The Carrion-Feeders [Pub.L. 107-40]
A series of five 20 second digital videos with sound, attached to the Ethereum blockchain as NFTs on July 2, 2021, upon reports of mass troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, and distributed via paid social media advertisements from September 18, 2021 through October 7, 2021. Videos depict glitched images of weapon manufacturer headquarters, a text overlay drawn from the research below, voiceover reading that text, and a pulsing underscore.
View on Vimeo.
View these videos as individual NFTs at Foundation.app.
Research, Citations, Notes
On September 18, 2001, the U.S. Congress passed joint resolution Pub.L. 107-40 [pdf] which authorized the use of the Armed Forces against those responsible for the attacks of September 11th. On October 7, 2001 U.S. forces commenced airstrikes on Kabul, Kandahar, and Jalalabad. This initiated the Global War on Terror which has lasted 20 years and claimed hundreds of thousands of lives.
The data that follows should be considered minimums. Department of Defense contractor information is a massive data set that is cumbersome to parse. And through various holdings, partnerships and special grants, the major weapons manufactures are certainly earning more government dollars than are noted here.
Similarly, compiling civilian casualty counts is challenging. Information can be scarce; bias and outright coverups abound. These counts reflect only deaths likely to be attributable to U.S.-led coalition forces. There is no need to exaggerate these atrocities, so in all cases I have erred on the side of undercounting. That said, the last 20 years have surely been more deadly and more costly than what is indicated here.
Special thanks to William Cuthbertson for preliminary research support.
Estimate of Department of Defense contracts for each of the top awardees from 2001-2021
Approximate civilian deaths attributable to coalition forces over the last 20 years
Evidence that contractor weaponry was deployed in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria
100 North Riverside Plaza
(example: Apache helicopter)
11011 Sunset Hills Rd
(example M1 Abrams tank)
6801 Rockledge Drive
(example Black Hawk helicopter)
2980 Fairview Park Drive
Falls Church VA
(example: Global Hawk drone)
870 Winter Street
(example: Tomahawk missle)
Civilian Casualties Sources
Compiled data: Civilian Deaths 2001-2021
Project on Defense Alternatives Briefing Report #13
Marc W. Herold of the University of New Hampshire estimates
Human Rights Watch
United Nations Assistance Mission In Afghanistan (UNAMA)
Iraq Body Count
United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq-UNAMI
Limited UN data (which trended low) was averaged against IBC data (which trended high) for a ‘reconciled’ total
Syrian Network for Human Rights
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights
Violation Documentation Center in Syria
American Friends Service Committee
The HALO Trust
International Peace Institute
War Resisters League
Unformatted and unorganized research scraps
Council on Foreign Relations timeline: https://www.cfr.org/timeline/us-war-afghanistan Brown University Watson Institute: https://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/ This link — https://www.defense.gov/Newsroom/Publications/?Search=civilian+casualties — yields this doc: Annual Report on Civilian Casualties in Connection With United States Military Operations https://media.defense.gov/2019/May/02/2002126767/-1/-1/1/ANNUAL-REPORT-CIVILIAN-CASUALTIES-IN-CONNECTION-WITH-US-MILITARY-OPERATIONS.PDF But gov has only required this report for the last 2 years Afghanistan Casualties: Military Forces and Civilians https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/R/R41084 Iraqi Civilian Casualties Estimates https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/RS/RS22537 Iraq Casualties: U.S. Military Forces and Iraqi Civilians, Police, and Security Forces https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/R/R40824 Homeland Security Data Library: https://www.hsdl.org/?search&searchfield=title&all=civilian+casualties&collection=public&submitted=Search&page=2&so=date https://www.forbes.com/sites/greatspeculations/2020/12/31/how-much-of-lockheed-martins-revenues-comes-from-the-us-government/ LMT profile: https://dashboards.trefis.com/data/companies/LMT US Military expenditures from the World Bank: https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/MS.MIL.XPND.CD?locations=US Yemen: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/30/world/middleeast/saudis-faces-mounting-pressure-over-civilian-deaths-in-yemen-conflict.html https://www.military.com/daily-news/2017/09/02/soldier-missing-after-black-hawk-crash-off-yemen-declared-dead.html https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/08/30/family-army-helicopter-pilot-sues-lockheed-martin-over-black-hawk-crash/ https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/16/us/arms-deals-raytheon-yemen.html https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2016/10/12/more-missiles-fired-from-rebel-held-territory-in-yemen-at-u-s-navy-ships/ https://www.forbes.com/sites/charlestiefer/2015/11/26/in-yemen-war-mercenaries-launched-by-blackwater-head-were-spotted-today-not-good-news/?sh=234d23ff5a3d