Lying Is Thriving

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Lying Is Thriving

Christian Almonte

English 202


Lying Is Thriving

In Dan Brown’s Inferno, he uses a company called the Consortium, which is a private security sector that allows clients to their privacy by any means. The Provost whom is the CEO of the consortium has two golden rules: “Never make a promise you cannot keep, and never lie to a client”. Throughout the book, the Consortium makes many tactical moves to catch Langdon, whether its hacking into his email, sending spies to follow him, or even trained military to capture him. This made me question the world we live in outside of the Inferno. Is there a real life “Consortium” or organizations that act as a mean of personal deception? Do these organizations promote criminal behavior, and how dangerous are they?

Organizations like Dan Brown’s Consortium allow people and businesses to do under the table work that may be unethical or illegal. These organizations offer people a wide variety of choices when it comes to deception, some being low cost simple affairs to big spending time consuming projects. Although working with these organizations can be risky, it takes lots of hard work off their client’s hands and ensures privacy and protection at an unmatched level.

The first real life consortium examples I’d like to introduce are the Alibi Network and Paladin Deception Services?; these are lower cost companies that base work off an individual level. Mike DeMarco, the marketing director for the Alibi Network, describes it as “a cutting edge full service agency providing alibis and excused absences as well as assistance with a variety of sensitive issues. We view ourselves as professional advisers who understand our clients’ unique situations.” (Need an Excuse? Hire a Professional Alibi) Need an Excuse? Hire a Professional Alibi Basically, they are hired to lie for their clients at any cost, legal or illegal. According to Paladin Deception Services website some of the work they offer would be fake landlord references, fake job references, fake business trips, fake hotel stays, etc. A hypothetical situation for Paladin Deception Services would be a person who’s having a hard time finding a place to live because they have been kicked out of their last residence for disruptive or even criminal behavior. So, they contact the service and set up a fake landlord reference to give them a clean record and talk them up to being great tenants. This reminded me specifically from Inferno when Zobrist told the Provost he wanted to be “invisible” and it was said “The consortium would accomplish this by providing him a fake identity and a secure location entirely off the grid, where he could do his work in total secrecy-whatever that may be.” (p.93) It’s services like this that promote criminal activity and make it much more possible for their clients. As the technology era continues to advance I think these types of services will only become more relevant and get even better at helping people cover up their crimes. These companies can work from anywhere across the globe, making it hard for governments to track them down. This will be the new wave of deception for the future.      

The second, and more dangerous example compared to Dan Browns Consortium is Private Security. Sectors like DynCorp and Blackwater do similar tasks to the Consortium, working with governments and wealthy businesses. DynCorp has supported the U.S Military in every war since the Korean War in the 1950s, but has only been in the public eye for the last two decades. These private sectors are making millions off governments, even though they have their own militaries; “Blackwater, for example, has a $35.7m contract to train 10,000 American troops It helps guard the chief administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer. DynCorp, the largest security provider, has contracts worth around $1 billion and guards the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai.” (United States: Dangerous Work; Private Security Firms in Iraq p.22) The thing that makes these companies so dangerous is they don’t have to abide by the same rules as the military, making them lawless mercenaries. It’s seems a little sketchy to me that governments hire these company’s knowing they are mercenaries, yet they are willing to let these companies do their job by any means possible.  “The great sanction on wrongdoing–the law–does not really operate. Regular soldiers are subject to courts-martial or international law. But it is not clear what law applies to private security firms.” (United States: Dangerous Work; Private Security Firms in Iraq p.23) For example shooting a civilian by accident could be a minor slap on the wrist compared to life in prison for a US soldier.   An example closely related to Inferno is Bruder and his SRS team, trained private military working for the Consortium. They chase Langdon and Sienna across Italy, breaking into buildings and even shooting in the middle of the street without regard for civilians. Private security firms are only going to grow and become more dangerous in the future as governments don’t want to be held responsible for foreign acts of crime.