Subject: ON DEEPER REFLECTIONS AND HIGHER REBOUNDS AT A NEW LEVEL OF SOCIAL CLASS STRUGGLE: AN IMPROVISED GAME FOR DEMOCRATIC CONTROL OF PRIVATE AND PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS.
14 May 2009
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
The two colloquiums I attended this spring certainly reflected the international economic and social crises shaking the world today. They both dealt with the issue of morality, or ethics, which is currently of such high concern in both academic and non-academic milieux.
At the University of Sousse in Tunisia third-world students and scholars gathered on April 16 - 18 to discuss with European, American, and Japanese guests the subject of Manichean Discourses and Polarization. The papers and conversations at this three-day conference were a cultural exchange at the highest level, where we were invited to examine the basic assumptions embedded in our own formal cultures and to informally and technically share our insights into ourselves and other cultures. It was a growing experience, if not always comfortable, and the good-will and generosity of our hosts at the University of Sousse contributed to the success of these encounters. The subjects presented at this multidisiplinary conference included an analysis of Franz Fanon's perspective on Manichaeism, studies of various systems of religious thought, Hollywood films, and literary works in light of "good" and "evil," including the writings of authors as diverse as William Shakespeare, D.H. Lawrence, Graham Greene, and Sylvia Plath. Also, papers on U.S.-Israeli policy in Gaza, the executive actions of President George W. Bush, and my own historical perspective on stategies, tactics, and logistics for 'the politics of fear' during the Cold War were part of this three-day discussion on the theme of Manichaeism. The sessions at this confernece were sometimes passionate, often humorous, and always interesting. Our colleagues and their students at The University of Sousse are to be congratulated for the quality of their work. A book is in the making from this dynamic international colloquium, and it will be well-worth reading.
The second academic conference I attended was my project at The University of Paris - Nanterre. The theme of this much-advertised colloquium was Ethics and Social Class Structure in the United States. Due to the prolonged student strike on the Nanterre campus, very few students and colleagues attended this conference. However, the papers were excellent, and the stunning presentation of Professor Jean Bricmont on the ethics of U.S.-Israeli relations was filmed by the same Paris company that filmed Chomsky & Cie. This one-day conference was small enough that each presentation was followed by an equally interesting exchange of views. After my presentation of the Japanese-American internments during the Second World War --in which I exposed the ethical implications of social science experiments/observations on more than 110,000 men, women, and children who were incarcerated behind barbed wire for an indefinite period of time and used as specimens for "scientific" observations and experiments, which it was hoped would prove useful for the development of U.S. propaganda and psychological warfare strategies against the enemy Japanese-- an animated discussion followed. Other papers that day included a report by my graduate student at Nanterre, Grace Kpohazounde, who described some of the findings from her research on the U.S. Peace Corps in West Africa and ethical conflicts which have arisen from the activities of this instrument of U.S. foreign policy. Franck Gaudichaud's report on his research of the ethical considerations of the Chicago Boys' activities in Pinochet's Chile, was an innovative account of the "professional" ethics of capitalist social control, which uncovered new information on the psychological, social, and cultural impact of the U.S. imperialist interventions in Chile, comparable in its depth of change in formal relationships to the Spanish conquests in the Americas five centuries before. The effects of the U.S.-imposed Neo-Liberal policies in Chile will continue to be felt by every citizen of that country for a very long time. We intend to submit these presentations for publication next year at presses universitaires
The 8 items below were recently received by CEIMSA and express a concern which many of us share today about issues such as justice, equality, and the ethics of social control in class dominated societies.
Item A. is an article by Mark Pittman and Bob Ivry, sent to us by Information Clearing House and discussing "the risk of raising taxes" to pay the rich.
Item B., sent to us by Truth Out, is an article by Bill Moyers and Michael Winship on Obama's fatal errors in the first hundred days of office.
Item C., sent to us by Edward Herman, is a recent article in which he describes the untenable double standard of U.S. "justice" in the international information revolution of today.
Item D. is a article by Dahr Jamail describing the role of social scientists in America's latest imperialist ventures: Iraq 2009.
