Blog 08/21/2022 - Top 10 Secret Police in History
The Top 10 Secret Police in History.
They are normally allowed to operate outside the law by countries to repress any discontent or opposition by their populations.
Secret police have long helped authoritarian states maintain their control and hegemony on power as far back as the Roman Empire. The first was the “Frumentarii” who were the powerful Roman Legion Logisticians whose main function was to provide their legions with supplies and obviously came across important intelligence in the conquered areas. The “Agentes in Rebus” (those involved in affairs) was the successor to the utterly despised Frumentarii. Early in their implementation during the third century A.D., they were merely couriers or informants for the emperor but as their power grew, they became enforcers under direct orders from the emperor.
Here are five just outside the Top 10 that didn’t make the cut:
The “Jinyiwei” (Embroidered Uniform Guards) was established during the Ming Dynasty as bodyguards for the Chinese Emperor. They eventually elevated to the highest status in the land, empowering them to go after anyone who threatened the emperor’s rule.
The “Oprichniki” created by Tsar Ivan IV (the Terrible) were a murdering monastic order that dressed in long black robes adorned with a symbol of a dog’s head and a broomstick. These indiscriminate killers were described as “children of darkness . . . hundreds and thousands of times worse than hangmen,” Only existing for seven years, their Russian reign of terror resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands.
The “5th Constabulary Security Unit (CSU)” was a dangerous Philippines security force which flourished throughout the tyrannical reign of Ferdinand Marcos. During martial law the 5th CSU was the deadliest anti-subversive groups.
The “Central Office of Banditry Repression (OCRB)” was created to stem the tide of incessant looting in the Central African Republic (the former French Equatorial Africa) after two different army mutinies in the late 1990s, the OCRB evolved into a secret police and intelligence force. They began conducting summary executions of anyone who was suspected of being a bandit or rebel, often without evidence.
The “Greek Military Police (ESA)” was established in the early 1950s, but didn’t evolve into a feared secret police organization until after the military junta took control of Greece after a coup in 1967. Known for their extensive and brutal torture tactics under the much broader powers given them by the junta leaders. The ESA was eventually disbanded in 1974 when the junta was toppled.
10) “Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)” – Its worst efforts were during the COunter INTELligence PROgram (COINTELPRO) in operation from 1956-1971. This was the U.S. government response to communists, beatniks, hippies, pacifists, and other dissidents. Director J. Edgar Hoover ordered left-leaning individuals, Vietnam War protesters, feminist groups and civil rights activists surveilled, infiltrated, discredited, and disrupted.) Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a prime target as were the Black Panthers while Southern Democrats who supported the Ku Klux Klan and violently fought segregation got less or no investigative scrutiny. It needed Efron Zembilist Jr. and The F.B.I. TV show which Hoover loved tofor good PR. The distrust of the FBI is high again after its leadership is reported to be politicized with its collusion with the Clinton Campaign on a fake Russian dossier & 30,000+ e-mail scrub, election tampering suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop and now political motivated raids (maybe it was just a panty raid!)
9) “SAVAK/ SAVAMA” – The SAVAK was the Shah of Iran’s secret police force from 1957 until his overthrow in 1979. Trained in part by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), it was an extremely repressive service in swiftly dealing with dissidents. With a trademark in torturing its victims with methods including electric shock, removal of teeth and finger nails, as well as boiling water enemas. SAVAK spent the majority of its resources weeding out and torturing either islamic or communist opponents to the Shah’s rule.
In 1979, the SAVAK was nominally disbanded, and a new Iranian secret police force, “SAVAMA,” as feared as its predecessor, took over. While SAVAMA was a new secret service in name, many historians argue that SAVAMA was merely an extension of its predecessor, maintaining the same methods as before but with the targets now anti-regime intellectuals and opposition politicians like the four assassinations in Berlin, Germany in 1992.
8) The “Mabahith” – The longest-running secret police force, active since 1924, belongs to Saudi Arabia, in support of the Royal family’s tyranny. More formally known as al-Mabahit al-Ammah (General Investigation Directorate) has conducted a wide variety of security operations that have led to the arrest of high-profile terrorists, and regime opposition members that caused internal unrest. The Mabahith are so paranoid about controlling the Saudi populace that even kids are detained without trial and tortured.
7) The “Milice De Volontaires De La Sécurité Nationale” – Few have ever heard that official name but was known by the greatest name of all the secret police, the Tonton Macoute (named for Uncle Gunnysack who spirits away unruly children to never be seen again.) Around from 1958 to 1986, it was created under François “Papa Doc” Duvalier and continued under his son Jean-Claude (“Baby Doc”), Haiti was a nightmarish place to live. Between the two Presidents, they oversaw the imprisonment and execution of tens of thousands of Haitian civilians.
The machete-wielding Tonton Macoute, in their distinctive straw hats and sunglasses, muted opposition by raping, beating, macheted, murdering or like their folkloric namesake simply spiriting people away in the night. With little knowledge of Haiti, many equate the Tonton Macoute to the Bond Voodoo Villain Baron Samedi (Geoffrey Holder whose laugh both in the movie and for 7-Up’s “uncola nuts” ad is unforgettable.)
