by PAUL DOBSON
Morning Star | 11 October, 2016
AS WE sit for hours in meetings discussing how to win power for the working class, the Pentagon’s command posts equally spend hours planning how to maintain their multinational corporate interests in new and more sophisticated ways.
Imperialism has evolved since Nicaragua, Panama, Chile, El Salvador, and 2002 in Venezuela when it intervened in more overt ways.
What is currently being applied in Latin America is non-conventional, psychological warfare, which doesn’t include tanks or bombers, as it did in the past, but media machines, terror-sowing rumours, and “lone-wolf” destabilisation. In Venezuela this has been described as “fourth generational warfare.”
Conspiracy theories and paranoia, I hear you cry? Afraid not. Thanks to leaked strategic documents from the US Southern Command, the Venezuelan Communist Party — through its Tribuna Popular — has publicly exposed a clear and sophisticated plan from the Pentagon.
The US Southern Command is one of six geographical divisions of the US military. Its current commander is Admiral Kurt Tidd. With its headquarters in Miami, Florida, it covers 31 countries in the Caribbean and Latin America. It co-ordinates covert and overt operations, contingency plans and security co-operation to protect US interests. It controls the security of the Panama Canal and the US Fourth Fleet, reactivated in the Caribbean in 2008 after being dormant for 58 years.
In recently leaked correspondence from the beginning of 2016, Tidd offers a summary of just one of their operations in the region — called Operation Venezuela Freedom One — admitting the execution of a planned US interventionist policy in Venezuela: “The [recent] electoral defeat and the internal decomposition of the populist and anti-US regime shows the successful impact of our policies, which have been taken forward hand-in-hand with allied forces in the region in the first phase of this operation.”
In later leaked documents, he explains that the first phase of the operation against Venezuela included “employing the mechanism of the [US] Executive Order as the legal backing to our political line […] internationally isolating and discrediting the democratic system […] generating a climate for the application of the OAS Democratic Charter […] and placing the premise of a humanitarian crisis on the agenda to allow an intervention with multilateral organisations like the UN.”
Following the culmination of this “first phase,” the plan for Venezuela Freedom Two has now been launched.
So what is this operation? A document signed by Tidd on the February 25 2016 was leaked out of the Southern Command in which he described it as being “conceived as an operation of wide, combined, and joint coverage […] prioritising the strategic areas of decisive force, projection of power […] and strategic agility” using Special Operations Command South, Joint Task Force Bravo and the Joint Interagency Task Force (intelligence).
Tidd explained that in Venezuela “the pacific, legal and electoral roads are being taken [to oust President Nicolas Maduro], but the conviction that it is necessary to pressurise with street actions, identifying and paralysing important military contingents which maintain internal order and security, is increasing.”
To achieve this, 12 “specific recommendations for the second phase” were explained. In this article I cannot elaborate on them all with the precision they demand, as the words they use like “neutralise” demand context (see the recent murder of left-wing MP Robert Serra), providing fascinating insights into the Pentagon’s planning process. I can however overview some of their main and very worrying elements.
The first “recommendation” explains how fourth generational warfare uses local pawns “with the factors of the [opposition coalition] Mud we have agreed a common agenda which includes the scenario of an abrupt combination of street action and the use of armed violence in doses. It is indispensable to highlight that the responsibility of the elaboration, planning and partial execution of Operation Venezuela Freedom Two is with our Command, but the carrying out of the conflict […] is the task of the allied forces of the Mud. This way we do not assume the cost of an armed intervention.” He describes the current process of activating a recall referendum against Maduro as mere “cover-up” for such actions.
What’s more, regional “co-ordination between organisations of the international intelligence community, NGOs and private media corporations” is considered key.
This new type of psychological warfare is based on a perception of a reality, generating a false myth, and to this means of communication, social media, and rumours are key: “We must weaken Maduro’s indoctrination, placing his Castro and Communist-esque alliances, which are opposed to liberty and democracy, private property and the free market, as the central propaganda theme. Also, we must make it appear clearly that the economic slowdown, inflation, and shortages are the fault of the government.”
Fourth generational warfare includes “generating a climate of mistrust, inciting fears […] emphasising everything that is about un-governability: administrative failings, high crime levels, personal insecurity.
“There is of particular importance in exploiting themes like water, food, and electricity shortages.
We should prepare ourselves to exploit them to the maximum, reinforcing the media matrix which places them as exclusive responsibility of Maduro.”
Recommendation No 7 suggests “positioning the matrix of opinion that Venezuela is entering a humanitarian crisis […] close to collapse, demanding a humanitarian intervention from the international community for peace and to save lives,” while No 9 highlights “the efforts we have made to associate the government of Maduro with corruption and money laundering,” concluding that “we must develop media campaigns” on the issue.
Regarding efforts to make the country ungovernable and destabilised, No 2 exposes that they have “agreed to use the [opposition-controlled] National Assembly as the tool to obstruct governability.”
No 10 deals with the military, explaining that “there exists a high probability that identified commands of Chavismo will offer hard resistance. This is why we must weaken their leadership.” No 11 applies the same analysis to civilian groups: “The presence of these combative and fanatical personnel converts itself into an obstacle for the street actions of our allied forces. This is why it is necessary to operationally neutralise them in this decisive phase.” No 4 mentions “suffocating and paralyzing the Chavista forces” and “detonating” the crisis.
Finally, No 12 explains the “geo-strategic arc” which the Pentagon have built up surrounding Venezuela, including the military bases in Colombia, in Aruba, Curacao, and mentions “training and operational preparation” them. So, bearing in mind this rare piece of evidence from the planning rooms of the US high command, what is fourth generational warfare?
It is indirect intervention, using local pawns, lobby groups, NGOs and international media, undermining and discrediting the government, making it unelectable and appear farcical and corrupt.
It is targeted assassinations, “neutralisations,” false conflict, infiltration and corruption of government, paramilitary and mercenary agents, arming and training opposition groups, paralysation of key elements, imposed social and political decomposition, with military action being the last component of the plan.
It is psychological warfare, distorting the meaning of words, hiding truths and creating false matrices of opinion, generating ridicule, creating false social media tendencies, sowing fear, mistrust, panic through misinformation and insinuation.
How do we counter it? The Marxist answer must start with, but not be limited to, always reminding ourselves of the material reality; keeping a clear head and not falling into rumour chains; questioning everything we hear and understanding it in a context of a war being waged on the Maduro government and the Venezuelan working classes.
So next time you hear some rumour about the “chaos” in Venezuela or its “humanitarian crisis,” next time you are tempted to share such news without offering context and explanation, please ask yourself if you want to be just another unwilling pawn in the Pentagon’s game of psychological warfare?
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