Dec 182014
 

Part fiction, mostly truth.

The Dalai Lama laughed and laughed.

But it was a serious discussion at its beginning.

The U.S. Senate Committee Report on Torture, terrible stuff.

Makes you vomit.

Said to myself:  at least the depravity is  “them and not us”.

Words to eat. . . .

 

I know of the Dalai Lama’s work with Western scientists to understand violence in human kind.

And I get the bit about “With our thoughts, we make the world.”

Hmmm . . .  by all reports the Dalai Lama has a twinkle in his eye and laughs, a happy guy.

 

“Your Holiness”,  I say.

Westerners teach the scientific method.  They are rational.

A smile played on his face.

I continued.

I want power and control of resources.  So!   money and weapons for the local thugs.

Sometimes I have to drop a few cluster bombs to help out.   It gets pretty good when we started using those drones.

But damn that Manning-Assange duo.  We were successful – - no coverage of our chopper guys gunning down those Iraqi kids and their parents along with the Reuters reporter.   Until Manning went to Julian Assange at Wikileaks.

And damn that young Edward Snowden and Greenwald guy.  The spying stuff got us and the NSA into a lot of trouble.  Internationally we took a big hit.

And … and,  Double Damn that Senator Dianne Feinstein and her Report into the Torture everyone knows we’re doing.   Those bleeding hearts that think the U.S. . . .  y’all know those Laws are for others if they’re stupid enough to sign on.  Don’t apply to us.

I started to laugh.  They think they can get away with it!”.

What’s even funnier  …  they are these INTELLIGENT fellows, but they believe they can kill and torture and no one is going to turn around and do the same thing back to them!   They think (believe?!)  ISIS is not a product they helped create!   They think WE are dumb enough not to understand:  violence begets violence.

How can anyone …?!    My chest heaved in laughter.  It is so preposterous that anyone would think there are no consequences of their actions.  Might be their kids and ours who eventually pay the price, but someday, sometime …   What school did they go to?  . . .  What parents don’t teach their kids the lesson, many times over?   reap what you sow … what goes around comes around.  Ya better watch out, Santa Claus is coming to town.  I’m gettin’ nuttin’ for Christmas cuz I ain’t been nuttin’ but bad.

And then we – -    ha! Ha!  Laughing so hard I could hardly talk – -  entrust decisions to these people who are deluded about reality and their own omnipotence.  HA! Ha!

In that tragi-comedy that life is, I laughed so hard, couldn’t keep my face dry of tears.

The Dalai Lama laughed and laughed.

. . .    Ah Ha!    YOU can laugh, too.   And here’s the fun:

If we all spread it, get everyone rolling in laughter over the absurdity of the thinking  (there are no consequences of our actions)  we can make a big contribution to the (r)evolution.   . . .  I believe it can work.

This is simultaneously the unveiling, in case you did not know:  

  • U.S. TORTURE:   Lockheed Martin Corporation is a “contract interrogator” for the American military.  Links to documentation from 2011 and 2005 are in the ADDENDUM  I sent to the University Board of Governors, again requesting that they end their collaboration with Lockheed Martin.

2011-01-11 (U.S. Torture) Lockheed Martin’s role, supplying Contract Interrogators through subsidiary Sytex

2005-11-04 (U.S. Torture)  Meet the New Interrogators: Lockheed Martin

UNIVERSITIES:  only do what is rational. Their beacon is science and the scientific method.   And they embrace Lockheed Martin.  Lockheed Martin who, along with everything else, is part of the depravity outlawed by International Humanitarian Law, and our own Laws.

The U.S. Senate Committee Report on Torture is immensely valuable IF we do something with it.   I googled Senator Dianne Feinstein.   Her Washington Office and constituency offices in California come right up.   I phoned and expressed my gratitude.

But laugh heartily.   And pass along the laughter.  It will be mightier than any bombs.  Expel Lockheed Martin, the “contract interrogators” from hell, to the American military torture programme.

If everyone knows what is done in the name of “rational”,  it will stop.   Laugh our duplicity with U.S. Torture into non-existence.    Part of the solution.

As told to the University Secretary, my Christmas wish for all of us is that we discard the empty rhetoric of “Peace on Earth”.  We can replace the commercialization of spiritual celebrations with deeds of meaning.   And so I wish you and your family a peaceful and joyous Christmas.   I wish the same for people in other countries, throughout the year.   We all have a role to play in making that happen.

Cheers!

Sandra

 Posted by at 8:04 pm
Dec 152014
 

In the wake of U.S. Senate Committee Report on Torture (Senator Dianne Feinstein Chair),

I sent following ADDENDUM  to  August 19th  request Board of Gorvernors to end the collaboration with Lockheed Martin .

The Addendem and the August 19th submission together document why.

 

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

December 11, 2014

To the Board of Governors, University of Saskatchewan

The release on Tuesday, December 9th of the Report on Torture from the U.S. Senate Committee is critical to a decision about collaboration with Lockheed Martin.

Please find below documentation of Lockheed Martin’s role – - “contract interrogators”.

Thank-you.

Sandra Finley

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =  = = =  = =

ADDENDUM, December 11, 2014

 

(SUBMISSION TO THE U OF S BOARD OF GOVERNORS (August 19)

 

REQUEST TO END THE RELATIONSHIP WITH LOCKHEED MARTIN CORP)

 

1.   The Board of Governors may not know the connection between the December 9th  U.S. Senate intelligence committee’s report on CIA torture  and Lockheed Martin. 

Dianne Feinstein on Tuesday released her committee’s findings on CIA torture, which found the agency’s post-9/11 embrace of torture to be brutal and ineffective.  

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014/dec/09/cia-torture-report-worst-findings-waterboard-rectal   Rectal rehydration and standing on broken limbs: the CIA torture report’s grisliest findings . . .

Parts of the CIA interrogation programme were known, but the catalogue of abuse is nightmarish, especially knowing much more will never be revealed . . .

So, the whole world now knows about the illegal and depraved torture done in the name of American citizens.

There is long-standing documentation of Lockheed Martin’s role.  A couple examples:

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -

2.   UPDATE  

Lockheed Martin has launched a green-washing campaign since I wrote to you on August 19th:

 

3.   BRAVE SOULS

Not only Romeo Dallaire.  Just a small sampling of some others:

 

 

 

 

 

 

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -

4. BACKGROUND YOU MAY WANT TO SKIM

o   2007-01-16 The Iraq War, Brought to You by Your Friends at Lockheed Martin

 

o   2004-11-28 Lockheed Martin and the Future of Warfare, NY Times, “Lockheed Martin doesn’t run the United States. But it does help run a breathtakingly big part of it.”

 

o   1997-12-03 Lockheed Martin: Antipersonnel Weapons (land mines), Baltimore Chronicle

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -

 

5. LOCKHEED MARTIN, MODUS OPERANDI

a.   2006-09-13   Maclean’s Magazine interview, President of the Americas for Lockheed Martin

a Lockheed Martin president lays out part of the modus operandi.   He was speaking on behalf of the large corporations in the SPP.    They will run things from inside the Government.   They cannot get what they want through normal democratic means and so they will use the “agencies” of Government and the bureaucracy.

Stunningly brazen and stupid (arrogant) for the man, Ron Covais, to have laid it out so clearly to a journalist for a national magazine (Maclean’s).

b.   2002-05-13 Lockheed Martin, US: Wages Of Sin – Why Lawbreakers Still Win Government Contracts, US News & World Report

It is important for Canadians to remember that in Saskatchewan and most other provinces, there is no law against corporate or union contributions to political parties.

It is no surprise to see Lockheed Martin and the Government of Saskatchewan partnered on a solar project in Swift Current. (item f. below)

c.   2012-07-26 Key Senate Staffer on Military Issues Got Big Payout From Lockheed Martin

 

d.   2011-10-31 (Lockheed Martin) Arms Industry Gave $1.1 Million to Super Committee Members

 

e.   2010-06-26: Aerospace Giant Lockheed Martin Donating $3.5 Million Training Package to the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technology (SIIT) in Saskatoon (Drones)

 

f.   2014-10-20 Lockheed Martin Participation in Solar Energy Project in Swift Current(First Nations partnership)

 

g.   2014-09-01 Lockheed Martin green-washing. Platinum sponsor of NYC Climate Week

 

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -

6.   LOCKHEED MARTIN AND THE NSA (Edward Snowden leaks)

The issue of surveillance, a specialty of Lockheed Martin’s,  is of increasing worry.   We are moving toward a police state.

