Stay with me because it’s not immediately apparent.
I have to lead with his name for search engine optimization even though it is increasingly obvious that search engines are being programmed to ignore certain topics, and certain people. (Think of it as denigration and marginalization at a very subtle level, done in a very covert way.)
As suggested elsewhere and with increasing frequency, the elite corpratocracy (Google, Facebook, the Israeli-infilitrated NSA, and DARPA, among many others,including your average run-of-the-mill employer, local news outlet, and even your favorite sports teams) are working together to program your reticular activating system, which is your brain’s own internal search engine, or filter. It regulates the degree to which you pay attention, and what you ought to pay attention to. It is instrumental in regulating your state of wakefulness. But I digress…
There was overnight news about the Senate’s failure to pass the USA Freedom Act or otherwise rein in, reform or stop (or renew?) the bulk collection of telephone records, but I am not going to get terribly excited about whether this politician or that one succeeded or failed.
Do you really think that an unacountable government, executive branch, super-secret intelligence agency or covert “deep political” leadership that has been involved extensively for decades in wholesale criminality through extra-Constitutional means is going to change its behavior because a significant percentage of super-wealthy corrupt elitists thought it should?
This weekend — right in time for Memorial Day — we had the trial balloon meme psy-op-of-the-day that ISIS is working to purchase a nuclear weapon. That’s sure to set the militarists more upright as they march off to the cemeteries and honor those they succeeded in getting themselves eager for self-sacrifice. With nukes, though, it’s much easier and faster, and none of those sad funerals with dreary taps on the trumpet.
The Saudis want nukes too.
The Zionists in Israel got theirs covertly through the Johnson administration (wink, wink); Myer Feldman got his Coca-Cola factory in Israel.
There’s probably a nuke hiding somewhere after the Barksdale/Minot debacle, and there’s a long-history and literature about false flags.
We’ve had at least two recent very weird incidents involving the takeover/disappearance of large commercial aircraft coming well over a decade after the exercise of boxcutters and Saudis pretending to be bin Laden’s minions.
We’ve also had this past week’s truly humorous disclosure that Osama bin Laden was reading the same books you and I have already read.
You did know he was a published expert on the topic of evil, didn’t you?
I was just reminded by my archival holdings of the days when I used to argue with an Federal EPA employee who claimed to have been in New York that fateful day, and was then assigned to the LA brownfields reclamation project, and who said that the towers fell because the hijacked aircraft sliced through thick steel beams “like a knife through butter”.
He also claimed Griffin was a neo-con.
When I contacted Dr. Griffin out in California and had him write a rebuttal which I posted, he and some moderators had a meltdown of their own. There was no proof that their meltdown was aided by nanothermites.
My verbal battles with the Phoenician (and the “side-door” lawyer who claimed he wasn’t a lawyer until the proof was published, and the Finnish fellow married to the Colombian who turned out to be an exec employed by a US Department of Energy sub-contractor) are history. [ A tip of the cap to my wingman… ]
Does the fact that the very same books on my bookshelf that were on bin Laden’s bookshelf are autographed mean that I will get a visit from an agent, or maybe a drone?
Speaking of False Flag literature, it’s curious that that one wasn’t on that ODNI list of bin Laden’s preferred reading. My copy isn’t autographed, though. The author was apparently working on the sequel when… Really nasty things happen to people who ask a lot of questions and do a lot of homework and then write up their findings for publication. People get dead when they look into and talk about things like organized pedophilia, or bank fraud. The list of dead microbiologists is widely-mirrored on the Internet. This triplet of blogs is dedicated to people like Veronica Guerin, Don Bolles, and others who gave their lives to point the spotlight at the nexus of socio-political criminal behavior and cultural complicity in it. Just the other day I asked myself “Whatever happened to General John Wheeler III?” Maybe Joe Biden’s son knows. Beau had a “mild stroke” in May 2010 and underwent surgery at a Texas cancer center in August 2013 to remove a small lesion on his brain.
On 9/14/01, three days after the central event in question, still in shock and still assembling my own thoughts and reactions, I wrote a short haiku that expressed the prevailing drum-rattling rhetoric everyone heard from Georgie “meagaphone on the pile” Bush bouncing the propaganda that had been pouring off the TV screens.
The haiku reflected my own understanding of martial budo by using a single word title that reflected a state of mind. The calligraphic question lie in the use of either a a question mark or an exclamation point. The assembled commentators inside the media coverage all used the exclamation point and lots of capital letters. Almost no one paused to ask questions, with the exception of at least one fellow: Dave McGowan.
The word zanshin has been written about extensively in English, as if we gaijin could penetrate that culture. I first ran across the word, not in aikido class, but in Howard Rheingold’s book “They Have a Word For It” .
