Aletho News


Here’s Who Pressured the Medical Journal

Do we want to live in a world in which medical journals are afraid to publish certain conclusions?

By Donna Laframboise | Big Picture News | January 29, 2020

I recently described an organized campaign against a medical journal that published research over the objections of anti-meat activists. After the Annals of Internal Medicine refused to halt publication, the US Federal Trade Commission was urged to intervene. So was the Philadelphia district attorney’s office.

Do we really want to live in a world in which medical journals are afraid to publish certain conclusions because activists will sic the authorities on them? Does it really need to be said that, once government officials and the courts start second-guessing medical journals, free speech and honest scholarship are as good as dead?

So who, precisely, tried to get this research retracted before it saw the light of day? Who arrogantly wanted to extinguish the public’s right to hear that the evidence linking meat consumption and poor health is quite weak?

A lot of people who should know better. People associated with prestigious institutions.

Let’s start with David L. Katz, of Yale University. In a bizarre newspaper column Katz implies the journal is guilty of “information terrorism.” In his universe, this isn’t a matter of different researchers examining the same evidence and coming to different conclusions. It’s a matter of anyone-who-disagrees-with-me-has-nefarious-motives. It’s how-dare-you-challenge-the-prevailing-consensus!

Katz is the founder/director of the True Health Initiative. That organization describes itself as a “voice of reason and consensus.” It claims to be “fighting fake facts” and “combating false doubts” via an “evidence-based” approach. Shutting down competing perspectives is not the voice of reason. It’s the voice of authoritarianism.

Neal Barnard, of George Washington University’s School of Medicine, heads the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. It was his organization that appealed to the Trade Commission and then to the district attorney.

Other signatories to the letter urging the journal to halt publication include Frank Hu, JoAnn E. Manson, Eric Rimm, Meir Stampfer, and Walter Willett. All of these people are associated with Harvard’s School of Public Health. That entity has a party line where meat is concerned. It’s difficult to imagine a researcher with an alternative perspective surviving there long. I wrote about Willett’s vegetarian climate change activism last year.

These are the other individuals who took the highly unusual step of trying to influence the editorial decisions of a respected medical journal:

Dariush Mozaffarian – a Dean at Tufts University

Richard Carmona of the University of Arizona

Christopher Gardner of Stanford University

David J.A. Jenkins and John Sievenpiper of the University of Toronto

Dean Ornish of the University of California

Kim A. Williams of Rush University

January 29, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , | 6 Comments

“Russian Hacking”, a dangerous delusion

The author is Yale professor. Yes, seriously.
By Kit Knightly | OffGuardian | February 12, 2108

The Guardian published this short opinion piece today, its headline reads:

America lost a cyberwar to Russia in 2016. When will we have truth?

Refuting the stale claims repeated in the headline, and expanded upon in the prose, is but the work of a moment. Hitchens’ razor states that any claim made without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence. A Yale professor should know that. Therefore the refutation of the claim “Russia hacked the election” can be made in three simple words: No, they didn’t.

Job done. I consider the article dealt with. But now we have to deal with the undertone. Now we have deal with why this article is scary.

The scary part of this article isn’t the war-like talk about Russia.

The scary part isn’t that this seemingly delusional man is apparently a professor at one of the most auspicious institutes of learning in the Western world (although, that is cause for some concern).

The scary part isn’t an elitist “academic” sweepingly dismissing the electoral process of his own country, and ignoring the majority will of his countrymen.

No, the scary part is that he really, really means it. This isn’t propaganda, in the old sense of that word. This isn’t misinformation to spread an agenda. This is full-blown delusion. He genuinely believes the Russians are at “cyber war” with America.

To be crystal clear about this – there is literally ZERO evidence to support this. The Mueller investigation is limping along, revealing absolutely nothing (except that the FBI wanted Hillary to win). The Steele dossier is revealed to have been paid for by the DNC.

There is no evidence. And yet he believes.

Russia has become the great, Orwellian “enemy”. The unseen force behind all our ills. Russian trolls are to blame for Brexit (even though they’re not), and Catalonia (again, untrue) and Donald Trump. Russian trolls were even blamed for hacking the winter Olympics.

This is scary. Scary because it demonstrates that the liberal elite of the USA, and its vassal states, have totally lost their minds. They live in a fantasy world, an un-reality. And they will believe anything that is convenient, anything that supports their un-reality, even if it puts them on a path to real war.

That should terrify everybody.

February 12, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

Made in Usa: Democratic Navalni

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By Manlio Dinucci | Voltairenet | March 29, 2017

A police officer smashes down the door with a portable battering ram; another one enters, pointing a pistol and strikes several times, a man who, roused by the break in, reached for a baseball bat; yet other police officers point their guns at a child who has already raised his arms: scenes of ordinary “legal” violence in the United States, reported a week ago, with video clips by the New York Times, that talks about the “trail of blood” triggered by these “raids”, carried out by former soldiers, who have been recruited into the police force, applying the same raid techniques that would be applied in raids in Afghanistan or Iraq.

Our mass media shield our eyes from all this. These same media outlets splash on the front page [photos of] the Russian police arresting Alexei Navalni in Moscow for a demonstration that had not been authorized. An “affront to fundamental democratic values” – this is how the US State Department defines it and firmly requires his immediate release and that of the others detainees. Federica Mogherini, the EU High Representative of Foreign Policy, also condemns the Russian government because “it prevents the fundamental freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly from being exercised”. Thus, in support of the new champion of “democratic values”, everyone is united in the new campaign launched against Russia in tones that typify the Cold War.

