Tag Archives: Twitter

Current Event Cat of the Day: Secret Cuban Twitter

Current Event Cat - Cuban Twitter

Taking down Cuba one tweet at a time! New reports reveal that the US government masterminded the creation of a Cuban Twitter designed to stir up unrest and undermine the communist government in Cuba.

Using front companies with a Cayman Islands bank account, the U.S. Agency for International Development created a social-media project (Cuban Twitter) that starting in 2010 aimed at turning Cubans against Cuba, Arab Spring style. This was the plan:

Step 1: Lure them in with free information.

At first, the US used “non-controversial content” like news on soccer and music via text messaging to get around Cuba’s Internet restrictions and quench Cubans’ thirst for information on the isolated island. ZunZuneo, dubbed the “Cuban Twitter”, had 40,000 subscribers at its height in a country with limited web access.

Step 2: Collect their data.

While Cubans were enjoying their weather updates and sports reports, the U.S. government and its contractors were snatching up their private data to use it for political purposes.

Step 3: Destroy Communism.

US officials then planned to introduce political messages to spur the network’s users into dissent from their communist-run government. The only problem? The program ran out of funding in 2012 before they could get to that part of the plan. Another successful government run program!

The White House has confirmed that the US government aid agency was behind the text-message service that was allegedly designed to turn Cuba into a capitalist haven, but denies that the program was on the down low.

“It was debated in Congress. It was reviewed by the [Government Accountability Office]. Those sorts of things do not happen to covert programs,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said, adding that it was still necessary for USAid to be “discreet”.

Well, they probably should have kept the “development assistance” scheme a little more discreet, given its failure to make it to step 3 – the most important step! How embarrassing.

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Gay Refugees Can Now Flock to Europe… And Other News

Gay Refugees

The European Union’s high court has ruled that refugees under attack for being homosexual in their home countries have grounds to be granted asylum. And suddenly every African mysteriously turned gay…

The EU court concluded that concealing sexual orientation to avoid persecution is equal to giving up a “characteristic fundamental to a person’s identity.” The court’s ruling concerned three homosexual men from Sierra Leone, Uganda and Senegal who had all sought asylum in Holland. But the court’s ruling applies to all EU countries and now any gay person can apply for asylum as long as they prove a “well-founded fear” of persecution. Since homosexual acts are illegal in most African countries, anti-immigration Europeans are worried about the rising tide of pseudo-gay Africans refugees infiltrating their country. Meh. Canada has been accepting gay refugees for years and the last time I checked (5 minutes ago), the number of homosexual / fauxmosexual Africans refugees walking around the streets of Canada is still relatively low. Although to be fair, Canada isn’t exactly next door to Africa. Europe’s a little easier to access – just a quick migrant boat away! New York Times

Lulu Pants FatLululemon founder Chip Wilson is blaming women’s body shapes for the quality issues his company’s yoga pants are facing. Last spring Lulu was forced to recall a bunch of pants for being see-through and last week customers began complaining about pilling. “Frankly some women’s bodies just don’t actually work for it,” Chip told Bloomberg TV, arguing, “It’s really about the rubbing through the thighs, how much pressure is there over a period of time.” What a great way to win over your target market of women aged 18-34: “Our material isn’t poor quality – you just have thunder thighs!” CTV News

Greenhouse GasesWarning: We’re all going to die. According to a new report released by the the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), greenhouse gas levels hit a record high in 2012. Gases that drive global warming are increasing more rapidly last year than in its average rise over the past decade, effectively increasing warming effects by almost a third since 1990. And despite what anti-global warming Republicans have to say about the slowdown in temperature increases in the past few years, scientists believe that the new data indicates that global warming will be back with a vengeance. CBC News

Closed for BusinessBack pay to furloughed federal employees: $2 billion. National park revenue lost: $500 million. Delayed tax refunds: $4 billion. Shutting down the federal government for 16 days because Ted Cruz didn’t like a health care law: priceless. A report released by the Office of Management and Budget reveals that the government shutdown cost the U.S. economy between $2 billion and $6 billion in economic output. In addition, 120,000 fewer private sector jobs were created during the first two weeks of October because of the pending threat of the shutdown and the standoff over the debt ceiling. I thought Republicans were supposed to be anti-job killers…? Huffington Post

