood among the members of local self-governing bodies and intellectuals.

A directive on determining without delay to which political parties the local population belongs, and how strong the individual parties are.

A directive on controlling the activities of the leaders of local political parties and determining the level of loyalty of certain political parties, represented among the local population.

A questionnaire on which newspapers, magazines and brochures get delivered within the police station’s beat.

An instruction regarding determining with whom the persons suspected of disloyalty are in contact, and how their disloyalty manifests itself.

An instruction regarding how to recruit paid finks and informers among the local population.

An instruction for the paid informers from among the local population who were registered at the State police station as being in its service.

Every day brought new instructions, guidances, questionnaires, and regulations. Inundated by the mass of innovations from the Austrian Ministry of Interior, the State police Station Chief Flanderka had a huge backlog of items and answered the questionnaires in a stereotypical manner to the effect that on his beat everything was O.K. and loyalty among the local population was of grade Ia.

The Austrian Ministry of Interior devised the following grades of loyalty and steadfastness toward the Monarchy: Ia, Ib, Ic—IIa, IIb, IIc—IIIa, IIIb, IIIc—IVa, IVb, IVc. The last Roman numeral four in connection with the letter 'a' meant high treason and the rope, with the letter 'b' internment, and with 'c' the order to monitor and lock up the perpetrator.

In the State police Station Chief’s desk there were to be found all kinds of forms and records. The Government wanted to know of each citizen how it was thought of.

Quite a number of times the Station Chief Flanderka raised his clasped hands in desperation over the forms which mercilessly kept coming and adding up with each mail delivery. As soon as he saw the familiar envelopes with the stamp "Portofrei — dienstlich, Postage free — official business" his heart always thumped a few times and at night, thinking everything over, he would arrive at the conviction that he wouldn’t live to see the end of the war, and that the State police Land Headquarters would rid him of the last pinch of his sanity and that he would not be able to enjoy the victory of Austrian arms because he would have either one screw too many or one screw too few in his head. And the County Headquarters of the State police would bombard him daily with inquiries why the questionnaire issued under the number 72345 OVER { 721a/f }d, has not been answered, how the instruction issued under the number 88992 OVER { 822gfch } z, has been disposed of, and what are the practical results of the guidance under the number 123456 OVER { 1292b/r } V, etc.

He was the most worried over the instruction on how to gain paid finks and informants among the local populace. In the end, since he figured it impossible that it could be somebody from the area where The Marshes began and where the folk were such stubborn knuckleheads, he came across the idea to take into service the village herdsman whom they called "Joey, jump!" He was a cretin who always jumped in response to this call. One of those poor characters neglected by nature and men, a cripple who grazed the village cattle for a few gold pieces a year and some food. ...


1 Comments:

Blogger buddy don said...

tiz spooky how well this wurks fer our time, sir!

6:04 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home