As a few might have noticed, I have started drawing some cartoon frames. Here's an explanation and a presentation of the concept it has developed into:
I started out presenting some imagined material through the questions of an interviewer in a two-figure single frame set-up.
The four frames are compiled here with my comments on the story and the drawing.
The four single frame cartoons with comments are compiled here.
The two figure frames drew on more developed ideas about a Network within the national security sphere, and – as this imagined universe grew more complex and detailed – the thoughts about how to present the material has moved towards a more complex series, or perhaps a graphic novel. At this point I'm considering using the title Team Work, Tag Team or Agent First. But this is going to be a big project and therefore – so fare – what I present below in this post and its links is an exploration of this far fetched imagined intelligence/security environment, and – as you'll no doubt notice – I'm working on the format both in therms of set-up and ideas for specific dialogues.
The way I want to present the chronology isn't clear to me either, so as is now it's all rather incoherent messy, but through the brainstorm that you'll find further down, I believe to have shaped the professional environment of the Network.
The key elements shaping the environment are the method of recruiting and some of the training methods.
I've startede to process the ideas and write up a cleaner (and shorter) description of the environment here.
and here I've compiled texts that I'll sort through to make a description of the live target training concept that I think will be central in the story.
Also, both the environment and the training methods are being hinted at in the sketched frames below.
I hope you'll find it interesting, and feel free to ask me questions or comment. My e-mail is: firstname.lastname@example.org
I have been thinking about how to present things in the past relative to the present in the series. Here I'm testing an idea to make the past into a strip behind two persons in the present talking about it.
A meeting in the past is retold by the person to the left. Below I used the same drawing and only moved the conversation of the meeting in the past from frame to frame to break up the text and create some dynamic.
So, same meeting in the past just the dialogue that's progressing. I think the format is confusing though. Looks like a view into a train, an office or a restaurant, perhaps.
I think I'll change these frames so that there's only one frame of the past at the time.
With regards to what's being debated, then I think I need to put in a number of steps to get to this point.
Primarily I think I'll look at using a motivation other than just to increase numbers for the involvement of children. Could be something like being able to monitor foreign attempts to influence youth organisations.
In these three frames I have sketched a changed format to illustrate past events.
Content wise this is a continuation or follow up on what was debated in the previous past time passage a bit further up,
As the meeting goes on the present time figures are here reduced to partially visible silhouettes.
If it gets derailed?
If it develops into a network dominated by a power-elite and with nepotistic tendencies? perhaps under the pretext that it's too work demanding monitoring the mindsets of such a large network (something to work with here)
It must be assumed that such a development would be destructive professionalism and thus to security and should be avoided/reversed.
- could be one issue
Another could be what happens if the idea develops inside the network that it's necessary to establish some kind of control of the political level in order to prevent undesirable/undemocratic forces from taking advantage of democracy to bring the country in a direction that would be perceived as undemocratic/dangerous.
If you should find yourself in a situation where you have to deal with such a problem/danger which probably can't be dismissed as not real, then ... what? Do you trust democracy? Do you decide that the constitutional system will have to stand the test even if you are unsure whether or not it'll fail? or do you choose to work toward establishing some sort of control?
Difficult decision, I think, ... because to some extent it will probably be an evasion of responsibility "just" to adhere to the rules / legislation, without having come to the conclusion that it musdt be believed to be the most sustainable way.
.... but but but if one imagines a development into something that includes establishing control within the political / democratic sphere and then mix it with corrupt tendencies, then it'll probably be difficult to limit it to what is (believed to be) necessary.
And where and how would such a network ensure an anchoring of the extremely important awareness of challenges to remaining impartial if – out of distrust – it decided to keep the political power in the dark?
Habitual thinking and/or erosion of awareness should be expected to arise here ao that no sustained efforts are made to challenge the distrust and to maintain an aim for something more ideal for a democracy.
Something like this seems like an obvious theoretical danger, and if one also imagines a two-legged structure, where one leg – the political – is responsible for allocating funds to the other – the security area – and this primarily on the basis of what the service itself claims as the threat level and what it will require in terms of manpower and equipment (= funds), and that while politicians are competing to provide security to the population and therefore are afraid of being confronted with consequences of a reluctant policy with regards to funding security services.
