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  • The Empire’s Left Hand - Cairn International about 9 hours ago
    • The Empire’s Left Hand  Order and Disorders in Humanitarian Action 

       <!--BeginNoIndex-->by<!--EndNoIndex-->  Michel  Agier 
    • Abstract



      Contemporary humanitarianism is held in a permanent and tense relationship with the warlike, destructive, and exclusionary strategies of the states which dominate the planet. On the one hand, a politics of the "clenched fist" champion of both holy and just wars, exemplary sanctions, lightning raids and surgical strikes; in other words, the technical arsenal of a police force acting globally on an ad hoc basis and according to the friend / enemy relation, following the principles of partisan fidelity and the vendetta. On the other hand, occupying the place of social politics at the same global scale is a spectacular humanism, manifesting itself through an ensemble of private organisations whose role is to keep the survivors alive, treating them as nameless victims, held at a distance for the sole purpose of salving the conscience of the powerful. However, the displaced and refugee populations are responding to this situation by developing diverse forms of, generally illegal, action and by so doing, are exacerbating the tensions inherent in the humanitarian field.
  • Humanitarian Occupation of Haiti: 100 Years and Counting about 9 hours ago
    • This Tuesday marks the 100th anniversary of the commencement of the U.S. Occupation of Haiti. On July 28, 1915, U.S. Marines landed on the shores of Haiti, occupying the country for 19 years. Several college campuses, professional associations, social movements, and political parties are marking the occasion with a series of reflections and demonstrations. Several have argued that the U.S. has never stopped occupying Haiti, even as military boots left in 1934. Some activists are using the word “humanitarian occupation” to describe the current situation, denouncing the loss of sovereignty, as U.N. troops have been patrolling the country for over 11 years. The phrase “humanitarian occupation” may seem distasteful and even ungrateful to some considering the generosity of the response to the January 12, 2010 earthquake, however there are several parallels between the contemporary aid regime and the U.S. Marine administration. First and foremost, foreign troops are on the ground, controlling the country; the military regimes operated with complete immunity and impunity. Second, a new constitution was installed, centralizing power in the executive. Third, both occupations involved Haiti’s gold resources.
    • Military Maneuvers


      The U.S. Marines invaded Haiti ostensibly to restore order, disrupted by the kako, an armed peasant resistance. From 1910 to the 1915 invasion of the U.S. Marines, Haiti had 7 presidents, marked with violent clashes between two factions of Haiti’s ruling elites. The exploits of the occupying forces were well documented, including by soldiers themselves. Faustin Wirkus declared himself to be the “White King of La Gonave.” Many troops were from Jim Crow South, and they took their racism and white supremacy with them. This racism colored how they saw elements of Haitian culture and folklore, and in turn how the rest of the world was to see Haiti. “Voodoo” and “zombies” were popularized by Hollywood, as the film industry was just taking off, announced by explicitly white supremacist Birth of a Nation. Haiti continued to play “boogieman,” scaring foreigners through exotification.

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  • The Politics of Betrayal: Obama Backstabs Kurds to Appease Turkey about 10 hours ago
    • The Kurdish militias (YPG, PKK) have been Washington’s most effective weapon in the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. But the Obama administration has sold out the Kurds in order to strengthen ties with Turkey and gain access to Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base. The agreement to switch sides was made in phone call between President Obama and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan less than 48 hours after a terrorist incident in the Turkish town of Suruc killed 32 people and wounded more than 100 others.


      The bombing provided Obama with the cover he needed to throw the Kurds under the bus, cave in to Turkey’s demands, and look the other way while Turkish bombers and tanks pounded Kurdish positions in Syria and Iraq. The media has characterized this shocking reversal of US policy as a “game-changer” that will improve US prospects for victory over ISIS. But what the about-face really shows is Washington’s inability to conduct a principled foreign policy as well as Obama’s eagerness to betray a trusted friend and ally if he sees some advantage in doing so.

