By Wilson García Mérida
August 3, 2009
Translated by Scott Campbell
(Datos & Análisis).- The Psychological Operations Command of the Pentagon, which operates in Venezuela through a mercenary communications firm tied to the CIA, is expanding its actions in Bolivia. Proofs of this are the recent media attacks suffered by libertarian journalist Walter Chávez, whose presence in the last meeting of Evo Morales’ cabinet caused an insipid national scandal. With the same bad intentions, this emerging separatist journalism continues making apologies for the frustrated attempts at Balkanization by mercenary Eduardo Rozsa and cynically spreading misinformation about the undeniable advances of the agrarian revolution in Pando.
Annually, and in a very selective manner, the U.S. government’s information service, more well known by its initials in English, BBG, “invites” journalists who in general work for large media companies, preferably editors-in-chief, columnists, TV anchors or “star” reporters, with the goal of formatting not just the style but also, above all, the subject matter, these reporters, “privileged” by the attentions of the U.S. embassy, will convey in their daily work.
With rare exceptions, practically all the Bolivian journalists who today occupy “decisive” positions in the conglomerates and networks of the communications business, have been favored with at least a trip to U.S. cities, at the invitation of the BGG, from which they return convinced that the Indian who governs Bolivia is a terrorist. These are pleasure trips with stays in five-star hotels in order to participate in “seminars” and “guided visits” to important U.S. media outlets. Once they return from these trips, these colleagues put themselves at the service of fascist politicians directly connected with the media outlet owners.
This form of “cooptation” which is part of the CIA’s strategy to exercise control over information systems in Latin America, has voraciously intensified and widened since the attacks that felled the twin towers in 2001. And today it is intensifying in Bolivia.
Soldiers of fallacy
After the Persian Gulf crisis, the war against Iraq and the attacks of September 11, the United States discovered that control of information and all of the technological apparatus inherent in it were the most efficient weapons of war. The journalist is conceived of as a key part of these invisible, yet lethal, social battles called “Psychological Operations” (PsyOps), whose objective is to prevent “the enemy” (in this case the government of Evo Morales) from having favorable public opinion for their actions. The modern warlike design of the United States opts for shooting lies, prior to bullets or together with them, producing equally devastating effects.
Federico Montanari, quoted by Joám Evans, affirms that today, “It is communication itself that can be turned into a continuation of war by other means,” through a “reversible continuum of politics and war, between which war and politics meld through communication.” And this brings us psychological war as such, understood as, “The planned use of propaganda and other actions oriented to generate opinions, emotions, attitudes, and behavior of foreign groups, be they enemies, neutral, or friends, in such a way as to support the achievement of national objectives [of the U.S.].” (Daugherty)
And the professionals called upon to carry out these “Psychological Operations” are not exactly psychologists, but above all journalists, reporters and publicists.
Latin America is today, as the Persian Gulf, the Middle East and the Balkans were in their time, the stage where an information war is being unleashed with complete vehemence, and it is such that the Pentagon, in its fervor to relieve itself of the uncomfortable presence of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez on the world stage, has reinforced its “Psychological Operations Unit,” based in Fort Bragg, where 1,200 specialists work, charged with creating “reliable messages” to support the interventionist politics of the United States. And coating these deeds is the shiny gloss of the CIA.
According to Rodrigo Guevara, the Pentagon’s PsyOps Command is charged with “packaging” together “pre-fabricated” speeches and writings for the “consumption” of the objective-population. During the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, according to reporting from the Times, USAID (the U.S. cooperation agency on which the BGG relies), developed and distributed tens of thousands of iPod-style audio devices (digital music players with hard drives or flash memory) which transmitted packaged civic messages, “but they did it through a contractor to assure that the ‘fingerprints’ of the Pentagon or the U.S. government weren’t on them.”
Rodrigo Guevara explains that along with hiring mercenary communications firms, the Pentagon also turns to bribing journalists in occupied or besieged countries. Or they co-opt them through the pleasant trips organized by the BGG.
In its war against Hugo Chávez and the Venezuelan people, the PsyOps Command of the Pentagon hired a mercenary communications firm, the Rendon Group, which is charged with “packaging” the spin that guides the Venezuelan journalists subordinated to this bellicose form of distorting information. Such methods are now in Bolivia.
Anything goes against the Peruvian
The informational thuggery foisted on Bolivia by the CIA and Pentagon is causing the growth of a separatist, prejudiced, and openly racist journalism which seeks to emphasize the weaknesses of President Evo Morales. In Bolivia, the famed “journalistic objectivity,” ethics, and impartiality in the handling of the facts are relics of the past. Today it is more important to be able to convince people that the enemy is in the other lane, that he is an Indian and a terrorist, even though in doing so one has to defame and misinform to the detriment of the people’s right to know the truth.
Examples abound; but the recent case of Peruvian journalist Walter Chávez, who was “surprised” by the cameras entering a meeting of Evo Morales’ cabinet during an event held in the municipality of Huajchilla, which was cause for scandalous front-page headlines, plainly shows the way in which Bolivian journalism, dominated by large media companies, has turned itself into a shameful appendage of the separatist and racist strategies still underway. “Accused terrorist turns up at Evo’s cabinet,” is one of the lie-filled headlines which seek to intimidate public opinion into a fervor, encouraged by the CIA, to undercut the citizenry’s confidence in the indigenous government.
Walter Chávez, as we all know in our country, is an intellectual educated at San Marcos University, Peru, and has been in Bolivia since 1992 as a political refugee after being persecuted by the Fujimori dictatorship.