Who is Alexei Navalni? From his official profile, we read that he trained in the US, at Yale University, as a “fellow” (a chosen member) of the “Greenberg World Fellows Program”. This programme was established in 2002, and each year, just 16 individuals with attributes that make them “global leaders” are selected from all around the world. They form part of a network of “leaders globally committed to making the world a better place”. At the moment, this network is composed of 291 fellows from 87 countries, one in contact with the other and all linked to the US centre, Yale.

Navalni is, at the same time, the co-founder of the movement “Alternative democracy”. This is one of the beneficiaries of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a powerful US “private non-profit foundation” which funds, which are even provided by the Congress, openly or under the counter, thousands of non-governmental organizations in more than 90 countries to “advance democracy” [1]. NED, a CIA outlet for covert operations, was and is, particularly active in Ukraine. It was here that it supported (according to what is reported) “the Maiden Square Revolution which crushed a corrupt government which stood in the way of democracy”. The result of the Maiden Square Putsch: an even more corrupt government has come into power. Indeed, its democratic character finds expression in the Neo-Nazis that hold key positions in it.

In Russia, activities of “undesirable non-governmental organizations” are prohibited and this is why NED has not stopped campaigning against the Russian government. Thus NED accuses it of spearheading an aggressive foreign policy to bring within its sphere of influence, states that previously formed part of the USSR. This charge is the foundation of the basis for the US/NATO strategy against Russia. The technique, now consolidated, is that of the “orange revolutions”: gaining mileage on the back of genuine or invented cases of corruption and other bones of dissatisfaction so as to whip up an anti-government rebellion, which will weaken the state from within, while increasing military, political and economic pressure externally. Alexei Navalni’s activities should be viewed in this context. He specialized at Yale as a lawyer, defending the rights of the vulnerable against abuse by the powerful.

[1] “NED, the Legal Window of the CIA”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Anoosha Boralessa, Оdnako (Russia) , Voltaire Network, 16 August 2016.

Translation by Anoosha Boralessa

April 6, 2017 Posted by | Deception | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Neuroscience, Special Forces and Yale

The Ethics of Deception Detection Research

By ROY EIDELSON | CounterPunch | March 6, 2013

Last month, a proposal to establish a U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) Center for Excellence in Operational Neuroscience at Yale University died a not-so-quiet death. The broad goal of “operational neuroscience” is to use research on the human brain and nervous system to protect and give tactical advantage to U.S. war fighters in the field. Crucial questions remain unanswered about the proposed center’s mission and the unusual circumstances surrounding its demise. But just as importantly, this episode brings much needed attention to the morally fraught and murky terrain where partnerships between university researchers and national security agencies lie.

A Brief Chronology

Let’s start with what transpired, according to the news reports and official press releases. In late January, the Yale Herald reported that the Department of Defense had awarded $1.8 million to Yale University’s School of Medicine for the creation of the new center under the direction of Yale psychiatrist Charles Morgan III. Descriptions of the proposed center’s work revolved around the teaching of Morgan’s interviewing techniques to U.S. Special Forces in order to improve their intelligence gathering. To heighten the soldiers’ cross-cultural awareness and sensitivity, Morgan reportedly intended to draw volunteer interviewees from New Haven’s immigrant communities.

Such details typically become public only after a university center has been formally established and its funding officially secured. In this case, however, the early news reports – which included statements from director-to-be Morgan – quickly led last month to a widely circulated Yale Daily News op-ed, an online petition, a Facebook page, and protests by students and local groups outraged over reports of Yale’s support for the military center and plans to treat immigrants as “guinea pigs.” According to ABC News/Univision, in response Morgan explained that he was approached by the Defense Department to help “promote better relations between U.S. troops and the people whose villages they work in and around” – by teaching soldiers “better communication skills” and “how to ask non-leading questions, how to listen to what people are saying, how to understand them.”

A public affairs officer for U.S. SOCOM initially confirmed that it was providing funding for the center. Shortly thereafter, Yale University representatives issued a conflicting statement. Characterizing the center as “an educational and research center with a goal of promoting humane and culturally respectful interview practices among a limited number of members of the armed forces, including medics,” they emphasized that no formal proposal had been submitted for academic and ethical review. Yale also noted that volunteer interviewees “selected from diverse ethnic groups” would be protected by university oversight, and that public reports about the center were in part “based on speculation and incomplete information.” Three days later, SOCOM’s spokesperson retracted his previous statement, explaining that the information provided had been incorrect, and that no funds for the center would be forthcoming. Yale confirmed that the center would not be established at the university. Two days later, SOCOM declared that, in fact, they had decided a year earlier not to fund Morgan’s proposal.

Ethical Risks of Operational Neuroscience

The name of the proposed center – the U.S. SOCOM Center of Excellence for Operational Neuroscience – deserves more attention and scrutiny than it has received thus far. The burgeoning interdisciplinary field of operational neuroscience – supported by hundreds of millions of dollars from the Department of Defense – is indisputably much larger and much more worrisome from an ethical perspective than the mere teaching of interview techniques and people skills would suggest. What makes this particular domain of scientific work so controversial is not only its explicit purpose of advancing military goals. The methods by which these ends are pursued are equally disquieting because they raise the specter of “mind control” and threaten our deeply held convictions about personhood and personal autonomy.

In a presentation to the intelligence community five years ago, program manager Amy Kruse from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) identified operational neuroscience as DARPA’s latest significant accomplishment, preceded by milestone projects that included the Stealth Fighter, ARPANET, the GPS, and the Predator drone. National security interests in operational neuroscience encompass non-invasive, non-contact approaches for interacting with a person’s central and peripheral nervous systems; the use of sophisticated narratives to influence the neural mechanisms responsible for generating and maintaining collective action; applications of biotechnology to degrade enemy performance and artificially overwhelm cognitive capabilities; remote control of brain activity using ultrasound; indicators of individual differences in adaptability and resilience in extreme environments; the effects of sleep deprivation on performance and circadian rhythms; and neurophysiologic methods for measuring stress during military survival training.

