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The University of Oregon: Now Offering PhD’s in Genocide!

People who walked past 13th and Kincaid around 12:30 today were greeted by the sight of a group of young boys and girls dressed in traditional garb holding large cardboard signs bearing slogans such as “UO Gives PhD in Akha Genocide!” and “Richard Haugland Loves Baby Akha girls for Their DNA!”

Pictures and a little bit about what this is all about below the fold.

So apparently this guy, Richard Haugland, founded the Richard R. Haugland Foundation, which, among other things, runs some schools in Southeast Asia. Haughland has drawn the ire of the The Akha Foundation, which exists, according to its mission statement, to

protect the human rights of the Akha people in Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, China and Vietnam. Our work includes protection for Akha language and culture, defending land rights, ending abuses by security forces, preventing the removal of Akha children, improving health care and providing clean water systems. We are joined by volunteers from around the world, and we also encourage people to share the work by starting their own projects to bolster the Akha cause.

According to the Akha Foundation, missionaries are converting Akha kids and taking them away from their families. They link to a video called “Prisoners of a White God” that apparently explains their views further. I’m at work and haven’t watched it. Their blog, which starts here, also alleges that Haugland is involved with an organized program to deprive Akha kids of their culture… and maybe something more sinister!

It seems that back in 1978, the University of Oregon gave someone named Paul W. Lewis a PhD. According to Akha.org, his PhD thesis has resulted in genocide, and they want something done about it. Specifically:

We are asking that the State Board of Higher Education take the following actions:
1. The State Board of Higher Education immediately rescind the PhD. of Paul W. Lewis.
2. The State Board of Higher Education make a formal, public and written published apology to the Akha people for the sterilizations of Akha women that were conducted as part of this “research” and that have continued to this day as a result of the permission that was extended to the Thai Government.
3. The State Board of Higher Education make it clear that they will in no way support education research that is racist, coercive or discriminatory in nature.
4. The State Board of Higher Education make a written statement to the Government of Thailand, presented to the Thai Ambassador to the US, Mr. Krit Garnjana-Goonchorn, that the State Board of Higher Education for Oregon revokes any approval or consent for the sterilizations of indigenous women in Thailand under any conditions that fail to meet the requirements of Full, Prior and Informed Consent according to International Standards of Human Rights Law, further asking the Thai Government to respect and protect the rights of the Akha people.

You might be asking yourself “so what?” Well, if their demands aren’t met, there will be consequences. To wit:

If the State Board of Higher Education fails to take these actions, then we consider that all diplomas which have been issued by any school in Oregon which falls under the jurisdiction of the State Board of Higher Education to be worthless.

No doubt that will prove to be a major barrier to employment for any graduate of the Oregon University System who tries to find a job in an Akha village.

With fire in their hearts, the potesters did what anyone would’ve done: they mounted their mighty steeds (literally!) and rode to the U of O to demand that Frohnmayer revoke Lewis’ degree. YouTube already has a video up from the protest from earlier today (the wonders of the internet!), during which the “Ride for Freedom” protesters head over to Oregon Hall on horseback to confront the Administration… and get told that there’s nothing doing.

So how do Haugland, Invitrogen, and little girls’ DNA fit into all this? Well, I haven’t unravelled that yet. Evidently Haugland sold his company to Invitrogen to fund his foundation, which the Akha.org folks accuse of taking Akha kids away from their families and culture and putting them in schools full of alleged abuses. The only thing I can find about DNA comes from some wild mad-scientist conspiracy theorizing on their blog:

We’d like to know how Richard Haugland went from being a micro biologist interested in genetic markers to where he is today? After he sold Molecular Probes in Eugene, Oregon he suddenly showed up in northern Thailand and build a residential compound. He began going to Akha villages and talking Akha parents out of their little girls, promising them a great education. On his site it is a cradle to university strategy. But volunteers at the compound state that he kicks out the “dumb” children and that there is serious phsychological abuse at the school of the remaining children. We find it odd that this man who has an interest in genetics suddenly shows up in Thailand and starts taking away Akha girls as if he is doing some kind of genetic selection. He tosses money around to anyone working with children in the region as if buying his position and protection.

