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Is Castro a major threat?

By sil in Internet
Tue Feb 13, 2001 at 03:21:16 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)

According to officials in the U.S. military, Fidel Castro is a major threat to the United States' national computer infrastructure. However, we took an in depth unabashed look at this notion and concluded that it would be impossible for him to affect the United States in many ways, and this arguement created by Big Brother is solely a ploy to raise funding for a blind cause.

Original story blockquoted, with my comments between.
Could bearded cyber-punks Fidel Castro and Osama bin Laden have the edge over the Pentagon? Washington is worried.
Castro is no threat to the US if you take the time and have a realistic look at the story entirely. Keep an open mind on these comments.
Gone are the relative certainties of the Cold War, as the Bush administration confronts the more insidious threats of an electronic age. US fears are centring on potential cyber attacks from what it considers its most dangerous enemies - Cuba and Osama bin Laden.
Unless anyone hasn't been paying attention to current events, one would notice that Cuba has cut its phone connections from Cuba to the United States. In the event of an attack stemming from Cuba, targeted websites could easily block any of the attackers via minimal configuration of networking equipment in combination with the network's firewall structure. As for Osama I won't get into that, I'm just pretty much disheartened that the United States would continue to ramble on about a man soon to die with such minimal resources to support the United States' claim. Remember there has been an embargo on Cuba for years and they have not had many new technologies shipped into the country to support the US' claim.
Hostility with Cuba may not be of an overt military nature any more, but tension across the web is developing. The fear is that Cuba may be preparing a cyber attack on US infrastructure, an offensive led by 74-year-old dictator Fidel Castro. Admiral Tom Wilson head of the US Defense Intelligence Agency says that Castro's army could start an "information warfare or computer network attack" that could "disrupt our military". Wilson was speaking before the Senate Intelligence Committee during a public hearing on 7 February 2001, which went on to discuss classified material behind closed doors.
This sounds more like a ploy to get some sort of funding going on by implicating the Cubans are planning some form of attack. Take some time to recall the words last year by officials who swore that malicious script kiddies were planning an extensive "holiday" attack. Well that attack never took place for one, secondly as already stated the kind of networks needed to bring down something the size of multiple OC3's which I'm sure are the backbone of government based sites would over exhaust any possible kind of technology Cuba could possibly have. Technology needs for this supposed concerted attack would be huge, routers, network connectivity, PHONE lines, etc., of the which Cuba is probably one of the last countries to have resources to make thorough enough use of. Cuban people there are more concerned with eating and the US removing the embargo for the sake of moving forward. Cuba hasn't even had a major auto shipped to its country in years from the US so what makes you think they have enough Cisco's to actually orchestrate this attack along with the funding to pay for the bandwidth used to create this scenario the government speaks of.
Responding to a question concerning Cuba's capability for cyber warfare Wilson said "there's certainly the potential for them to employ those kind of tactics against our modern and superior military". He said Castro's conventional military strength is lacking but there is substantial intelligence capability at his disposal for "asymmetric" attacks - a US official euphemism for terrorism. "Cuba is not a strong conventional military threat. But their ability to ploy asymmetric tactics against our military superiority would be significant. They have strong intelligence apparatus, good security and the potential to disrupt our military through asymmetric tactics."
Take a quick walk over to Attrition and look in their archives at all of the military websites that were intruded. Gather a typical psychological profile of those who attacked these sites and you can clearly see, that it does not take any form of high tech genius to fulfill these acts. They're being done by clueless teenagers with too much time on their hands and far less resources than the government paints the picture for Cuba.
The hearing was part of the annual World Threat Assessment Discussion, an opportunity for the Senate Intelligence Committee to set an agenda for the current Congress session and to gather information about the latest security threats. Chairman of the committee, Republican senator Richard Shelby, said the private discussion would "explore the challenges posed by among others the proliferation of encryption technology, the increasing sophistication of denial and deception techniques, the need to modernise the National Security Agency (NSA) and other shortfalls in intelligence funding."
Notice the underlying factor in the story altogether, funding. By instilling fear in the minds of those politicians who only see the paper version of the scenario, this would be a feasible cause to fund high tech operations which can range in the upwards of billions of taxpayers dollars. Billions based on the fudging of facts with little or no supportive evidence but merely the snowball effect of some distorted story about an attack on the good old USA.
Turning its attention to dangers posed by terrorists using encryption technology, the committee urged careful monitoring of rogue groups. CIA director George Tenet said individuals such as Osama bin Laden - the man alleged to have been behind the 1998 bombings of US embassies in East Africa - are using the internet to cloak communications within their organisations. "You recruit people on internet sites and you use encryption," Tenet said. "You move your operational planning and judgements over internet sites' use of encryption. You raise money."
Wrong, you don't need to recruit anyone on any Internet site in order to use any form of encryption. Programs like PGP, sites like Safeweb, Spam Mimmic, would surely perform the same tasks as the government is alledging without reserve, and free of charge, so don't be fooled if you don't understand the full scope of complex terms used to feed paranoia into the minds of those who do not understand technology.
Bin Laden inspires particular alarm in the US. National Security Agency chief Mike Hayden says his own organisation is "behind the curve in keeping up with the global telecommunications revolution", which bin Laden is able to exploit. Hayden blamed this gap for the US's failure to prevent the 1998 embassy attacks, which killed 224 people. Four men are on trial for the bombing in the US. In an interview with American TV news programme "60 minutes II", Hayden said the NSA had not adapted to the post Cold War world. "This is about an agency that's grown up in one world and now finds itself in another world and it's got to change if it hope to succeed in that world," he said. The NSA has also suffered image problems. Hayden admitted his agency had been shut down for several days in January 2000 due to computer failures. Its also the butt of widespread lampooning. As one of the most secretive of government bodies, a Washington joke has it that the acronym stands for "no such agency".
Anyways enough rambling for now, hopefully someone can see into the political bs which makes us suffer when taxes are raised over issues which are so complex they're simple. To those not in the know, you are the ones who will pay in higher taxes and suffer your privacy as issues like this are never questioned but rather passed on as matters of National Security. J. Oquendo
sil * antioffline.com | sil * disgraced.org | sil * deficiency.org