Even during the live reporting of the event, the Zionist/neocon state of awareness had us rushing to prepare for something we didn’t understand in a way that would benefit only Israel. In my understanding, zanshin connotes a technical skill at finishing an encounter in a stance that allows clear decision-making, readiness for repeated attack and thus the necessity for continued skill in defense, and a clear-headedness.
C. E. Clark says that zanshin is a quality that is made up of several other basic ingredients:
Ki musubi (connection); Kime (decisive focus); Riai (essence of the technique);and Kanken (intuition/awareness).
“It has to do with a quality of stillness in action and action in stillness.”
Whether it was the reactive Western taste for revenge, or the coldly calculated evil of a ruse that cost millions of lives, trillions of doillars, and has done extensive damage to the genetic futures of an entire culture (to say nothing of the psychic and spiritual states of much of the planet), the post-9/11 mindset involved little stillness or quality — unless you were financially invested in the outcome, as were many of the perpetrators. Cui bono, indeed.
I’m just one fellow way back in the cheap seats. I read a lot.
I don’t pretend for a moment to be a leader or at the forefront of anything.
After the verbal skirmishes noted above, and the demise of discussion through ridicule, marginalization and denigration, and short stays at two backwater discussion boards and a medical rehabilitation center, and having been tossed out by the Zio-cryptocrats deflecting any inquiries of substance into the Kennedy assassination or 9/11 at the Deep Politics Forum, I found my way to a neighborhood where questioning things was not only encouraged but honed.
This weekend, two of the residents in that neighborhood have called our attention to the plight of one of the true leaders, here and, as if often the case, mirrored and expanded upon soon therafter, as in this case.
Griffin is well-known and well-published, Marshall less well-known and Dave McGowan can be considered so poorly known (except among the cognoscenti) that news of his rapidly-declining health may draw stifled yawns and a chous of “who?”.
This is about Dave McGowan.
Those knowledgeable, aware and alert people who have the self-dignity and all those other ingredients of zanshin and who are aware of Dave’s circumstances nod and kneel in prayer (back straight, eyes up, weight balanced and centered) because they have probably also read Dr. Mary’s Monkey and/or The Last Circle.
Both of those books are on my bookself too, though I doubt they made the ODNI list. (Much has been written about them and remains visible on the Internet; you can also find audio interviews.)
The former is Dr. Edward Haslam’s tale of “the mash of science, secrecy, patriotism, power, paranoia and extremism” that once was the subject of History Channel and 60 Minutes episodes, both cancelled before air time. (I haven’t bought the recently-updated version of Dr. Mary’s Monkey, the one with 25 more pages, crime scene photos, and “documents from the FBI, CIA, CDC, and NOPD”.)
The latter is Cheri Seymour’s extended story of Danny Casolaro’s investigation; he “was found dead in a bathtub in room 517 of the Sheraton Hotel in Martinsburg, West Virginia, his wrists slashed 10–12 times. A note was found, and the medical examiner ruled the death a suicide.”
I’ve read Seymour’s book about a triple murder on a Californian Indian tribe reservation, and wrote a review of it that is posted on the Internet, with questions for the author, and her answers. Of interest — aside from the obvious, the depth of the tale, Rachel Begley’s perseverance, and the aftermath of the arrest and non-trial of the murderer — were the oblique, secondary references to biological warfare and the documented insights of Seymour’s deep research that culminated on page 373. Many of the key players have gone to ground.
Haslam’s work discuses covert work done on fast-acting cancer viruses to be used as asssassination weapons, notably on Castro, under the shadow of the New Orleans/JFK events and, in many cases, involving the very same people who show up in the complex tales of the murder of Jack Kenendy.
Dave went on to write extensively on other similar and related matters (e.g., the Boston Marathon hoax) and you can find that by clicking through too, but I wanted you to have a quicker and more-easily-shared copy of the piece in which Dave talks about:
how “our fearless leaders seemed to be veering dangerously close to unleashing ‘tactical’ nuclear weapons upon the world”;
“the precise placement of technologically advanced explosives”;
how “military spending and the militarization of the country [would] escalate to a fever pitch”; and
the non-existent chances that the events will get any “close scrutiny from America’s ‘free’ and ‘independent’ press”.
The fires in the pile hadn’t even been put out when Dave’s analysis was posted on the Internet.
The engines in NORAD’s pursuit interceptors hadn’t even cooled off.
Dave asked a dozen or more questions, the answers to which neither the government nor the media have yet to provide meaningful or coherent answers.
Many of us in the cheap seats took days, weeks, months and in some cases even years to summon the guts to even look at the questions.
Most of America, all of its media (with rare exception) and virtually all of its political officials down to the level of animal control officer refuse to acknowledge the obvious truths, realities and implications.
Dave had the t’s crossed and the i’s dotted immediately.
Yesterday, it was noted that Osterholm says the US is not prepared for the outbreak of pandemic or pathogenic disease; today, he says that the poultry industry is in uncharted territory and that the current domestic outbreak is advancing at a dynamic and frightening pace.
