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The Secret Police and the 35mm Camera

In 1934, the FE Dzerzhinsky labor commune in Kharkiv began manufacturing a rangefinder camera that copied the German Leica. Though production has long ceased, FED rangefinders are still widely used and collected today. But the FED and its manufacturer have a tarnished history - some of which is due to a work force comprised of children and criminals, and some owed to its namesake: Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky, the founder of the Soviet secret police (NSFW).
posted by katillathehun on Sep 27, 2007 - 10 comments

"But, Comrade Stalin," stammered Beria, "five suspects have already confessed to stealing it."

The feeding pipe was thick, thicker than my nostril, and would not go in. Blood came gushing out of my nose and tears down my cheeks, but they kept pushing until the cartilages cracked. I guess I would have screamed if I could, but I could not with the pipe in my throat. . . . . When torture is condoned, these rare talented people leave the service, having been outstripped by less gifted colleagues with their quick-fix methods, and the service itself degenerates into a playground for sadists. Thus, in its heyday, Joseph Stalin's notorious NKVD (the Soviet secret police) became nothing more than an army of butchers terrorizing the whole country but incapable of solving the simplest of crimes.
Vladimir Bukovsky, "who spent nearly 12 years in Soviet prisons, labor camps and psychiatric hospitals for nonviolent human rights activities," explains how America's use of torture "will destroy your nation's important strategy to develop democracy in the Middle East."
posted by orthogonality on Dec 18, 2005 - 93 comments

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