13 December 2010

Militarizing Anthropology at the University of Calgary

Anthropologists for Justice and Peace was very concerned to learn of an advertisement placed in the jobs database of the American Anthropological Association, calling for applicants to a post in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Calgary, sponsored by the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute (CDFAI). That job advertisement is no longer visible on the AAA site, but it read as follows:
The Department of Anthropology at the University of Calgary invites applications for the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute (CDFAI) Chair in Civil-Military Relations. The position is a full-time, tenure track position at the Assistant Professor rank, with a joint appointment in the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies (CMSS). The successful applicant will teach courses at all levels in the Social and Cultural Anthropology Baccalaureate Program, and supervise masters and doctoral students in the Department of Anthropology, as well as in the graduate program of the CMSS. In the CMSS, the successful applicant will supervise graduate students interested in the relations between militaries and democracies. Duties in the Department of Anthropology will include instruction of undergraduate and graduate courses in civil-military relations and in the anthropology of the military, war and conflict.
Applicants must have a completed PhD, have conducted ethnographic research and have publications (or show promise of publications) on topics related to the military or civil-military relations broadly defined, and must show promise of developing a long-term funded research plan. Theoretical and geographical research areas are open. A list of possible subject concentrations includes: armed groups; state/non-state conflict; post conflict reconstruction and/or development; veterans; effects of war on combatants and non-combatants; health, medicine, and the military; refugee studies; indigenous participation in military institutions; technology and war; military/media/government relations; anthropology of policy related to armed forces and defence.
The Department of Anthropology is a dual track program that offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in social-cultural anthropology and primatology. The CDFAI is a charitable, independent, non-partisan, research institute with an emphasis on Canadian Foreign Policy, Defence Policy, and International Aid. The CMSS is a research centre at the University of Calgary and part of the Security and Defence Forum, a network specializing in defence and security studies across Canada.
NOTES: International Candidates Will Be Considered
It has only recently been added to the job listings on the CASCA website.

Not wanting to judge this prematurely, members of AJP collectively sent the following letter, with questions, to the Chair of the Department, Mary Pavelka:

Subject: CDFAI Chair in Civil-Military Relations
Date: Wed, November 17, 2010 3:57 pm
To: pavelka@ucalgary.ca
Dear Dr. Pavelka,

Along with our fellow anthropologists (Martin Hébert, Alex Khasnabish, Craig Proulx, Angela Robinson, and Robin Oakley), I am writing to you out of concern for a job advertisement recently posted with the American Anthropological Association (http://careercenter.aaanet.org/jobs#/detail/3694010). Given that the position has been publicly advertised in Canada and abroad, and that the University of Calgary is a publicly funded institution, and the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute (CDFAI) is a publicly registered tax-exempt charity, we appreciate your open and non-confidential responses.

To be clear, we are not writing to challenge the academic freedom of any candidate that your Department may choose to hire. We are also not questioning your prerogative in autonomously setting your own goals as a Department. What we are doing is more in the tradition of peer review out of concern for the public and international reputation of anthropology, at a time when an accumulation of dozens of international media reports of anthropologists working in counterinsurgency has reinforced or revived older ways of seeing anthropologists as agents of foreign states, and possible spies. Thus while we neither question nor challenge academic freedom or departmental autonomy (to the extent that the latter may exist), we do have questions about the decisions of larger entities (universities, defense institutes) in creating certain positions to begin with, and how this may impact the reputation of the discipline and those anthropologists working in politically sensitive and perilous areas.

In particular, as persons who may be asked to write letters of recommendation for potential candidates for that position, we do need to know more about the position, to better understand it and make the process more transparent.

Specifically, these are our questions:

1. What is the history behind how this position came to be created, and how did the CDFAI come to be involved?

2. Why is your department interested in having someone that covers the issue areas listed in the position description, which are not the usual sorts of topics one sees advertised in any other anthropology positions advertised in Canada? What was the impetus and rationale in creating this position?

3. What is the nature of the relationship between the Department and the CDFAI, and specifically, would the candidate be answerable to the CDFAI in any manner after being hired?

4. Will the search committee guarantee that it will seriously consider applicants with interests in the issue areas listed in the position description, but from an angle that is critical of the military and security uses of anthropology, and of the increased militarism in Canadian public discourse?

5. Why are ethics not listed as one of the key concerns associated with this position?

6. Why is there no mention of a Canadian anti-war movement, or an anti-war perspective, as a basis for understanding civil-military relations?

7. In which ways do you expect a successful candidate to contribute to Canadian anthropology as a whole?

8. Why was this position advertised with the AAA, but not with CASCA?

9. In opening the position to non-Canadian candidates, and advertising in the AAA, how do you propose to deal with the ethical problems posed by American applicants who may have worked with the military in the occupation of Iraq and/or Afghanistan, who may have been recipients of scholarships from the Pat Roberts Intelligence Scholars Program (PRISP), the National Security Education Program (NSEP), or the Intelligence Community Scholars Program (ICSP), and who possibly maintain continuing ties with American national security, military, and intelligence agencies?

10. From which sources do you expect a successful applicant to seek funding? Please name these.

11. In particular, which courses do you hope a successful candidate will teach? Can you please offer some sample titles?

12. Which research products or services is a successful candidate required to perform for the CDFAI?

13. Would a candidate be likely to conduct research on specific communities and groups in Canada, and would information derived from this research be provided to the CDFAI alone?

We appreciate your time and consideration in addressing these questions, and to be clear again, we do intend to circulate your responses to those interested, including any possible non-response.
We believed this to be a collegial letter free of premature accusations. The first response we received is that we would have to wait until Department members returned from the annual pilgrimage to the meetings of the American Anthropological Association. Soon after their supposed return, the following is the entirety of what we received as a response:
From: "M.S.M. Pavelka"
Sent: Monday, December 06, 2010 1:07 PM
Subject: Re: CDFAI Chair in Civil-Military Relations

Dear Max,

Sorry for the delay in responding, things have been very busy the past few weeks. Again, thank you for your interest in our position. The advertised position is the replacement of an existing chair that has been left empty by the retirement of Dr. Anne Irwin (PhD in Anthropology, U Manchester). We are looking to hire another excellent anthropologist who does research in the indicated areas. We are open to anthropologists of any analytical persuasion, including critical, and the evaluation of candidates will be on the basis of academic excellence, and fit with the areas and qualifications specified in the advertisement. The position is posted on the CASCA website.

Please encourage anyone you know who might be interested to apply. We are, of course, hoping to have a strong pool of qualified anthropologists to choose from.

Given the fact that most of our questions were ignored, members of AJP will of course not encourage anyone to apply for this position, and interested candidates will be well advised to note the lack of transparency about this position, the many troubling questions it raises (which are deliberately left unanswered), and the reason to thus maintain a high level of suspicion about the nature and purpose of the position. We encourage all faculty to refuse to write letters of reference for anyone interested in applying. Members of CASCA who are legitimately concerned about such a position being advertised, are encouraged to file their complaints with the CASCA Executive.

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.

HTS seemed to undergo a long period of disarray, dogged by reports of corruption, mismanagement, and poor training, in addition to confirmed reports of serious ethical violations. These reports included: the pilfering of confidential field notes by HTS social scientists--by members of their own units--which were then fed to military intelligence--see analysis of Wikileaks data here--and U.S. Army admissions that Human Terrain Teams (HTTs) have been useful for the kind of "refined targeting" that was the substance of many accusations by anthropologists in the U.S. In addition, multiple reports confirm that one of HTS' roles is gathering intelligence. Now it seems that HTS is resurgent. Following a Congressionally-mandated investigation (which remains secret), HTS was faulted on "managerial" grounds--however, the two top managers, Col. Steve Fondacaro and anthropologist Montgomery Carlough-McFate have since been sacked, effectively removing that as an issue in the eyes of legislators. After claiming that it is not a "military anthropology" program, after sustained opposition by the AAA, HTS continues to deliberately market itself as "anthropology" in news media around the world (example 1, examples 2, examples 3). Moreover, McFate has been replaced as the social science director by yet another anthropologist, Dr. Christopher A. King (shown in the photo). King is a forensic anthropologist, whose doctoral dissertation was titled, "Osteometric Assessment of 20th Century Skeletons from Thailand and Hong Kong," and seems to not be a specialist in the kind of socio-cultural fieldwork that HTS boasts as a specialty--but he carries the important label, "anthropologist." Dr. King recently attended CASCA's 2009 conference in Vancouver, where he sat in on panels about the militarization of anthropology, as an official representative of HTS.

