Category Archives: war & peace

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Yale University to Train U.S. Special Forces in Interrogation Techniques by Practicing on Immigrants

by Rania Khalek on February 18, 2013

The Department of Defense and Yale University have partnered up to train U.S. soldiers in the art of interrogation techniques with the local immigrant community acting as test subjects, reports the Yale Daily News.

As early as this April, Yale plans to welcome a training center for interrogators to its campus.

The center’s primary goal would be to coach U.S. Special Forces on interviewing tactics designed to detect lies. Charles Morgan III, a professor of psychiatry who will head the project, calls these tactics “people skills.” These techniques would be honed using New Haven’s immigrant community as subjects. Morgan hopes that by having soldiers practice their newly acquired techniques on “someone they can’t necessarily identify with” (read: someone who is not white), they’ll be better prepared to do ‘the real thing’ abroad.

The authors of the article, Nathalie Batraville and Alex Law, provide many reasons for why this training center is a terrible idea, one of which includes a lack of transparency. Apparently, students didn’t learn about the new program until now, just two months before the center opens. As Batraville and Law point out:

There was no conversation with the city about how this might impact its immigrant community. There was no conversation with students and faculty about how it might impact campus culture. And there was no conversation at all about the ethics of a project like this. It’s hard to understand where this project came from; the university’s motivations are wholly opaque.

They also argue that Yale could be indirectly involving itself in immoral practices by training soldiers whose skills could be used to, for example, determine whose name is added to President Obama’s kill list.

Most importantly, the authors offer some insight into the racist aspect of this program:

Morgan’s research and, by extension, this proposed center target people of color — brown people exclusively. According to a Yale Herald article, Morgan listed “Moroccans, Columbians, Nepalese, Ecuadorians and others.” Is there an assumption in Morgan’s desire to use more ‘authentic,’ brown interviewees as test subjects, that brown people lie differently from whites — and even more insidiously, that all brown people must belong to the same “category” of liar?

How might training on lie detection be perceived if it targeted blacks, or if it aimed to answer the question, “How do Jews lie?” That Morgan’s test subjects are compensated does not resolve the ethical questions his project raises. In fact, their participation highlights the structural inequality that this research capitalizes on and that the center would ultimately exploit.

As Nathalie was working on this piece, her phone rang. At the other end of the line was her 7-year-old nephew Rocco, who wanted to wish her a happy Valentine’s Day and send her many loud kisses. He now lives in Montreal, where Nathalie is from, but until about a year ago, he lived in Haiti.

The U.S.’ involvement in Haiti, from its occupation between 1915 and 1934 to its support — financial, logistical (and “moral”) — of François and later Jean-Claude Duvalier’s brutal dictatorships in the 60s and 70s, informs much of her outrage surrounding the establishment of this center, and her understanding that people often lie to protect their lives, their families, their country and the very freedom that Americans so dearly cherish.

Well said! But even without the the sickening immigrants-as-test-subjects aspect, the training center is still unsettling because it further solidifies the unholy alliance between physicians and the US war machine given that a professor of psychiatry is running the project. This should come as no surprise since we mostly ignored revelations that psychologists and medical doctors helped run the torture program at Guantanamo Bay (look forward, not backward!).

So congratulations Yale! You officially suck! Fortunately not all of your students do and they’re making noise about this program. Anybody interested following in their lead in halting the development of “Ivy League Interrogation Techniques Inc.” should add their name to this petition.

UPDATE: Investigative journalist and friend Steve Horn tells me he’s not at all surprised about Yale’s latest project given the university’s involvement in the Grand Strategy Programs (GSP), which Horn and Allen Ruff reported on in 2011 for Truthout.

A matrix of closely tied university-based strategic studies ventures, the so-called Grand Strategy Programs (GSP), have cropped up on a number of elite campuses around the country, where they function to serve the national security warfare state.

In tandem with allied institutes and think tanks across the country, these programs, centered at Yale University, Duke University, the University of Texas at Austin, Columbia University, Temple University and, until recently, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, illustrate the increasingly influential role of a new breed of warrior academics in the post-9/11 United States. The network marks the ascent and influence of what might be called the “Long War University.”