Anthropologist Hugh Gusterson, bioethicist Jonathan Moreno, and other outspoken scholars have offered strong warnings about potential perils associated with the “militarization of neuroscience” and the proliferation of “neuroweapons.” Comparing the circumstances facing neuroscientists today with those faced by nuclear scientists during World War II, Gusterson has written, “We’ve seen this story before: The Pentagon takes an interest in a rapidly changing area of scientific knowledge, and the world is forever changed. And not for the better.” Neuroscientist Curtis Bell has called for colleagues to pledge that they will refrain from any research that applies neuroscience in ways that violate international law or human rights; he cites aggressive war and coercive interrogation methods as two examples.

Research Misapplied: SERE and “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques”

Some may argue that these concerns are overblown, but the risks associated with “dual use” research are well recognized and well documented. Even though a particular project may be designed to pursue outcomes that society recognizes as beneficial and worthy, the technologies or discoveries may still be susceptible to distressing misuse. As a government request for public comment recently highlighted, certain types of research conducted for legitimate purposes “can be reasonably anticipated to provide knowledge, information, products, or technologies that could be directly misapplied to pose a significant threat with broad potential consequences to public health and safety….”

Yale’s Morgan must surely be aware that operational neuroscience research can be used for purposes contrary to its purported intent – as this appears to be what happened with some of his own work. Morgan’s biographical sketch on the School of Medicine website refers to his research on the “psycho-neurobiology of resilience in elite soldiers” and “human performance under conditions of high stress.” Both of these topics are related to his extensive study of the effects of the military’s physically and psychologically grueling Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) training program. In SERE training, soldiers are subjected to extreme conditions in order to inoculate them against enemy interrogation should they be captured and subjected to torture by forces that don’t observe international laws prohibiting prisoner abuse. The techniques applied during the trainee’s simulated incarceration and mock interrogations include isolation, stress positions, sleep and food deprivation, loud noises, sexual humiliation, extreme temperatures, confinement in small spaces, and in some cases waterboarding.

Along with colleagues, Morgan has published a series of research articles examining the psychological, physiological, and biological effects of the SERE program. In summarizing key findings of this research, Morgan and his co-authors highlighted the following: the stress induced by SERE is within the range of real-world stress; SERE students recover normally and do not show negative effects from the training; and the mock interrogations do not produce lasting adverse reactions as measured by physiological and biological indicators. However, after reviewing these same studies, the authors of a Physicians for Human Rights report reached a starkly different conclusion: “SERE … techniques, even when used in limited and controlled settings, produce harmful health effects on consenting soldier-subjects exposed to them.” They also emphasized that during the training many students experienced dissociative reactions and hormone level changes comparable to major surgery or actual combat; the post-training assessments were short-term and insufficient to evaluate soldiers for PTSD and related disorders; and the soldiers benefited from knowing that they could end their participation whenever they chose to do so.

SERE research like that conducted by Morgan and his colleagues was subsequently misused by the Bush Administration after the 9/11 terrorist attacks to illegitimately authorize the abuse and torture of national security detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Bagram Air Base, and CIA “black sites.” The infamous“enhanced interrogation techniques” (EITs) were developed by former SERE psychologists – working for the CIA – who “reverse-engineered” the SERE interrogation tactics. But even more importantly here, a crucial 2002 Office of Legal Counsel “torture memo” asserted that the EITs did not cause lasting psychological harm, and it cited as evidence consultation with interrogation experts and outside psychologists, as well as a review of the “relevant literature” – which plausibly would have included Morgan’s own extensive work in the area. In short, this appears to be a striking and tragic instance where operational neuroscience research, undertaken in a different context, was subsequently appropriated and misapplied for unconscionable purposes. It is worth adding that these prisoners were subjected to indefinite detention without trial and they were not free to discontinue their torturous interrogations at will. Their torture sessions were also substantially longer and the techniques were instituted more frequently and with greater intensity than Morgan’s research subjects experienced.

Morgan’s Deception Detection Research

Another significant area of operational neuroscience research for Morgan has been deception detection – that is, figuring out when someone isn’t being truthful during an interview, or an interrogation. According to his online CV, he has received Department of Defense funding totaling nearly $2 million for this work over the past several years. Research on this same topic reportedly also became an important focus of attention for several intelligence agencies – including the CIA – immediately after the 9/11 attacks. Befitting his expertise and stature in the field, Morgan has been involved in a variety of high-level initiatives designed to bring together university researchers and personnel from the defense and intelligence sectors.

For example, Morgan is among the listed attendees at a July 2003 invitation-only workshop on “The Science of Deception: Integration of Theory and Practice.” The event was co-hosted by the American Psychological Association (APA) and the RAND Corporation, with generous funding from the CIA. The participants discussed various scenarios, including one focused on law enforcement interrogation and debriefing, and another on intelligence gathering. They also explored specific research questions, such as which pharmacological agents affect truth-telling, and whether it might be possible to overwhelm a person’s senses so as to reduce his capacity to engage in deception during an interrogation. Psychologist Jeffrey Kaye has noted that, in a very unusual step, the APA has scrubbed most of the information about this workshop from its website.