In addition to the obvious unhealthiness of such a structure one might also develop some scenarios where a ... hmmm. problematic shared interest in – as some kind of kickback, perhaps – in abusing security resources to suppress cases/issues/persoins that could be perceived as threat to personal interests.
If the body supposed to detect and intervene in such cases of abuse is weak, and moreover, if it to a large extend is occupied with stakeholdes in possible cases, things could probably end up getting quite fare out.
Parallel society: the narrative moves towards something that has developed into a parallel society. A model to describe this? maybe: I. motivation?) II. benefits? III. "side effects"? IV. the choices that lead to this?
(But) the overall picture, at the time of beginning of this story about the network: Corrupt and beyond democratic control. I. "undeclared" members of the network who are politicians participate in allocating funds to themselves (to the network, that is); II. "undeclared" network members in politics participate in approving initiatives of the network. III. the initiatives the network is set to carry out will often be based on an absolute trust from the broad field of politicians in the information they receive from the network. (this means there'll be a lot of leeway for something autonomous if/when the network decides that it is necessary/preferable). IV. the network's resources could be used to make its members in politics significantly stronger than their competitors (gather non-public information, leak dirt on competitors etc.).
V. also – since the Network is international – democratic restrictions (examples could be demands for warrants for phonetaps or secret ransacking) can be bypassed by having a friendly foreign secret security service performing those tasks.
VI: using "training" as a cover or using low risk operations for training (/teambuilding/commitment maintenance) will hide activities in the accounting.
Abuses its power and gets abused. I. the network sometimes chooses to misinform and manipulate politicians into approving initiatives which are actually extrajudicial use of powers/coercion/punishment.
II. and through this, with the extrajudicial abuses, a practice has been established that can also be exploited by politicians who are willing to overstep their authority and abuse their power to order problematic people taken down.. III. these extrajudicial operations are used to train the network and keep the members committed (see "IV"), which has generated a dependency on being able to continually find a sufficient number of problematic people to satisfy the need for training. IV. This need is increased by the network being greatly oversized compared to the amount of actual work. This again has to do with the recruitment method. This also has caused the network to contain a large number of unsuited members who aren't given assignments.
Therefore at the present the training through executing extrajudicial abuses has become pivotal in maintain loyalty and satisfaction in the network, where they give less suited members a sense of being active agents and sense of worth. Besides this the operations function as a kind of social gathering, where the members - in addition to the excitement - experience a feeling of community around their secret lives, which is otherwise – by definition – impossible.
And since the importance and purpose of these training operations executing extrajudicial abuses of problematic persons have moved to work to satisfy emotional needs in the network they have become a drug.
(internally, the talk will not be of a slide in ethics, but about having the courage and willingness to do what's necessary. This evolved consensus of what is necessary and the conditions for questioning this should contain plenty of materiaI. but at the point of this narrative the relevant question will probably be whether it's necessary to continue or if – on the contrary – it's necessary to change course)
The vulnerability and addiction to the abuses can be made visible by considerations of what it might lead to if such a large number of people (as the entire network) doesn't get their drug, for example:
Will there be potential serious dangers to the network if widespread dissatisfaction arises? Will loyalty and readiness to obey orders be reduced? Will secrets start leaking?
Favoritism: One could work with the idea that the network, through its secrecy, may have built up concentrated representations among employees in companies and institutions that are considered critical. It would affect the output, which might mean that it would be keept at a low level in industry / production / technology, but within culture and media institutions it might have escalated. (a driving force in this escalating far beyond security needs could be the wish among network members to be able to share their secret lives with coworkers. In other word: a result of loneliness) It is possible as well to imagine favoritism among network members in business - when deciding where to place orders in even fields, e.g. cleaning, it wold seem like an option to direct those to businesses owned/run by network members. And, as within politics, one could possibly take it a step further and develope ideas about how the resources of the network would make it possible to provide informational benefits to its members that could ensure advantages in competitive bids, where they aren't favored by the costumer.
