• Counterinsurgency,  Psychological Struggle,  Terrorism

    Cartel Info Ops: Power and Counter-power in Mexico’s Drug War

    By John P. Sullivan Mexico’s cartels are increasingly using refined information operations (info ops) to wage their war against each other and the Mexican state, as noted in a recent post “Mexican narcos step up their information war” here at MountainRunner. These info ops include the calculated use of instrumental and symbolic violence to shape the conflict environment.  The result: attacks on media outlets, and kidnappings and assassinations of journalists by narco-cartels to obscure operations and silence critics.  Editors and journalists turn to self-censorship to protect themselves; others have become virtual mouthpieces for the gangs and cartels, only publishing materials the cartels approve.  Cartels are now beginning to issue press…

  • Media,  Psychological Struggle

    Mexican narcos step up their information war

    The GlobalPost has an interesting article by Mike O’Connor on the expanding manipulation of the press in Mexico by a drug cartel. This escalation in information warfare by the Zeta Cartel moves beyond intimidation to block certain stories as the cartel issues stories to discredit their enemies and build “credibility” of their friends. From Analysis: A PR department for Mexico’s narcos: Instead of reporting on crooked public officials or the growth of organized crime, newspaper editor Martha Lopez runs press releases from the Zeta cartel. … She said the gang has established its own public relations arm that issues stories the local papers are under orders to run, or else…

  • Counterinsurgency,  Psychological Struggle,  Public Diplomacy,  State Building

    Al-Qaeda is not the only threat

    John Sullivan, the co-founder of the Los Angeles Terrorism Early Warning group and lieutenant with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, focusing on emerging threats, reminds us that Al-Qaeda is not the only threat. As such, public diplomacy and strategic communication planning that focuses only on Al-Qaeda is too limiting. From Danger Room: While the public and media are occupied with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the potential conflict with Iran, the downward spiral in Pakistan, and a global economic meltdown, a new, rapidly-evolving danger — narco-cartels and gangs — has been developing in Mexico and Latin America. And it has the potential to trump global terrorism as a threat to…