Also today, I was in the last stages of my complete clean-out and revision of my personal work space, files, archives, etc. when I uncovered and sorted the eight full back-up compact discs from 2005 saved from during that period of time when I was briefly employed as a subject matter expert in that topicial arena. That was a decade ago and those files were carted up and down the western stretches of the Appalachian mountain-chain in my beat-up black Pontiac Trans-Am before and after my heart attack, open heart surgery, and hemiplegic motor stroke. [I’m still kickin’ and tickin’.] They now reside in a metal rack — recently bought so that they can be more easily accessed — underneath two photos of my daughter as a fast-pitch catcher and second-best slugger in the nation (“who is that little girl and where is she from?” said the CalFullerton coach) and the two plaques given to me for excellence in umpiring.
Those back-up discs include countless pdf’s from outside sources, the notes and research I took and shared with others on bio-surveillance, situational awareness, the OODA loop, incident command, meta-cognition of disaster dynamics, simulation, behavioral game design, game-based learning, exercise design (I was certified at the NIMS 400 level by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety), virtual and immersive learning, communities of practice, work by the CDC, the DOJ, the USDA, NASAGA , on terrorism, on crop biosecurity, from leading think tanks on disaster research and response in Delaware and Colorado, project powerpoints, the RTNDA bioguide, and my own design for an incident command cube, a four-inch by four-inch” laminated paperstock hand-held or desktop cube that would help anyone involved in an evolving incident ask the right questions or know what to ask others involved in that same incident. [See pdf: Incident Command Cube ]
All that research was boiled down and “engineered” by software experts into a virtual desktop exercise or simulation game developed by the same people who made immersive simulation training games for the Marine Corps Tactics and Operations Group.
My role — aside from knowledge and experience of and research into civilian emergency management and incident command systems (in which I had real-world experience and demonstrated success in the Malden Mills incident: the P-2 crew referenced on page 12 were part of the transportation committee responsible for oversight of the development of the planning document and its training module by me and were thus well-positioned to manage space, time, and situational awareness in a dynamic, compex and rapidly-moving incident during whch they successfully brought over twenty burn/trauma victims into helicopter transport to definitive care in under an hour without loss of life) — was the development of the in-game communications engine based on reading of work done by Thiagi as well as direct involvment with an organizational development consultant by the name of Angelo John Lewis working as a beta-tester in the inaugural edition of his “Game of Games” that involved six players using e-mail and a simple Moodle web site. That same Pontiac had previously made it up to Montreal for a NASAGA convention where I had a working dinner (shrimp peleponesse) with a British interactive gaming entrepreneur.
The resultant virtual desktop exercise — killed by DARPA’s TSWG — had five players playing 25 different roles during a two-week timeframe compressed into a two-hour game, thus forcing relevant information to the surface of the tabletop, or the players’ awareness.
The 57-page “white paper” I wrote when prompted by a physician to whom I explained dysfunctional mass convergence during Katrina remains posted at an international web site and is listed by a professor (with whom I’d corresponded and to whom I’d sent a copy and who was employed within the FEMA Emmittsburg training process) as an example of a “Jeffersonian” (grassroots) approach in their top-down “Hamiltonian” federalized world.
Technical and procedural knowledge abounds, as does the technology. The science is known; the planning has been modeled in many projects at many levels.
If the US is not prepared, it is because the national leadership doesn’t want it to be prepared.
Is community well-being and health, as well as safe food supply, a question of political will or priority?
I first became alarumed last winter but I wanted and needed to check my alarm at the door to see if I really had reason to be alarmed or if I weren’t watching some magical filmic fantastic disinformational fear-engineering Elizabethan stage management from Hollywood.
During the recent bitterly cold months when I was necessarily stuck inside due to lingering post-procedure myalgias, I dialed up a pay-per-view of the latest Bourne flick, having caught some portions on TV of the first three films. The Bourne Legacy stars Jeremey Renner instead of that other fellow who owned the franchise role — like Connery in Bond but oh so much better. Damon was the man who in theory was an MK-Ultra product, the trained assassin.
The MK-Ultralegends are out there for anyone who wants to inquire. There are those in the past and in the present who will deny that there is any there there, but through a good deal of deep reading and a smidgeon of personal observation, I can attest that the there is really there, albeit often in some modified and always-masked fashion.
There are countless files on the Internet. I’ve read many of the related books, those by Colin Ross, M.D. being well up the list. Then there is Gordon Thomas, Hank Albarelli, John Marks… there are others. As in so many other things, there’s plausible deniability, the old intelligence agencies tricks of compartmentalization and the purposeful seeding of trails of disinformation, and we have to allow a screenwriter’s license for crafting a tale. It could be a mirage. Remember Duncan O’Finioan? Truth or fraud? The Indian Lake Project?
