April 24, 2014

Nix on fake #Twitter and nix on #nukes

The government of Costa Rica is officially in high dudgeon over the latest revelations concerning the so-called "Cuban Twitter" social media program that the U.S. Agency for International Development created as ... wait for it ...

Yet another way to try to disrupt the government of Fidel Castro's Cuba.

From what Costa Rica's saying, this renders previous statements from Dear Leader's minions null and void.
Documents obtained by the AP show that contractors working on ZunZuneo went to extensive lengths to hide its ties to the U.S., using foreign companies and computer servers paid for via a bank account in the Cayman Islands. They did so after acquiring more than 400,000 Cuban cellphone numbers from the island country's state-run telecommunications provider.

The AP found that ZunZuneo's development team initially operated out of Central America. A USAID manager supervised the work of U.S. contractor Creative Associates International from an office in San Jose, an unusual arrangement that raised eyebrows in Washington, according to U.S. officials.  ...

The U.S. government has denied that the program was secret or that it had a political agenda.
And, this isn't out of the blue, either:
Costa Rica's Foreign Ministry told the U.S. Embassy in June 2009 that the plan to develop the social media network could lead to "political difficulties" for Costa Rica, and it refused to grant diplomatic status to two U.S. government contractors involved in the program, La Nacion, Costa Rica's largest newspaper, reported Tuesday.

According to an internal Foreign Ministry memorandum, Javier Sancho Bonilla, protocol and state ceremonial director for the ministry, said the project "could create a situation politically inconvenient since it can be interpreted that it would violate the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other countries."
And, this is another one that can't be blamed on Bush, either.  Note that all dates involved are after Obama became president.

Glenn Greewald has more, though he's stil failed to write anything about the domestic threat of McCutcheon vs. F.E.C. (Don't think I've forgotten about that call-out, Glenn.)

The one takeaway is that this is an area where the National Security Agency in the U.S. and its counterpart in Britain, the General Communications Headquarters, are both active. I'm sure that, given 50-plus years of antagonism to Cuba (the AP story actually references the Kennedy-era Alliance for Progress), exploding conch shells, poisons, exploding cigars and more, there's more beneath the surface on this one.

How much more, who knows? After Congress gets more paperwork from AID, it may decide to shut the books again, after a private knuckle-rapping or two.

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Meanwhile, the Marshall Islands wants all actual AND all believed but unadmitted nuclear-armed countries to disarm. And, it's filed suit with the International Court of Justice:
(Besides the United States) ... the countries targeted also include Russia, Britain, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea. The last four are not parties to the 1968 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, but the lawsuits argue they are bound by its provisions under "customary international law." The nonproliferation treaty, considered the cornerstone of nuclear disarmament efforts, requires negotiations among countries in good faith on disarmament.
Reality? It has about zero chance of doing anything. The ICJ might well, based on a previous judgment in 1996, give a favorable ruling, but, who's going to enforce it? And, the parallel suit in US court will go nowhere.

But, I admire the action. Even if it won't change human nature, it challenges us to do the best we can to change it anyway. We still need a whiff or two of idealism from time to time.

I also like that all suspected, not just all declared, nuclear powers are named, even if they've not signed the Nonproliferation Treaty. You bet your sweet bippy that if you've got nukes, you should be bound to be part of disarmament discussions.

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