"War on terror": CIA sponsers anthropologists to gather sensitive information

"A CIA scheme to sponsor trainee spies secretly through US university courses has caused anger among UK academics, the BBC reports. The Pat Roberts Intelligence Scholars Program pays anthropology students up to $50,000 (£27,500) a year. They are expected to use the techniques of "fieldwork" to gather political and cultural details on other countries. Britain's Association of Social Anthropologists called the scholarships ethically "dangerous" and divisive."

"Undergraduates taking part in the scholarship programme must not reveal their funding source and are expected to attend military intelligence summer camps."

The CIAs activities are defended by an American anthropologist (Felix Moos, University of Kansas). He wrote according the BBC in Anthropology Today: "The United States is at war. Thus, to put it simply, the existing divide between academe and the intelligence community has become a dangerous and very real detriment to our national security at home and abroad." >> read the whole article (BBC)

Let's hope anthropologists say NO to the CIA!

This story reminds me on Montgomery McFate's controversial article Anthropology and Counterinsurgency: The Strange Story of Their Curious Relations where she urges anthropologists to cooperate with the military and Dustin M. Wax's comments: "a functioning anthropology can never be on the side of U.S. forces".

UPDATE: See also why anthropologist Robert M. Offer-Westort thinks that anthropologists should say No.

UPDATE 2 (6.5.05): More on the return of spies to college campuses in the Kansas City Star

PS: By the way. Check what kind of definition of anthropology the BBC uses on their website: "the study of esp. primitive peoples"...


Cloak and Classroom: Many social scientists say a new government program will turn fieldwork abroad into spying. Can secrecy coexist with academic openness? (David Glenn, Chronicle of Higher Education, 25.3.05)

The CIA's Campus Spies. Exposing the Pat Roberts Intelligence Scholars Program (Dave H. Price, Counterpunch, 12.3.05)

Anthropologists as Spies (David Price, The Nation, 20.11.00)

1 comment

Comment from: Poetry [Visitor]

We may not solve warfare or famine in your time. But the cure of all disease may be within our grasp. Imagine the if the trillions spent on “Wars of Choice” or “Wars against a concept” was spent testing every natural and artifical substance known to man against every disease known to man. Imagine if we spent the remainder on determinine the molecular structure and sequencing the genes of every disease so that we could construct cures that while harmless and inert to ourselves, are deadly and irrestible to the viruses, anti-viruses, and bacterias that plague us. War is not the triumph of God. War is the failure of men. Though there are necessary wars such as World War II, most wars could be prevented. For instance, if we stopped buying oil from Saudi Arabia, the money that finances terrorism would dry up and the so called “War Against Terror” would be over. It is instructive to note that no major politician has as his chief goal, destroying terrorism in this way. Perhaps they don’t really want it to stop….And besides, every major politican is getting bought by foreign oil interests and domestic big oil. We could easily use things such as coal and nuclear energy to be free of those who fund terrorism. Unfortunately, the politicians have yet to find a way to get paid if we switch to domestic energy sources. Every pundit who says we can’t switch to domestic energy is also on they pay roll of big oil and foreign oil interests.

25.05.07 @ 03:18

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