But the simple reality is that one need not have a direct role in or training by some operator in a covert intelligence agency in order to know or learn how to fracture the psyche of another or create a new personality capable of socially-unacceptable behavior. Nor does it require much reading or experience to know how to construct and hone a personality for a specific purpose. Parents, teachers and coaches do it regularly. Manipulative, domineering and abusive people do too. In those latter cases, especially where they involve extended physical, sexual or psychological abuse (and usually it’s a combo deal), the skills and outcomes are very similar to those of extreme abuse and psychological trauma accomplished through deprivation, torture, etc. And lots of people have learned or been trained.
But the films have those choreographed fights and chase scenes… Wow, exciting cinema. But I wasn’t watching for the fighting or the chase scenes. And Damon is good box office. But he’s been replaced (or not?!), and that has a lot of Damon/Bourne fans with their underwear in a knot. But none of that alarms me.
Frankly, I found the fourth film and its characterizations to be stronger than the first three, but I’m apparently in the minority about that. But that’s not what I want to talk about. This isn’t a movie review.
I took Wayne Madsen’s advice and decided not to see the movie in the theaters. I watched the film and was fascinated enough to order up the DVD so I could see it again, and catch all the exciting extras. The box arrived in the mail and I set it aside for a few days while I finished up other things and then I popped the seal. I watched the movie again, and then I watched the extras and the director’s notes and then I watched the film with the annotated filmmaker’s commentary. And then my alarm intensified, and it turned into curiosity.
I bought the old trilogy on DVD and watched them all cover-to-cover. I’d seen all of the first, and bits and pieces of the second, and a good deal of the third. I missed the critical understanding in the films (notably the second) that the excesses of the mythical CIA program were due to rogue officers using the “technologies” in private enterprises of theft and cover-up of treasonous fraud. And Jason kept escaping….
[If you haven’t see the fourth film (Legacy) and need to catch up, take a few minutes to watch the trailer, read the imdb and Wikipedia entries, etc.]
The questions that naturally arose from the casual watching of the film turned into a more formal inquiry when I watched the comments by the screenwriter on the DVD. Gilroy’s own research went pretty deep. I ordered one of the major books he referenced, the updated and enhanced version. Eight years have passed. The index card I stuck into the sleeve of the CD jacket carries the phrase “the anarchy of individual will” uttered by the actor who plays Col. Eric Byer (USAF, retired). Interesting that he’s a retired Air Force colonel, given that smidgeon I referenced. The new character, Aaron Cross, has been “enhanced” by bio-pharmaceutical means.
Here in Eastern Massachusetts, home of the military-industrial complex think tank/ commercial enterprise plantation strung from Cambridge out to Lexington and beyond and along Route 128, we’ve had a transition. The booming industry in Massachusetts over the past decade has been biochemistry and genetics. The Greater Boston area is one of the largest biotechnology centers in the world, with over 150 companies, brags one academic training center for Amgen, Amicon, Biogen, Ciba Corning, Costar, Damon, Genetics Institute, Gene Trak, Genzyme, ImmuLogic, CytoMed, ProCept, T-Cell Sciences, and many other companies. A casual drive though the backcountry of New England will find brand-new-but-smaill egg production facilities coupled with a small two-story nondescript white commerical lab facility and a small white containment dome. And New England is by no means the only locus for this type of work.
Let me state my concern, my premise. This, to a very great extent, seems to be the premise of the screenwriter for the film; I’m merely double-checking his work to see for myself, and having seen, to present it in florid detaii to a world that is unaware, skeptical, asleep. I’ll give you the piles of sand and rock I turned over that either does, or does not, support that premise.
I am alarmed — given the rhetoric from the current administration through its Department of Homeland Security and the NDAA legislation that certain classes or types of American citizens must be perceived as potential if not real enemies — with the intersection of the application of the OODA loop, already known and described as widely taught within US military training and doctrine — and the observations of Dr. Gary Klein, an expert on decision-making and a DARPA consuitant, about story-telling and narrative-shaping — and the research done by Professor Krishnan in his paper on psy-ops and neurowarfare.
Even if one pleads agnostic about the Jade Helm exercises in the American Southwest [but read this before you reach closure on the question], it cannot be denied that the US government (or at least some of its more prominent rogue operators) have been deeply involved in the creation of psy-ops aimed at the American population through the mainstream media, the social media, the weaponization of the Internet by the NSA, et al.
If those also involve neurowarfare, our brains and our freedoms — at both the individual and the societal level — are cooked.
If the administrations of Bush and Obama and their “neocon henchmen — including State, Justice, Homeland Security, DARPA and other components — have been highjacked by Incestuous Amplification” …
“… incestuous amplification hijacks the orientation of an individual’s OODA loop by overriding actual observations to a point where the subsequent orientation induces the individual to perceive and act on what he or she wants to see rather than what actually is.”
then we have every reason to fear the possibility of neuro-warfare being conducted on and against the unwitting and unaware American people. Add to that the spectre of the ongoing geoengineering or use of chemtrails and you have the perfect recipe for long-term totalitarian mayhem and mass or targeted termination, eugenocide, or mass behavioral control.