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Fidel Castro
o Was the thesis for Neo in "The Matrix" 16%
o Is reminiscent of Gene Hackman 's "Enemy of the State" character 0%
o Is The United States' biggest threat 4%
o Who?! Who's Fidel Castro? 0%
o Worried more about Cigars than Cisco 38%
o Consorting with Osama 1%
o Consorting with Napster users 24%
o Just croaked 13%

Votes: 65
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Original story
o script kiddies
o Attrition
o clueless teenagers
o Safeweb
o Spam Mimmic
o Also by sil

Display: Sort:
Is Castro a major threat? | 39 comments (30 topical, 9 editorial, 0 hidden)
Castro is a bad .... shut yo mouth! (3.66 / 9) (#5)
by Blarney on Tue Feb 13, 2001 at 01:38:54 AM EST

I admire Fidel Castro. Now, I think that the US should have kept the Elian kid, and Janet Reno had no business taking a person with a legal right to live in the US (wet foot, dry foot policy) and returning him to Cuba.

But Castro is a bad motherfucker!

He's been in power longer than any other leader of any country today.

He's survived all sorts of insane assassination attempts by the CIA - pens containing poison gas, poisoned cigars, snipers, small planes dropping bombs - and he's still got his life and his country. Who else can say the same?

Oh sure, we can say that the US trade embargo is strangling his country, but that would be a lie. The embargo doesn't include Canada! You want Cuban cigars, Canada sells them. Thanks to NAFTA, you can move whatever you want between Canada and the US without any big problems or taxes. The embargo is a joke.

Castro is doing just fine! Yeah, there's a US Navy base right on his island, it's been there since before he came into power, but they've yet to mess with him. It's almost as if they have some kind of respect for the world's longest-serving dictator.

