In July 2010, Joe McSpedon, a US government official, flew to Barcelona to put the final touches on a secret plan to build a social media project aimed at undermining Cuba's communist government.There's more at the link, and undoubtedly some other viewpoints elsewhere on the 'net this week. Can some reader here offer a morally-defensible justification for this activity based on strategic necessities? Personally, I'm so very, very, very tired of the U.S.' endless attempts to subvert the Cuban government. These shenanigans go back for probably 50 years - and for what reason? Is it just because Cuba has continued to maintain a form of governance of which we don't approve? Do they provide any smidgen of a threat to the U.S. in any real way? Or is this just an example of the U.S. f***ing with any country it wants to because it can? I get so mad when I blog about stuff like this that I have to walk away from the computer to the back yard for a few minutes to calm down so I don't use language I shouldn't.
McSpedon and his team of high-tech contractors had come in from Costa Rica and Nicaragua, Washington and Denver. Their mission: to launch a messaging network that could reach hundreds of thousands of Cubans. To hide the network from the Cuban government, they would set up a byzantine system of front companies using a Cayman Islands bank account, and recruit unsuspecting executives who would not be told of the company's ties to the US government.
McSpedon didn't work for the CIA. This was a program paid for and run by the US Agency for International Development, best known for overseeing billions of dollars in US humanitarian aid...
Documents show the US government planned to build a subscriber base through "non-controversial content": news messages on soccer, music, and hurricane updates. Later when the network reached a critical mass of subscribers, perhaps hundreds of thousands, operators would introduce political content aimed at inspiring Cubans to organize "smart mobs" — mass gatherings called at a moment's notice that might trigger a Cuban spring, or, as one USAid document put it, "renegotiate the balance of power between the state and society."..
The program's legality is unclear: US law requires that any covert action by a federal agency must have a presidential authorization. Officials at USAid would not say who had approved the program or whether the White House was aware of it. McSpedon, the most senior official named in the documents obtained by the AP, is a mid-level manager who declined to comment.
USAid spokesman Matt Herrick said the agency is proud of its Cuba programs and noted that congressional investigators reviewed them last year and found them to be consistent with US law.
Now, somebody... please offer some explanation or justification.
Addendum: There is commentary at The Dish on how ventures like this undermine the broader humanitarian goals of USAid (if such broader goals actually exist).
Also - a hat tip to reader misterjeff for a link to an incisive comment at Techdirt and for another related story at The//Intercept.
Still waiting for a comment or link to a contrary viewpoint supporting the activity...