Now, having stated my concern, my premise, let me go back to the beginning. I took notes when Gilroy et al spoke during the bonus sections on the Bourne Legacy DVD and then warmed up my trusty search engine.
The first pile of sand and rock comes dominantly from the public relations media around the release of the film. Out of this search fell five articles that convey the essence of Gilroy’s research. Here’s some background music while you read:
“On a practical level, the Treadstone program was about assassination. They’re basically assassins. They live in the world — you can see Clive Owen [in ‘Bourne Identity’] as a piano teacher, they have covers — but they’re essentially assassins. There was nothing that would be described as espionage, [they’re] basically a kill squad. The Outcome program that Aaron is part of, Oscar Isaac is one of them too… The conceit is that Edward Norton is the mastermind of this entire franchise. We’re stepping back a little bit in time here, he’s been a developer, he’s been at the nexus of the corporate military and intelligence communities. There’s a very large corporate element, pharmaceutical corporate element, and all of this is very, very real.”
“I think it’s the dominant issue of our time. I really do. I mean absent global warming and lack of water, the development of nation states outside of our control is I think the greatest issue of our time. Ed Norton’s character is just a complete polymath, with a military background. He’s managed to achieve great power utilizing military muscle and resources, with corporate money and corporate research and the intelligence community’s need for everything. Well this other program, the program that Jeremy’s in, is a Department of Defense program. Assassination isn’t their primary objective. They haven’t just been physically enhanced, there’s a cognitive aspect to it that’s very important. They’re very, very nimble, very adaptive ,and they’re very diverse, and the things that they do are very long term and of extremely high value to the DOD.”
“You know there’s a pretty rich history going back through the three films for anybody who’s really seriously been paying attention. The first guy that hits Matt in the apartment in Paris, what’s his death speech about? What is he talking about? He has some really interesting things to say. The architecture of the programming underneath is not a new concept. There’s nothing about this that we’re talking about here that isn’t coming at us really really quick. It’s just not a Marvel show at all, it’s absolutely real and anybody who spends 15 minutes at the movie and digs around online is going to find out the things that I found out, the edges of the stuff that I found. This [the movie] is kind of an atlas.”
When tasked with expanding Bourne’s universe for “Legacy,” Gilroy again looked to reality: Hundreds – if not thousands – of secret government and quasi-government programs funded by millions and millions of dollars with little oversight, all designed to build better weapons and better soldiers.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which performs research for the U.S. Department of Defense, is just one organization developing the kinds of programs that would fit perfectly into Bourne’s world: Not just high-tech weapons and robotic prostheses, but advances in neuroscience to help reduce battlefield stress, hasten learning, improve analytic capabilities and even engender trust.
Bioethicist and University of Pennsylvania professor Jonathan Moreno explores the relationship between brain research and national defense in his book “Mind Wars.”
“The improvement of soldiers’ war-fighting ability, brain-machine interfaces and the use of drugs and other measures to confuse and disrupt the enemy are the sorts of approaches that are going to be developed over the next decades, driven by cutting-edge science,” he writes.
Such advancements are at the heart of “The Bourne Legacy.” Jeremy Renner plays Aaron Cross, a super agent who has benefited from the government’s top-secret medical research; Rachel Weisz is the doctor who helped develop the science and Edward Norton acts as the kingpin, a sort of corporate-military-intelligence hybrid, who tries to control it all.
Gilroy talked with The Associated Press about his inspiration for the story and why truth can be stranger than fiction.
“AP: How did you go about broadening the “Bourne” world?
Gilroy: There needed to be a pulling back the curtain, a much larger conspiracy. Edward Norton has his agency that he’s carved out there at the center of the Beltway, and (we) found a niche for him in the military-industrial-corporate espinocracy food chain, found a good place for his agency to fit. … It has all of the funding and all of the motivation and all of the secrecy that we would expect with a government program, but then it has all the lack of oversight, the human error, that we know always comes with everything. So we set Edward’s agency there, in that sort of sweet spot there…
AP: Did you discover anything so far-fetched that moviegoers might not believe is true?
