There is no smoke without fire.
Most take that to mean no rumour without truth or scandal lurking close behind it. We take a different meaning. We make a different meaning.
To us, the phrase means ensuring substance behind our threats. Making sure our targets, our puppets, our victims if necessary, know that we will deliver on any promise we make them, on any warning we choose to give. Guaranteeing that our names, our image, the very concept of us, is synonymous with dominance over, and if required, retribution against, those we seek to influence.
So, if an election appears not to be going the way we wish, we make sure we have the fire of media hostility behind the smoke of ideological criticism. If corporate rivals become too big for their shoes, too arrogant, too quick to believe they can get away with causing us displeasure, we ensure we have the fire of front-page exposés behind the smoke of shadowy blackmail. If the public prove temporarily brave enough to challenge the politics we wish to see implemented, we make sure we have the fire of punitive measures behind the smoke of denouncing civil unrest. If churches embark on misguided objections to our social policies, we make sure we have the fire of hidden skeletons behind the smoke of secular ridicule. And if rogue nations opt not to play their part in the shaping of our desired world order, we make sure we have the fire of scorched-earth warfare behind the smoke of whipping up and manipulating public opinion.
This is what is required to be effective pullers of strings. To be quiet rulers of countries without the knowledge of their populaces. To be the power behind thrones, behind corporate desks and presidential chairs, behind newspaper headlines. The absolute, unbending will to ensure that, whenever our enemies recognise the warning sign of smoke drifting their way, the fire of their destruction is already sweeping rapidly behind it.