Pope and Disfigured ManEwwww. Gross. Pope Francis was caught snuggling with a severly disfigured man IN PUBLIC. There’s a word acronym for that: PDA. At the General Audience in St. Peter’s Square Wednesday, the pope Francis gently held and kissed the head of man covered in facial tumors. The 50,000 attendees seemed to embrace the embrace as well as Pope Francis’ ongoing efforts to open interaction with people from all walks of life, especially the poor, weak and vulnerable. Pope Francis seems to be doing a decent job of changing the church’s image by focusing on the less fortunate in society. Now if only he could work of the whole Catholic priest/pedophile image thing – because that’s kind of a big one. CNN

Twitter IPOTwitter officially went public on Thursday morning with shares opening at $45.10 – significantly higher than the expected $26. And just like that another billionaire is born! The trading drove the seven-year-old company’s value to $25 billion – despite not having made any profit for the last three years. But many believe that Twitter, which has 230 million users globally, has huge potential as a global advertising medium. Just please don’t litter my newsfeed with advertisements a la Facebook #seriouslydon’tdoit Reuters

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Current Event Cat of the Day: White House Official Fired for Tweets

Current Event Cat - White House Official Tweet

Tweeting offensive comments about your colleagues probably isn’t the best way to make work friends – or keep your job. Especially when you work in the White House’s National Security Council.

A White House national security official, Jofi Joseph, discovered this last week when he was fired after he was linked to his secret Twitter account. Posting under the now defunct Twitter name @NatSecWonk, Joseph had been insulting White House employees and leaking internal information about the Obama administration for two years.

I’m going to need to hear some of these tweets:

“Was Huma Abedin wearing beer goggles the night she met Anthony Weiner”

“So when will someone do us the favor of getting rid of Sarah Palin and the rest of her white trash family? What utter useless garbage.”

“Loved, LOVED the @NYTimesDowd column eviscerating the Clintons today.  @ChelseaClinton seems to be assuming all of her parents’ vices …”

“’Has sh*tty staff.’ #ObamaInThreeWords.”

That last one may have been directed at himself…

Although White House and State department officials had been searching for the mysterious tweeter for months, the hunt for @NatSecWonk intensified after he repeatedly criticized the administration accounts about the Sept. 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi. Investigators pieced together Joseph’s travel and shopping patterns from his over 2,000 tweets and concluded it was him. Then he was fired.

Joseph, a director in the non-proliferation area of the White House’s National Security Council, has since apologized for his “inappropriate and mean-spirited comments”.

“It has been a privilege to serve in this administration and I deeply regret violating the trust and confidence placed in me,” Joseph said.

“What started out as an intended parody account of DC culture developed over time into a series of inappropriate and mean-spirited comments. I bear complete responsibility for this affair and I sincerely apologize to everyone I insulted.”

Maybe he should pitch his own show on Fox News? I’d watch it.

Via: Politico

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Kuwaiti Woman Jailed for Insulting the Emir

Kuwait - the emir

Speaking of excessively harsh punishments (see: Taliban beheading two children), a Kuwaiti woman has been jailed for insulting the emir over Twitter.

A Kuwaiti court has sentenced Huda al-Ajmi, a 37-year-old teacher, to 11 years in jail for insulting the emir and calling for regime change on Twitter. In addition to being convicted of insulting Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, she was also charged with misusing her mobile phone. Now that’s a crime worth 11 years of jail time!

Ajmi joins a long list of Twitter users and former-opposition parliamentarians to face trial or receive jail terms for allegedly insulting the emir, who is described as “immune and inviolable” in the constitution. But although Kuwait has punished several other Twitter users in recent months for insulting its ruler, Sheikh Sabah al-Sabah, Ajmi’s 11-year sentence is the longest one yet for online dissent in the Gulf state.

But no need to fret yet! Ajmi can still appeal her sentences. It certainly worked for opposition poitician Mussallam al-Barrak. His five-year sentence for “undermining” the ruling emir was overturned by an appeals court in May. The former MP was arrested over remarks he made at a rally in October, suggesting the emir should avoid autocratic rule in Kuwait. The emir thought otherwise and arrested him but his trial prompted some pretty angry protests.

Long story short: stay tuned for more Twitter clampdowns in Kuwait and more angry clashes between activists and police.

Via: Al Jazeera

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