Beware of the Provocateur

Two events happened in the last few days that got me thinking about how guerilla warfare works and how time-proven techniques may be employed by Donald Trump and/or cohorts. Anyone who has studied guerrilla warfare, or its theory/application knows that guerrilla warfare is political war. Understanding that the target of guerrilla warfare is not the governmental institutions nor the military operatus but is, instead, the human being, or the “political animal,” as Aristotle defined man.

As the political animal is the target than the guerrilla operatives focus on manipulating the hearts and minds of their targets. As more information continues to come out about Donald Trump and the Russian interference in the 2019 elections, the fingerprints of various guerrilla warfare operatives begin to emerge.

The Soviets were masters of psychological guerrilla warfare using various techniques from sexual blackmail to monetary enticement to provoke “useful idiots” into doing their bidding to manipulate the narratives around social or governmental issues. The Soviets used the useful idiots to manipulate the minds and the hearts of people in their areas of interest.

One of the favorite tools in the arsenal of the guerrilla war fighter is creating illusions of realities that do not exist. Provocateurs are deployed to distract from the reality or to create an alternative “truth” to what is happening.

The two recent events that brought to my mind the use of provocateurs, as it relates to Donald Trump, are the Buzzfeed story about the “smoking gun” alleging an impeachable offense for Donald Trump and the Kentucky kids wearing MAGA hats debacle.

Without commenting on the MAGA hat-wearing kids it is important to note that Twitter recently suspended the account of the source of the video that purported to show abusive teenagers against a group of Native Americans.

On Monday, Twitter suspended the account labeled as “2020fight”. The account appears to be a Twitter bot designed to influence trending topics on Twitter. It is too soon to tell if the Twitter bot belonged to a Russian-related entity, but the profile of the Twitter account shows it was designed to create an illusion. According to the news reports, the account tweeted an average of 130 times a day, or about five times an hour and had 40,000 followers. It was clearly an automated bot.

The controversy of the Buzzfeed report alleging proof of a Trump crime and the controversy of the kids in MAGA hats makes me think about a classic provocateur operation.

It comes down to what the focus in the national narrative has shifted towards.

Although the ongoing government shutdown continues to dominate the news cycles, the news coverage has shifted into whether the news media can be trusted to be reliable. Both the MAGA hat kids and the Buzzfeed report feeds the narrative that the news media is biased, or worse, targeting Donald Trump.

Buzzfeed appears to have relied on unnamed sources for its explosive story. The MAGA kids debacle was fed by a phony and manipulative Twitter account. Was one person, or persons behind this and other controversies? Are these two latest controversies the product of a guerrilla warfare hearts and minds operation?

The clues are there but the proof is absent making it the perfect guerrilla psyops operation.

Both times, the news media was fed information that appears to be false. As a result, the narrative is shifting away from the ongoing Donald Trump controversies towards a belief that the news media is “fake.”

Whether an active provocateur operation or operations are ongoing, it is incumbent upon the news media to treat everything as if it were part of an elaborate plan to discredit them.

In other words, beware of the provocateur.

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