Tag Archives: Homewood

Luminous Intervention at General Stanley McChrystal Foreign Affairs Symposium

4 Mar

Check out this video of our Luminous Intervention at General Stanley McChrystal’s talk at Johns Hopkins!

On Wednesday, Feburary 27th, we projected words and images onto Shriver Hall to bring attention to drone warfare and JHU’s involvement in drone weapons research and development. Our projection coincided with General Stanley McChrystal’s speech at the Foreign Affairs Symposium. We also presented this informational flyer.

Luminous Intervention is a group of artists and activists in Baltimore. They design, produce, and project “large-scale outdoor projections highlighting social and economic issues relevant to our city and its people.”


What’s so bad about drone warfare?

26 Feb

NEW FLYER: Download a PDF

What’s so bad about DRONE WARFARE?

Drone warfare is WRONG.

It’s wrong to kill people simply because they are suspected of crimes. It’s worse to send drones to rain missiles down on villages simply because people suspected of crimes live there. Hundreds of civilians have already been killed by U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. If the U.S. and other countries expand the use of military drones, the carnage will increase exponentially.

“Do the United States and its people really want to tell those of us who live in the rest of the world that our lives are not the same value as yours?” — Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Drone warfare is ILLEGAL.

Extra-judicial killing outside of war zones is illegal under U.S. and international law.

“No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination.” — President Ronald Reagan, U.S. Executive Order 12333

Drone warfare is RECKLESS.

“What scares me about drone strikes is how they’re perceived around the world. The resentment created by American use of unmanned strikes… is much greater than the average American appreciates. They are hated on a visceral level, even by people who’ve never seen one or seen the effects of one.” — General Stanley McChrystal (retired)

“Drones are an example of technology outpacing our morality and thinking.” — U.S. Navy Captain, quoted in Foreign Policy (12 Feb 2013)

So, why are we designing military drones at Hopkins?

JHU’s Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) has been deeply involved in developing technology for military drones, and huge new Pentagon contracts are now bringing drone weapons research to the Homewood campus. Because many of the university’s military contracts are classified, we do not yet know the full extent and nature of Hopkins’ drone research.

Why should you be concerned?

  • Targeted killing by drones is wrong, illegal, andreckless. But that’s only part of the problem. The technology itself is extremely dangerous. By allowing governments to dispatch robots instead of soldiers, drones make it easier to wage war anywhere, anytime. This is making the world a much more dangerous place.
  • The U.S. is waging drone warfare in secret and without democratic discussion. The technology is advancing faster than our consideration of the ethical, military, social, and environmental implications. Domestically, the use of drones to conduct wide surveillance and police the population violates our right to privacy and can easily be abused by the government.
  • Lucrative military contracts—especially those for drone warfare and weapons—are distorting university research and education. The secrecy demanded by military contracts violates the principles of open academic exchange and transparent university governance.


Download a PDF

Come to our Luminous Intervention before General Stanley McChrystal’s presentation at the JHU Foreign Affairs Symposium Wednesday 2/27 at 7:30pm!

Drone warfare in the press at Johns Hopkins

21 Feb

Article on drone weapons accuracy and criticisms in the JHU News-Letter


Derek Denman (Doctoral candidate, Political Science): Interview in Politik on APL drone research and the militarization of higher education


Rachel Cohen (JHU ’14): “Secrecy and Drones” in Politik


Shereen Shafi (JHU ’15): “‘Transparency,’ Drone Strikes, and the Conditions of Public Support” in Elias Isquith’s Jubilee


Open letter on Human Terrain Systems recruitment at JHU

10 Dec

Several students and faculty in humanities and social sciences at Johns Hopkins are responding to a recent solicitation to work for the U.S. Army’s Human Terrain Systems program.

We invite JHU affiliates in relevant programs and departments to add their names below.

This letter is in response to a recent email solicitation (from Adecco RPO, a recruitment agency) sent to JHU affiliates in anthropology and other departments.

Subject: Job Opportunity
Date: Sat, 24 Nov 2012
From: [name and address redacted]

I am an independent consultant recruiting social scientists for long-term contract opportunities with our client who is running the Human Terrain Systems Program for the U.S. Army. I am contacting you in the hope that you may know of graduate students or colleagues who might be interested in these opportunities.

