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ZunZuneo: USAID Funded 'Cuban Twitter' To Undermine Communist Regime

timothy posted about 7 months ago | from the fine-idea-to-me dept.

Censorship 173

barlevg (2111272) writes "In a country where the government severely limits access to the world wide web, ZunZeneo, an anonymous SMS-based social network, drew more than 40,000 Cuban users at its peak, the Associated Press reports. On it, people shared news and opinions about music and culture. But what none of its subscribers knew was that the project was secretly funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), though a series of shell corporations and foreign bank accounts, and that its stated goal was 'renegotiate the balance of power between the state and society' in the Communist stronghold, hopefully leading to a 'Cuban Spring.'"

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Oh goodness me, non-military means! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46648399)

How terrible the US government is, using the concepts of a free exchange of ideas to overthrow another regime!

Well, ok, to be fair in the US, most of those free ideas are scams, but it's still slightly better than bombs and poisoned cigars.

Re:Oh goodness me, non-military means! (2)

PerlPunk (548551) | about 7 months ago | (#46648421)

Mod up parent, please.

Re:Oh goodness me, non-military means! (4, Insightful)

MrNaz (730548) | about 7 months ago | (#46648707)

They hate us for our freedom. Underhanded manipulation of their local political system for our own agenda has nothing to do with it.

Re:Oh goodness me, non-military means! (2, Insightful)

towermac (752159) | about 7 months ago | (#46649073)

Not to argue, but it's not just our agenda. Freedom is the agenda of mankind.

Re:Oh goodness me, non-military means! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46649307)

Freedom to subvert using tax monies gained with no regulatory oversight within a foreign policy framework dictated by corporate interests?

Sign me up!

Re:Oh goodness me, non-military means! (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 7 months ago | (#46651069)

comma he said while typing on equipment developed largely by corporations.

Re:Oh goodness me, non-military means! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46651373)

As long as "Freedom" is the US defined version, right? Cubans can't possibly make their own decisions, right? US has to tell them what is right. Control is the agenda of mankind. You will never be free until you understand that.

Re:Oh goodness me, non-military means! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46649185)

They hate us for our freedom. Underhanded manipulation of their local political system for our own agenda has nothing to do with it.

Fools thinking, the US has tried to gain Cuba as a Territory for years, one can argue their reasons for communist ideals, but if you ever watch the Che Guevara 3 part movie, read books, memoirs, ect you'll find out he wasn't about power, he was about freedom, Castro seemed more interested in power and corruption in the beginning when the two started the message he was like Che at one point, but as you would expect he got off on controlling people. Did he want to destroy the US yes he did because we wanted their country. And because it was alleged Russia was trying to use them for possible nuclear strikes against the US.

You actually believe what you wrote? Sounds like Uncle Sam's go to boy! Anything you hear is coming from are government, or the media/press, who themselves could give a shit about reporting anything remotely true Communism isn't this mythological thing that involves complete oppression of everything, and hatred of freedom.

You can look at are own government and see those similarities, for years they tried to block out anything they deemed evil aka censorship, they tried to make distilled alcohol illegal, they made drugs illegal, and even come up with bullshit mythological propaganda to convince citizens or scare them into supporting a ban. And the best part is the documents, memos, and reports they used were all fabricated, even the people responsible for forcing this ban came out and said it was all bullshit. And gave no creditable reason for them going after a nation wide ban. I go on with how free this country likes to claim it is, you can argue that we have always had a government controlled press, and now government controlled citizens, with the spying allegations. These are the same things the US government claims about communism. Only they are more creative in coming up with think tank wording to call it something else.

 

Re:Oh goodness me, non-military means! (1)

mi (197448) | about 7 months ago | (#46651441)

but if you ever watch the Che Guevara 3 part movie, read books, memoirs, ect you'll find out he wasn't about power, he was about freedom

Yeah, sure. And so was Stalin... And to gain that "freedom", the opposition had to be executed or incarcerated — and no amount of romantic movie-watching can change this fact. "To ensure, everyone is good, let's kill all the bad."

Your attempt to distinguish between Che Guevara and Castro is noted — and discarded. There is no practical difference important to anyone, but historians. If anything, Castro is better — at least, he took the trouble of running the country, whereas Guevara left to continue enjoying himself.

Communism isn't this mythological thing that involves complete oppression of everything, and hatred of freedom.

Communism is simply the most murderous school of thought known to humanity. Even Hitler's peculiar strand of Fascism is but a distant second, while other Fascists (like Mussolini and Franco) don't come close to Stalin, Pol Pot, or the Kim dynasty.