Gilroy: I wanted to keep everything really kitchen sink-y and crude and authentic and real and did not want to have it feel science-fiction, and I knew that what we were talking about is really on the way here or certainly a lot of people have it up on the chalkboard. … The thing that seemed most applicable to me and that helped me most in my story was gene doping, genomic alteration. That was a little bit sexier and a little more on the horizon than some of the other things. It’s kind of fascinating, in the last month, since the Olympics have come up, I’ve seen two mainstream articles – the scientists who are responsible for doing all the drug testing for all the athletes, that’s their cutting edge. That’s their next (question), how do we monitor gene doping. And they don’t know how to do it and it’s really fascinating. The scenario is they introduce chromosomal gene doping through a synthetic virus. And that’s happening now. That’s what Olympic doctors are worried about…”
Gilroy then began work on a treatment for the project even as he outlined a blueprint for where the story might go after The Bourne Legacy. He began an in-depth research process that would serve as the underpinning for both documents. He looked most particularly at the secretive U.S. government agency known as DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) that is hard at work trying to figure out how to make better soldiers. DARPA and its intelligence counterpart, IARPA (Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity), fund many research programs with the objective of enhancing the cognitive and physical performance of American soldiers and spies. Gilroy notes: “There’s no drug testing in war. There’s a very real appetite to have soldiers with increased energy, higher pain thresholds and less need for sleep. The warrior who heals, learns and processes information faster is the dream of every commanding officer. We’re in a place now where the science has begun to make real that dream in a very unpredictable and terrifying way.”
Just as in The Bourne Legacy, DARPA and its counterparts are working closely with the pharmaceutical industry, medical researchers, Silicon Valley and others to find ways to make humans into better warriors. Gilroy found that there was a burgeoning post-9/11 marriage of biology and warfare: a top-secret America that has proliferated, funded by the U.S. government and staffed by scientists often working for large corporations. It has, in fact, become so large that it is impossible to fully oversee by any one branch of the U.S. government.
Offers the director: “This was an odd story to research because I was doing more confirmation than prospecting. I kept finding that my imaginative ideas for Outcome and Candent and NRAG were already there and in play. Every hint that we’d laid along the way in the trilogy about Treadstone and its science-medical background fit perfectly into the existing reality. Then it was just a matter of asking what would happen if everything went wrong.”
“The two writers expanded upon the research that Tony Gilroy had done for the treatment, while also developing the intense drama of the story. Continues Dan Gilroy: “We hope Legacy lives up to its title by expanding the mythology in smart, imaginative and absolutely realistic directions. All technology referenced in the film is either in development or in use by the U.S. intel community…..”
“… Gilroy became fascinated with behavior modification through gene-doping, and now says the idea that government-funded scientists have gone far beyond steroids to produce a new breed of hypertough warriors isn’t as far-fetched as it seems.
“I’m not a scientist but I’m a real good idiot screenwriter and layman reader of science,” Gilroy told Wired in a phone interview. “There are different ways to introduce chromosomal changes to affect genomics. You can hijack a virus, put in what you want and use that as the delivery system. I got really interested in this idea of genomic alteration, where you go in on a chromosomal level.”
To vet the film’s viral-modification premise, Gilroy and actress Rachel Weisz — whose Bourne Legacy character tests viruses on black-ops agents — met with scientists working in the biotech industry. “We wanted reassurance that we weren’t doing anything too far-fetched,” Gilroy said. “We had some really cool conversations with someone who had a CV very similar to Rachel’s character, and this person confirmed a lot of what we were doing in the film.”
Further confirmation about the feasibility of gene-altered performance came this summer when Olympics officials started worrying in public about potential gene-doping abuses by athletes.
“I’ve been staggered to see articles where you have the Olympics’ main drug-testing guy saying they don’t know if they’ll be able to test for gene-doping,” Gilroy said. “I’m going, ‘Holy shit!’ This is the cutting edge of athletic enhancement. There’s a legitimate fear in the sports world that gene doping is going to be the next turn of the wheel.”
“I’m sure a number of these companies are legit,” he said, “but there’s always a couple in there where you just go, ‘Wow, I know this place is hidden behind a berm somewhere and it’s not what it is. I really started to feel like, ‘OK, we’re in a really solid place.’”
While Gilroy and his brother, Legacy co-writer Dan Gilroy, did plenty of homework to back up Aaron Cross’ wild adventures, they never contacted any real-life operatives who had direct involvement with covert gene-doping programs.
“You want to know the truth?” Tony Gilroy said. “I really wouldn’t want to be that close to the flame.”
“So tonight, I went to see The Bourne Legacy and the science therein wasn’t too shabby. This was the first of the Bourne Universe movies I’ve seen, so apologies if I’ve missed some of the mythos.
The crux of the movie centers around these PILLS OF SCIENCE in green and blue that confer virtual superpowers onto the agents. The green one is for the body and the blue one is for the mind. These pills need to be taken every X hours or the agent degenerates to their pre-chemical mind/body.
I have minimal problem suspending disbelief this far, and am comforted that they actually try to explain the workings of the chemistry.
