Schemes designed to demonstrate that governments considered hostile to U.S. interests are ruthless and undemocratic span many decades and continents. There is one highly effective type of manipulation that is frequently employed: Peaceful protests are combined with violent ones as the media and opposition conflate the tactics used by security forces against the former and the justified use of force against the latter. The key actors in this display of deception know exactly what their role is and how to act in order to ensure success. Often, support for regime change opens opportunities for blatantly anti-democratic political movements, some of which employ terrorist tactics.
In Chile under Salvador Allende
Consider the following examples. In Chile under Salvador Allende, upper-class women gathered to bang on pots and pans while in their shadows members of the right-wing paramilitary group Patria y Libertad used violence to provoke security forces. The message was clear: The Marxist government of Allende did not tolerate free expression of opinion and, in addition, Communists beat up on decent, respectable women.
In Libya, Syria and Ukraine
More recently, uprisings in Libya, Syria, and Ukraine were all preceded by a first phase of mass protests, which in some cases put forward legitimate grievances. The media, Washington spokespeople, and human rights NGOs uniformly condemned the government’s violation of basic democratic rights and soon expressed sympathy for those who engaged in violence and called for regime change.
In the case of Ukraine, the second phase of mass protest consisted of armed revolt that included a large contingent of neo-fascists. In Syria, the second phase involved a diversity of terrorist groups including Ahrar al-Sham tied to Al Qaeda, but the U.S. narrative singled out the government as the true “bad guy.” Indeed, Washington has put forward the implausible argument that material support for the “good” rebels committed to democracy will allow them to gain the upper hand against the “bad” ones, that is, terrorists.
Sanctions against Venezuela – fitting a decades-old pattern that ignore the evidence