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  • Writer's pictureThe Paladins

What drives a traitor?

'You only ever spy for your own country.' This is an old Russian adage, and it has a lot of merit. A good spy is one who is driven at least in part by passionate feelings towards a country, an ideology or a government representative or institutions. Nobody without strongly held motivations would ever get involved in this murky world otherwise. Something irrational must be driving them.

The reason you only spy for your own country is because if you spy for someone else's, then you are traitor. Ergo proditor. If you acting treacherously as a Russian, the government will kill you. So there are compelling reasons not to be treacherous. But it is safe to say that much as patriotic loyal people love a spy who takes risks for the interests of his in or her country, nobody likes a traitor.

A large part of the work of counter-espionage, one of the key skills The PALADINS Organisation offers, involves the detection, establishment of a watertight case against traitors, and then their exposure which leads to their downfall because once they are exposed as double-agents or traitors, they become useful to nobody.

With those thoughts in mind, we now set out some considerations about how to spot a traitor to one's country. These rules apply to all spies and hence to all traitors, irrespective of nationality or origins.

  1. Malleable ideology. A traitor has ideological opinions, but they are faux in the following sense: their contents are manipulated by the articulator so that their conclusion is coincidental with the interests of the traitor. By contrast a patriot takes risks for his or her country, knowing they are risks and not necessarily in his or her best interests; but he or she takes those risks anyway. Traitors take risks, and they do so pursuant to ideological themes; but they are calculated risks always with the benefit of the calculus leading towards their self-interest, in particular the accumulation of money.

  2. Reporting reticence. Patriots report what they do eagerly, both because this is good practice (one's supervisor needs to know what one is doing so as to pave the way, as it were and to nudge one should they consider one to be going in the wrong direction) and because they want to impress with their acts of daring and loyalty. The traitor, by contrast,has every incentive not to report adequately or fully, since the more information the supervisor has the more likely it is that they will be able to piece together the jigsaw that is treachery.

  3. Financial impecuniosity. People who spy for money are natural traitors. Those who spy for reasons of personal commitment, ideology and belief in the honour of their course, by contrast: they are heroes. Never engage an agent who is perennially impoverished. If they cannot manage their finances then they likely cannot manage their ideological clutter either.

  4. Enthusiasm is a reliable mark of a traitor. Patriots find their enthusiasm from within. They need not exhibit it like the sun. They are quietly confident in themselves and their project. By contrast the perennial external enthusiast is trying too hard. Methinks the lady doth protest too much. Espionage, properly executed, is not undertaken with enthusiasm so much as grim but proud determination.

  5. Psychotically persuasive deceit. The abilty to lie casually is important to all persons operating in the world of intelligence; like a lawyer, they make a fine ham sandwich from a pig's knuckle of the facts. But they don't lie more than they need to; the best way of lying is to stick as close tovthectrue facts as possible, because truth is coherent but lies never are if you dig deep enough. By contrast psychotic liars - those who know of nothing but deceit, and for whom false words trip off the tongue like a politician's spittle - they are used to telling different lies in different directions to different people, and so much so that their loss of moral compass is demonstrative.

  6. Exuberant discussion of loyalty. Again, methinks the lady doth protest too much. Loyalty need not be spoken of. It shines like a jewel in the night, enlightening all who view its cold and radiant blaze. Those who insist upon their own loyalty are shammers and fraudsters, liable to make pig's knuckles from pig's knuckles and not anything more.

  7. Fake documents. If a document appears to be fake (and lawyers are the best experts at assessing fake documents), it is fake. And fake documents are the near-exclusive province of traitors, because loyal agents can obtain the legitimate documents they need from those backing them.

  8. Insistence on personal meetings for routine things (i.e. excessive fear of interception of electronic communications), with constant expressions of paranoid anxiety (a regular agent, clearly briefed and with a clear mission, is not perennially anxious because they know exactly what they need to do and exactly how to do it; provided they are competent - and they should not have been chosen were they otherwise - they will operate quite smoothly.)

  9. Psychopathy: the inclination to make rational decisions which rest upon an assumption that the welfare of others doesn't matter. Because they lead double loves, double agents have to be able to think psychopathically because they make their living from double crossing absolutely everyone they know. Only a psychopath can think in such a way, adapting the premise of wanton disregard of one or more persons' interests in the name of some other goal, to fit the exigencies of each new situation that arises.

  10. Self-indulgence of one's own misery or misfortune. The life of a person who takes risks is replete with ups and downs; and others when they see a decent and honourable person emburdened with unjust misfortune appreciate their plight without much explanation and react accordingly. Only a pitiful self-indulgent beggar thinks always of themselves and moans to others in ceaseless cycles; they are for the horse whip.

It is our assessment that if you are satisfied that someone is an intelligence officer or agent, then evidence of the possession of at least six out of these ten qualities renders it fairly likely that you are dealing with a double agent in some way shape or form. We consider 6/10 the 'acid test'. Of course each one has to be assessed separately and through the most meticulous observations during interactions with the individual. But with sufficient care, skill and calm, it can be done. Double agents typically wanting very many meetings to press home their false cause, the counter-intelligence expert has ample opportunities to assess their personality traits by listening and asking questions.

These rules apply not just in the business of intelligence and espionage. They apply in everyday life. A person exhibiting six or more of these attributes is properly disloyal to you in some way, is profoundly personally unreliable, and is a person who will end up causing you a lot of problems. Like it is in intelligence, so it is in life. In one sense, assessment of loyality in the world of intelligence is nothing but the adaptation of observant personality characteristics to unusual, high-risk situations with national interests at stake.

Take care out there. There are many good people, but there are also many traitors.


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