03 November 2011

Human Terrain Mapping at Home is "Scary": The Video the Human Terrain System Does Not Want You to See

This is the video (below), back online again, that one participant--either Dr. Christopher A. King, Social Science Director of the Human Terrain System, or Dr. George Lucas (we have since confirmed that it was King)--wanted Case Western Reserve University to take offline. This video also features Dr. David A. Price, who did not agree to be censored, at what was, after all, an academic conference. AJP was informed by Dr. Price that all of the participants were required to sign media releases. This video is being presented once more, in the public interest, from an event that was neither secret nor classified, for the purposes of research, analysis, and for journalists to use in any possible reporting. The video is available in multiple locations--and to be safe, everyone reading this should make a copy of the video (one option is to download RealPlayer if you have not done so already, and then download a copy of the video to your computer).

The video was removed on November 7, 2011 

Regarding Case Western's decision to reverse itself, and remove this video from public view, Dr. Price stated: " I find this lack of transparency to be disturbing and would likely not have attended if I'd known these military spokespersons would not be abiding by the same rules of openness governing others at this symposium." It is probable that the reason the video was removed was in part due to AJP's previous article, "Anthropology at War: Human Terrain Social Science Director Admits Human Terrain Mapping is Scary, Troubling." This level of unguarded honesty, and unintentional accuracy, likely proved embarrassing to the Human Terrain System. As we said in that article (now updated):
Perhaps two of the more stunning, and yet brief, moments to come out of a panel recently held at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law, was when the Social Science Director of the U.S. Army’s Human Terrain System (HTS), anthropologist Dr. Christopher A. King, essentially condemned his own program with what in hindsight he may call a careless admission. The moment comes in response to comments from an American Muslim audience member, that begins at the 1:08:24 mark. She raises the point about how human terrain mapping has been brought back home, and is applied to Muslim communities in New York City. In response, Dr. King clearly states that he finds this “scary” and then says it is “pretty troubling”, later repeating “troubling, that’s for sure”. As a co-panelist, Dr. David H. Price, anthropologist at St. Martin’s University, noted this (see the 1:12:56 mark), he remarked that it seems to be fine to apply the techniques against “Others” abroad, but suddenly it is not so good when applied domestically. What Dr. King thus leaves open is that locals in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere, in their homes, are justified in viewing HTS as scary and troubling, the same way that critics have observed it is scary and troubling. After years of public debate, we owe thanks to Dr. King for finally confirming that what we knew all along was correct, now even from his own perspective.

The second striking moment comes toward the very end of the first video below, when Dr. King admits, audibly, to Dr. Price, that he does not know what COINTELPRO is and has never heard of it before (see the 1:14:07 mark), even though it arguably provides many of the foundations for HTS itself.

The event at which these remarks were made was “The University and National Security after 9/11”--Panel II: “Academics at War: Anthropologists and other Social Scientists in Iraq and Afghanistan and in the Framing of Counterinsurgency Doctrine” (Arthur W. Fiske Memorial Lecture, Case Western Reserve University School of Law, Institute for Global Security Law and Policy, September 23, 2011).
For more about the collaboration between the New York Police Department, the CIA, and the FBI, in applying "human terrain mapping" back at home see the following news articles and primary documents. Note that the current CIA director, General David Petraeus, actively endorsed HTS as he marshalled the production of the Army's Counterinsurgency Manual. 

Law enforcement is watching the day-to-day activities of thousands upon thousands of Muslims, with focus on mosques and hookah (waterpipe) bars, Pakistani cab drivers and the devout. Relying on informants, undercover cops, and a vast structure for information-sharing and joint policing, the FBI and NYPD - with assistance from the CIA - are working toward a cartography of Muslim communities. This mapping is being done in the name of national security. But on what theory?