Rant all you want about Marxism theory, but everywhere it was put into practice the result was mass-murder... And to what end? The survivors were left with both — economic misery and absence of human rights... Compare Cuba, where we failed, with Chile, where we succeeded — which one is a shithole and which is the Latin America's top economy? Compare South and North Koreas. Compare Western and Eastern Germanies...

Would the world have heard about "Nokia", would Linux ever have been written, if Stalin succeeded taking over Finland in 1939, the way he took over Estonia (and others)?..

These are the same things the US government claims about communism.

A very simple, yet universal answer to this kind of anti-American statements is thus: whatever wrong you can accuse the US of over the last 100 years, was provably committed far more gravely and severely by a Communist government over the last 50 years.

Re:Oh goodness me, non-military means! (3, Insightful)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 7 months ago | (#46648543)

How terrible the US government is, using the concepts of a free exchange of ideas to overthrow another regime!

I'm sure the Occupy movement would call them out on this hypocrisy.

Re:Oh goodness me, non-military means! (3, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | about 7 months ago | (#46648831)

How terrible the US government is, using the concepts of a free exchange of ideas to overthrow another regime!

I'm sure the Occupy movement would call them out on this hypocrisy.

Why? Occupy got it's message out.

Re:Oh goodness me, non-military means! (3, Insightful)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 7 months ago | (#46648851)

With FBI and NSA keeping tabs on them under the pretext of "domestic terrorism"?

Re:Oh goodness me, non-military means! (2)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 7 months ago | (#46649853)

Well sure, but they also were subject to arrests, and in some cases post-demonstration harassment such as being put on TSA no-fly lists.

I'm pretty sure you can "get your message out" in Cuba too, it's the consequences of doing so that are the problem.

All of which said, I agree with the AC, this is a non-scandal. It's up there with "OMG! NSA tapped phones of German leaders!" Well, yeah. That's what it's supposed to do. I'm glad the Germans are our friends right now, but...

Re:Oh goodness me, non-military means! (1)

mi (197448) | about 7 months ago | (#46651475)

I'm pretty sure you can "get your message out" in Cuba too, it's the consequences of doing so that are the problem.

Are you seriously comparing getting onto a no-fly list with incarceration? Wow... It is just as idiotic as comparing losing one's job due to McCarthy's investigations with being sent to GULAG for 25 years... Oh, wait...

Re:Oh goodness me, non-military means! (2)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 7 months ago | (#46649043)

"Free exchange of ideas"

I have never heard propaganda defined quite like that before.

Re:Oh goodness me, non-military means! (1)

Wycliffe (116160) | about 7 months ago | (#46649617)

"Free exchange of ideas"

I have never heard propaganda defined quite like that before.

From the article it sounds like there was plans to possibly introduce propaganda at some point but they never
reached the threshold to do that. Basically they were just giving people a "free speech" platform.
I'm all for phase 1 and my guess is that phase 1 would probably be enough as if people who are unhappy
are given a way to secretly organize in an oppresive state then chances are they will eventually organize
themself without the need for propaganda.

I think creating ways for people all over the world to freely talk and organize in places where it is illegal is a great non-military idea.
Something like a bunch of satelites running TOR accessible from anywhere would be awesome.

Re:Oh goodness me, non-military means! (2)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 7 months ago | (#46649111)

Not CIA? That's what I expected.

Cuba is sort of the poster child for how the US is incompetent at elaborate spy-type skulduggery. I understand Castro has an entire museum dedicated to showcasing failed plots. Including the famous "poisoned baseball".

Re:Oh goodness me, non-military means! (4, Funny)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 7 months ago | (#46649167)

Not CIA? That's what I expected.

Ha, who do you think USAID is a front for?

Re:Oh goodness me, non-military means! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46649173)

Or he has a museum of fake props that he created to make people think the CIA wants him dead.

It's not like they can deny the activity.

Re:Oh goodness me, non-military means! (1)

daem0n1x (748565) | about 7 months ago | (#46650411)

It's not like they aren't publicly known for a lot of the atrocities Castro accuses them of.

Fake? What for? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46650471)

There has been more than 600 documented attempts against Castro alone.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassination_attempts_on_Fidel_Castro

Also, check operation mongoose

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuban_Project

Re:Oh goodness me, non-military means! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46649549)

Cuba and the US kinda mirrors the roadrunner vs coyote cartoons...

Re:Oh goodness me, non-military means! (4, Informative)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 7 months ago | (#46649113)

Well, I guess on the morality scale, this is an improvement over open assassination attempts [wikipedia.org] and blowing up airliners [wikipedia.org] to discourage tourism. I guess that's "moral progress" by slimy U.S. standards.

Re:Oh goodness me, non-military means! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46649987)

Sorry man, It's kill or be killed, eat or be eaten, dominate or perish... That's just the nature of things. The graveyards are full of people with the "moral high ground".

