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Drones Are a Military Recruiting Issue

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Seth Kershner  -

16 CFES Scholars were among the 92 middle school students nationwide who spent three days at the United States Military Academy at West Point last week for the summer STEM  (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math) WorkshopOver the past several years, activists have fought against the use of unmanned aircraft (commonly called “drones”) to carry out targeted killings in the war on terror. Anti-drone activists have aimed their protests at a number of different targets. They have condemned university research on drone technology (e.g., at Johns Hopkins), held spirited public demonstrations at launch sites (e.g., outside Hancock Air Force Base in upstate New York), and they have pursued more traditional forms of political lobbying. However, their strategy so far has failed to address the ways in which the public, including children, are taught to uncritically embrace this technology. In this article, I will call attention to the previously unreported use of drone simulators in Army recruiting vans and begin a discussion about how to resist their steady march across America.

The fleet of vehicles in the Army’s Mobile Exhibit Command (MEC) form a powerful weapon in the Army’s recruiting arsenal. A unit of the U.S. Army Accessions Support Brigade, the MEC helps meet the brigade’s mission of “ Connecting America’s Army with America’s People.” Their job is to normalize state violence, including drone warfare, and in FY2013, the recruiters driving these vehicles logged more than 600,000 miles traveling to schools, universities, state fairs, and other events in 48 states. What follows is a brief look at three vehicles from the MEC -- in particular, those that help children learn to love the Reaper.

The oldest of the three vehicles, the Army Aviation Adventure van, debuted in May 2002. Inside this converted 18-wheeler, van visitors will find Army careers kiosks, along with an ammunition display and an array of weapons simulators designed to immerse the visitor in real-life experiences. These include an Apache Flight Simulator, a Kiowa Warrior Flight Simulator, and an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Simulator, which, according to one source, is based on the Hunter drone. While the high school and college market is the van’s primary target, a quick review of news stories on the Web turned up one report of a nine-year-old trying out the van’s simulators.

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Pay No Attention to the Apocalypse Behind the Curtain

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David Swanson - Remarks in London, England, July 2, 2014

World Beyond WarThank you to Bruce Kent and the Movement for the Abolition of War and to Veterans For Peace and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Thank you to the Stop the War Coalition and everyone else for helping spread the word.

In 8 days, on July 10th Mary Ann Grady-Flores, a grandmother from Ithaca, NY, is scheduled to be sentenced to up to one year in prison.  Her crime is violating an order of protection, which is a legal tool to protect a particular person from the violence of another particular person.  In this case, the commander of Hancock Air Base has been legally protected from dedicated nonviolent protesters, despite the protection of commanding his own military base, and despite the protesters having no idea who the guy is.  That’s how badly the people in charge of the flying killer robots we call drones want to avoid any questioning of their activity entering the minds of the drone pilots.

Last Thursday a place in the U.S. called the Stimson Center released a report on the new U.S. habit of murdering people with missiles from drones.  The Stimson Center is named for Henry Stimson, the U.S. Secretary of War who, prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor wrote in his diary, following a meeting with President Roosevelt: “The question was how we should maneuver them into the position of firing the first shot without allowing too much danger to ourselves. It was a difficult proposition.” (Four months earlier, Churchill had told his cabinet at 10 Downing Street that U.S. policy toward Japan consisted of this: “Everything was to be done to force an incident.”)  This was the same Henry Stimson who later forbid dropping the first nuclear bomb on Kyoto, because he’d once been to Kyoto. He’d never visited Hiroshima, much to the misfortune of the people of Hiroshima.

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School violence: a result of bad parenting or militarism?

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Charles ‘Andy’ Williams, a 15-year old student from Santana High School sits with his attorney Randy Mize during his arraignment for murder in the death of two fellow students at the California Superior Court in El Cajon, California 07 March, 2001. Two students were killed and 13 wounded when he opened fire in a boys bathroom in the school March 5, 2001.High profile school shootings in the US have been the inspiration for much popular discussion about the causes of youth violence in recent years, with everyone—from bad parents and corrupt teachers, to rock stars—being blamed. Rick Jahnkow argues that while the motivation for such shootings may be complex, one causal factor in particular is being ignored—militarism.

Rick Jahnkow - (Reposted from a 2001 feature in the United Kindom's Peace News in light of the increase and regularity of school shootings now being experienced in the United States.)

