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Forum Post: Chomsky and Vietnam war resistance - back in the day...

Posted 6 years ago on May 21, 2012, 4:56 a.m. EST by fiftyfourforty (1077) from New York, NY
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Chomsky was cashing checks from the pentagon when I was also. Except he was in their brain trust, while I was a drafted slave in their army, and his were in a few more digits than were mine. "um

MIT Professor Noam Chomsky's Ties to the Military (continued) by BOB FELDMAN S. military.

"...He was...interviewed by laboratory director Jerome Wiesner for the position...Chomsky was hired as a full-time faculty member, which meant that he was required to spend half his time working in the research lab...Here, his ASPECTS OF THE THEORY OF SYNTAX was hatched...The funding for the research published in ASPECTS was provided by `the Joint Services Electronics Program (U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force), the Electronics Systems Division of the U.S. Air Force, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and NASA..." (from NOAM CHOMSKY: A Life of Dissent by Robert Barsky).

Jerome Weisner later became the head of JFK's Science Advisory Committee during the early 1960s; and according to the 1965 annual report of the Ford Foundation-subsidized Institute for Defense Analyses Pentagon weapons-research think-tank, Jerome Weisner was an Adviser to IDA's Jason Division group of university professors who performed counter-insurgency, Vietnam War-related weapons research every summer during the 1960s Viet Nam War Era.

When students shut down Columbia University in 1968 in support of the demand that Columbia resign its institutional membership in IDA, MIT Professor Chomsky constructed a left anti-war rationalization for opposing the Columbia student revolt - but he did not disclose at the time that an IDA Jason Division consultant, Jerome Weisner, was the person who hired him as an MIT professor and military lab researcher during the McCarthy Era.

As Barsky also notes in his NOAM CHOMSKY: A Life of Dissent book: "While he admired the challenge to the universities' that the students were so vehemently presenting, Chomsky thought their rebellions werelargely misguided,' and he `criticized [them] as they were in progress at Berkeley (1966) and Columbia (1968) particularly." (Here I want to intervene to remind you that this public "criticism" was offered up when students were getting their heads bashed in by cops on these campuses, and their arrests, unlike Choomsky's pre arranged theatrics, were generally quite rough and unrehearsed, and more than symbolic.- SLM- http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/04/25/remembering-columbia-1968/)

Today, of course, MIT is still the 12th-largest recipient of U.S. Air Force war research contracts and among the top recipients of U.S. Air Force war research contracts.

Also, there doesn't appear to be any reference to the $350,000 Inamori Foundation/Kyoto Prize grant that was given to MIT Professor Chomsky in the late 1980s, in the index of the Barsky biography of him.

The reference to the military links is also in CAMPUS, INC.: Corporate Power in the Ivory Tower, edited by Geoffry D. White,. In an interview in the last chapter, MIT Professor Chomsky says: "...The universities did receive large-scale subsidies, quite ofte n under the cover of defense.

"I happened to be on a committee that was set up to investigate these matters about thirty years ago. It was the first such committee for me as a result of student activism that was concerned about the reliance of MIT on military spending, what it meant, and so on. So there was a faculty/student committee set up and I was asked to be on it, and I think it was the firstreview ever of MIT fundidng...My memory is that at that time, about half of MIT's income came from two military laboratories. These were secret laboratories. One was Lincoln Labs and one then called the I Labs, now the Draper Labs, which at the time was working on guidance systems for intercontinental missiles and that sort of thing. These were secret labs and that was approximately half of the income. And, of course, that income in all kinds of ways filtered into the university through library funds and health funds and so on. Nobody knew the bookkeeping details and nobody cared much, but it was an indirect subsidy to the university.

"The other half, the academic budget, I think it was about 90 percent Pentagon funded at that time. And I personally was right in the middle of it.I was in a military lab. If you take a look at my early publications,they all say something about Air Force, Navy, and so on, because I was in a military lab, the Research Lab for Electronics. But in fact, even if you were in the music department, you were, in effect, being funded by the Pentagon because there wouldn't have been a music department unless therewas funding for, say, electrical engineering. If there was, then you coulddribble some off to the music department. So, in fact, everybody was Pentagon funded no matter whatever the bookkeeping notices said. "Well, it's important to recognize that during that period, the university was extremely free. The lab where I was working, the research lab for electronics, was also one of the centers of anti-Vietnam War resistance. We were organizing national tax resistance and the support groups for draft resistance were based there to a large extent. I mean, I, myself, was in a jail repeatedly at the time. It didn't make any difference. The Pentagon didn't care. In fact, they didn't care at all as far as I knew.

"Their function, they understood very well, is to provide the cover for the development of the science and technology in the future so that the corporate system can profit.

GW: So they were just too big and powerful to be threatened. You were too minor of a threat?

MIT Professor Chomsky: "They just didn't care. What happened at the administrative level I didn't know, but nothing ever got to us. I hadperfectly good relations with the administration. In fact, I'd tell them if I knew I was going to get arrested. I had no particular interest in embarrassing them, but it didn't matter.

GW: Okay, but before things started shifting more and more to corporate funding, are you saying that when the funding came from the Pentagon it was completely `free'?

MIT Professor Chomsky: "Overwhelmingly it was free. You could do pretty much waht you wanted. And there was nothing secret on campus. In fact, we investigated secrecy specifically in the committee. Although it was regarded in the government as military-related work, there was virtually nothing that was secret. In fact, the parts that were secret were mostly an impediment to research. It wasn't because anybody wanted it (secrecy), it was just some technical detail that hadn't been ironed out. You could do what you wanted in your personal and political life, and also in your academic and professional life, wihtin a broad range. It [MIT] must've been one of the most free universities in the world.

GW: Who had access to the results of all this work and research? MIT Professor Chomsky: "But that's a joke. I remember a discussion once with the head of the instrumentation lab, which was the lab that was working on guidance stystems for intercontinental missiles. Of course it was all classified, but he said that from his point of view, he woul be perfectly happy to declassify everything and give the books to the Russians and the Chinese. He said they can't do anything with them anyway. They don't have the industrial capacity to use the technology that we're developing. So the whole effect of the classification system was to impede communication amongthe American scientists.

GW: With what result?

MIT Professor Chomsky: "Well, nothing, I mean, they kept that system classified and sort of spun it off, it's now a secret lab, independent ofMIT. But, in answer to your question, right now, for example, there's anagency in the Pentagon, DARPA, the Defense Advance Research Project Agency,which has been the center of innovation for many years. It's where theInternet comes from. .."

Of course, what MIT's Chomsky is failing to disclose in this interview is that if you check out MIT's web site and the Draper Lab web site, the military research that's going on today at MIT LIncoln Laboratory and Draper Lab is related to space warfare technology development.

And DARPA is more about developing the weapons technology that's been used during the last few years than just doing "Internet" research.

The MIT LIncoln Laboratory web site states, for instance: "MIT Lincoln Laboratory's Suface Surveillance Program develops advanced technology for detecting and identifying vehicles and facilities on and beneath the surfacein wide-area, heavily cluttered and electronically hostile battlefields. MIT Lincoln Laboratory has developed clutter cancellation technology that isused in today's airborne surveillance systems...We are developing technologycapable of detecting and tracking moving targets that are partially or fullyobscured by foliage."

And Draper Lab President Vincent Vitto said in 2001: "Draper's core work remains focused on the development of innovative solutions for theDepartment of Defense's future technology needs.... These areas includeprecision targeting and weapons systems..."

MIT Professor Chomsky's ties to the military during the McCarthy era of the 1950s By Bob Feldman



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