Dissidents Make Noise–Oops, News

U.S. government hypocrisy has grown so pervasive over the last decades that it provokes yawns and glazed looks. Senators denounce government interference in health care while partaking in their own top of the line government health insurance that they designed – at taxpayer expense. Secretary of State Clinton demanded Pakistani leaders remove terrorists from their streets while self-proclaimed anti-Castro terrorists parade down Miami’s thoroughfares – as freedom fighters, of course.

Duplicity in language coincides with stupidity of policy. In Afghanistan (which costs a million dollars per year per soldier to keep Hamid Karzai in the president business), U.S. and NATO troops pursue a vague anti-terror mission in which they have caused immense death and destruction — with few or no results. “Send more troops to fight for the Karzai government,” scream John McCain and his ilk, while Karzai vies for a place in the Guinness Book of Records for corruption. He retains legitimacy among those who benefit directly from his theft – and the U.S. government.

Hypocrisy repeated at top levels – Goebbels called it the “big lie” – tends to make journalists weary and turn them into stenographers who no longer seek to reveal the dishonesty of official-speak.

Consider press coverage of two alleged human rights cases. Last year, Saudi religious police arrested an American woman “for sitting with a male colleague at a Starbucks coffee shop in Riyadh.” The woman was beaten, “strip-searched, threatened and forced to sign false confessions.” (Independent, February 8, 2008)

The State Department ignored this and similar stories as Saudi internal matters. But State Department officials got their knickers in an instant twist over their favorite Cuban blogger, Yoani Sanchez.

En route to a demonstration in Havana “against violence,” Yoani told the Havana Reuters correspondent that three non uniformed men had grabbed her and two companions and thrown them into a car. She said nothing about being “beaten.” Reynaldo Escobar, Sánchez’ husband, “told El Nuevo Herald she’s walking with a crutch and taking medicines for a backache, the result of being thrown head-first into a car and punched in the back by the three men in plainclothes who detained her for 20 minutes.”

Shortly after her Reuters interview, Yoanni told AP the men had brutally beaten her with such professionalism that they left nary a visible mark on her skin. “No blood, but black and blues, punches, pulled hairs, blows to the head, kidneys, knee and chest,” Yoani’s husband told El Nuevo Herald. “In sum, professional violence.” Yoani posted no photos on her blog of the “professional beating,” strange for someone whose blog contains lots of photos. (Nov. 6, 2009)

Unlike the response to Saudi (our ally) mistreatment of women, the U.S. government “strongly deplores the assault” on Yoani. The State Department “expressed to the Cuban government our deep concern . . . and we are following up with inquiries . . . regarding their personal well-being and access to medical care.” (Miami Herald November 14)

Neither the media nor the U.S. government explained why Cubans would rally against violence abroad. Non-government sources on the island could not figure out the object of the demonstration. Some demonstrators, however, held “Sumate” signs. (The name of the Venezuelan group that led anti-Chavez campaigns in 2004 and the name adopted by the Bolivian opposition to Evo Morales)

The Yoani incident brought new attention to this “courageous journalist,” especially in Miami. Her blogs report the basic street whine in Havana, but offer no prescriptions for changing inefficient or unjust procedures; nor does she attempt to understand, much less analyze, the causes for the malfunctions that beset daily life in Cuba. She has perfected internet complaining, practically converting it into an art form.

Anti-Castro Cubans and journalists throughout the western press adore her and festoon her with awards and prizes (John Moors Cabot in New York and Ortega y Gassett in Spain). The fan club, however, does not include other “dissidents.” Representatives of Martha Beatriz Roque, a less cyber-savvy dissident now in second place among the female “Disidencia,” told the Miami Herald her diabetes cause her serious problems. Two weeks into a hunger strike, she has fortunately not lost a critical amount of weight.