https://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/FedCrimes/story?id=4684907&page=1 Libya: https://abcnews.go.com/International/libya-international-military-coalition-launch-assault-gadhafi-forces/story?id=13174246 https://www.bostonherald.com/2013/08/31/raytheons-shares-boom/ https://news.northropgrumman.com/news/releases/northrop-grumman-recognised-by-uk-ministry-of-defence-for-role-in-supporting-sentry-awacs-aircraft-during-military-operations-in-libya https://theaviationist.com/2017/02/05/gigantic-u-s-global-hawk-drone-could-be-tracked-online-while-flying-21-hour-mission-over-libya/ Somalia: https://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/04/world/africa/04somalia.html https://news.northropgrumman.com/news/releases/litton-systems-canada-receives-52-million-canadian-dollars-electronics-order-for-gm-defense https://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/global-hawk-uav-prepares-for-maritime-role-updated-01218/
Text from posts on instagram:
fieldguide1 More new work: The Carrion-Feeders [Pub.L. 107-40] A series of five 20 second 4k digital videos with sound, attached to the Ethereum blockchain as NFTs and distributed via paid social media advertisements. Videos depict glitched images of weapon manufacturers' headquarters, a text overlay with voiceover reading that text, and a pulsing underscore. The work explores the intertwine of civilian casualties in the Global War on Terror with weapons manufacturers and the U.S. Department of Defense. On September 18, 2001, the U.S. Congress passed joint resolution Pub.L. 107-40 which authorized the use of the Armed Forces against those responsible for the attacks of September 11th. On October 7, 2001 U.S. forces commenced airstrikes on Kabul, Kandahar, and Jalalabad. This initiated the Global War on Terror which has lasted 20 years and claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. A self-funded ad campaign, running these videos on YouTube and Instagram, will parallel this timeline, active from September 18, 2021 to October 7, 2021. This work is built from an extensive original research process mining and compiling information on DOD grants, UN human rights statistics, and weapons manufacturers’ shareholder reports and press releases. Explore that research here: joshuadumas.site/cf/ (and link in bio). View as NFTs at @withfoundation here: foundation.app/joshuadumas (and also link in bio).
About six months ago I dipped my toes in the crypto/blockchain/NFT world in an effort to see if that medium could offering anything compelling to my practice. This is my first true gesture in that direction. I think there’s something interesting about employing meme-like strategies to ‘permanently’ attach critical original research to the blockchain as agitprop. At the very least, it is a place to put my sadness and anger. I will follow-up in three weeks with results from the ad campaign. Special thanks to @williamcuthbertsonfor help with initial research. Thank you all for looking.
10/7/21 fieldguide1 The Carrion-Feeders [Pub.L. 107-40] Follow Up 20 years ago, on October 7, 2001, U.S. forces commenced airstrikes on Kabul, Kandahar, and Jalalabad, initiating the Global War on Terror. Over 900,000 people have died in the conflicts since; see Brown University’s “Costs of War” project (watson.brown.edu/costsofwar). Through original analysis, research and database scraping, I estimate that at least 28,000 of those persons were civilians whose murder can be directly linked to U.S.-led forces, using weapons built by five major arms manufacturers, paid for by U.S. taxpayers. I’ve documented my methodology and the citations that link DOD contracts to arms manufacturers to reports placing their weapons in the conflict zones (joshuadumas.site/cf/ and link in bio). Then I created a series of five 20 second digital videos, attached to the ethereum blockchain as NFTs and presented to the general public via ads on instagram and youtube. These slides document the reach and engagement of those ads and a video that excepts some of the ads themselves. This concludes this phase of the project. ———— I don’t know? This a kind of weird and grim memorial I guess. Is there an elegy in these reports? I’m not sure. My thinking was to link this research to the blockchain, in hopes of keeping these counter-narratives etched in some digital metaverse. But throwing out money to advertise on social media feels really disheartening. So I’m also donating an equivalent amount split between the HALO Trust (@thehalotrust) which cleans up war debris including landmines, and the American Friends Service Committee (@afsc_org) a peace org whose non-violent civil disobedience trainings 20 years ago provided me with a vocabulary and mindset for much of my activism since. It is, of course, important to name the real monsters, but as I continue to develop this work I will look for more ways to champion and honor the helpers too. Thanks for reading and looking. ———— Special thanks to William Cuthbertson (@williamcuthbertson) who provided early research support. NFTs are hosted at Foundation (@withfoundation).
Please direct any correspondence here.