The green body pill is said to increase mitochondrial protein uptake by 1.1%. Let’s break this down by first introducing mitochondria. These are the organelles within most nucleus-containing cells (save plants) and is responsible for most of the energy production (plants do this via chloroplasts). “Energy” in this context is held in the chemical bonds of ATP (adenosine triphosphate). The “charged” form is ATP while the uncharged form is ADP (adenosine diphosphate); note the difference is in the di- vs. tri-, i.e. the number of phosphates on the molecule. Watching this animation will show how mitochondria use the uptake of hydrogen ions to “charge” ADP into ATP.
I suppose that increasing the uptake of the mitochondrial proteins responsible for putting a P onto ADP would likely increase ATP levels, presumably creating more energy available to evade bad guys. However, it’s important to remember that this process depends on a difference in hydrogen ion concentration between the inside and the outside of the mitochondrial matrix. If these concentrations are allowed to equilibrate (become equal on both sides), you don’t get to take advantage of the difference to generate ATP.
One of the big plot points is the ability to “viral off” of needing the pills. The lovely Dr. Marta Shearing (props for another high-profile, gorgeous, female scientist) gives a passable explanation of this, all without using the term “gene therapy.”
Imagine if you could make a person’s cells produce the same stuff in the pills– call it GreenPillProtein (GPP). That would entail hijacking some of the pre-existing machinery. Fortunately (or unfortunately if you currently are suffering from one), viruses have been doing this for as long as life has existed and they’re really good at it. We’ve done a lot of work with viruses to use them to fix bad gene copies in the past, but let’s assume we need a brand new gene that will make GPP.
Certain kinds of viruses put their genes into our own by inserting DNA fragments. We’ve tried to take advantage of this using gene therapy. If we replace a few words in that animation, we can have a gene that codes for GreenPillProtein (GPP) among the genes for everything else. That way, when cells divide during mitosis, that information will stick around in both of the daughter cells. The cell does the rest of the job, transcribing the GPP gene and making the GPP protein. Flu doesn’t usually integrate its genes in with our own, so it’s a more transient infection; Bourne II needs a permanent, stable level of GPP.
As I said, we’ve done this before with a range of success, but there are a few buts that the movie glosses over. It seems like GPP would be useful in pretty much all cells, but BPP (the brain pill protein) only needs to be in certain kinds. This means we would need to target the virus to a specific cell type. This video shows how certain proteins on cells’ surfaces can recognize certain proteins on virus’ surfaces. I think this is what the movie means when it emphasizes the work done on “viral receptors.” That this BPP virus would target the brain adds a wrinkle, as the movie shows Bourne II being injected with it– it’s pretty difficult to get something from the blood into the brain.
We’re also going to need to make sure that most of the cells have these upgrades, so we need to find cells that are dividing into daughter cells. That way, all cells that divide from the GPP-infected cell will have the GPP gene.
All in all, it’s not outlandish science. It’s actually quite in the realm of possibility. Gene therapy exists, and if we can find out what the chemicals in the blue and green pills are, we could potentially make our own cells produce it. There are some details though that are lost in the technobabble, like the kind of virus, and what exactly the GPP does to “increase uptake efficiency,” but I’ll take it. I didn’t want to throw things at the screen in anger at the terribleness of the science, so count it!”
The second pile of sand and rock brought a collection of the articles I’ve already posted in my blog. There are 15-20 of them plus a video, and they are presented here.
Also from 8/7/13:
A correspondent wrote:
“… I just heard about a plan to develop bullet proof skin for soldiers which comes from the idea of goats with spider genes producing milk with silk proteins. In fact scientists have continued their research without approval and have allowed many embryos to live past 14 days. If you don’t think this is a problem, just look at what effect its having on the plants that are being engineered.
We are no molecular biologists over here, but have you ever seen the sci-fi flick Gattaca?
In that 1997 film, society is structured around eugenics as people are bioengineered to be ‘ perfect specimens ‘, and ones entire life and position in the world is based on their genetics. Those conceived naturally without genetic screening are proclaimed “invalid” and only allowed menial jobs, despite the innate talents and skills they may possess. Alternately, the 2011 movie In Time portrays a dystopic future where humans are genetically programmed to stop aging at 25 and could live forever — so long as they earn enough “time credits” to afford to stay alive; the poor perish swiftly under an artificially skyrocketing cost of living that times out their clocks, while the rich who steer the technocracy are gaming the system and living indefinitely.
Such nightmare scenarios place obvious restrictions on the natural right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Back in reality, alarmingly similar ends are being pursued.
This project isn’t just for engineering any mammal’s genome, however; it’s specifically for the bioengineering of humans.