    • Turkish President Erdogan has launched a war against the Kurds; that is what’s really happening in Syria at present. The media’s view of events–that Turkey has joined the fight against ISIS–is mostly spin and propaganda. The fact that the Kurds had been gaining ground against ISIS in areas along the Turkish border, worried political leaders in Ankara that an independent Kurdish state could be emerging. Determined to stop that possibility,  they decided to use the bombing in Suruc as an excuse to round up more than 1,000 of Erdogans political enemies (only a small percentage of who are connected to ISIS) while bombing the holy hell out of Kurdish positions in Syria and Iraq. All the while, the media has been portraying this ruthless assault on a de facto US ally, as a war on ISIS. It is not a war on ISIS. It is the manipulation of a terrorist attack to advance the belligerent geopolitical agenda of Turkish and US elites. Just take a look at these two tweets from CNN Turkey on Saturday and you’ll see what’s going on under the radar: 

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  • Powell Congratulates Colombian President on Progress | IIP Digital about 10 hours ago
    • SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much, Mr. President. Want to take a question or two?

      The President's in a hurry, but let me just make one announcement for the press. Just received word that Assistant Secretary Bill Burns has had good discussions in Libya. He is the first U.S. diplomat to visit with Colonel Qadhafi since early '80s, and productive meetings. And it shows that we are moving ahead with the political roadmap that we laid out with the Libyans as a result of their determination to give up their weapons of mass destruction. And we'll be issuing a statement later this afternoon that describes in greater detail Assistant Secretary Burns' visit.

  • "People, be wary of anthropologists!" - Department of Social Anthropology about 14 hours ago
    • "People, be wary of anthropologists!" 


      Pollution, violence, forced displacement: What to do against harmful side effects of mining? A big disaster on a small island helped anthropologist Catherine Coumans to find an answer.

    • The phone call came when she least expected it. “I just received a telegram from the Philippines,” said the voice on the other end of the line, her husband who was  more than 7,000 kilometers away in Canada. “Go to the Philippine consulate and check the newspapers. Another disaster has happened on the island,” he said. “I think it's something really big.”


      Anthropologist Catherine Coumans did not expect this call at all. It was a nice day in Hawaii in early April 1996, and she was just about to make a presentation at an anthropology conference—a  presentation, strangely enough, about Marinduque, the very island in the Philippines where the telegram was sent from. Coumans had been on fieldwork on this island several years back, from 1988-1990,  studying Liberation Theology. Marinduque is a very little island with a very big mine, operated by the fifth-largest gold mining company in the world at that time, a Canadian one named Placer Dome.


      Her husband was right. All newspapers Coumans found at the Philippine consulate were writing about it. Another mine waste impoundment had failed. It would be later described as the Marcopper Mining Disaster, after the local subsidiary. It was then the largest mining disaster in Philippine history. Two decades later, the island still has not recovered. One village was buried under six feet of muddy floodwater, causing the displacement of 400 families. Several villages had to be evacuated. The Boac River was declared unusable by government officials: It was no longer suitable for drinking, washing clothes, bathing, watering livestock, or for irrigation of rice fields. Most of the fish and shrimp in it had died.

    • A huge rush


      What to do? How can researchers play a role that is useful for communities who find themselves in situations as these? Can anthropological research help to find ways to cool down overheated processes?


      Coumans, one of the thirty participants at Overheating's international workshop on mining, has often thought about these questions. 


      Since she first visited Marinduqe in 1988, she had been confronted with the harmful side effects of mining on people and nature nearly on a daily basis. At that time, mine waste was being dumped into a wide shallow fishing bay, leading to loss of livelihoods. Children from villages along the bay were suffering from lead poisoning. In 1993, a dam burst and two children on another part of the island were smothered to death by mine waste that flooded down the Mogpog River.  


      The mining industry, she explains, is clearly overheated. “There is a struggle going on within the industry to get its hands on the remaining resources that are economic to mine,” she says. “The industry is in a huge rush to put their stake in the ground and say ‘this is mine’.”


      And in this rush, other considerations, such as safeguarding the environment and the rights of local communities, risk getting left behind.