In June 2004 Morgan was a participant at another invitation-only workshop – co-sponsored by the Department of Justice, the FBI, and the APA – titled “The Nature and Influence of Intuition in Law Enforcement: Integration of Theory and Practice.” Among the topics examined were the extent to which police officers, intelligence analysts, interrogators, and others can effectively use “intuition” in their work – for instance, in order to detect deception – and how such capabilities might be applied to counterterrorism efforts. The proceedings from this event identify Morgan as “Senior Research Scientist, Behavioral Science StaffCentral Intelligence Agency” – a professional affiliation that does not appear on his online CV.

Morgan is credited with a similar affiliation in the 2006 report “Educing Information,” published by the National Defense Intelligence College. As a member of the Government Experts Committee, Morgan is listed as working for the “Intelligence Technology Innovation Center,” an administrative unit that falls under the CIA. The foreword to the report describes the volume as “a primer on the ‘science and art’ of both interrogation and intelligence gathering.” Included is a chapter on deception detection by Morgan’s close research colleague, psychologist Gary Hazlett. One of Hazlett’s recommendations in the report is that “the United States adopt an aggressive, focused plan to support research and development of enhanced capabilities to validate information and the veracity of sources.” He also notes that the most troubling limitation of deception research thus far is the lack of “various Asian, Middle Eastern, Central and South American, or African populations” as research participants.

Responding to Morgan’s reported plans for a new center at Yale, local advocacy group Junta for Progressive Action issued a statement of concern last month. It noted that, “As a city that has worked to establish itself as a welcoming and inclusive city for immigrants, the idea of targeting immigrants specifically for the purpose of identifying the distinction of how they lie is offensive, disrespectful and out of line with the values of New Haven.” In a recent newspaper report, Morgan called rumors that the proposed center at Yale would teach new interrogation techniques mere “hype and fantasy,” explaining that he instead “suggested to the Army that perhaps some training in people skills – how to talk to and listen to people might be helpful and create better relations.” Even assuming that this reassuring account is true, it’s certainly not unreasonable to question whether deception detection research and training might have been part of the proposed center’s future operational neuroscience agenda.

Classified and Unclassified Research on Campus

There are broader questions beyond those focused specifically on the uncertain details and background surrounding the not-to-be Center of Excellence for Operational Neuroscience at Yale. The unusual sequence of events that unfolded in New Haven last month should ideally serve as a springboard for open discussion of the opportunities and pitfalls associated with research partnerships between universities and national security agencies. To its credit, Yale University has a clear policy that explicitly prohibits its faculty from conducting secret or classified research:

The University does not conduct or permit its faculty to conduct secret or classified research. This policy arises from concern about the impact of such restrictions on two of the University’s essential purposes: to impart knowledge and to enlarge humanity’s store of knowledge. Both are clearly inhibited when open publication, free discussion, or access to research are limited.

But not all academic institutions have such stringent rules, which are necessary to promote full transparency, informed critiques by other scholars and researchers, and constructive engagement beyond the walls of higher education institutions. At the same time, it should be noted that, even at Yale, voluntary faculty members – Morgan’s official status at the university – do not need to disclose research activities that are not being conducted on behalf of Yale.

Some of the most challenging ethical issues remain even when classified research is not conducted on university campuses. As psychologist Stephen Soldz has highlighted, in cases of unclassified research funded by national security agencies, the academic researchers are not necessarily informed about the totality of the projects to which they are contributing. He offers the example of findings from seemingly uncontroversial deception detection studies, which may ultimately become the basis for the capture, indefinite detention, and torturous interrogation of prisoners in undisclosed locations – well beyond the university researchers’ awareness. Soldz also warns that researchers may never know if their campus work has become “part of a vast secret effort to unlock the mystery of mind control and develop techniques for coercive interrogations, as happened to hundreds of behavioral scientists and others in the decades of the CIA’s MKULTRA and other Cold War behavioral science initiatives.” These risks are further exacerbated for psychologists, psychiatrists, and other health professionals for whom a “do no harm” ethic intrinsically poses conflicts with research projects aimed at identifying and destroying those who are considered adversaries.

Next Steps

There are applications of operational neuroscience – such as improved prosthetic limbs for injured veterans and more effective treatments for victims of brain injury – that are compelling in their apparent value and their promotion of human welfare. But other applications raise profound concerns, especially where the defining goals and priorities of a university and its medical researchers and scientists diverge from those of national security and intelligence operatives. Community health sciences professor Michael Siegel – a graduate of Yale’s School of Medicine – emphasized this point when he was interviewed on Democracy Now! last month. Siegel noted: “The practice of medicine was designed to improve people’s health, and the school of medicine should not be taking part in either training or research that is primarily designed to enhance military objectives.”

In this context it’s worthwhile to recall exactly who Morgan envisioned as the trainees for his proposed “people skills” interview project at the medical school: U.S. Special Forces, the highly skilled soldiers often assigned the military’s most difficult and dangerous missions. These forces – over 60,000 strong including military personnel and civilians – are now covertly deployed around the globe. Journalists Dana Priest and William Arkin have described them as“America’s secret army.” Their counterterrorism operations include intelligence-gathering missions and lethal raids – not only in Afghanistan but also in countries where the United States is not at war. They’ve been authorized to keep “kill lists” of individuals who can be assassinated rather than captured, and some have conducted brutal interrogations at secret detention sites. The Army refers to its Special Forces as the “most specialized experts in unconventional warfare.”

At this point, signs clearly indicate that a U.S. SOCOM Center of Excellence for Operational Neuroscience will not be coming to Yale. But it would be a mistake to assume that this research – and the very considerable national security sector funding it attracts – will not find another home. This is why it’s important that the current controversy not be dismissed without fuller engagement and discussion among all stakeholders of pressing practical and ethical considerations – before a similar project appears on another campus or resurfaces in a reconfigured form in New Haven. The prospect of all defense-related neuroscience research being conducted clandestinely by government or corporate entities – away from the public and expert oversight that universities can offer – is far from reassuring, so difficult issues like this must be tackled head-on.

