Below is a proposal for a coalition that formed in Spring of last year.
The Demilitarize UW Coalition is composed of several University of Washington organizations including the Campus Anti-war Network, the International Socialist Organization and Democracy Insurgent. We are students and community members that have come together through these organizations in an effort to promote a democratic campus and end UW’s involvement in the undemocratic practices of the United States’ military and intelligence organizations. The complete points of unity for the Demilitarize UW Coalition are available in the appendix.
In this document we, the Demilitarize UW Coalition, advocate for the end of the University of Washington Institute for National Security Education and Research (INSER), and the removal of CIA agent Tim Thomas, a visiting professor brought to UW through INSER, from campus. This document explains why we are opposed to the US intelligence agencies, which are associated with INSER, and how this is a part of the struggle for a democratic university. This is a decision that should be made by UW students, faculty, staff, and the people and communities of the state of Washington. We demand a public response by June 2, 2009.
1. The University of Washington Institute for National Security Education and Research, and the CIA Presence on Campus
The Institute for National Security Education and Research at the University of Washington was established in January 2007 with funding from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). The ODNI presides over the United States Intelligence Community. This is a sixteen-member confederation of different state intelligence and security departments and agencies.
The establishment of INSER at the University of Washington has been established as one of the Intelligence Community’s Centers for Academic Excellence (CAE) program. This program provides financial assistance for the purpose of developing curricula that addresses the needs of the Intelligence Community.
As a CAE program, INSER also seeks to recruit students into one of the agencies within the Intelligence Community. To accomplish this aim INSER offers internships with the following intelligence agencies:
• Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
• Defense Intelligence Agency
• Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
• Marine Corps Intelligence Activity
• National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
• National Security Agency
• Office of National Intelligence
In addition, INSER also provides funding for student scholarship in “strategically important” areas outside of the US. Not only is INSER a way for the Intelligence Community to conduct research, but the university makes this research possible by providing “legitimate” cover for activities of Intelligence Community members outside of the US.
B. CIA Presence on Campus
In addition to INSER, CIA agent Tim Thomas has been brought onto campus as a visiting professor in the Human Centered Design and Engineering Department. He has taught a course on internet data-mining, and lectured on the role of science, technology and research in the business of security and intelligence.
2. INSER Supports Attacks by State Intelligence and Security Agencies
A major source of funding for INSER comes from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). INSER, and by extension the ODNI, acts as a funnel for both information and personnel to these various agencies. This is not acceptable because these organizations actively seek to undermine democratic movements of women and people of color both in the US and abroad.
Below are case studies of three organizations within the US Intelligence Community - the CIA, the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (a department within the Department of Homeland Security) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) - that demonstrate the anti-democratic nature of the ODNI in both an international and domestic context.
A. The Central Intelligence Agency
CIA agent Tim Thomas has been a visiting professor on UW’s campus in the School of Information. Around the world, the CIA attacks democratic movements, supports dictatorships, and upholds patriarchal regimes and gender norms. What follows is a review of atrocities and crimes committed by the CIA.
1. In 1953 the CIA, cooperating with British forces, organized and supported the coup d’état against elected Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossaddeq because Mossadeq promised to nationalize the Iranian oil industry that was controlled by Britain. In his stead, the CIA installed Mohammad Reza Pahlavi as the Shah of Iran. The Shah was hailed by the US and European governments as a ‘modernizing’ force. Part of his modernization program was the banning of the veil. Women who chose to veil were attacked in the streets by security forces, banned from public institutions, and essentially placed under house arrest. The Shah militarized production in Iran, placing military guards in factories to suppress attempts at labor organizing.
2. Salvador Allende was elected the president of Chile in 1970. It was widely expected that Allende would nationalize a number of industries within Chile, a policy that was opposed by the Nixon administration. After the Nixon-backed candidate lost to Allende in the presidential elections, the CIA played an instrumental role in engineering a coup d’état that replaced Allende with General Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet would run a military dictatorship for the next fifteen years that assassinated political dissidents abroad, killing thousands of people, and torturing tens of thousands more. All of these policies were supported under “Operation Condor” of the CIA who had similar operations all over Latin America.
3. During the occupation of Afghanistan by the USSR from 1979 until 1989, the CIA would arm and train some of the most patriarchal forces within the Afghani mujahideen, in order to fight the Soviet invasion. These mujahideen factions would attack individual women and many women’s organizations. They even banned the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan. The mujahideen later would regroup as the Northern Alliance. Despite claims by the US that it was invading Afghanistan in order to liberate women in 2001, the Northern Alliance remained a key ally for the US.