So there you have it. Mad genetic scientist Richard Haugland and his wife co-founded a company called Molecular Probes here in Eugene back in the 70’s, eventually sell their company to Invitrogen, move to Thailand, and start whisking young girls off to a compound for “education.” Not only that, but these girls are almost all from the same ethnic group as was targeted by an Oregon alum from the 70’s for genocide! All the pieces fit!

… Okay, so I’m still as confused as you. But I wish I would’ve known we could get degrees in genocide when I was choosing my major.

Please excuse the poor quality of these pictures… they were taken on a borrowed camera phone in the rain.

  1. […] In the same context of some putative “Genocide” being committed upon “The Akha”, McDaniel also attacked researcher Richard Haugland (the commenters at this blog site apparently found McDaniel’s over-the-top hyperbole amusing): http://oregoncommentator.com/2009/03/17/the-university-of-oregon-now-offering-phds-in-genocide […]

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  5. nike urbanism duk says:

    Youtube has a video posted about this. I still do not get the issue but you might check it out. Use the search at youtube with keywords:”oregon genocide program” to find it.

  6. Gabrielle says:

    Holy Crap Batman, You want to talk about exploitation? What about the small children holding the signs? Why isn’t someone standing up for the child’s rights to not be abused by employers? I bet they weren’t even paid minimum wage. Better yet, I bet they were brain-washed to believe in their cause. Or, how did they end up in the US? Doesn’t that mean they are not in their Akha homeland. OR, are they not really Akha, but impostors? *hear Dean-esk scream*

  7. Sakaki says:

    Amazing. Gee, I can’t spell. Sorry about that, y’all.

  8. Sakaki says:

    Amasing as it may sound…I agree with Timothy.

  9. Vincent says:

    Look out for a skull and swooshes for crossbones shirt to be delivered to the office.

    Awesome.

  10. nike urbanism duk says:

    Whoopsee, wrong name…….and gee thanks Vincent. Look out for a skull and swooshes for crossbones shirt to be delivered to the office. Another little art project.

  11. conspiracyzach says:

    CJ had it right. This is a couch hopping Scientology related conspiracy and Oprah may be somehow involved. The D.I.V.A. group I mentioned yesterday is in the news today somehow mixed up in a story of 1 million anonymous dollars of funny money that turned up downtown overnight. *more Twilight Zone music here*

  12. Timothy says:

    Maybe the Akha can fight A-ha for Allah.

  13. Micah says:

    Believe me or not,
    I have been working on a documentary about the Akha Hill Tribes in Thailand and here in the USA. I have tried to interview; David Stevenson of Children of the Golden Triangle who also has a kiddy camp, Vern of the Eden House Orphanage, R. Huagland, Salem Church Alliances, and the list is very long. I have put very little Film out so far. One reason to this is

  14. Sakaki says:

    The fact is, personally, I believe neither side and believe that everyone is wasting time with this whole issue. Except Vincent, who artfully explained that he saw signs and wanted to blog about them.

    I’ve never heard of the Akha people before this post. And, frankly, I’d rather not hear about them ever again. So they’re indigenous, who gives a damn? Not I, said the fly.

  15. Vincent says:

    You people are making C.T. Behemoth look like a paragon of brevity and by comparison, nike urbanism duk’s ideas are cohesive and well-organized.

  16. Micah says:

    The first point I would like to make is in response to Richard Haugland commit about the Akha being removed for their lands. The Akha have resided this land before the boarders of Thailand where ever invited. The Akha where not

  17. CJ Ciaramella says:

    .

  18. “this ‘Akha group’ a laughing stock????

  19. Well, we are glad we got Richard out of bed. Naturally the generalized circumstances that he speaks about have little to nothing to do with what HE IS ACTUALLY DOING.

    But first I would like to make a few points to a very rich man who can go anywhere in the world and do anything he wants with his money, yes a point about MY money. I am a carpenter. I am not a fundraiser. Thus, due to the fact that I am not a good fundraiser, and due to the fact that I must still move the project forward, I work painting buildings, doing construction and putting that money into the non profit. Interesting, I have a pocket full of bank receipts from THAT work that was paid to buy the bus, not primarily donor money, which pays for a fraction of this project. In 2008 I had an auto accident, the disability money that was paid to me for that injury, (five herniated spinal discs) also went into the project. I hope that Richard Haugland does not envy our wealth.

