Over the weekend there was an assassination attempt on the Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro.
But this wasn’t your usual assassination attempt. Instead of guns or poison, the would-be assassins used drones.
They strapped two drones with C-4 plastic explosives and flew them directly at Maduro while he was giving a speech, live on television.
At the last minute his security services managed to divert the drones.
One flew directly over his head, but missed its detonation target, and another was diverted and detonated over an apartment complex.
Each drone was strapped with 1kg of C-4 – enough to level anything within a 50-metre radius.
Maduro’s live broadcast cut off just as the explosions took place. But you can still see the terror in his and his wife’s faces as they realise what’s happening.
Source: BBC News
Following the incident, the perpetrators were rounded up. Six of them. And Maduro gave a rousing speech.
“I am fine, I am alive, and after this attack I’m more determined than ever to follow the path of the revolution,” he said.
“I have no doubt that this all points towards the extreme right in Venezuela, in alliance with Colombia. And that Juan Manuel Santos [the Colombian president] is behind this.”
It sounds like something out of a film. And, as many news organisations have started to point out, there’s every chance it is.
While at first most reports went along with Venezuela’s narrative, in the last few hours things have changed.
And this is increasingly being reported as a false flag event.
What is a false flag event and why would President Nicolás Maduro carry one out?
A false flag event is when a country carries out an attack on itself and makes it appear the attack was carried out by enemy nations or terrorists.
This then gives the country an excuse to crack down on its own citizens or attack foreign powers under the pretext of legitimate retaliation.
Here’s the psychology behind carrying out a false flag event from Wikipedia:
False flag attacking is a kind of psychological warfare. The motivations and effects have been analyzed within the framework of regality theory, which is a branch of evolutionary psychology. People will develop authoritarian, intolerant, and xenophobic attitudes when they perceive that their social group is under attack, according to this theory.
This is called a regal psychological reaction. An attack that is successfully blamed on outsiders will lead to such a regal reaction. The result is that people will be more likely to support their own government and military.
A collection of historical examples of the fabrication of collective danger by false flag attacks and other kinds of deception has identified the following motives:
- To create psychological support for a planned war
- To pave the way for a transition to a less democratic form of government
- To consolidate a government when its power is dwindling
- To defame an enemy by blaming an attack on them
In this case, a false flag would allow Maduro to crack down on opposition – which he has done – and gain support for a potential attack on Colombia. Or at least try to sway world opinion in his favour and against Colombia.
As the ruler of a country with a predicted 1 million per cent hyperinflation rate and huge political unrest, you can see why he may want to drum up more political power.
But what does the evidence say?
Well, that’s the thing. There is no evidence.
The cameras cut off before the explosions and the only footage coming out is of military personnel fleeing the scene.
Questions have been raised about whether the ‘drone attack’ against the president of Venezuela was faked after TV cameras failed to capture the ‘missiles’ and firefighters said the incident was actually a gas tank explosion.
Nicolas Maduro started rounding up his political opponents after blaming them for what he called an assassination attempt on Saturday.
Maduro had been addressing a military parade in Caracas on live TV, when he suddenly halted and looked to the sky after hearing an explosion.
He and his wife Cilia Flores were swamped with aides carrying bulletproof shields but both escaped uninjured.
Maduro claimed a ‘flying device’ exploded before his eyes and quickly blamed his ‘ultra-right’ opponents, but no drones were seen on television footage, which cut out after the incident. No footage of drones emerged on social media either.
Then, three fire officials at the scene disputed the government’s version of events, claiming the attack was actually a gas tank explosion inside the Residencias Don Eduardo apartment building.
It does seem strange that at an event of this size, no one caught the drones on camera. Especially as so many people now carry smartphones on them at all times.
In fact, I can’t recall an event like this happening in the last decade where no footage of it was captured.
Perhaps people did capture it, and perhaps they just haven’t released their footage yet. I guess we won’t know for a few days.
But if no footage emerges, it does make it very hard to believe Maduro’s tale of events.
The military has also not said how it managed to divert the drones at the last minute.
As time goes on, we should get a clearer picture of what actually happened. But whether Maduro is telling the truth or not, it brings up a big issue for tech investors around the world.
This the first high-profile assassination attempt to use consumer-grade drones
People have warned about terrorists using drones for years. But up until now, there haven’t been any major cases to emerge.
Well, it doesn’t get any more high-profile than an assassination attempt on a country’s president.
It’s also worth noting that the drones Venezuela is claiming the terrorists used were ordinary, consumer-grade and readily available – although expensive.
They were DJI M600s, which cost £5,199 from DJI’s official store.
That’s a decent amount of money in the UK. But in Venezuela, where the monthly salary of a minimum-wage worker is just $1.50 a month, it’s an awful lot of money.
And that’s before you take into account the cost of 2kg of C-4.
As drones become more and more commonplace, we will see more and more incidents like this.
And if you’re a reader of Sam Volkering’s Revolutionary Tech Investor, you’ll know drone defence is an area he sees massive growth in.
In fact, he’s tracked down a company whose technology could very well have been used in the fending off of these drones.
If it turns out the company Sam has tipped was involved in foiling this high-profile assassination attempt, we can expect its stock to skyrocket.
And even if it turns out it wasn’t, we can still expect to see a big increase in interest in the company’s technology.
From what I’ve seen, it currently has the only realistic solution to stopping small-scale drone attacks like this one.
Because false flag or not. Drone warfare is not going away.
And as drones become ubiquitous in everyday life, you can be sure the technology to nullify them will become essential.
Until next time,
Editor, Exponential Investor