Thursday, April 3, 2014

Our Wasteful, Ridiculous and Hypocritical Secret Foreign Policy Skulduggery

The US intelligence community has metastasized into a giant, self-perpetuating, money-wasting world-wide mischief maker.  How much money are we spending every year to destabilize the governments of other countries?  How much money have we spent destabilizing Ukraine, Cuba, Venezuela, Honduras, Egypt, Syria, Libya, Iran etc. etc. etc.?  This "Cuban Twitter" is a silly example - but it's just a hint of the other activities that your tax dollars are paying for.
Between 2009 and 2012, the United States Agency for International Development created and ran ZunZuneo, a text-message-based social media platform intended to encourage an uprising against the government in Cuba, where there is virtually no internet access, the Associated Press reports. Described as a "bare-bones" version of Twitter, the plan involved attracting a user base with innocuous "news messages on soccer, music, and hurricane updates." Once a couple hundred thousand Cubans had signed up, "operators" would begin sending political messages in the hopes of triggering "a Cuban Spring," where citizens would "renegotiate the balance of power between the state and society." Obviously, that didn't happen, but ZunZuneo did have 40,000 users by the time it shut down. 
The origins of the network, which was funded with American money earmarked for a project in Pakistan, were kept secret. From the AP: "There will be absolutely no mention of United States government involvement," according to a 2010 memo from Mobile Accord, one of the project's contractors. "This is absolutely crucial for the long-term success of the service and to ensure the success of the Mission." This was accomplished by having the Denver-based Mobile Accord and another contractor, the D.C.-based Creative Associates International, run ZunZuneo through front companies based in Spain and the Cayman Islands while other employees worked out of several cities in Central America. A website, complete with "mock banner ads," was set up to help ZunZuneo look more like a real business. 
And we can't have an intelligent debate about any of this ridiculous nonsense, because it's "secret".  All of this secrecy and skulduggery is anathema to a free and democratic society.  We have an army of ideologues and misanthropes playing at cloak and dagger on our dime, and we can't have a debate about it.

No comments: