The massacre of some 8,400 unarmed civilians (Bosnian Muslims) at Srebrenica constituted genocide. Mostly men and boys were killed by units of the Serbian Army (Army of Republika Srpska), led by General Ratko Mladic. According to Kofi Annan, then Secretary-General of the United Nations, this mass murder was the worst crime on European soil since the Second World War. In April 1993, the United Nations declared the besieged enclave of Srebrenica in north-eastern Bosnia a "safe area" to be protected by the UN. That proclamation proved ineffective in July 1995, when the UN Protection Force (UNPROFOR) composed of four hundred Dutch "peacekeepers" (Dutchbat) did not prevent the town's capture nor the subsequent massacre carried out by Bosnian Serbs, aided by several hundred Russian and Greek volunteers.
In a unanimous ruling on the case of Prosecutor versus Krstic, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, located in the Hague, concluded in 2004 that the massacre of some 8,400 male inhabitants of Srebrenica constituted genocide; a crime under international law. The forcible relocation of some 25,000 to 30,000 Bosniak women, children and elderly which accompanied the mass murder was found to be evidence confirming the genocidal intent of members of the Serbian Army Main Staff who organized the massacre.
In 2005 Kofi Annan admitted that although blame lay first and foremost with all those who planned and carried out the massacre and even with those who assisted and protected them, great nations had failed to respond adequately, the UN itself had made serious errors of judgment and the tragedy of Srebrenica will haunt the UN's history forever (his message marking the tenth anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide is at this URL: http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2005/sgsm9993.doc.htm
The Srebrenica genocide reminded me that the United Nations is an imperfect institution, one which requires major reform but not abolition. That massacre mattered immensely to me for two personal reasons. First and foremost, because Renda Tosuner, my brother-in-law, was killed by snipers in Bosnia around December 28, 1992. The world's failure to protect vulnerable and innocent people in Bosnia prompted him to go there. In 1995 the false promises of a "safe area" in Srebrenica added insult to the injury my family was feeling after Renda was killed. The second reason is connected to dismay I felt in December of 1993 when I learned that the AAA had dismissed the complaints filed against Dr. Furst by me, Professor Phil Weigand and Juan Negrín (see below..."My Requests for Transparency").
1. David H. Price. "Gregory Bateson and the OSS: World War II and Bateson's Assessment of Applied Anthropology" in Human Organization, Vol. 57, No. 4; Winter 1998.
My two most recent interviews are available at the URL below: http://www.gnosticmedia.com/JayFikes_Castaneda
My first interview deals primarily with Carlos Castaneda's fake ethnography. The second interview discusses secrecy, social stratification, war propaganda, C.I.A. & mind control
MY REQUESTS FOR TRANSPARENCY & ETHICS IN AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGY
Dr. Phil C. Weigand, Juan Negrín and I discussed our respective experiences with Dr. Peter T. Furst for many years before each of us decided to write an official complaint letter about him to the Ethics Committee of the American Anthropological Association (AAA). The three complaints or grievances we filed against Dr. Furst in 1992 were never addressed in a satisfactory way by the AAA. Juan Negrín’s grievance against Dr. Furst was rejected first, for reasons which remain unclear. About eighteen months after Dr. Phil Weigand and I submitted our grievances against Dr. Furst, the AAA President, Dr. James Peacock, informed each of us that our complaint against Dr. Furst was ”not within the purview of the AAA Statements on Ethics”. The AAA never sent me or Dr. Weigand any specific explanation of why our complaints were allegedly outside the Ethics Committee's purview. Neither of us ever received any rebuttal or response letter to our complaints from either Dr. Furst or the AAA Ethics Committee. The AAA Ethics Committee’s grievance procedure was completely eliminated not long after our complaints were dismissed. Publishing our three grievance letters--in their entirety--will permit anyone to consider the merits of our grievances. Were our criticisms of Dr. Furst’s conduct worthy of investigation? Were our allegations about Dr. Furst true or false? Click here to see Weigand's letter. Click here to see Fikes letter. Click here to see Negrin's letter.