In a recent report by John Stanton at Zero Anthropology, we find a copy of an article from Inside Army News, where we learn of the expansion of HTS:
The Army is ramping up its controversial Human Terrain Systems program and will be sending more teams to Afghanistan this summer while simultaneously working with allied nations seeking to develop their own HTS capabilities, according to the program’s director [Colonel Sharon Hamilton]....
...the program continues to grow, despite various criticisms from academia and government. Col. Sharon Hamilton said in a Dec. 8 interview that U.S. Central Command has issued a requirement for 31 HTS teams in Afghanistan – an increase of nine teams — by this summer....
In addition, it seems that HTS is being actively marketed to U.S. allies, and the report specifically mentions an unnamed "Canadian general" who is interested in the program:
Hamilton also said her program has been working with allied nations that want to develop their own HTS programs. She would not say which countries were interested, but noted that a Canadian general was said to be very impressed with the program.
“We directly support six allied nations and they are all very interested,” she said. “Several of the allies have approached the Department of the Army wanting to develop their own capability because they have our teams with them in Afghanistan. We’re doing knowledge exchanges [and] we’ve have several representatives from other countries visit our training, visit our teams on the ground in Afghanistan.”
Furthermore, the HTS director is promising more active engagement with anthropologists in particular, in what can only be a new recruitment effort:
Hamilton said she also has stepped up the program’s engagement with the academic community by attending conferences for relevant groups, namely the American Anthropological Association, an organization that has remained steadfastly critical of the program.
An overview of HTS on the website of the U.S. Army also indicates that a geographic expansion of HTS will occur, in addition to a multiplication in the number of teams:
The near term demand from Iraq will continue at current levels while the demand for teams in Afghanistan is increasing; with the potential of adding 12 additional teams in the next two years. The HTS has a request for support from Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa and additional requests from United States Forces Korea and United States Pacific Command.
For all of the organized opposition by anthropologists, it would seem as if our real work in prying anthropology loose of this imperialist grip has only just begun. AJP invites all Canadian anthropologists to join it in maintaining a vigilant eye on related developments in Canada, and to forward any news to anthrojustpeace@gmail.com.

Corrections (thanks to an email received from Dr. Christopher King):

*Dr. King not a forensic anthropologist: "I used to practice forensic anthropology but have not practiced since 2007. My undergraduate, MA, PhD are all in anthropology. However, I am currently employed as a U.S. Department of Army social scientist, not an anthropologist. To be clearer my undergraduate was a double major in anthropology and museum studies." 
*His doctoral dissertation was not titled, "Osteometric Assessment of 20th Century Skeletons from Thailand and Hong Kong". This was his MA thesis. 
His doctoral dissertation is entitled, "Stable isotopic analysis of carbon and nitrogen as an indicator of Paleodietary change among pre-state Metal Age societies in northeast Thailand", 2006. University of Hawaii at Manoa. 
Finally, "While my academic work has been in the anthropological sub-discipline of biological anthropology, I have always engaged in applied anthropology work, both forensic and sociocultural, to make a living."

18 November 2010

Don't Extend It. End It.

Reposted from the Canadian Peace Alliance:

Virtual March

On November 18, Call your MP and the Party Leaders and demand.... Don't Extend It. End It.

The Conservative government, with the support of the Liberals are about to extend Canada's war in Afghanistan. The Prime Minster says there is no need to debate the issue. Evidently he believes that keeping 1000 Canadian troops in Afghanistan, at a cost of $3 billion and against the will of 80 per cent of Canadians is an issue that needs no further discussion.

Stephen Harper is expected to announce the details of the extension of the Canadian deployment this week. He needs to hear from you!

Let the Prime Minister and the Party Leaders know that Canadians are against any extension of the war in Afghanistan and want the troops brought home now.

What can you do?

1- Join the virtual march on Ottawa this Thursday November 18. Phone, E-mail, fax and write your your MP and the Party leaders and call on them to end the war.

Step 1
Just cut and paste the following e-mails into the address line: pm@pm.gc.ca, CannoL@parl.gc.ca , Duceppe.G@parl.gc.ca, Ignatieff.M@parl.gc.ca, Layton.J@parl.gc.ca

Step 2
Find the e-mail for your MP HERE.

Step 3
Send your e-mail. Please let us know about your efforts by cc'ing cpa@web.ca

Step 4
Call the party leaders and cabinet ministers.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper:
Telephone: (613) 992-4211

Foreign Minister, Lawrence Cannon:
Telephone: (819) 441-2510

Gilles Duceppe:
Telephone: (613) 992-6779

Michael Ignatieff:
Telephone: (613) 995-9364

Jack Layton:
Telephone: (613) 995-7224

2- Organize emergency actions in your town. There are a number of groups planning emergency rallies and pickets. In Toronto there will be mass leafleting on November 20 at 1 pm at Dundas Square. In Ottawa there will be a picket at Stephen Harper's office at 1 pm on the 20th. In many other cities, people are hitting the streets with Don't Extend It. postcards and petitions.

3- Write letters to the editor of your local newspaper. Please keep in mind that letters to the editor should be less than 200 words and must be accompanied by your contact information.

Points to consider in your letters and calls:

» Civilian and military casualties are at record levels in Afghanistan. Even with 150,000 troops, the resistance has a heavy presence in most of the country. There is no indication that this will get better with the new extension. In fact, all indicators point to a deteriorating situation that is not being helped with more troops.

» Women's rights are still being eroded by the NATO backed government and the majority of reconstruction funds disappear into the pockets of Afghan officials and western development agencies.

» The government that Canada supports in Afghanistan is a corrupt warlord led government that hangs onto power through fraudulent “elections”.

» The extension of the war is expected to cost Canadians at least $3 billion according to Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page.

» The notion that Canada can stay in a non-combat role is not true. If our soldiers are training Afghan troops they will still be in harm's way.

05 November 2010

An Urgent Message to Academics about SOUTHCOM

Many thanks to Adrienne Pine for this important alert, "An Urgent Message to Academics about SOUTHCOM." In that she presents us with evidence of a striking deepening of the alliance between U.S. academia and military objectives, in this case revolving around the concept of "strategic culture," and joining Florida International University with the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) which covers Latin America and the Caribbean. As Adrienne explains,
As it has done with great success throughout the past century, the U.S. military continues to find ways to use the academy and anthropological concepts to whitewash its imperialist actions in the service of U.S. corporate profits. In Latin America from 1963-1965, Project Camelot set a dark precedent for the use of social science to abet and legitimate counterinsurgency operations including psychological warfare. Now, at FIU's Applied Research Center, SOUTHCOM and FIU have partnered in the creation of a so-called "Strategic Culture" Initiative, a center that hosts workshops and issues reports on the "strategic culture" of different Latin American countries.
"Strategic culture" is formally defined by FIU-SOUTHCOM as "the combination of internal and external influences and experiences - geographic, historical, cultural, economic, political and military - that shape and influence the way a country understands its relationship to the rest of the world, and how a state will behave in the international community." However, as Adrienne notes about their documents it is clear that a more accurate definition would be "strategic propaganda for the creation of hegemonic political ideology favorable to U.S. economic and military interests" :
By reframing corporate-military strategy as "culture", FIU-SOUTHCOM intentionally draws upon the legitimacy and integrity of anthropology and other social sciences to depoliticize and bolster its case for military occupation of the Americas.
Adrienne Pine, who is an anthropologist at American University in Washington DC, writes further about the use of "culture" for geopolitical domination:
The concept of "culture" is being used to justify the violent actions of the U.S. military throughout the hemisphere. Culture is also used to justify U.S. training of and funding for Latin American military forces that engage in torture, targeted assassinations of dissidents, and carry out coups d'etat. When our disciplines' cultural capital is appropriated in order to legitimate military violence, we are all obligated to strongly and forcefully denounce such actions both in the academy and on the ground. Only in doing so can we reclaim the ethical core of anthropology and the social sciences.
Please read Adrienne Pine's "An Urgent Message to Academics about SOUTHCOM" and the pages to which she links, and consider sending her sample email to the authorities involved.

08 October 2010

AJP's Martin Hébert on CBC Radio-Canada: Speaking about the Quebec Women's Federation and Parents that Support Militarism

Les invités de Pierre Maisonneuve : Alexa Conradi, présidente de la Fédération des femmes du Québec, Céline Lizotte, mère d'un soldat décédé en Afghanistan en 2009, Martin Hébert, professeur d'anthropologie à l'Université Laval, spécialiste des violences sociales et vice-président du Centre de ressources sur la non-violence, et Robert Bernier, professeur titulaire de marketing social et communication publique à l'École nationale d'administration publique.

07 October 2010

Quebec Federation of Women: End Military Recruitment at Schools, Withdraw Troops from Afghanistan Immediately

This important video was produced by the Fédération des femmes du Québec (see also in Twitter), to denounce the continued practice of the Canadian Forces recruiting at schools. In addition, the video calls on Canada to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan immediately.

"People say, 'Make love, not war,' but, come on, that's not what they should say. What they should say is 'Make love for war,' because it takes a lot of children to build an army."

"If I had known that in giving life, I would be providing cannon fodder, I might not have had a child."

