Middle East studies in the News
"Advisory Board" Threatens US International Studies
by Juan Cole
From: Juan R. Cole
Further to Steve Heydemann's inquiry.
As I read HR 3077's new Advisory Board provisions, the Title VI area studies centers are now being subjected to a hostile corporate take-over by Stanley Kurtz, Daniel Pipes, and other pro-Likud neoconservatives, hand in hand with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy WINEP (the policy organ of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee).
The legislation was crafted by people like Kurtz (of the neocon Hudson Institute), who got a line into the staff of Republican Michigan representative Pete Hoekstra. As the recent appointment of Daniel Pipes to the US Institute for Peace by President Bush demonstrates, the most likely source of personnel for the International Advisory Board that will give Middle East Centers their marching orders is the neocons associated with WINEP (i.e. the same people who gave us the Iraq War and the weapons of mass destruction myth).
Under this legislation, US Vice President Dick Cheney and Speaker of the House Tom Delay would appoint 4 of the 7 members between them. There is no provision for the board to be balanced by party affiliation.
This sort of language is extremely scary if you think seriously about it:
[The Board will] `(B) monitor, apprise, and evaluate a sample of activities supported under this title based on the purposes and objectives of this title in order to provide recommendations for improvement of the programs under this title; `(C) make recommendations that will assist the Secretary and the Congress to improve the programs under this title to better reflect the national needs related to the homeland security, international education, and international affairs, including an assessment of the national needs and the training provided by the institutions of higher education that receive a grant under this title for expert and non-expert level foreign language training;
or how about this?
`(5) CONTRACTS; EXPERTS AND CONSULTANTS- The International Advisory Board may enter into contracts for the acquisition of information, suggestions, estimates, and statistics for the purpose of this section. The International Advisory Board is authorized to obtain the services of experts and consultants without regard to section 3109 of title 5, United States Code and to set pay in accordance with such section.
I wonder if the University community is just so supine and apolitical that it will allow this Big Brother legislation to go forward? Am I right that this is the relevant Senate committee? http://www.senate.gov/~labor/committee_members.html
(Please forward widely).
Campus Watch contact e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org