Documentation of Lockheed Martin’s role in the NSA is scattered in many places.   One example from Lockheed Martin’s own website:

http://www.lockheedmartin.ca/us/news/press-releases/2013/april/isgs-nsa-cdx-0415.html

Lockheed Martin Hosts Cyber Defense Exercise Supporting NSA for 11th Year

April 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/

 

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -

CONCLUSION:

Lockheed Martin’s role in

  • torture, illegal under International and Canadian Law,
  • their production of land mines and then cluster munitions, illegal
  • their production of drones for dropping bombs (Yemen, Afghanistan, a growing list)
  • their use of bribery,
  • their long record of court convictions for such things as breaking arms export control laws,

all point to the need to disassociate. Utilitarian arguments to support collaboration with Lockheed Martin will, in the end, torpedo the University.

Dianne Feinstein, chair of the Senate Committee (Torture), spoke of the stain on America and the consequences of the loss of moral authority.   I hate to be repetitive but the loss of moral authority leaves you with scorn and no leg to stand on.

For your consideration,

Sandra Finley

 Posted by at 3:03 pm
Dec 152014
 

December 11, 2014

 

TO:  Elizabeth Williamson, University Secretary

 

Dear Elizabeth,

 

I will appreciate if the attached Addendum to my August 19th submission is forwarded to members of the Board of Governors, in time for the next Board Meetings, Dec 15-16.

 

Tuesday’s release of the Report on Torture  from the U.S. Senate Committee is critical to a decision about collaboration with Lockheed Martin.    The Addendum has two links that document Lockheed’s role of “contract interrogators”.

 

My Christmas wish for all of us is that we discard the empty rhetoric of “Peace of Earth”.  We can replace the commercialization of spiritual celebrations with deeds of meaning.   And so I wish you and your family a peaceful and joyous Christmas.   I wish the same for people in other countries, throughout the year.   We all have a role to play in making that happen.

 

Thanks, Elizabeth.

 

/Sandra Finley

 Posted by at 2:39 pm
Dec 152014
 

In the wake of the U.S. Senate Report on Torture (Dec 9, 2014,  chair Dianne Feinstein),  I am reminded of the good work being done to understand and address violence in human behaviour.   One powerful example,  on-going meetings:

http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/destructive_emotions_how_can_we_overcome_them_a_scientific_dialogue_with_th

Book Review: Destructive Emotions

By Elizabeth Cushing Payne | March 1, 2004 | 0 Comments

by Daniel Goleman
Bantam Books, 2003, 432 pages

 

“Buddhism and science are not conflicting perspectives on the world, but rather differing approaches to the same end: seeking the truth.” It was on this premise of his that the Dalai Lama invited 12 renowned scientists and philosophers to Dharamasala, India for a five-day conference in March, 2000—the eighth meeting of its kind since 1987. Their conversations spanned the neuroscience of emotions, the nature of consciousness, and some of the latest scientific findings on how to master negative emotions and encourage compassion.

In Destructive Emotions, Daniel Goleman, the author of Emotional Intelligence and coordinator of the Dharamasala meeting, chronicles these occasionally technical and esoteric discussions with clarity and humor. From Goleman’s eloquent summary emerge several intriguing glimpses into how humans might improve their emotional balance. In one session, Richard Davidson, a psychologist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, presents startling research about how the brain acts before, during, and after emotional states. His research has indicated that certain environments and repeated emotional experiences can actually physically alter the brain. Furthermore, he has found distinct connections between cognitive and emotional processes in the same areas of the brain—a neurological link between what we think and what we feel. His hypothesis: humans can use reason and intellect to improve their emotional balance, permanently changing the way their brain functions in the process.

Davidson’s conversation with the Dalai Lama resonated in the presentation by Mark Greenberg, who has extensive experience teaching emotional skills to children. Greenberg, director of the Prevention Research Center for the Promotion of Human Development at Pennsylvania State University, describes his emotional education curriculum, called PATHS (Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies). Children in the program learn to understand and manage their emotions better by calming themselves, discussing their feelings, and anticipating and preparing for emotional experiences. The program’s results are extremely encouraging. Greenberg feels strongly that evaluations of PATHS show it is “laying down pathways in the brain” that create critical emotional habits just at that moment in development when children are most open to learning about their own emotional life.

Perhaps the most enlightening implication of Destructive Emotions is that rigorous scientific study of emotions, positive and negative, is making exciting progress. These scholars, with the Dalai Lama’s participation and support, are continuing to discover more about how we experience and can alter our emotional responses—all in an effort to foster global peace and well-being.

 

 Posted by at 2:05 pm
Dec 102014
 

Of all the new ventures that Lockheed Martin has undertaken, the least well known may be its role in interrogating prisoners at U.S. facilities in Iraq and at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

- – - – -  – - – - – - – - – - – - – -

http://www.alternet.org/story/149492/prophets_of_war%3A_how_defense_contractor_lockheed_martin_dominates_the_military_establishment

Prophets of War: How Defense Contractor Lockheed Martin Dominates the Military Establishment

William Hartung reveals how Lockheed Martin’s presence in the U.S. military goes far deeper than mere weapon supplying.

January 11, 2011

The following is an excerpt from William Hartung’s new book Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex (Nation Books, 2010)

 

Global Domination

While contracts for supplying weapons for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are a significant part of Lockheed Martin’s business, the new company that has taken form since the merger boom of the 1990s has a far wider reach. These activities include everything from involvement in interrogation and police training to profiting from the new post-9/11 wave of domestic surveillance activities.

Of all the new ventures that Lockheed Martin has undertaken, the least well known may be its role in interrogating prisoners at U.S. facilities in Iraq and at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The fact that employees of private companies are even allowed to interrogate terror suspects came as a surprise to most Americans when it was revealed in the wake of the Abu Ghraib scandal. The revelations of the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques”—many of which were viewed by human rights analysts as torture plain and simple—rocked the world as pictures of naked inmates threatened by dogs and subjected to other serious abuses were disseminated in print and electronic media. The damage to the reputation of the United States as a country governed by the rule of law is still being felt, even as accountability has been limited to the low-level military personnel involved directly in the abuses.

As the scandal unfolded, it was revealed that employees of two private contractors—CACI and the Titan Corporation—were present when inhumane techniques were being used. According to a U.S. Army report compiled under the direction of Major General Antonio Taguba, Steven Stefanowicz, an interrogator employed by CACI, lied about his knowledge of abusive activities and told military police to engage in practices that he “clearly knew . . . equated to physical abuse.” No charges were filed against Stefanowicz as a result of these findings. Another civilian was accused of raping an Iraqi inmate. In all, six contractor employees were referred to the Justice Department for prosecution, but no charges have been filed against any of them. In a separate case resolved in 2007, a CIA contract employee named David Passaro was sentenced to eight and a half years in prison for beating a prisoner to death in Afghanistan.

An analysis conducted by Osha Gray Davidson for Salon determined that private contractors were the rule, not the exception, at Abu Ghraib. All twenty of the translators working there were from Titan, and almost half of the analysts and interrogators were from CACI.

Eugene Fidell, the president of the National Institute for Military Justice, has expressed particular concern about the Pentagon’s use of private contractor employees to interrogate terror suspects. “That’s really playing with fire,” says Fidell. “That kind of activity, which so closely entails the national interest and exposes the country to terrible opprobrium, is something that ought to be done by people who are government employees.” This logic did not prevent Lockheed Martin from getting into the interrogation business.

The company’s first brush with the issue of private interrogations came with its effort to buy the Titan Corporation. Unbeknownst to its management, Lockheed Martin’s September 2003 bid for Titan almost placed it in the center of the Abu Ghraib torture scandal: It came more than six months before the Abu Ghraib photos were released and the allegations of abuses by Titan employees were made public.

The Titan deal started to unravel in early 2004 when it was revealed that the company was being investigated by the Justice Department for overseas bribery. As a result, Lockheed Martin announced that it was extending the timeline within which the deal would be considered so that it could see how Titan dealt with the bribery investigations. At this point, the alleged interrogation abuses by Titan employees had yet to be revealed. Even after the allegations did come out in May, they did not appear to play a role in Lockheed Martin’s decision about whether to buy Titan. The bribery charges were still the main issue.

By the time Lockheed Martin’s self-imposed deadline for considering the deal came in June, the bribery case against Titan had yet to be resolved. Given its own past problems with bribery, Lockheed was reluctant to take on a company with the same issues. So Lockheed withdrew its bid for Titan, a move that it did not “take lightly,” in the words of company spokesperson Tom Jurkowsky. “We did not want the uncertainty that surrounded the transaction to continue indefinitely,” Jurkowsky said. Lockheed Martin’s concerns were justified. In March 2005, Titan paid $28.5 million in fines for giving $2 million to the reelection campaign of Mathieu Kerekou, the President of the African nation of Benin. At that point, it was the largest fine ever imposed under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Despite the collapse of the Titan deal, Lockheed Martin became involved in the supply of both interrogators and translators to the U.S. government via two other routes. In March 2005, it bought the Sytex Corporation. Sytex provided interrogators and translators for employment in Iraq at the prisons at Abu Ghraib, Camp Cropper, and Camp Whitehorse. The exact number of personnel supplied by Sytex is not known, but a sense of the scale of the effort can be gleaned from the fact that in one post-9/11 ad alone the company sought 120 “intelligence analysts,” many of whom would have the skills needed to serve as translators and/or interrogators in Iraq.

A serious issue regarding Sytex’s military interrogation work came up in a report by the Army Inspector General. The report found that two of the four Sytex interrogators working at Camp Bagram in Afghanistan had not received training in military interrogation techniques that would have included instruction in the Geneva Conventions requirements on the treatment of prisoners of war.

Sytex was not Lockheed Martin’s only link to interrogation work. In early 2003, it acquired the federal government information technology unit of Affiliated Computer Services (ACS), a company that held a contract to supply up to fifty interrogators and intelligence analysts at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. FBI documents released in January2007 indicated that ACS interrogators were involved in supervising U.S. government personnel—a practice that is prohibited. At least one private contractor employee engaged directly in abusive behavior, including wrapping duct tape around the head of a detainee. FBI personnel alleged that another civilian contract employee frequently “lost it” when interviewing prisoners.

The incidents cited in the FBI reports predated Lockheed Martin’s purchase of ACS. Lockheed spokesperson Tom Jurkowsky asserted that since its takeover of ACS, the company “did not direct the actions of any military member, active or reserve.” To date, there is no evidence to contradict Jurkowsky’s claim.

There is one direct allegation of abusive behavior by a Lockheed Martin contract employee: the case of Mamdough Habib, a former taxi driver in Sydney, Australia, who spent over three years at Guantanamo before being released in January 2005. According to a May 2008 report by the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General, “Habib alleged that ‘Mike,’ a private contract interrogator with Lockheed Martin, had hit him during an interrogation.” The FBI agent whom Habib told about the incident suggested that it was highly unlikely that the interrogator in question would have hit a suspect. However, she was not present when the reported events occurred. The Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) has since launched an investigation into Habib’s charges, but as of this writing the Pentagon has reported no results from the probe.

Tim Shorrock, a journalist whose book Spies for Hire offers the most comprehensive assessment yet made of the outsourcing of intelligence activities, has described Lockheed Martin as “a major force in military interrogations,” but the most recent evidence of these activities ends in 2007. At that point the company was still actively recruiting interrogators. But according to Lockheed Martin spokesperson Matt Kramer, the company is no longer involved in “hiring, recruiting or providing interrogators.”

Lockheed Martin’s involvement in the interrogation of suspects in the “war on terror” is just a small part of the work it has performed for the CIA, the National Security Agency (NSA), the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and other U.S. government intelligence and surveillance bodies. According to Spies for Hire , nearly three-quarters of the budget of the U.S. intelligence community goes to private contractors. This amounts to a market of $50 billion, the largest source of government funding for goods and services outside of the Pentagon. Retired Vice Admiral Herbert A. Browne, former head of a major intelligence contractor trade group, calls it the “Intelligence Industrial Complex.” Tim Shorrock has identified Lockheed Martin as the largest contractor:

The bulk of this $50 billion market is serviced by 100 companies. . . . At one end of the scale is Lockheed Martin, whose $40 billion in revenue and 52,000 cleared IT personnel [employees with high-level security clearances] make it the largest defense contractor and private intelligence force in the world.

Lockheed Martin executives have acknowledged their central role. At a 2005 meeting, Ron Romero—the company’s Director of Intelligence and Homeland Security Programs—noted that although “everyone talks about the Intelligence Community as ‘these guys in government,’” in fact “you [the contractors] are all part of the Intelligence Community. In fact, you probably make up the largest part of it [emphasis added].”

 Posted by at 8:21 pm
Dec 102014
 

Excerpt:

Sytex, and thus Lockheed after the takeover, appears to have subsequently emerged as one of the biggest recruiters of private interrogators. In June alone, Sytex advertised for 11 new interrogators for Iraq, and in July the company sought 23 interrogators for Afghanistan. …

Ads on several websites frequented by current and former military personnel offered a $70,000 to $90,000 salary, a $2,000 sign-up bonus, $1,000 for a mid-tour break, and a $2,000 bonus for completing the normal six month deployment. Those returning for a second tour get double bonuses at the beginning and end of their stints.

 

http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=12757

(There are links to more information at the above URL.   The article only is copied below.)

Meet the New Interrogators: Lockheed Martin

by Pratap Chatterjee, Special to CorpWatch
November 4th, 2005

cartoon by Khalil Bendib

Dozens of people converged this summer in the high desert town of El Paso, Texas, en route to spending six months in Iraqi prisons. They were going not as prisoners, but as their interrogators, walking a legalistic tightrope stretched across the Geneva Conventions. Just for signing up, they got a $2,000 check from a company that is rapidly becoming one of the key employers in the world of intelligence: Lockheed Martin, the world’s biggest military company, based in Bethesda, Maryland.

Before deployment to Iraq, they assemble in Building 503 on Pleasanton Road to mingle with the soldiers and government civilian workers at the welcome briefing that takes place every Sunday. There they get a government-issued duffel bag, filled with basic items for working in the war in the Middle East: cargo pants, tactical shirts, Kevlar helmets and Land Warrior chemical masks. After a week of orientation and medical processing, they fly to Tampa, Florida, and onto their final work destinations — Iraq’s infamous prisons including Abu Ghraib, Camp Cropper, a prison at Baghdad International Airport, and Camp Whitehorse, near Nasariyah.

Known in the intelligence community as “97 Echoes” (97E is the official classification number for the interrogator course taught at military colleges including Fort Huachuca, Arizona), these contractors will work side-by-side with military interrogators conducting question-and-answer sessions using 17 officially sanctioned techniques, ranging from “love of comrades” to “fear up harsh.” Their subjects will be the tens of thousands of men thrown into United States-run military jails on suspicion of links to terrorism.

The rules that govern all interrogators, both contract and military, are currently open to broad interpretation. Today there is much legal wrangling about where to draw the line between harsh treatment and torture. An amendment to the latest military spending bill introduced by Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican, explicitly bars the use of torture on anyone in Unites States custody. His amendment was recently approved by a 90 to 9 votes in the United States Senate and is currently being negotiated in “conference” by both Houses of Congress this week before going to President Bush. McCain is fighting off Vice President Dick Cheney’s suggestion that Central Intelligence Agency counter-terrorism agents working overseas be exempted from the torture ban.

Sytex

Jobs for this new breed of interrogators typically begin with a phone call or email to retired Lieutenant Colonel Marc Michaelis, in the quaint old flour milling town of Ellicott City, on the banks of the Patapsco River in Maryland, about an hour’s drive from Washington DC.

Michaelis, who is the main point of contact for new interrogators, came to Lockheed in February after it acquired his former employer Sytex in a $462 million takeover. Sytex was founded 1988 by Sydney Martin, a management graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who dabbles in collecting old Danish and Irish coins. In its first year, the Pennsylvania-based company earned $1,500. By 2004, according to Congressional Quarterly, Sytex was providing “personnel and technology solutions to government customers including the Pentagon’s Northern Command, the Army’s Intelligence and Security Command, and the Department of Homeland Security.” Its revenues had reached $425 million.

The bottom line was undoubtedly improved by the boom in hiring contract interrogators that began just weeks after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. Armed with new Pentagon contracts, Michaelis advertised job openings for 120 new “intelligence analysts” ranging from Arab linguists to counterintelligence and information warfare specialists. The private contractors would work at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and at the United States Special Operations Command in Tampa, Florida.

At the same time, Lockheed Martin, then a completely different company, was also interested in entering this lucrative new business of intelligence contracting. It bought up Affiliated Computer Services (ACS), a small company with a General Services Administration (GSA) technology contract issued in Kansas City, Missouri. In November 2002, Lockheed used GSA to employ private interrogators at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The contract was then transferred to a Department of Interior office in Sierra Vista, Arizona.

