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Repress U, Class of 2012

Posted on Mar 24, 2012
Amin Tabrizi (CC-BY)

A student photographs himself in the reflection of a security camera casing at Durham College in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada.

By Michael Gould-Wartofsky, TomDispatch

(Page 4)

Each DHS Center of Excellence has been founded on private-public partnerships, corporate co-sponsorships, and the leadership of “industry advisory boards” which give big business a direct stake and say in its operations. Corporate giants allied with DHS Centers of Excellence include:

*Lockheed Martin at the Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), based at the University of Maryland at College Park.

*Alcatel-Lucent and AT&T at the Rutgers University-based Command, Control, and Interoperability Center for Advanced Data Analysis (CICADA).

*ExxonMobil and Con Edison at the Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE), based at the University of Southern California.


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*Motorola, Boeing, and Bank of America at the Purdue University-based Center for Visual Analytics for Command, Control, and Interoperability Environments (VACCINE).

*Wal-Mart, Cargill, Kraft, and McDonald’s at the National Center for Food Protection and Defense (NCFPD), based at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

What’s more, universities have struck multimillion-dollar deals with multinational private security firms like Securitas, deploying unsworn, underpaid, often untrained “protection officers” on campus as “extra eyes and ears.”  The University of Wisconsin-Madison, in one report, boasts that police and private partners have been “seamlessly integrated.”

Elsewhere, even students have gotten into the business of security.  The private intelligence firm STRATFOR, for example, recently partnered with the University of Texas to use its students to “essentially parallel the work of… outside consultants” but on campus, offering information on activist groups like the Yes Men.

Step by step, at school after school, the homeland security campus has executed a silent coup in the decade since September 11th.  The university, thus usurped, has increasingly become an instrument not of higher learning, but of intelligence gathering and paramilitary training, of profit-taking on behalf of America’s increasingly embattled “1%.”

Yet the next generation may be otherwise occupied.  Since September 2011, a new student movement has swept across the country, making itself felt most recently on March 1st with a national day of action to defend the right to education. This Occupy-inspired wave of on-campus activism is making visible what was once invisible, calling into question what was once beyond question, and counteracting the logic of Repress U with the logic of nonviolence and education for democracy.

For many, the rise of the homeland security campus has provoked some basic questions about the aims and principles of a higher education: Whom does the university serve? Whom does it protect? Who is to speak? Who is to be silenced? To whom does the future belong?

The guardians of Repress U are uninterested in such inquiry. Instead, they cock their weapons.  They lock the gates.  And they prepare to take the next step.

Michael Alexander Gould-Wartofsky is a writer from New York City and a MacCracken Fellow in Sociology at New York University.  His writing has received Harvard’s James Gordon Bennett Prize and the New York Times James B. Reston Award, and has appeared in the Nation, the Harvard Crimson, The Huffington Post, and Monthly Review, along with TomDispatch.  He is currently writing a book about Occupy Wall Street. His website is

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter @TomDispatch and join us on Facebook.

Copyright 2012 Michael Gould-Wartofsky

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By Fullblad, March 26, 2012 at 12:05 pm Link to this comment

Infiltration of progressive student organizations by
fellow students taking homeland courses must be
rampant. Counter infiltration with double agents by
carefully selected moles with the “right” backgrounds
is now necessary. Care must also be taken that a mole
is not turned . It’s a spy versus spy world as Big
Brother ups the ante. Dangerous work but the
subversion of our democracy must be exposed. These
acts by the secret services for the plutocracy are a
call to revolution by the people. The police will not
be brought over as they are being radicalized to the
extent that they will now act as any state security
force exemplified by such as the Stazi etc.

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By italianmama, March 26, 2012 at 6:25 am Link to this comment

outraged is correct.  When my children were in middle school they were actively encouraged to “report” anonymously of course, anything any other student did that they did not like.  I, of course, told my children they were not to become rats, and if they had something to report, they were to do it not anonymously, as that was a cowards way.  And, they were only to report something such as seeing a gun in a locker and such, not inane things such as bad language, different ideas, clothing styles, etc.
I complained to the school and asked them if they were educators or a throwback to the cold war secret service.
Reason I found out what was going on: My kid got hauled in to the office for skateboarding down stairs. I asked who reported him, and was told about the anonymous program.
Are you freakin’ kidding me????
Skateboarders were looked down upon, but kids throwing footballs and tackling each other silly?  That was ok.