The mother in the video says that her oldest child was killed in Afghanistan, while her youngest returned from the war with mental problems.

Iraq: No Justice, No Peace

Dahlia Wasfi
(Physician and Iraqi antiwar activist who has traveled to Iraq twice since the invasion and spoken out around the U.S. about what she has seen):

We have an obligation to every last victim of this illegal aggression, because all of this carnage has been done in our name.

Since World War II, 90 percent of the casualties of war are unarmed civilians, a third of them children. Our victims have done nothing to us. From Palestine to Afghanistan to Iraq to Somalia to wherever our next target may be, their murders are not collateral damage. They are the nature of modern warfare.

They don’t hate us because of our freedoms. They hate us because every day, we are funding and committing crimes against humanity.

The so-called war on terror is a cover for our military aggression to gain control of the resources of Western Asia. This is sending the poor of this country to kill the poor of those Muslim countries. This is trading blood for oil. This is genocide, and to most of the world, we are the terrorists.

In these times, remaining silent about our responsibility to the world and its future is criminal, and in light of our complicity in the supreme crimes against humanity in Iraq and Afghanistan and ongoing violations of the UN charter and international law, how dare any American criticize the actions of legitimate resistance to illegal occupation? How dare we condemn anyone else’s violence?

Our so-called enemies in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine and our other colonies around the world, and our inner cities here at home are struggling against the oppressive hand of empire, demanding respect for their humanity. They are labeled insurgents or terrorists for resisting rape and pillage by the white establishment, but they are our brothers and sisters in the struggle for justice.

The civilians at the other end of our weapons don’t have a choice. But American soldiers have choices, and while there may have been some doubt five years ago, today, we know the truth. Our soldiers don’t sacrifice for duty, honor and country. They sacrifice for Kellogg, Brown and Root. They don’t fight for America–they fight for their lives and their buddies beside them because we put them in a war zone.

They’re not defending our freedoms–they are laying the foundations for 14 permanent military bases to defend the freedoms of ExxonMobil and British Petroleum. They’re not establishing democracy, they’re establishing the basis for an economic occupation to continue after the military occupation has ended.

Iraqi society today, thanks to American help, is defined by house raids, death squads, checkpoints, detentions, curfews, blood in the streets and constant violence. We must dare to speak out in support of the Iraqi people, who resist and endure the horrific existence we brought upon them through our bloodthirsty imperial crusade.

We must dare to speak out in support of the American war resisters–the real military heroes, who uphold their oath to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, including those terrorist cells in Washington, D.C., more commonly known as the legislative, executive and judicial branches.

I close with a quote from Frederick Douglass, but if you want more information, please visit my Web site at liberatethis.com.

Frederick Douglass said: “Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its mighty waters.

“The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will.”

Every one of us must keep demanding, keep fighting, keep thundering, keep plowing, keep speaking and keep struggling until justice is served. No justice, no peace.

24 September 2010

The State, Anthropology, and the Recolonization of Australia's Aboriginals

Embedded Anthropology and the Intervention,” in the September 2010 issue of Arena, is an important article by Barry Morris and Andrew Lattas “on cultural determinism and neo-liberal forms of racial governance,” in broad terms (thanks to Uriohau for this excellent recommendation). The article focuses on what was effectively a new colonization of Australia’s Northern Territory, the militarization of Aboriginal policy, and a liberal interventionist doctrine that exploited fears of pedophilia. As Morris and Lattas point out, few of the measures taken had anything to do with pedophilia—the measures imposed included:
“the appointment of managers to oversee seventy-three prescribed communities; additional restrictions on alcohol and kava; quarantining of a proportion of welfare income; the introduction of an electronic card to monitor and restrict everyday purchases to licensed stores; suspension of the need for permits for entry to prescribed Indigenous areas; the abolition of the Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP); the compulsory acquisition of townships through five year leases; and the removal of traditional cultural considerations from judicial-criminal proceedings.”
Morris and Lattas rightly argue that this project is about racial governance, aiming at disciplining and assimilating Aboriginal communities, and attacking indigenous self-determination by denying that Aboriginals have the ability to self-govern. However, what is also critical about their article is the focus on anthropologists serving the state in this effort:
“Some anthropologists have actively embraced the public limelight to articulate cultural determinist arguments which criticize both customary and contemporary Indigenous culture as the true, hidden source of Indigenous problems. Whereas culture, especially ‘traditional’ culture, was previously seen as the salvation of Indigenous remote communities, the focus now is on uncovering and eliminating the dysfunctional aspects of Indigenous culture. Under the Intervention, the rise of cultural determinist arguments has operated as a form of psychological reductionism that allows for the internalisation of moral fault. Cultural determinism has worked to relocate the internalised sources of racial dysfunctionality from the realm of inherited biology to the realm of inherited culture. In terms of the history of anthropology, this is paradoxical for cultural analyses were once embraced and used to escape the reductionisms of biology and psychoanalysis, which posited their own internalised forms of dysfunctionality.”
The authors specifically criticize anthropology professors Peter Sutton (resident in my department at the time I was doing my PhD) and Francesca Merlan. As with the Human Terrain System, vast areas of anthropological knowledge have been dismissed, in favour of a revival of the colonizers’ theory of choice: functionalism. Morris and Lattas explain how the realignment of academics with state interests has taken place in Australia, in what should be a warning (or reminder) to the rest of us.

Free Blogger Ali Abdulemam

Protest the crackdown against dissent in Bahrain, and the imprisonment and torture of human rights defenders and web activists—support the Free Ali Abdulemam campaign:

“To say ‘I want complete democracy now’ is not good for anyone. Throwing open the political process too abruptly will only leave Islamists running the show.” – Sheik Mohammed Bin Ateyatalla Al-Khalifa, president of the Royal Court and a powerful member of the kingdom’s royal family.
Bahrain is a dictatorship ruled by an ethnic and religious minority, that has toyed with some liberalization, and now moved back to smashing any opposition.

According to Mohamed ElGohary on Global Voices: Advocacy Ali Abdulemam, a leading Bahraini blogger and Global Voices Advocacy author, was arrested on 05 September 2010 by the Bahraini authorities for allegedly spreading “false news” on the BahrainOnline.org portal, “one of the most popular pro-democracy outlets in Bahrain, amidst the worst sectarian crackdown by the government in years, and accusations of a supposed ‘terror network’ involving several political and human rights activists.”

Bahrain’s ruling regime has accused opposition activists of a “terror campaign” (Al Jazeera: “Bahrain dissidents face charges,” 05 September 2010; BBC: “Bahrain accuses Shia activists of ‘terror campaign’” 04 September 2010). The accusation, given that the majority of the nation is Shia, that the opposition is somehow allied with Iran and doing its bidding, seeking to overthrow the regime by force and engaging in “propaganda.” Human rights activists imprisoned by the regime have allegedly suffered torture. The Bahrain Center for Human Rights is also reporting that the state has cracked down on dozens of websites. In a country where the local media self-censors, and reporters from Al Jazeera are banned, these sites are the only sources of alternative news and information. The BCHR has issued the following demands:

Thus, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights demands the following from the Bahraini government:
  • To lift the ban and blockage against all public affairs, cultural, social, legal, political and religious websites.
  • The withdrawal of all actions that would restrict freedom of opinion and expression, or prevent the transmission of information.
  • To commit to its international obligations and respect all forms of freedom of expression as enshrined in international conventions and treaties.
  • To amend the Press Law No. 47 of 2002 and make it in line with international standards of human rights.
If you are a blogger and value freedom of expression and the right to dissent, post your support for Ali Abdulemam on your blog. It could be as simple as just posting the YouTube video above, and a link to http://freeabdulemam.wordpress.com/.

For more background, read “The Internet in Bahrain: breaking the monopoly of information,” by Fahad Desmukh, who is a Karachi-based journalist and former Bahraini blogger.

Ali Abdulemam has been imprisoned for political reasons before, as this report from the Wall Street Journal from 11 May 2005 explains—see “After High Hopes, Democracy Project In Bahrain Falters — Gulf Kingdom Reverses Course As Calls for Change Swell; Lessons for the Middle East — A Web Site Rallies Opposition.” Abdulemam is a member of the al-Wifaq Islamic Society, Bahrain’s largest opposition movement. The U.S., unsurprisingly, has been equivocal about supporting democratization in Bahrain, even while touting it for Iraq:
“For the U.S., Bahrain presents a quandary. Construction crews are building new facilities at the headquarters of the Fifth Fleet near the capital Manama. The Pentagon is pressing for port dredging that would allow U.S. aircraft carriers to dock, not just anchor off the coast.
“But even as the Bush administration cheers the idea of democratization here, some U.S. officials privately share the royal family’s concern that Islamists might hijack the political process. They also worry that Iran might expand its influence over a key strategic stronghold.”
The George W. Bush administration had declared Bahrain “an important example of a nation making the transition to democracy.” In 2002, the U.S. gave it the official status of a “major non-North Atlantic Treaty Organization ally” and started negotiating a bilateral free-trade agreement, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Related Links:
    * Sami Ben Gharbia, “Free Blogger Ali Abdulemam”
    * Anas Qtiesh, “Freedom for Ali Abdulemam”
    * Committee to Protect Bloggers, “Free Blogger Ali Abdulemam”
    * Jillian C. York, “Free Ali Abdulemam”

Wikileaks, the Human Terrain System, and Anthropological Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan

The following are articles written specifically about data contained in the Afghan War Diary released by Wikileaks, in connection with the U.S. Army's Human Terrain System and its deployment of anthropologists and other social scientists in counterinsurgency in Afghanistan. The results are mixed, but what was revealed was also very novel and damning. In the meantime, the two top directors of HTS, Col. Steve Fondacaro, and anthropologist Montgomery McFate have been forced to resign from the program.