The issue of private contractors in interrogation did not come to light until mid-2004, when a military investigation revealed that several interrogators at the Abu Ghraib prison were civilian employees of CACI. The contract to the Virginia-based company was also issued by the Department of Interior’s Sierra Vista, Arizona office, located a stone’s throw from the headquarters of the Army’s main interrogation school.

(CACI did not actually bid on the original contract, but like Lockheed in Guantanamo, it had bought another company–Premier Technology Group-which did. The Fairfax, Virginia-based firm provided interrogators to the Pentagon in August 2003 under a GSA contract for information technology services.)

Scandal at Abu Ghraib

One of the CACI interrogators, Steven Stefanowicz, was accused of involvement in the Abu Ghraib prison torture scandal that broke in May 2004. It was soon revealed that Stefanowicz, who was trained as a satellite image analyst, had received no formal training in military interrogation, which involves instruction in the Geneva Conventions on human rights.

A subsequent report in July 2004 by Lieutenant General Paul Mikolashek, on behalf of the Army Inspector General, found that a third of the interrogators supplied in Iraq by CACI had not been trained in military interrogation methods and policies. The same report mentioned that of the four contract interrogators employed by Sytex in Bagram, Afghanistan, only two had received military interrogation training, and the other two, who were former police officers, had not.

It also emerged that no one knew what laws applied to private contractors who engaged in torture in Iraq or whether they were in fact accountable to any legal authority or disciplinary procedures. When the media began to question the role of the private contractors and the legality of their presence under unrelated information technology contracts from non-military agencies, the Pentagon swiftly issued sole-source (“no bid”) military contracts to CACI and Lockheed.

That CACI contract expired at the end of September this year. But before the company opted not to renew its contract, the company was already working with Sytex as a sub-contractor to supply new personnel to interrogate prisoners.

No new contractor in either Iraq or Afghanistan has been made officially announced to date, but Major Matthew McLaughlin, a spokesperson for United States Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, told CorpWatch: “The Army is the executive agent for contracting all interrogator type services for the Department of Defense. They work their contracts (writ large) from an office which operates out of Fort Belvoir, Virginia.”

Web Recruiting

Sytex, and thus Lockheed after the takeover, appears to have subsequently emerged as one of the biggest recruiters of private interrogators. In June alone, Sytex advertised for 11 new interrogators for Iraq, and in July the company sought 23 interrogators for Afghanistan. It has also been seeking experienced report writers and program managers who have worked in military interrogations in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, former Yugoslavia, or the Persian Gulf War.

Ads on several websites frequented by current and former military personnel offered a $70,000 to $90,000 salary, a $2,000 sign-up bonus, $1,000 for a mid-tour break, and a $2,000 bonus for completing the normal six month deployment. Those returning for a second tour get double bonuses at the beginning and end of their stints. In return, the employees are expected to work as necessary– up to 14 hours a day, 7 days a week. (The companies, however, get to bill the military up to $200 an hour for this work, according to Cherif Bassiouni, the former United Nations Independent Expert on the Situation of Human Rights in Afghanistan.)

“Sytex is one of our best customers,” says Bill Golden, a former military intelligence analyst with 20 years Army experience, who now runs IntelligenceCareers.com, one of the biggest intelligence employment websites in the business. “They are the main company hiring 97E workers today.”

Golden attributes the current boom in private contract interrogators to poor military planning over the last decade. “The military worked as hard as it could to create a brain drain by moving qualified intelligence people into other jobs, who then quit. As a result by September 11, 2001, there was no one left who had a clue. Now they are rushing to catch up and create 9,000 new specialists, but it takes at least five years to become really experienced. What we have now is a nursery full of babies in the army.”

Yet even by 2003, just 237 new interrogators were graduated from the intelligence school at Fort Huachuca. Today, a Virginia-based company, Anteon, has contracted with the base to provide private instructors to increase the number of qualified interrogators completing intelligence courses to 1,000 a year in 2006. (See related article)

The scope of contracts for companies like Anteon and Sytex are difficult to determine because they have never been made public. Asked about the details of the interrogation contracts, Lockheed declined to comment. Joseph Wagovich, a spokesman for the company’s information technology division that includes Sytex, initially told CorpWatch that the company had only a minor role in the interrogation business and that the company had wrapped up its interrogation contract on Guantanamo. But he confirmed that Lockheed was still supplying other kinds of “intelligence analysts” on the Cuban base.

Sytex itself also likes to keep a low profile. “Most of the law enforcement organizations, as well as the other surreptitious organizations we may be supporting, would just as soon not see their names in print,” Ralph Palmieri Junior, the company’s Chief Operating Officer told Congressional Quarterly in 2004.

Running the United States?

Even without all the specifics, it is clear that Lockheed is supplying the U.S. war in Iraq with a vast range of both personnel and materiel. In addition providing interrogators, it is currently seeking retired Army majors or lieutenant colonels to develop short- and long-range planning at the biggest U.S. base in Iraq: Camp Anaconda, in Balad, northern Iraq. Also being courted for work in Iraq are “red switch” experts to run the military’s secure communications systems.

On the materiel side, Lockheed’s Keyhole and Lacrosse satellites beam images from the war back to the military; its U-2 and the SR-71 Blackbird spy planes, F-16, F/A-22 jet fighters, and F-117 stealth attack fighters were used to “shock and awe” the Iraqis at the start of the US invasion; and ground troops employed its Hellfire air-to-ground missiles and the Javelin portable missiles in the invasion of Fallujah last year.

The company’s reach and influence go far beyond the military. A New York Times profile of the company in 2004 opened with the sentence: “Lockheed Martin doesn’t run the United States. But it does help run a breathtakingly big part of it.”

“Over the last decade, Lockheed, the nation’s largest military contractor, has built a formidable information-technology empire that now stretches from the Pentagon to the Post Office. It sorts your mail and totals your taxes. It cuts Social Security checks and counts the United States census. It runs space flights and monitors air traffic. To make all that happen, Lockheed writes more computer code than Microsoft” writes Tim Weiner.

The national security reporter for the New York Times explains how Lockheed gets its business: “Men who have worked, lobbied and lawyered for Lockheed hold the posts of secretary of the Navy, secretary of transportation, director of the national nuclear weapons complex, and director of the national spy satellite agency.”

“Giving one company this much power in matters of war and peace is as dangerous as it is undemocratic,” says Bill Hartung, senior fellow at the World Policy Institute in New York. “Lockheed Martin is now positioned to profit from every level of the war on terror from targeting to intervention, and from occupation to interrogation.

Failed Experiment?

Apart from the monoply on war-related contracts to one single corporation, the increased outsourcing of interrogation to private contractors raises questions of accountability and of enforcement of regulations designed for the military.

Human rights groups are openly critical of this new trend. “The Army’s use of contract interrogators has to date been a failed experiment,” Deborah Pearlstein told CorpWatch. “Based on the Pentagon’s own investigations and other reports that are already public, it seems clear that contractors are less well trained, less well controlled, and harder to hold accountable for things that go wrong than are regular troops.” Pearlstein, who is the director of the U.S. Law and Security Program at Human Rights First (formerly Lawyers Committee on Human Rights), warned that “unless and until contract interrogators can be brought at the very least up to the standards of training and discipline expected of our uniformed soldiers, the United States may well be better off without their services.”

Former interrogators have a more nuanced opinion. “The problem is not the use of civilian contractors,” one former Army interrogator with over ten years of field experience, wrote in an email to CorpWatch. “What is necessary is an active means of supervision and oversight on ALL of our assets in the field…not just the civilian ones. If you take a look at many of the investigations of the military intelligence activities, you will find just as many uniformed individuals breaking the law as contractors. I am more interested in providing proper guidance, training, supervision and oversight to ALL of our intelligence people.”

But Susan Burke, a lawyer for Iraqi prisoners who say they were tortured at Abu Ghraib, challenges the legality of using private contractors for interrogation. “Interrogation has always been considered an inherently governmental function for obvious reasons. It is irresponsible and dangerous to use contractors in such settings given that there is a long history of repeated human rights abuses by contractors.” The Philadephia attorney charges that the use of private contractors is illegal. “The United States Congress has passed laws (the Federal Acquisition Regulations) that prevent the executive branch from delegating “inherently governmental functions” to private parties.”