He has worked as a journalist for more than 10 years, founding at the beginning of the 2000s the independent weekly “El Juguete Rabioso” [The Mad Toy], which helped clear the way for Evo’s path to the presidency.
In the middle of 2008, this fascism dug up Fujimori’s old smear over Chávez’s supposed links, never proven, with the MRTA and pushed for his “extradition” to Peru with the unique urge to discredit the Bolivian government.
Chávez was a journalist with La Razón and other traditional media during the neoliberal governments of Paz Zamora, Sánchez de Lozada, Banzer, Tuto Quiroga and Carlos Mesa, and was considered “a good journalist” and it didn’t occur to any of them to extradite him to Peru when they were in power.
But when he was seen next to Evo Morales, he turned out to be a “dangerous terrorist” who had to be expelled from the country, without considering that along with enjoying the rights as a refugee under the aegis of the UN, Walter Chávez created a home in Bolivia, has a daughter born in La Paz, and in many aspects is more of and a better Bolivian than the many politicians and local overlords who seek to Balkanize their country by hiring true terrorists such as the Hungarian-Croat mercenary Rozsa.
In May of 2008, the Supreme Court made a binding ruling that Walter Chávez can not be thrown out of Bolivia in any way, let alone extradited, and that he enjoys the status of a political refugee with all the prerogatives honored by the UN.
And although they achieved the dismissal of Chávez as an advisor to the president, he didn’t lose his ties with Evo Morales nor does he have cause to work in secret.
As such, his “appearance” in the cabinet at Huajchilla was not secret. Walter regularly enters the Palace to meet with Evo Morales, Álvaro García Linera or Juan Ramón Quintana, coordinating a series of investigative works such as the one, for example, he is carrying out together with the Datos & Análisis Information Service in relation to the Rozsa case.
Walter Chávez versus Rozsa Flores
“Opposition worriedly eyes the return of Chávez to Evo’s side,” reads a clearly insidious headline, within the framework of the “psychological operation” to undermine the governability of the regime. Walter Chávez is the scapegoat that the CIA is using so that the separatist journalism can achieve its ends.
They lied with similar malicious intent and perversely manipulative capability when they tried to turn the agrarian revolution in Pando into a simple electoral dirty trick, and they seek to impede the migration of landless peasants from the Andes to the Amazon, stigmatizing this historical event as a “genocide in the making.”
This same separatist journalism which makes a mockery of the right of freedom of movement that helped Walter Chávez as a political refugee, is trying to turn Eduardo Rozsa Flores, the Balkanizer hired by the wealthy landowners in the east, into an innocent victim of Evo Morales’ “terrorist regime.”
It was immoral the way these journalists were able scare off and discredit Spanish colleague Julio César Alonso, who arrived in the country in order to report on Rozsa’s background as a war criminal investigated by the UN.
None of Alonso’s detractors bothered to check the UN files relating to the Balkans, where Rozsa is effectively accused of several murders. Here is what was reported to the Commission on Human Rights in February 1994, in a document titled “Letter dated 10 February 1994 from the Permanent Mission of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to the United Nations Office at Geneva addressed to the Chairman of the fiftieth session of the Commission on Human Rights,” where an explicit allusion is made to Rozsa’s pillaging, with a slight error in his last name:
“At the end of 1991, the Osijek operations zone of the Croatian Army had an international brigade established by Eduardo Rosses Flores [sic], the Zagreb-based correspondent of the Catalonian paper “La vanguardia.” The brigade was composed of former French Legion combatants and mercenaries from the wars in the Middle East and Latin America. It often operated on its own in the region of Eastern Slavonia and committed massacres against Serbian civilians in the villages of Divos, Ernestinovo, Tenjski Antunovac and others.”The United Nations rapporteur charged that the Croatian government protected Rozsa Flores in order to prevent his prosecution at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. According to its report to the UN responding to Yugoslavia’s charges, the Croatian government protected him with the argument that since he was a Croatian citizen, he was not a mercenary:
“In respect of the eighth allegation about ’an international brigade’, in fact it concerns the volunteers. There are no data to support the claim that they committed massacres. Their commanding officer, Mr. Eduardo Jorge Roses Flores, born in 1960, is a Croatian citizen.”In spite of the weight of this historical fact which we are aware of thanks to JC Alonso, for those confused Bolivian journalists who command large audiences, our Spanish colleague was the evil one just for telling us that Rozsa was a chemically pure mercenary and well-deserving of a place in hell.
The most well-perfected model of this mercenary and separatist journalism that is taking shape in Bolivia is the dealings in Santa Cruz of former socialist Cayetano Llobet, an employee of Croatian businessman Branco Marinkovic, who a few days ago bought all the stocks of the newspaper El Día, whose frivolity-filled pages are now covered with the packaged powder of the Pentagon’s PsyOps Command.
And La Razón is not far behind. Nor are the large television stations whose owners are those eastern landowners who believe that draining the land and distributing it to the country’s dispossessed is a “terrorist act.”
The basic strategy of the genuine terrorist consists of accusing his victims of being terrorists. It was a basic scheme during the dark days of Plan Cóndor. And when journalism lends itself to this ignoble game, it means that something is faltering in the consciences of those colleagues who should be expecting, anxiously, the next BGG invitation to travel to the U.S.
Wilson Garcia Merida is an independent journalist in Cochabamba, Bolivia, Director of the Servicio Informativo Datos & Analisis. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.