  1. Human Terrain Teams in Wikileaks’ Afghan War Diary: Raw Data
    This is the entire list of records in the Afghan War Diary that concern the Human Terrain System, presented unedited and without comment.
  2. Wikileaks’ Afghan War Diary: Problems to Note, More to Come on Human Terrain Teams
    In this essay the ethics of the release of records that have not been redacted to protect the identity of NATO's Afghan civilian informants. Wikileak's "harm minimization process" is questioned, as well as the completeness and significance of the records for achieving an understanding of what happened in the field.
  3. Human Terrain System in Wikileaks’ Afghan War Diary: Searching for Evidence of the Positive
    One question we have to ask ourselves is how the managers of the Human Terrain System can use these same records leaked via Wikileaks to make a positive case for the program embedding civilian social scientists with military units.
  4. Revealing the Human Terrain System in Wikileaks’ Afghan War Diary
    This article presents evidence showing that HTS conducted internal spying of its own fieldworkers in order to gain access to their confidential fieldnotes, and passing them on to military intelligence, as appears in the records. We begin by asking a few questions: When a Human Terrain Team (HTT) is mentioned in the records leaked to Wikileaks, how does the report writer know what he or she knows about the HTT? The answer seems simple enough, in a number of instances: a HTT is embedded with a larger military unit, the report writer indicates where the HTT is, what it is doing at a given moment, and what it plans to do. As for what HTTs themselves report, none of these records are HTT reports. Their reports go elsewhere and have an altogether different form. So when a record indicates what was recorded by a member or members of a HTT, how does the report writer know that, and who are these report writers?

06 July 2010

The Abomination that is Imperialism: Rapping Truth about Power

Indigenous Resistance is Growing in Canada

First Nations protest on Yonge Street, Toronto, in advance of the recent G20 summit. 24 June 2010. Photo on Wikimedia Commons, provided with a Creative Commons License.

For the full report, please see:
by Hillary Bain Lindsay, The Dominion
July 5, 2010
Canada still has not signed the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People; 584 Aboriginal women are still missing and murdered; and many of us still live on unceded First Nations territory—and are exploiting it. The list could go on.

On the other hand, Indigenous resistance is growing in Canada; so too are solidarity movements.

For the second time in 2010 (the first being the Vancouver Olympics), First Nations rights were at the forefront of a major convergence of social justice activists.

"No G20 on stolen Native land," chanted demonstrators throughout the week of protests leading up to G8/G20 meetings, and warrior flags were flying at all the marches—whether led by environmental justice advocates or anti-poverty organizers.

And on June 24, more than 1,000 people flooded the streets of downtown Toronto for the "Canada Can't Hide Genocide" march and rally.

The crowd did not gather on June 24 to protest the G20 so much as to reject it entirely.

"Fundamentally, we reject the G8 and G20 as decision-making bodies over our peoples," Ben Powless, a Mohawk from Six Nations, told a cheering crowd. "These are the illegitimate organizations of the colonial states that seek the further exploitation of our peoples."

Marilyn Poucachiche, an Algonquin from Barriere Lake First Nation, drove nine hours from her community to attend the rally and knows that story well.

"The government has been trying to assimilate or has been assimilating [our] people for a long time," she says.

Barriere Lake First Nation has a traditional governing system, a system that the Indian Act does not recognize. "The Canadian government have been trying to impose Section 74 in our community from the Indian Act," says Poucachiche. Section 74 would require the community to hold band elections. "It favours the Canadian policy on how we should govern and select our leaders."

"That will extinguish our Aboriginal title and treaty rights," she says. "They're trying to select their Chief according to their law. But we're saying it's our way, not your way."

Whether or not Canadians choose to support Indigenous struggles, the state, as Powless points out, has certain obligations.

"Fundamentally," says Powless, "Canada must live up to its international and domestic treaty obligations and respect self-determination, the right for free, prior and informed consent and the sovereignty of our peoples."

03 July 2010

Counterinsurgency: From Afghanistan to First Nations Resistance in Canada

Canada's brewing 'insurgency'
By Jon Elmer
(Originally published by Al Jazeera, 26 June 2010)

Canada's native communities are using the G20 and G8 gatherings to bring attention to land rights issues, poverty and poor living conditions

As leaders of the richest nations gather in Toronto for the annual G8 and G20 summits, Canada has mounted an unprecedented security operation that stands to go down as the largest in the country's history.

The local and federal governments have resorted to significant measures: barricading the downtown core behind a massive galvanised perimeter fence, erecting checkpoints with x-rays, uprooting trees that police say could be used by demonstrators, and converting a sound stage into a massive temporary detention facility in preparation for mass arrests of protesters.

But with Canadian soldiers, snipers, commandos and police tactical units representing the sharp end of a security budget that is poised to top $1bn, the most significant threat to business as usual for the summit may turn out to be far-flung rural blockades enacted by Canada's long suffering native communities.

"It's a very dangerous situation," said Douglas Bland, a retired Canadian forces lieutenant-colonel who is now the chair of defence management studies at Queen's University.

In recent years in particular, Canada's indigenous communities have shown the will and potential to grind the country's economic lifelines to a halt through strategically placed blockades on the major highways and rail lines that run through native reserves well outside of Canada's urban landscape.

"The Canadian economy is very vulnerable," said Bland.

"More than 25 per cent of our GDP comes from exports of raw materials, but especially oil, natural gas and electricity to the United States."

"It's undefended and undefendable infrastructure, the pipelines and power lines and so on, and it runs through great spaces of open countryside and they run through aboriginal territories.

"It would take a very small number of people very little time to bring [it] down," said Bland, who is the author of a "barely fictionalised" account of native insurgency in Canada, entitled Uprising.


In 2007, the Mohawk community at Tyendinaga, 200 kilometres east of Toronto, blocked the trans-continental rail line and Canada's largest highway in protest at the government's failure to address land rights and basic issues of survival within First Nations - including safe drinking water, which the community lacked.

That episode was a hint of the leverage indigenous peoples in Canada possess, as hundreds of millions of dollars in cargo was stalled by simple barricades placed across a rural stretch of the Canadian National railway's mainline between Toronto and Montreal.

"The message resounded," said Shawn Brant, a high profile Mohawk activist involved in the 2007 blockades.

"We are not going to live in abject poverty, to have our children die, to have our women abducted, raped and murdered without any investigations. We are not going to live with the basic indignities that occur to us daily. We would bring them to an end."

In 2007, Brant characterised the blocking of the 401 highway and CN main rail line as a "good test run".

"We showed that we would meet the severity of what was happening to us with a reaction and a plan, a strategy that would be equally as severe," Brant said.

Last week, Aboriginal Peoples Television Network broadcast footage of Canadian intelligence agents threatening a native activist ahead of the G8 summit.

"I will tell you straight up," said an agent of the Canadian security and intelligence service to an indigenous activist, "there [are] other forces that are from other countries that will not put up with a blockade in front of their president".

The twin summits, held in Toronto and Huntsville, a rural community that lies 225 kilometres north of Toronto, are separated by a major highway that runs through large swathes of indigenous territory adjacent to the major travel arteries.

A determined blockade could wreak havoc on the summit and cast light on Canada's darkest shame.

Blockades, said Harrison Friesen, a spokesperson for native rights movement Red Power United, would be intended to show the world that "everything is not okay in Canada for native people".


Bland argues that the situation within First Nations in Canada has all the attributes of an insurgency.

"These root causes, these abysmal conditions for some of the aboriginal people are serious."

There are more than 800 outstanding native land claims held against the Canadian government. And in many First Nations communities there is deep crisis, with poverty, unemployment and overcrowding the norm.

According to figures from the Assembly of First Nations, more than 118 First Nations lack safe drinking water and some 5,500 houses do not have sewage systems.

Almost one half of homes on native reserves are in need of "major repairs", compared with 7 per cent of non-native homes.