Item E., sent to us by Truth Out, is an article by Bernie Horn on the influence of private banks on U.S. lawmakers in the U.S. Congress.
Item F. is a message from Presidential candidate Ralph Nader on who really owns the U.S. Congress today.
Item G., sent by Truth Out, is an article on spy charges against two Israel lobbyists, Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman, and why after four years these charges are being dropped.
Item H. is an open letter "To My Professors" by Grenoble undergraduate student, Mélisa Kidari, declaring why she is in solidarity with the French university strike and why she opposes strike breakers on the university faculty.
For an inside view of THE BIG PICUTRE of U.S. financial fraud (and Gresham's Law applied to ethical behavior in U.S. government agencies), see GRITtv = http://lauraflanders.firedoglake.com/
And finally, we offer readers a look at The Real News :
from Ed Herman :
Date: 1 May 2009
Subject: The untenable double standard of U.S. justice in the international information revolution.
Civilian Plane Shoot-Downs and International (In)Justice; From 007 to Rwanda
by Edward S. Herman
It is enlightening and sometimes even amusing to see how the treatment of the shooting down of civilian planes is politicized, and how in this area, as in so many others, the media propagandize in the service of the government’s agenda and party line. On the humorous side, consider the following New York Times editorial statements: On the Soviet shooting down of Korean Airliner 007 on August 31, 1983: “There is no conceivable excuse for any nation shooting down a harmless airliner.“ This is “cold blooded mass murder,” and the editors ask “whether the Kremlin accepts its responsibility for a minimally decent international order” (ed., “Murder in the Air,” Sept. 2, 1983). On the Israeli shooting down of Libyan civilian airliner in February 1973: “No useful purpose is served by an acrimonious debate over the assignment of blame for the downing of a Libyan airliner on the Sinai peninsula last week” (ed., “After Sinai,” March 1, 1973). On the shooting down of Iranian Airbus 655 by the USS Vincennes in the Persian Gulf in July 1988, the New York Times editors found that in this case, “while horrifying, it was nonetheless an accident. On present evidence [i.e., on the claims in the immediate official account], it’s hard to see what the navy could have done to avoid it” (ed., “In Captain Rogers Shoes,” NYT, July 5, 1988).
Now in fact the Soviets didn’t know that 007 was a civilian airliner, a point that the Reagan administration quickly learned from pilot tape exchanges, but suppressed; but it took almost five years for the Times editors to admit this as “The Lie That Wasn’t Shot Down” (ed., June 18, 1988). The Times itself didn’t learn this by its own investigative effort, but based on somebody else’s use of the FOIA. So they had quickly denounced the Soviets based on a lie that they themselves failed to uncover; whereas in the case of the Israeli shoot-down of a Libyan civilian airliner, it was recognized from the beginning that the Israelis knowingly shot down a civilian plane, but this didn’t bother the editors at allin this case no “barbarism” or “cold-blooded murder,” but rather apologetics for cold-blooded murder.
In the case of the Iranian airbus shoot-down, here too, in the editorial cited above the editors’ biases approach the humorous: the official account is unquestioned; the editors fail to note that the USS Vincennes was in the Persian Gulf to assist our ally Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran, and they make poor Saddam the victim in this war, not the aggressor (they speak of “Iran’s futile eight year war with Iraq”). For many years the Times failed to mention the fact that David Carlson, the commander of a nearby US warship, published a letter in the U.S. Naval Institute’s Proceedings of September 1989 on “The Vincennes Incident,” which claimed that the Iranian plane had been in it’s proper flight corridor, that Iranian behavior in the area “was pointedly nonthreatening,” and that Captain Rogers had a reputation as aggressive and the Vincennes as a “Robo-Cruiser.” The Times did have a news article reporting on the hero’s greeting that Captain Rogers received on his return to San Diego (Robert Reinhold, “Crew of Cruiser That Downed Iranian Airliner Gets a Warm Homecoming,” NYT, Oct. 25, 1988), but never had an editorial comment on this, nor on his receipt of a Legion of Merit reward for his “exceptionally meritorious conduct.” Imagine what the paper would have said if the pilot who shot down 007 had received similar treatment in the Soviet Union.