Security Service Home Guard: what if one imagines it as a kind of security service home guard? Perhaps intertwined with the military Home Guard? So, maybe a basis in the military / Home Guard and / or with the ability to mobilize from these networks - maybe even with potential families ... but of course not limited to this; people will be recruited, from/in environments that lack representation and/or people who are particularly interesting in connection to specific operations. Sometimes network members can act as bridgeheads if very close coverage is to be established – could be at a workplace. If in general no salary is given? - perks - exciting tasks - ....even assignments abroad (= action holiday-like travel) - excitement, party, community, flirt, sex, relationship-partners. - a shared focus to be enjoyed in participating families. Eg parents with children old enough to understand that they are doing something special together, and, in some cases, parents who get to support - and be proud of - adult children acting in seemingly shabby agent roles "on their own".
Fanaticism / sect tendencies: What will the effect be to an individuals' ability to be critical if they have been born and raised as informant-agents? If performing as an agent has been an essential part of gaining recognition all through childhood? (this again puts emphasis on the importance of the training tasks. Here as a tool to ensure that these very strong factors in personality formation can be arranged to work in favour of the network)
Also some ideas about the network organisation cultivating a particular self-perception among its members from childhood and up. First, perhaps, through very small family-vacation-like gatherings with just one or two other children where the common understanding of their status and importance can be conveyed (and community of the belief thereof enjoyed). Later I imagine camps/courses for a bit larger groups of teenagers (will require them to be considered to be able to keep the activities secret).
The readiness to perform tasks without being critical will be significantly increased when the performance has been linked to experiencing pleasure/desire, which I imagine will be the result of such a from-child-training-environment.
A kind of robotization, one might call it. Critical thinking will also be hampered, subconsciously, if it threatens to open up to questions/perceptions that will lead to exclusion from the environment one has identified with and committed oneself to throughout one's entire upbringing. An exclusion will be exacerbated by the fact that one outside the network environment will be isolated with knowledge that one will not dare to share with anyone (e.g. because you know that it will be punished) – a stark contrast to within the network, where that is what you have in common. So in a sense, the psychological forces at play – I imagine – will be reminiscent of how it might look in sects/narrow denominations.
(for taking care of security): Something that can be an answer to the concern about what might happen if the course is altered, and which can also funktion as an expression of ethical considerations in the present. Density and systematics and the need for manpower? are everyone being checked? systematically? are everyone categorised? in groups with different degrees of need for attention? some assessed as not having the potential to develop into a hazard and therefore not to require further checks. Some as with varying degrees of uncertainty and which therefore need to be checked up again with varying frequency, and then – of course – those who are assessed to require more permanent supervision?
(to get an idea of the consequences of a changed work pattern) If that's the picture, then how many can a person categorise in a year? or how much work is there – on average – in categorising one person? With an early and deeply embedded informant network, that people are generally unaware of, it would be quite easy to test different a person against different topics and compile the information.
if the informant network doesn't include children/young teenagers?
It should still be possible to gather the necessary information – I think – even if it would have to be in a somewhat more indirect way. But basically – I think – the main challenge would be to develop new methodologies.
So; it should be possible to picture a scenario with an practice that have an alternative.
And therefore: no ethical dilemma. Only a practical and – possibly – economic task, which should dictate an end to existing recruiting practices and a restructuring. Such a restructuring would probably go towards an increased professionalism and a – presumably – quite substantial down seizing of the informant network (which must be crammed with what can probably be called dead weight). This should also mean the perverted real-life training ops. will become redundant (and therefore can be abandoned), since the camp-party-herd mentallity-culture in which they are central would be dismantled or transformed into a culture where there isn't internal prestige in outrageousness, and where – I think – the organisation would work with a structure of more separate cells.
Abandoning the methods
Google document with a sketched up principle of how to reform the methods of building the security services' informant agent Networks
Inspirations/things that might fit in:
I've come across a few mentionings of phenomenons, that might be interesting to use to develope this project.
An imagined response to an imagined case:
A: "yes I see that. You can expose a scam by having someone acting as an agent provocateur while – say – recording the telephone conversation(s) where the scammer makes all the false promises and what have we. And then – if the person never reveals that she/he went in as an agent provocateur – she/he becomes to the World a victim of a crime and her/his recordings becomes proof instead of circumstantial evidence. Right?
- and then; if it can somehow be arranged that it is a journalist/media that makes case public as a story, instead of trying to use the court system, the objective can be achieved without running the risk of having the material and fake victim scrutinised by police detectives and defence lawyers. Crime ended. No more victims there. Right?"