We are seeking individuals with PhDs and Master’s degrees in the Social Sciences, with at least one year of paid quantitative and qualitative field research experience. Our client is interested in Social Scientists in the fields of Anthropology, History, International Relations, Politics, Ethnic & Cultural Studies etc. to serve in a consultative capacity to battalion commanders in forward operating units in Afghanistan. As “academic embeds”, these scientists will help troops understand relevant cultural history, engage locals in a way they can appreciate, and incorporate knowledge about tribal traditions in conflict resolution. US military officers in Afghanistan have state that the aim of the Human Terrain System program is to improve the performance of local government officials, persuade tribesmen to join the police, ease poverty and protect villagers from the Taliban and criminals.

We are searching for both Social Scientists (Cultural & Regional Specialists) and Human Terrain Specialists with GIS experience for these 100% travel roles in Afghanistan. While paid field research experience in the Middle East would be desirable, our client will consider candidates with paid field research experience from other locations. Compensation and bonuses are generous given the strenuous nature of these assignments. After four months of training stateside, the scientists are deployed to Afghanistan for approximately ten months. Training class pay is in the $70-95k range and overseas pay once deployed is in the $140-165k range. US Citizenship is required for all positions.

I would be happy to provide further information on these opportunities and would be most grateful for any assistance that you might lend me in connecting with social scientist candidates. Please feel free to respond to this email address or to call me at [phone number redacted].

Thank you for your time and consideration,
[name redacted]

Read the American Anthropological Association’s 2007 statement on HTS.

A recent story in Al Jazeera by Mark LeVine at UC Irvine gives a critical perspective on the use of academic expertise in military and intelligence operations: Scholars and spies: A disastrous combination.

Johns Hopkins News-Letter story on “Living Under Drones at JHU”

29 Nov

Johns Hopkins News-Letter 

HRWG hosts panel on JHU drone research 

The debate over the U.S. military’s use of drones has been heating up in the media and on campus for some time now. In a recent panel held in Mergenthaler Hall, experts discussed the hot-button topic and specifically Hopkins’ involvement in classified drone research.

The event, hosted by the Hopkins Human Rights Working Group (HRWG), was co-sponsored by Amnesty International, the Graduate Representative Organization, the Departments of Anthropology and Political Science, the Arab Students’ Organization and Students for Environmental Action.

The two guest experts on the panel were James Cavallaro, the director of the International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic at Stanford Law School, and Omar Shakir, also of Stanford Law School. Both were co-authors of the recent Stanford and New York University (NYU) study titled “Living Under Drones.” Results of the study drew from interviews of about 130 Pakistanis directly and indirectly involved in drone attacks.

Full story at: http://www.jhunewsletter.com/2012/11/29/hrwg-hosts-panel-on-jhu-drone-research-87319/

VIDEO: Living Under Drones at JHU

28 Nov


Living Under Drones at JHU 


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Johns Hopkins University, Homewood Campus

This year, Stanford and NYU researchers investigated US drone strikes on civilians in Pakistan. We learned more about their findings, and furthered the debate about the role of Johns Hopkins in US drone research and warfare.

Participants: James Cavallaro (Professor of Law; Director, International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic at Stanford Law School); Omar Shakir (Stanford Law School Co-author, “Living Under Drones”); and Lauren Wilcox (Political Science, Johns Hopkins University)

Co-sponsors included: Amnesty International, Graduate Representative Organization, Department of Anthropology, Department of Political Science, Students for Environmental Action, and the Arab Students’ Organization.

Facebook event: facebook.com/events/459616454088714/

Stanford/NYU report, Living Under Drones: livingunderdrones.org

Poster for “Living under Drones at JHU”

11 Nov

Living under Drones at JHU 

This year, Stanford and NYU researchers investigated US drone strikes on civilians in Pakistan. Come learn more about their findings, and join the debate about the role of Johns Hopkins in US drone research and warfare.

James Cavallaro — Professor of Law and Director, International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic at Stanford Law School

Omar Shakir — Stanford Law School Co-author, “Living Under Drones”

Lauren Wilcox — Political Science, Johns Hopkins University


  • Amnesty International
  • Graduate Representative Organization
  • Department of Anthropology
  • Department of Political Science
  • Students for Environmental Action
  • Arab Students’ Organization

Poster (PDF) 

Poster 2×1 for circulating (PDF)