Re:Oh goodness me, non-military means! (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about 7 months ago | (#46649215)

You want to give people the tools to overthrow their own regime? Fine.

You want to give them the tools, then clandestinely take control of those tools once they're popular to foment a favourable rebellion that suits your own interests? No.

Re:Oh goodness me, non-military means! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46649329)

US AID has a very long history of fomenting trouble in other countries. They have been a CIA front for a long time. Money/Aid does not come for free. This is not the first case. They have been active in India too for a long time doing this sort of crap. Its the targeted countries' fault of course that they ever let them in.

Re:Oh goodness me, non-military means! (1)

Jim Sadler (3430529) | about 7 months ago | (#46650701)

How about we simply allow Cuba's problems to be Cuba's and keep our hand out of the picture completely? The problem is that when we work to destabilize a government we often end up with a rebellion that ends up with an even worse government in place. Cuba's brand of communism has become a bit less harsh and will probably continue to moderate itself. But if we cause turmoil they could easily revert to a form of communism more like Stalin had in place in Russia. That would mean far greater suffering for the Cuban people. Right now Russia has great turmoil. Many people are suffering in the new Russia as their system was destroyed when the Soviet Union was broken. There is a certain risk that they will revert to a ridged and violent form of communism due to their current miseries. We can not see why North Korea is so greatly isolationist but I suspect it is simply because they are aware that other nations can manipulate the public so easily. Yes North Korea needs to change but it really must be internal rather than a result of covert actions by other nations.

Re:Oh goodness me, non-military means! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46651399)

using the concepts of a free exchange of ideas to overthrow another regime

If it only were the concepts of a "free exchange of ideas". Instead, they want to control what Cubans see (just like the Cuban counterpart). They could aim to let the Cubans access the internet as a whole, twitter included, and I would see that as a worthy goal. But alas, they make it as hard as possible. They could easily let some companies [hughesnet.com] do business with Cubans who can pay (or they families abroad). But no, currently, one would need not only to smuggle the equipment into Cuba (which would be expected of an oppresive regime), but also to smuggle it out from the US (which is not consistent with a freedom-seeking regime), and then prevent the GPS from reporting back the true location of the modem. Instead, USAID spends lots of money (I don't have the numbers at hand) making sure that those selected by them have access to, and only to, what they want.

That's what irks me the most about the Alan Gross situation. Instead of making a public stance, removing the embargo for telecomunication/satellite equipment and services, and making a greater statement in the process, they opted to keep the prohibition for all but those hand-picked by USAID (and left Gross paying for the consequences when he was found).

(Disclosure: I no longer live in Cuba, but it stills irks me to see this.)

I hope this is BS (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 7 months ago | (#46648415)

Because doing anything like this ultimately is counterproductive if found out.

Considering the nature of Cuban propaganda, it will use this, whether it's true or not, as another banana skin to hurl at the US foreign policy.

Re:I hope this is BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46648517)

What makes you think that Cuba has propaganda? oh yeah American News, just like this controlled cuban twitter, must be true so, Cuban propaganda it is. ... carry on gullible sir, carry on.

Re:I hope this is BS (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 7 months ago | (#46648659)

What makes you think that Cuba has propaganda?

Probably the fact that every country has propaganda? The US has Voice of America; other states have semi-official or even official government news agencies.

Re:I hope this is BS (3, Informative)

gmack (197796) | about 7 months ago | (#46648907)

If you've ever met anyone from Cuba they will tell you that the outside world is nothing like what they are told on the news. How is that not propaganda?

Re:I hope this is BS (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46649051)

If you've ever met anyone from the U.S. they will tell you that the outside world is nothing like what they are told on the news. How is that not propaganda?

Re:I hope this is BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46649153)

If you've ever met anyone from Cuba they will tell you that the outside world is nothing like what they are told on the news. How is that not propaganda?

If you've ever met anyone from America they will tell you that the outside world is nothing like what they are told on the news. How is that not propaganda?

Re:I hope this is BS (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46649295)

If you've ever met anyone from Cuba they will tell you that the outside world is nothing like what they are told on the news. How is that not propaganda?

If you've ever met anyone from America they will tell you that the outside world is nothing like what they are told on the news. How is that not propaganda?

I have met people from the U.S. Other than Fox News viewers-- most of whom, as far as I can tell, have never left the U.S.A.--many of them are reasonably well informed about the rest of the world, know people who have immigrated from other countries, and very often have travelled to other countries.

So I call BS on your post.

--on the original topic, I will say that I think that this is what the U.S.A. SHOULD be doing. Skip the CIA bullshit and the invade-other-countries bullshit and the sell-guns-to-groups-overthrowing-governments-they-don't-like bullshit. Support freedom of information? Yes, I can get behind that.