It might be argued that this was all editorial opinion, and did not necessarily impact news. But this would be quite wrong. The failure to uncover the “lie that was not shot down” or to report David Carlson’s comments on Captain Rogers and his action were first class news failures. The variation in intensity of coverage was also closely correlated with editorial bias. The New York Times had 147 articles, covering 2,789 column inches on the 007 case in the month of September 1983 alone. For ten consecutive days the paper had a special section devoted to the case. And with all this coverage it succeeded in suppressing a great deal of relevant context and critical opinion. By contrast, the shooting down of the Libyan plane by Israel in 1973 and the Iranian airbus in July 1988 received much more muted coverage, and no special sections were devoted to the shoot-downs. Coverage escalated with the shooting down of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie in December 1988, just six months after the destruction of the Iranian airliner.
Plane Shoot-downs and (In)Justice.
Plane shoot-downs by the United States or one of its clients seem never to result in punishment for the villains or justice to the victims. But when the United States or one of its clients is the victim, punishment and some kind of “justice” is often forthcoming. Thus, in the case of Israel’s shooting down of the Libyan airliner in 1973, no Israeli was punished or even threatened, and in fact the Israeli Prime Minister was welcomed in Washington only a week after this shoot-down, and without the intrusion of painful questions. On the other hand, after the 007 shoot-down, in addition to the widespread publicity and denunciations of this “barbaric act,” a boycott of Soviet airflights was organized by at least 16 countries, Soviet officials desirous of attending UN meetings were harassed, and there was a marked cooling of relations between the Soviet Union and the United States and its allies.
Similarly, while the United States suffered no penalty whatsoever for shooting down Iranian airliner 655, and the responsible Rambo captain of the Vincennes was greeted as a hero and given a medal of honor for his outstanding service, there was serious action carried out by the “international community” against the alleged organizers and participants in the shooting down of Pan Am 103. There was naturally a suspicion that the destruction of Pan Am 103 was Iran-based, given what the United States had done to Airbus 655, and there was soon a consensus of investigators that the act had been carried out by a noted terrorist group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine--General Command (PFLP-GC), led by Ahmed Jibril. This group had cells in West Germany, had used bombs such as that employed on Pan Am 103, and airport security in Frankfurt was lax. The working hypothesis of an Iranian involvement was supported further by a claim by Western security officials that Iran had offered a $10 million reward for a retaliatory act.
But then, as relations with Saddam Hussein deteriorated in 1989 and 1990, and the United States sought better relations with Syria and Iran in the run-up to the first Persian Gulf War, Western officials quietly abandoned the Syria-Iran connection, followed by a fairly rapid shift from “definitive” proof of PFLP-Syrian-Iranian involvement to “definitive” proof that it was a Libyan act. As Paul Foot noted, “The evidence against the PFLP which had been so carefully put together and was so immensely impressive was quietly but firmly junked” (“Lockerbie: The Flight From Justice,” Private Eye, May/June 2001, p. 10). Libya provided a suitable new culprit, as it was already on the U.S.-UK hit list and had been subjected to a series of efforts at “regime change,” a hostility based on its independence, support of the Palestinians and other dissident forces (including the ANC and Mandela in their resistance to apartheid South Africa), as well as occasional support of anti-Western terrorists. So Libya it was.
The Libyan connection lasted in pristine condition from 1990 into 2007, during which time Libya was subjected to intensive vilification, costly sanctions imposed by the Security Council, and a highly publicized trial in the Netherlands that resulted in the conviction of a Libyan national for the Lockerbie murders, with further bad publicity for Libya and Kaddafi, and a payment of several billion dollars in victim compensation that Libya felt compelled to provide (although still denying any involvement in the shoot-down). All this despite the fact that many experts and observers, including some victim family members, felt that the trial was a political event and a judicial farce that yielded an unwarranted and unjust conviction. (For details and analysis, see John Ashton and Jan Ferguson, Cover-Up of Convenience [Mainstream: 2001]; Neil Mackay, “UN Claims Lockerbie Trial Rigged”: Sunday Herald [Scotland], April 8, 2001: http://www.commondreams.org/headlines01/0408-01.htm; Edward Herman,“Lockerbie and the New World Order Rule of Injustice,” Z Magazine, Dec. 2001: http://www.zcommunications.org/zmag/viewArticle/12789 .)
