With the coming campaign in Delve The Mittani has signaled that the Goons and the CFC will shift their focus away from high sec back to null sec warfare. High sec is a place that Mittens uses to keep the troops occupied when things get slow in null security space because, let's face it, a bored Goon is a Goon who won't log in. For The Mittani, boredom is right now probably the greatest threat, if not to the GSF, then to his hold on power.
Watching The Mittani and the Ministry of Love bumbling around high sec was amusing while it lasted. Bumbling, I mean. I don't think Mittens is quite done with that effort. Not because suppressing dissent in the blogging community is a vital Goon interest. Actually, the MoL effort only targeted those in high sec. Considering how much of the Eve blogosphere and its podcast community are members of the GSF and the CFC, the only reasons I can see for putting together the effort is to keep some of his more troublesome members occupied and the general Goon distaste for bad posting brought over from the Something Awful forums.
No, the Ministry of Love will gain attention because it is an intelligence organization. Can a "solar spymaster" whose rise to internet fame and power was fueled by his intelligence successes afford to have a failure like the Ministry of Love on his record? I don't believe so. So while most of the Goonswarm Federation is busy in Delve making things blow up, the cloak and dagger types will figure out how to make the MoL a more effective tool.
In order to know how to fix the problem, The Mittani and his minions will first need to recognize what went wrong. Let me give three areas that need improvement.
1. Publicity. One of the basics of beginning something like the Ministry of Love is that it should stay in the shadows and slowly become known. The MoL was designed as much to instill fear as to carry out operations. Part of instilling fear is that an organization needs to be seen as nearly perfectly efficient. Good examples are the internal security organizations that operated in the old Soviet bloc like the KGB. Instead, the MoL was publicized prematurely and its early failures will always rob it of some of its effectiveness.
2. Deniability. An organization like the Ministry of Love should not have corporations within the GSF. As The Mittani himself proves every day, being a Goon does not require logging into a character that is a member of Goonswarm. Just like the GIA's corporation and alliance infiltration efforts, the MoL should be alts. Really, how hard is it to train up an alt that can gank a Hulk?
The reason for using alts is that if an operation goes bad, the failure does not leave a stain on the Ministry. For the MoL to serve as an effective instrument of terror, then failure is not allowed. Really, conducting a long term sting operation against Jade Constantine ala The Guiding Hand Social Club would have been much more effective than the mess that actually happened when the GSF actually issued a formal war declaration.
3. Targets. I have to say that the target selection for the Ministry of Love has been, shall we say, questionable. Sure, in propaganda value going after morons like Krixtal Icefluxor not only looks good but does the entire Eve Online community a huge favor and probably deserves some sort of commendation. But the target selection needs some work.
The poster child for bad target selection is Mabrick, the blogger who writes Mabrick's Mumblings. I'm still trying to figure out what The Mittani (and yes, I'm convinced The Mittani was involved in the target selection) was thinking when he chose Mabrick for retribution. Does he have so much contempt for high sec dwellers that he automatically assumes they all will wilt under his glaze and either bow down to him or slink away from the game? As you can read from Mabrick's post today about the lessons he learned from the Goons' war on his 3 man corporation, Mabrick didn't fit the profile that the Ministry should look for, at least at this point in the Ministry's development.
The war on Mabrick reminded me of President Obama's war on Fox News back in 2009. When someone with that much power goes after someone whose business is using pixels to disseminate information, some of that power is distributed to the target. The decision to end the war against Mabrick was the correct decision in order to limit the damage the Ministry of Love did to itself. Given that The Mittani, unlike U.S. politicians, tends to learn from his mistakes, I don't expect to see a repeat of that performance.
I remember listening to a talk The Mittani gave to Eve University in which he complained about Darius Johnson demanding forum porn, leading to the blowing of his agents' cover. Has The Mittani turned into something he once complained about and is now more worried about short-term gain rather than the long term benefits of successful intelligence operations? Or was the MoL really just a make-work project that had the added benefit of striking out at those who annoyed the great leader? And will pride force The Mittani to improve the organization and make it a viable tool to influence his foes? Time will tell.