Re:I hope this is BS (1)

daem0n1x (748565) | about 7 months ago | (#46650473)

So, your point is that the Americans you met outside of the US have travelled to other countries?

Who would imagine?

Re:I hope this is BS (1)

gmack (197796) | about 7 months ago | (#46649395)

Depends what part of the US you are from. The Americans I talk to from red states seem to have more problems with that then the rest.

Re:I hope this is BS (1)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 7 months ago | (#46649193)

And if you've ever met anyone from Cuba, they'll also tell you that Cuba is nothing like what it's portrayed to be in the U.S. news. Or just ask any European who (unlike us "free" Americans), is actually able to vacation there.

Re:I hope this is BS (3, Informative)

gmack (197796) | about 7 months ago | (#46649577)

I'm not American, and as someone who knows a few Cubans, I can tell you most of the country isn't like the tourist zones.

"between the state and society" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46648431)

The private sector is not synonymous with "society".

A democratic state (which neither the US nor Cuba is) is precisely "society".

A rose growing in shit (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46648471)

The US government working at the behest of the Cuban American National Foundation is wearisome, but helping Cubans communicate is actually a good thing. An improvement over arming drug dealers at least.

Re:A rose growing in shit (2)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 7 months ago | (#46649227)

The CIA isn't doing it out of the goodness of their hearts. They're trying to ferment a violent government coup. Once a U.S. puppet is in place, you can kiss this free communication goodbye again.

USAID (5, Insightful)

DarkOx (621550) | about 7 months ago | (#46648477)

USAID is suppose to be an aide organization. The moment they have to start laundering money they have gone off the reservation and entered CIA territory.

There is a place for clandestine operation to work against regimes we don't like, that is why we have a foreign intelligence agency, CIA. Our government is completely out of control and way to large this is just more proof!

Not only that it completely undermines the mission of USAID to have it associated with these type of shenanigans; its supposed to be about soft power, its supposed to be about building trust. Here we have one more department with in the government demonstrating laws don't matter, not ours and certainly not any other sovereigns. Shameful...

Re:USAID (3, Informative)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | about 7 months ago | (#46648857)

Is the same thing here on Brazil. USAID here helps every one who wants to overthrow any government that does not comply doggedly what the U.S. told to do.

Re:USAID (-1, Troll)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | about 7 months ago | (#46649055)

Is the same thing here on Brazil. USAID here helps every one who wants to overthrow any government that does not comply doggedly what the U.S. told to do.

As an American, I can assure you that simply do not understand what you are talking about. While I have no idea whether any US agency cares any about government change in Brazil, I can tell you that Lula was no problem at all. The man was rational and competent and if he and the US had different ideas from time to time, at least there was some logic to what he was doing. Dilma Rousseff is a completely different story. Early on she came on with the same anti-US ranting and ravings that are quite popular in South America these days. Geez, I don't think I've ever seen anything more embarrassing from a national leader than her photo with Fidel where she looked like an aging rock groupie wanting to suck him off at the first chance she got. If the US is trying to support opposition to her presidency, well, that is a fight that she started. Most of South America seems obsessed right now with electing anybody who espouses anti-US slogans, even if they end up running their own countries into the ground. Hey, it doesn't matter if we don't have jobs as long as our president hates the US, right? You can ask Venezuela and Argentina how that is working out for them right now.

Re:USAID (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46649251)

Venezuela, Argentina, and Brazil (not to mention pretty much the rest of South America) are all places USAID funds CIA projects that aim to overthrow democratically elected governments. Are you saying the people of those countries have no right to be pissed at the U.S. for trying to destroy their political institutions in order to replace them with corporate yes-men?

Re:USAID (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | about 7 months ago | (#46650341)

...those countries have no right to be pissed at the U.S. for trying to destroy their political institutions in order to replace them with corporate yes-men?

You hit the target. It's what they're trying here (with more or less success) since the military dictatorship (1964).

Re:USAID (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about 7 months ago | (#46649441)

As a Kool-aid-drinking, propaganda eating USian, I can assure you that [I] simply do not understand what you are talking about. ...I have no idea...

FTFY.

I'm pretty sure any non-USian american knows exactly what he is talking about.

Re:USAID (4, Interesting)

mean pun (717227) | about 7 months ago | (#46649513)

Is the same thing here on Brazil. USAID here helps every one who wants to overthrow any government that does not comply doggedly what the U.S. told to do.