UN observer Hans Kochler called it “a spectacular miscarriage of justice;” Robert Black, a Scottish legal authority on the case, spoke of “an astonishing miscarriage of justice.” This belief in the injustice of the court decision was greatly strengthened in June 2007 when a Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission issued a decision that found the 2001 trial and decision flawed and opened the way for a fresh appeal for the convicted Libyan. If this decision is validated, the world will be left without a party responsible for the Pan Am-103 bombing, but with the strong likelihood that attention will be refocused on the PFLP and its sponsors, Syria and Iran. Is it not an amazing coincidence that this second turnaround occurs as Libya becomes more acceptable to the United States and its allies and these Western powers are now retargeting Syria and Iran?
But is it not equally interesting that with the United States a victim the alleged perpetrator can be subjected to multi-year abuse, costly sanctions, billions in expenses, and court actions against it that can never be mobilized against the United States and its clients for similar or analogous shoot-downs? Enemy shoot-downs are barbarism, U.S. and client state shoot-downs are at most “tragic errors.”
It is also revealing that the individual victim in the Pan-Am 103 case, Abdel Basset Al al-Megrahi, almost surely innocent, and suffering from a terminal case of cancer, remains imprisoned and cannot obtain release via bail, early pardon, or based on medical or humanitarian considerations. This is reminiscent of the ICTY’s treatment of Milosevic, who could not get urgent medical treatment in Moscow even with a Russian guarantee of return (he died two weeks after the denial). It contrasts with the ICTY’s permission of the indicted Kosovo Albanian war criminal and hands-on-killer Ramush Haradinaj to leave the Hague in 2005 in order to engage in a political campaign in Kosovo. Haradinaj was also eventually exonerated by the ICTY, helped along by the unexpected deaths of two witnesses, but based more fundamentally on structured ICTY bias. In short, there is a stream of evidence that international (in)justice is a function of power and affiliation.
Rwanda and the 1994 Shoot-down-Assassination by Our Man (Kagame)
On April 6, 1994, a plane was shot-down as it approached Kigali airport, killing the presidents of Rwanda, Juvenal Habyarimana and of Burundi, Cyprien Ntaryamira. This was followed by the mass killings, the “Rwanda genocide,” and a closely paralleling conflict between the Rwandan army associated with the Hutu dominant government of the murdered president Habyarimana and the rebel forces of the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) led by Paul Kagame. This assassination and war were the culmination of years of conflict that began with the invasion of Rwanda by elements of the Ugandan army in October 1990. Paul Kagame, who had been Uganda’s head of military intelligence, led the 1990 incursion, and his Ugandan forces, most of them Ugandan citizens and Tutsis, many earlier exiled from Rwanda, broke off from the Ugandan army and became the patriotic RPF.
This invasion, and the further warfare, ethnic cleansing, and political and military penetration into Rwanda, was supported by the United StatesKagame had actually trained at Fort Leavenworthand Kagame’s and the RPF’s advances and successes were very much a result of this superpower backing, which flowed into support for the RPF by Kofi Annan and the UN, the IMF and World Bank, and Britain and Belgium (in this process the United States was deliberately displacing the French from Central Africa, just as it had displaced Britain in the Middle East). It also meant support of the RPF by Human Rights Watch (HRW) and other supposed human rights groups.
Given U.S. support, the invasion of Rwanda by Uganda in 1990 was never an issue at the UN, just as the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 and Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 2006 were not issuesin contrast with Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, which elicited immediate UN condemnation and responsive action. It was also never an issue for HRW, which focused on alleged human rights violations by the government under attack from Uganda and being subjected to serious RPF-based and U.S.-backed subversion from within.