Pratap Chatterjee is managing editor of CorpWatch. He can be reached at “pratap@corpwatch.org”

 Posted by at 6:42 pm
Nov 052014
 

(See also:  2014-10-20  Lockheed Martin Participation in Solar Energy Project in Swift Current, SK)

From Tamara Lorincz:

Lockheed Martin is the premium, platinum sponsor of the NYC Climate Week and this greenwash must be exposed and condemned. Lockheed Martin’s products are contributing to severe environmental degradation (perchlorates from missiles & rockets) and climate change (F-18, F-22, F-35 fighter jets & Stratocaster bombers etc…). William Hartung, director at the Center for International Policy wrote a book about Lockheed “Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military Industrial Complex.” I told him about this and he is going to speak on my panel in NY. Lockheed & the other weapons manufacturers are the problem to the climate crisis and energy insecurity, NOT the solution. Look here: http://www.climateweeknyc.org/partners-sponsors/

Worse, this NYC Climate Week is being linked to the UN Climate Summit and it is so important that we protest against this.

So far nothing is organized against this: http://peoplesclimate.org/march/

I want to organize a rally (stand with a banner and pass out leaflets) outside the NYC Climate Week event opening (that is by invitation only) on Monday, Sept. 22 at 10am: http://www.climateweeknyc.org/events/climate-week-nyc-2014-opening-day

I am hoping that I can say that Tamara Lorincz, member of the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace is the organizer of this rally and please join me. I know I have the support of Alyn Ware, winner of the Right Livelihood for his work on peace education & nuclear abolition. He and I have talked about releasing a statement together.

I might be the only person that shows up to protest but I have done that many times and don’t mind doing it again. I think VOW allowing me to protest as an “organization” shows the courage of women’s voices, helps raise awareness of the links between militarism & climate change and is bold leadership about trying to tackle this problem.

I hope you will allow me to do this.

Thank you,

Tamara

Tamara Lorincz

International Peace Bureau, Senior Researcher

Rotary International World Peace Fellow 2013-2014

University of Bradford, UK

 

DEMILITARIZE: http://www.demilitarize.ca

BLOG “Wednesdays against Warships”: http://demilitarize.ca/wp/

TWITTER: @TamaraLorincz

Flikr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tamaralorincz/

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.” – Former US President D. Eisenhower, 1953

 Posted by at 10:08 am
Oct 222014
 

 

Dostoyevsky (1821 – 1881).    Spared last minute from beheading because of what he wrote.   Incarcerated and then confined to Siberia (10 years in all).

Knows of what he writes!  Had an extraordinary capacity to interpret and then explain human behaviour.

His understanding is very helpful today.

EXCERPTS

From  Penguin Classics,  Fyodor Dostoyevsky, 

Notes From Underground and The Double, 2009

 

Introduction:  Vision in Darkness  (by Robert Louis Jackson)

(p. xi - xiii)

…  In the most basic sense the underground behaviour and outlook . . . is the consequence of a radical denial of man’s organic need for self-expression, of his natural drive to be himself and to occupy his own space and place in the world. 

The suppression of the basic drives of human nature, however, signifies not their death, but their disfiguration.  (my emphasis)

…  ‘happiness lies … in eternal indefatigable activity and in the practical employment of all our proclivities and capacities’, but that ‘if man is dissatisfied, if he has no means to express himself and bring out what is best in him (not out of vanity, but as a result of the most natural human need to know, express, embody his “I” in real life)’, he undergoes some kind of extraordinary breakdown – …

 … the ‘need to affirm oneself, to distinguish oneself, to stand out, is a law of nature for every individual;  it is his right, his essence, the law of his being’.  He went on to note that this need ‘in the crude, unstructured state of society manifests itself in the individual quite crudely and even savagely.’.

…  The underground emerges, finally, as a consequence of a profound moral and spiritual crisis of … educated classes.

(p. xxv – xxvi)

…  As a social type, Golyadkin is a casualty of a system whose values he shares.  Man is his own environment.

(Dostoyevsky was 9 years imprisoned in Siberia – state censorship, hence reference to convicts)

Freedom as a basic psychological and spiritual need, and the tragic consequences of its suppression, is at the centre of his great artistic memoir,  Notes from House of the Dead (1860-62).   ‘What is more important than money for the convict?  … ‘Freedom or at least some dream of freedom.’  ‘Through gambling, spending money on vodka, carousing, risk, seeking forbidden pleasures, smuggling, attempts at escape, or just speaking, acting, dressing in flamboyant or bizarre ways the convict seeks to act ‘according to his own free will’, to experience at least the ‘illusion’ of freedom.  His longing for freedom, his hopes, however, are ‘so utterly without foundation as almost to border on delirium’.  Thus, the narrator remarks that sometimes even the ordinarily peaceable and model convict will suddenly and unaccountably burst out in a frenzy.  Yet this is

the anguished, hysterical manifestation of personality, an instinctive yearning to be oneself, the desire to express one’s humiliated personality;  a desire which suddenly takes shape and reaches the pitch of malice, of madness, of the eclipse of reason, of fits and convulsions.  Thus, perhaps a person buried alive in a coffin and awakening in it, would thrust at the cover and try to throw it off, although, of course, reason might convince him that all his efforts were in vain.  But the whole point here is that it is not a question of reason:  it’s a question of convulsions. . . .

Where the life impulse is suppressed, reason becomes irrational or . . . scrambles into (convulsion).        Such a phenomenon, in one form or another, is paradigmatic for the ‘dead house’ where, … ‘almost every independent manifestation of personality in the convict is considered a crime.

…  The convict’s almost insane defence of his personality echoes Dostoyevsky’s use of madness as a social metaphor … psychology of underground protest, one in which man is extreme cases will go mad in order to insist on his own free will.   Dostoyevsky’s sympathies, to be sure, are with the convicts in their plight.  At the same time, he views their rebellion, their excesses, as a tragic inversion of man’s legitimate quest for self-expression, self-mastery and self-determination.

(p. xxvii – xxx)
 
… broadly condemns Western individualism and social relations in general, …  He insists that the ‘sign of the highest development of personality, of its supreme power, its absolute self-mastery, and its most complete freedom of its own will’ is to be found in ‘sacrifice of one’s whole self for the benefit of all’.  Society must recognize the rights of the individual, but the ‘demanding rebellious individual ought first of all to sacrifice to society his whole “I”, his whole self’.
 
Dostoyevsky regards both capitalist and socialist ideology and practice as providing deeply flawed and counterproductive models for social development.  …
 
… Dostoyevsky gives special attention to the much-hailed Crystal Palace that was the centrepiece of London’s Great Exposition in Hyde Park in 1851, and which both symbolized and embodied for many the victory of Progress and the mastery of technology   … Dostoyevsky’s response to this wonder was profoundly negative. 
 
… However independent you may be, yet something begins to frighten you.  ‘Now really isn’t all this in very fact the attainment of the ideal?’ – you think.  ‘Isn’t this really the ultimate?  Is this not in fact the “one fold”?  And won`t one have to accept this as truth in its entirety, and then fall mute  …  You feel that here something final has been accomplished, accomplished and finished.   This is some kind of Biblical scene …  You feel that it would take a great deal of spiritual resistance and negation not to succumb, not to surrender to the impression, not to bow to the fact and not to deify this Baal, that is, not to accept the existing for one`s ideal.
 
… the Underground Man, precisely in a spirit of unremitting resistance and negation, will dismiss it as a sorry ideal, and one flawed not only by its wholly utilitarian and materialist essence, but by its deadly embodiment of stasis and finality.
 
 
 Finally, in lines and imagery both uncanny and prophetic, Dostoyevsky counterposes to the triumphalism of London with its worldwide trade, its Crystal Palace, and world fair, a dark and forboding, indeed frightening image of mass underground resistance or rebellion, passive and for a moment undirected, … (Dickens) but `a matter enough for real dread`.  The wild, dissolute behaviour at night of (the) poor and dispossessed … represent to him
 
a separation from our social formula, a stubborn, unconscious separation, an instinctive separation at any cost for the sake of salvation, a separation from us with disgust and horror.  These millions of people, abandoned, banished from the human feast, shoving and crushing each other in the underground darkness into which they have been thrown by their elder brothers, grope about and knock at any gate, and seek a way out so as not to suffocate in the dark cellar.  Here is a final, despairing effort to form their own group, their own mass, and to break with everything, even with the human image, just so as to be themselves, just so as not to be together with us.
 
…  The Underground Man emerges, finally, as a man without faith and foundations who has been caught up in a treadmill of consciousness.  `Where are my primary causes on which I can take a stand,  where are my foundations?  Where shall I take them from?
 
(p. xxxiv)
 
Finally, the Underground Man equates his own personal drama, his own tragedy – and endless series of psychological actions and experiments to affirm his lost sense of dignity and integrity – with the fate of mankind.
 