As an American, I can assure you that simply do not understand what you are talking about. While I have no idea whether any US agency cares any about government change in Brazil, I can tell you that Lula was no problem at all. The man was rational and competent and if he and the US had different ideas from time to time, at least there was some logic to what he was doing. Dilma Rousseff is a completely different story. Early on she came on with the same anti-US ranting and ravings that are quite popular in South America these days. Geez, I don't think I've ever seen anything more embarrassing from a national leader than her photo with Fidel where she looked like an aging rock groupie wanting to suck him off at the first chance she got.

Oh dear, oh dear. Yes, I have to agree here; that is horrible. Terrible. Possibly even Terrorism. Ranting and raving against the US! Having her photo taken with Fidel!! Because no US politician would ever rant or rave against neighbouring counties. Or have their photo taken with dubious world leaders.

If the US is trying to support opposition to her presidency, well, that is a fight that she started.

Certainly. If a politician says some mean things about the US, that TOTALLY justifies US meddling in that politician's country. There is lots of jurisprudence here, because it is exactly the time-honoured schoolyard argument that teachers like so much: "But teach, THEY started it!". (And in the same time-honoured schoolyard tradition, the original offence is of course microscopic compared to the retaliation.)

Re:USAID (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | about 7 months ago | (#46650451)

...While I have no idea whether any US agency cares any about government change in Brazil...

Wow... Just wow... Dude, you are incredibly stupid or ridiculously naive. Think about it. Really try! I want a government that governs for my country, not for U.S. corporations. I do not want a "yes-man" like AC said. The problem is that your government disagrees.

Re:USAID (2)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 7 months ago | (#46651275)

Last time a red crashed the Brazilian currency I got a couple of cases of good Brazilian Rum for $.99/750ml. I'm all for leftests running Brazil into the ground.

Re:USAID (2)

DarkOx (621550) | about 7 months ago | (#46649155)

As an American I am okay with that. I would not expect USAID to provide material support to groups the rest of the State Department wants to see go away.

Its one thing for USAID to give money in an overt and legal way to group some foreign regime might not like much, but tolerates within its boarders.

Its quite another for our aide organization to violating the laws for foreign countries, which at least in this case with Cuba they must have been because otherwise why the shell companies and secrecy.

Re:USAID (1)

cavreader (1903280) | about 7 months ago | (#46648995)

The US does not act in a vacuum. It is not the only country with aggressive intelligence agencies looking to collect information from every one they can. And the preposterous claims that the US should not spy on it's "friends" is hilarious in the extreme. Countries don't have "friends" they only have interests which are constantly in flux. Outside of some initial indignant statements for public consumption concerning the NSA foreign intelligence programs the issue has been gradually pushed to the background because hypocrisy does have it's limits. When the Russian FSB, China's MSS,
England's GCHQ, Brazil's ABIN, France's DCRI, Germany's BND, and all the other international agencies close up shop then the NSA and CIA can be disbanded.

Re:USAID (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about 7 months ago | (#46649469)

No, some countries do have friends, the US not so much. The US has the kinds of friends most rich people have.

Please, please, stop thinking that reality is exactly what the propagandists tell you it is. The world will be a better place once the US Ministry of Truth shuts down.

Re:USAID (1)

cavreader (1903280) | about 7 months ago | (#46650743)

I see absolutely no propaganda in my earlier statement. Are you actually saying only the US operates foreign intelligence programs to push for desired outcomes that could benefit its own interests? As far as a US Ministry of Truth goes the US is the only major power that places national firewalls or internet filters to restrict access to any information. People that speak of Ministries of Truth are just upset that their pet opinions might not be as popular as they would like them to be. Anyone expressing a differing opinion is automatically stupid, lying, or a state agent looking to suppress the truth.

Re:USAID (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 7 months ago | (#46651181)

Countries don't have friends, they have allies. Sometimes leaders have friends that are leaders of other nations.

Don't anthropomorphize nations, they hate that.

Re:USAID (1)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 7 months ago | (#46649075)

USAID is suppose to be an aide organization.

Like many U.S. NGO's, it's a front. Why do you think so many countries are distrustful of U.S. aid groups?

USAID is not a NGO (1)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about 7 months ago | (#46649393)

USAID is suppose to be an aide organization.

Like many U.S. NGO's, it's a front...

NGO stands for "Non Government Organization". USAID is not a NGO.

http://www.usaid.gov/who-we-ar... [usaid.gov]

As I read the article, it seems to say that the USAID helped set up social networks in Cuba that weren't controlled by the government. That sounds like a good thing to me. I'm puzzled why any /. readers would object to this.

Re:USAID is not a NGO (3, Informative)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 7 months ago | (#46649497)

it seems to say that the USAID helped set up social networks in Cuba that weren't controlled by the government. That sounds like a good thing to me. I'm puzzled why any /. readers would object to this.

Because the goal isn't to set up social networks, it's to start a violent coup and ultimately reinstall a U.S. puppet government in Cuba. These social networks are just a means to a slimy end.

