Sexspionage and Manipulation

What is manipulation?

In Latin, "manus" is the hand, and "plere" means to fill. Manipulate means "to handle something skilfully by hand". At the 18th century it also means "handling or managing persons (to one's own advantage)", and also "to manage by mental influence". Today, manipulation is the handling or control of a tool, a mechanism, information, etc. in a skilful manner, but also the handling or control of a person or a situation.

Manipulation is easier in free democratic societies, where the legal system is committed to freedom of expression, so it is difficult to regulate manipulation as such. An action does not count as manipulative merely because it is an effort to alter people’s behavior or opinion.

According to Wilkinson, "people can be manipulated when they go shopping, strike contracts, vote, study at school, visit their doctors, decide whether to have sex or take turns to do the housework. A full account would have to cope with the enormous variety of sites and methods of manipulation. Indeed, we do not have such an account.”

It is sad that corrupt leaders in dictatorships and kleptocracies (from the Greek word κλέπτης that means thief) use manipulation to divide and harm free societies.

Foreign intelligence services have skilled manipulators that use the established structure of power to advance their interests, and present themselves as sharing the values of those they manipulate. They can use manipulation management principles to influence the beliefs and behavior of others, and they can associate themselves with power, authority, and conventional morality.

An important principle in manipulation management is to accuse your opponents of doing what they are accusing you. Lies are not always persuading everyone, but it is good to put your opponent on the defensive. At the end, many believe that there is no way to know who is telling the truth.

Another principle is to attack the person, not the argument. Manipulators ignore the arguments and instead make the audience to dismiss or even hate the opponent. No matter what the opponent says, they do not want to listen.

Another principle is to make opponents look ridiculous. People always look for an opportunity to laugh, and enjoy the humiliation of important and successful persons. They often believe that where there is smoke, there is fire. Manipulators fabricate stories, and the victims cannot easily prove that these stories are lies. Rumors take on a life of their own.

What is sexual manipulation?

Sexual manipulation is the persuasion of an unwilling person to have sex or any sort of sexual activity. It differs from flirting. Manipulation involves getting persons to agree to sex, when they actually don’t want to, with threats, alcohol, drugs, punishment. Sexual manipulators may threaten to cause social, financial, or emotional difficulties, or they can make victims feel guilty.

Sting operated puppets, this ancient form of performing art, is still evolving today. The evolution in engineering has led to a novel robotic marionette system that can create life-like movements. The evolution in psychology and drugs can also assist spies to manipulate their targets.

Foreign intelligence agencies follow the modus operandi used in child sexual abuse

In 2006, McAlinden writes that the process of children manipulation refers to the situation in which a potential offender establishes the opportunity for abuse by gaining the child’s trust as laying the groundwork for the abuse.

Craven seeks to capture the complexity of the phenomenon: "A process by which a person prepares a child, significant adults and the environment for the abuse of this child. Specific goals include gaining access to the child, gaining the child’s compliance and maintaining the child’s secrecy to avoid disclosure." The manipulation process can continue over days, weeks, or years. This behavior can occur both when individuals are in close proximity or distant, for example, over the Internet.

The manipulation involves the gradual sexualization of the relationship, and the psychological manipulation to promote increased sexualization.

During the manipulation process, offenders test the child’s receptiveness by examining the child’s reaction to forbidden touch during play (Elliott, Browne). They also exert efforts to get to know the child and use this knowledge to entice the child into sexual contact (Singer).

Isolation is an important tool. Physical isolation refers to the perpetrator’s efforts to place the child in intimate contexts that avoid the presence of potential witnesses. Psychological isolation refers to the establishment of an intense emotional rapport with the child that enhances his trust in the perpetrator (Irenyi, van Dam).

From a legal perspective, it is difficult to acquire information from the three sole sources:

1. The offenders, who are typically reluctant to cooperate;

2. External evidence, which is typically rare; and

3. The children, who exhibit developmental and emotional barriers that impair our ability to communicate with them (Lamb, Malloy (2011)).

Foreign intelligence agencies have surprisingly similar objectives and modus operandi for targets that have authorized access to classified information.

Foreign intelligence agencies love psychopaths

The word psychopathy is derived from the Greek words ψυχή (soul) and πάθος (suffering). The term initially had a general meaning, covering all sorts of mental disorders and social aberrations. Stedman's Medical Dictionary defines a psychopath only as a former designation for a person with an antisocial type of personality disorder.

Cleckley, in his work The Mask of Sanity (1941), writes that interpersonally, psychopaths are grandiose, arrogant, callous, superficial, and manipulative; affectively, they are short-tempered, unable to form strong emotional bonds with others, and lacking in empathy, guilt, or remorse; and behaviorally, they are irresponsible, impulsive, and prone to violate social and legal norms and expectations.

Unfortunately there is no psychiatric or psychological organization that has sanctioned a diagnosis titled "psychopathy", There are assessments of psychopathic characteristics, but the study of psychopathy is an active field of research.

We can understand from the above description that psychopaths are the perfect targets for foreign intelligence agencies.

Foreign intelligence agencies love online dating sites and applications

Online dating sites and applications have drastically increased the risks of being the target of sexually based online manipulations. Individuals willingly join online dating applications, and they want to find romantic partners. It is easy for foreign intelligence agencies to hack these apps or web sites and find the persons with authorized access to classified information that ask for an affair. It is not anymore about the agents that must persuade the victim, it is the victim that contacts the agent, willing to cooperate.

Many persons choose to visit online dating websites and applications in public places, such as coffee shops. These public networks are not secured, and are easily targeted. Victims often visit the dating websites and apps from the same device they use to work. This can lead to major security issues, including the compromise of the professional network.

Expert manipulators can lead their victims to go further than chat flirting and to make blackmail easy. Victims join online dating site or apps usually without the consent of their families or their significant others, and this is a choice made freely and consciously. It is very difficult for the victims to ask for help without disclosing the fact that they were actively looking for online partners.

Things are becoming worse. With online dating applications, spies can also identify and locate their targets using geologicalizing features (there are apps that point the location where other members are). Running such applications in the vicinity of a public sector entity or a target organization could allow adversaries to identify all persons active on the app network.