Cuba banned Michael Moore’s 2007 documentary, Sicko, because it painted such a “mythically” favourable picture of Cuba’s healthcare system that the authorities feared it could lead to a “popular backlash”, according to US diplomats in Havana.
The revelation, contained in a confidential US embassy cable released by WikiLeaks , is surprising, given that the film attempted to discredit the US healthcare system by highlighting what it claimed was the excellence of the Cuban system.
But the memo reveals that when the film was shown to a group of Cuban doctors, some became so “disturbed at the blatant misrepresentation of healthcare in Cuba that they left the room”.
Castro’s government apparently went on to ban the film because, the leaked cable claims, it “knows the film is a myth and does not want to risk a popular backlash by showing to Cubans facilities that are clearly not available to the vast majority of them.”
Facilities that are clearly not available to the vast majority of them – which, by the way, it’s a point I’ve been making for nearly half a decade.
This is what ordinary Cubans get in a hospital, where you even need to bring your own sutures thread if you need surgery. Only foreigners and Cuba’s elite paying in US$ get to be treated at the best facilities, which aren’t all that great:
The memo points out that even the Cuban ruling elite leave Cuba when they need medical care. Fidel Castro, for example, brought in a Spanish doctor during his health crisis in 2006. The vice-minister of health, Abelardo Ramirez, went to France for gastric cancer surgery. The neurosurgeon whoheads CIMEQ [Centro de Investigaciones Médico-Quirúrgicas] hospital – widely regarded as one of the best in Cuba – came to England for eye surgery, returning periodically for checkups.
I must point out that Fidel Castro not only bright in a Spanish oncologist/gastroenterologist, the doctor had to bring his entire medical team and all the operating room equipment.
Richard Fernandez poses the question the New York Times, El Pais, and the Wikileaks spreaders should be asking,
The potential for using sources without provenance for disinformation was been the subject of earlier posts. Because Assange is “leaking” reports about classified events, there is very little we can do to verify the leaks against collateral information. There is no open source collateral. For so long as the “leaks” seems plausible, they will gain credence. Once they gain credence, they become a vehicle into which can insert disinformation into the message in small but crucial quantities. Kevin Mitnick was a master of this kind of “social engineering” or hacking. “All social engineering techniques are based on specific attributes of human decision-making known as cognitive biases. These biases, sometimes called “bugs in the human hardware, ‘are exploited in various combinations to create attack techniques’”. It is our old friend disinformation, about which I wote in What Would Assange Be Willing To Say?
Julian Assange achieved the remarkable goal of establishing the truth of a set of assertions without reference to a known provenance. The fact that they were about classified information meant that the prospects of collateral confirmation or denial were small. As long as the leaks were plausible they could be passed off as true. In all likelihood the WikiLeaks stories are probably mostly true because disinformation consists of a lie embedded in a matrix of fact filler. Assange would have understood the power of a background process running amidst a mass of routine code; the importance of a wrapper around the core function. But what was the core function doing? You could never be sure if you couldn’t look very closely. And you could never look too closely as long as the leaks talked about classified comms. If Assange leaked about an entirely accessible event — if, for example, he leaked the location of every fire hydrant in the world — we could verify it. But if he leaked a claim about what we could only partially descry then his leak would only have to conform to the public visible truth to become accepted as entirely true.
He would have been well aware of the concept of deniable encryption. “Deniable encryption allows its users to decrypt the ciphertext to produce a different (innocuous but plausible) plaintext and insist that it is what they encrypted. The holder of the ciphertext will not have the means to differentiate between the true plaintext, and the bogus-claim plaintext.” How can the public know that WikiLeaks hasn’t given us the false plaintext of the real secret events if there is no other way of finding other plaintexts? It can’t. And we may never know for sure if Julian Assange’s leaks are true or whether a ringer is lurking in there somewhere.
The most important preparation for disinformation is to set up the scenario, what is called “pretexting”. It consists of creating a background we are ready to believe so that when the lie is fed to us, it is swallowed hook, line and sinker. And for decades — going way back before the Second World War — the Left has been “pretexting” by promoting self-hatred in the West. We are the bad guys. We don’t deserve to live. And so when Julian Assange says he wants to “crush bastards” he is really referring to his own civilization. What is more, there are nods of assent all around.
Richard’s post should be read in full.
This is a particularly important issue, as we are bombarded with more Wikileaks.
Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, is expected to appear in a UK court tomorrow after his lawyers said he would meet police to discuss a European extradition warrant from Sweden relating to alleged sexual assaults.
As the legal net continued to close around the whistleblowers’ website and US attorney general, Eric Holder, said he had authorised “a number of things to be done” to combat the group, Assange appeared to be reconciling himself to a lengthy personal court battle to avoid extradition.
Meanwhile WikiLeaks has been forced to move to a Swiss host after being dumped by US internet companies as it comes under siege from cyber attacks.
PostFinance, the financial arm of the Swiss post office, said it had closed Assange’s account after he provided “false information”. “PostFinance has ended its business relationship with WikiLeaks founder Julian Paul Assange,” the bank said in a statement. “The Australian citizen provided false information regarding his place of residence during the account opening process.”
foreign minister suggested the beleaguered founder of WikiLeaks could potentially find safe haven within its borders, but that invitation was quickly denied by the nation’s president.
The offer by Kintto Lucas on Monday “has not been approved by Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino – or the president,” President Rafael Correa told reporters.
Patino had also swept aside Lucas’ bold offer, which the underling made during an interview with the Spanish-language website, Ecuadormediato.
“We are open to giving [Assange] residency in Ecuador, without any problem and without any conditions,” the deputy foreign minister is quoted as saying.
Patino said Ecuador first needed to weigh “the legal and diplomatic perspective” of allowing Assange safe haven in their country before making such an offer.
Supposedly it was because of the Interpol wanted list, but maybe Rafael Correa thought maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to shelter someone who may be getting in hot water with both the Iranians and the Russians.