Renegotiation [Re:USAID is not a NGO (2, Interesting)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about 7 months ago | (#46649665)

it seems to say that the USAID helped set up social networks in Cuba that weren't controlled by the government. That sounds like a good thing to me. I'm puzzled why any /. readers would object to this.

Because the goal isn't to set up social networks, it's to start a violent coup and ultimately reinstall a U.S. puppet government in Cuba. These social networks are just a means to a slimy end.

Why do I care about the purported goal-- what we should care about is what they were actually doing, which was setting up a social network independent of the Cuban government. That's a good thing.

The stated goal, in any case, was not "to start a violent coup." I don't know if the US government even knows what it wants (Cuban policy seems to nearly zero priority in the US, outside of south Florida)-- but the quote from the article was "its stated goal was 'renegotiate the balance of power between the state and society' ".

Rephrasing that to make it say "let's start a violent coup" is rather distorting. "Renegotating the balance of power between state and society" sounds like a good thing-- in the US, too.

Re:Renegotiation [Re:USAID is not a NGO (1)

coinreturn (617535) | about 7 months ago | (#46650459)

You may not realize this, but stated goal != actual goal in most foreign affairs of the US government; hence all the secrecy and shell games.

What they do, what they say [Re:Renegotiation] (1)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about 7 months ago | (#46651289)

That's why we should be more interested in what they do than what they say.

Re:Renegotiation [Re:USAID is not a NGO (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 7 months ago | (#46651323)

Overcomplicated.

Simplified and shortened: 'stated goal != actual goal in most foreign affairs'

Re:USAID (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 7 months ago | (#46649077)

Color me naive, but I think I'm actually okay with an aid organization providing services that most of the rest of the world enjoy to people trapped within a country that rules over them as a dictatorship. That sounds a lot like aid to me, and if they need to engage in shenanigans to get that aid to the people, I'm okay with that too. After all, when a government stands in the way of its people receiving basic services, you have to do stuff like that. And if they're hoping that the people will use that service in a way that benefits the organization? You know what, that's really no different than any other aid they offer either, when you get down to it.

I'm all for giving the US a hard time over its spying and whatnot, but this? I really don't have a problem with this unless they were actively using it to try and incite a Cuban Spring, rather than merely passively providing it and letting things develop on their own.

Re:USAID (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about 7 months ago | (#46649489)

At least you recognise you are naive. Now please do something about it!

Re:USAID (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46650513)

He did. He expressed his opinion in a constructive and coherent way. Can we expect the same from you at any point?

Re:USAID (1)

coinreturn (617535) | about 7 months ago | (#46650493)

Color me naive, but [...] I really don't have a problem with this unless they were actively using it to try and incite a Cuban Spring, rather than merely passively providing it and letting things develop on their own.

There is a wide range of gray between active and passive here. I'm willing to bet they were in an area that would make you uncomfortable.

Re:USAID (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 7 months ago | (#46650919)

Quite likely, and mere moments after I submitted the comment I realized that I had completely failed to consider or address that topic.

National Endowment for "Democracy" - CIA front (1)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | about 7 months ago | (#46649085)

Relevant news: On Democracy and Orchestrated Overthrows in Venezuela and Ukraine [ragingbullshit.com]

The National Endowment for Democracy [wikipedia.org] has been seen working behind the scenes in Ukraine, Venezuela, Turkey...

Also check out operation Gladio [globalresearch.ca] : secret networks of far-right groups orchestrating false-flag and other attacks against communist or any other left-wing movements in Europe, since WWII. 1992 BBC documentary [youtube.com] (bad quality though) "killed hundreds of innocent Europeans and attempted to blame the deaths on Baader Meinhof"

This shit comes back to bite you, erodes US credibility.

Re:USAID (1)

fermion (181285) | about 7 months ago | (#46649103)

From their website

"USAID is the lead U.S. Government agency that works to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential."

So things like anonymous communications that allows the citizenary to communicate without their government surveling them can be considered part of that mission. USAID is actually directed to promote democratic governements. It is like the old Radio Free America. They do not actively undermine governments, but they do put propaganda on the airwaves that tell the people of those legitimate governments to rebel.

Of course all this falls apart when we note that US is no longer recognizing anonymous and free communications as a fundamental right of the citizen. This is a bit hyperbolic, but a lot of our taxpayer money is being spent collecting open communications and attempted to minimize anonymous communication.

Re:USAID (1)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 7 months ago | (#46649257)

They do not actively undermine governments

Do you believe in Bigfoot too?

Re:USAID (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46649323)

"anonymous communications that allows the citizenary to communicate without their government surveling" is just the means to the end: installing a 'pro-american democracy' that will be open to strangulation by American companies.