A problem for Kagame and his U.S. supporters was that Tutsis were only some 15 percent of the Rwanda population, and large numbers of Hutus were extremely hostile to the RPF, as the RPF’s invasion and ethnic cleansing in northern Rwanda, and ethnic cleansing by Tutsi forces in Burundi, had created a huge refugee population. Thus there was no chance that Kagame and the RPF could win a free election, which had been scheduled under a 1993 accord for 1995. Power could be won only by a violent RPF takeover. Is it not remarkable that this power was won by Kagame in just three months time in 1994, by violence, thus precluding the need for any free election? Isn’t it amazing that he and his Tutsi army and supporters won such a decisive victory in the face of an alleged “genocide” being carried out by the losers? Isn’t it amazing that all serious evidence points to more Hutus than Tutsis being killed during this high killing period?
Isn’t it remarkable that following this Kagame victory he and Uganda’s Musevemi (another U.S. protégé) have repeatedly invaded the Congo, stealing and helping others steal in a resource rich area, killing vast numbers, but again with no impediment on the part of the United States or “international community”? (For details on these matters, Robin Philpot, Rwanda 1994: Colonialism Dies Hard (E-Text as posted to the Taylor Report Website, 2004 (http://www.taylor-report.com/Rwanda_1994/)<https://owa.wharton.upenn.edu/owa/redir.aspx?C=5ed67126e6c640e19b1ba86369646a1c&URL=http%3a%2f%2fwww.taylor-report.com%2fRwanda_1994%2f)>); Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, The Politics of Genocide (Monthly Review Press, forthcoming); and Keith Harmon Snow, "Hotel Rwanda: Hollywood and the Holocaust in Central Africa," November 1, 2007 (http://www.allthingspass.com/journalism.php?catid=47<https://owa.wharton.upenn.edu/owa/redir.aspx?C=5ed67126e6c640e19b1ba86369646a1c&URL=http%3a%2f%2fwww.allthingspass.com%2fjournalism.php%3fcatid%3d47>).
This brings me back to the plane shoot-down of April 6, 1996. Again, the convenience of these de facto assassinations for Kagame and the RPF, and its U.S.-UK-Belgian supporters, was noteworthy and remarkable. It precipitated the mass killing that followed over the next several months. In the U.S. mainstream, this was blamed on the Hutus and Hutu government and paramilitaries, but there are acute problems: It was the Hutu head-of-state that was killed, and therefore hardly his doing. It was the RPF that won the ensuing conflict in little more than three months, again remarkable if the assassination and aftermath violence was planned by the Hutu government. The United States fought to have UN troops withdrawn from Rwanda just at the time the supposed genocide by the Hutus was getting underway in April 1994, which the Hutu government opposed but Kagame supported. For Samantha Power and other apologists for the standard modelHutu aggression and genocide, Kagame as reactive and defensivethe United States just “stood by.” But they had armed Kagame, weakened the Rwanda government, and were clearing the ground for the planned coup and takeover by their client. By another remarkable coincidence, just the previous year Tutsi officers in neighbouring Burundi assassinated their Hutu head-of-state, Melchior Ndadaye, a development celebrated by the RPF.
Still more telling, an investigation of the shoot-down by Michael Hourigan, an Australian lawyer employed by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), reported in 1996 that there was compelling evidence provided by three RPF participants that the plane had been shot down by Kagame’s RPF forces. When Hourigan gave this information to Louise Arbour, at that time chief prosecutor for the ICTR, Arbour, after consulting U.S. officials, closed down the investigation and ordered Hourigan to destroy his files, on the ground that investigation of this matter was outside the ICTR’s jurisdiction. This was false, as even Richard Goldstone, the former ICTR prosecutor (and long-time friend of the U.S. State Department) insisted. Subsequently, in 2003, Carla Del Ponte, a successor chief prosecutor of the ICTR, proposed a new investigation of this key 1994 assassination. But she couldn’t persuade Kofi Annan to support her and was soon removed from her position.
Although this assassination precipitated a celebrated genocide, no Security Council investigation and action has been taken over the ensuing 15 years. This April 1994 event was, as Richard Goldstone stated, “the trigger that started the genocide.” But if the “trigger” was pulled by Our Man Kagame, the entire scenario of a Hutu-planned and implemented genocide is called into question. It follows that given U.S. power, with people in service to that power like Louise Arbour and Kofi Annan (et al.), and with the mass media and human rights intellectuals bamboozled and/or following the flag, any attempts to investigate this shoot-down are quashed, and it will not produce any UN Tribunal such as the one just begun in The Hague to deal with the 2005 assassination of the Lebanese leader Rafik al-Hariri.