(p. xxxviii)
 
The movement toward catastrophe is precipitous.  every wilful and proud attempt of the Underground Man to affirm his independence and self-mastery, every act of spite, every effort of his to introduce the irrational into the status quo of his existence only deepens his sense of dependence and humiliation, only locks him ever more firmly into the movement towards catastrophe.  . . . His every desperate and irrational act to affirm his personality and individuality parodies his notion that irrational behaviour preserves what is `what is most precious and important, namely, our personality and our individuality`.
 
NOTES, p. xiv -

… the `dissatisfied` man – one who is denied the possibility of actively employing his abilities and talents in life.

if frustrated or suppressed,  can turn into self-will, arbitrary action, or a feeling that `all is permissible`.

… (15.)   `life is a whole art, that to live means to make an artistic work out of oneself, but that only in accord with the communal interests, in sympathy with the mass of society, with its direct, immediate requirements, and not in drowsiness, not in indifference from which follows the disintegration of the mass, and not in solitude` can the individual find genuine fulfillment.

 
THE UNDERGROUND
(P. 7)
 
 Tell me this:  why did it invariably happen, as if deliberately, that at those very moments when I was most capable of appreciating all the subtleties of the ‘sublime and beautiful’ … I not only would fail to comprehend but would perform the most contemptible actions . . .  well . . . the kind of which everyone is guilty, but which I happened to perform precisely when I was most conscious that I should not be performing them at all?  The more I recognized goodness and the whole question of  the ‘sublime and beautiful’ , the deeper I sank into the mire and the more capable I became of completely immersing myself in it.  But the main feature of all this was that it wasn’t within me by accident, but as if it were bound to be there.  It was as if this were my normal condition and far from being an illness or the fruits of corruption, so that finally I lost the desire to combat that corruption.  It all ended by my almost coming to believe (or perhaps I really did believe) that this was probably my normal condition.  But at the very outset how much agony I was forced to endure in that struggle!  I didn’t believe the same could happen to others and so all my life I have kept it to myself, like a secret.  I was ashamed (and perhaps I’m ashamed now).  It reach the point where I felt an abnormal, secret, base thrill of pleasure when returning to my corner on some positively foul St Petersburg night and I would feel intensely aware that once again I had done something vile that day, that what’s done cannot be undone, and inwardly, secretly, I would keep gnawing, gnawing, nibbling and eating away at myself until the bitterness finally turned into some shameful, damnable sweetness and finally into serious, definite pleasure.  Yes, pleasure, pleasure!  I stand by that.  I broached the subject because I’d like to find out for certain:  do others experience the same kind of pleasure?  Let me explain:  the pleasure I experience came directly from being too vividly aware of my own degradation, from the feeling of having gone too far;  that it was foul but that it couldn’t be otherwise;  that there’s no way out for you, that you’d never make yourself a different person;  that even if there remained enough time and faith to change yourself into something different you most probably wouldn’t want to change yourself.  And that even if you did want to, you’d end up by doing nothing because there might in fact be nothing to change yourself into.  But finally, and more importantly, all this proceeds from the normal, fundamental laws of heightened consciousness and from the inertia which is the direct result of those laws and therefore not only could you not change your self, you’d simply do nothing at all.  For instance, as a result of this intensified awareness you are justified in being a scoundrel, as if it’s of any comfort to a scoundrel that he himself feels that he’s in fact a scoundrel.  But that’s enough . . . Good Lord, I’ve been waffling away, and what have I explained?  How can one explain this feeling of pleasure?  But I shall explain it!  I shall pursue it to the bitter end!  That’s why I picked up my pen . . .
    I, for example, am extremely touchy.  I’m as suspicious and as quick to take offence as a hunchback or a dwarf, but in fact there have been moments when, if someone had slapped my face, I might have been glad even of that.  I mean this in all seriousness:  very likely I would have managed to derive pleasure of a kind even from that – I mean of course the pleasure of despair;  but it’s in despair that you discover the mose intense pleasure, especially when you are acutely conscious of the hopelessness of your predicament.  And here too, after that slap in the face, you are crushed by the realization of what filth you’re being smeared with.  The main thing is that, whichever way I look at it, it invariably turns out that I’m the first to be blamed for everything and, what hurts most of all, that I’m blamed when innocent, according to the laws of nature, so to speak.  First of all I’m to blame, as I’m cleverer than anyone else around me.  (I’ve always considered myself cleverer than everyone else around me and sometimes, would you believe, even felt ashamed of it.  At all events, all my life I’ve somehow always looked away and could never look people straight in the face.)  And finally, I’m guilty, since even if I’d had the magnanimity within me, my awareness of its utter futility would have caused me greater torments, I should probably have been unable to do anything because of my magnanimity:  neither forgive, since the offender might have slapped me according to the laws of nature and you can’t forgive the laws of nature;  nor forget, since even if these are laws of nature it still hurts.  Finally, even had I not wanted to be magnanimous at all but, on the contrary, if I’d wanted to take revenge on the offender, more probably I wouldn’t even have been able to avenge myself on anyone for anything, since I probably would never have had the determination to do anything even if I could.  Why shouldn’t I have had the determination?  I’d like to say a few words about that in particular.
 
. . .    (I think I have typed up enough!  At least for now.)  
 Posted by at 1:26 pm
Oct 222014
 

Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821-1881) made important contributions to the understanding of human psychology.   Please see  Notes from  Underground,   the consequences of alienating people from their society (Dostoyevsky).    I will email the link to Matthew Behrens, he may be interested in its relationship to his own work (below).

 

http://rabble.ca/columnists/2014/10/demonizing-those-canada-calls-radicalized

Scare headlines about young people becoming “radicalized,” going overseas, being transformed into robotic Super Muslims, graduating from Beheading School, and being returned to Canada ready to strike at the heart of our values, freedoms, and traditions have filled the media in the past few months, leading to an upcoming Canadian campaign of bombing Iraq and repressive new legislation to be introduced this week in Parliament.

Given the Fourth Estate’s role as stenographer to power, it is unsurprising that the many articles asking “why” young people are attracted to overseas adventures are all playing into the same “blame Islam” game that results in horrible “jihad” headlines, increased fear, and suspicion of anyone who does not look like the CBC’s Peter Whitemansbridge.

Like similar moral panics that have framed particular groups as the new internal enemy, young people both idealist and alienated now fit the focus of terror suspect, especially if they are Muslim and plan to travel overseas to visit relatives, learn Arabic, or just backpack around. Yet despite all the hyped-up chatter, no one has produced any evidence to show a threat exists to Canada and Canadians from the small number who have joined up in battling the Assad regime in Syria or worked with ISIS. We are told that some 80-130 individuals have gone overseas to be associated with terrorism, but this is always qualified by telling us not everyone is picking up a gun: some are fundraising, some are doing propaganda, some are just helping out with who knows what, from taking out the trash to helping the elderly cross the street. Regardless of what they are doing, Canada’s terrorism laws are so broad that anyone associated in any way with a particular group will be tarred as a national security threat.

CSIS, Canada’s spy agency, says it knows who has gone overseas and is monitoring them upon their return. RCMP head Bob Paulson was pretty clear when he told Parliament earlier this month: “It’s nothing that I think Canadians need to be alarmed about.” Sir Richard Dearlove, former M16 head, said the returning rebel threat was “exaggerated” and former M16 officer Richard Barrett said “the threat of the returning fighter is a small one.” Chief Canadian Forces warlord Tom Lawson told the media that there was “no indication of direct threats” to members of his military.

The disconnect between rhetoric and reality creates a void that gets filled by the “radicalization” experts, many of whom contribute to the demonization of young people who may, with the best of idealistic intentions, feel great sadness at seeing war, mass murder, and utter despair, and want to do something about it. This doesn’t justify the violent actions some may allegedly take part in, nor the rhetoric of fear they may spout while overseas. But Harper and company have done a good job making them out to be the worst possible incarnations of human flesh imaginable.

Halal foods to blame

The solutions to “radicalization” have long been studied and discussed at a variety of gatherings. In 2009, the Canadian War Department’s Adversarial Intent Section held a workshop titled “Radicalization in the National Economic Climate,” trying to determine possible links between the global recession and extremist responses. Invited to the Toronto gathering were Canadian spy agency CSIS, the Mounties, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and assorted academics from the terrorism industry who weighed in on the possibilities, but most attendees found no direct link between extremism and the global recession.

However, the University of Toronto’s Robert Brym, among others, chimed in that immigrant groups are most likely to radicalize and concluded that one solution was stepped-up monitoring of “groups and places that may pose a threat,” including “locations where Halal products are sold.” Notably, most national grocery chains now sell Halal products, and one can purchase hummus (which sounds disturbingly like a group the Canadian government has listed as terrorist, Hamas) pretty much everywhere.