Ostensibly created to train an up-and-coming elite to see a global “big picture,” this grand strategy network has brought together scores of foreign policy wonks heavily invested – literally and figuratively – in an unending quest to maintain US global supremacy, a campaign which they increasingly refer to as the Long War.

This is the first I’ve heard of this program and I’m appalled (and super creeped out). I highly recommend reading the entire piece as well as a follow-up report here.

Editor’s Note. Thanks to various comrades for the heads-up.

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Free Nabil Al-Raee and Zakaria Zubeidi!

ACTION ALERT: FREE NABIL AL-RAEE AND ZAKARIA ZUBEIDI

June 13, 2012

During the last year, following the murder of Juliano Mer Khamis, the Israeli army has attacked The Freedom Theatre, its employees and their families on six separate occasions. The last attack took place only a few days ago when the Artistic Director of The Freedom Theatre, Nabil Al-Raee, was taken from his home in the middle of the night.

The Palestinian Authority has increasingly been cracking down on all forms of dissent or criticism against them. This has also affected the theatre severely. We have had enough and we ask you to help us put an end to the harassment directed at The Freedom Theatre, a cultural venue dedicated to the children, youth and adults of Jenin Refugee Camp and beyond.

Zakaria Zubeidi held in unlawful detention by the Palestinian Authority
Zakaria Zubeidi, co-founder and avid supporter of The Freedom Theatre, was arrested by Palestinian security forces on the 13th of May and taken to Jericho prison. Since then Zakaria has not been allowed to meet his lawyer Farid Hawash or have any contact with his family. Yesterday his detention was extended, without any given reason, with another 15 days.

According to his lawyer, Zakaria’s arrest has not followed due process since he should have been brought before a Jenin court and not taken away to Jericho. His right to communicate with his family after a maximum of 10 days has also been violated, as has his right to consult with a lawyer. After having travelled to Jericho Mr. Hawash was only able to see Zakaria for a minute to say hello.

“I am unable to determine if Zakaria has been treated correctly since I haven’t been able to talk with him,” says Mr. Hawash. “We have to apply the correct procedure of Palestinian law; as his lawyer I must be allowed to meet with my client.”

We ask you to contact the following representatives of the Palestinian Authority to demand that they abide by Palestinian law in the case of Zakaria Zubeidi and other detainees. Please also check if you have a PLO representative office in your country.

00-970-(0)59-777-88-87 Majd Faraj, Head of Palestinian Intelligence
00-970-(0)59-900-00-11 Abo Mohammad Shadeh, Head of the security of the President’s Office
00-970-(0)59-944-75-47 Dr Said Abo Ali, Minister of Interior
00-970-(0)59-930-38-50 Saeb Erekat, Head of negotiations
00-970-(0)59-955-88-22 Ataeb Abdurahem, National Security

Nabil Al-Raee held in unlawful detention by the Israeli army
Nabil Al-Raee, Artistic Director of The Freedom Theatre, was abducted by the Israeli army in the early hours of June 6th (see previous press release here: http://thefreedomtheatre.org/news.php?id=238). Micaela Miranda, Nabil’s wife and the theatre’s Pedagogical Manager, gives her testimony here: http://thefreedomtheatre.org/news.php?id=244.

Nabil is presently being held in the Jalameh detention centre in Israel. Nabil’s lawyer, Smadar Ben-Natan, was today informed that his detention has been extended for another 7 days. Nabil has not been allowed to meet or talk with his lawyer, or to communicate with his family. The interrogations at Jalameh and other military detention centres commonly involve inhumane treatment such as sleep deprivation, psychological pressure and binding in painful positions.

The Freedom Theatre has on numerous occasions expressed its full cooperation in the investigation of the murder of the theatre’s co-founder and former General Director Juliano Mer Khamis. Its members have proved this willingness to cooperate by meeting every requested appointment and answering all questions to the best of their knowledge, no matter how intimidating and insulting the interrogation methods.

