- Des américains défendent
les vraies valeurs des
Etats-Unis : Racism in U.S. Intelligence? Excerpts from the letter send
by a member of the Association of Former U.S. Intelligence Officers (AFIO)...
Excerpts from posting :
"Racism in U.S. Intelligence?
An article by a former U.S. Navy Chief of Neuropsychiatry at
Guantanamo Bay struck me as insupportably racist attributing the
problem of Middle East terrorism largely to the neurological
defects of terrorists. William Henry Anderson's article on "Terrorism
Underlying Causes" was published in the Winter/Spring 2004
issue of The Intelligencer, journal of the Association of Former [U.S.] Intelligence Officers
(AFIO). Apart from the ethical
implications, the author seems to violate one of the firmest
principles in intelligence: do not underestimate the enemy..."
"... Below is a copy of my letter (sent 6/1/04) to the
editors of The Intelligencer..."
To the Editor and Contributing Editors of The Intelligencer:
William Henry Anderson's essay on "Terrorism Underlying
Causes" in the Winter/Spring 2004 issue of The Intelligencer
, appears to me invalid and unsuitable for publication this
journal. I write to you as an AFIO member and a social
psychologist who studies ethics of intelligence.
Anderson conjectures that many hard-core Middle East terrorist
zealots "have brains that are structurally and functionally
different from ours" (p. 55). He attributes their violent
behavior to defects in particular areas of the brain (frontal
lobes, amygdala, and temporal lobes), as a result of inbreeding,
environmental toxins, birth injuries, and other developmental
risks, amplified by cultural factors. In his positions as Harvard
Lecturer in psychiatry, Senior Psychiatrist at the Massachusetts
General Hospital in Boston, and former U.S. Navy Chief of
Neuropsychiatry at Guantanamo Bay, presumably he has had
opportunity to test his conjecture. Yet he offers no empirical
evidence whatever. Moreover, he has not addressed seemingly
contradictory scientific literature. A 1999 U.S. government report
on The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism, for example,
synthesized dozens of cross-cultural empirical studies in search
of terrorist profiles . The report concluded that terrorists do
not have "visibly detectable personality traits that would
allow authorities to identify a terrorist," and they are not
"diagnosably mentally disturbed" (except for an
occasional psychopathic top leader). Indeed, terrorist
organizations tend to weed out the conspicuous and the mentally
ill as liabilities. Anderson's acknowledgment of his failure to
offer scientific evidence for his neuropsychiatric conjecture does
not excuse the failure.
Anderson also uses a misleading rhetorical ploy, the image of
cancerous cells in healthy tissue: "Let us consider terrorism
with an analogy from medicine" that of terrorism as a cancer.
There are about 1.4 billion Muslims in the world. Embedded within
this healthy body are, perhaps, 100,000 people who are eager and
active in pursuit of the goal of killing us. But Anderson has
developed no structural analogy here to guide inquiry and policy,
only a loose metaphor unsuitable for serious political analysis.
For instance, the physician does not motivate the patient's tumor,
whereas the counterterrorist program may well motivate terrorists.
Lastly, in proposing direct extermination of Middle East terrorist
zealots, Anderson adopts the infamous racist metaphor used by the
Nazis: "tumors as Jews, Jews as tumors" in the body
politic . Anderson says, in parallel, Just as successful
treatment of cancer requires the killing of the malignant cells,
we will need to kill this small minority [of 100,000 or so Middle
East terrorists].... Anderson's argument may be valuable
historically as a sample of the thinking of military authorities
at Guantanamo Bay, but publication without editorial reservations
appears to make the The Intelligencer complicit with Anderson's
I am troubled that the editorial review process let pass Anderson's
irresponsible science, misleading rhetoric, and in this delicate
time for the dignity of the U.S. intelligence community his
Nazification of intelligence. The damage could be mitigated by
publishing some reviews of Anderson's article by other
Thank you for your attention to my concerns.
Sincerely, Jean Maria Arrigo, Ph.D.
P.S. You may forward my letter to others or publish it.
1. Anderson, William Henry. (2004). Terrorism underlying causes.
The Intelligencer, 14 (1), 53-58.
2. Hudson, R.A. (1999) The sociology and psychology of terrorism:
who becomes a terrorist and why? Federal Research Division,
Library of Congress. Pp. 56-58. Accessed January 27, 2003...
3. Proctor, Robert N. (1999). The Nazi war on cancer. Princeton,
NJ: Princeton University Press. P. 8"
A lire :
The sociology and psychology of terrorism:
who becomes a terrorist and why?
Federal Research Division,
Library of Congress 09/1999
"...no psychological attribute or personality distinctive of
Power and the Psychology of Suicide Bombing
The Jamestown Foundation 08/06/04
"...In fact, study after study finds suicide terrorists and
supporters to be more educated and economically well off than
surrounding populations. They also tend to be well-adjusted in
their families, liked by peers, and – according to interrogators
– sincerely compassionate to those they see themselves helping.
A report on The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism used by the
Central and Defense Intelligence Agencies (CIA and DIA) finds
“no psychological attribute or personality distinctive of
terrorists.” They do not act despairingly out of neediness or
hopelessness, as many ordinary suicides do. If they did, they
would be denounced as blasphemers and criminals. “He who commits
suicide kills himself for his own benefit,” warned Sheikh Yusuf
Al-Qardawi (a spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and
perhaps the most important religious authority on “martyr
actions” for Sunni Islamists around the world), but “he who
commits martyrdom sacrifices himself for the sake of his religion
and his nation… the Mujahid is full of hope.” Like the
educated and motivated Japanese Kamikaze who romantically
described their impending deaths as “cherry petals that fall
before bearing fruit,” so, too, for the Palestinian shaheed
(martyr): “They are youth at the peak of their blooming, who at
a certain moment decide to turn their bodies into body parts…
Researchers Basel Saleh and Claude Berrebi independently find that
the majority of Palestinian suicide bombers have a college
education (versus 15 percent of the population of comparable age)
and that less than 15 percent come from poor families (although
about one-third of the population lives in poverty). DIA sources
who have interrogated al-Qaeda detainees at Guantanamo note that
Saudi-born operatives, especially those in leadership positions,
are often “educated above reasonable employment level, a
surprising number have graduate degrees and come from high-status
families.” The general pattern was captured in a Singapore
Parliamentary report on prisoners from Jemaah Islamiyah, an ally
of al-Qaeda: “These men were not ignorant, destitute or
disenfranchised. Like many of their counterparts in militant
Islamic organizations in the region, they held normal, respectable
jobs. Most detainees regarded religion as their most important
As in nearly all instances of revolutionary terror in history,
rising aspirations followed by dwindling expectations –
especially regarding personal security and civil liberties – are
critical to generating support for terrorism, no matter how rich
or educated a person is to begin with. Studies by Princeton
economist Alan Krueger and others find no correlation between a
nation’s per capita income and terrorism, but do find a
correlation between a lack of civil liberties, defined by Freedom
House, and terrorism. In Iraq, the aspirations that the U.S.
invasion initially incited have rapidly dwindled into fearful
expectations about the future.
Polls show that Muslims who have expressed support for martyr
actions and trust in Bin Laden or the late Hamas leader Sheikh
Ahmed Yasin do not as a rule hate democratic freedoms or even
Western culture, though many despise American foreign policy,
especially in the Middle East. After the 1996 suicide attack
against U.S. military housing at Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, a
Defense Department Science Board report found that: “Historical
data show a strong correlation between U.S. involvement in
international situations and an increase in terrorist attacks
against the United States.”...
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