Re:USAID (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 7 months ago | (#46649333)

Did you skip the part where they would start broadcasting their own propaganda over the network once it was popular?

Re:USAID (2)

X.25 (255792) | about 7 months ago | (#46649419)

USAID is suppose to be an aide organization. The moment they have to start laundering money they have gone off the reservation and entered CIA territory.

If you think USAID has ever been an "aid" organization, I have a bridge you might be interested in.

"We need more people in our NSA records" (1)

mromanuk (1318649) | about 7 months ago | (#46648497)

Probably this was to put the cubans in the NSA files too, because their stupid government censure them (instead of spying them). Uncle Sam can fix that for you.

Cuban spring? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46648529)

But winter is coming...

Re:Cuban spring? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46648667)

I'm pretty sure they're talking about the metal coil, otherwise it doesn't make sense.

that's really stupid of them (2)

Error27 (100234) | about 7 months ago | (#46648571)

The government already has the CIA for this stuff. It was amazingly dumb of USAID to start doing the CIA's job. The head of USAID should resign followed by a full investigation.

But that won't happen because the government has stopped caring about appearances any more.

Re:that's really stupid of them (1)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 7 months ago | (#46649063)

The CIA needs fronts. They can't just hand out money with "Central Intelligence Agency" printed on the checks.

Re:that's really stupid of them (2)

Error27 (100234) | about 7 months ago | (#46649519)

It's not clear that USAID was at the front on this opperation. They were funding it secretly through shell companies. When it comes to clandestine operations the CIA has better qualifications. It's just stupid, and more stupid.

Re:that's really stupid of them (2)

coinreturn (617535) | about 7 months ago | (#46650519)

It's not clear that USAID was at the front on this opperation. They were funding it secretly through shell companies. When it comes to clandestine operations the CIA has better qualifications. It's just stupid, and more stupid.

You assume that USAID is more than just a front for the CIA.

Are they the only one? (2)

stewsters (1406737) | about 7 months ago | (#46648629)

And this is why Twitter does not need to be profitable to be in business. The investors are shell companies working for other governments, hoping they will cause a US spring.

Re:Are they the only one? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46648837)

There will never be a US spring because we're stuck in eternal September.

Freedom... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46648657)

...from reason, sound behavior & mores. Slashdot, won't you, piece of self-similar faggot, just disappear? Of course not, the mass, being governed by entropy, is bound to self-destruction, hence you shall remain a favorite. For a time.

Assange questions? (1)

kooky45 (785515) | about 7 months ago | (#46648733)

Didn't one or more of the people accusing Julian Assange of criminal conduct work for USAID?

USA's attention to Cuba seems silly (3, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 7 months ago | (#46648741)

It's funny how butthurt they are about Cuba and how much effort they put into overthrowing Castro. It's like they don't have any bigger problems.

Re:USA's attention to Cuba seems silly (5, Insightful)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 7 months ago | (#46649015)

Batista was a U.S. puppet, and his cronies (who are now a significant voting block in FL) lost a lot of money and power when Castro came in. They want it back, and they want it back BAD. The U.S. will murder, commit terrorism, or do anything else to accomplish this goal.

The most shameful incident (IMHO) came in 1976, when a CIA agent [wikipedia.org] blew up a civilian Cuban airliner [wikipedia.org] , killing 78 innocent people. And said CIA agent is still living free (and protected) in the U.S. to this day. The U.S., my country, openly committing terrorism for petty economic ends. Fucking pathetic.

Re:USA's attention to Cuba seems silly (0)

c2me2 (2202232) | about 7 months ago | (#46649037)

Wow. It's almost like they pointed nuclear weapons at the US, or something.

Re:USA's attention to Cuba seems silly (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46649169)

Wow. It's almost like the U.S. took over Cuba and squashed their fledgling independence movement, before setting up the mafia to run the island as a resort for well connected businessmen and politicians from the States, then upon the instigation of a successful revolution tried for decades to overthrow Cuba's government via economic sanctions, assassination, and terrorism, or something.

Re:USA's attention to Cuba seems silly (2)

Megol (3135005) | about 7 months ago | (#46649583)

They did? I think you should do some historic research on this topic.

Fact: The US sanctioned Cuba long before the missile crisis, in fact they started when the communists took control of the country. Strangely the US didn't do that when their puppet ruled there, quite heavy handed _and_ quite non-democratic. Documented facts.

Fact: The US placed nuclear missiles in Turkey in order to be able to strike into the Soviet heartland long before the missile crisis. That the Soviet wanted to do something similar is called provoking nuclear war for some strange reason, why wasn't the US move called out in the same way?

