Category Archives: media terrorism

Teaching the Miami Herald to read: Gerardo Hernández’s habeas corpus appeal

On Sunday, December 28, Jay Weaver filed a story for the Miami Herald about the habeas corpus appeal for Gerardo Hernández, one of the “Cuban Five” who is currently serving a double life sentence in the maximum security federal prison at Victorville, California.  The article was subsequently translated for publication in the Herald’s Spanish language subsidiary, El Nuevo Herald.  The story and its headline (“In about-face, Cuban spy says planes were shot down over international waters”) made the sensational claim that in his appeal, Hernández had made a 180 degree turn, and is now contradicting the Cuban government’s position regarding the events of February 24, 1996, when two light aircraft belonging to the Miami group “Brothers to the Rescue” were shot down by Cuban fighter jets after being led toward Cuban airspace by their commander, José Basulto.

Sensationalism certainly attracts readers.  But it is not a substitute for a well-researched story, or the truth.  A careful reading of Hernández’s appeal does not lead to the conclusion stated by Weaver or the Herald.  I will write further about this in upcoming posts.  For now, these are my comments at both the Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald (Spanish below). Continue reading


On Anna Ardin, Israel Shamir and glass houses


As far I can tell, the whole Israel Shamir/Anna Ardin business started back in September, when Counterpunch, edited by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair, posted an article co-authored by Shamir and Paul Bennett, announcing the “telltale signs of CIA connection surrounding Anna Ardin,” one of the women involved with the Swedish complaint against Julian Assange, whatever that case might be. Continue reading

The CIA beckons and the media answer the call

Afghan women could serve as ideal messengers in humanizing the ISAF [International Security Assistance Force] role in combating the Taliban because of women’s ability to speak personally and credibly about their experiences under the Taliban, their aspirations for the future, and their fears of a Taliban victory. Outreach initiatives that create media opportunities for Afghan women to share their stories with French, German, and other European women could help to overcome pervasive skepticism among women in Western Europe toward the ISAF mission.

CIA Red Cell Special Memorandum, March 11, 2010

Frei Betto explains Yoani Sánchez’s life of luxury

La Jiribilla interviews Frei Betto español

Translation: Machetera

Once again, Cuba is in the news.  But the majority of the reports reflect a false reality, produced by the huge multinational media conglomerates to follow the media campaign of the moment.  “The problem is simply that we live in a world that is considered to be democratic, where it is said that everyone has the right to freedom of expression,” explained the Brazilian theologian Frei Betto in an interview  with La Jiribilla. “It just so happens that very few people have access to the means of expression; therefore, the version of events that is presented by those who have hegemonic control of the major media, such as with the Zapata Tamayo story, is always on the side of imperialistic interests and those of the United States; these lies and a strong ideological offensive are meant to discredit the Cuban Revolution and destabilize the country.

The author of Fidel & Religion is currently in Cuba to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the publication of this seminal text and says that “Nothing’s going to happen because fortunately there are plenty of people who do not have the means to express themselves but who show, as I do, their support for the Revolution and, above all, denounce the fact that behind every campaign there’s a permanent plan to destabilize the Revolution, as though this were a country that does not allow its people freedom of expression.  What it does not permit, just as no country permits, least of all the United States, is conspiracy to destabilize the government, and in Cuba’s case, the Revolution.”

“Now you have a woman here who spends every day disparaging Cuba through her blog,” Betto pointed out.  “This is the only country in the world in which a person can enjoy the luxury of not working, of spending the entire day blogging, and nothing happens to her.  Nothing happens, not in the sense that she doesn’t go to prison, but in the sense that if someone in Brazil were to not work and spend the entire day at their computer, they’d go hungry, they’d end up in the street, they couldn’t support themselves, and if they were to fall ill they’d be totally lost because they’re not going to have the money to get medical attention, while in this country, this woman has that luxury.  She is proof positive that there is freedom of expression in Cuba.  What there is not, just as there is not in any country that I am aware of, is freedom to conspire.”

In Betto’s judgment, “the Internet is important because by virtue of its speed and proximity, huge amounts of information and barriers are liquidated, and this is essential to allowing more reflection over the events taking place in the world.  Unfortunately the capitalist system and those who have ideological hegemony dominate the Internet, and therefore when there is something favorable to Cuba or when there is a demonstration of solidarity with Cuba, it comes out way down in thirtieth place on the search engine, but if there’s something negative about Cuba, it comes out on top.”

“We have exceptionally worrisome situations in Latin America,” said Betto, who won the 2009 ALBA (Bolivarian Alternative for the  People of our Americas) Literature Prize.  One is “the blockade against Cuba, the criminal, imperial manner in which the United States relates to Cuba through the blockade and its base at Guantánamo.  These are factors that demand plenty of attention, and plenty of resistance by Latin American and Caribbean countries.”

Machetera is a member of Tlaxcala, the international network of translators for linguistic diversity. This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the author and translator are cited.