One valuable next step would be an open forum at Yale. Dr. Morgan could have the opportunity to describe in greater detail the nature of his deception detection work and related projects – including his ongoing research in New Haven about which Yale recently claimed it was unaware. Other distinguished scientists, ethicists, and human rights experts could provide their commentaries. And community members, students, faculty, and administrators could offer their own perspectives and pose questions. Such an event would not likely produce consensus, but the sharing of information, the free expression of differing viewpoints, and informed debate are among the most vital functions of a university. Pending further developments, there are very good reasons to be concerned – and confused – about the recent twists and turns surrounding the proposed center at Yale. Many of the most critical questions still await answers.

Roy Eidelson is a clinical psychologist and the president of Eidelson Consulting, where he studies, writes about, and consults on the role of psychological issues in political, organizational, and group conflict settings. He is a past president of Psychologists for Social Responsibility, associate director of the Solomon Asch Center for Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict at Bryn Mawr College, and a member of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology.

March 7, 2013 Posted by | Militarism, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , | Comments Off on Neuroscience, Special Forces and Yale

David Brooks Flunks International Relations Theory 101

By Daniel Warner | NYTX | February 10, 2013

David Brooks’ op-ed piece in the February 9 International Herald Tribune – the global edition of the New York Times – is an insult to any serious student of international relations and political theory as well as to Yale University. As part of a course at Yale on Grand Strategy that he is “taking part in” – Brooks does not say if he is a student in the course or teaching the course – the editorialist wheels out the 16th century Florentine political philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince  to justify the use of drones. Citing passages often used by Realists to justify whatever action fits their aims above and beyond moral considerations, Brooks says that “in the real world, a great leader is called upon to create a civilized order for the city he serves. To create that order, to defeat the forces of anarchy and savagery, the virtuous leader is compelled to do hard things, to take, as it were, the sins of the situation upon himself…Sometimes bad acts produce good outcomes. Sometimes a leader has to love his country more than his soul.”

Brooks’ caricature of Machiavelli allows him to pose a dilemma that has appeared regularly in Realist literature as a binary division between idealism and realistic power politics that is now couched in terms of using drones. “Do I have to be brutal to protect the people I serve? Do I have to use drones, which sometimes kill innocent children, in order to thwart terror and save the lives of my own?” Brooks asks. The political theorist Michael Walzer wrote about this dilemma as “The Problem of Dirty Hands”.

If I were grading Brooks as a student, I would begin by noting in the margins of his paper that his understanding of Machiavelli is terribly superficial. Machiavelli’s advice to the Prince must be understood in the context of the time and place, as R.B.J. Walker has brilliantly shown in “The Prince and ‘the pauper’”. Renaissance life, as sophisticated as it was culturally, was centuries before the codification of public international law, the Geneva Conventions on international humanitarian law, the Genocide Convention, etc. The limited world of the Italian city-states in no way resembles today’s global society. To compare advising the ruler of a small city-state in 16th century Italy with advising President Obama today on the use of drones (or whatever else Brooks can imagine would be justified) is like comparing apples and oranges. Although Brooks praises the fact that “we’ve inherited an international order that restrains conflict,” he cannot go beyond that statement to see that the international order that he praises also restrains the killing of non-combattants by drones, just as it restrains torture. The very basis of that order, and what distinguishes the civilized from the barbaric, is adherence to international law, not the projection of naked power.

David Brooks’ use of Machiavelli is not deserving of a serious first year college student (Will he next be quoting Thucydides’ Melian Dialogue to justify nuking a country when negotiations fail?). Yale’s political science department has long been a leader in the field. By quoting Machiavelli as he does, and then to add legitimacy to the quotations by citing his presence at Yale, Brooks disqualifies himself as a competent student and no more than a simplistic power politics Realist who has no right to whisper in the ear of the Prince, let alone be an editorialist for an institution that considers itself the paper of record.

Mr. Brooks, I do hope you will do better on your next paper. This one is not up to serious standards. You fail.


Daniel Warner is a political scientist living in Geneva, Switzerland, and the author of “An Ethic of Responsibility in International Relations”. Daniel is a contributing writer to NYTX’sGeneva Dateline” column.

February 10, 2013 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on David Brooks Flunks International Relations Theory 101

How Private Warmongers and the US Military Infiltrated American Universities

By Steve Horn and Allen Ruff | Truthout | November 28, 2011

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.

He Who Pays the Piper …

The network of grand strategy programs integral to the Long War University came about through the financial backing of Roger Hertog, the multimillionaire financial manager, man of the right and a key patron of the contemporary conservative movement. Hertog is a chairman emeritus of the conservative social policy think tank the Manhattan Institute, and a board member of the right-wing American Enterprise Institute, and the Club for Growth.

Hertog additionally served on the executive committee of the influential, neoconservative and pro-Israel Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), and has been a major financial contributor to Taglit-Birthright Israel.

Respected in various circles as a patron of the arts and culture, of libraries and archives, Hertog was awarded a National Humanities Medal by then-president George W. Bush in November 2007. The ceremonial citation praised him as one, “[whose] wisdom and generosity have rejuvenated institutions that are keepers of American memory.”

More recently, Hertog introduced Wisconsin’s Gov. Scott Walker at a Manhattan Institute conference on “A New Social Contract: Reforming the Terms of Public Employment in America.” Embracing the controversial Republican state executive, Hertog praised him as a figure that would someday be looked upon as someone who “helped save the country.”