canada/cuba (4.50 / 4) (#20)
by cob2k25 on Tue Feb 13, 2001 at 03:48:11 PM EST

just some precisions about canada - cuba relationship, (i live in montreal btw) there's a guy near where i live who sells second-hand stuff, like fridge, oven, etc.. and he also sells a lot of stuff to cuba. same thing for a company here that sells old school bus to cuba. results? this people can not go to the USA anymore!!! i don't remember exactly what the law is, and it may have change under clinton, but i am sure that i read somewhere that any canadian citizen who does commerical affair with cuba can not enter the american border. quite stupid. i remember some years ago, there was a caravan travelling across canada to collect toys for cuban children. the problem was that they would have to take some weird plane flights to go to havanna because they could not use an american airport.. Pierre-Elliot Trudeau, the facist that we use to have as a PM, at least did something right: he didn't followed the usa about the cuban embargo. as a sidenote, P-E T. died some months ago, and Castro himself went to his funeral in montreal, and he was applauded and acclaimed by the people ; ) personally, i love and admire the cuban revolution, che guevara was a truly great guy.. i don't know about castro.. i'm sure he's not an angel, but i'm sure he's no satan like the us gov. would like to make us believe. of course cuba is poor. ohhh bad and evil communists. but they have a free health and scholar system. usa don't even have a f**king health system and they're the richest nation on earth. and most of south america is poor anyway.. after reading a chomsky book about the usa interventions in panama, nicaragua, guatemela, etc.. i wanted to barf. what the usa did to those populations is worst than anything castro ever did to the cuban population.

[ Parent ]
The Law (4.00 / 2) (#26)
by titus-g on Tue Feb 13, 2001 at 07:55:07 PM EST

Is this, seems it's actually illegal to comply with it if you are from Europe.

Some more banned Canadians.

--"Essentially madness is like charity, it begins at home" --
[ Parent ]

What motivation would Cuba have? (3.75 / 8) (#9)
by khym on Tue Feb 13, 2001 at 04:12:07 AM EST

Why would Cuba try something like this? As far as I can tell, the only good uses for "cyber-warfare" are in conjunction with conventional offense or defense. Hacking into, or DoSing U.S. military computers, in and of itself, isn't going to do anything for Cuba, and I severely doubt that Cuba is planning on launching an offensive against the U.S. All attacking the U.S. military through the Internet get them would be some humiliation of the U.S. in international eyes, and a really pissed of U.S. governemt.

Give a man a match, and he'll be warm for a minute, but set him on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.
Castro's Cuba (4.00 / 6) (#10)
by nobbystyles on Tue Feb 13, 2001 at 05:32:14 AM EST

Now the Cold War is over, the US military-industrial complex needs a bogeyman to justify spending on high tech systems.

Along comes Castro to the rescue yet again. Has Castro in all his years in power ever comitted a terrorist attack against the US. Erm, no. Why would he do so now when the place is so poor and he is so secure in power. You would have thought with all the Cubans in US that he would have enough potential recruits to engage in terrorism.

I think the potentiality of Cuba in electronic warfare is pretty low, considering the lack of IT literacy due to the small imports of computers since the fall of the USSR. Somewhere like China or India or even Iraq is more of a threat.

All these threats made by the US merely serve Castro's puposes as a guy standing up to the Yanquis and thus his people rally to him despite the appalling economic conditions. I think the best policy is for the US to just shut the fsck up and wait for the Cuban people to decide for themselves.

No Such Agency. (3.80 / 10) (#11)
by Kugyou on Tue Feb 13, 2001 at 07:38:37 AM EST

One bit of a rant you shoulda stuck back in:

The NSA denied its own existance for several (I don't remember the exact number of) years. Does anyone else wonder why government agents seem to have such an absolutely clueless facade when it comes to matters of national security?

To paraphrase Gav from Nukees (the site was down at the time of writing), "Everyone knows there's an Area 51. The only people who deny the existance of Area 51 are...people who work at Area 51!"

Do the quotes from the various government-type people fool - shoot, do they even slightly mislead - any of us with an eye for reality? No. But then again, I'm not scared for the faithful. The NSA? Behind in the technical curve? Please.

<Paranoia (Rebirth SSR)>
Does anyone else see that bit as nothing more than a ploy to get more funding - supported by US taxpayers, of course - to monitor communications 'illegally'? I put that in quotes because nothing the government ever does is illegal. All governments are above the law. Right?

Wrong. There have been documents about laws claiming that U.S. agencies cannot spy on their own citizens - so they swap data with the UK about UK citizens, in exchange for the data that they couldn't get themselves. The paranoia here is mine, but the paranoia the article above (the one quoted by sil, not the one written by sil) inspires is purely the reader's. Hate to say it this way, but the government isn't any more afraid of Cuba than it is of a little boy throwing Koosh balls at the president. Though they might shoot the boy. (Oh shit, Kugyou's about to say something else cynical and spooky, and he's probably going to bold it...)