Natives suffer a violent crime rate that is more than 300 times higher than Canada's non-native population, while natives represent 18.5 per cent of the male prison population and one-quarter of the female population, although natives only constitute 4 per cent of the total population.

In some provinces, the incarceration rates are starker.

In Manitoba, 71 per cent of prisoners are native, although natives represent only 15 per cent of the province's population; in Saskatchewan, the number is even higher, with natives accounting for 80 per cent of prisoners but only 11 per cent of the population.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police recently characterised the prison system as "community colleges for [native] gangs".

These "gangs" are increasingly politicised and some of Canada's leading military planners are warning that a full-blown uprising is gathering.

The groups operate in what the military calls "ungoverned spaces" that are increasingly difficult to police.

They are also sophisticated, operating under the "Robin Hood" principle of robbing from the rich and giving to the poor, say military planners.

When combined with their tangible grievances, "you have the root causes which can be the fuel for an insurgency. It's entirely feasible," said Bland.

Counterinsurgency posture

In 2007, a draft edition of Canada's army counterinsurgency field manual highlighted the Mohawk Warrior Society as a case study insurgency.

But after the excerpt was made public by media reports, Gordon O'Connor, the then defence minister, issued a statement saying that the reference would be removed from the final draft, which was released in 2008.

"The withdrawal of the topic out of the counterinsurgency manual was typical of the reaction by government for fear of upsetting the precarious status quo of relations in the country right now," said Bland.

"It is an example of a trend in Canadian political leadership.

"There is a great reluctance to name, point to, suggest that we have an internal security problem in Canada based in either the aboriginal communities or in what the Royal Canadian Mounted Police call the aboriginal based criminal organisations.

"One of the difficulties of discussing the issue and more seriously acting against it," said Bland, "is that by acting against an individual native protest or activity, you might incite the entire community across the country".

Political leaders "fear baiting what they don't want to happen, so you see them backing off all the time".

Indeed, the threat of blockades by more than 40 First Nations communities this week forced the provincial government in Ontario to back down on a plan to enforce a new harmonised sales tax on native communities, in contravention of longstanding treaty agreements.

The message has been received, said Brant. "We've shown that, unified, we are capable of not just disruption, not just protest, but a willingness to use the economy as a tool in the arsenal to fight."

"The government ran its infrastructure through our land because no one else wanted it to run through theirs," said Brant.

"Now it serves as an incredibly power[ful] tool of influence that allows us now as a society to engage government in a dialogue, a relationship based on us having power."

In 2007, Chief Terrance Nelson of Manitoba's Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation made headlines when he told a television reporter that "there are only two ways of dealing with the white man ... either you pick up the gun or you stand between him and his money".

There is no shortage of examples of either tactic of native resistance in recent Canadian history.

In 1990, an historic armed standoff between Mohawks and the Canadian army near Oka, Quebec lasted more than two months when the provincial government tried to convert a native burial ground into a golf course.

Five years later, in 1995, the Canadian government used helicopters, armoured personnel carriers, improvised explosives and more than 77,000 rounds of ammunition during a three-month standoff over land title at Gustafsen Lake, in British Columbia.

Speaking at a senate hearing in May, Canada's top general in Afghanistan suggested that the country's counterinsurgency war in Kandahar and its "whole of government" strategy has helped prepare Canadian forces and its civilian partners for such eventualities.

"If Canada were having an issue of insurgency," said Brigadier-General Jonathan Vance, "there would be a multi-discipline, multi-department operation with the government managing and directing carefully what its military and police forces would do".

"We experienced a little of that ... with the events at Oka." But now, said Vance, "the government is engaged".

Bland agreed, saying that the counterinsurgency experience fighting the Taliban in Kandahar is "completely relevant to what might happen here, and to what happened at Oka".

That posture, Brant said, is a "grave mistake".

"Since Oka, we've evolved from being reactionary to instances that occur to having a strategy. We've become communities that have embraced the injustices of the past and combined them with the indignities of the present. We have been able to inspire all elements in our communities," said Brant.

"We've created a unity that they don't have the military or policing capabilities to confront."

01 June 2010

AJP in the Media: Protesting Project Hero

by Cameron Fenton
May 31, 2010

Project Hero’s tag-line is “Gifting education to the children of our fallen soldiers,” but critics see the program as a tool to drum up support for military presence in Canadian universities, politics and culture.
Photo: Caitlin Crawshaw

Montreal—Project Hero, a military-supported, private sector scholarship program with the mission to “provide undergraduate scholarships to children of fallen soldiers,” has become the target of growing criticism across Canadian campuses. Since professors at the University of Regina spoke out against the program in March, 661 people have signed a growing petition which calls on people to “stand against Project Hero.”

Over the past year, former Canadian Forces chief of staff, Retired General Rick Hillier, and Kevin Reed, the head of the Grey Horse Corporation, have spread Project Hero to 26 campuses across Canada. The program’s tag-line is “Gifting education to the children of our fallen soldiers,” but many critics see the program as both a dangerous encroachment of the military into universities and a tool to drum up support for an increasing military presence in Canadian politics and culture.

“So let's be clear about this: Project Hero is not about these children's education,” explained Martin Hebert, associate professor in the department of anthropology at the Universite Laval and member of Anthropologists for Justice and Peace (AJP), who have been active in opposing Project Hero. “The real beneficiary of all the hype that this project has created for itself are the Canadian Forces, not the soldiers' families.”

21 May 2010

House Armed Services Committee Stops Funding for the Human Terrain System

Important breaking news, please see: Human Terrain System Criticized by U.S. Congress. The House Armed Services Committee in the U.S., which was awaiting an independent assessment of the U.S. Army's Human Terrain System, which has not been forthcoming, has decided to stop further funding for HTS. The HASC wants the U.S. Army to look at other opportunities, to justify the need for HTS, and to certify how HTS complies with Army guidelines. The HASC noted "certain concerns" with the program. HTS had gone on an aggressive media campaign early on to attract anthropologists into supporting counterinsurgency teams in Iraq and Afghanistan, initially for very high salaries reaching as much as $300,000 U.S. Since the program began in 2007, it has suffered three fatalities, and its management was "nationalized," brought into the U.S. Army rather than run as a private military contractor outfit under BAE Systems, with which ample fault was found. The drop in salaries led to a mass exodus from the program. In addition, the U.S. Army has since developed other, competing, in-house human terrain analysis capabilities. The American Anthropological Association formally rejected HTS on ethical grounds, stating that anthropologists working in the program were not pursuing a legitimate professional application of anthropology.

We send our warm congratulations to the Network of Concerned Anthropologists, our sister organization, for its resolute opposition to HTS and for its tireless organizing, writing, and publicizing of the harm represented by HTS for an independent and credible anthropology.

19 May 2010

Anthropology and Empire: Recommended Books

Updated: 22 May 2010, 08 October 2010, 20 October 2010, 08 August 2011, 27 October 2011, 07 December 2012

The broad study of militarism, and specifically militarization, empire, "terrorism," counterinsurgency, U.S. bases, and the blowback of imperial expansion, are areas of study gaining significant new ground in anthropology. Here AJP presents an extensive list of recommended items, focusing on books alone. We have also archived each item in our online Library. We hope that this listing--to be updated as time passes--will prove useful to you for your own reading, or for drafting new course syllabi. They are presented below in alphabetical order, by title.

American Counterinsurgency: Human Science and the Human Terrain
By Roberto J. González
Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press, 2009
Politicians, pundits, and Pentagon officials are singing the praises of a kinder, gentler American counterinsurgency. Some claim that counterinsurgency is so sophisticated and effective that it is the “graduate level of war.” Private military contracting firms have jumped on the bandwagon, and many have begun employing anthropologists, political scientists, psychologists, and sociologists to help meet the Department of Defense’s new demand. The $60 million Human Terrain System (HTS), an intelligence gathering program that embeds social scientists with combat brigades in Iraq and Afghanistan, dramatically illustrates the approach. But when the military, transnational corporations, and the human sciences become obsessed with controlling the “human terrain”—the civilian populations of Iraq and Afghanistan—what are the consequences? In this timely pamphlet, Roberto González offers a searing critique of HTS, showing how the history of anthropology can be used to illuminate the problems of turning “culture” into a military tool.

Anthropology and Global Counterinsurgency
Edited by John D. Kelly, Beatrice Jauregui, Sean T. Mitchell, Jeremy Walton
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010

Recent global events have placed new stress on the relationship among anthropology, governance, and war as, facing prolonged insurgency, segments of the U.S. military have taken a new interest in the discipline. Inspired by these issues, the essays in Anthropology and Global Counterinsurgency consider how anthropologists can, should, and do respond to military overtures, and they articulate anthropological perspectives on global war and power relations. This book investigates the shifting boundaries between military and civil state violence; perceptions and effects of American power around the globe; the history of counterinsurgency doctrine and practice; and debates over culture, knowledge, and conscience in counterinsurgency. These wide-ranging essays shed new light on the fraught world of Pax American and on the ethical and political dilemmas faced by anthropologists and military personnel alike when attempting to understanding and intervention in our world.

