Author Topic: US created 'Cuban Twitter' to sow unrest  (Read 142 times)

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Online Oceander

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US created 'Cuban Twitter' to sow unrest
« on: April 03, 2014, 11:50:23 AM »
The Australian

US created 'Cuban Twitter' to sow unrest

AAP
April 03, 2014 7:01PM

THE Obama administration secretly financed a social network in Cuba to stir political unrest and undermine the country's communist government.

An Associated Press investigation found the program evaded Cuba's internet restrictions by creating a text-messaging service that could be used to organise political demonstrations. It drew in tens of thousands of subscribers who were unaware it was backed by the US government.

Documents and interviews show the US Agency for International Development went to extensive lengths to conceal its involvement in a so-called Cuban Twitter. They set up front companies overseas and routed money through a Cayman Islands bank to hide the money trail.

The project was launched shortly after American contractor Alan Gross was arrested in Cuba for undertaking covert work to expand internet access.

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Re: US created 'Cuban Twitter' to sow unrest
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2014, 10:18:57 AM »
White House defends use of social media to stir unrest in Cuba

Apr 3rd 2014 8:03PM

 WASHINGTON (AP) - The Obama administration on Thursday defended its creation of a Twitter-like Cuban communications network to undermine the communist government, declaring the secret program was "invested and debated" by Congress and wasn't a covert operation that required White House approval.

 But two senior Democrats on congressional intelligence and judiciary committees said they had known nothing about the effort, which one of them described as "dumb, dumb, dumb." A showdown with that senator's panel is expected next week, and the Republican chairman of a House oversight subcommittee said that it, too, would look into the program.

 An Associated Press investigation found that the network was built with secret shell companies and financed through a foreign bank. The project, which lasted more than two years and drew tens of thousands of subscribers, sought to evade Cuba's stranglehold on the Internet with a primitive social media platform.

 First, the network was to build a Cuban audience, mostly young people. Then, the plan was to push them toward dissent.

 Yet its users were neither aware it was created by a U.S. agency with ties to the State Department, nor that American contractors were gathering personal data about them, in the hope that the information might be used someday for political purposes.

 It is unclear whether the scheme was legal under U.S. law, which requires written authorization of covert action by the president as well as congressional notification. White House spokesman Jay Carney said he was not aware of individuals in the White House who had known about the program.

 The Cuban government declined a request for comment.

 USAID's top official, Rajiv Shah, is scheduled to testify on Tuesday before the Senate Appropriations State Department and Foreign Operations Subcommittee, on the agency's budget. The subcommittee's chairman, Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., is the senator who called the project "dumb, dumb, dumb" during an appearance Thursday on MSNBC.

 The administration said early Thursday that it had disclosed the initiative to Congress - Carney said the program had been "debated in Congress" - but hours later the narrative had shifted to say that the administration had offered to discuss funding for it with the congressional committees that approve federal programs and budgets.

 "We also offered to brief our appropriators and our authorizers," said State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf. She added that she was hearing on Capitol Hill that many people support these kinds of democracy promotion programs. And some lawmakers did speak up on that subject. But by late Thursday no members of Congress had acknowledged being aware of the Cuban Twitter program earlier than this week.

 Harf described the program as "discreet" but said it was in no way classified or covert. Harf also said the project, dubbed ZunZuneo, did not rise to a level that required the secretary of state to be notified. Neither former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton nor John Kerry, the current occupant of the office, was aware of ZunZuneo, she said....

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Online Oceander

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Re: US created 'Cuban Twitter' to sow unrest
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2014, 11:32:49 AM »
I see no problem with this; it's right in line with the time-hallowed practices of Radio Free Europe, for example.


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