The US Government is scared of its own citizens.

I could extend here to all sorts of things - gun-control laws, the near-return of the Wartime Anti-Sedition Act, the DMCA - but I'll leave it at this. "Us-encryption good, you-encryption bad" is the kind of tactic employed by a child who won't give mommy the password to his computer because he's afraid she'll see his pr0n, but claims that she shouldn't put a password on her own computer because it's 'too restrictive/bulky/not a security measure/et cetera', meaning that he wants to be able to access any of *her* stuff at any time.
</Paranoia (Rebirth SSR)>

That said, Kugyou goes back to his normal dayjob of writing code for the U.S. Army.

Dust in the wind bores holes in mountains
To everyone that does not live in the U.S. (3.40 / 15) (#12)
by theboz on Tue Feb 13, 2001 at 08:51:44 AM EST

You do realize that our federal government does not represent us or our views whatsoever. We have a system set up where the two ruling parties take turns ruling over the people in order to make us think we have a choice. They are in control of our economy, most notably Alan Greenspan, and can make things better or worse at their whims. Also, they pass laws that infringe on our rights by allowing a few noisy insane people to convince us that everyone wants agrees with the new law, and that if you don't you are a communist woman-beating child molester. They rule over us with an iron fist but give us a bigger cage than many other countries. We live fairly prosperously, although in such great debt that the majority of people are slaves to their jobs and the IRS.

If someone out there happens to be friends with Sadam Hussein or Fidel Castro, let them know that the people of the U.S. are lied to by our counsil of dictators and that they can feel free to drop bombs on Washington D.C. at any time. The people of the U.S. aren't using it, just a bunch of assholes that think they are better than the rest of us.

My grandfather fought in World War II. Back then, the communists in the U.S.S.R. were our allies. Then Gen. Patton aned some other assholes messed things up and brought us the cold war. I don't see why the U.S. needs a new enemy...we have our politicians already.


Me too me too! (3.00 / 2) (#21)
by _cbj on Tue Feb 13, 2001 at 03:49:13 PM EST

I often want to say the same for Britain. I've started learning Arabic for just this purpose. I can't trust the policy makers to hint at the truth, the mainstream media are too lazy, looks like it's down to me to find out what's going on. Dammit. There goes my summer holiday.

My other hope is that my country, Scotland, keeps jiggling away from subjugation and our naturally socialist, people-friendly ways are better recognised across the world, kinda like France is now.

[ Parent ]

If you don't like it... (3.33 / 3) (#28)
by physicsgod on Tue Feb 13, 2001 at 08:59:03 PM EST

Smeg off.

I'm tired of hearing people bi^H^Hcomplaining about how bad things are and not doing anything else. If you think you can do a better job start running for officen and explain what you would do different. You know of a way for the economy to function without the chaotic boom-bust cycles without government control of the monetary supply (Greenspan, BTW, can't do jack by himself, he's just chairman of the board and the whole group needs to agree to rate changes)?

Of course the (US) government doesn't represent all the people, it represents the majority of the people, and you ain't in it.

And, dammit, I LIKE the monuments in Washington.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
whoops (3.00 / 2) (#29)
by physicsgod on Tue Feb 13, 2001 at 09:00:40 PM EST

I forgot to put some <RANT> tags around that little venting of my spleen.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
I read somewhere that... (3.00 / 5) (#13)
by Anonymous 6522 on Tue Feb 13, 2001 at 08:52:42 AM EST

Cuba only has one 64kbs internet link, although I read this a few years ago so they may have upgraded. I'm sure it couldn't be to hard to cut it if Cuba ever decided to start one of those new fangled cyber wars.

To what purpose? (3.55 / 9) (#14)
by Anonymous 242 on Tue Feb 13, 2001 at 08:56:10 AM EST

Sometimes I really wonder why Castro and Cuba are so hugely villified in the US.

For those that don't know, the nation of Cuba sits on half of an island. The other half is a US military base. Honestly, what are the chances someone staring down the barrel of a canon like that is going to mix it up with the US on any serious level over cyberspace or meatspace?

