Documents obtained through an access-to-information request and other records collected by Demilitarize McGill show that researchers in the Shock Wave Physics Group are involved in a scheme functioning to shield their weapons research from regulatory and public scrutiny. Professors David Frost, Samuel Goroshin and Andrew Higgins are using companies based at their home addresses to sign research contracts with the Canadian military. The research is conducted at McGill and employs McGill students and University resources. Entering into the agreements through the companies, ZND Inc. and Reactive Energetics Inc., allowed the professors to escape the requirement to disclose whether research funded by military agencies may have harmful consequences, before that provision was abolished by University Senate, and it is making it more difficult to find out the full extent of military research on campus.
Shock Wave Physics researchers running front companies out of homes to dodge scrutiny of military contracts
Take an interactive tour of Dr Ruths’ social networks.
On Thursday, December 11th, the Redpath Museum’s Cutting Edge lecture series is hosting McGill professor Derek Ruths to give a talk entitled “What our data says about us – Insights into human behavior from social media.”
Dr Ruths would indeed be the person to tell you what your social media use says about you: he is actively involved in developing technology to surveil and control social networks – both the online kind and the real-life networks they represent.
“On the night of November 29, we snuck into the engineering department of McGill University and jammed the locks of the Aerospace Mechatronics Lab using superglue as a minimum gesture of solidarity with the survivors of the Israeli state’s summer attack on Gaza, in which 800 drone strikes took place over the course of a 50 day period.”
Read the full communique at http://anarchistnews.org/content/montreal-attack-drone-research-facility
Through an access-to-information request to the University, students have obtained the contract between McGill and Public Safety Canada, the arm of government responsible for the RCMP and CSIS, for ongoing research designed to support domestic surveillance and intelligence-gathering, through social media data mining and analysis.
Read the documents below.
The Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) has adopted the Motion Regarding Support of a Campus Free from Harmful Military Technology Development, following online ratification of the decision of the October 22 General Assembly (GA) decision. The motion’s passage renews SSMU’s position opposing the development of harmful military technology on campus, and mandates the organization to support groups opposing military research, namely Demilitarize McGill.
An informational action during McGill’s annual Remembrance Day ceremony centered on sharing facts about Canada’s role in warfare that tend to go unmentioned each Nov. 11. The text of each placard is reproduced below. Considering what the action consisted in, the enraged reactions from a number of people lend credibility to Demilitarize McGill’s basic claim about Remembrance Day, which is that it is an exercise in selective memory, organized to enforce the forgetting of any element of war that conflicts with the story the Canadian state wants to tell about itself.
“A rational dialogue with the administration will not solve the issues at hand.”
These were the words of a protester at the disturbance of McGill’s Institute of Air and Space Law (IASL)’s five-day Strategic Space Law Intensive Program on October 28. The program is meant to train lawyers in how to navigate space law. About ten people, mostly McGill students, disrupted the conference taking place at the Best Western hotel with chanting and condemnations of the program before pushing past security and escaping arrest.
Demilitarize McGill has uncovered further evidence of McGill’s complicity in warfare, through reviews of puclicly accessible documents and the submission of Access to Information Requests to the Canadian military.
Earlier this year, we made the community aware of work conducted by Prof Inna Sharf at the Aerospace Mechatronics Lab in collaboration with Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC- the Candian military’s R&D agency), which aimed at developing small drones for use in the ‘urban battle space’. We have recently become aware that Prof Sharf has conducted parallel research for DRDC which focused on ground robots able to make decisions and act without human intervention. More information, as well as the full set of documents we obtained from the military, is available here.
For many years, it has been known that McGill’s Shockwave Physics Group has, for decades, been the site of a series of collaborations with both the Canadian and American militaries on thermobaric bombs (fuel-air explosives). Today, we can reveal that some of the SWPG’s more recent research focuses on hypersonic (over 5x the speed of sound) propulsion technologies, likely connected to the major US military efforts to develop hypersonic drones and weapons (notably through the Prompt Global Strike and Falcon programs); the research in question was commissioned by DRDC. More information can be viewed here, and it is also important to point out that documents released in the spring after an Access to Information request to McGill revealed that the Computational Fluid Dynamics lab is also working on hypersonic military technology, via a contract with major US defense contractor Lockheed Martin.
Communiqué de presse en dessous – Press release below
Researchers funded by the Canadian military at McGill’s psychology department lied to Somali Canadian research subjects about the military’s involvement in a 2012 study, in a serious breach of research ethics. This disclosure is among several contained in a newly published summary of findings.
Though provisions of the Tri-Council Policy Statement, which governs research ethics across Canada, require informed consent to include a “statement of the research purpose in plain language” as well as “the identity of the funder or sponsor,” McGill researchers fulfilling a DRDC contract communicated neither the military purpose nor the military financing of the research to subjects, according to the consent form included in the report.
This disclosure comes as McGill prepares to begin a research policy review process, which Principal Suzanne Fortier has offered as an answer to mounting student opposition to military research. The flagrant disregard shown by Prof. Taylor and his colleagues for the letter and spirit of research ethics policy casts further doubt on the prospects of restricting military research through policy reform. When research policy presents an inconvenience for McGill’s military researchers, they find a way around it, or in this case, simply ignore it.
McGill did not develop the tear gas that was fired night after night at the residents of Ferguson resisting police violence this summer. But a wide array of the University’s military research activity does implicate it in the systems of knowledge and technological development that enable states to violently enforce race and class hierarchies and more effectively repress popular movements. Read our new summary of findings here.