6) The “610 Office” – The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) consolidates its ideological dominance position over its populace with politburo “central leading groups.” The most notorious is the “Leading Group for Preventing and Handling the Problem of Heretical Organizations,” which seeks to monitor and suppress potentially dangerous religions (all religions.) Founded in 1999 (June 10th hence 610), the group was originally focused on crushing the Falun Gong movement. Their methods are centered around forced labor camps with ample beatings, water boarding, sleep deprivation, and electric shock torture. with electric batons. Many journalists even outside of Communist China are afraid to report on the issue, fearing criticism of the government could make them targets or worse not be paid to look the other way like many government officials. The 610 Office, rapidly dealt with regime problems, unhampered by obstacles like human rights or the law. Almost two decades later, they’re still at it.
5) The “Kempeitai” – Founded in 1881 as the military police arm of the Imperial Japanese Army. The Kempeitai nicknamed the “Japanese Gestapo,” were so excessively ruthless, both inside and outside of Japan during WWII, that the Imperial Japanese Navy created its own secret military police, the “Tokkeitai” to keep the Army from meddling in Navy affairs. Having been selected for advanced training on the basis of superior intelligence, fitness, and political reliability, every member of the Kempeitai had extraordinary powers to arrest practically anyone they wished. Their record of war crimes was extensive.
4) The “Santebal” – Only in existence from 1971 – 1979 but the security police of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge, were terrifying efficient. Their communist revolutionary zeal in running over 150 execution prisons claimed two million Cambodian lives, more than 20% of the population, in just four devastatingly genocidal years. The shadowy Santebal (which ironically means “keeper of the peace” in the Khmer language) was indispensable to the regime’s autocratic, totalitarian, xenophobic, racist, paranoid, violent, repressive and communist social engineering policies in exterminating civilians.
3) The “Cheka/GPU/OGPU/NKGB/NKVD/GRU/MGB/KGB/SVR & FSB” – The numerous communist secret police organizations that began with the Cheka in 1917 who implemented & filled the Russian Gulags (the forced labor camps created by Lenin but perfected by Stalin even before WWII.) During Stalin’s purges the NKVD oversaw the deaths of 10 million prisoners in the Gulags, while millions more languished for years in the forced labor camps. Beyond the Gulags, the NKVD was instrumental in Stalin’s genocide in the Ukraine where millions perished from famine and more in the Great Purge of the Communist Party & Red Army between 1934 and 1940. During the purge, anyone suspected of being an enemy of the state or opposed Stalin were arrested, tortured and either sent to the Gulags or shot. The NKVD was responsible for the detention of nearly 2M people between 1937 and 1938 alone; of those detained almost 700K were executed, a rate of roughly 1K per day. In Soviet times, their spies were active against democratic states and spearheaded the invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.
When the Soviet Union broke up, the GRU's great rival, the KGB secret police, split in two - a domestic version called the FSB (which Russian President Vladimir Putin once led) and a foreign service called the SVR - but the GRU remained intact. Secret operation attributed to the GRU: the hacking of Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign and hacking of her server and tens of thousands of private and classified communications.
2) The “Stasi” – used German efficiency to be the most successful intelligence service in history. They out did their masters the KGB keeping almost unimaginably detailed files and records on large quantities of the population that created an atmosphere of fear and unease that they then proceeded to exploit. The Stasi was formed in early 1950 as the official state security service for the newly formed German Democratic Republic (DDR).
With similarities to the KGB, the Stasi’s role involving spying on its population with the aim of keeping the government informed and quashing any discontent before it became a threat. Officially, the Stasi employed around 90,000 agents (slightly more than the agents Democrats are now hiring & then arming to join the Internal Revenue Service) but in order to achieve such levels of effectiveness, the Stasi relied on 1 in 6 being a civilian informer. After the DDR’s collapse, the true extent of Stasi surveillance was revealed. They had been keeping files on 33% of East Germans, and had over 500,000 unofficial informants on the payroll.
1) The “Gestapo” – Many of the techniques used by the Stasi had actually been pioneered by the evilest of them all, the Geheime Staatspolizei (or secret state police.) The Nazi’s had shown that relying heavily on social information-gathering and spying on its population would create an atmosphere of extreme fear to get citizens to denounce one another. The Stasi just followed the Gestapo’s lead that such a climate was an extremely effective tool at fashioning an obedient German population, it worked extremely successfully for the National Socialists from 1933 to WWII’s end. The Gestapo needs no introduction for their role in the Holocaust, for their sheer efficiency and the massive scope of their evil. SS-Obergruppenführer Best the war criminal who initiated an administrative registry of all German Jews who described the state sponsored killing machine as a kind of “doctor to the German national body,” tasked with locating “destructive germs” and “using all appropriate means to get rid of them.”