Gun Running, Drugs, and Flamenco: U.S. Army Human Terrain System Has it All

Readers Note: Due to the gravity of the allegations/information below, I immediately submitted the information provided by sources to the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The FBI was mentioned in the information provided and so it was entirely appropriate to contact/inform them of these allegations.

“Confirmed,” said sources.

A member of the US Army (TRADOC) management team in Afghanistan, according to sources, is a “gun runner.” That individual is allegedly listed in an “FBI database” and has “ties to Wali Karzai and the drug business.”

Another Human Terrain System leader has apparently been accused by “local nationals…of being a pedophile—touching young Afghan children while out in the field and making disturbing comments about them.” Members of a US Army Stryker group in Afghanistan have made the same comments.

These comments appear outrageous but, then again, this is the U.S. Army Human Terrain System. It’s a head-shaker that the US Army (TRADOC) and Lt Gen. Lennox heaps praise upon it even as the U.S. Congress’ House Armed Services Committee has said the program needs a good scrub.

HASC is to be applauded for this action. And it could not come at a better time.

In Other News

One team leader resigned recently “due to his team turning on him.”  Some members of Human Terrain Team (HTTs) have reportedly taken to wearing side arms on each leg. Another HTT leader was “dismissed due to incompetence.” In one instance, an HTT member disrupted “a night patrol she should not have been on.” That person quit the HTS program and ended up with a position at USAID.

Observers say that Dr. Montgomery McFate and Dr. Marilyn Mitchell are overseeing the development of anthropology training within the program. According to many, these are the “two most unqualified people” to manage the training. “This choice assures future failure and possible casualties/fatalities,” they said.  Management, recruitment and training continue to be the weak links in the program.

Others argue that McFate and Mitchell are qualified PhDs and are up to the task.  Observer’s counter that McFate and Mitchell (earns $1,200 USD a day) have no substantive field work or military experience. Those weaknesses can lead to gaps in training and, perhaps, deadly outcomes in a combat zone. Such has been the experience of HTS to date.

Speaking of qualifications one of the social scientists hired by HTS and deployed to Afghanistan, and now the butt of Wired’s Caption Contest, received her PhD at the age of 25.

“Anna Maria completed her doctoral dissertation at the University of Notre Dame. Her Ph.D. was awarded in Theology with an emphasis in Latino Studies. The topic of her dissertation, however, reflected a lifetime of interdisciplinary study. Anna Maria carefully researched the early roots of today’s Spanish flamenco as they are preserved in the liturgical tradition of the New Mexican Penitentes–a society whose worship presents a time-capsule of medieval Spanish spirituality.  Her research yielded surprising revelations about a historically unique time and place where Islam, Judaism and Christianity flourished in community. Her work speaks both of the tragedy of the destruction of this delicately beautiful balance and the triumph of its continued survival in the arts. Surprisingly enough, Anna Maria’s interest in her culture’s ancient roots revealed a message of cooperation of terribly timely relevance to today’s troubled world.”

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7 thoughts on “Gun Running, Drugs, and Flamenco: U.S. Army Human Terrain System Has it All

  1. Maximilian Forte

    This is very important, John. Yet, I do not expect anything will come of it, even if the details you relate were proven to be correct. The U.S. has an abysmal record of punishing those guilty of crimes committed on foreign soil during these two wars of occupation, and indeed goes beyond the law in pursuing extrajudicial killings. You recall Don Ayala, HTS’ in-house mercenary, who effectively got off free, even though he committed a cold-blooded act of execution.

    As for the pedophilia, how timely that this should come up in relation to these missionaries. Perhaps they can pay Pope Benedict a consultancy fee for advice on how to cover this up for 20 years. They might start by moving the child molester around from base to base, and then relocate him to another country, where he can continue ministering to vulnerable youths.

    HTS does excel at one thing though: hiring a mass of scumbags, flunkies, and rejects who might otherwise be panhandling for their next sandwich.

  2. Pingback: American Anthropological Association denounces the New Arizona Immigration Law! | Erkan's Field Diary

  3. John Stanton


    Have you noticed the last paragraph of this article in the NYT. It is all human terrain. Remarkable the power Petraeus has in DC. This, I think, is the most aggressive global covert/intel operation since WWII-Cold War. And Obama signed off on it. And the NYT didn’t print it ’til approved by Petraeus. Harold Pinter’s Nobel Pirze speech of 2005 was spot on except for his confidence in the American public.

    “In contrast, General Petraeus’s September order is focused on intelligence gathering — by American troops, foreign businesspeople, academics or others — to identify militants and provide “persistent situational awareness,” while forging ties to local indigenous groups.”

    1. Maximilian Forte

      Thanks both to you, and Keith Silverstein.

      Using academics for persistent situational awareness–and of course that means traveling academics, and those who travel to areas that anthropologists have traditionally visited–to identify militants. This suggests militants not already known, and it also suggests using sources other than the regular ones, so that it is meant to be surreptitious information gathering. And that is where–may god blast him dead where he sits–this Petraeus fits in academics.

      He does not dare mention journalists, because there is a law against that, to safeguard journalists’ independence, credibility, and their lives. But not for academics. The only time some of these people recognize something as wrong is if there is a specific law against it, and even then you can’t rely on them.

      1. Maximilian Forte

        Here is another one that is also HTS-like:

        4th PSYOP Group (ABN) – Researcher/analyst (Intelligence Specialist, IA-032-Band 3), two-year temporary positions; 4 positions open

        The U.S. Army’s 4th Psychological Operations Group seeks regional specialists in African studies with graduate-level knowledge of the political, social, cultural, economic and/or communications environment. Four temporary positions are now open at the IA-Band 3 level. The beginning salary for the positions is $59,158. These are two-year temporary positions. A successful candidate must have strong reading and listening comprehension skills in a language directly associated with their area of studies; be able to conduct social science or intelligence-related research and analysis; be able to write high quality studies and assessments in English at the MA level or higher, using a broad range of data and sources. Research experience in North Africa, East Africa/Horn of Africa, Central Africa, or West Africa is desirable. The position requires travel within the U.S. and abroad. Ability to work closely with U.S. and possibly foreign military personnel is essential, but military experience is not required. Must be a U.S. citizen and be able to obtain and keep at least a SECRET level security clearance.

  4. Bill Wayne

    It is quite sad news that a US army would be involved in gun running, much so the other crimes stated. Is it already a case filed and decided in the court of law? If they are guilty as charged, then they should be penalized. After all, no one should be above the law.

    Thank you for posting news as this one. When you are not busy, feel free to visit my site.

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