When a student takes a gun to school and goes on a shooting rampage—as one 15-year-old is charged with doing in a community near me in California— the public immediately expresses its shock and confusion over how such a thing could ever occur.

Educators, politicians, and the mental health professionals who are called upon to deal with tragedies of this sort all struggle to come up with a plausible explanation. Usually, their attention focuses on narrow, individualistic conditions that might provoke such a violent outburst. The American Psychological Association's brochure, Warning Signs of Teen Violence , advises us that factors which contribute to teen violence include:

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ALERT: Proposal to Make Draft Registration Mandatory for a Driver’s License Moves through the California Legislature

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Proposal to Make Draft Registration Mandatory for a Driver’s License Moves through the California Legislature

Alert: Contact your California State RepresentativeLETTERS TO SENATE TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE NEEDED IMMEDIATELY! California’s large population has one of the lowest Selective Service registration rates in the country, which helps make a return to the draft less likely. Selective Service, however, is asking the California state legislature to boost registration compliance by making it mandatory in order to receive a California driver’s license. This proposal, which failed on five previous occasions, recently passed the state Assembly. It is now being considered by the state Senate.

Proposed by Assemblymember Rocky Chávez (R-Oceanside), Assembly Bill 2201 seeks to use DMV records to automatically register males with Selective Service when they apply for a license or license renewal. It is now waiting to for a hearing by the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee.

ACTION CALIFORNIANS CAN TAKE: Immediately send letters to the Transportation and Housing Committee. We’ve included a set of updated talking points to consider when writing to legislators. NOTE: Send faxes, if possible, since regular mail is now slowed by capitol security checks. Write to:

Senate Transportation and Housing Committee

State Capitol, Room 2209

Sacramento, California 95814

Phone (916) 651-4121, fax (916) 445-2209

Note that messages sent to the above will be seen by key committee staff.

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Henry Giroux | Beyond Neoliberal Miseducation

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Henry Giroux -

This article draws from a number of ideas in Henry A. Giroux's newest book, Neoliberalism's War on Higher Education.

Neoliberalism's War on Higher EducationAs universities turn toward corporate management models, they increasingly use and exploit cheap faculty labor while expanding the ranks of their managerial class. Modeled after a savage neoliberal value system in which wealth and power are redistributed upward, a market-oriented class of managers largely has taken over the governing structures of most institutions of higher education in the United States. As Debra Leigh Scott points out, "administrators now outnumber faculty on every campus across the country."1


Under the regime of neoliberal education, misery breeds a combination of contempt and source of profits for the banks and other financial industries.


There is more at stake here than metrics. Benjamin Ginsberg views this shift in governance as the rise of what he calls ominously the "the all administrative university," noting that it does not bode well for any notion of higher education as a democratic public sphere.2A number of colleges and universities are drawing more and more upon adjunct and nontenured faculty - whose ranks now constitute 1 million out of 1.5 million faculty - many of whom occupy the status of indentured servants who are overworked, lack benefits, receive little or no administrative support and are paid salaries that increasingly qualify them for food stamps.3

Many students increasingly fare no better in sharing the status of a subaltern class beholden to neoliberal policies and values, and largely treated as consumers for whom education has become little more than a service. Too many students are buried under huge debts that have become a major source of celebration by the collection industry because it allows them to cash in on the misfortune and hardships of an army of indebted students. Under the regime of neoliberal education, misery breeds a combination of contempt and source of profits for the banks and other financial industries. Jerry Aston, a member of that industry, wrote in a column after witnessing a protest rally by students criticizing their mounting debt that he "couldn't believe the accumulated wealth they represent - for our industry."4 And, of course, this type of economic injustice is taking place in an economy in which rich plutocrats such as the infamous union-busting Koch brothers each saw "their investments grow by $6 billion in one year, which amounts to three million dollars per hour based on a 40-hour 'work' week."5 One astounding figure of greed and concentrated power is revealed in the fact that in 2012, the Koch brothers "made enough money in one second to feed one homeless woman for an entire year."6 Workers, students, youths and the poor are all considered expendable this neoliberal global economy. Yet the one institution, education, that offers the opportunities for students to challenge these anti-democratic tendencies is under attack in ways that are unparalleled, at least in terms of the scope and intensity of the assault by the corporate elite and other economic fundamentalists.