Anthropological Intelligence: The Deployment and Neglect of American Anthropology in the Second World War
By David H. Price
Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2008
By the time the United States officially entered World War II, more than half of American anthropologists were using their professional knowledge and skills to advance the war effort. The range of their war-related work was extraordinary. They helped gather military intelligence, pinpointed possible social weaknesses in enemy nations, and contributed to the Army's regional Pocket Guide booklets. They worked for dozens of government agencies, including the Office of Strategic Services and the Office of War Information. At a moment when social scientists are once again being asked to assist in military and intelligence work, David H. Price examines anthropologists' little-known contributions to the Second World War. Anthropological Intelligence is based on interviews with anthropologists as well as extensive archival research involving many Freedom of Information Act requests. Price looks at the role played by the two primary U.S. anthropological organizations, the American Anthropological Association and the Society for Applied Anthropology (which was formed in 1941), in facilitating the application of anthropological methods to the problems of war. He chronicles specific projects undertaken on behalf of government agencies, including an analysis of the social effects of postwar migration, the planning of massive refugee relocation schemes, and the study of Japanese social structures to help tailor American propaganda efforts. Price discusses anthropologists' work in internment camps, their collection of intelligence in Central and South America for the FBI's Special Intelligence Service, and their help forming foreign language programs to assist soldiers and intelligence agents. Evaluating the ethical implications of anthropological contributions to World War II, Price suggests that by the time the Cold War began, the profession had set a dangerous precedent regarding what it would be willing to do on behalf of the U.S. government.

Anthropologists in the Public Sphere: Speaking Out on War, Peace, and American Power
Edited by Roberto J. González
Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2004
Anthropologists have a long tradition of prescient diagnoses of world events. Possessing a knowledge of culture, society, and history not always shared by the media's talking heads, anthropologists have played a crucial role in educating the general reader on the public debates from World War I to the second Gulf War. This anthology collects over fifty commentaries by noted anthropologists such as Margaret Mead, Franz Boas, and Marshall Sahlins who seek to understand and explain the profound repercussions of U.S. involvement in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Frequently drawing on their own fieldwork, the anthropologists go beyond the headlines to draw connections between indigenous cultures, corporate globalization, and contemporary political and economic crises. Venues range from the op-ed pages of internationally renowned newspapers such as the New York Times and the Washington Post to magazine articles and television interviews. Special sections entitled "Prelude to September 11" and "Anthropological Interpretations of September 11" include articles that provided many Americans with their first substantial introduction to the history of Islam, Central Asia, and the Middle East. Each article includes a brief introduction contextualizing the commentary.

An Anthropology of War: Views from the Frontline
Edited by Alisse Waterston
New York: Berghahn Books, 2009
As we move deeper into the twenty-first century, power, lethal force, and injustice continue to explode violently into war, and the prospects for lasting peace look even bleaker. The horrors of modern warfare - the death, dehumanization, and destruction of social and material infrastructures - have done little to bring an end to armed conflict. In this volume, leading chroniclers of war provide thoughtful and powerful essays that reflect on their ethnographic work at the frontlines. The contributors recount not only what they have seen and heard in war zones but also what is being read, studied, analyzed and remembered in such diverse locations as Colombia and Guatemala, Israel and Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Haiti. In detailed reports from the field, they reflect on the important issue of “accountability” and offer explanations to discern causes, patterns, and practices of war. Through this unique lens, the contributors provide the insight and analysis needed for a deeper understanding of one of the greatest issues of our times.

The Bases of Empire: The Global Struggle against U.S. Military Posts
Edited by Catherine Lutz
New York: New York University Press, 2009
A quarter of a million U.S. troops are massed in over seven hundred major official overseas airbases around the world. In the past decade, the Pentagon has formulated and enacted a plan to realign, or reconfigure, its bases in keeping with new doctrines of pre-emption and intensified concern with strategic resource control, all with seemingly little concern for the surrounding geography and its inhabitants. The contributors in The Bases of Empire trace the political, environmental, and economic impact of these bases on their surrounding communities across the globe, including Latin America, Europe, and Asia, where opposition to the United States’ presence has been longstanding and widespread, and is growing rapidly. Through sharp analysis and critique, The Bases of Empire illuminates the vigorous campaigns to hold the United States accountable for the damage its bases cause in allied countries as well as in war zones, and offers ways to reorient security policies in other, more humane, and truly secure directions.

Breaking Ranks: Iraq Veterans Speak Out Against the War
Edited by Matthew Gutmann and Catherine Lutz
Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010
Breaking Ranks brings a new and deeply personal perspective to the war in Iraq by looking into the lives of six veterans who turned against the war they helped to fight. Based on extensive interviews with each of the six, the book relates why they enlisted, their experiences in training and in early missions, their tours of combat, and what has happened to them since returning home. The compelling stories of this diverse cross section of the military recount how each journey to Iraq began with the sincere desire to do good. Matthew Gutmann and Catherine Anne Lutz show how each individual's experiences led to new moral and political understandings and ultimately to opposing the war.

Contemporary States of Emergency: The Politics of Military and Humanitarian Interventions
Edited by Didier Fassin and Mariella Pandolfi
Boston: Zone Books, 2010
From natural disaster areas to zones of conflict around the world, a new logic of intervention has emerged. This new post-Cold War international order combines military action and humanitarian aid, conflates moral imperatives and political arguments, and confuses the concepts of legitimacy and legality. The mandate to protect human lives, however and wherever endangered, has thus promoted a new form of military and humanitarian government that operates in a temporality of urgency, moving from one crisis to the next, applying the same battery of technical expertise — from army logistics to epidemiological management to the latest administrative tools for forging “good governance.” In the name of the right to intervene, this new strategy challenges national sovereignties and deploys economic powers. Not only does it take charge of people’s lives, it also reduces their histories and expectations to bare lives to be rescued. Drawing on the critical insights of anthropologists, legal scholars, political scientists, and practitioners from the field, Contemporary States of Emergency first examines the historical antecedents as well as the moral, juridical, ideological, and economic conditions that have made military and humanitarian interventions possible today. It then addresses the practical process of intervention in global situations on five continents, illustrating the diversity as well as the parallels between contemporary forms of military and humanitarian interventions. Finally, it investigates the ethical and political consequences of the generalization of states of emergency and the humanitarian government that they entail. The authors thus seek to understand a critical question that confronts the world today: How and why have military and humanitarian interventions transformed the international order such that what was once a logic of exception has now become the rule of contemporary global politics?

The Counter-Counterinsurgency Manual; or, Notes on Demilitarizing American Society
By The Network of Concerned Anthropologists
Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press, 2009
At a moment when the U.S. military decided it needed cultural expertise as much as smart bombs to prevail in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon’s Counterinsurgency Field Manual offered a blueprint for mobilizing anthropologists for war. The Counter-Counterinsurgency Manual critiques that strategy and offers a blueprint for resistance. Written by the founders of the Network of Concerned Anthropologists, the Counter-Counterinsurgency Manual explores the ethical and intellectual conflicts of the Pentagon’s Human Terrain System; argues that there are flaws in the Counterinsurgency Field Manual (ranging from plagiarism to a misunderstanding of anthropology); probes the increasing militarization of academic knowledge since World War II; identifies the next frontiers for the Pentagon’s culture warriors; and suggests strategies for resisting the deformation and exploitation of anthropological knowledge by the military. This is compulsory reading for anyone concerned that the human sciences are losing their way in an age of empire.

Dangerous Liaisons: Anthropologists and the National Security State
Edited by Laura A. McNamara and Robert A. Rubinstein
Santa Fe, NM: School of American Research Press, 2011
Dangerous Liaisons is a book about intersections. It is a product of two year’s worth of discussion among a group of ethnographers from four different countries studying war, violence, the military, and the state. Throughout the first decade of the twenty-first century, anthropologists have watched with both interest and concern as government agencies—particularly those with military and intelligence functions—have sought their professional assistance in understanding terrorists’ motivations, stabilizing nascent wartime governments, and countering insurgencies.

The Dark Sahara: America's War on Terror in Africa
By Jeremy Keenan
London: Pluto Press, 2009
The U.S. is keen to build a substantial military presence in Africa, citing the need to combat the growth of Al-Qaeda in Somalia, Algeria and other countries on the continent. This book reveals the secret U.S. agenda behind the 'war on terror' in Africa and the shocking methods used to perpetuate the myth that the region is a hot-bed of Islamic terrorism. Africa expert Jeremy Keenan points to overwhelming evidence suggesting that, from 2003, the Bush administration and Algerian government were responsible for hostage takings blamed on Islamic militants. This created a permissive public attitude, allowing the U.S. to establish military bases in the region and pursue multiple imperial objectives in the name of security. The shocking revelations in this book, seriously undermine the mainstream view of Africa as a legitimate 'second front' in the 'war on terror.'