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By Outraged, March 25, 2012 at 9:37 pm Link to this comment

This is what follows from the extremism seen in our public schools K-12. It is not surprising, but realistically logical. Is anyone surprised….?

How could it be anathema to education (in the real sense) for those with a difference of opinion to be tagged as problematic, and then NOT have this same condition present in our higher educational system?

I assert that it is the logical outcome of requiring students in our basic educational systems to “suck it up” and to “get with the program”, regardless of how inane that situation is in the true sense education or learning or innovating or creating or free thinking or humane empathy.

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By gerard, March 25, 2012 at 2:26 pm Link to this comment

Reading Jones:  Interestingly, that Peck book is just about my most despised book. 
I wish we could get together to discuss it and compare notes. Just for brevity’s
sake, his bow toward abject evil and the possibility of extinguishing it through
exorcism completely turned me off.  Otherwise I always found him more or less
  Please don’t take offense.  Our two strong opposite opinions turning up just here
and now is accidental, of course, and yet ...unnerving.  If you care to do so, just
let me know briefly what you found so revealing about “the nature of the enemy.”
  I also wonder what I may have said that brought the idea of “university
indoctrination” to the table,, but that’s secondary to our polar disagreement
(apparently) on Peck’s analysis of “evil” and what can be done about it.

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By ReadingJones, March 25, 2012 at 6:12 am Link to this comment


Chomsky was correct. I think you are naive on the
subject of university indoctrination. It takes great
personal effort to avoid having your opinions skewed
by the perch from which you view the universe.
Provincialism is endemic. Perhaps it is impossible to
avoid being biased by your background but with effort
and great care you can at least be aware of it in
part: Of that which is in vague outline glimpsed
momentarily through the fog. University
indoctrination was recognized going back at least to
the 1400’s. Please believe that I mean you no harm by
saying this. I admire the keen edge of your

The only hope we have of successfully opposing the
Predator Class and their lackeys lies in truth
clearly spoken. That is why the trolls, the nutjobs,
the provocateurs who espouse violence must be
opposed. They are owned or encouraged by the
Predators. The Predators recognize the danger which
the truth puts them in so they employ the idiots and
scabs and consciously evil to obscure the truth. M.
Scott Peck wrote a book about evil called “The People
of the Lie.” It is a useful beginning toward
understanding the nature of the enemy.

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By thecrow, March 25, 2012 at 4:43 am Link to this comment

“Since 9/11…”

Of course.

“Violence can only be concealed by a lie, and the lie can only be maintained by violence.”

- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

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By Maani, March 24, 2012 at 5:55 pm Link to this comment

You heard it here first: I am predicting a Kent State-type incident on a college or university campus by the end of 2012, where peaceful protesters are shot and killed by law enforcement.

The question is: what effect, if any, will that have on anything?

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By gerard, March 24, 2012 at 5:31 pm Link to this comment

rend it:  But that has not always been so. Only since the U.S. has been slowly freaking out over a period of the last 50 years or so. I remember the first assault of “loyalty oath” fits.  Three of us “temps” refused to sign and quit in preference. All the rest of the department told us separately and in whispers that they “wished they could do the same” but ...they had families to feed and mortgages to pay.

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By rend it, March 24, 2012 at 5:16 pm Link to this comment

Was it Chomsky who said institutions of higher education are really just about indoctrination?

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By gerard, March 24, 2012 at 4:35 pm Link to this comment

Proving that Julian Assange was right when he said that conspirators don’t like it when their secrets are exposed, but democratic government is impossible unless its secrets become public information—or words to that effect.

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By A. Benway, March 24, 2012 at 10:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It may be a disagreeable development, and one with very undesirable effect, but it is also understandable in historical context, as the Fabian strategies being employed in response to imperial ambitions begin to undermine the relationship between the state and the people.

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