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A Military Whitewash Campaign

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Pat Elder - The National Coalition to Protect Student Privacy -

We own your freedomA bill that would have protected the privacy of Connecticut's school children was recently defeated by the Democratically-controlled General Assembly. The legislation was designed to prohibit the release of student information without parental consent.

Parents should be confident that they can send their children to school and know that extremely sensitive information about their child's verbal and math abilities will not be sent to a third party without their knowledge or consent. Parents should not have to worry that detailed demographic information, including social security numbers, are released without their O.K.

Parents have cause to be concerned because the military is excluded from the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). - That's the Federal law, passed in 1982 that allows mom and dad the opportunity to consent to the release of any information about their kids. (1)

SB 423 is a bill that would have prohibited the wholesale release of student information to military recruiters gained through the administration of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery Career Exploration Program (ASVAB-CEP) without parental consent.

Few realize that it's possible for a Connecticut child to attend school, take a military entrance exam proctored by DoD employees and have all the information sent to military recruiters without parents knowing about it.

The legislation would still allow the military to use the ASVAB for recruiting purposes. (2) Instead, a student would have to visit a military recruiter and fill out a form to use the test scores for enlistment. ASVAB results are the only information leaving Connecticut's schools about students without providing for parental consent. It's a violation of civil liberties and it should stop.

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How the Military Collects Data on Millions of High School Students

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Charles Davis/ Vice -

High school students in the Junior ROTC. Photo via Wikimedia CommonsThe calls started when I was a junior in high school—always in the evening, always after The Simpsons and always with an older gentleman on the other end of the line.

“Charles, there's someone who wants to speak you,” my mother would yell from the kitchen. She showed no concern as she handed me the phone, no alarm in her eyes over all the calls she was getting from strange middle-aged men looking to chat up her vulnerable teenage son. That's because these creepers called themselves “colonels” and “sergeants,” which lent authority to their predation. These men were military recruiters – and the bed they wanted to get me in was housed in some barracks.

A few weeks earlier, a uniformed Marine had come to my high school, set up an efficient little booth in the cafeteria and, in exchange for a stupid hat or a bumper sticker, convinced me and some other boys desperate to be men to give him our names and home phone numbers. After that, at least once a week I had to deal with a recruiter calling me “dude” or “man” while promising that military service would allow me to see the world and sleep with many of its women.

I never did join up, but the recruiters kept calling—once they have your information, it's pretty hard to get them to admit defeat. And they have a lot of people’s information.

More than 30 million Americans between the ages of 16 and 25 have details about their lives stored in a Pentagon registry called the “Joint Advertising Market Research Studies” (JAMRS) database, their names, phone numbers, email addresses, ethnicities, and other identifying information available to recruiters 24 hours a day. Since 2001, any school that receives federal funding is required under the No Child Left Behind Act to provide the Pentagon such data on all students in 11th and 12th grades, as well as grant recruiters access to their campus.

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Student Privacy and the Military in Connecticut: Don't Let SB 423 Die!

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The National Coalition to Protect Student Privacy -

 Student Privacy and the Military in Connecticut  Don't Let SB 423 Die!The military in Connecticut's General Assembly influence runs counter to the sensibilities and civil liberties of the citizens of the Constitution State. Apparently the Department of Defense has such clout few have the courage or political will to oppose it. This is not what democracy looks like.

On Thursday SB 423, "An Act Concerning Student Privacy and the Administration of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery" was referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs for legislative death. Co-Chair Jack Hennessy (127th Assembly District - Bridgeport) has "serious reservations" regarding the bill. How odd it is that legislation designed to protect the privacy of Connecticut High School children should be re-routed through the Committee on Veterans' Affairs!

A child can go to school in Connecticut, be tested by the Pentagon, and have tests results, detailed demographic information and social security numbers released to recruiters without parental consent or knowledge.

Information gathered as a result of the administration of the ASVAB is the only information leaving Connecticut's schools about children without providing for parental consent. SB 423 would change that. The members of the Education Committee overwhelmingly thought it was a good bill, but Jack Hennessy has serious reservations. How does this work, exactly?

The ASVAB is the military's entrance exam that is given to fresh recruits to determine their aptitude for various military occupations. The test is also used as a recruiting tool in 106 high schools in Connecticut and nearly 12,000 across the country. The 3-hour test is used by the US Military Entrance Processing Command to gain sensitive, personal information on 3,750 Connecticut kids and 660,000 high school students across the country every year, the vast majority of whom are under the age of 18.