As a man in the business of shaping intellectual environments, Hertog has been described as the “the epitome of the conservative benefactor who bases his politics on conservative intellectualism and moves patiently and strategically to create, support and distribute his ideas.” Norman Podhoretz, the former editor of Commentary, said of his longtime friend that, “Roger thinks of philanthropic endeavors as investments. The return he expects is long range.”

Hertog has been a staunch advocate of a conservative, results-based “new philanthropy” – the replacement of open-ended funding for endowed university chairs with money for selected projects, made available on a two- or three-year basis. He makes little distinction between the nonprofit and for-profit ventures that he funds, and has spoken of “retail” and “strategic philanthropy” as “leverage” to transform American universities.

The Long War Men at Yale

The Grand Strategy network originally started at Yale University, alma mater for a long line of US strategic planners and intelligence operatives.

Its founders were the influential conservative “dean of cold war historians,” John Lewis Gaddis, global historian Paul Kennedy and “diplomat-in-residence”
Charles Hill, the former State Department careerist forced into retirement for concealing the role of his boss, then-secretary of state George Schultz, during the Reagan-era Iran-contra scandal.

Yale’s GSP became the centerpiece of International Securities Studies (ISS), “a center for teaching and research in grand strategy,” founded in 1988. Kennedy was the ISS’s first director. It was initially funded, in the main, by the John M. Olin and Smith Richardson Foundations, two major financial backers of numerous conservative and right-wing public and foreign policy causes.

The plans for the Yale GSP evolved out of a series of discussions between Kennedy, Hill, Gaddis and others, including the New York Times’ Thomas Friedman, in early 1999. Central to their thinking, according to Gaddis, was their shared concern “to deliberately … train the next generation of world leaders.”

According to Gaddis, the original ideas shaping the program’s curriculum were drawn from the efforts of an earlier generation of strategic planners, such as Henry Kissinger, and stemmed from his experience as a mid-1970s faculty member at the US Naval War College.

The New Haven program became known as the Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy in 2007, in recognition of a $17.5 million, 15-year endowment.

The first, Nicholas Brady, had been US secretary of the Treasury under presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and was a former director of the Mitre Corporation, the privately contracted manager of federally funded research and development projects for the Department of Defense (DoD) and other agencies.

The other benefactor, Brady’s billionaire business associate, Charles B. Johnson, is a part-owner of the San Francisco Giants and an “overseer” of the conservative Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, among other things.

Both Brady and Johnson sit on the board of directors of Darby Private Equity alongside Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s philanthropist and venture capitalist Sheldon Lubar, member of the board of directors of the University of Wisconsin Foundation and supporter of what had been the University of Wisconsin Madison’s GSP.

Increasingly well-endowed over time, the Yale GSP continued to acquire new associates, among them an additional “diplomat-at-large,” John Negroponte, the former national security adviser, US envoy to the United Nations (UN) and controversial US ambassador to Honduras during the 1980s contra war against Nicaragua.

While the identities of those associated with the Yale program certainly speak volumes, the actual program these people devised is far more revealing, especially since it provided the prototype for future efforts elsewhere.

Aspiring Grand Strategy students are required to write application essays, and the cross-discipline pool of graduate students and undergraduates is carefully vetted. The year-long program comprises a focus on “real world practice” and includes the study of “classics” in strategic thinking, from ancient Chinese general and “The Art of War” author Sun Tzu and Greek historian Thucydides to Prussian military strategist Karl von Clausewitz and Kissinger himself.

In addition to their formal studies, students are required to complete summer projects that have included internships at the European Union’s (EU) Institute for Security Studies and the National Security Agency (NSA). Students completing the program have gone on to careers with the US Department of State, the CIA, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the DoD’s subcontracted Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA).

The year-long GSP course concludes with a “crisis simulation” session, in which teams of students prepare “emergency rapid response” scenarios as if preparing for a “real time” meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) and the president. Role-playing the president and other administration officials, the presenters are then grilled by program faculty who critique their work.

The simulations and seminars have included numbers of exclusive “outside guests.” CIA head David Petraeus, at the time general in command of the US military operations in the Middle East, paid an unpublicized visit to the Yale GSP’s students and faculty in March 2010.

Other visitors included the likes of Kissinger and George W. Bush’s hardline ambassador to the UN, John Bolton. Observers from the CIA and cadets from West Point also sat in on the seminars.

In February 2009, US Marine Corps officers met with GSP faculty and students. The representatives from the “Combat Development Command and the Corp Commandant’s Strategic Initiatives Group” briefed the Yalies and other invited guests on the Marine’s “Vision and Strategy 2025,” a planning document describing “how the Marine Corps’ role and posture in national defense will change in the future global environment.”

Gaddis, in fact, told Yale Alumni Magazine in 2003 that, ” … We now offer workshops in grand strategy at the war colleges and service academies, recreating a connection with the highest levels of the military … And Washington has taken notice.”

Perhaps most significantly, a core of Gaddis and Kennedy students have gone on to become either directors of Grand Strategy projects and related institutes, or to work as closely connected faculty associates elsewhere.

Such students have included historian Matthew Connelly, head of the Hertog Global Strategy Initiative at Columbia University; William Hitchcock, now at the University of Virginia, who helped create the Grand Strategy Program at Temple University; Mark Lawrence of the University of Texas at Austin; Jeremi Suri, currently at the University of Texas at Austin, who created the now-defunct GSP at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; and Hal Brands, formerly with the IDA and now the American grand strategy assistant professor of public policy at Duke University.