The Dying Sahara: US Imperialism and Terror in Africa
By Jeremy Keenan
London: Pluto Press, forthcoming 2010-2011
In The Dark Sahara (Pluto Press, 2009), Jeremy Keenan exposed the collusion between the US and Algeria in fabricating 'false flag' terrorism to justify the launch of a new 'Saharan front' in Washington's War on Terror. In this new book, he reveals how the Pentagon's designation of the region as a 'Terror Zone' has destroyed the lives and livelihoods of thousands of innocent people. Beginning in 2004, with what local people called the US 'invasion' of the Sahel, The Dying Sahara shows how repressive, authoritarian regimes, cashing in on US terrorism 'rents', provoked Tuareg rebellions in both Niger and Mali. Multinationals expropriated Tuareg lands for uranium and puppeteers in Washington and Algiers pulled the strings of a new, narco-trafficking Al Qaeda.Keenan's chillingly detailed research shows that the US and its new combatant African command (AFRICOM), far from bringing security, peace and development, have created a self-fulfilling prophecy of terror and instability in a region the size of western Europe.

Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: Islam, the USA, and the Global War Against Terror
By Mahmood Mamdani
New York: Pantheon, 2005
In this brilliant look at the rise of political Islam, the distinguished political scientist and anthropologist Mahmood Mamdani brings his expertise and insight to bear on a question many Americans have been asking since 9/11: how did this happen? Good Muslim, Bad Muslim is a provocative and important book that will profoundly change our understanding both of Islamist politics and the way America is perceived in the world today.

Homefront: A Military City and the American Twentieth Century
By Catherine A. Lutz
Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 2001
A look at Fayetteville, North Carolina, home to Fort Bragg, that poses the question,'Are we all military dependents?' Fayetteville has earned the nicknames of Fatalville and Fayettenam. Unusual and not-sounusual features of the town include gross income inequalities, an extraordinarily high incidence of venereal disease, miles and miles of strip malls, and a history of racial violence. Through interviews with residents and historical research, Catherine Lutz immerses herself in the life of the town to discover how it has supported the military for over a century. From secret training operations that use civilians as mock enemies and allies to the satellite economy of the town, Lutz's history of Fayetteville reveals the burdens that military preparedness creates for all of us.

Imperial Formations
Edited by Ann Laura Stoler, Carole McGranahan, Peter C. Perdue
Santa Fe, NM: School for Advanced Research Press, 2007
The contributors to this volume critique and abandon the limiting assumption that the European colonialism of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries can be taken as the representative form of imperialism. Recasting the study of imperial governance, forms of sovereignty, and the imperial state, the authors pay close attention to non-European empires and the active trade in ideas, practices, and technologies among empires, as well as between metropolitan regions and far-flung colonies. The Ottoman, Russian, Chinese, Spanish, and Japanese empires provide provocative case studies that challenge the temporal and conceptual framework within which colonial studies usually operates. Was the Soviet Union an empire or a nation-state? What of Tibet, only recently colonized but long engaged with several imperial powers? Imperial Formations alters our understanding of past empires the better to understand the way that complex history shapes the politics of the present imperial juncture.

The Insecure American: How We Got Here and What We Should Do About It
Edited by Catherine Besteman and Hugh Gusterson
Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009
Americans are feeling insecure. They are retreating to gated communities in record numbers, fearing for their jobs and their 401(k)s, nervous about their health insurance and their debt levels, worrying about terrorist attacks and immigrants. In this innovative volume, editors Hugh Gusterson and Catherine Besteman gather essays from nineteen leading ethnographers to create a unique portrait of an anxious country and to furnish valuable insights into the nation's possible future. With an incisive foreword by Barbara Ehrenreich, the contributors draw on their deep knowledge of different facets of American life to map the impact of the new economy, the "war on terror," the "war on drugs," racial resentments, a fraying safety net, undocumented immigration, a health care system in crisis, and much more. In laying out a range of views on the forces that unsettle us, The Insecure American demonstrates the singular power of an anthropological perspective for grasping the impact of corporate profit on democratic life, charting the links between policy and vulnerability, and envisioning alternatives to life as an insecure American.

Iraq at a Distance: What Anthropologists Can Teach Us About the War
Edited by Antonius C.G.M. Robben
Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010
The Iraq War has cost innumerable lives, caused vast material destruction, and inflicted suffering on millions of people. Iraq at a Distance: What Anthropology Can Teach Us About the War focuses on the plight of the Iraqi people, caught since 2003 in the carnage between U.S. and British troops on one side and, on the other, Iraqi insurgents, militias, and foreign al Qaeda operatives. The volume is a bold attempt by six distinguished anthropologists to study a war zone too dangerous for fieldwork. They break new ground by using their ethnographic imagination as a research tool to analyze the Iraq War through insightful comparisons with previous and current armed conflicts in Cambodia, Israel, Palestine, Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, and Argentina. This innovative approach extends the book's relevance beyond a critical understanding of the devastating war in Iraq. More and more parts of the world of long-standing ethnographic interest are becoming off-limits to researchers because of the war on terror. This book serves as a model for the study of other inaccessible regions, and it shows that the impossibility of conducting ethnographic fieldwork does not condemn anthropologists to silence. Essays analyze the good-versus-evil framework of the war on terror, the deterioration of women's rights in Iraq under fundamentalist coercion, the ethnic-religious partitioning of Baghdad through the building of security walls, the excessive use of force against Iraqi civilians by U.S. counterinsurgency units, and the loss of popular support for U.S. and British forces in Iraq and Afghanistan after the brutal regimes of the Taliban and Saddam Hussein had been toppled.

Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia
By David Vine
Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009
Introduction [HTML] or [PDF]
The American military base on the island of Diego Garcia is one of the most strategically important and secretive U.S. military installations outside the United States. Located near the remote center of the Indian Ocean and accessible only by military transport, the base was a little-known launch pad for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and may house a top-secret CIA prison where terror suspects are interrogated and tortured. But Diego Garcia harbors another dirty secret, one that has been kept from most of the world--until now. Island of Shame is the first major book to reveal the shocking truth of how the United States conspired with Britain to forcibly expel Diego Garcia's indigenous people--the Chagossians--and deport them to slums in Mauritius and the Seychelles, where most live in dire poverty to this day. Drawing on interviews with Washington insiders, military strategists, and exiled islanders, as well as hundreds of declassified documents, David Vine exposes the secret history of Diego Garcia. He chronicles the Chagossians' dramatic, unfolding story as they struggle to survive in exile and fight to return to their homeland. Tracing U.S. foreign policy from the Cold War to the war on terror, Vine shows how the United States has forged a new and pervasive kind of empire that is quietly dominating the planet with hundreds of overseas military bases. Island of Shame is an unforgettable exposé of the human costs of empire and a must-read for anyone concerned about U.S. foreign policy and its consequences.The author will donate all royalties from the sale of this book to the Chagossians.

The New Imperialism, Volume I: Militarism, Humanism, and Occupation
Edited by Maximilian C. Forte
Montreal, QC: Alert Press, 2010.
Describing and theorizing “the new imperialism” in international relations, this volume presents anthropological and sociological viewpoints on the topics of militarism and militarization; humanitarian interventionism; the responsibility to protect; Canada’s role in the occupation of Afghanistan, and the establishment of what is effectively a protectorate in Haiti; the role of NGOs in the formation and management of a new global imperium; and, soft power. Specific case studies are also devoted to the U.S. Army’s Human Terrain System; the U.S. Army’s Africa Command (AFRICOM); torture and international law; Coca Cola in Colombia; the NATO war in Kosovo; cultural militarization and “militainment;” and, the rising militarism in Canadian public discourse.The geographic scope of the volume includes Algeria, Afghanistan, Canada, Colombia, Ethiopia, Somalia, Iran, Kosovo, Kuwait, and the United States.

The New Imperialism, Volume II: Interventionism, Information Warfare, and the Military-Academic Complex
Edited by Maximilian C. Forte
Montreal, QC: Alert Press, 2011.
This volume focuses on humanitarian interventionism, invasion, occupation, information warfare, propaganda operations, and the military-academic complex. The case studies range from Canadian universities, to WikiLeaks, Iraq, Iran, and Libya. We examine topics such as the role of myth in justifying NATO's war against Libya; the attack on civilian infrastructure in Iraq; WikiLeaks and what it tells us about torture in Iraq; relations between the U.S. and Iran, and the role of propaganda; the depth of militarization of university research in Canada; the successes of WikiLeaks in making an impact on world affairs; and the (im)possibility of "humanitarian intervention" under imperialist conditions. Contributors include Laura Beach, Sabrina Guerrieri, Jessica Cobran, Natalie Jansezia, Corey Seaton, MacLean Hawley, and the volume editor, Maximilian Forte. The volume emerged from the second seminar in the New Imperialism series at Concordia University.

