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Recoil magazine hires top fiber artist to make DIY project

Recoil magazine shows work by top fiber artist in featured DIY project

The troublesome rumours of military infiltration into DIY communities and Fiber Arts institutes around the US has been proven true. In 2012 the community around Make Magazine and the Maker Faire was shaken by the in-your-face DARPA funding of the MAKE MENTOR division of O’Reilly. As hinted in the long defence of this military intrusion into peaceful crafting, the DARPA-MAKE initiative reaches into (at least) a thousand schools, not only limited to the United States. This verifies the unnerving trend that much of the global trend of “makerspaces” is centrally controlled by the DARPA-MAKE axis. Not only does this seem like a DARPA-funded global outsourcing of arms research, but also a large-scale infiltration and surveillance by “embedded” makers within arts, crafts and DIY communities. But as some argues, “if you want to work in education, you need to work in the government”, and the same logic can be applied to most cultural work, making the this issue all the more urgent.

However, the worrying development of MAKE-militarization has also surfaced from within the highly trend sensitive part of the military-industrial-complex: the “Gun Lifestyle”. There has been a long history of “lifestyle” weapons and products introduced in computer games and movies, but over the last years a more explicit lifestyle trend has emerged where the “army-of-one” everyday soldier is also doing more artsy DIY stuff: a blatant example of how the military industry is encroaching on the arts community.

The November print issue of Recoil, “The Ultimate Firearms Magazine for Gun Lifestyle”, features in its DIY section a perfect example of “Pop Gun”, as famous lifestyle gun acrobat Peter Palma shows the secrets of DIY fiber arts: how to make a professional DIY ghillie suit. The high end textile craftsmanship of Palma reveals how craft education has become a central part of the world famous Marine Corps Sniper School. A close reading of the article reveals Palma’s deep knowledge of natural dyes, knotting and fiber-handling, showing skills only acquired at top-notch fiber arts programs such as CCA and RISD, both known to have close ties to the military through their craft-counterinsurgency boot camps.


As noted in an interview with Gunnery Sgt. Richard Tisdale at the Marine Corps Scout Sniper Basic Course, the practice of snipers resembles studio practice and is truly avant-garde: “Due to the nature of the sniper’s mission, they must be trained mentally and physically to operate independently forward of friendly positions on the battlefield.” The training of snipers is in some parts modelled after the classic art academies, where students are known to be staying in their isolated studios for days in a row without any human contact except reports from the front line sales of the NYC Chelsea galleries. In a similar vein, both artists and snipers are loners, rarely cooperate and drawn to the front lines of autonomy. Their high skills in field-studies and intense focus on the movement of enemies or collectors bears witness of the close ties between military and fine arts training.


That DARPA and CARPA are having their tentacles in all current cultural lifestyle trends is not really big news at CARPAleaks. But as some proponents  argue concerning these types of collaborations, we should be happy for the government grants we get, also for the advancement of the under appreciated ghillie arts (as the joke goes, you only see the work of art when it is too late). Not only does Palma expose a truly breathtaking skill as gunner, but also some truly avant-garde DIY educational skills in fiber arts, and we should be happy that Recoil now recruits a new generation of applicants to the fiber arts programs in the US.

Perhaps you meet Palma at the next Creative Time?

Scan from Recoil Issue 9 2013: Recoil-iss9-2013w

shutdown sign

Community leaders have organized a protest against the government shutdown, happening today at 4pm at the entrance to Joshua Tree National Park. Local businesses have been losing income for weeks as campers and climbers have cancelled plans to come to the park. At the same time, CARPA is ostentatiously running a recruitment fair 7 miles from the park entrance. Come stand with the people of Joshua Tree and let the government know what you think!