A: "but could there, never the less, be important reasons to stay away for doing something like that? Why is it for instance that the law doesn't allow it?
- as I see it: not to protect a scammer or what ever, of course, but to make sure the material can be examined, and when it comes to agent provocateurs; then their roll in maybe driving the process must be possible to examine and question too."
A: "and this is important if for nothing else then just to safeguard against simple mistakes but also because it is conceivable, sadly, that the motives driving such an operation might not be just. At times they could be about eliminating persons who for some reason poses an inconvenience instead."
A: "Or in simpler and more general terms: there'll be no safeguards against abuse.
added, 2021 - 11 - 30
Afsættet og nutidstilstanden
a) informant-netværket, er meget overdimensionerede i forhold til, hvad der er af reelt efterretnings- og informantarbejde. Dette skyldes at det for størstedelens vedkommende er et beredskab, der skal kunne bruges til at organisere en modstandsbevægelse i tilfælde af en invasion.
b) for at træne medlemmerne og holde moralen oppe er der nogen, der har fundet på, at man kan bruge netværket til at beskytte mod og forhindre forskellige forbrydelser – lidt lissom rigtigt efterretningsarbejde bare i forhold til kriminalitet.
c) beskyttelse mod og bekæmpelse af pædofile bliver et slags trækplaster for deltagelse og en rambuk mod ønsker om at respektere lovgivningsmæssige grænser for anvendelse af mandskabsmæssige og tekniske ressourser samt udøvelse af magt/voldsanvendelse.
Dette må af indlysende grunde forudsætte nægtbarhed – på engelsk: deniability – hvilket giver indsatserne og deres virkemidler et ganske særligt præg.
Modargumentet så langt:
man ville muligvis godt kunne bevæge sig ud i noget i den retning, uden hverken udenomsretslige domme eller straffe, "bare" ved at holde øje og komme i vejen. Og med et stort behov for opgaver til at træne eller udfordre folk, ville mandskabsbehovet ikke være et problem.
Den ændrede karakter af opgaverne ville ikke gøre det relevant at involvere børnene (som beskrevet tidligere), men det vil kun være godt, for det skal de heller ikke. I stedet må en anden form for rekruttering organiseres. Én der ikke perverterer børn i hundredevis på årsbasis (i et land på Danmarks størrelse).
Men er det lovligt for efterretnings-relaterede personer at overvåge personer for at beskytte mod ikke-sikkerhedstruende ulovligheder...det er det nok ikke (må undersøges) men kunne man – hvis man gerne ville – finde ud af at få træningsaktiviterne helt indenfor rammen af lovgivningen? Den udfordring kunne måske i sig selv være en ligeså god træning? (det halter vist stadig lidt med helt at få alternativet på plads, men tænker, at jeg vil se om jeg kan komme videre i den retning)
man kan bruge netværket i forbindelse med diverse tjenesteudvekslinger med magthavere (politikere, f.eks.).
Hér kan man se et potentielt skred for sig, hvor der opstår en stigende parathed til at anvende dette udenomsretslige magtmiddel for at undgå besværlige situationer – både internt og i forhold til andre nationer.
Modargument mod sidegevinsten (bl.a.):
at misbruge beredsskabs-/efterretnings-netværket er at udsætte det for fare – en form for indre fjende. Det samme gælder korruption (se det helt generelle modargument længere nede).
netværket genererer andre former for korruption i det "almindelige" samfund og i politik (berørt tidligere)
Fordi: hvad vil den selvopfattelse og exceptioneliitets-forestilling der bliver indpodet i store flokke af personer vil betyde for deres syn på lovgivningen generelt? (undersøges nærmere)
I stedet for et korps med professionalitet og faglig stolthed har man opdyrket opgavehungrende fritids-agenter etc etc (mere arbejde hér med potentielle profiler)
Personer, der er korrumperede gennem hele deres opvækst og indpodet med en exceptionellitets-forestilling om sig selv, vil have en lavere tærskel i forhold til at agere korrupt i voksenlivet/arbejdslivet. Vil måske opfatte sig som berettigede til andre regler (antagelser, skal undersøges).
