Earlier this week, on live television, as Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro droned on about economic renewal in a country financially devastated by years of socialist policies begun by his predecessor, the late Hugo Chavez, something horrific occurred.
In a video that has gone viral, suddenly the expression on the face of Maduro’s wife, standing next to him at the time, changed, and she appeared to duck as she reached for an official next to her.
Then the camera panned out to scores of National Guard troops who were at one point standing in formation but who were breaking ranks and bolting – for cover, we would later learn.
In an instant, the world got a live view of what appears to have been the first assassination attempt by an explosive-laden drone.
If true, the concept is frightening because it’s not a threat scenario governments around the world are prepared to face, and that includes the United States.
[Editor’s note: There is some evidence that this event was a staged false flag, but it hasn’t been conclusively proved yet.]
As NextGov reported:
The United States pioneered military drones for surveillance and then missile strikes in Afghanistan nearly two decades ago; only a handful of states now have those capabilities. But small, commercially available drones of the kind Venezuela says were used in the attempt have proliferated widely among private actors in recent years. They do not require billions of dollars to procure or runways to take off.
These small commercial drones are equipped with cameras and have been used by civilians for many purposes and by news agencies for wide-ranging views of devastation and war. They’ve also been incorporated into the delivery of goods and humanitarian aid.
But as evidenced by the conflict in Syria, they can also be used to carry explosives that are dropped with precision on individuals, small units, vehicles, and other targets, to deadly effect.
“The attempted target in Venezuela was new, but the risk was not, nor is the anxiety among analysts and officials that it’s only getting worse and that countries, including the United States, are unprepared to deal with it,” NextGov reported. (Related: Police surveillance on steroids: Drones and AI systems MERGING to create flying spy robots.)
Within months after Islamic State (ISIS) forces captured the Iraqi city of Mosul during the summer of 2014, reports began to surface that they had begun operating surveillance drones. By the fall of 2016, reports documented some of the first known fatalities caused by explosive-laden drones operated by ISIS when a pair of Kurdish fighters were killed as they examined a drone they shot down.
According to a report from the Combating Terrorism Center at the U.S. military academy at West Point, peak drone use by ISIS came in 2017. The group was flying dozens of drone missions over Iraq and Syria. One Syrian Defense Force trooper reported that several drone-bombings against logistical lines and ammo dumps occurred.
Vance Serchuk, executive director of the KKR Global Institute, told NextGov that the phenomenon of weaponizing commercial drones “has been building for some time.”
In Syria and Iraq in particular, he said, ISIS “figured out how to weaponize drones before we figured out how to counter them.” He added: “Modern air defense systems are built against planes and cruise missiles. A quadcopter is small, low and slow. We don’t have a good architecture for defeating this on the battlefield.”
Terrorist groups are well-known for taking existing technologies and adapting them for deadly purposes. It’s part of an asymmetric warfare strategy, which involves employing unconventional techniques against a numerically and technologically superior force. Drone bombings have been quite successful in many instances.
Top U.S. law enforcement and intelligence officials are warning that America is vulnerable to such attacks.
Most experts say that the threat is not only real but that sometime soon – as seen in Venezuela – drone bombs are going to be utilized to deadly effect against a high-value target in America.
Read more about this emerging national security threat at DroneWatchNews.com.