For more information on how the shutdown is affecting local business, click here.

military craft complex

no war craft

This week, Carpaleaks are staging a community protest against the CARPA recruitment fair happening in Joshua Tree, CA. Stealth infiltrators have erected signage around Joshua Tree and led local protests that express our outrage at CARPA’s blatant efforts to conscript free craft Americans into military service. We urge you to show up and make your voice heard at this bureaucratic and state-run nightmare! Stop the militarisation of the peaceful handicraft heritage that shaped this great nation!

Image from First Earth Battalion Field Manual with the 1990 launch of "Artists in Action", what later became known as "Social Practice"

Image from First Earth Battalion Field Manual with the 1990 launch of “Artists in Action”, what later became known as “Social Practice”

The popular movie “The Men Who Stare at Goats” (2009) was to many a point of entry into obscure and quite unbelievable US military programs, in this case a partly true story of a “new age” military research track originated from the Department of Defence as part of their PSYWAR research. However, what the book and movie only hinted at, was that also other military agencies were involved, also CARPA. Yet, most of the media (and conspiracy) attention has fallen on the CIA-run Project MKUltra.

One of the main researchers behind the project on paranormal or psychic warriors, Lieutenant Colonel Jim Channon, who had served in Vietnam, leaked a substantial amount of information and even a sketch of a field manual for US new age super soldiers in the “First Earth Battalion”. These soldiers, Guerrilla Gurus or Warrior Monks, were in the filed manual also called “Artists in Action”, and were to be deployed in military campaigns. Parts of the training involved “soft tactics practice”, where the warrior, through manual action, is to create positive visions that will change the social fabrics and produce social change on high cultural magnitude: a change of values within the mind of the enemy. By gaining leverage in life and spiritual experience, the warrior monks would conquer the enemies and produce “personal and planetary evolution”.

Vaguely referenced in The Men Who Stare at Goats, in order to actually train this type of warriors, the United States Military Training Mission (USMTM) started a campaign with the CIA and CARPA to use the cultural industries for their agenda. With the support from the agencies of the CIA who already were deeply involved in artistic promotion of US values (mentioned earlier at CARPAleaks), the operational command of the First Earth Battalion infiltrated arts education and set up several programs across the US, using the writings of Nicolas Bourriaud and his “Relational Aesthetics” to introduce the curriculum of the Battalion and start to train undercover “Artists in Action”.

The use of artistic models of “social practice” became the tool by which “Artists in Action” were trained to move artistic practice beyond the aim of persona evolution towards “Cultural evolution”, that is, cultural change of the audience. The manual called this the use of active “cultural service” to change the “social architecture” of the adversary. Using the themes of “participation”, the audience of art would become involved in the artistic practice, let down their guard, and thus be an easier target for cultural change and deep infiltration of affect. As the manual makes clear, there were primarily two roles of these Artists in Action, the “systems integrator” or “weaver”, primarily engaged in making sure the values of the free west would be woven into the social fabric of the adversary, and the “imaginer”, chaining the radical imagination of the participants into accepting the ruling hegemony of western mental domination.

Manual page on "weavers" and "imaginers"

Manual page on “weavers” and “imaginers”

As the manual proposes, the “artists in action” were to be disguised and not reveal that they were actually on military orders. They would dress as artists. As the manual explains, soldiers “will be encouraged to represent themselves will in the dress”. Thus civil dress and the identity as an “artists” became the perfect infiltration tool, which actually broke the rules of engagement of the Geneva Convention.


Link to Lieutenant Colonel Jim Channon’s field manual for First Earth Battalion


additional sources:
Bourriaud, N. (2002) Relational Aesthetics. Dijon: Presses du Réel
Druckman, D., & Swets, J.A. (eds.) (1988) Enhancing Human Performance: Issues, Theories, and Techniques. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
McRae, R.F. (1984) Mind Wars: The True Story of Government Research into the Military Potential of Psychic Weapons. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
Thomas, B. (2006) Immortal Combat: Portrait of a True Warrior. Berkeley, CA: Blue Snake Books.
Ronson, J. (2004) The Men Who Stare at Goats. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Manual page discussing the soldier's uniform

