The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) last week released “Open for Business: On What Terms?”, an analysis of university-corporate collaborations across Canada and their implications for academic integrity and the public interest. The report’s examination of the Consortium for Research and Innovation in Aerospace in Quebec (CRIAQ) in particular piqued the interest of Demilitarize McGill. By early 2013, CRIAQ had enlisted the participation of 14 universities, 9 research centers, and 52 companies to collaborate on research serving the Quebec aerospace industry. Corporate partners include Bell Helicopter, Bombardier, and CAE, the three companies that are partners in the CFD Lab. While the report does not address military research specifically, it offers a thorough analysis of how corporate funding translates into corporate influence and corporate control over research priorities and objectives.
Demilitarize McGill intervened in the Remembrance Day ceremony on McGill’s downtown campus Monday morning, dropping a banner from the roof in between the Leacock and Arts buildings to signal mounting opposition to military research on campus. The banner, which read simply “Demilitarize McGill,” appeared at 11:00am, coinciding with the moment of silence and 21-gun salute in the middle of the ceremony.In the McGill Daily, we wrote that Remembrance Day “is a rehearsal of selective feeling as much as selective memory,” that “both responds to the demands of nationalism and develops a justification for the continued imperialist exercise of military power.”
As cannon blasts shook windows across campus, security were slow to react upon seeing the banner, which remained in place for over fifteen minutes before being removed.
In a tentative victory for Demilitarize McGill and others, Quebec’s Commission d’accès à l’information has ruled against McGill’s request to give university administrators the authority to deny future access-to-information (ATI) requests at their discretion.
Outstanding ATI requests, including those concerning military research by the Shock Wave Physics Group and CFD Lab, remain in litigation, as McGill continues to use the court system to at least delay disclosure of the documents that detail its partnerships with militaries and defence contractors.
The Telegraph newspaper reported yesterday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime has dropped fuel-air explosives (FAEs) on a high school. The attack, which took place in the rebel-held city of Raqqa on 29 September, killed at least 14 civilians. Human Rights Watch identified the bomb likely used as being a Russian ODAB-series fuel-air bomb.
FAEs are the predecessors to what are today termed ‘thermobaric’ explosives. McGill University, through the Shock Wave Physics Group (SWPG), has contributed to the development of both technologies in three major waves of research, beginning in the 1970s. In 2004, a committee of the U.S. National Research Council cited research by McGill Prof. David Frost as offering a needed tool for the development of more lethal thermobaric weapons. In 2013, the SWPG is receiving funding and other resources from the Canadian military for the same type of research.
Be on the lookout for new Demilitarize McGill stickers around campus! Want to get involved in what we’re doing? We’re always open to new people coming to a meeting, proposing an action or an event, or joining our ongoing projects. Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This year, our group has already grown in size, and we’ll be meeting regularly throughout the fall and winter. We intend to build on last year’s successes in researching McGill’s military ties, sharing information with students and the public, and beginning to directly contest the University’s role in the development of the knowledge and technologies that assist the managers of imperialist wars.
Together, we can build our capacity to disrupt military research at McGill!
It is a matter on which the authority of Empire tends to go uncontested – that of establishing which means of indiscriminate killing are acceptable and which are not. Sarin gas, bad; drones armed with Hellfire missiles, generally alright.
A walking tour of locations where McGill conducts military research started at 3690 Peel, home to McGill’s Institute of Air and Space Law (IASL), on Thursday. The tour – organized by a new incarnation of Demilitarize McGill, a student group that has been dormant since 2010 – was attended by approximately 15 students.
Welcome to the new Demilitarize McGill website!
The campaign to Demilitarize McGill will live to fight another day.
Or at least another month.
McGill is citing a procedural glitch for postponing a vote at Wednesday’s Senate meeting on a controversial rewrite of the university’s ethics guidelines for research.
BY PATRICK LEJTENYI
Published February 11, 2010 in The Montreal Mirror
Campus peaceniks at McGill are preparing for war. The casus belli: weapons research done by the university’s scientists that will now be unrestricted by a 23-year regulation designed to make such research transparent and open to public scrutiny.