The rule remains firm: Impunity for the crimes of the United States and its agents and clients; U.S. and client targets available for investigations, trials and punishment in accord with the rule of a politicized system of international (in)justice.
from Dahr Jamail :
Date: 1 May 2009
Occupying Hearts and Minds
by Dahr Jamail
To read piece with photo click here
One of the definitions of the word “occupation” is: the action, state, or period of occupying or being occupied by military force. Throughout history, areas or countries occupied by military force have always resisted, and this resistance has caused the occupier to devise more suitable methods of subduing the population of the area being occupied.
The US military has sent shock troops, which also donned helmets and flak jackets - anthropologists, sociologists and social psychologists, with their own troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan. By the end of 2007, American scholars in these fields were embedding with the military in Afghanistan and Iraq as part of a Pentagon program called Human Terrain System (HTS), which evolved shortly thereafter into a $40 million program that embedded four or five person groups of scholars in the aforementioned fields in all 26 US combat brigades that were busily occupying Iraq and Afghanistan.
Two years prior to this, the CIA had quietly started recruiting social scientists by advertising in academic journals, offering salaries of up to $400,000. The military’s goals for the HTS was to have them gather and disseminate information about Iraqi and Afghani cultures. These embedded scholars, contracted through companies like CACI International, work in the project that is described by CACI as “designed to improve the gathering, understanding, operational application, and sharing of local population knowledge” among combat teams.
This new form of psychological warfare is deeply disturbing. Throughout my five years of reporting on the occupation of Iraq, when I’ve asked Iraqis what they feel the most damaging aspect of the occupation is, I have been told that the occupation is “shredding the fabric of Iraqi society and culture.”
Anthropology, in particular, has been referred to through history as the “handmaiden of colonialism,” thus putting anthropologists, at least those with a moral conscience, on guard against anything that smells like exploitation or oppression of their subjects. Roberto Gonzalez, an associate professor of anthropology at San Jose State University and leading member of the Network of Concerned Anthropologists, told Time magazine that the militarization of anthropology will cause the field to become “just another weapon … not a tool for building bridges between peoples.” Anthropology has core professional ethics standards that require voluntary, informed consent from subjects, and that anthropologists do no harm. How likely do you think these will be adhered to by the flack-jacket-wearing, gun-toting, embedded anthropologists working directly with regimental combat units in Iraq and Afghanistan?
In an article titled “When Anthropologists Become Counter-Insurgents,” published in September 2007, and co-authored with David Price, author of the book “Anthropological Intelligence: The Deployment and Abuse of American Anthropology in the Second World War,” Gonzalez and Price wrote:
“Although proponents of this form of applied anthropology claim that culturally informed counter-insurgency work will save lives and win ‘hearts and minds,’ they have thus far not attempted to provide any evidence of this. Instead, there has been a flurry of non-critical newspaper accounts in publications including the Wall Street Journal and the Christian Science Monitor that portray these HTS anthropologists as heroically serving their nation without bothering to report on the ethical complications of this work. Missing are discussions of anthropologists’ ethical responsibilities to disclose who they are and what they are doing, to gain informed consent, and to not harm those they study. Portraying counter-insurgency operations as social work is naive and historically inaccurate.
“In fact, David Kipp of the Foreign Military Studies Office at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas describes HTS teams as a ‘CORDS for the 21st Century’-a reference to the Pentagon’s Vietnam-era Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support project. The most infamous product of the CORDS counter-insurgency effort was the Phoenix Program, in which CIA agents collected intelligence information used to ‘neutralize’ (read assassinate) suspected Viet Cong members. Between 1968 and 1972, more than 26,000 suspected Viet Cong were killed as a result, including many civilians.