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  • The Army Needs Anthropologists _ Foreign Policy.pdf about 14 hours ago
  • Asbestos_final.pdf about 16 hours ago
  • When feelings trump facts about 16 hours ago
    • When feelings trump facts

      JMSB research examines how public opinion is formed in the asbestos industry
      Posted on July 14, 2015
            By: Yuri Mytko
    • Researcher John Aylen: "To to build consensus, people need to mobilize over a common goal." | Photo by Bryn Pinzgauer (Flickr Creative Commons)
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      When it comes to public opinion, facts cannot trump feelings finds a study commissioned by the Luc Beauregard Centre of Excellence in Communications Research at the John Molson School of Business.


      The paper, which looks at the PR lessons that can be learned by examining the Quebec asbestos industry was written by JMSB Lecturer John Aylen. “Individuals tune out facts that do not support their feelings,” says Aylen. He further states that “it is very difficult to build consensus and coalition if the potential parties do not mobilize over a common goal, are not driven by a sense of urgency and are not empowered by a sense of moral superiority.”


      The study is one of two that were commissioned by the Centre to better understand coalition-building and the public engagement process around important societal causes and issues.


      The second study was written by Joanne Labrecque, an associate professor at HEC Montréal and Philippe Lefèvre, founder and senior partner at Réseau GARP. Its focus is on efficient coalition-building in the Quebec shale gas industry.


      The case studies were recently presented at the 2015 national conference of the Canadian Public Relations Society in Montreal and are now available for download in both English and French.

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  • John Nuttall, Amanda Korody, too incompetent to plan terror attack, defence says - British Columbia - CBC News on Jul 29, 15
    • John Nuttall, Amanda Korody, too incompetent to plan terror attack, defence says


      Questions raised about RCMP gifts


          CBC News    Posted: Jul 28, 2015

    • RCMP tactics are on trial at an entrapment hearing in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver. Questions are being raised about just how far police can go in these types of situations.


      John Nuttall and Amanda Korody were found guilty in June 2015 of masterminding a plot to bomb the B.C. legislature in 2013 on Canada Day.


      Their defence lawyers want the verdict set aside. They say RCMP tactics amount to entrapment.


      They say Nuttall and Korody were too incompetent to plan a terrorist attack in their own.


      The poverty-stricken pair of drug abusers were struggling to accomplish basic tasks, court heard.

    • Then RCMP undercover agents offered them gifts and helped shape their plans, steering them away from more fanciful ideas, such as plans to build short-range missiles.


      RCMP Cpl. Stephen Matheson testified that he believed James Nuttall and Amanda Korody were "capable of violence" at any time.


      Matheson described how RCMP were constantly balancing the risk to the public and the couple's commitment to Jihad.


      Questions were raised about gifts the RCMP gave to the couple, including food, cell phones, clothing and groceries.

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  • NATO vows solidarity with Turkey over ISIS threat but urges peace with Kurds - World - CBC News on Jul 29, 15
    • NATO vows solidarity with Turkey over ISIS threat but urges peace with Kurds


      Turkish airstrikes targeted Kurds this week


          The Associated Press    Posted: Jul 28, 2015

    • NATO declared its "strong solidarity" with Turkey on Tuesday as ambassadors gathered for a rare emergency meeting about the threat faced by a member.


      Turkey requested the extraordinary meeting to gauge the threat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) extremist group poses to Turkey, and the actions Turkish authorities are taking in response, including attacks on Kurdish rebels.


      "We strongly condemn the terrorist attacks against Turkey, and express our condolences to the Turkish government and the families" of victims killed in recent terrorist actions, NATO ambassadors said in a statement after the meeting.


      While public statements stressed unity, a NATO official said members also used the closed-door meeting to call on Turkey not to use undue force and to continue peace efforts with representatives of the Kurdish minority. The official was not authorized to speak on the record and spoke on condition of anonymity.


      In a series of cross-border strikes, Turkey has not only targeted ISIS but also Kurdish fighters affiliated with forces battling ISIS, also known as the Islamic State, in Syria and Iraq.

    • Article 4 of NATO's founding treaty empowers member states to seek emergency consultations when they consider their "territorial integrity, political independence or security" to be in jeopardy. This was only the fifth such meeting in NATO's 66-year history.

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    "How to get over anthropology" (thinking about the problems with anthropology, its colonial history, its current uses for power, and looking at some of the known radical alternatives).

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