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Max Forte's List: AJP--All Articles Posted

    • 07 December 2012
    • Brian Ferguson: "Plowing the Human Terrain: Toward Global Ethnographic Surveillance"
    • Posted by AJP member Max Forte:
       
       
       
       
       
       This and the next post feature two chapters by Brian Ferguson dealing with the U.S. Army's Human Terrain System, and broader issues of militarization, global surveillance, and cultural counterinsurgency that arise. One of the chapters was nearing publication, but the very sad passing of our friend and colleague, Neil L. Whitehead, this past March has apparently hindered one of the projects. Both papers are published here with the expressed permission of Brian Ferguson. I am also using the opportunity to draw attention to some key passages.
       

       Ferguson, R. Brian. (2011). "Plowing the Human Terrain: Toward Global Ethnographic Surveillance." In Laura A. McNamara and Robert A. Rubinstein (eds.), Dangerous Liaisons: Anthropologists and the National Security State (pp. 101-126). Santa Fe: SAR Press. 

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    • 07 December 2012
    • Brian Ferguson: "Full Spectrum: The Military Invasion of Anthropology"
    • Posted by AJP member Max Forte:

       
       This and the previous post feature two chapters by Brian Ferguson dealing with the U.S. Army's Human Terrain System, and broader issues of militarization, global surveillance, and cultural counterinsurgency that arise. One of the chapters was nearing publication, but the very sad passing of our friend and colleague, Neil L. Whitehead, this past March has apparently hindered one of the projects. Both papers are published here with the expressed permission of Brian Ferguson. I am also using the opportunity to draw attention to some key passages.
       
       
       
       Ferguson, R. Brian . (2011). "Full Spectrum: The Military Invasion of Anthropology." In Neil Whitehead and Sverker Finnstrom (eds.), Virtual War and Magical Death (pp. ##). Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

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    • 31 July 2012
    • The Kanishka Program and the Securitization of the Social Sciences in Canada
    • The following three reports were recently published on Zero Anthropology, focusing on the role of the Ministry of Public Safety working in collaboration with the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) to distribute funds under the "Kanishka Program". Drafting social scientists into serving the national security state to perform surveillance on Canadians, and engage in public propaganda exercises, is the explicit intention of the program. The program violates the core ethical principles of many disciplines and, ironically, would likely face a severe challenge under the official ethics instruments that govern all SSHRC funding. This program has been advanced with no public discussion or debate and academics have generally remained silent, until now. 

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    • 10 November 2012
    • The Red Poppy: Symbol of the New Militarism
    • The Red Poppy: Symbol of Peace or Symbol of War? 
       
       
       By Nora Loreto,
       November 10, 2012
       rabble.ca

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    • 25 May 2012
    • Statement of Canadian and International Solidarity with the Quebec Student Strike 

       
       
       
       
    • For more than 100 days, hundreds of thousands of Quebec university and college students, backed by dozens of student unions and associations, have held hundreds of daytime and dozens of nighttime demonstrations to affirm that education is a right. They are also expressing a complete rejection of measures that are designed to fundamentally reorient society toward increased privatization of public services, the commodification of education, and the enclosure of public space. The Canadian public has a stake in this struggle, just as Quebec taxpayers have funded university education only to see their public investment increasingly siphoned off by private/corporate interests which are now threatening to divest the public even more. All this has taken place without any public debate, which is essential in a society that committed itself to free public education as part of a hard won social contract.

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  • May 18, 12

    The student strikes in Quebec, which began in February and have lasted for three months, involving roughly 175,000 students in the mostly French-speaking Canadian province, have been subjected to a massive provincial and national media propaganda campaign to demonize and dismiss the students and their struggle. The following is a list of ten points that everyone should know about the student movement in Quebec to help place their struggle in its proper global context.
    The issue is debt, not tuition
    Striking students in Quebec are setting an example for youth across the continent
    The student strike was organized through democratic means and with democratic aims
    This is not an exclusively Quebecois phenomenon
    Government officials and the media have been openly calling for violence and “fascist” tactics to be used against the students
    Excessive state violence has been used against the students
    The government supports organized crime and opposes organized students
    Canada’s elites punish the people and oppose the students
    The student strike is being subjected to a massive and highly successful propaganda campaign to discredit, dismiss, and demonize the students
    The student movement is part of a much larger emerging global movement of resistance against austerity, neoliberalism, and corrupt power

    • Ten Points Everyone Should Know About the Quebec Student Movement 

       
       
       
       
       
       Ten Points Everyone Should Know About the Quebec Student Movement
       
       
       
       By: Andrew Gavin Marshall
       
       
       
       This article was originally published at: http://www.andrewgavinmarshall.com
       
       
       