Grand Strategy’s Launch

In September, 2008, some 20 historians and political scientists from around the country gathered at an unpublicized location, a private club nearby Yale. The participants, carefully chosen by the university’s GSP directors, had been invited to meet with Hertog.

The financial management mogul told those at the Yale meet-up that he was willing to spend as much as $10 million over the coming years to fund scholars interested in inaugurating GSPs at their respective campuses. He requested short, three-page proposals from the professors-on-the-rise detailing how they would use his seed money.

He urged them to think about how to connect their projects with others around the country to leverage their collective impact, and cautioned that he did not necessarily want exact replicas of Yale’s venture. The subsequent GSPs and allied programs evolved with his financial assistance.

Long War at Duke

One of the recipients of Hertog “strategic philanthropy” has been the Program in American Grand Strategy at Duke University, headed by Peter D. Feaver, a significant figure in strategic planning circles and an important player within the Long War University.  A political scientist with a Harvard PhD, he also is the director of Triangle Institute for Security Studies (TISS), the well-established strategic policy consortium with affiliates at Duke, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University.

An expert on the relationship between civil society and the military, Feaver served under the Clinton administration  from 1993 to 1994 as director for defense policy and arms control on the NSC. He then worked as special adviser for strategic planning and institutional reform on the NSC staff during the Bush years, from June 2005 to July 2007. Feaver is also an affiliate of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), the increasingly influential liberal hawk think tank presided over by the warrior intellectual John Nagl, the former career military man who helped write the influential Counterinsurgency Field Manual under the command of former general Petraeus.

The homepage for the Duke GSP reads, “American grand strategy is the collection of plans and policies by which the leadership of the United States mobilizes and deploys the country’s resources and capabilities, both military and non-military, to achieve its national goals.”

In fulfillment of its mission, Feaver has brought in a number of national security state notables, among them, in September 2010,  then-secretary of defense Robert Gates, who gave a public address on the all-volunteer military in an age of the Long War and also taught a session of Feaver’s Grand Strategy class.

The Duke GSP and TISS co-sponsored a talk  a year earlier by Brig. Gen. H.R. McMaster on “Counterinsurgency and the War in Afghanistan.” McMaster served in both Iraq wars and worked on the team that designed the Iraq “surge,” and, at the time of his talk, directed a key division of the Army’s warfare planning center at Ft. Monroe, Virginia.

Other guests of the Duke GSP have included Gaddis and Kennedy from Yale; Michael Doran, the Roger Hertog senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center; and former Bush administration hawks, Stephen Hadley, John Bolton and Douglas Feith.

The Warriors’ Temple

A Hertog Program In Grand Strategy was launched at Temple University in spring 2009, with the assistance of a three-year, $225,000 grant from the Hertog Foundation arranged through two foreign policy historians, the Yale alumnus  Hitchcock and Richard Immerman, current director of the university’s Center for the Study of Force and Diplomacy (CENFAD)

A CENFAD newsletter stated that Temple had been chosen “as a site for replicating Yale University’s ‘Grand Strategy’ course – a yearlong seminar on military strategy taught by Charles Hill, John Lewis Gaddis, and Paul Kennedy … ”

The same article pointed out that Hertog did not believe in making unrestricted gifts to academe, but rather believed in setting benchmarks to ensure the goals he envisioned. It went on to state, “that CENFAD, its associates, and students will expend every effort to meet this challenge to make sure that the Hertog Seminar in Grand Strategy remains at Temple.”

Housed at Temple’s History Department, CENFAD was founded in 1993 and “fosters interdisciplinary faculty and student research on the historic and contemporary use of force and diplomacy in a global context.”

CENFAD is currently directed by Immerman, best known in scholarly circles for his historical writing on the CIA. Immerman served from 2007 to 2008 as assistant deputy director of national intelligence, analytic integrity and standards, and analytic ombudsman at the office of the director of national intelligence, an oversight position created to ensure the standards and accuracy of national intelligence documents.

Columbia University’s Long War

Columbia University’s variant of the Hertog-funded strategic studies program, the aforementioned Hertog Global Strategy Initiative had its start in 2010 under the direction of the Yale alumnus and former Gaddis student, the historian Connelly.

Varying from the GSPs elsewhere, Columbia’s is a summer program only. The first year’s session, in 2010, focused on “Nuclear Proliferation and the Future of World Power” and was co-taught by Connelly and University of Texas at Austin’s Francis Gavin. The summer 2011 session focused on “The History and Future Pandemic Threats and Global Public Health.” The projected session for summer 2012 will focus on “Religious Violence and Apocalyptic Movements.”

In many ways, the program clearly resembles that developed by Gaddis at Yale. Students spend the first three weeks of the summer in “total immersion,” training in the methods of international history. Eight weeks are then spent conducting independent and team projects, followed by a final week where the students present their research, develop future scenarios and participate in a crisis simulation exercise

Visitors to Columbia’s GSP have included the likes of Kissinger, former Deputy Secretary of State James B. Steinberg (also the former dean of the University of Texas-Austin’s Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, under whose auspices sits the Robert S. Strauss Center of International Security and Law), and Philip Zelikow, a senior foreign policy official in the Bush administration and former director of the 9/11 Commission.

For their final week’s simulation exercise in summer 2010, seminar students were led by Dr. Betty Sue Flowers, a leading expert in “future forecasting” and the guiding force behind Shell Oil’s Global Scenarios, a much emulated standard for corporate and government scenario projects including the National Intelligence Council’s Global Trends Reports.