4. The Washington Post reports that the CIA is holding 100 suspected terrorists in secret CIA prisons around the world. These are the so-called “Black sites” where ghost detainees are kept with little oversight and no communication with the outside world. The CIA may have even wider latitude in applying torture techniques than the guards and officials at Guantanamo Bay. For example, the joint CIA-military unit 6-26 in Iraq was tasked with searching for ex-Baathists. They engaged in broad sweeps, imprisoning many Iraqis with no Baath party connections. Four of their members were reassigned after they tortured prisoners with Tazers. Similarly, a secret CIA unit tasked with hunting Al Qaeda received attention when a man they tortured to death turned up in photos packed in ice at Abu Ghraib next to the grinning face of a prison guard there.
These CIA Black Sites often involve kidnapping people and then sending them to be tortured by governments allied to the US such as Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Morocco. This is called “extraordinary rendition.” CIA agent Robert Baer disclosed that “There is a rule inside the CIA that if you want…good information you send the suspect to Jordan, if you want them to be killed or tortured to death you send them either to Egypt or to Syria – never to see them again.” A former CIA counterintel chief acknowledged that “Egyptian jails are full of guys who are missing toenails and fingernail” (Kristian Williams, American Methods).
These are only a few of the many cases where the CIA has violated basic norms of democracy and social justice. We oppose the presence of INSER on campus because it could support the C.I.A.’s actions through research and recruitment.
B. The Department of Homeland Security and the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Immigration raids and abuses by the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are some of the most recent abuses perpetrated by the US state and its intelligence agencies. ICE operates under the Department of Homeland Security, a member of the Intelligence Community.
Many immigrant workers come to the US looking for work because their economies have been devastated through unfair trade agreements with the US. The response by ICE has been to lock up and deport hundreds of thousands of workers who are only trying to save themselves and their families from penury. Tens of thousands have been held in detention, and hundreds of thousands more deported. Sometimes workers are racially profiled, denied access to lawyers, and their families are not informed of their status or whereabouts.
1. ICE defends the exploitation of immigrant labor. Immigrant workers often receive substandard pay because, without the status of citizenship, their rights are not protected by the state. Sometimes bosses withhold wages, and then call ICE to arrest the workers. The workers never receive their wages, and the bosses get free labor. (Any concrete example of such a known employer?)
2. ICE also denies the reproductive rights of detainees. There are many instances of women who are raped during their trek across the border. A number of these women would prefer to terminate the pregnancy, but ICE does not provide services for women to obtain abortions. ICE qualifies abortions as “elective” procedures, not a reproductive right.
3. In December 2006, ICE raided Swift meatpacking plants in six different states. Swift, and many of the other workplaces targeted by ICE are membership hubs for the United Food and Commercial Workers union. The UCFW reports that over 12,000 of workers were detained against their will not knowing why they were being arrested.
As an affiliate of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, I.C.E. threatens people of color in the Americas and immigrant workers in the US. We oppose the presence of INSER on campus because it could support I.C.E.’s actions through research and recruitment.
C. The Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, also a member of the Intelligence Community, has attacked democratic movements by women and people of color since its inception.
1. Just after the US entered the First World War, the FBI banned the newspaper of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored Peoples, The Crisis. The FBI took particular exception to the NAACP’s calls for “civil liberties,” “inalienable rights” and “freedom of speech and of the press.” The FBI deemed the struggles of people of color for the rights enjoyed by whites to be a risk to the order and rule of the US government.
2. In 1961, an attack on Freedom Riders by the Ku Klux Klan left Freedom Rider Walter Bergman unable to walk for the rest of his life. Not only did the FBI have full knowledge of the attack before it took place, but an FBI agent took part in the beatings as part of the Klan.
3. The most recent round of attacks on people of color by the FBI has been the entrapment cases that have led to the incarceration of Muslims across the country. In these operations, police and FBI agents posing as Muslims in mosques and Muslim communities suggested the idea of staging a terrorist attack in the US. The agents coaxed and prodded Muslims who were then arrested sometimes for not verbally disagreeing with the agents’ provocation
We oppose the presence of INSER on campus because it could support the FBI’s actions through research and recruitment.
3. The Struggle for Our Universities
The university has always been a contentious social institution. Both the surrounding communities and attending students often find themselves at odds with the interests of the state and numerous corporations over the social vision and mission of the university. While official society would have us believe that the university is an apolitical institution in the business of “objective” scholarship, the broader historical presence of intelligence and security agencies on college campuses, and, in particular the presence of the CIA on UW’s campus, paints a different picture.
The fact of the matter is that at times universities provide information and legitimacy for the anti-democratic actions of the state, such as CIA support of patriarchal forces in Afghanistan, and I.C.E. attacks on workers of color in the US. When university research is conducted with the aim of supporting patriarchal and racist attacks by state intelligence agencies – one of the functions of INSER – it is hard to imagine an unbiased approach to scholarship.