This last abduction of Nabil Al-Raee has led us to the conviction that the regular and systematized harassment of the employees of The Freedom Theatre has nothing to do with the investigation of Juliano’s murder. It is clearly a campaign directed at the Freedom Theatre itself.

We urge all supporters of The Freedom Theatre specifically and protectors of art and culture in general to call and e-mail their nearest Israeli representative office to demand the immediate release of Nabil Al-Raee (ID-number 906349162) and an end to the systematic harassment of the members of The Freedom Theatre. In addition, please call the District Coordination Office of the Israeli army at +972-(0)4-640-73-12.

Join the campaign on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FreedomForNabilAndZakaria

For more information, or to share any reactions to your calls, e-mails and other efforts, please contact The Freedom Theatre at info@thefreedomtheatre.org

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Release Mahmoud Sarsak from Prison!

theredcard.org

Release Mahmoud Sarsak from Prison

Show Racism the Red Card joins the voices calling for his release

Mahmoud Sarsak, 25, is a Palestinian national team player. He has been imprisoned by the Israeli government for three years without any trial. In desparation, and to protest against his condition and lack of civil liberties, Sarsak is on a hunger strike. The 25-year old footballer has not eaten for 85 days and has lost approximately thirty kilos in weight. According to human rights organisation Addameer the situation of Mahmoud is critical.

On 22 July 2009 Sarsak – who lives in Rafah in the Gaza Strip – was arrested at a checkpoint when he was on his way to the West Bank for a match with his national team. He was interrogated for thirty days and then imprisoned without any trial or a precise legal charge. Family and friends are not allowed to visit him. They do not know why he is being detained for already nearly three years – no charge, no trial.

According to the Israeli government he is an illegal combatant and therefore they can imprison him indefinitely. Israeli jails house around 4,000 Palestinian political prisoners, more than 300 of them “administrative detainees” held without charge or trial. Sarsak, and all victims of abuse by the Israeli state, need our support.

Watch a video interview with Mahmoud’s family

This urgent campaign to release Mahmoud Sarsak is being supported by:

Eric Cantona
Noam Chomsky, Professor MIT, USA
John Dugard, Former Special Rapporteur of UN on Palestine, South Africa
FIFPro
Trevor Griffiths, Writer, UK
Paul Laverty, Screenwriter, UK
Ken Loach, Filmmaker, UK
Miriam Margolyes OBE, Actor, UK
John Pilger, Journalist, author, film maker, Australia
Show Racism the Red Card
Ahdaf Soueif, Writer, UK

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Fight for the Life of Mahmoud Sarsak! (London)

Fight for the Life of Mahmoud Sarsak!

Monday, June 11,  3–5 pm • Department for Culture Media and Sport

2-4 Cockspur Street  London SW1Y 5DH [just behind Trafalgar Square]

As the world watches millionaire footballers compete for the European Championship trophy, Palestinian footballer Mahmoud Sarsak is close to death as he enters his 85th day of hunger strike, the longest in history.

Sarsak, a 25-year-old footballer and student from Gaza, was arrested three years ago as he was trying to meet up with the national team in the West Bank, and has been detained indefinitely without charge or trial ever since.

Come and protest against this blatant abuse of human rights on Monday 11th June at 3pm outside the Department of Media, Culture and Sport in a coordinated action with the We Are All Hana Shalabi Network from Scotland who will be protesting outside the British Consulate in Jerusalem.

Bring footballs, football shirts and banners for a fun media-friendly kickabout outside the DMCS to raise awareness of Sarsak and the thousands of Palestinian prisoners being held under administrative detention and illegal combatant laws.

Please note:
This Facebook event was created because Facebook blocked all new activity on our original Facebook event for this protest.

Clearly it was too effective in gaining rapid growing support, so presumably the Zionist trolls made false allegations and Facebook just blocked it without any notification or investigation. Please follow details and updates also through emails, twitter and phones.