Replies I received from three representatives of the AAA suggested that its Ethics Committee never investigated any of the many allegations specified in complaints about Dr. Furst submitted by me, Dr. Weigand and Juan Negrín. The AAA’s claim, that ethical violations we identified in our grievances against Furst were outside their purview, appears to resemble an excuse for failing to enforce ethics more than a compelling justification of why they decided to dismiss our grievances; without any investigation whatsoever. In my letter to Dr. Peacock (dated April 6, 1994) I asked if Dr. Furst had presented any complaint about me to the AAA Ethics Committee, as Dr. Furst alleged he was doing in three distinct letters he wrote to me with dates of June 16, 1989; August 27, 1990 and April 1, 1992. Dr. Peacock’s response--dated May 10, 1994--assured me that I “would have been informed immediately if a formal ethics complaint had been filed against you. No formal complaints against you have been received by the Committee on Ethics.” In my May 23, 1994 letter to Dr. Peacock I asked him whether he thought Dr. Furst’s three false allegations of sending a complaint about me to the AAA Ethics Committee were consistent with commitments to honesty and open inquiry (cardinal rules of scholarly conduct espoused then by the Ethics Committee). Dr. Peacock's response (in his July 11, 1994 letter) was that he saw “no reason to discuss the case further”. Dr. Furst evidently wrote a response to my complaint against him in a letter directed to Dr. Janet Levy, who replaced Dr. Karen Hanson as Chair of the AAA Ethics Committee. For what reason did both Dr. Furst and the AAA refuse to provide me with a copy of his letter in response to my complaint against him? Did Dr. Furst threaten to bring a lawsuit against the AAA? Was the AAA fearful of being sued? When Dr. Roy Rappaport was the AAA President, he wrote me (in a letter dated January 19, 1988) to explain that providing an investigative capability for the AAA Ethics Committee would be "much too tricky, with such vulnerability to legal action that the Association would be continually open to suit with, possibly, sufficient liability to bankrupt it". That kind of candor is what I wanted from the AAA when I filed my complaint against Dr. Furst. To demonstrate commitment to honesty and open inquiry, cardinal rules of scholarly conduct the Ethics Committee once espoused, I asked today's AAA officers to release Dr. Furst's response to my complaint against him.
Was I stonewalled by CIA agents dressed in anthropologist's clothing?
Some of the darkest days in my life began when the publishers of my book, Carlos Castaneda, Academic Opportunism and the Psychedelic Sixties were intimidated enough by Dr. Furst's threats to sue them if they published it that they abandoned publication; despite the fact that Dr. Furst failed to provide a single rebuttal of any specific statement I made in my book. I have concluded that my publishers (who did not have any libel insurance in 1992) did not want to risk paying the cost of defending my book, even against a frivolous lawsuit. I felt Dr. Furst never meant to sue me but only intended to defame me and prevent publication of my book. Unfortunately, I did not have money enough to sue him then. I could only hope the AAA Ethics Committee would honor its pledge to arbitrate allegations of professional misconduct, which were specified in letters sent by Prof. Phil Weigand, Juan Negrín and me to complain about Dr. Furst in 1992.
Protecting Dr. Furst by failing to investigate these three complaints about him exemplifies institutional ineffectiveness. Our grievances detailing particular instances of Dr. Furst's misconduct were well within the purview of the AAA's Ethics Committee's mandate to adjudicate. In my May 23, 1994 letter to Dr. Peacock I asked whether he believed Dr. Furst’s three false allegations, of sending a complaint about me to the AAA Ethics Committee, were consistent with commitments to honesty and open inquiry (cardinal rules of scholarly conduct espoused at that time by the AAA Ethics Committee). Dr. Peacock replied (in his July 11, 1994 letter) that he saw “no reason to discuss the case further”. In 2012 I still felt disturbed by Dr. Peacock's non-answers and the AAA's refusal to give me a copy of Dr. Furst's letter; which was written as a "mandated" response to my complaint against him. In 2012 I asked again for that letter so that I could defend myself against any false or defamatory statements he might have made. In 2012 the AAA leadership told me that Dr. Furst's letter was no longer in the AAA files. So in 2013 I asked the AAA for an apology. The AAA leaders refused.
The destruction (or loss) of Dr. Furst's letter must have seemed necessary to protect him and/or the AAA itself. The AAA failed to uphold its own "good name" by acting in ways consistent with their stated commitments to honesty, open inquiry and adjudicating cases of misconduct brought before it. Its "ineffectiveness" was exemplified by a cavalier refusal to investigate or judge the merits of three complaints of professional misconduct about one individual, one who used their name in three attempts to intimidate me when faced with scholarly criticism.
Only a year later my disillusionment with "establishment" institutions was reactivated when I witnessed the UN's failure to protect some 8,400 victims of the Srebrenica genocide. My personal experiences taught me that ineffective institutions, such as the UN peacekeepers in 1995 or the AAA Ethics Committee in 1992-1994, should be empowered instead of abolished. Dismantling its investigative and judgment capabilities, as the AAA Ethics Committee did soon after it dismissed our complaints against Dr. Furst, only benefits those who may now feel there is little to risk when they commit plagiarism, make false or defamatory statements about colleagues or students, or engage in the kind of ethnographic fraud exemplified by Carlos Castaneda.