According to military regulations the primary purpose of the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Batter) is to provide military recruiters "with a source of leads of high school juniors and seniors."

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Education Alert: Military Teaches Our Kids

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Flickr/U.S. Army RDECOMThere’s a saying in the Army recruiting community: “First to contact, first to contract.” In the United States, you have to be at least 17 years old to enlist in the armed forces. But, according to those who make a living tracking students’ feelings about the military, it would be pure folly not to start before then. Enter public education. In 2010, the most recent year for which data are available, the Department of Defense (DoD) was administering more than a dozen different programs and spending close to $50 million on K–12 outreach targeting the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.

As school budgets continue to be decimated, it can be hard for some educators to turn down free STEM education. “The Pentagon has money,” as Corey Mead puts it in his book War Play, “and our public schools are starved for funds.” In their enthusiasm for Pentagon-supported STEM initiatives, educators can forget to check whether there are other motives besides spurring a love of science in the young. In fact, by avoiding the “recruitment” label, the military is able to use STEM education as a Trojan horse to gain access to students and plant the seeds for eventual recruitment.

Militarizing the STEM Curriculum

One of the DoD’s largest K–12 programs is the Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP), which consists of at least nine distinct STEM educational programs. During the 2011–12 academic year, the AEOP reached nearly 53,000 students. John Parmentola, Army director of research and laboratory management, says that one of the AEOP’s goals is to encourage youth so that “someday some of them may decide to work in an Army laboratory or join the Army with an understanding of how technical fields support the Army’s mission.”

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Statewide ASVAB Option 8 Bill SB 423, Advances in Connecticut

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Pat Elder -

Members of the Connecticut House of Representatives meet during the final day of session at the Capitol in Hartford, Conn., Wednesday, June 5, 2013.We’re working with the ACLU of Connecticut to pass SB 423, a bill that would protect the privacy of high school students who take the ASVAB.  On March 19, 2014, SB 423 passed the Connecticut Education Committee 22-10 on a purely partisan vote.

We’re hopeful the bill will make it to the floor.  Ahead of the vote, the committee received this testimony opposed to the legislation from Lt. Colonel Michael D. Coleman, Commander, U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion, Albany, NY. The letter apparently didn’t sway a single Democratic vote.

For those of us across the country who have been working on this issue for years, this letter represents the epitome of deception, ignorance and arrogance. Please take a moment to read the Lt. Colonel’s letter and our response. 

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Army Makes Case Against Enlisting

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David Swanson -

Remarkably, the U.S. Army War College has published a report (PDF) that makes an overwhelming case against enlisting in the U.S. Army.  The report, called "Civilian Organizational Inhibitors to U.S. Army Recruiting and the Road Ahead," identifies counter-recruitment organizations that effectively discourage young people from joining the military.

This is the highest honor the Army could give these groups, including Quaker House, the Mennonite Central Committee, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Veterans For Peace, and Courage to Resist.  Activists often disbelieve in the effectiveness of their own work until the government admits it explicitly.  Well, here is that admission.  And counter-recruitment activists really do seem to appreciate it.

No doubt someone quickly sent the report along to the NSA and the FBI.  The report is, in fact, a few years old, and we have seen the government infiltrating at least some of the organizations named in it during the past few years.

But who really should be reading this excellent report is potential recruits.  In laying out the arguments of the counter-recruitment groups and then trying to refute them, the report's author, Lieutenant Colonel Todd M. Jacobus, makes their case persuasively and his own weakly in the extreme.  I'm not sure if this is intentional subterfuge, drug-induced self-parody, or just intellectual debility.  Regardless, the government will have new appreciation for its standard disclaimer that says the views expressed are the author's alone.

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Written to be accessible to everyone while providing the most important info for making a fully informed choice about joining the military, this leaflet will be a staple for counter-recruiters.

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Thinking of joining the U.S. Military to gain citizenship?

¿PENSANDO EN ALISTARTE PARA OBTENER LA CIUDADANÍA ESTADOUNIDENSE?"¿PIENSAS QUE EL ENROLARTE EN LAS FUERZAS ARMADAS TE GARANTIZA LA CIUDADANIA?"
intended for non-citizens looking to join the military for immigration benefits, to let them know what to be aware of immigration-wise before approaching a recruiter.
Print Size: 8½ x 14 (double sided)
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Homepage: http://www.projectyano.org

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