by Tyler Durden
June 15, 2014
About a month ago
photos of the Chinese police engaged in a drill designed to
crush a "working class insurrection", in which the police did precisely what
would be required to end a middle class rebellion.
It made us wonder: what does China know that the
U.S. doesn't. As it turns out, nothing.
Because long before China was practicing
counter-riot ops using rubber bullets, all the way back in 2008 the U.S.
Department of Defense was conducting studies on the dynamics of civil
unrest, and how the U.S. military might best respond.
The name of the project "Minerva Research Initiative" and its role
"improve DoDís basic understanding
of the social, cultural, behavioral and political forces that shape
regions of the world of strategic importance to the U.S."
which first revealed the details, reports that,
"The multi-million dollar programme is
designed to develop immediate and long-term "warfighter-relevant
insights" for senior officials and decision makers in "the defense
policy community," and to inform policy implemented by "combatant
The premise behind Minerva is simple:
violent political overthrow, aka mass civil breakdown, happens in the
day and age of social networks, and be prepared to counteract it - by
"targeting peaceful activities and protest movements" - when it
finally reaches U.S. shores.
Among the projects awarded for the
period 2014-2017 is a Cornell University-led study managed by the
Air Force Office of Scientific Research which aims to develop an
empirical model "of the dynamics of social movement mobilization and
The project will determine "the critical
mass (tipping point)" of social contagions by studying their
"digital traces" in the cases of "the 2011 Egyptian revolution, the
2011 Russian Duma elections, the 2012 Nigerian fuel subsidy crisis
and the 2013 Gazi park protests in Turkey."
posts and conversations will be examined "to identify individuals
mobilized in a social contagion and when they become mobilized."
Another project awarded this year to the
University of Washington "seeks to
uncover the conditions under which political movements aimed at
large-scale political and economic change originate," along
with their "characteristics and consequences."
The project, managed by the U.S. Army
Research Office, focuses on "large-scale
movements involving more than 1,000 participants in enduring
activity," and will cover 58 countries in total.
Minerva is well funded: From the outset, the
Minerva program was slated to provide over $75 million over five years for
social and behavioral science research. This year alone it has been
allocated a total budget of $17.8 million by U.S. Congress.
Among the purely "theoretical" recent studies
Minerva is funding is a University of Maryland project in collaboration with
the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
to gauge the risk of
civil unrest due to climate change.
three-year $1.9 million project is developing models to anticipate what
could happen to societies under a range of potential climate change
But what is most disturbing is that since the
pretext for Minerva is simply to conduct theoretical social science
experiments, there should be zero practical uses of the knowledge gleaned.
Although Office of Naval Research supervisor
Dr Harold Hawkins had assured the university researchers at the outset
that the project was merely "a basic research effort, so we shouldn't be
concerned about doing applied stuff", the meeting in fact showed that
DoD is looking to "feed results" into "applications," Corman said in the
He advised his researchers to "think about
shaping results, reports, etc., so they [DoD] can clearly see their
application for tools that can be taken to the field."
Many independent scholars are critical of
what they see as the U.S. government's efforts to militarise social
science in the service of war.
In May 2008, the American Anthropological
wrote to the U.S. government noting that the Pentagon lacks "the kind
of infrastructure for evaluating anthropological [and other social
science] research" in a way that involves "rigorous, balanced and
objective peer review", calling for such research to be managed instead
by civilian agencies like the National Science Foundation (NSF).
And tying it all together, is - who else -
One war-game, said Price, involved
environmental activists protesting pollution from a coal-fired plant
near Missouri, some of whom were members of the well-known environmental
NGO Sierra Club.
Participants were tasked to,
"identify those who were
'problem-solvers' and those who were 'problem-causers,' and the rest
of the population whom would be the target of the information
operations to move their Center of Gravity toward that set of
viewpoints and values which was the 'desired end-state' of the
war-games are consistent with a raft of Pentagon planning documents
which suggest that National Security Agency (NSA) mass surveillance is
partially motivated to
prepare for the destabilizing impact of coming environmental, energy
and economic shocks.
As the Guardian's Nafeez Ahmed concludes,
"Minerva is a prime example of the deeply
narrow-minded and self-defeating nature of military ideology. Worse
still, the unwillingness of DoD officials to answer the most basic
questions is symptomatic of a simple fact - in their unswerving mission
to defend an increasingly unpopular global system
serving the interests of a tiny minority, security agencies have no
qualms about painting the rest of us as potential terrorists."
why is that surprising - by the time the
"mass civil breakdown" is set to take place (and grand central-planning
experiments by the Fed and its peers will merely accelerate said
T-zero Day), virtually everyone who poses even the tiniest threat
to the collapsing regime will be branded a terrorist.
Since as we reported previously, yet another
current version of what previously was merely science fiction.
It is namely the arrival of pre-crime,
or where a big data NSA "pre-cog" computer will determine who is a
future terrorist threat merely based on behavioral signals, is just around
the corner too, it is simply a matter of time before men in gray suits or
better yet - drones - quietly arrest any and all potentially threatening
social network "nodes" of future terrorist behavior on the simple grounds
that their mere presence threatens the status quo with an even faster
And now, just ignore all of the above, and keep
buying stocks, because all is well: these most certainly aren't the droids
you are looking for.