[Marxism] Human Terrain Program to end

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Dec 13 07:33:28 MST 2008

Fri Dec 12 22:07:22 GMT 2008
For Immediate Release.

"Human Terrain Team"

The end may be nigh for the US military's controversial and sometimes
fatal attempt to embed hundreds of anthropologists and social
scientists into military units under the "Human Terrain Program"
or HTS.  Yesterday saw two major releases from Wikileaks and the
journal Nature relating to the effort.

Wikileaks released the unpublished, "bible" of the program, the 122 page
"Human Terrain Team Handbook", dated Sep 2008. The contents confirm
allegations made by the American Anthropological Association last
year that the teams helped in "identifying and selecting specific
populations as targets of US military operations".

Nature, the international science journal, called for the program
to be scrapped, saying that it was "plagued by deadly mistakes," and
"needs to be closed down". HTS contractors and employees stand accused,
variously, of murder, dousing each other in petrol, and spying.
Additionally, social scientist Michael Bhatia was killed in Afghanistan
in May and Nicole Suveges, a doctoral student from John Hopkins
University was killed in Iraq the following month.

The US military has attempted to paint the teams as assisting military
"cultural sensitivity", but it is clear from the handbook that the teams
report to military unit commanders and are used to map family, political
and other relationships for general operations and irregular warfare.

Consequently the program appears to have attracted both enemy fire and
the bottom of the recruitment barrel--social scientists with few
opportunities who are willing to sell out the values of their professions
and Arab translators willing to assist in the targeting of Arab or
Afghani Moslems.

In these latter respects there is a parallel to the US military's use of
psychologist and psychiatrist teams to interrogate detainees in
Guantanamo, Camp Bucca, Bagram and other prisons. These teams,
Behavioral Consultation Teams, or BCTs, have been similarly condemned
by professional bodies and exposed by Wikileaks whistleblowers.

Prof. David Price's readable analysis (appears in today's Counterpunch):

Nature article:

The full leaked handbook:

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