On 15 December 2009, John Stanton reported the following:
“the US Army HTS had suffered a fourth non-fatal casualty. Sgt. Wesley Cureton was wounded and has lost the use of one eye and has suffered from other head trauma. He is currently at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland. HTS management apparently felt no need to report the incident publically. When contacted, Robert Mueller, HTS spokesperson, indicated that he had no information on the matter and that “you should go through the hospital” to find out Sgt. Cureton’s status.”
On 12 December 2009, John Stanton reported that Sgt. Cureton (AF1 in Afghanistan) had suffered an injury to his eye caused by shrapnel from a mortar round, about one month ago. He had already suffered a brain injury while in Iraq. HTS has chosen not to report on this matter publicly.
John Stanton has reported on several injuries suffered by HTS employees in Afghanistan and Iraq that, once again, were reported neither in the mainstream media nor on the website of the Human Terrain System. Without confirmation, we are unable to determine exactly how many casualties the program has had in the past three years, beyond the three reported deaths of Bhatia, Suveges, and Loyd.
8 thoughts on “Human Terrain System Suffers Another Casualty”
Those looking for the “other story” that was previously published about HTS here this week will no longer be able to find it. After further consideration I decided that the main details of the story were inappropriate and a distraction from the main focus of this blog, where HTS is concerned. My apologies to those who posted comments, only to see them deleted.
Please do not mention details of that “other story” in your comments here, or I will be obliged to either edit or delete those comments. The personal affairs of others should be kept private.
Thanks for your understanding.
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Aww…. I was hoping you’d respond to the anthropology analogy I put forth. Any chance of that? In any case, it was wise to take down the other ‘news’.
Ok, since that comment did not deal with the “other story” in any revealing detail but rather John Stanton’s work, let me post it here and then I can comment.
In my view John Stanton better fits the model of “citizen journalism” than that of a professional journalist. That is not an insult — I don’t think he was trained to be a professional journalist, I don’t believe he has a degree in journalism, nor does he make his living as a journalist. This was an independent, voluntary effort, as a concerned citizen. Therefore, assessing his work as a “journalist” seems to invoke the wrong set of criteria.
The biggest problems raised by Stanton’s critics have been his methodology and his writing style, for example the constant reference to unspecified “sources.” His writing also needs a great deal of copy editing, and indeed the versions of his articles that appear on this blog (in contrast with those on Pravda and Cryptome) have been copy edited by me.
Nonetheless, two things stand out. One is that John Stanton has clearly served a purpose for leaks inside HTS and for various whistle blowers. (Some of them post on this blog occasionally as well, under various pseudonyms — something that always surprises me because, surely, they must know that next to going “outside the wire” in Afghanistan this is the closest they will get to enemy territory online.)
John has thus furnished us with a mountain of details, none of which have been ever denied or contradicted by HTS. Moreover, no professional journalist has proven John wrong, found different evidence, competing evidence, or any evidence beyond the standard bits of authorized representation that make one mainstream media article virtually identical to the next.
Let me post, from my own deleted comment on the “other story” what David Price says of John’s work:
So I would think that what is really important now, especially given that John Stanton’s work has dominated the online space of discussions of HTS*, is to deal with the actual substance of what he reports, and not how he reports it or writes it. You are arguing professionalism, and I am arguing facts.
That HTS has been so totally ineffective in handling John’s work, in not issuing denials, contradictions, or clarifications, has been another outstanding failure on its part — and this is plain to see for all of us. HTS, after all, has on board a crew from the Lincoln Group, that specialized in targeted propaganda using the press, and working ties with Glevum Associates. American taxpayers have involuntarily paid to have these information operations specialists in HTS, or working for HTS, and they can’t produce even the semblance of a half-hearted attempt to counteract John. Given that HTS highly values its public image and has mounted various public relations campaigns in the mass media, especially featuring its lead social scientist as a cool hipster model for young anthros to emulate, then the reluctance to speak to John Stanton’s articles is all the more astounding and damning.
* See https://zeroanthropology.net/2009/04/30/dominating-the-information-terrain-of-the-human-terrain-system-john-stanton-and-this-blog/
we are still reading the slander here, [URL deleted]
It will eventually “die” on Google. That is a copy cached by Google, and there is nothing I can do about it. There are other copies of course, published on Pravda and Cryptome. In my case, I did not want this to continue on my blog specifically.
I have recommended to John that he revise or remove copies of his article from elsewhere. It’s his call of course. While I don’t think this is related, it seems very unlikely that John will be writing again about HTS.
By the way, what was in his article is not actually “slander” is it?
I guess the lack of an answer means that the accuser has no idea of what makes John’s piece “slander.”
There are other dimensions to that story that I was slow to realize myself. One is that we may now have some insight into other possible reasons why McFate has been always unavailable to speak at the AAA, and has been aloof in the management of HTS according to published reports. Another is the double-standard: that HTS sock puppet known as “Dee”, who last year trolled the Savage Minds blog, made a number of personal attacks against former HTS employees, including Zenia Helbig, Matt Tompkins, and a pair who had been fired for a “sexual dalliance.” I gather that McFate’s own dalliance is subject to lower standards, at higher pay, with less personal risk.
Incidentally, while I first thought “Dee” was McFate herself (and Dee was very slow to deny it), others tended to recognize Laurie Adler — HTS propagandist — in her shrill bravado, and in the composition of her sentences (much like that of a primary school pupil). If they are right, as I suspect they are, then HTS was allowing/sending one of its own to slander former employees in public.
So perhaps it’s best that you not rush to talk about “slander.”
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