I et nutidsscenarie kan man sætte streg under, hvor problematisk den kurs man har valgt for netværket, er, ved at vise, at det har udviklet sig til et punkt, hvor den interne opfattelse af formål og eksistensberettigelse i netværkets fodfolks-niveauer er væltet væk fra at være et beredskab og over i at være hemmelige vogtere (hvilket vil være ret forståeligt, når de så kan gå rundt og se sig selv som superhelte i stedet for som nogle, der er i venteposition, og som opbygger færdigheder, der med god sandsynlighed aldrig vil komme i anvendelse).
Det helt generelle modargument:
det er en afsporing, og et farligt hykleri, hvis der eksisterer en hemmelige og hemmeligt statsligt sanktionerede udenomsretslige magt- og volds strukturer (bla. pga. potentialet for et tillidssammenbrud).
The perfect frame:
If the directing layer can convince the foot-soldier level members of the network, that people about to develop into (sexual) offenders can be identified with certainty. then it would follow that – since such a person haven't yet committed any offences, yet – the only way to save such a persons for-certain future victims will be to somehow eliminate or pacify the person.
With a setup like that the directing layer could have the network attack any person the directing layer would want to eliminate (for what ever reason), on the basis of a not-too-hard-to-fabricate psychiatric file.
Notes to add more dimensions to the story:
The brought-up double-lifers will need partners who are also a double-lifer if they wish for an honest and intime love-relation, so: how much will it make sense to imagine that is being done to help the young – and not so young – double-lifers form couples?
The idé of an internal contact/dating service seems like a straight forward consequence.
This would also help to maintain the consensus: by pairing the double-lifers, being double-lifers becomes a shared value between the partners, which one can imagine will be preferred to the issue being questioned/challenged by one of the partners.
But people don't control who they fall in love with, so: can outside people who have become partners of double-lifers be brought into the know? That would be a delicate process, and one that would require a prepared way to silence the outsider if this person didn't want to join the activities of the network. On the other hand: is it at all thinkable that a parent-partnership would be viable if one partner is an outsider?
Another aspect to bring into play with regards to the bigger picture:
placing the training and team- and loyalty building outside the intelligence-sphere and in the non-national-security area and wanting to keep it secret, expands without question and unavoidably the use of national-security measures to areas where they were never meant to be applied.
An undeclared Network interwoven into all areas of society will be able to coordinate accusations against individuals (for what ever reason – could be to remove a perceived threat or perhaps as revenge for some Network member feeling violated in some way). Over a longer period any prominent (or non prominent) person will have been in contact with quite a few network members, and if the person at some point in time gets "unpopular" with the Network these can be called to launch false or exaggerated claims about the targeted person.
If these accusations are accumulated and published through mass media (where the Network will have plenty of members too) it will be possible to destroy any public figures reputation without having the claims scrutinised by police/defence/court. The amount of claims and the way they will seem to point to the same character flaw will create an impression of a truth being exposed.
the importance of entire families being agents
a few notes in Danish and English pasted from messages. An angle that needs to be developed further, but this is just to get it noted:
Jeg har osse fundet endnu en spændende vinkel til et plot til en fortælling om Netværket. Noget med hvordan det er vigtigt, at alle i familierne er med. Og hvad der bliver gjort for at sikre det. Specielt lurer jeg på et scenarie, hvor et barn i en familie af en eller anden grund ikke er blevet sluset ind i netværket, mens hans/hendes søskende er. Det er lidt svært at finde en historie for, hvordan det skulle kunne være sket. Måske skal det være noget, der er opstået tidligt i Netværket's historie. Måske noget med at den ene af forældrene ikke har været med på det. Men det ka snakke mere om nå vi ses.
Some more ideas for drama in the informant-agent Network have popped up too. I'm thinking about how it important it would be that all member of a family are agents, and I'm trying to construct a scenario where one child haven't been brought into the Network while his/her siblings have. It might require that one parent didn't want it to be done and that the other parent went solo with the siblings, if they were born later. Alternatively perhaps I can make it happen in the early years of the Network with the one parent not seriously committed to the role as agent.
...anyways if I manage, I see a potential for lots of drama, perhaps even a wish to have to non-Network element eliminated.
stay tuned for more updates (will be announced on Twitter)