Brym also recommended increased surveillance of “friendship groups formed around retail facilities frequented by Muslims” (though the equation between Muslims and immigrants is often a false one, given the faith has been practiced in this country for a century).

In the same way one or more black youth standing on a street corner is viewed as a riot in the making by many police forces, Muslims going shopping (and those “inspired” by Muslims at the retail level) may now pose the greatest threat to Canadians’ national security since the CSIS theory that Muslim dreams could provoke radicalization.

Historically, the RCMP Security Service (SS) focused on certain cultural and religious attributes as signs of disloyalty, subversion, and traitorous intent: hence, their long-standing surveillance of groups like the Prairies-based, all-female Ukrainian Mandolin Orchestra. The RCMP SS legacy group, CSIS, frequently begin their national security investigations with such wholly irrelevant details as how often someone prays, if they know women who wear hijab, and what their imam thinks of drone strikes that kill children in Pakistan.

So will Loblaws and Metro stores soon be home to CSIS secret shoppers, monitoring who is picking up Sufra Halal chicken nuggets in the frozen section, or tossing The Queen’s Khorasan bread into their recycled grocery bags? (Such bread MAY be suspect since it shares the same name as the non-existent “Khorasan group” that the U.S. created as an excuse to begin its bombing campaign of Syria and Iraq. This correspondent, for one, regularly buys Khorasan and recommends it as a healthy, hearty way to breakfast, despite the possibility it may be viewed, upon heating, as terrorism toast.)

The real ongoing danger

The idiocy of CSIS, the RCMP, and their friends in the press would be laughable if it were not so dangerous: as documented by a number of judicial inquiries and court decisions, their uninformed, lazy, and biased worldview leads to vicious campaigns of racial and religious profiling, community harassment, fear, perpetuation of an informant culture, and complicity in torture, all of which will increase given the current media-hyped scare over “extremist travellers” and “jihadi brides,” among other turns of phrase that continue to demonize and put at risk all adherents of Islam.

A conference looking at the decade that has passed since the launch of the inquiry into Canada’s role in the torture of Maher Arar (taking place in Ottawa October 29) will no doubt lament not only the lack of human rights progress over this period of time, but the uncertain future that lies ahead. Indeed, the federal government’s proposed legislation to provide blanket class privilege to CSIS agents and informers (meaning they would never have to be questioned and cross-examined by lawyers and judges, even in secret hearings) opens the door to legalizing what CSIS has been doing all along: trading information with torturers.

In the same way the Harper government will politely ask the brutal Assad regime for permission to bomb targets in Syria, it is a no-brainer to conclude that CSIS will continue to maintain its similarly cozy relationship with the torturers of Syrian Military Intelligence, in the hopes of producing “actionable intelligence” from some confused Canadian teenager who went overseas with the notion of helping out, fell into the wrong hands, and perhaps got picked up by Syrian authorities. Alternatively, ANY Muslim, particularly of Arabic and/or South Asian heritage, is likely to be suspect if they plan on booking an airline ticket, so whether in the Toronto airport or during a journey to Mecca or dozens of other places in between, the chances of being pulled aside for interrogation or rendered to a place like Syria or Egypt (what is the REAL reason for your travel?) will skyrocket.

And so the same patterns of complicity that led to the torture of Arar, Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad El Maati, Muayyed Nureddin, and Abousfian Abdelrazik, among others, is sure-fire guaranteed to continue into the future. Those who trade in torture certainly took great comfort from last week’s Supreme Court of Canada decision that shielded Iran from any accountability in the torture-murder of Canadian photographer Zahra Kazemi. Iran, the court concluded, should be immune from any court action under the State Immunity Act.

Equally certain is that those picked up by the authorities will have been the targets of a legally sanctioned racial profiling regime that will continue to be standard operating procedure, bolstered in part by last week’s Federal Court of Appeal ruling (authored by the recently declined Supreme Court nominee, Judge Marc Nadon) that supported racial profiling. In that case, a 72-year-old Chinese woman was fined $800 for having in her purse two $5 pork roll snacks on a return flight to Canada. The Canada Agricultural Review Tribunal found that she was the victim of racial profiling, since the border officer said he believed Chinese people were more likely to smuggle food into the country. Nadon supported the officer.

The root problem of radicalization

Meanwhile, the “what do we do with the kids who are becoming radicalized” question thus becomes the focus of academic study, anti-terrorism funding, and media misinformation.

Perhaps we can start by stating that young people going overseas are not necessarily radicalized. Most standard dictionaries define radical as “arising from or going to a root or source” of a problem. Suppose some young people are excited about going to join ISIS or fight Assad because they can pick up guns and live out real-life adventures by blowing away the bad guys. Is that not in fact a sign that they are ideologically obedient to the violent society they come from, one that invests $1.3 trillion annually on different ways of killing one another and uses war games like paintball as a means of building company morale? If their goal is to shoot down some enemy, regardless of the cost, are they not aping the work of the masters and power brokers for whom the taking of human life is “collateral damage,” an inconvenience on the road to their goals? The morality of the groups they seek to join is no different than that of their own countries’ violence-based organizations. Indeed, last week Chief Canadian Forces warlord Tom Lawson conceded that his bombers WILL be killing civilians in Iraq and Syria, just not at an “unreasonable” level. Needless to say, no one asked Lawson what was a “reasonable” level of civilian slaughter.

No, in reflecting the very mainstream ideas of their society, some of these travellers are not radicalized. They have not gotten to the roots of the world’s problems; instead, they are exhibiting the very symptoms of what is acceptable behavior. They are in this sense “conservatized.” Some of them are indoctrinated in the fun of killing through first-person shooter video games like Call of Duty, the combat simulation sensation that is played around the globe and which seems to show up increasingly on the Facebook pages of those joining the likes of ISIS. One threat management company spokesperson told Maclean’s that some recruits are “17-year-old boy[s] whose only experience in this field is from playing Call of Duty on an Xbox.” Indeed, the Ottawa Citizen reported the late Mohamud Mohamed Mohamud of Hamilton was “more concerned with video games than world events. He chatted about Call of Duty, a series of first-person shooter games praised for their realistic and intense combat simulation.”

What this says is these young recruits are not necessarily interested in ideology or spirituality; rather, they may instead be seeking the thrill and adventure of being in a war zone, a real-life version of what Call of Duty offers them on their basement Xbox.

Firing guns is a blast

In that respect, the conservatized travellers are no different than the child soldiers who are recruited in Canadian high school military co-op programs. In St. Catharines, high school kids can join a day-long co-op program that, in the lingo of the age, is pretty cool shit, including the use of exciting YouTube videos aimed at impressionable young minds (Yes, Virginia, ISIS is not the only group ever to target young people with videos). Indeed, child soldiers in St. Catharines will learn to “use weapons such as rifles, grenades and machine guns; Learn to operate with support elements such as logistics, artillery and armored vehicles; Learn to employ field craft and procedures including camouflage and concealment, internal security, patrol, escape and evasion tactics.” In the promo videos encouraging young kids to join up and learn how to use machine guns, we learn from the mouths of babes that it’s “a great career choice for anyone who wants to be part of the action. Obviously, firing the gun is a blast, you know, getting to pull that lanyard and feeling that howitzer underneath you, feel the concussion, getting to see the rounds land…” Another exclaims, “It’s not everybody who gets to go out and have all this fun in the field…. There’s not one of us that would ever give up the opportunity to reload and fire a big triple 7 or an LG1, that’s for sure.”

And in a statement that perhaps sums up that spirit of camaraderie that young overseas ISIS recruits may be missing at home, the young soldier chimes in:

“Honestly, my best experience so far in the army has been my deployment to Afghanistan. Your existence in the military is to train for war, you know, that’s our job, and when you finally get to put everything into play and all your training comes into play there’s no better feeling than being over there with everybody that you’ve worked so hard with.”

Nothing about freedom or ideals, or democracy, or helping oppressed women or any of the other propaganda coming from the mouths of those in Ottawa who send the orders but never see the action: just the sense of being part of a team doing stuff together. The fact that things go boom makes it more exciting.

Preventing radicalization

Unsurprisingly, most media have failed to look deeper into the roots of those who are interested in travelling overseas with what would appear at first blush to be the entirely justifiable response to seeing mass murder, torture, and other atrocities committed by the likes of the Assad regime in Syria as well as NATO forces throughout the region: wanting to do something about it. One young Canadian who was killed in Syria actually told his mother “he was in Syria because women and children were being tortured and he wanted to do something productive.” They also fail to look at the characteristics of young people wanting to join something that will give them a sense of identity, purpose, and community, something often in short supply in their lives at home.