Manual page discussing the soldier’s uniform

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36,000+ hours of secret video tape has been anonymously revealed to ESCAIPA*. ESCAIPA (España Crafte Avanzado Investigación Proyectos Agencia) has allied with CARPAleaks  to publish the documents. The footage, along with cables mostly between top-level officials at the Hague and various embassies in Madrid, point to the existence of a long running program to monitor the psycho-emotional state of international leaders. Video cameras concealed in the Sabatini building of the Reina Sofia museum in Madrid were positioned to capture viewer response to artwork. The two cameras were both located in room 206.6, which houses the Pablo Picasso masterpiece Guernica.

Cameras hidden in the wall from which Guernica  hangs capture facial expressions of viewers as they stand in front of the massive war-themed painting. A still-shot from a clip documenting US Republican congressman John Boehner’s visit (left). PM Angela Merkel frowns and shifts her eyes away from the scene, apparently uncomfortable in another scene (right). Both were classified as showing an “acceptable” emotional response to the image.

Cameras hidden in the wall from which Guernica hangs capture facial expressions of viewers as they stand in front of the massive war-themed painting. A still-shot from a clip documenting US Republican congressman John Boehner’s visit (left). PM Angela Merkel frowns and shifts her eyes away from the scene, apparently uncomfortable in another scene (right). Both were classified as showing an “acceptable” emotional response to the image.

The secret tapes document thousands of visits to Guernica by leading international political figures, including multiple heads-of-state. CARPA’s preliminary review of the accompanying files suggest that an elite team of local psychoanalysts were enlisted to evaluate the mental state of the politicians. The classification was based on display of emotion. Assessments such as aggressive narcissistic, mild sympathetic, histrionic personality, emotionally distant, and antisocial were apparently delivered by wire to an elite leadership at the International Justice Institute (IJI) at the Hague. The files confirm widely held suspicions that IJI holds connections to a covert intelligence organization in Eastern and Southern Europe.

Through these videos, analysts were able to monitor the emotional range of world leaders. Guernica’s depiction of domestic life ripped apart by a bomb blast is a powerful image. The immersive scale of the canvas, as well as the lack of color, contribute to the disorienting effect of the painting. Viewers experience a heightened state of sadness and mourning. A 1981 study on the emotional impact of Guernica reported a strong correlation between display of sadness (measured by slumping posture, head shaking, and / or tears) and overall capacity for feeling. This study was the basis of the clandestine monitoring program.

The program’s purpose, described in a cable between the Dutch Embassy and Geneva, was to diagnose “potential dictatorial developments, and other borderline personality disorders such as excessive narcissism which could lead, ultimately, to acts of war and aggression against humanity.” Implicit in these communications is the belief that a mentally balanced individual cannot stand in front of Guernica without experiencing an overwhelming cascade of human emotions. Some display of sensitivity in front of the “universally moving” image, however slight, is indicative of a healthy psyche. If analysts are unable to identify and sign of discomfort in the viewer, they consider the viewer to be dangerously detached from human suffering and highly likely to inflict tragedy on others. If that viewer happens to be a world leader, their actions have the power to hurt many.


The Museo Nacional Centro del Arte Reina Sofìa houses the Picasso painting. The painting is a designated national treasure of Spain and is a major stop on the standard tour offered to visiting international political figures.

The Museo Nacional Centro del Arte Reina Sofìa houses the Picasso painting. The painting is a designated national treasure of Spain and is a major stop on the standard tour offered to visiting international political figures.

A secondary hidden video camera installed in the wall opposite the painting was used to detect the body posture and position of targeted viewers.

A secondary hidden video camera installed in the wall opposite the painting was used to detect the body posture and position of targeted viewers.

It is unclear at this time whether the Spanish government cooperated in the program by facilitating the visits or not. The powerful painting is a major attraction in Madrid, and private tours for visiting heads-of-state are routine.


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