USAID Contractors Labeled Cuban ‘Twitter’ Users ‘Pro-Revolution,’ ‘Apolitical,’ or ‘Anti-Revolutionary’

By: Wednesday April 30, 2014 3:30 pm

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has steadfastly maintained that a social media project it funded, which was revealed by the Associated Press as Cuban Twitter, was not intended to trigger “smart mobs,” transmit “political content” and “trigger unrest in Cuba.” However, the latest report from AP exposes more of the disingenuous nature of official comments coming from USAID on the project.

Paula Cambronero worked as a contractor for USAID in Cuba and part of her work involved “profiling” Cuban cellphone users, according to documents. In fact, users were categorized as “pro-revolution,” “apolitical” or “anti-revolutionary.”

 

State Department Gives 87% of Afghan Funds to Only Five Recipients

By: Monday April 28, 2014 9:02 am

The Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR) issued a scathing report showing the Department of State gave a staggering 87 percent of all Afghan reconstruction funds to only five recipients.

In fact, 69 percent of all taxpayer money spent went to just one contractor.

USAID’s Response to AP’s Story on ‘Cuban Twitter’: What Isn’t Denied & What’s Striking About It

By: Tuesday April 8, 2014 2:14 pm

It is “important that the good work” of the US Agency for International Development “not be falsely characterized,” the agency wrote in a blog post responding to the Associated Press’ story on “Cuban Twitter.” The response outlined eight “inaccuracies” and eight “facts” to show key flaws in the story.

In Age of Austerity US Gov Trolls Cuba on Twitter

By: Friday April 4, 2014 6:45 am

Remember, we’re broke. While the US government can not find money for greater public investment and is cutting food stamps it does have the resources to troll Cuba on twitter. Because that is the government’s job for some reason.

U.S. Government Hilariously Creates Secret Cuba Twitter, Then Just Quits

By: Thursday April 3, 2014 11:46 am

In 2010, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), best known for overseeing billions of dollars in reconstruction money in the successful campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, decided to create a bare-bones “Cuban Twitter,” using cellphone text messaging to evade Cuba’s Internet restrictions. It was called ZunZuneo, apparently slang for a Cuban hummingbird’s tweet. Like Twitter, get it?

To hide the U.S. government’s involvement in all this, fake companies were established in the Cayman Islands, while DNS spoofing and other naughty tricks were employed to disguise the origin of messages, all with the goal of making sure neither the Cuban government nor the Cuban people knew this was a U.S. propaganda ploy.

Delusions Drive (More) U.S. Aid to Afghanistan

By: Monday February 10, 2014 12:50 pm

The Obama administration unveiled Monday yet another aid package for Afghanistan. The announcement from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) of three new development initiatives worth almost $300 million is part of a U.S. effort to ensure that Afghanistan, as its ‘war economy’ ends, won’t “reverse gains made over the last twelve years.”

Book Review: The Pomegranate Peace

By: Sunday January 26, 2014 6:45 am

Pomegranate Peace, a new novel by Rashmee Roshan Lall, is a funny, sad and all-too-true piece of fiction about the failure of U.S. reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan, and about the crippling isolation America’s diplomats impose on themselves in that misguided war. The novel is also a cookbook, but we’ll get to that later.

Chasing Humanitarian Organizations Out of Afghanistan

By: Wednesday April 6, 2011 4:21 pm

It’s all very neat, how an attack on one of Afghanistan’s safest cities coupled with Karzai’s insistence for big payments–called taxes–on the contractors that keep humanitarian agencies safe would contribute to aide agencies withdrawing from Afghanistan.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Nathan Hodge, Armed Humanitarians: The Rise of the Nation Builders

By: Saturday March 26, 2011 1:59 pm

“As any student of aid and development should know,” Nathan Hodge writes in the prologue to his book Armed Humanitarians, “efforts to aid the developing world have often done more harm than good.”

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