....The NYPD’s 2007 report reads as a blueprint for the recent news about the NYPD’s profiles of 250 mosques and Muslim student groups in the NYC area, and its deployment of mosque “rakers” and “crawlers” to listen in on sermons and geo-map Muslim communities.
A new investigation by the Associated Press reveals how, after the attacks of September 11, 2001, the New York City Police Department decided it could no longer trust other agencies to prevent terrorism and started expanding its own intelligence gathering. In the process, it became "one of the nation’s most aggressive domestic intelligence agencies," targeting ethnic communities in ways that would run afoul of civil liberties rules if practiced by the federal government. The report, titled "With CIA Help, NYPD Moves Covertly in Muslim Areas," also finds that these operations "benefited from unprecedented help from the CIA, a partnership that has blurred the line between foreign and domestic spying." The report details how police used informants, known as "mosque crawlers," to monitor sermons, even without any evidence of wrongdoing. Also falling under NYPD’s scrutiny were imams, taxi cab drivers and food cart vendors — jobs often done by Muslims. 
On Aug. 24, Apuzzo and Goldman broke open the NYPD spying story: the NYPD, in cooperation with the CIA, ran a post-9/11 spying operation targeting Muslims that would “run afoul of civil liberties rules if practiced by the federal government." The CIA can't legally spy on U.S. citizens, but they appeared to help the NYPD do just that. NYPD officers, even without specific leads involving criminal activity, have collected information on people inside restaurants serving halal meat, Muslim student associations, Islamic schools, ethnic bookstores, hookah bars and mosques.

"Mapping crimes has been a successful police strategy nationwide," the AP wrote. "But mapping robberies and shootings is one thing. Mapping ethnic neighborhoods is different, something that at least brushes against what the federal government considers racial profiling."
A U.S. citizen in Queens, for example, starts work each day at what police labeled "a known Moroccan barbershop." The AP previously revealed the secret operations of the NYPD intelligence division as it mapped the Muslim community in and around New York, monitored life in ethnic neighborhoods and scrutinized mosques. The Moroccan Initiative was one of the division's projects. Such programs began with help from the CIA under President George W. Bush and have continued with at least the tacit support of President Barack Obama, whose administration repeatedly has sidestepped questions about them. It is unclear whether Mayor Michael Bloomberg oversaw the programs. He has refused to comment directly about them.

....The documents on the Moroccan businesses were compiled by a team called the Demographics Unit, which police originally denied existed. After the AP obtained police documents describing the unit as a team of 16 officers with a mission to map and monitor ethnic neighborhoods, the department said the Demographics Unit used to exist but never had more than eight officers.

....No other police department in the United States is known to employ programs like New York's. Police in Los Angeles, the nation's second-largest city, once considered a program that would have mapped the area's Muslim communities, but it was shut down after news coverage brought wide criticism.
The Demographics Unit, a squad of 16 officers fluent in a total of at least five languages, was told to map ethnic communities in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut and identify where people socialize, shop and pray. Once that analysis was complete, according to documents obtained by the AP, the NYPD would "deploy officers in civilian clothes throughout the ethnic communities."....

Working out of the police department's offices at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, the Demographics Unit maintained a list of 28 countries that, along with "American Black Muslim," it considered "ancestries of interest." Nearly all are Muslim countries. Police used census data and government databases to map areas it considered "hot spots" as well as the ethnic neighborhoods of New York's tri-state area, the documents show. Undercover officers known as "rakers" - a term the NYPD also denied existed - were then told to participate in social activities such as cricket matches and visit cafes and clubs, the documents show.
The department has dispatched undercover officers, known as "rakers," into minority neighborhoods as part of a human mapping program, according to officials directly involved in the program.
According to the report, the NYPD dispatches “rakers,” the NYPD term, into a “human mapping program” to monitor the daily lives of Muslim Americans in the places where ordinary living transpires, such as bookstores, caf├ęs, bars, and nightclubs, without the hint of criminal wrongdoing. The police department also employs “mosque crawlers,” who scrutinize imams and their sermons, and have gathered intelligence on cab drivers and food cart vendors, jobs commonly associated with Muslim workers. 

CIA Role Within NYPD Raises Eyebrows | NBC New York


Powerpoint presentation obtained from the AP detailing the work of the New York City Police Department's "Demographics Unit," which it previously denied even existed. 

Prepared by: Mitchell D. Silber and Arvin Bhatt, Senior Intelligence Analysts, NYPD Intelligence Division

A detailed list, with photos, from the NYPD's files of intelligence collected on the Moroccan community, in its own application of human terrain mapping.
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