Re: Ref to Counterinsurgency in SE Asia

Richard Spear (rspear@PRIMENET.COM)
Tue, 24 Jan 1995 20:50:09 PST

In article Phil Young <PYOUNG@OREGON.UOREGON.EDU> writes:
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>I too was at the 1970 AAA meetings in San Diego. I do not remember much detail
>of the discussion on the floor. I have been interested in questions of ethics
>in anthropology for a long time. I have read quite a bit about Project
>Camelot, though it has been some time ago. Could you (or others out there)
>give me a reference to a source that documents Project Camelot as involving
>geographic areas other than Latin America? I have never seen anything that
>suggested that this particular DOD project extended beyond, or was intended to
>extend beyond, Latin America.

>Phil Young

OK, I'm going to go out on a limb and try to remember some details of the
controversy surrounding anthropological activities in S.E. Asia during the
Vietnam War.

The work that was disputed was done among the Montainards (sp?). There was
traditional enmity between the Montainards and Vietnamese and the CIA? U.S.
Government? wished to utilize that enmity in the interests of the war effort
... getting Montainards to wage organized actions against the Vietnamese of
U.S. choosing. Montainards were (are?) an egalitarian society and the
enticements offered by U.S. government representatives held little sway with
them. Anthropologists working in the area were asked to devise ways to instill
a greater interest in goods so that the buying of allegiances could be
accomplished ... a professor at UCLA (I believe) was somehow involved and
there was a minor scandal there.

Don't quote me on any of this, and having written it down, it *does* exhibit
some considerable naivity (those were naive days!), but this does ring bells
in my fast failing memory. Surely someone else recalls some of this?

Regards, Richard