Roque and Sanchez are battling for headlines in Miami papers, radio and TV. The Martha Beatriz faction has criticized Yoani, who receives more attention in Washington, where the money comes from. Washington policy, immune to facts and consistency, has caused suffering, denying Cubans goods, and credit; yet it condemns Cuba’s government and accepts Yoani’s contradictory claims and righteously demands Cuba respect human rights – while debating the fate of prisoners it holds (some without charges) in its Guantanamo base on Cuban territory. Boring old hypocrisy again!

SAUL LANDAU is an Institute for Policy Studies fellow. A BUSH AND BOTOX WORLD was published by Counterpunch/AK. His films are available on dvd from roundworldproductions@gmail.com


More articles by:

SAUL LANDAU’s A BUSH AND BOTOX WORLD was published by CounterPunch / AK Press.

June 25, 2018
Laura Flanders
National Suicide Point?
Ludwig Watzal
The Death of Felicia Langer
Weekend Edition
June 22, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Karl Grossman
Star Wars Redux: Trump’s Space Force
Andrew Levine
Strange Bedfellows
Jeffrey St. Clair
Intolerable Opinions in an Intolerant Time
Paul Street
None of Us are Free, One of Us is Chained
Edward Curtin
Slow Suicide and the Abandonment of the World
Celina Stien-della Croce
The ‘Soft Coup’ and the Attack on the Brazilian People 
James Bovard
Pro-War Media Deserve Slamming, Not Sainthood
Louisa Willcox
My Friend Margot Kidder: Sharing a Love of Dogs, the Wild, and Speaking Truth to Power
David Rosen
Trump’s War on Sex
Mir Alikhan
Trump, North Korea, and the Death of IR Theory
Christopher Jones
Neoliberalism, Pipelines, and Canadian Political Economy
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Why is Tariq Ramadan Imprisoned?
Robert Fantina
MAGA, Trump Style
Linn Washington Jr.
Justice System Abuses Mothers with No Apologies
Martha Rosenberg
Questions About a Popular Antibiotic Class
Ida Audeh
A Watershed Moment in Palestinian History: Interview with Jamal Juma’
Edward Hunt
The Afghan War is Killing More People Than Ever
Geoff Dutton
Electrocuting Oral Tradition
Don Fitz
When Cuban Polyclinics Were Born
Ramzy Baroud
End the Wars to Halt the Refugee Crisis
Ralph Nader
The Unsurpassed Power trip by an Insuperable Control Freak
Lara Merling
The Pain of Puerto Ricans is a Profit Source for Creditors
James Jordan
Struggle and Defiance at Colombia’s Feast of Pestilence
Tamara Pearson
Indifference to a Hellish World
Kathy Kelly
Hungering for Nuclear Disarmament
Jessicah Pierre
Celebrating the End of Slavery, With One Big Asterisk
Rohullah Naderi
The Ever-Shrinking Space for Hazara Ethnic Group
Binoy Kampmark
Leaving the UN Human Rights Council
Nomi Prins 
How Trump’s Trade Wars Could Lead to a Great Depression
Robert Fisk
Can Former Lebanese MP Mustafa Alloush Turn Even the Coldest of Middle Eastern Sceptics into an Optimist?
Franklin Lamb
Could “Tough Love” Salvage Lebanon?
George Ochenski
Why Wild Horse Island is Still Wild
Ann Garrison
Nikki Haley: Damn the UNHRC and the Rest of You Too
Jonah Raskin
What’s Hippie Food? A Culinary Quest for the Real Deal
Raouf Halaby
Give It Up, Ya Mahmoud
Brian Wakamo
We Subsidize the Wrong Kind of Agriculture
Patrick Higgins
Children in Cages Create Glimmers of the Moral Reserve
Patrick Bobilin
What Does Optimism Look Like Now?
Don Qaswa
A Reduction of Economic Warfare and Bombing Might Help 
Robin Carver
Why We Still Need Pride Parades
Jill Richardson
Immigrant Kids are Suffering From Trauma That Will Last for Years
Thomas Mountain
USA’s “Soft” Coup in Ethiopia?
Jim Hightower
Big Oil’s Man in Foreign Policy