The Longhorn Long Warriors

In May 2010, Suri, the man behind the now-defunct GSP at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, announced that he was taking a job offer for a joint appointment at the University of Texas-Austin, including a position at the prestigious Strauss Center. A brief survey of the roster there suggests that Suri’s move to Austin was the perfect decision for Madison’s former wunderkind and “rising star.”

The Center has been home for two other Long War intellectuals with high-level national security state ties. One is Philip Bobbitt, concurrently with the Roger Hertog Program on Law and National Security at the Columbia University Law School and a senior fellow at the Strauss Center. The other is Bobby Ray Inman, who recently became the head of the board of directors of Xe Services (formerly known as Blackwater USA), the transnational private military and security firm. He formerly served two terms as dean of the aforementioned home of the Strauss Center, the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs.

Bobbitt, once described by Henry Kissinger as “the outstanding political philosopher of our time,” and by London’s Independent as the “president’s brain,” formerly served as the counselor for international law at the State Department during the George H. W. Bush administration, and at the NSC, where he was director for intelligence programs. He also was senior director for critical infrastructure and senior director for strategic planning under President Bill Clinton.

Inman wore multiple hats before joining Xe’s board. He was a member of the board of directors of the infamous coal company Massey Energy; deputy director of the CIA; director of the NSA; director of naval intelligence; vice director of the Defense Intelligence Agency; and former director of Wackenhut Corporation, another transnational security firm and mercenary contractor. He had also been slated to become President Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Defense before withdrawing his name from nomination in 1994.

In 2006, the Strauss Center served as a key backer, along with Columbia University’s American Assembly program, for “The Next Generation Project on US Global Policy and the Future of International Institutions,” a multi-year national effort to solicit new ideas from a geographically diverse range of strategic thinkers outside the traditional East Coast corridors of power.

Directed by Gavin, another important figure in Long War University circles, the project issued a 2010 report on “US Global Policy: Challenges to Building a 21st Century Grand Strategy.” The report was sponsored by the Strauss Center and CNAS.

Long War University Homecoming

In August, 2010 key members of the Long War grand strategist fraternity gathered for a”Workshop on the Teaching of Grand Strategy” at the Naval War College (NWC) at Newport, Rhode Island. It was only logical that they meet there rather than at some university.

The NWC, with its long history of strategic planning dating back to an earlier age of global naval power, had earlier developed the curriculum that became the model for the grand strategies discipline employed at Yale and subsequently elsewhere.  For some attendees, such as Gaddis, who spent part of his early teaching career there, the summer return to Newport must have seemed like a homecoming.

The conclave was designed to bring together “some of the nation’s most influential thinkers to explore how they design courses on grand strategy.” The meet-up’s list of attendees read like an abbreviated “who’s who” of warrior academics and national security state intellectuals.

Those in attendance included Gaddis, Hill and Kennedy, as well as their Yale disciples, Columbia’s Connelly, Duke’s Hal Brands, and then-UW-Madison’s Suri.

Among the others were Middle East expert Michael Doran, a Roger Hertog senior fellow at the Saban Center, former deputy assistant secretary of defense under George W. Bush and fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Also present was Peter Mansoor, the current chair of military history at Ohio State University and a former Army colonel who served as an assistant to then- general Petraeus while he was commander of the US occupation forces in Iraq. Also in the mix was Aaron Friedberg, who served as national security adviser to then-vice president Dick Cheney, and Georgetown’s Robert J. Lieber, member of the ultraconservative Committee on the Present Danger.

A follow-up thank-you email from the NWC’s lead organizer spoke of his “hope that we will stay connected and assist each other in our common enterprise.” The same note addressed to the workshop’s participants contained an e-mail address likely belonging to Lewis “Scooter” Libby, senior vice president of the Hudson Institute and a past frequent volunteer at the NWC. As Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, Libby was convicted in connection with the federal investigation into the “PlameGate” affair.

The NWC conclave might best be described as an imperial war hawk’s “how-to” teach-in. Geared to instruction on how to teach grand strategy to military men, government officials and university students, its sessions included “‘Great Books’ on Strategy,” “Economics and Grand Strategy,” “Strategic Leadership,” which explored “the relationship of political and military leadership in strategic decision making” and “Great Power Wars,” which discussed how to teach “the strategic significance of the commons – maritime, aerospace, and information.”

The closing session looked at “how to stay connected with each other,” the “sharing of information about courses,” “ways to promote cooperation and break down barriers,” and “how to promote courses in the professional military and the universities.”

The Long War on Campus

The so-called “Grand Strategy Programs” represent but one small component of a proliferating Long War University complex. The number of university programs connected to the national security state, the imperial foreign policy establishment and military planners is vast; so, too, are the numbers of campus-based think tanks and related institutes – well funded by foundations, individual “philanthropy” or federal spending – in service to empire.

“Grand strategy” is little more than imperial doctrine, a “soft” public relations term for strategic studies, a growing academic discipline with origins in the war ministries of an earlier era’s imperial powers.

US warfare doctrine in the post-9/11 era has returned to a focus on counterinsurgency, or COIN, on fighting limited “asymmetric” wars against unconventional enemies defined as “terrorists” or insurgents. Not just low- intensity combat, but an increasingly sophisticated spectrum of intervention – of “nation building” and the “reconstruction” of other societies – is now included in COIN doctrine.

That more robust notion of COIN has come to occupy a central place in the thinking of those semi-warrior intellectuals informing one another and an upcoming generation of their students. Sharing a broad consensus on America’s role in the world and imbued with a sense of American “exceptionalism,” the Long War intellectuals at the national warfare state universities have joined in preparation for permanent war.

Because some of the primary source material gathered for this two-part series was obtained via the Wisconsin Open Records Law, the materials are available upon request.

November 30, 2011 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment