“Need to Know III: Them vs. Us. Image of the Enemy”
Visby (Sweden), 26–27 September 2013
The work of intelligence agencies is an integrated part in both domestic and foreign policy. Governments want to keep their eyes on possible threats and security risks. The aim is in general to foresee threats to the political system and the states’ sovereignty, or to obtain advantages in dealing with opponent or foreign powers. In any case, a states’ perception – or image – of its enemy is vital
to how well the state or its organizations are able to benefit from collected intelligence. Fundamental ideological bias or group thinking may divert resources into false directions, making imagined enemies appear almighty or enable actual security threats to slip under the radar.
The image of the enemy also plays an important part in the battle for hearts and minds. Enemy spies or illegal networks in a given state are portrayed as villains and their goals as illegitimate. In contrast, the domestic services are portrayed as having only noble goals and as either credible or at least merely a deterrent. The means are a variety of media strategies, intelligence professionals appearing in the public, writing memoirs or even producing popular culture like movies, novels or cartoons. In the end the image of the enemy may determine the degree of cooperation in the population and thus in the end the security of a nation.
The image of the enemy is furthermore a tool for intelligence practitioners in their operative work. Elaborate psychiatric profiles and preparation are key elements in recruiting sources in a hostile environment. Thus, knowing one opponent is also a matter of operative psychology. Using human sources to one’s own end – with the risk of disclosure, severe punishment and in some cases death – also raises ethical dilemmas and the fundament morals issues of the intelligence business.
The conference is organized by the Institute of National Remembrance – Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation, the University of Gotland after July 1 part of Uppsala University (Sweden), the Center for Cold War Studies of the University of Southern Denmark and the Baltic Intelligence and Security Studies Association.
The language of the conference will be English. Conference participation is free of charge.
We invite all interested to participate as auditors.
Additional information: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com (after 1 July: firstname.lastname@example.org)
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