The AAA has publicly admitted its mistakes, as exemplified by this 2005 resolution
"Uncensoring Franz Boas" Adopted by a vote of the AAA membership June 15, 2005.
WHEREAS The American Anthropological Association regrets the censure motion passed against Dr Franz Boas, third president of the AAA (1907-08), at its eighteenth annual meeting at the Peabody Museum, Harvard University, December 30, 1919, President Clark Wissler presiding and WHEREAS the association publicly distanced itself from the opinion written by Dr. Franz Boas on October 16, 1919, and published in The Nation on December 20, 1919 and WHEREAS the majority voted that Boas' claim was "unjustified and does not represent the opinion of the American Anthropological Association" and WHEREAS in that open letter to the editor, "Scientists as Spies," Boas insisted on the distinction between researchers — scientists whose lives are dedicated to "the service of truth" — and spies under the employment of the US Government and
WHEREAS Boas believed that it was immoral for scientists to use their professional identity as a cover for governmental spying activities and WHEREAS other such incidents of anthropologists as spies have been repudiated by this Association, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the AAA rescinds that censure and entirely repudiates the 1919 motion.
There are good reasons to infer that Dr. Barbara Myerhoff, Dr. Carlos Castaneda and Dr. Richard deMille were CIA agents. The CIA rejected our requests for information about them, citing the National Security Act of 1947 and the CIA Act of 1949 in their defense. What about Dr. Furst? If we were to infer that he was involved with the CIA would the AAA apologize to me?
CONFRONTING INEFFECTIVE INSTITUTIONS AND INJUSTICE
MY DISILLUSIONING EXPERIENCES WITH ANTHROPOLOGISTS INDIFFERENT TO TRUTH, OR TO ENFORCING ETHICS , COMBINED WITH THE SHOCK OF MY BROTHER-IN-LAW'S DEATH DURING HIS STRUGGLE TO RESCUE INNOCENT BOSNIANS, TAUGHT ME A LESSON. WHENEVER PERSECUTION, MOBBING OR OTHER UNJUST ACTIONS ARE OCCURING, DOING NOTHING ABOUT IT ENCOURAGES THE TORMENTORS. IN 1992, WHEN JUAN NEGRIN, DR. PHIL WEIGAND AND I FILED COMPLAINTS ABOUT DR. FURST WITH THE AAA ETHICS COMMITTEE WE HOPED THEY WOULD DECIDE TO CENSURE HIM FOR CONDUCT EACH OF US REGARDED AS UNETHICAL. BECAUSE THE AAA REFUSED TO INVESTIGATE, LET ALONE JUDGE OUR COMPLAINTS, DR. FURST CONTINUED HIS CAMPAIGN TO VILIFY ME. DR. FURST EVIDENTLY INTENDED TO PREVENT DR. DAVID MAYBURY-LEWIS FROM HIRING ME FOR A POSITION WITH CULTURAL SURVIVAL; AS DR. LEWIS'S AFFIDAVIT OF DECEMBER 1, 1997 SUGGESTS. DR. FURST ALSO OBSTRUCTED DR. JOE WINTER'S EFFORTS TO OBTAIN FUNDING HE NEEDED TO HIRE ME TO ADMINISTER A TEN-YEAR PROJECT DESIGNED TO IMPROVE THE LIVES OF TRADITIONAL HUICHOL BY IMPLEMENTING EDUCATIONAL, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND MEDICAL ASSISTANCE PROJECTS; AS DR. WINTER'S NOVEMBER 11, 1997 AFFIDAVIT SUGGESTS.
FOR ME ELIE WIESEL'S COMMITMENT TO SIDE WITH THOSE WHO ARE SUFFERING RINGS TRUE:
"I SWORE NEVER TO BE SILENT WHENEVER AND WHEREVER HUMAN BEINGS ENDURE SUFFERING AND HUMILIATION. WE MUST ALWAYS TAKE SIDES. NEUTRALITY HELPS THE OPPRESSOR, NEVER THE VICTIM. SILENCE ENCOURAGES THE TORMENTOR, NEVER THE TORMENTED." (WIESEL'S DECEMBER 10, 1986 SPEECH UPON ACCEPTING THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE IN OSLO)
Charles E. Shepard, author of Forgiven, the rise and fall of Jim Bakker and the PTL ministry, won a Pulitzer prize in 1988 for his exposé of Bakker, a religious leader who epitomized a kind of "pathological narcissism" (Shepard 1989: 554-556, 621). My latest debunking of Carlos Castaneda (click on link below to read) was enriched by reading Charles Shepard's interpretation of how Jim Bakker's psychological profile supported his rise to fame and fortune (and subsequent fall from grace).