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Operation Genuine

Operation Genuine

(p.125) Chapter Three Operation Genuine
Guerrilla Marketing
Alexander L. Fattal
University of Chicago Press

This chapter follows a military intelligence unity of the Colombian army as it seeks to demobilize commanders from the FARC’s Caribbean Bloc. The story centers on the effort to demobilize Pablo by seducing his sister and making him a special offer. This highly targeted approach stands in contrast with the mass media Christmas campaigns highlighted in chapter 2, and is intended to link the PAHD’s highly public and secretive dimensions. Both forms of persuasion exploit the emotional bonds of family and work to operate on an intimate level. Pablo ultimately demobilizes, but only after surviving an aerial bombardment of his camp. To earn his trust the military spoils him. It pays for a banquet for his family, allows him to climb into a helicopter, and takes him — for the first time in his life — to the ocean. Pablo ends up collaborating with the military intelligence unit and helping to demobilize others. The analysis refracts the discourse of a humanitarian counterinsurgency, concluding that by operating through intimate ties such intelligence operations further militarize social life — even as they offer an alternative to torture for extracting information that is crucial to the counterinsurgency.

Keywords:   military intelligence, humanitarian counterinsurgency, alternatives to torture, persuasion, emotional bonds, militarization of social life, aerial bombardment, collaborators and informants, intimacy, seduction

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