Fact: The US silently withdrew their nuclear missiles from Turkish territory which satisfied the Soviets and ended the crisis. Why isn't that fact commonly known by US citizens (those I've communicated with at least)? In short: when the US stopped threatening the Soviet the Soviets didn't need to place missiles on Cuban territory. Strange that.

Re:USA's attention to Cuba seems silly (1)

Copid (137416) | about 7 months ago | (#46649663)

Unprecedented. We couldn't possibly have cordial relations with a country that points nuclear weapons at us. And barely over a half century ago! The wounds! So fresh!

Yeah? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46648865)

and that its stated goal was 'renegotiate the balance of power between the state and society'

And what are they doing to correct the balance of power between the state and society in the US?

What about the balance of power between the rest of the world and the US state?

Because the rampant spying and ignoring of the Constitution means telling other countries what to do makes you hypocritical bastards.

disingenuous article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46648897)

USAID is a funding agency and they don't "plan" these things. They are more like VC's. This evil "scheme" to enable communications and collaboration in Cuba with the hopes that it would help them move towards an open democracy was pitched to them and the "documents" were created by the founders of the network not "evil" USAID operatives.

This is sensationalist journalism trying to get eyeball ad revenue during hoopla about Snowden disclosures. And in so doing is going to make it difficult for other aid projects that focus on freedom and communications to get funded for fear of "bad press".

Re:disingenuous article (1)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 7 months ago | (#46648925)

USAID is a funding agency and they don't "plan" these things.

Yeah, that's the CIA's job.

Gee, what a shocker (1)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 7 months ago | (#46648913)

U.S. government, CIA, and old Batista cronies once again tries to overthrow Cuban government by any means necessary, film at eleven!

Re:Gee, what a shocker (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46649091)

They should send to Cuba the same people they got working on Venezuela right now. Learn from the experts.

More slimey bastards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46649057)

its stated goal was 'renegotiate the balance of power between the state and society'

We should worry about renegotiating the balance of power in our own country before worrying about another foreign nation. Many elites in our government are guilty of many crimes, yet they walk freely. Meanwhile, Fidel sits around and smokes cigars all day, and that's a reason to go after him?

same in the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46649431)

we need someone to create a site for free and open communication to undermine the American regime

Re:same in the US (1)

tarlong (446034) | about 7 months ago | (#46650409)

Indeed we do. Cuba, along with Puerto Rico and La Española (Dominican and Haitian Republics) were "given' (Read, sold to) as war spoils from Spain. Even though Cuba and La Española were in the process of independence from Spain, if not independent already (have to check that one out, memmory fails me; a bit hazy on that one, I admit). Puerto Rico had kick started its independence process also. Already we had gained Autonomous Powers from the Crown, the first step for independence)

I mentioned this because, if you do some research, after the war, congress passed a few laws "allowing" these states to continue their "independence" with a little but important "BUT". That was that the US reserved the right to impose its politics on these territories. Cuba and the La Española became all-included resorts for the US aristocracy and Puerto Rico became their major test field. Agent Orange was tested here in our backyard. Contraceptives were tested here and a whole lot of other stuff that keeps being uncovered all the time.

I am an American citizen by birth (I was born here in Puerto Rico after the US passed a law forcing the citizenship on us so they could legally use the selective service on our people. If you don’t believe me, seek out info on the Infantry Regiment 65 and Puerto Ricans in the US armed forces and the laws that were passed on that subject.) and tend to think of myself as an US American but I cannot deny the atrocities our government has committed in the name of democracy.

I say to hell with it. If a country wants to go fuck itself, we should let them be, IF and this is a BIG IF, the people of a country make an independent attempt to seek our help, then and only then we may try to give them DIPLOMATIC aid. Aside from that we should, as a country, keep our freaking fucking paws of their shit and let them live unhappily ever after. We have so much more pressing problems at home already without trying to solve problems offshore that we have not addressed properly ourselves.

Propaganda indeed. I am afraid that we are not as free and democratic a country as have been led to believe.

BTW, I have it in good faith (Cuban Friends and relatives that have LIVED in Cuba before and after the Castro takeover) that Cuba is not the slice of hell we have been pictured but is also far from paradise as some make it look. If left to market forces, the Cuban government will fall on their own. By placing so much attention to what they do, we only give them a moral stand point to continue baby crying to the UN. Drop the embargo and let the market take over.

In 2009/2010? (1)

whitroth (9367) | about 7 months ago | (#46650665)

The US is *still* doing this crap, presumably to cater to the folks who were for the dictator Batista, or the Mafia, who's still pissed at loosing all the money from those casinos?

Why is the US so in bed with China, if those in the "intelligence community" (for values of each of those words approaching zero as a limit) are so desperate to bring down China?

I want my tax dolars wasted on this back.

                  mark

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