Unfortunately, it is easier to fall back on the old canards used by the security “specialists.” “The signs [of radicalization] could be they’re not going to school, they’re feeling isolated, their understanding of geopolitics is not what we would say is the standard,” says RCMP Sgt. Renu Dash, acting director of the Mounties’ “public engagement team.” What, exactly, is a standard view of geopolitics, other than Harper’s view of the world? In other words, think like we do, or face the consequences.

Ms. Dash says there is no one-size-fits all symptom, and refuses to say what criteria the RCMP actually use, though a British early intervention model called Channel referred young people for intervention if they wore clothes that were deemed too “radical” (and not in the sense of ripped Dark Side of the Moon Pink Floyd garb; rather, a hijab). It is no a stretch to say the RCMP’s worldview must be adhered to in order to avoid scrutiny as a potential radicalization suspect.

This extension of thought control pervades the world of “cross-cultural” roundtables convened by the likes of CSIS and the Mounties: they are set up as a “dialogue” but the real goal is community control and enforcement of a standard geopolitical view, as Ms. Dash asserts. This was made abundantly clear when the Islamic Social Services Association and the National Council of Canadian Muslims partnered recently with the RCMP on a “United Against Terrorism” handbook. The Mounties pulled away from the final product, calling it unnecessarily “adversarial” because it had the audacity to advise people of their rights if approached by an RCMP or CSIS member.

Is there a threat?

How much of a threat do these young people pose, especially if they return to Canada?

The Washington Post correctly pointed out that “foreign fighters are often given menial jobs far from the front lines… many have been surprised that when they do fight, the battles are with fellow rebel groups,” and not against Assad. M16′s Barrett says the kids get trapped, as ISIS will not let them go and the British government will not allow them back. Indeed, London Mayor Boris Johnson has said suspected fighters should be stripped of citizenship and presumed guilty.

And the idea that a lone Canadian shouting into YouTube that “we are coming to destroy you” made the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) go on high alert a few weeks back is another sign of how little people are actually thinking through what is going on. That kid likely has as little capacity to produce destruction in Canada as the drunken hockey fan’s ability to propel the Maple Leafs into the playoffs when he proclaims, “This year we are taking the Stanley Cup.”

The idea that overseas fighters are brainwashed forever is also given the lie by folks like Hanif Qadir, who runs an “anti-extremist” foundation. As the Washington Post reported:

“Appalled by reports of U.S. airstrikes killing innocent civilians, he travelled to Pakistan and Afghanistan in 2002. He went with the intention of performing humanitarian work but said he was also attracted to the Taliban’s rhetoric of struggle against a foreign occupier and was prepared to fight alongside the insurgent group. Instead, he was repelled by what he found. ‘If American soldiers were being hostile toward innocent civilians, so were Al-Qaida and the Taliban…This was hypocrisy.’”

While the CSIS and Mounties have their knickers in a knot about overseas travellers to the Middle East, they are absolutely silent on those who join another organization that commits well-documented war crimes on a regular basis: the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF). During the summer of 2014, when Israeli war crimes were perpetrated against the people of Gaza, Canadian Netta Gelb of Richmond Hill was serving with the IDF. Her dad complained to Postmedia, “I just want her to get through this in one piece…There was really not much we could do to stop (her). It’s very difficult to explain it to people — how could she make that decision and go off and do it. At that age, you really can’t tell them anything.”

There are some 30 Canadian young people in the Israeli army from Ontario alone (part of the larger group of some 5,500 “lone soldiers”). During that summer bombardment, the Ottawa Citizen noted Palestinian children were traumatized by what was described by Al-Aqsa University professor Derdah al-Sha’er as “the violent and bloody scenes of war — the destruction of homes in airstrikes, body parts and corpses covered in blood and dust being pulled from the rubble, night bombings while there’s no electricity.” Yet if one were to have gone and fought against the IDF, they would now be a candidate for statelessness, their Canadian citizenship revoked.

Some 30,000 Canadians served in the U.S. military during the war against Vietnam, when U.S. forces committed mass atrocities including beheadings that left heads on sticks at the entrances to many villages. Canadians are now serving with Ukrainian paramilitaries (and associating with neo-Nazis). At the same time, anti-choice protesters cross the border to work with terrorist groups in the U.S. that bomb women’s reproductive health centres. But none of these have been cause for parliamentary hearings and scare headlines.

Life is hard on the young

That many young people are alienated and disconnected is unsurprising given they live in a country where, even by the Canadian Senate’s own reckoning (as documented in their 2008 report, “Children, The Silenced Citizens”), Canada and its institutions fail children when it comes to guaranteeing their most basic rights. It is clear to young people that our society has little use for them: they are exploited, ill-treated, terrorized, given little hope for the future, stressed out, threatened, bullied, blamed for government decisions because they see no point in voting, and then expected to perform well in school and be model citizens. Services for those with mental health issues are stretched to the max and, when utilized, often useless.

We invest in warfare, not child care. When they react with “bad behaviour,” zero tolerance legislation slaps them down and criminalizes them without asking WHY they are acting out. The helicopter-parent generation offers them little independence or association with friends of their own choosing. Hanging out with larger groups is seen as trouble in the making. “No more than three students in the store” signs proliferate throughout the land. Is it any wonder they might be looking for a sense of belonging, a purpose, a place where they feel they will be respected? Perhaps they might get that in drama club, perhaps in a gang, perhaps by taking the ultimate adventure in going overseas and fighting against agents of tyranny. We call them naïve when they do: don’t they know about the ideology of ISIS? Don’t they understand the politics of the region? Perhaps not, but the same question could equally be asked of their parents and the politicians they vote for.

The Harper government’s solution to these “problem kids” is to criminalize them, strip them of their citizenship. Because there is no such thing as a root cause in Harper’s world, there is no sense trying to delve into the issue: they are just evil, evil, evil, and the solution to our problems is more thought control and surveillance.

Indeed, at the conclusion of the 2009 radicalization conference in Toronto, plenary participants gathered up their flip-chart notes and shared fragments of ideas arising from workshops, including “maintain relationship with community while monitoring it,” and “Need Big brother watch (surveillance and intelligence).” Watch what happens in Parliament this week and see if their Big Brother dreams come true.

In the meantime, we need to reframe the radicalization narrative. The very least we can do when it comes to young people who have sadly gone abroad and met their deaths is refuse to demonize them or spit on their graves, and perhaps ask what we as adults are willing to do to help the lost and searching children of this generation.

This column was completed before the unfortunate event in Quebec that took the life of a Canadian soldier. The driver of the hit-and-run vehicle was killed by police — he was holding a knife — and so there will be no trial and no further first-hand information made available from the suspect. While the Prime Minister’s Office was quick to jump on the bandwagon, inflaming the situation by calling this a home-grown terrorist act (perfectly timed to help with the passage of new repressive legislation), the Sûreté du Québec spokesman at the scene said it was too early to tell whether the military was specifically targeted. Nevertheless, it is remarkably similar to the case of Pamela Mimnagh, an Arnprior woman killed October 3 by a truck driven by her husband, who has since been charged. Like many women whose lives are taken by men in Canada — often in calculated, well-planned attacks — it barely makes a headline, much less gets named for what it is: a home-grown terrorist act.

Matthew Behrens is a freelance writer and social justice advocate who co-ordinates the Homes not Bombs non-violent direct action network. He has worked closely with the targets of Canadian and U.S. ‘national security’ profiling for many years.

 Posted by at 11:03 am
Oct 222014
 

(See also 2014-09-01 Lockheed Martin green-washing. Platimun sponsor of NYC Climate Week )

 

NewsWatch Saskatchewan

520527     Missinipi Broadcasting, La Ronge.    October 20, 2014.

A FIRST NATIONS ENERGY COMPANY IS PART OF A NEW PROJECT THAT WILL BRING SOLAR ENERGY TO SOUTHWEST SASK

 

KELLY PROVOST [ANNOUNCER]

A First Nations energy company is part of a new project that will bring solar energy to Southwest Saskatchewan. The First Nations Power Authority has teamed up with Lockheed Martin in a demonstration project that will provide solar energy to Home Inn and Suites in Swift Current.

 

The project will provide about 26,000 kilowatt hours of renewable energy per year. It’s the first of its kind in Saskatchewan. Other partners in the solar power demonstration project include File Hills Qu’Appelle Developments, the City of Swift Current and the federal and provincial governments.

 

 

 

 

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 Posted by at 10:38 am