Venezuela, the Battle of Narrative

By Carlos Fazio
Translated by Internationalist 360°

As in Colombia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Ukraine and Syria, terrorism is instrumental in the war in Venezuela. Terrorism is not itself the adversary, but a form of political violence that serves to build the architecture for direct foreign military intervention under a humanitarian pretext.

Along with psychological warfare and clandestine special operations, the practice of terrorism via death squads or paramilitary groups – as the main instruments of the dirty war – is a key component of asymmetric warfare. According to Pentagon manuals, the notion of asymmetry does not refer to a simple imbalance in the parity of forces between enemies, but supposes a methodology that employs irregular or unconventional tactics that allow maneuvering with the least possible political and military cost to the covert strategic actor (called leadership from behind).

An essential element for the effectiveness of terrorist action is the media. In an unconventional war of attrition, like the covert and overt aggression of the United States against Venezuela, the real battles occur in the collective imagination. The Pentagon attaches great importance to the ideological struggle in the field of information, employing the media as a strategic and political weapon in the battle of narrative. It is about mastering the story of any operation, military or otherwise. Perception is as important to your success as the event itself, and at the end of the day, the perception of what happened matters more than what actually happened.

Through repetition in extremis, the United States and the cartelized media under private monopoly control, have succeeded in fabricating the false perception that a dictatorship exists in Venezuela. A totalitarian regime would not allow grievances,vandalism, attacks on military and police units, industrial centers, government facilities and key public services. Nor would a dictatorship allow the aberrant excesses of the propaganda bureau for the terrorists and their covert sponsors.

In all conflict, the media war is the preamble of the strategic war. In that context, what the media corporations are transmitting every day is not the truth about Venezuela. What CNN, O’Globo, Televisa, the Clarín Group, the BBC, DW and other private oligopolies present as reality, are not such. And while the news coverage has to do with the dispute over hegemony, it is not a mere ideological or class problem. Along with the military, economic, cultural and the geopolitical control of territories, media terrorism is inherent to the so-called full spectrum dominance agenda, a notion designed by the Pentagon before September 11, 2001.

Full-spectrum dominance combines different modalities of unconventional warfare, as well as various asymmetric war strategies and tactics, in order to adapt to a complex scenario. After 18 years of government under Hugo Chavez and Nicolás Maduro, Venezuela has forged a new anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist historical identity and a new civilian-military union (which demonstrated excellence in the tactical management of the crisis).

Returning to terrorism, a recent case was the media treatment of attacks launched from a helicopter against the Interior Ministry and the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) in Caracas on June 27. The events were carried out by Óscar Pérez, inspector of the Special Action Brigade of the Corps of Scientific and Criminal Investigations, who after taking off in a helicopter from the police base at La Carlota, flew over the capital, fired 15 bullets at the ministry and launched four grenades of Colombian and Israeli origin at the TSJ.

Immediately after the attacks a video was released on Instagram. Perez declared his actions were civil disobedience and called for a coup against President Maduro. The crew of the helicopter displayed a banner that read: 350: freedom, alluding to the article of the Constitution that the people will ignore any regime, legislation or authority that violates democratic values, principles and guarantees or undermines human rights.

Chancellor Samuel Moncada called Oscar Perez a criminal psychopath who imagines himself to be a “warrior of God” and condemned the silence of countries of the European Union and the Organization of American States (OAS) before what he called a blatant terrorist attack.

At the time of the attacks on both public buildings, there were civilians inside. Although there were no victims, the action is indisputably terrorist in nature as the potential for loss of human lives (given the weapons used) was real. In addition, the attack was designed to psychologically coerce and to instill fear in the population.

Terrorism, by definition, is the illegal, calculated and systematic use of premeditated violence to inculcate or provoke fear and intimidate a society or community. It is a specific form of violence. As a tactic, it is a form of political violence against civilians and other non-combatant targets perpetrated by clandestine groups, mercenaries or organized gangs.

It is an indirect action, since the target (victims having nothing to do with the conflict causing the terrorist act), is often selected for their symbolic value, with intent to frighten, coerce or manipulate an audience. Through the multiplier effect of the media as an instrument of propaganda, strategic perception management aims to discredit and eventually erode confidence in the government.

Source: La Jornada