I also have to admit to having a certain amount of respect for a dinky little country like Cuba that has managed to give Uncle Sam the finger for so long and survive. Cuba has endured worse economic sanctions for longer than Yugoslavia and Iraq combined with little or no assistance (especially once the Soviet regimes in Eastern Europe started to collapse).

The sad part is, that if the US would lift all the economic sanctions, the Castro regime would problably fold fairly quickly. Communisim in East Germany fell in large part due to being able to peer over the wall at their affluent neighbors in West Germany. Give Cubans access to televisions, cable, radios, internet, etc. and watch Communist brainwashing go down the toilet as Cubans become mind-numbed consumers brainwashed by the large, moneyed corporations just like us in the US.

Guantanimo Base isn't half the island. (4.25 / 4) (#16)
by aidoneus on Tue Feb 13, 2001 at 09:41:17 AM EST

Just thought I'd point that out. The US controlled naval base is actually at most a few square miles of the largest island in the Caribbean. Yes, the US has a presence there, but we don't control half the island. Perhaps you're confusing Cuba with the island of Hispanola, which is half Haiti and half Dominican Republic.

Anyway, I hardly consider Cuba a threat and I think the US would be far better off to resume normal relations with the island. After all, Canada has done it (along with Europe and the rest of the world, for crying out loud). I think this is nothing more than an attempt to tap the Bush administration for more defense spending (which fortunately he seems reluctant to support).

[ Parent ]
Half?!? (4.00 / 4) (#17)
by finial on Tue Feb 13, 2001 at 09:46:32 AM EST

Half an island? Who told you that? The Guantanamo Naval base is a normal sized military base (about the size of a small town) in Guantanamo Bay at the far Southern end of the island.

I don't know where you come up with the "half" stuff.


[ Parent ]

What good (3.60 / 5) (#15)
by retinaburn on Tue Feb 13, 2001 at 09:24:20 AM EST

is having the 'worlds most powerful militaty' from the 'worlds greatesy country' if you don't have some national threat that will 'destroy the great freedom of capitalism' to point those shiny weapons at.

I say we all go back to sticks with nails.

I think that we are a young species that often fucks with things we don't know how to unfuck. -- Tycho

Perhaps you don't understand... (2.45 / 11) (#22)
by trhurler on Tue Feb 13, 2001 at 04:06:59 PM EST

Unless anyone hasn't been paying attention to current events, one would notice that Cuba has cut its phone connections from Cuba to the United States.
Cuba has internet access. They aren't using dialups to US ISPs. How clueless are you?
In the event of an attack stemming from Cuba, targeted websites could easily block any of the attackers via minimal configuration of networking equipment in combination with the network's firewall structure.
Well, no. Cuba has the resources and the knowledge to mount so-called DDoS attacks, and you can't just easily block those. However, that's beside the point, because the real threat is if Cuba put people at various points around the world and attacked routing protocols, IP stack weaknesses, and so on. You have no idea how vulnerable the current Internet is to badly behaved nodes.
As for Osama I won't get into that, I'm just pretty much disheartened that the United States would continue to ramble on about a man soon to die with such minimal resources to support the United States' claim.
A multimillionaire with multiple known terrorist training camps whose people have carried out attacks on US targets in the past, who talks about destroying the US - should be ignored?! What is wrong with you? Are you stupid?
Remember there has been an embargo on Cuba for years and they have not had many new technologies shipped into the country to support the US' claim.
Cuba has modern computer technology. So do Iraq, Libya, and so on. So did the former USSR. Embargoes are not perfect. Besides, you can always send your people elsewhere.
Technology needs for this supposed concerted attack would be huge, routers, network connectivity, PHONE lines, etc., of the which Cuba is probably one of the last countries to have resources to make thorough enough use of.
Nope. The guys at l0pht weren't kidding when they said they could take down the Internet in half an hour. It doesn't take nearly as much as you seem to think. Maybe you should leave the WAN security analysis to people who can actually give full names for things like routing protocols in common use, eh? In other words, people with half a clue.
Notice the underlying factor in the story altogether, funding.
Why do you think military brass talk to senators? Of COURSE it is about funding. We didn't need you to tell us that!
Wrong, you don't need to recruit anyone on any Internet site in order to use any form of encryption.
Ah, the problem is that you can't read. He said they are recruiting on the internet AND using encryption. Not doing the one in ORDER to do the other. And in fact, they probably are doing both.
Anyways enough rambling for now, hopefully someone can see into the political bs which makes us suffer when taxes are raised over issues which are so complex they're simple.
You ARE aware that we're in line for a humongous tax cut, right? I disagree with many US policies, but it is hard to see where you're coming from when you can't get a single fact straight and evidence sympathy for the world's number one terrorist.