    Neither do I take a salary. Neither does Michu, and Akha woman from Chiangrai.

    I have spent the last 17 years living in poverty so that people could have a voice, free choices, not so that people could continue to exploit the Akha and keep taking their children.

    I find it offensive that Richard, with all his money, should suggest somehow that either I or Michu benefit in some way from maintaining, operating and putting our money into this non profit which requires far more money than we are able to raise from donations. Time not spent raising money for the project or working to earn money for the project is then spent doing the work of the project itself. Go figure.

    For at least the last ten years all the Akha villages in Thailand have had a primary school within the village or adjacent to the village. There may be some micro villages where four or five children have to walk some distance, but not for any village that is established. Thus goes out the window the reason to remove Akha children from their families.

    If children are the subject of sexual or physical abuse, the issue should be reported to the authorities, not used as a justification for removing the children.

    On our website Akha.org we have posted the statements of numbers of volunteers who have worked first hand with Richard’s Starfish home and have commented on the treatment of the Akha girls there, that they are not orphans, and that they are being “selected”.

    There is no justification for the removal of these children, Richard is not licensed to do so, and if they need to be removed for any reason, the Govt. of Thailand Social Welfare department can do it.

    I have spoken to Richard’s volunteers by phone and email. We continue to send people to various organizations in Thailand which remove children. Documentation of this matter can be seen in the film, “Prisoners of a White God” on Google Videos. A Czech production.

    Richard is not alone, he does not mention that scores of missions are busy taking away hundreds, adding up to thousands, of Akha children in this same manner, to their residential schools.

    Right now in Thailand there are thousands of Akha children who are in residential schools who have been taken away from their villages and will forever loose their grip on the land. The Thai government provides Richard with his visa. The Thai government calls it assimilation.

    Further, Richard has not commented on the fact that the Thai army and police were engaged in a US sponsored drug war committing extra judicial executions of Akhas, many of who are shown in photos in the DEAD position, on our website. I battled this practice in remote Akha villages on my own, with little to no help from anyone. On many occasions I personally removed Akhas from Army camps before they were killed.

    I was deported for opposing the Queen of Thailand stealing the land of Hooh Yoh Akha, in Chiangrai Province in April of 2004. Richard fails to mention this.

    Please Richard, explain to us why you have taken some 30 young Akha girls away from their families and why you call them orphans when your volunteers know that they are not?

    Why don’t you talk about the reason for the Akha poverty, which is the lack of land rights, human rights, protection from the Police, Army, Royals and Forestry?

    My documentation on stopping the forced relocation of Akha villages by the Forestry department is printed in the Thai National Journal of Human Rights.

    My documentation on the destruction of Akha culture by missionaries is documented on National Geographic TV, Singapore TV, Israeli TV, twice on Italian TV, and many times on Czech National TV.

    I have filed a case with the International Criminal Court on the behalf of the Akha. 2008.

    I have repeatedly visited to the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at the UN at New York and demanded that the Queen of Thailand stop seizing Akha rice lands and return what has been taken. I can identify the locations of this land by Longitude and Latitude on Google Earth.

    When in Thailand, where I still regularly have volunteers, I kept contact in 289 villages, for each one of which I have a map of the access roads and driveways, who the headman is, what the problems of that village are, and what the medical first aid needs are.

    Over the years I distributed thousands of dollars in first aid medicine to these villages as well as villages in Burma, on what more often than not was my food budget. My family, located in Oregon, donated thousands of dollars to help this work, at sacrifice to themselves.

    I was deported and never once charged with any crime. I was alerted to my arrest and deportation by an informant in the Royal Projects office, regarding my defense of Hooh Yoh Akha in Ampur Mae Faluang.

    The Thai government did not allow me to see my family before leaving, nor did anyone from the Thai government or US govermnet make any attempt to assist my family over the next 15 months, even though my children all were US citizens.

    The US Consul in Chiangmai refused to visit them.

    I have repeatedly written the website for Starfish Country Home and advised Mr. Haugland not to follow the model he is following. He never once answered my emails.

    People who run projects in North Thailand and Laos state that they do not agree that Mr. Haugland should be taking the girls but they like his money. End of discussion.