“Kipp’s comparison of HTS and CORDS begs a series of ethical questions which have gone unanswered. If anthropologists on HTS teams interview Afghans or Iraqis about the intimate details of their lives, what is to prevent combat teams from using the same data to one day ‘neutralize’ suspected insurgents? What would impede the transfer of data collected by social scientists to commanders planning offensive military campaigns? Where is the line that separates the professional anthropologist from the counter-insurgency technician? Although the answers to these questions are not clear, the history of anthropology should give us pause. During World War II and the Cold War, US military and intelligence agencies tended to use anthropologists’ work to help accomplish immediate goals, and discarded all other information that was counter to their beliefs or institutional models.”
Adding credence to the points made by Price and Gonzalez is the fact that one of the top ten US defense contractors, Science Applications International Corporation, which has been operating in Iraq since the beginning of the occupation, describes anthropology in its job advertisements as a “counter-insurgency related field.”
Marcus Griffin, an anthropology professor, while preparing to deploy to Iraq at part of an HTS team, boasted on his blog, “I cut my hair in a high and tight style and look like a drill sergeant … I shot very well with the M9 and M4 last week at the range … Shooting well is important if you are a soldier regardless of whether or not your job requires you to carry a weapon.”
Nevertheless, proponents of the program attempt to dismiss any ethical dilemma encountered by the embedded scholars. Montgomery McFate, a Navy anthropologist, described HTS as an effort to anthropologize the military, not militarizing anthropology, told Time, “The more unconventional the adversary, and the further from Western cultural norms, the more we need to understand the society and underlying cultural dynamics.”
The program is nothing new, neither for the US empire nor other empires throughout history. As far as the US empire project is concerned, there were two programs from the Vietnam era that involved anthropologists.
Project Camelot, in 1965, organized by US Army intelligence, recruited anthropologists to assess the cultural causes of war and violence. Despite the misleadingly benign sounding name, the project used Chile as a trial run while the CIA was engineering the election of Eduardo Frei as president in 1964 to prevent the election of Socialist leader Salvador Allende.
The second program from that era, known as CORDS (Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support), was formed to coordinate the US civil and military pacification programs in Vietnam. CORDS used anthropological data to map human terrain and identify individuals and groups that the military believed were sympathizers of the Vietcong, who were then targeted for assassination.
It is easy to imagine HTS teams in Iraq being used to exploit existing fault lines between Sunni and Shia, Kurd and Arab, and even differences within each group, in order to invoke the classic divide-to-conquer strategy. For example, the Sahwa (US-created and -backed Sunni militia) clashing with the US-backed Maliki government in Iraq is a classic example of Iraqis being effectively turned against one another so as not to unite against the occupier.
Another example would be the effective creation and exploitation of the myth of sectarianism in Iraq, which has lead to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, and threatens to do so once again.
Documentary filmmaker Jason Coppola is directing and producing a film titled “Justify My War.” In the film, an introspective Coppola explores the question of rationalization of the wars being waged by our government, from Wounded Knee to Fallujah. I asked Coppola for his perspective about the ongoing use of anthropologists by the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“This seems to be the most powerful weapon against indigenous cultures today. Much more powerful than F-16s and M-1 tanks. We see how well it worked against our own indigenous culture. You need to know a people before you decide what can corrupt them, what can be used to confuse, divide and conquer them. The strongest defense against occupation is an undivided, culturally rooted people, but empires don’t like that.”
Commenting on experiences from his recent trip to Iraq, Coppola adds, “A country can rebuild itself after an invasion, but it is much more difficult to rebuild a culture after it has been invaded. I realized this seeing young girls walking the streets of Sadr City, on their way to school in their traditional hijab carrying their books in a backpack with a blond-haired, blue-eyed Barbie design on it. Confusion is sewn throughout the Iraq occupation, nobody trusts anybody. And as I looked up in Baghdad or Fallujah or Sadr City, and stared at ‘Apache’ helicopters flying overhead … I couldn’t help but to think - mission accomplished - certainly for the Apache people. But what about the Iraqis? We still don’t know.”
Price and Gonzalez, along with several other scholars, felt the problem serious enough to have formed the Network of Concerned Anthropologists and drafted a “Pledge of Non-Participation in Counter-Insurgency” to boycott anthropological work in counterinsurgency and direct combat support operations. They took their stand against “work that is covert, work that breaches relations of openness and trust with studied populations, and work that enables the occupation of one country by another.”