       Reprinted from the Montreal Media Coop (CMM)
       
       
       
       The student strikes in Quebec, which began in February and have lasted for three months, involving roughly 175,000 students in the mostly French-speaking Canadian province, have been subjected to a massive provincial and national media propaganda campaign to demonize and dismiss the students and their struggle. The following is a list of ten points that everyone should know about the student movement in Quebec to help place their struggle in its proper global context.
      • The issue is debt, not tuition
      •  
      • Striking students in Quebec are setting an example for youth across the continent
      •  
      • The student strike was organized through democratic means and with democratic aims
      •  
      • This is not an exclusively Quebecois phenomenon
      •  
      • Government officials and the media have been openly calling for violence and “fascist” tactics to be used against the students
      •  
      • Excessive state violence has been used against the students
      •  
      • The government supports organized crime and opposes organized students
      •  
      • Canada’s elites punish the people and oppose the students
      •  
      • The student strike is being subjected to a massive and highly successful propaganda campaign to discredit, dismiss, and demonize the students
      •  
      • The student movement is part of a much larger emerging global movement of resistance against austerity, neoliberalism, and corrupt power
    • 1) The issue is debt, not tuition: In dismissing the students, who are striking against a 75% increase in the cost of tuition over the next five years, the most common argument used is in pointing out that Quebec students pay the lowest tuition in North America, and therefore, they should not be complaining. Even with the 75% increase, they will still be paying substantially lower than most other provinces. Quebec students pay on average $2,500 per year in tuition, while the rest of Canada’s students pay on average $5,000 per year. With the tuition increase of $1,625 spread out over five years, the total tuition cost for Quebec students would be roughly $4,000. The premise here is that since the rest of Canada has it worse, Quebec students should shut up, sit down, and accept “reality.” THIS IS FALSE. In playing the “numbers game,” commentators and their parroting public repeat the tuition costs but fail to add in the numbers which represent the core issue: DEBT. So, Quebec students pay half the average national tuition. True. But they also graduate with half the average national student debt. With the average tuition at $5,000/year, the average student debt for an undergraduate in Canada is $27,000, while the average debt for an undergraduate in Quebec is $13,000. With interest rates expected to increase, in the midst of a hopeless job situation for Canadian youth, Canada’s youth face a future of debt that “is bankrupting a generation of students.” The notion, therefore, that Quebec students should not struggle against a bankrupt future is a bankrupted argument.

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    • 14 February 2012
    • Defend Free Speech in Canada: The Government Campaign against Palestinian Solidarity
    • Please forward widely.
       
       
        
       
       
       Defend Palestine House. Defend free speech. Stop Jason Kenney's attacks on Palestine solidarity.

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    • 06 February 2012
    • Concordia University: Up for Sale? Academic Autonomy and the Azrieli Institute
    • Up for Sale? Academic Autonomy and the Azrieli Institute
      ERIC SHRAGGE — SEPTEMBER 26, 2011
       

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    • 06 February 2012
    • Obama Terror Drones: CIA Tactics in Pakistan Include Targeting Rescuers and Funerals 

       
       
       
       
       
       
       
        
      Missiles being loaded onto a military Reaper drone in Afghanistan.

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    • 05 February 2012
    • Iraq: An Education in Occupation 

       
       
       
       
       
       By Hugh Gusterson
       
       First published in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, February 2, 2012.
    • As the last American soldiers left Iraq in December, so, too, did many of the journalists who had covered the war, leaving little in the way of media coverage of post-war Iraq. While there were some notable exceptions -- including two fine articles by MIT's John Tirman that asked how many Iraqis had been killed as a result of the US invasion -- overall the American press published few articles on the effects of the occupation, especially the consequences for Iraqis.
       
       
       
       As a college professor, I have a special interest in what happened to Iraqi universities under US occupation. The story is not pretty.

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      05 February 2012

    • Indigenous Survival: What is "Development" Good For?
    • By Stephen Corry of Survival International
        
       Reproduced with the permission of the author

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  • Dec 13, 10

    The U.S. Army's Human Terrain System (HTS), which incorporates social scientists into counterinsurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan, and which for most of its history actively sought to recruit anthropologists, is now showing signs not just of continuing but of expanding, while attracting the interest of the U.S.' military allies including Canada.

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      13 December 2010

    • A Resurgent Human Terrain System: Concerns for Anthropology, Including Canada
    • The U.S. Army's Human Terrain System (HTS), which incorporates social scientists into counterinsurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan, and which for most of its history actively sought to recruit anthropologists, is now showing signs not just of continuing but of expanding, while attracting the interest of the U.S.' military allies including Canada. Readers may recall that this program was actively condemned, first by the Network of Concerned Anthropologists (which circulated a U.S. and international petition garnering over 1,000 signatures, including dozens from the heads of some of the U.S.' leading anthropology programs), followed by a denunciation from the Executive Board of the American Anthropological Association, and finally roundly criticized in an extensive review by the AAA's Commission on the Engagement of Anthropology with the U.S. Security and Intelligence Communities (CEAUSSIC)--see the executive summary and media coverage here, and the actual report here. To date, the Canadian Anthropology Society (CASCA) has remained silent on the issue of the militarization of anthropology, reportedly/allegedly because it cannot take a public stand on political issues lest it jeopardize its status as a non-profit "charitable" organization. Anthropologists for Justice and Peace was, in part, formed so that anthropologists in Canada could speak publicly to such matters, and we have condemned and rejected HTS and all variants.

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    • 16 December 2011
    • The article that follows, written by anthropologist Jason Hickel, is a welcome critique of the shadows of Eurocentrism and the desire for middle-class privilege in the West as found in the "Occupy" movement. Hickel links these to the failure of the Occupy "movement" to exist as a phenomenon outside of North America and Europe, where it is predominantly located, and the neglect of critically important realities of the role of imperialism in developing and enforcing the middle-class lifestyles of the West. This is a constructive critique that adds to some of the previous articles reproduced on this site, such as "Decolonize Wall Street," and "Decolonizing the Occupations".

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  • Dec 10, 11

    The reports cover areas that include news that a social scientist in Human Terrain Analysis assisted in interrogations, as may have one belonging to the Human Terrain System, even while the program officially insisted it was not involved with "intelligence" gathering; related to the last point, we also learn about Eric Rotzoll, former CIA, also involved with HTS; we learn about the further development of human terrain mapping technologies; in addition we read about the use of HTS data that is uploaded to databases which are then used to create extensive, detailed simulations of actual Afghan villages; we have more notes on military funding for university research aligned with national security goals, and counterinsurgency; we catch glimpses of retired military professionals joining the private sector, and boasting in part about their "human terrain" expertise; we see more discussion on anthropology as a "useful" and "practical" discipline to the powerful; and, lastly, a few funny and even bizarre videos about the Human Terrain System.

    • 08 December 2011
    • In the News: Militarized Academia, Human Terrain System
    •  The following is a list of articles and key extracts that deal specifically with the U.S. Army's Human Terrain System, and more broadly with "human terrain" applications of social sciences to military missions. The larger phenomenon of interest to AJP has to do with the militarization of academia. Emphases in bold have been added.
       
       The reports cover areas that include news that a social scientist in Human Terrain Analysis assisted in interrogations, as may have one belonging to the Human Terrain System, even while the program officially insisted it was not involved with "intelligence" gathering; related to the last point, we also learn about Eric Rotzoll, former CIA, also involved with HTS; we learn about the further development of human terrain mapping technologies; in addition we read about the use of HTS data that is uploaded to databases which are then used to create extensive, detailed simulations of actual Afghan villages; we have more notes on military funding for university research aligned with national security goals, and counterinsurgency; we catch glimpses of retired military professionals joining the private sector, and boasting in part about their "human terrain" expertise; we see more discussion on anthropology as a "useful" and "practical" discipline to the powerful; and, lastly, a few funny and even bizarre videos about the Human Terrain System.

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      04 December 2011

    • Decolonizing the Occupations 

       
       
       
       
       
       In line with our previous report on "Decolonize Wall Street," from an American Indian perspective, we present the following commentary, from an African-American perspective:
    •  
       
       White privilege, the legacy of 500 years of European military and economic suppression of the rest of the planet, is manifest even in movements that purport to be transformational, like Occupy Wall Street. Beneath the politics of economic reordering lie notions that the “new” and overwhelmingly white movement somehow supersedes the centuries-old aspirations of Europe’s primary victims.

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    • 24 November 2011
    • AAA 2011: A Review of Some Presentations on Military, Security, and Intelligence Topics
    • Report and commentary by AJP member Maximilian C. Forte:
       
       
       
       For those who could not make it to the recently concluded conference of the American Anthropological Association in Montreal, or who were there but found themselves compelled to attend/participate in any of a number of other important sessions, here is a summary and review of some of the highlights of presentations made around topics dealing with the military, national security, and intelligence. Originally, I was invited by five different session organizers to present papers on their panels, and after some vacillation, I agreed to present on two, dealing with WikiLeaks and secrecy, and the other dealing with research about the covert and military operations. I attended a few other sessions that had similar themes, and this is the substance of this report. Hopefully, and in the spirit of "accessibility," more people in the future will produce blog reports of the contents of sessions for those who might otherwise miss out completely.
       