On Suicide Bombing
By Talal Asad
New York: Columbia University Press, 2007
Like many people in America and around the world, Talal Asad experienced the events of September 11, 2001, largely through the media and the emotional response of others. For many non-Muslims, "the suicide bomber" quickly became the icon of "an Islamic culture of death"—a conceptual leap that struck Asad as problematic. Is there a "religiously-motivated terrorism?" If so, how does it differ from other cruelties? What makes its motivation "religious"? Where does it stand in relation to other forms of collective violence? Drawing on his extensive scholarship in the study of secular and religious traditions as well as his understanding of social, political, and anthropological theory and research, Asad questions Western assumptions regarding death and killing. He scrutinizes the idea of a "clash of civilizations," the claim that "Islamic jihadism" is the essence of modern terror, and the arguments put forward by liberals to justify war in our time. He critically engages with a range of explanations of suicide terrorism, exploring many writers' preoccupation with the motives of perpetrators. In conclusion, Asad examines our emotional response to suicide (including suicide terrorism) and the horror it invokes. On Suicide Bombing is an original and provocative analysis critiquing the work of intellectuals from both the left and the right. Though fighting evil is an old concept, it has found new and disturbing expressions in our contemporary "war on terror." For Asad, it is critical that we remain aware of the forces shaping the discourse surrounding this mode of violence, and by questioning our assumptions about morally good and morally evil ways of killing, he illuminates the fragile contradictions that are a part of our modern subjectivity.

People of the Bomb: Portraits of America’s Nuclear Complex
By Hugh Gusterson
Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2004
We have had the bomb on our minds since 1945. It was first our weaponry and then our diplomacy, and now it’s our economy. How can we suppose that something so monstrously powerful would not, after forty years, compose our identity? —E. L. Doctorow. This book tells the story of how—like it or not, know it or not—we have become “the people of the bomb.” Integrating fifteen years of field research at weapons laboratories across the United States with discussion of popular movies, political speeches, media coverage of war, and the arcane literature of defense intellectuals, Hugh Gusterson shows how the military-industrial complex has built consent for its programs and, in the process, taken the public “nuclear.” People of the Bomb mixes empathic and vivid portraits of individual weapons scientists with hard-hitting scrutiny of defense intellectuals’ inability to foresee the end of the cold war, government rhetoric on missile defense, official double standards about nuclear proliferation, and pork barrel politics in the nuclear weapons complex. Overall, the book assembles a disturbing picture of the ways in which the military-industrial complex has transformed our public culture and personal psychology in the half century since we entered the nuclear age.

Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics, and the War on Terror
By Mahmood Mamdani
New York: Pantheon, 2009
From the author of Good Muslim, Bad Muslim comes an important book, unlike any other, that looks at the crisis in Darfur within the context of the history of Sudan and examines the world’s response to that crisis. In Saviors and Survivors, Mahmood Mamdani explains how the conflict in Darfur began as a civil war (1987—89) between nomadic and peasant tribes over fertile land in the south, triggered by a severe drought that had expanded the Sahara Desert by more than sixty miles in forty years; how British colonial officials had artificially tribalized Darfur, dividing its population into “native” and “settler” tribes and creating homelands for the former at the expense of the latter; how the war intensified in the 1990s when the Sudanese government tried unsuccessfully to address the problem by creating homelands for tribes without any. The involvement of opposition parties gave rise in 2003 to two rebel movements, leading to a brutal insurgency and a horrific counterinsurgency–but not to genocide, as the West has declared. Mamdani also explains how the Cold War exacerbated the twenty-year civil war in neighboring Chad, creating a confrontation between Libya’s Muammar al-Qaddafi (with Soviet support) and the Reagan administration (allied with France and Israel) that spilled over into Darfur and militarized the fighting. By 2003, the war involved national, regional, and global forces, including the powerful Western lobby, who now saw it as part of the War on Terror and called for a military invasion dressed up as “humanitarian intervention.” Incisive and authoritative, Saviors and Survivors will radically alter our understanding of the crisis in Darfur.

State, Sovereignty, War: Civil Violence in Emerging Global Realities
Edited by Bruce Kapferer
Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2004
The very institution of the state is widely conceived of as inseparable from war. If it constitutes peace within the borders or order of its sovereignty, this very peace may be the condition for its potential for war with those other states and social formation outside it. This volume represents different analytical standpoints and positions within global processes, inviting further discussion on contemporary realities and the development of new formations of war and violence.

Threatening Anthropology: McCarthyism and the FBI’s Surveillance of Activist Anthropologists
By David H. Price
Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004
A vital reminder of the importance of academic freedom, Threatening Anthropology offers a meticulously detailed account of how U.S. Cold War surveillance damaged the field of anthropology. David H. Price reveals how dozens of activist anthropologists were publicly and privately persecuted during the Red Scares of the 1940s and 1950s. He shows that it was not Communist Party membership or Marxist beliefs that attracted the most intense scrutiny from the fbi and congressional committees but rather social activism, particularly for racial justice. Demonstrating that the FBI's focus on anthropologists lessened as activist work and Marxist analysis in the field tapered off, Price argues that the impact of McCarthyism on anthropology extended far beyond the lives of those who lost their jobs. Its messages of fear and censorship had a pervasive chilling effect on anthropological investigation. As critiques that might attract government attention were abandoned, scholarship was curtailed. Price draws on extensive archival research including correspondence, oral histories, published sources, court hearings, and more than 30,000 pages of FBI and government memorandums released to him under the Freedom of Information Act. He describes government monitoring of activism and leftist thought on college campuses, the surveillance of specific anthropologists, and the disturbing failure of the academic community—including the American Anthropological Association—to challenge the witch hunts. Today the “war on terror” is invoked to license the government’s renewed monitoring of academic work, and it is increasingly difficult for researchers to access government documents, as Price reveals in the appendix describing his wrangling with Freedom of Information Act requests. A disquieting chronicle of censorship and its consequences in the past, Threatening Anthropology is an impassioned cautionary tale for the present.

The World Trade Center and Global Crisis: Critical Perspectives
Edited by Bruce Kapferer
Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2004
Numerous humanly caused destructions of just the last hundred years dwarf the World Trade Center disaster, and the attention still addressed to it may over the next few years appear disproportionate. But the significance of events is always determined by the social, political, and cultural forces that are articulated through a particular event. The attack of 9/11 was an event waiting to happen, and when it did occur the even itself became a catalyst and impetus for the changing and redirection of global realities. This volume offers provocative assessments of the reaction to the event from a variety of perspectives that will no doubt stimulate the debate on the meaning and consequences of 9/11.

Weaponizing Anthropology
By David H. Price
Oakland, CA: AK Press, 2011
In the years since September 11, 2001, David Price has been at the forefront of public debates over the ethical and political issues raised by using anthropology for America's terror wars. Weaponizing Anthropology details the rapid militarization of anthropology and incursions by the CIA and other intelligence agencies onto American university campuses. Price combines his expert knowledge of the history of anthropologists' collaborations with military and intelligence agencies with an activist stance opposing current efforts to weaponize anthropology in global counterinsurgency campaigns. With the rapid growth of American military operations relying on cultural knowledge as a strategic tool for conquest and control, disciplinary loyalties aligning anthropologists with the peoples they study are strained in new ways as military sponsors seek to transform research subjects into targets and collaborators. Weaponizing Anthropology political and ethical critiques of a new generation of counterinsurgency programs like Human Terrain Systems, and a broad range of new academic funding programs like the Minerva Consortium, the Pat Roberts Intelligence Scholars Program, and the Intelligence Community Centers of Academic Excellence, that now bring the CIA and Pentagon onto university campuses. Weaponizing Anthropology a concise and profound critique of the rapid transformation of American social science into an appendage of the National Security State.

Why America’s Top Pundits Are Wrong: Anthropologists Talk Back
Edited by Catherine Besteman and Hugh Gusterson
Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005
In this fresh, literate, and biting critique of current thinking on some of today's most important and controversial topics, leading anthropologists take on some of America's top pundits. This absorbing collection of essays subjects such popular commentators as Thomas Friedman, Samuel Huntington, Robert Kaplan, and Dinesh D'Souza to cold, hard scrutiny and finds that their writing is often misleadingly simplistic, culturally ill-informed, and politically dangerous. Mixing critical reflection with insights from their own fieldwork, twelve distinguished anthropologists respond by offering fresh perspectives on globalization, ethnic violence, social justice, and the biological roots of behavior. They take on such topics as the collapse of Yugoslavia, the consumer practices of the American poor, American foreign policy in the Balkans, and contemporary debates over race, welfare, and violence against women. In the clear, vigorous prose of the pundits themselves, these contributors reveal the hollowness of what often passes as prevailing wisdom and passionately demonstrate the need for a humanistically complex and democratic understanding of the contemporary world.
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