'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

No.1 terrorist and rogue state (3.66 / 3) (#33)
by mdavids on Wed Feb 14, 2001 at 02:00:48 AM EST

You sound like you may already be aware that a couple of years ago the world's number one terrorist, multimillionaire leader of the most heavily-armed rogue state on Earth (that runs terrorist training camps), actually did attempt, with no small measure of success, to sever an entire country's connection to the Internet.

Now it may be possible that Castro or Bin Laden would like to emulate the world's pre-eminent terrorist state. However, to think that they could accomplish anywhere near the same degree of bloodshed and devastation, with the same immunity from retaliation is frankly ludicrous. It's like worrying about the local school bully when the Mafia has a contract out on you.

[ Parent ]
Is this supposed to be funny? (none / 0) (#36)
by trhurler on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 05:14:50 PM EST

You're here to set us straight, letting us know that blowing up buildings full of civilians using truck bombs and training people to release nerve gas in subways isn't terrorism, but using overt military muscle IS. I'm glad, because here I was, thinking terrorism might involve an asymmetry between the attacking force and an overwhelmingly powerful defense, and therefore rely on stealth, surprise, and victimization of the innocent. Silly me. Next time I use a term, I'll be sure to ignore its definition and just find a way to use it to smear the EEVIL US, regardless of whether this makes any sense. Especially if I'm from an island nation that owes its continued independence to the US! That makes it all the more fun, after all.

Sometimes, I have the feeling I've been trolled, but I can't quite be sure:)

'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Terrorism (5.00 / 1) (#39)
by mdavids on Mon Feb 19, 2001 at 06:33:13 AM EST

What I'm saying is that, for instance, driving a bus into a crowd of people, terrible as it is, is small potatoes compared to the horrors regularly inflicted on the world by the wealthy and powerful nations. If we are really concerned about combating terrorism, we should perhaps turn our attention to those terrorist acts committed by our own governments, and by those that our governments support. If you want to feel superior, by all means focus on the crimes of others. You probably can't do much about any of it, but at least your heart will be swelling with patriotic ferver. If you want to actually do something constructive, you could focus on those crimes that you might actually be able to do something about: those committed in your name by your government.

In the case of the USA, we could consider for instance the testimony of John Stockwell, a 13-year veteran of the CIA and former U.S. Marine Corps major, describing the Nicaraguaguan "freedom fighters" that the US had been training, arming and financing throughout the period of Sandanista rule:

"Systematically, the Contras have been assassinating religious workers, teachers, health workers, elected officials, government administrators. Remember the 'Assassination Manual' that surfaced in 1984? It caused such a stir that President Reagan had to address it himself in the presidential debates with Walter Mondale. They use terror to traumatize society so that it cannot function.

"I don't mean to abuse you with verbal violence, but you have to understand what your Government and its agents are doing.

"They go into villages. They haul out families. With the children forced to watch, they castrate the father. They peel the skin off his face. They put a grenade in his mouth, and pull the pin. With the children forced to watch, they gang-rape the mother, and slash her breasts off. And sometimes, for variety, they make the parents watch while they do these things to the children.

"This is nobody's propaganda!

"There have been over a hundred thousand American "Witnesses for Peace " who've gone down there, and they have filmed and photographed and witnessed these atrocities immediately after they've happened, and documented thirteen thousand people killed this way.

Similar techniques are have been employed throughout Latin America, the scale of the atrocities roughly proportional to the amount of US benevelolence bestowed upon the ungrateful people of the region. There's no shortage of evidence of US complicity and even active participation in these horrors. I'd recommend Noam Chomsky's "Deterring Democracy" for a pretty comprehensive overview (with references) of the scale of US involvement in terror campaigns of this nature.