       
       
       Sharing some of the ideas, details, and interactions that came out of the recently concluded conference meets with a couple of limitations: a) I cannot reproduce entire papers received, because in most cases these are intended for publication; b) in other cases I did not take detailed notes, and so some presentations are not even mentioned here; and, c) there is always the risk that I may not be accurately representing what was said, especially in those instances where I am relying on memory (I have tried to minimize those).

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  • Nov 23, 11

    As the students questioned in announcing their initiative and inviting participation by faculty, "shouldn't we be generating critical thinking on our own institutional dynamics? Is research only an interest or a tool for social change?"

    • 23 November 2011
    • Students Take Anthropology Back Into the Streets: A Report on Off-AAA 

       
       
       
       
       
       
       

       Report and commentary by AJP member Maximilian Forte:
    • From Questions, to Critique, to Protest
       
       
       
       
       
       Students took Anthropology into the streets on Saturday, 19 November, 2011, in an action that was (in part) designed to protest the exclusive nature of the recent American Anthropological Association conference held inside the Palais des Congrès, with exorbitant registration fees that barred the attendance of most Montreal students. Students occupied the park outside the Palais and took the initiative to mobilize against what some of them called "bourgeois 'science'," and the commodification of knowledge that turned anthropology into an elitist fetish. As natives and residents of this city, they emphasized that this is their space, and the time is one of global ferment against capitalism, inequality, and elitism. Hence, the Occupy Montreal camp sent its banner in solidarity to be put on display at this event, dubbed Off-AAA. As the students questioned in announcing their initiative and inviting participation by faculty, "shouldn't we be generating critical thinking on our own institutional dynamics? Is research only an interest or a tool for social change?"

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    • 23 November 2011
    • First Nations Under Surveillance in Canada 

       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       In our continuing coverage of reports of surveillance and domestic forms of counterinsurgency in Canada, we present this material, first aired on the CBC's radio program, The Current, from Thursday, 17 November, 2011.
    • It demonstrates the state's continuing efforts to spy on the public sphere and to treat Aboriginals as if they were a potential insurgent threat, a domestic implementation of espionage techniques that tie in with the "return investment" on Canada's participation in foreign counterinsurgency wars, as first demonstrated by the inclusion of First Nations in the draft counterinsurgency manual of the Canadian Forces. For more background, see the prior reports we published on these topics:

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      22 November 2011

    • Libya: The Lies of "Humanitarian" War 

       
       
       
       
       From The Humanitarian War, a documentary by Julien Teil:
    • Overview written by the videographer:
       
       This document makes it possible to understand how international law and justice works, but mostly how its basic principles can be bypassed. The resolutions passed against Libya are based on various allegations: notably on the statement claiming that Gaddafi had led jet attacks on his own people and engaged in violent repression against the uprising, killing more than 6,000 civilians. These allegations were spread before they could have been verified. Yet it was on the basis of this claim that the Libyan Jamahiriya  government was suspended from the United Nations Human Rights Council, before being referred to the United Nations Security Council. One of the main sources for the claim that Gaddafi was killing his own people is the Libyan League for Human Rights, an organisation linked to the International Federation of Human Rights (the FIDH). On the 21st of February 2011, the General-Secretary of the LLHR, Dr. Soliman Bouchuiguir, initiated a petition in collaboration with the organisation UN Watch and the National Endowment for Democracy. This petition was signed by more than 70 NGOs. Then a few days later, on the 25th of February, Dr. Soliman Bouchuiguir went to U.N. Human Rights Council in order to expose the allegations concerning the crimes of Gaddafi's government. In July 2011 we went to Geneva to interview Dr. Soliman Bouchuiguir. Soliman Bouchuguir is an unheard of figure for the most part....Soliman Bouchuiguir, former president of the Libyan League for Human Rights with symbiotic ties to the National Transitional Council, generated the pack of lies that justified NATO's war allegedly to protect the Libyan population. He is currently the new Libyan ambassador to Switzerland.

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    • 22 November 2011
    • Tax Dollars at War
    • The video above is a good companion to the useful resource developed by several anthropologists, titled Costs of War, and co-directed in particular by Catherine Lutz, a specialist in the anthropology of militarism and militarization, with certain caveats: (i) that the full damage of war, and the militarist ideology and processes of militarization that make imperial wars thinkable and available, can ever be assessed numerically; (ii) that interventionist wars are still immoral, inhumane, and usually legally, even if conducted at a low financial cost, and even if resulting in few civilian deaths; and, (iii) that war does considerable damage to the politics and culture of the imperial societies that launch it. Having said that, here is a compelling analytical summary from the Costs of War project:

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