Human Terrain System Under Investigation: HTS Link to JIEDDO & US Death Squads

Human Terrain System Under Investigation: HTS Link to JIEDDO & US Death Squads

by John Stanton

18 March 2010

“According to several government and civilian sources, [Michael] Furlong’s operation was funded under a $24.6 million contract by the Defense Department’s Joint IED Defeat Organization [JIEDDO], which was set up early in the Iraq war to combat insurgents’ roadside bombs. His operation was part of a larger military information program, called Capstone”, Karen DeYoung, Washington Post.

Before linking JIEDDO to Furlong’s program, it’s worth noting that the US Army Human Terrain System is in the midst of an Army 15-6 investigation. According to sources one area the investigator is looking at is the “management/leadership side and fraudulent time and attendance records.” Many in the program have high hopes for positive change.

Cultural Operations Research – Human Terrain System (COR-HTS) — now simply HTS — was originally funded by the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO). Coincidently, JIEDDO was formerly under the command of Steve Fondacaro, who now runs the turbulent HTS program. JIEDDO received a punishing audit by the Government Accountability Office.

The GAO described JIEDDO as an ad hoc organization that did not identify, track or report all contractor personnel, and sorely lacked accounting controls. Those activities allegedly have found their way into the HTS program.

The Washington Post was correct on its JIEDDO findings and JIEDDO was a good place to bury Furlong’s program. Furlong confirmed the funding for his effort came through JIEDDO.

Sanlian Lifeweek

Pu Shi, a journalist for Sanlian Lifeweek Magazine in Beijing, has requested contact information for HTS personnel. The purpose is to explore issues associated with the alleged US government sponsorship of a private contractor assassin program allegedly run by Robert Furlong formerly of STRATCOM. Contractors perform every military task imaginable (even Personnel Recovery) so what’s the rub with hiring them to kill/capture undesirables?

At any rate, Pu Shi found this email address (mine) in a message string at Men’s Journal. “I found this email address at this website in the hope of finding Dr. Steve Fondacaro and staff [at] HTS. Please forward the email to Dr. Steve Fondacaro at your convenience.”

Famed journalist/author Robert Young Pelton had written an article on the Human Terrain System in February 2009 for MJ that caused a bit of controversy and a considerable amount of discussion. Steve Fondacaro, Program Manager of HTS, and Montgomery McFate, Senior Social Scientist, were incensed about the story and wrote to Men’s Journal questioning Pelton’s professionalism. One point of contention was Pelton’s assertion that the information collected by HTS could be used for a variety of purposes by US Army Brigade Commanders. One such use of that information is as intelligence that ultimately makes its way into the Kill Chain.

Pelton was absolutely correct on that point. But why does Pelton think his information was immune to finding its way into the Kill Chain? Given his survivalist background, it is extraordinarily difficult to accept that he was “tricked” by a 56 year old bureaucrat in the USA.

Pu Shi requested an interview with “Dr.” Steve Fondacaro and “staff” at HTS. That request was received on 16 March 2010 at roughly 6:45 PM (Eastern). I responded by pointing out that using me as a circuit to get to Mr. Fondacaro was ill-advised. But I did provide Pu Shi with the link to the Contact section of the website. I also offered other resources on HTS (pro-con) and suggested looking at the Washington Post’s coverage of the Furlong matter.

Four Questions for HTS Management

“To whom it may concern, I am a Chinese journalist working with Sanlian Lifeweek, one of the most widely circulated weekly magazines in China with 300,000 readers per week in more than 30 Chinese big cities. It is published by Sanlian Publishing House of China Publishing Group. Sanlian Publishing House was founded in the 1930s and is one of China’s largest publishing houses of long history. One of our topics this week is Mr. Michael D. Furlong’s private intelligence network and the role private contractors play in intelligence gathering in Afghanistan. We would really appreciate if he could kindly share your opinions with us. The interview questions are as follows, for his reference:

1. How and why has the former Army official, Michael D. Furlong’s private security network come into the attention of C.I.A. and the media? Does the surface of this episode imply some of the problems with intelligence work in Afghanistan and Pakistan?

2. Mr. Furlong is said, according American officials, to be using the network to gather intelligence to target militants and the location of insurgent camps, and the information was then sent military units and intelligence officials for possible lethal action in Afghanistan and Pakistan. And the top military told the N.Y.Times that the intelligence collection is originally intended to gain a deeper understanding of the country and society. How is intelligence gathering targeted at militants and targeted at understanding a country different? How do you think Mr. Furlong’s work can be identified as tracking and killing militants?

3. What role do private contractors and companies play in intelligence gathering in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and by large, in wars? Where is the line between the field of professional contractors and journalists and the field of military intelligence?

4. It seems that there have been frictions between the army and the freelancers in Afghanistan for long. What is behind these frictions?

Our press time is on Sunday midnight (we are 12-13 hours ahead of you). We would really appreciate if he could accept our interview. Thank you very much and we anticipate your reply!”