Outside it's immediate neighbourhood, where the US government is unable to maintain standing terrorist armies, different methods are used, but with a consistant concern to inflict the maximum possible damage on the civilian population via "soft targets": hospitals, power plants, sewage and water treatment plants, pharmaceutical factories, etc. This has practically no effect whatsoever on the enemy's military capacity, but is very effective in spreading hunger, disease, and death throughout the civilian population. The American public, quite rightly, will not tolerate another Vietnam, so their leaders are forced to turn to terrorist methods to discipline "rogue nations".

What this amounts to is a terrorist campaign aimed at the entire world. The US Strategic Command compiled a study entitled "Essentials of Post-Cold War Deterrence, which states:

"Because of the value that comes from the ambiguity of what the U.S. may do to an adversary if the acts we seek to deter are carried out, it hurts to portray ourselves as too fully rational and cool-headed..."

"The fact that some elements (of the U.S. government) may appear to be potentially 'out of control' can be beneficial to creating and reinforcing fears and doubts within the minds of an adversary's decision makers. That the U.S. may become irrational and vindictive if its vital interests are attacked should be part of the national persona we project to all adversaries."

In other words, if you step one inch out of line, you're going to become the next Iraq. We've got a bunch of homicidal loonies in charge with their finger on the button, so you better do what we say. Maybe to someone for whom the word "terrorist" means "Arab" this isn't terrorism, but terrorism it is.

"Terrorism is the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social values." - FBI definition.

[ Parent ]
Double standards (4.00 / 1) (#41)
by decaf_dude on Wed Feb 28, 2001 at 03:03:26 AM EST

"Terrorism is the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social values." - FBI definition.
Seems this is also a defintion of modus operandi of Israeli govt. when dealing with Arabs. But hey, existence of Israel increases the revenue from weapons - as long as Israel maintains its hostile policies towards its neighbors (i.e. maintains its occupation of foreign lands), huge defence budgets are necessary.


[ Parent ]
NSA needs brains, not money (3.00 / 4) (#23)
by bjrubble on Tue Feb 13, 2001 at 04:53:50 PM EST

This is rather funny in a sad sort of way, coming on the heels of Jamal Ahmed Al-Fadl's claim that he warned the US two years beforehand that bin Laden was targeting US embassies for bombing. I have no doubt that many "rogue nations" and independent organizations (ie. bin Laden) are way ahead of the NSA. Part of this is that it's easier to hide than seek, to destroy than protect, but a lot of it seems to be incompetence and/or laziness on the part of "our" watchdogs.

On a broader note, I just finished reading The Lexus and the Olive Tree (great book BTW) which makes the point that all the law enforcement in the world will never stop dedicated zealots with nothing to lose. If the US and USSR had exercised a modicum of restraint or judgement in Afghanistan, bin Laden wouldn't have the Taliban to hide him. As someone earlier pointed out, the way to "defeat" Cuba is to open up to them, show them how poorly they're really living. If there's a legacy to the Cold War, it's that you can win with economics battles that you can't win militarily. The NSA does a job that will always need to be done, but we're giving them far more work than necessary by concentrating on "defeating" our enemies rather than asking why they're our enemies in the first place.

Does this mean Castro is a hacker? (2.00 / 4) (#24)
by Jin Wicked on Tue Feb 13, 2001 at 06:19:21 PM EST

Is he going to try and steal my credit card number and buy nuclear weapons from Russia?

Because it only has a $500 limit, you know.

This post was probably not written by the real Jin Wicked. Please see user "butter pie" for Jin's actual posts.

Hypocritical Cuba policy (3.66 / 3) (#25)
by dyskordus on Tue Feb 13, 2001 at 07:01:51 PM EST

I do not understand the policy that the (US) government has toward Cuba.

Back in the days when we were trying to "contain" Communism, and Cuba was on a list of countries that we would not do business with (USSR, China, North Korea, North Vietnam) the policy made sense.

Today China is one of our largest trading partners. Efforts are being made to open up trade with Vietnam.

Yet the embargo against Cuba continues.

