By Ann Wright
On February 10, activists protested the University of Hawaii’s participation with U.S. intelligence agencies in a symposium on national security and called on students and faculty to remember the criminal track record of these agencies in torture, assassination, kidnapping and illegal prisons.
Protesters called on the University administration to reject any request by the federal government to create a National Intelligence Center of Academic Excellence (ICCAE, pronounced “icky”) at the University of Hawaii.
Government intelligence agencies, including the CIA, FBI, National Security Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency, and Homeland Security, have created in the past four years twenty-two Intelligence Community Centers for Academic Excellence on university campuses to provide “systematic long-term programs at universities and colleges to recruit and hire eligible talent for [intelligence community] agencies and components” and to “increase the [intelligence recruiting] pipeline of students.”
However, not only do the centers recruit, but they seem to provide a launching pad for undercover operations for those associated with the university centers. Stan Dei, the Assistant Director at the Intelligence Community Center for Academic Excellence at Trinity University in Washington, DC, was arrested in January, 2010 with three others for plotting to tamper with the telephone system in the New Orleans office of U.S. Senator from Louisiana Mary Landrieu.
According to an article on Raw Story titled “Landrieu phone plot: Men arrested have links to intelligence community,” Dai also was an undergraduate fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of the Democracies (FDD), a national security think tank in Washington, DC with conservative political figures and politicians, among them: former House speaker Newt Gingrich, Sen. Joe Lieberman, Weekly Standard editor William Kristol, Rep. Eric Cantor, former Bush official Richard Perle and columnist Charles Krauthammer on its advisory board.
The two day symposium on national security at the University of Hawaii is billed as a “discussion on the role of language and contemporary issues in Asia and in U.S. security issues with networking sessions for students to interact with Intelligence Community personnel and meet with potential employers.”
Attendance at the conference was increased by providing students with breakfast and lunch each day and a gift card.
Asian and Pacific heritage students are the predominant groups at the University of Hawaii and undoubted the reason for the visit by Dr. Lenora Gant, the Director of all of the Intelligence Community Centers of Excellence. The symposium is co-hosted by the School of Pacific and Asian Studies with faculty members from the East-West Center, which is funded by the U.S. Department of State, and other University of Hawaii faculty members making presentations on language, cultural awareness and cyber challenges in national security along with presentations on “The 21st Century Intelligence Community Enterprise: Challenges and Opportunities” by CIA and other intelligence officials.
ICCAEs provide grants to universities to begin a “partnership between the Intelligence Community, colleges and universities to incorporate curriculum and related initiatives.
The focus of this effort is to increase the pipeline of competitive applicants to attract, recruit and hire with an emphasis on women and racial/ethnic minorities with critical skills in core business and leadership areas.” (Public Law 108, 177, Section 319).
Once the Intelligence Centers are established on a campus, they use federal funds to provide a cash-strapped university with attractive facilities. At Norfolk State University, a new Video Teleconferencing Training Center was funded through grants from the Office of the Director for National Intelligence (ODNI) and Department of Education.
Outside the School of Korean Studies, the location for the symposium, long-time Hawaii activist Carolyn Hadfield, a coordinator for World Can’t Wait and staff member of Revolution Bookstore, reminded students and faculty going into the building that the CIA and other intelligence agencies had asked their employees to commit illegal actions on behalf of the presidential administrations — crimes of torture, assassination, kidnapping (extraordinary rendition), secret prisons and illegal eavesdropping and wiretapping.
Did they want to be employed by organizations that participate in these criminal actions?
Hadfield also reminded University of Hawaii Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw as she emerged from the conference hall, of the long confrontation to keep the University system out of the unpopular, but financially lucrative for the university, Department of Defense classified research business University Affiliated Research Center (UARC).
Hadfield told the University Chancellor that should they be considering bringing an Intelligence Community Center of Excellence to University of Hawaii, the university administration would face another battle.
Ann Wright is a retired US Army Reserve Colonel and a former U.S. diplomat who resigned in March, 2003 in opposition to the war on Iraq. She served in as a US diplomat in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan and Mongolia. She is the co-author of "Dissent: Voices of Conscience." Wright has been arrested numerous times for her peaceful, non-violent protests against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, torture and other criminal actions by the government of the United States.