US and UK Wage War on Dissent

(The Modi Government is trying to accuse activists of being the ‘foreign hand.’ The truth is, that it is the intelligence establishment of the Manmohan and Modi Governments that are following in the steps of the ‘foreign’ – i.e imperialist – intelligence and defence establishments. Below are excerpts from two articles by Dr. Nafeez Ahmed, an international security journalist and academic, that appeared in the Guardian newspaper, that outline the efforts of the US and UK Defence establishments to use ‘studies’ to criminalise peaceful dissent.)

Pentagon Paints Civilians As Potential Terrorists

Social science is being militarised to develop ‘operational tools’ to target peaceful activists and protest movements

A US Department of Defense (DoD) research programme is funding a multi-million dollar programme in universities to identify risks and tipping points for large-scale civil unrest across the world, under the supervision of various US military agencies.

Launched in 2008 – the year of the global banking crisis – the DoD ‘Minerva Research Initiative’ partners with universities “to improve DoD’s basic understanding of the social, cultural, behavioral, and political forces that shape regions of the world of strategic importance to the US.”

Among the projects awarded for the period 2014-2017 is a Cornell University-led study managed by the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research which aims to develop an empirical model “of the dynamics of social movement mobilisation and contagions.” Twitter posts and conversations will be examined “to identify individuals mobilised in a social contagion and when they become mobilised.”

Another project awarded this year to the University of Washington “seeks to uncover the conditions under which political movements aimed at large-scale political and economic change originate,” along with their “characteristics and consequences.” The project, managed by the US Army Research Office, focuses on “large-scale movements involving more than 1,000 participants in enduring activity,” and will cover 58 countries in total.

Last year, the DoD’s Minerva Initiative funded a project to determine ‘Who Does Not Become a Terrorist, and Why?’ which, however, conflates peaceful activists with “supporters of political violence” who are different from terrorists only in that they do not embark on “armed militancy” themselves. The project explicitly sets out to study non-violent activists:

“In every context we find many individuals who share the demographic, family, cultural, and/or socioeconomic background of those who decided to engage in terrorism, and yet refrained themselves from taking up armed militancy, even though they were sympathetic to the end goals of armed groups. The field of terrorism studies has not, until recently, attempted to look at this control group. This project is not about terrorists, but about supporters of political violence.”

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