Maybe the politicians beating on Cuba is good for votes. Perhaps by continuing the embargo, they can claim to be fighting tyrany, making themselves look good to Joe Sixpack. Also by allowing business to be done with China (worlds biggest market) they look good to their business friends.

"Reality is less than television."-Brian Oblivion.

Cubans in America (none / 0) (#38)
by jeanlucpikachu on Sat Feb 17, 2001 at 02:28:42 PM EST

Don't want to deal with Castro. They hate him. Cuban-Americans dictate our policy towards Cuba because, frankly, no one else cares. Democracy at work, yay! I'm from Union City, NJ, second largest Cuban population in the US. You should have seen the place when they took Elian away... Roads blocked, people screaming bloody murder... Meanwhile the rest of America either act like they don't care or spout something intellectual and then go back to sleep. They're not the ones pressuring the politicians, so we're stuck with this outdated policy towards Cuba.

Capt. Jean-Luc Pikachu AIM: jeanlucpikachu
[ Parent ]
He could be. (2.00 / 1) (#27)
by titus-g on Tue Feb 13, 2001 at 08:21:23 PM EST

Not because he's going to DOS whitehouse.gov, but because he says things like this

--"Essentially madness is like charity, it begins at home" --

Proof! (3.50 / 4) (#30)
by lahvak on Tue Feb 13, 2001 at 09:25:45 PM EST

I have a proof.

Cold War 2K (4.00 / 1) (#34)
by dneas on Wed Feb 14, 2001 at 06:27:58 AM EST

It is so despratly sad that in times of relative peace various agencies are looking for ways to continue the hatred of pretty harmless "eniemes." By claiming that these old-tech communisits could ruin today's economic epoch (and not, say, the RIAA or over-zealous anti-piracy leglislation) it skirts the real issues, whilst demonising hackers ("You're aligned with Hitler!") and sustaining meaningless foreign policy. And funding.

I don't know the persifics, but I've always generally disliked the blanket non-westerner hate employed by various factions of american "liberal" governance. Including the Saddam stuff. It's dishartening, especially in the supposed-era of peace we are meant to be living in.
-- "The car is on fire, and there's no driver at the wheel." Cut out the spam block if you need to email about something.
An opinion from the other side.. (3.33 / 3) (#35)
by Zukov on Wed Feb 14, 2001 at 10:28:58 AM EST

Just for background, my family escaped to the USA from eastern europe in the 1960s, when the USSR was firmly in control. I admit to having an unavoidable, if perhaps understandable, bias in my views.

Please understand that Castro has a policy of murder and torture for Cubans who disagree with his views. Cuban costal patrols somtimes deliberately sink the fragile boats in which families are trying to escape Cuba. The Cuban air force shot down unarmed small civilian aircraft piloted by Cuban-Americans.

In my view, Castro has practiced murder against his own citizens on a wide, and he should be held to account for it.

I do not know if Castro can be an effective threat today, without USSR support. I am sure he would like to be.

ȶ H (^

Yes, I have just bumbled upon Gnome Character Map. Please ! me.

Re: An opinion... (none / 0) (#37)
by Ludwig on Fri Feb 16, 2001 at 08:16:24 PM EST

Did you read your own links? The first two sentences of the "torture" one read:
Forty years after the revolution, Cuba's Fidel Castro maintains control through intimidation, repressive laws, and by imprisoning dissidents, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The decades-old U.S. trade embargo against Cuba only makes matters worse, according to the report .
The issue is not whether Castro is bad, it's whether U.S. policy is good. Since that policy is dictated not by ethical concerns, military prudence, or even naked pragmatism, but by a small group of sugar barons, expatriated landowners, and Cuban-American community leaders whose standing relies on having the Castro bogeyman to rail against, it is not.

[ Parent ]
So let me make sure I understand you... (none / 0) (#40)
by Zukov on Wed Feb 21, 2001 at 12:02:54 PM EST

So we should reward Castro for his actions by being nice to him? Sort of the "we will pay you money not to beat up your wife" idea?

Do you also suggest we do not punish common criminals because "it makes them meaner"?

I am just dying to see how far you are willing to take this.

ȶ H (^

Yes, I have just bumbled upon Gnome Character Map. Please ! me.
[ Parent ]

Is Castro a major threat? | 39 comments (30 topical, 9 editorial, 0 hidden)
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