    Mr. Haugland to my knowledge has never stood up to the Thai government and opposed how they are treating the hill tribe. He would loose his money invested and his visa if he did. He is in the same boat as many missions who have also sold out to the Thai government in order to get what they want. Some it is small girls, other small boys, others force converted souls so that they themselves can stay out of hell.

    In 2007 The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous Peoples, as well as the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, filed a letter of Allegation against the Thai government for the confiscation of Akha rice lands such as at Hooh Yoh Akha and Pah Nmm Akha.

    Richard can not explain the resultant poverty from these land seizures.

    Abuse of the Akha by the Thai government does not justify removing Akha children, a practice by missions in Thailand for at least 30 years, and a practice in the US and Canada and Australia for at least 200 years.

    How many parents at the Girl Scouts of Eugene would give up their daughters to go live at Richard’s house?

    Matthew McDaniel

  20. nike urbanism duk says:

    I think one of the art related gifts mentioned in the long post is the one that established D.I.V.A. (downtown initiative for the visual arts). Maybe you need to interview them ?

  21. Vincent says:

    Actually, I just thought the “little girls’ DNA” signs were funny and wanted to write a blog post about it.

  22. nike urbanism duk says:

    *Twilight Zone music here*

  23. Sakaki says:

    Richard:

    The thing about all of this is that this is, technically, UO related news. A protest is happening, and people need to know about it. That’s pretty much what the OC is doing.

    For the most part, this site looks at things in a satirical viewpoint, for the most part, while detailing events. From the way things are looking, this “Akha” group seems to just be a laughing stock of a sort. Hence the tone of the post.

    The OC is merely reporting the news and giving a background into the accusations which are made. The response given, the one which you just gave, should be included in any follow-up piece that is done. Which, considering the length and subject matter discussed, should be done.

  24. CJ Ciaramella says:

    Did you actually read this post, or did you just copy and paste your boilerplate response in?

  25. Richard Haugland says:

    I feel that it is important to respond to the events that recently occurred in Eugene in regards me, my charitable foundations and Molecular Probes.

    I have never met Matthew McDaniel, the founder and head of the Akha Heritage Foundation nor has he ever tried to contact me or visited any of my programs in Thailand. Soon after I started a home and bilingual school for needy hill tribe children outside Chiangmai in northern Thailand, Matthew was permanently expelled from Thailand for illegal activities that included at least intimidation and physical damage of property. While here, apparently he had multiple wives,

  26. Tyler S says:

    Thanks, I was so confused as to the connections they were making…. Although I can’t say it still makes much sense…

  27. Alex says:

    If you want to save yourselves the trouble, here are the stories in which Robert mentioned the Akha. Note his disdain for pronouns (also exhibited in his above post) and the rather wispy Athan Papailiou quote that accompanies the discussion:

    here

    and here

    NOTE FROM THE ADMIN – PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF FSM LEARN BASIC HTML.

  28. Jobetta says:

    Robert, that did make it to print. I remember reading it (and maybe editing one of the articles on a day when Jill was really busy) but not the details.

  29. Robert says:

    These guys came to Senate last year. Actually, it was one guy the first time and then a week or two later he brought a woman and a little girl. It never went anywhere. I’d look up my notes from the meetings or search the archives to see if any of it made it to print, but I’m lazy. Ask me about it some time if you guys really care.

  30. Gsim says:

    I was told the other day by a retiring professor that Molecular Probes was sold for a cool 300 million and Haugland and his wife were the only share holders.

    With that kind of loot you could set yourself up a really awesome kiddy porn dungeon/factory in Thailand.

    /the new American dream?

  31. nike urbanism duk says:

    Well kids nothing to report in conspiracyland…………..except that Invitrogen is a ONAMI partner(along with many others). I am tired of ONAMI though. They have become boring. Just quietly nibbling earmarks and not eyeing the riverfront or tearing down any neighborhoods. The only thing exciting in the pipline for UO science is the Integrative Science Complex. After they get well underway(20-40 years down the road) we can live to be about 200 years old…….for a price. To tell you the truth the prominent ONAMI researchers are quite interesting. Their work will likely play a large role in the future Oregon economy. Consider interviewing them maybe ? I am not being sarcastic about that.

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