A Thousand Flowers Blossom From JIEDDO/HTS Efforts

This item appeared in a 2009 publication by the Rapid Reaction Technology Office titled Experimentation and Rapid Prototyping in Support of Counterterrorism. Note that many aspects of HTS are being used for intelligence purposes. Many within HTS have argued all along that HTS is an intelligence effort.

Quoting directly from the publication:

SKOPE is a joint intelligence cell with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), SOCOM, and the U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM). It began with a specific request for sensors to help narrow the search space for terrorists and terror groups. The RRTO recommended the development of the SKOPE approach and was the sole funding source for the initial operating capability of the analytic cell. Currently the RRTO is developing new tools in response to specific requests from commanders based on the success and experience with this operational capability.

The SKOPE cell applies all-source, multi-intelligence analysis linked to a spot on Earth. Through its application of human terrain analysis, SKOPE incorporates aspects of the Human Terrain System (HTS), a new proof-of-concept program run by the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command and serving the joint community. The near-term focus of the HTS program is to improve the ability of the military to understand the highly complex, local sociocultural environment in areas of deployment. In the long term however, it is hoped that HTS will assist the U.S. government in understanding foreign countries and regions prior to an engagement within a region. According to the Army Web site, the HTS program represents the first time that social science research and advising have been done systematically, on a large scale, and at the brigade level.

[MF: For more, see the recently updated list of intelligence companies involved with HTS: Mapping the Terrain of War Corporatism: The Human Terrain System within the Military-Industrial-Academic Complex]

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9 thoughts on “Human Terrain System Under Investigation: HTS Link to JIEDDO & US Death Squads

  1. Maximilian Forte

    Interesting connections here:

    Mike Furlong also worked for Science Applications International (SAIC), which has a HTS contract — plus Booz Allen Hamilton, which also has a HTS contract, and then had a contract with the Lincoln Group, some of whose personnel joined HTS.

    It’s a very small world, that of the war profiteers.

    See Pratap Chatterjee’s “The Pentagon’s Propaganda Networks” at

  2. ishtar enana

    Dear Maximilian Forte

    I have done a triology about Micheal Furlong in my blog, and have reached the same conclusion about Pelton ” Given his survivalist background, it is extraordinarily difficult to accept that he was “tricked” by a 56 year old bureaucrat in the USA”. He is just another mercenary. remember he was the one who approached General David MacKernan in 2008 who was about to be the general commander in Afghanistan with the proposal of setting up a website “afpax” that would be like his other website “iraq slogger” in collecting social, cultural info about Afghanistan for the interest of the US army. Pelton is described as adventurer and contractor.

    This part is entitled “How to be a journalist and a spy with/without your knowledge” Its link is here:

    As my article appeared two days before yours, I am glad to feel that I am on the right track.

    The second part is here entitled “media, psyops, espionage, and assassinations” introducing the history of Michael Furlong. Here is the link:

    The third part is entitled “The US plan: Commit terror, to incite terror… in order to react to terror.

    Here is the link:

    It is about the “iraq connection” of Michael Furlong, which can be understood thru SAIC, Negroponte, and Duane Claridge. If we understand this connection, we will know exactly what his real goals and deeds were, both in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    It is a long and difficult article but I will try to translate the main findings. Give some time.

  3. ishtar enana

    These are the main points in my article about Furlong.

    1- In 2002, the Pentagon’s Defense Science Board (DSB) conducted a “Summer Study on Special Operations and Joint Forces in Support of Countering Terrorism,” portions of which were leaked to the Federation of American Scientists. According to the document, the “War on Terror” constitutes a “committed, resourceful and globally dispersed adversary with
    strategic reach,” which will require the US to engage in a “long, at times violent, and
    borderless war.” As the Asia Times described it, this document lays out a blueprint for
    the US to “fight fire with fire.” Many of the “proposals appear to push the military into
    territory that traditionally has been the domain of the CIA, raising questions about
    whether such missions would be subject to the same legal restraints imposed on CIA
    activities.” According to the Chairman of the DSB, “The CIA executes the plans but they
    use Department of Defense assets.”

    Specifically, the plan “recommends the creation of a super-Intelligence Support Activity,
    an organization it dubs the Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group (P2OG), to bring
    together CIA and military covert action, information warfare, intelligence and cover and
    deception. For example, the Pentagon and CIA would work together to increase human
    intelligence (HUMINT) forward/operational presence and to deploy new clandestine technical capabilities.” The purpose of P2OG would be in “‘stimulating reactions’ among terrorists and states possessing weapons of mass destruction, meaning it would prod terrorist cells into action, thus exposing them to ‘quick-response’ attacks by US forces.”[2] In other words, commit terror to incite terror, in order to react to terror.

    2- to implement this plan, the following are needed:

    a- disinformation and psyops operatives. Inter:media and communications contractors
    b- an army of local informants: HUMINT
    c- former special forces and CIA contractors or individuals.