There are many instances of overlap between state officials and projects, on the one hand, and school administrators and research projects on the other. Here are some examples:
1. Between 1955 and 1959, Michigan State University had a $25 million contract with the CIA to provide academic cover to five CIA agents stationed in South Vietnam. These agents performed such jobs as drafting the government's constitution, and providing police training and weapons to the repressive Diem regime. The constitution included a provision requiring the South Vietnamese to carry voter identification cards. Citizens without such cards were assumed to be Communist sympathizers and faced arrest or worse by the regime's police.
2. In 1968, the CIA used the Eagleton Institute for Research at Rutgers University in a plan to influence the outcome of the presidential election in Guyana. Through the Eagleton Institute, the CIA helped amend the Guyanese constitution to allow Guyanese and relatives of Guyanese living abroad to vote by absentee ballot. 16,000 votes were manufactured in New York City, giving the CIA's candidate, Forbes Burnham, a narrow margin over socialist Cheddi Jagan.
3. The Project for a New American Century was a think-tank that provided the ideological vision for the administration of President of George W. Bush that included the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, and attack on civil liberties through legislation under the Patriot Act. Many of the theoreticians of PNAC are current or former professors at universities, such as Harvard, John Hopkins University and Georgetown University.
This tension on college campuses and universities provokes us to ask the question, “What is education for? Does it hold true to the principles of democracy, gender liberation and anti-racism, or does it violate these principles?”
The presence of INSER and CIA agent Tim Thomas at the University of Washington is part of a broader trend in the relationship between universities and anti-democratic actions of the state. Research at the University of Washington should not support state intelligence organizations as generators of propaganda and research or as pools of potential recruits.
4. Ending INSER supports democracy.
We recognize that the University of Washington claims to be committed to an ethical vision for society. In the past, the administration supported divestment from the apartheid regime in South Africa. Like the CIA and other US intelligence organizations, apartheid was a part of a broader system of oppression against people of color. The fall of South African apartheid was a decisive moment of change for our generation, proudly demonstrating that we have the power to stand against the oppressors of our time. We call on the university to be consistent with the precedent of divestment from South Africa. We expect application of the principles of social justice even when it involves criticizing the US government. We see the demands to end INSER and the CIA presence on campus as part of that same tradition of popular, democratic movements.
We believe that many UW students, staff, and faculty are critical of US security and intelligence agencies. We acknowledge that faculty members in multiple departments have publicly questioned the presence of INSER at UW, often arguing that it jeopardizes the credibility of their research or the integrity of projects they are engaged in abroad.
To bring this opposition into a wider public view we have encouraged a public, democratic debate about INSER, the CIA, and their presence on campus over the past two quarters. This debate cannot and will not be simply an intellectual exercise engaged in ivory tower isolation without political and economic consequences. If UW students, staff, faculty, and Washington citizens who financially support the University believe that U.S. intelligence and security agencies are a threat to democracy in both the US and the world, we have a responsibility to materially end our University’s support of them. The Demilitarize UW Coalition believes the university should be an institution that expresses and supports the welfare and self-governing capacities of women, people of color and working folks worldwide.
We know that the administration of the University of Washington claims that it has the right to make decisions regarding curriculum and research. However, we believe that ultimately, the university should be a democratic institution where students, staff, faculty, community members, and fellow citizens have the ability to make decisions regarding investments, economic planning, foreign policy, and public ethics. We expect your professional consideration of our request, and we will continue to mobilize independent political support for our demands, carrying on the best traditions of democratic and anti-racist student power movements that have transformed American universities in the past.
Demilitarize UW Coalition Points of Unity
1) We all agree to organize around making the following demands on the UW administration:
a. End military recruiting on campus
b. End INSER, the CIA/Homeland Security training program on campus
c. Boycott and divest from corporations and institutions at UW, including investments and assets, that support Israeli occupation and apartheid.
2) We oppose all forms of racism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism, classism, and secular or religious chauvinism.
3) Israeli apartheid is a system of exclusion, expulsion, control and domination of the Palestinian people by the state of Israel that is practiced in both the "occupied territories" of Gaza and the West Bank, as well as the territory inside Israel's 1948 borders and the security wall. We demand an immediate end to Israeli apartheid and occupation in all its forms.
4) We demand an immediate end to the US occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.
5) We commit ourselves to building as democratic a movement as possible. Groups within the coalition reserve the right to express their own political perspectives, publish their own flyers and literature, etc.
Below is a proposal for a coalition that formed in Spring of last year.