Phone CONTACTS:
+44 (0)7729779164
+44 (0)7880 731 865

Twitter: @palestineplace
Email: najah383@hotmail.com

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I Will Never Talk About the War Again (Maribor)

I Will Never Talk About the War Again

Opening: Friday, June 8, 2012, 8 pm

This exhibition is open until August 30, 2012.

Venues: KIBLA at Narodni dom Maribor and KIT at Glavni trg 14, Maribor, Slovenija

Performance during the opening of the exhibition

Alma Suljević, Holy Warrioress – Interference

Artists: Lana Čmajčanin, Chto Delat, Igor Grubić, Adela Jušić, Nikolay Oleynikov, Shadow Museum/Jaroslav Supek, Alma Suljević

Curator: Vladan Jeremić

The exhibition I Will Never Talk about the War Again will be presented for the first time in Slovenia as a part of the programme created by KIBLA for the manifestation Maribor 2012: European Capital of Culture. The exhibition has been produced by KIBLA and Biro Beograd, with the support of the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of the Republic of Slovenia, Maribor 2012 Institute – European Capital of Culture, and the City Council of the Municipality of Maribor.

The exhibition I Will Never Talk about the War Again presents the works of artists from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia and Russia focused on critical social analysis and testimonies of violence and trauma connected with recent wars in the countries of the former Yugoslavia.

Under a heavy burden of wars, ethnic nationalisms and socioeconomic stratification processes, generated by neoliberal capitalism’s ideology, almost all states formed after the destruction of Yugoslavia suffer from neocolonial dependency imposed by global capital and permanent crisis at the European economic periphery. In such a constantly antagonistic social and political context there are certain popular positions in which testimonies of war trauma are represented, manifested and interpreted. That is why many representations in the field of cultural production and contemporary art don’t succeed in escaping from stereotypes.

The exhibition I Will Never Talk about the War Again deals with the question of whether contemporary artistic practice can find a language with which it would be possible to speak politically about individual and collective war and post-war experiences, without slipping into exoticization. Is it possible to find an adequate artistic formula, and is it always necessary to create empathy in the process of understanding? Silence and amnesia are the most common reactions to trauma; does art in this sense actually also remain silent by using only the symbolic language of images and sounds, staying in the field of mediation and symbolism?

The title of the exhibition is borrowed from the video performance I Will Never Talk about the War Again, by two artists from Sarajevo, Adela Jušić and Lana Čmajčanin.

I Will Never Talk About the War Again is a modified version of the initial exhibition presented in 2011, as a collaborative effort of Biro Beograd and Center for Art and Architecture from Stockholm Färgfabriken, under the title Psychosis 1 – I will Never Talk About the War Again.

Artwork (above) by Nikolay Oleynikov

Download the exhibition booklet here.

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Richard Seymour: American Insurgents

(Via Lenin’s Tomb)

Richard Seymour speaks on his new book, American Insurgents: A History of American Anti-Imperialism.

All empires spin self-serving myths, and in the United States the most potent of these is that America is a force for democracy around the world. Yet there is a tradition of American anti-imperialism that gives the lie to this mythology. Seymour examines this complex relationship from the American Revolution to the present-day.

This event was co-sponsored by Haymarket Books and the Howard Zinn Memorial Lecture Series.

RICHARD SEYMOUR is a socialist writer and columnist and runs the blog Lenin’s Tomb. He is the author of The Liberal Defense of Murder and The Meaning of David Cameron. He has appeared on Democracy Now!, and written for The Guardian, The New Statesman, Radical Philosophy and Historical Materialism. Originally from Northern Ireland, he now resides in London, where he is studying for a PhD at the London School of Economics.

Lenin’s Tomb www.leninology.com

The Howard Zinn Memorial Lecture Series zinnlectures.wordpress.com

Haymarket Books www.haymarketbooks.org/pb/American-Insurgents

The Boston Occupier bostonoccupier.com

2012 Socialism Conference www.socialismconference.org

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Guernica: 75 Years Later

Via Histomat

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