    3- also to facilitate covert operations, there will be need to hand-picked US ambassadors,
    and military commanders “for the targeted country” who have links and experience in these

    black, shadowy operations. e.g. in Iraq they sent special forces commander MacChrystal to
    work there from 2003-2008, with Negroponte from 2004-2005 when hundreds of “unknown” Iraqi slain bodies started to show up every day, also false flags explosions of civilians crowded places i.e. markets, schools, hospitals etc. escalated. At that time, the pentagon contracted the same companies and individuals of past scandals in Latin America, who worked along with Negroponte there. Men like Duane Claridge and Furlong. After it is said that Iraq has been pacified, the same people where transferred to Afghanistan minus
    Negroponte. But Macchrystal is now the General Commander there, with Furlong and Claridge.

    Now during the 9 years of Afghan war, we have not heard of Afghan civilians being
    targeted by Taliban. But, astonishingly, as soon as MacChrystal was appointed in 2009, we
    began to hear of such incidents.

    4- Media corporations are very much involved in covert operations under the pretext of
    “information gathering”. In fact Furlong has been working thru his own company
    “International Media Ventures”. Here, Media is the other name for the simpler “spying”.
    Also anthropologists embedded with the army are better called “spies”. Remember, that
    colonialism , in our region, was always preceded by the so called “orientalists” who were
    mostly, social scientists and anthropologists.

    5- Furlong worked in implementing his venture in Afghanistan with two corporations: one is
    his own ‘IMV”, the other is AISC which Claridge on its payroll. He was a former CIA
    official. AISC’s director is Mike Taylor who is a former special forces officer.

    6- who is Claridge? worked with Negroponte in Heduras, then worked with another shadowy
    former general of special forces , Wayne Downing, in training the troops of Ahmad Chalabi
    with the generous financing of the Congress “Iraq liberation act”. He collaborated with
    Chalabi, Michael Lideen, and Alan Wolf to produce the fake Nigerian document of alleged
    purchase of yellow cake. All of these men- minus Chalabi- were involved with Iran-contra.

    7- Furlong also worked for SAIC, a spying company, under the pretext of media,
    communications and information gathering. It was the contractor which was assigned to
    establish “independent” Iraqi TV and newspaper, financed by the Pentagon.Furlong was in
    charge of this operation. Before that SAIC won a $282 m. to supervise the last phase of
    “trailblazer” program which is a “Digital Network Intelligence” system, intended to
    analyze data carried on computer networks. Project participants included Boeing, Computer
    Sciences Corporation, and Booz Allen Hamilton. SAIC was involved also in the ” spate of
    hoax anthrax mailings”.

    8- Before the invasion of Iraq, SAIC was in charge of the “Iraqi puppets, chalabi etal.
    The company won a $33 m contract with the Pentagon to “take care” of the 150 puppets who
    will form the new iraqi government. They were put on the payroll of the company “to hide
    the direct Pentagon financing”. SAIC hired offices in a building called “Taylor building”
    in Christal city in North Virginia, were they lived and “worked” , According to the
    contract, the company was to put the puppets on a plane and fly them to Iraq after the
    invasion. It did and they were installed in a “reconstruction” facade called “IRDC”.
    9- In point “7” there is mention of BOOZ Allen Hamilton. In 2003 Furlong, after he failed

    in running SAIC’s project of the new Iraq TV and media, he left the company and joined
    Booz Allen, which is otherwise called “the shadow intellegence community”. It has 1000
    former CIA officers, and another 10,000 working for the company.

    10- Head of BA is James Woolsey,former director of CIA. He was also on board of “Iraq
    Liberation Committee” formed after the Iraq Liberation Act, where Chalabi was the center
    of attraction.

    Now you have all the threads connected: CIA-special forces- Merceneries – information
    gathering- surveillance- spying – assassinations. And the same names reappear in this
    matrix. Woolsey, Furlong, Claridge, Negroponte, MacChrystal, Booz Allen, SAIC.

    11- Behind all those, the main players are the special forces. Why? this will lead to the
    training of death squads and false flag covert operations. What else will special forces
    do in a war?

    12- The media “meaning disinformation” palys the second important role after the special
    forces. Disinformation is much needed to brainwash the people as to the real goals of
    these false flag operations.

    P.S. sorry if there are spelling mistakes, in names and other words, I wrote in a hurry
    and was too lazy to go to the dictionary.

    1. Maximilian Forte

      I was wondering if you would give me permission to post this as an article on the front page of the site, with full attribution details of course, and I will correct the problem with line breaks and spelling. It’s important, and sometimes reader comments are ignored by people who have little time to read past the main article above them…and even that might only be partially read (the nature of the comments on this blog sometimes tells me that is the case).

      What do you think?

  4. ishtar enana

    Do as you please with the comment, but perhaps, the article will need linkage to information’s sources. Inform me if you can wait until I send you later today the links.

  5. Pingback: Information, Communications, and Targeted Killing « ZERO ANTHROPOLOGY

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