Similarly, in October 2007, the Executive Board of the American Anthropological Association issued a statement that warned its members that activities such as involvement in the HTS program are likely to violate the code of ethics. As it should have, for it is impossible to imagine the lethality of a massive conventional military coupled with unconventional scholarship made into a weapon for use in combat, as it is in the ongoing US occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.
** Dahr Jamail's MidEast Dispatches **
** Visit Dahr Jamail's website http://dahrjamailiraq.com **
Dahr Jamail's new book, /Military Resisters: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan/, is now available for pre-order
Pre-order book here http://tinyurl.com/cnlgyu
As one of the first and few unembedded Western journalists to report the truth about how the United States has destroyed, not liberated, Iraqi society in his book Beyond the Green Zone, Jamail now investigates the under-reported but growing antiwar resistance of American GIs. Gathering the stories of these courageous men and women, Jamail shows us that far from “supporting our troops,” politicians have betrayed them at every turn. Finally, Jamail shows us that the true heroes of the criminal tragedy of the Iraq War are those brave enough to say no.
Order /Beyond the Green Zone/
from Truth Out:
Date: 2 May 2009
Subject: The Bankers and their Lobby in Washington, D. C.
Bernie Horn, from The Campaign for America's Future wrote that, "Yesterday, the US House of Representatives handed bankers in the credit card industry a defeat. But almost simultaneously, mortgage bankers won big in the Senate. Senator Richard Durbin lamented that the banks 'are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they frankly own the place.'"
from Ralph Nader :
Date: 14 May 2009
Subject: Arrested Development.
Senator Dick Durbin said last week that the banks own Congress.
But they don't come close to the hammerlock their brothers in the health insurance and drug companies have over the place.
The drug companies and health insurance companies control every nook and cranny on the Hill.
If you doubt it, look no further than the events of the past two weeks at the Senate Finance Committee.
Committee chair Senator Max Baucus called a full 28 witnesses for two hearings on health care reform.
Senator Baucus called on the Business Roundtable.
He called on the Heritage Foundation.
He called on the lobby known as America's Health Insurance Plans.
But not one of the 28 witnesses called by Baucus supported what the majority of the American people want.
And what the majority of doctors, nurses and health economists want.
Single payer, full Medicare for all, everybody in, nobody out, free choice of doctor and hospital health care.
And so, Single Payer Action decided to act.
Last week, eight citizens - including three doctors - led by Single Payer Action - simply demanded that Baucus add a seat at the table for a single payer advocate.
Instead of adding a seat at the table, Baucus called for the police.
The eight were arrested, handcuffed, and charged with so-called "disruption of Congress."
The police left behind undisturbed the horde of corporate lobbyists accustomed to "the purchase of Congress."
This week, two doctors, two nurses, and a citizen from Maine - inspired by the actions of the Baucus 8 - rose and simply demanded that Baucus add a single payer advocate to the witness list.
Again, Baucus refused.
And again, Baucus called for the police.
Now it's the Baucus 13.
Single Payer Action will not rest until America gets what every other Western industrialized country has - universal, not-for-profit, health care - everybody in, nobody out.
And more humane.
Thanks to your generous help, the launch of Single Payer Action is one of the more successful launches of a citizen action organization in recent memory.
Single Payer Action has gained widespread publicity - on National Public Radio, Democracy Now, in Politico, the Associated Press, and the National Journal.
Opportunity is knocking.
Now we must open the door.
Single Payer Action will pick it's battles wisely.
And use its resources frugally.
To defeat the insurance and drug industries.
And secure single payer national health insurance for all Americans.
Sooner rather than later. (Because at least 60 Americans die every day from lack of health insurance.)
from Truth Out :
Date: 3 May 2009
Subject: Why spying charges against two Israel lobbyists were dropped.
Prosecutors moved Friday to dismiss all charges against two former pro-Israel lobbyists accused of disclosing U.S. defense secrets, ending a four-year legal battle that promised to put former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other Bush administration insiders on the witness stand.