The proposal explains the project details:
“The ability to deliver exogenous DNA to mammalian cell lines is a fundamental tool in the development of advanced therapeutics, vaccines, and cellular diagnostics, as well as for basic biological and biomedical research… The successful development of technologies for rapid introduction of large DNA vectors into human cell lines will enable the ability to engineer much more complex functionalities into human cell lines than are currently possible.“
The project stated objective is to “improve the utility of Human Artificial Chromosomes (HACs).” (Gallows humor jokes about how DARPA wants to literally HAC (k) you can be made at any time.) A Wikipedia entry explains in relatively plain language what a HAC is and what it does:
“A human artificial chromosome (HAC) is a microchromosome that can act as a new chromosome in a population of human cells. That is, instead of 46 chromosomes, the cell could have 47 with the 47th being very small, roughly 6-10 megabases in size, and able to carry new genes introduced by human researchers. ”
So DARPA and its team of associated scientists want to introduce an entirely new 47th chromosome into human genetics as a vector platform for inserting bio-alterations and wholesale genetic “improvements” into our DNA.
The agency hopes that development of a new chromosome will allow a solution to the limitations of current “state-of-the-art” gene transfer technologies (including plasmids, adenovirus-, lentivirus-, and retrovirus-vectors, cDNA, and minigene constructs). The proposal explains that existing approaches must be improved due to known drawbacks in the scientists ‘ failure to control their results, causing a few minor major problems:
“These include random DNA insertion into the host genome, variation in stable integration sites between cell lines, variation in the copy number and expression level of DNA that is delivered, limitations on the number and size of DNA constructs that can be delivered, and immunological responses to foreign DNA.”
Yet these techniques are already in use? How reassuring.
Ever hear the term ‘ playing God ‘? Scientists who work in these fields not only refer to themselves as “genome engineers,” but “biological designers” in their journal articles. This January 2013 piece in the journal Molecular Systems Biology introduces the topic with a chilling description:
“The phrase ‘ genome-scale engineering ‘ invokes a future in which organisms are custom designed to serve humanity. Yet humans have sculpted the genomes of domesticated plants and animals for generations. Darwin’s contemporary William Youatt described selective breeding as ‘ that which enables the agriculturalist, not only to modify the character of his flock, but to change it altogether. It is the magician’s wand, by means of which he may summon into life whatever form and mold he pleases ‘ (Youatt, 1837). “
It’s impossible to even compile an accurate listing of all the potential slippery slopes at play here, yet it is clear that this entails a momentous grasp at controlling life, which not only empowers an already dictatorial technocratic elite, but emboldens a delusional and destructive cadre intent on overwriting the existing species now on Earth.
Watch the 30 second promo video below where an investment firm (with their creepy all seeing eye logo) nonchalantly projects that within 50 years, science will displace natural life by a factor of 50-to-1 with artificial lab-created species – including plants, animals, humans, bacteria and viruses.
When looking at one DARPA project to perfect mind control techniques — or a second DARPA project to study the human hormone oxytocin to ‘ improve ‘ our response to government propaganda — or a third DARPA brain interface project that would literally turn soldiers into cyborgs, it’s creepy enough. However, when looking at all of these projects together as a combined effort… it raises chilling questions as to what kind of dystopic, technocratic future they are forcing us into.
These developments only include a small sampling of what we know is admittedly going on. Who knows what is actually taking place behind the scenes.
Exactly how many far-reaching and potentially disastrous implications of our government literally playing God are there?
Bioethics: Human-animal hybrid embryos
(rabbis, bishops and professors put forth their views)
July 23-24, 2012 — Aurora massacre: several links between James Holmes and U.S. government research
James Holmes, the 24-year old suspect in the mass shooting of Batman “The Dark Knight Rises” movie goers in Aurora, Colorado that left 12 people dead and 58 injured, has had a number of links to U.S. government-funded research centers. Holmes’s past association with government research projects has prompted police and federal law enforcement officials to order laboratories and schools with which Holmes has had a past association not to talk to the press about Holmes.
Holmes was one of six recipients of a National Institutes of Health Neuroscience Training Grant at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Denver. Holme is a graduate of the University of California at Riverside with a Bachelor of Science degree in neuroscience. Although Holmes dropped out of the PhD neuroscience program at Anschutz in June, police evacuated two buildings at the Anschutz center after the massacre at the Aurora movie theater. Holmes reportedly gave a presentation at the Anschutz campus in May on Micro DNA Biomarkers in a class titled “Biological Basis of Psychiatric and Neurological Disorders.”
Initial reports of Holmes having an accomplice in the theater shooting have been discounted by the Aurora police. However, no explanation has been given by police why the Anschutz campus buildings were evacuated after Holmes was already in custody in the Arapahoe County jail.
The Anschutz Medical Campus is on the recently de-commissioned site of the U.S. Army’s Fitzsimons Army Medical Center and is named after Philip Anschutz, the billionaire Christian fundamentalist oil and railroad tycoon who also owns The Examiner newspaper chain and website and the neo-conservative Weekly Standard. The Anschutz Medical Campus was built by a $91 million grant from the Anschutz Foundation.
In 2006, at the age of 18, Holmes served as a research intern at the Salk Institute at the University of California at San Diego in La Jolla. It is noteworthy that for the previous two years before Holmes worked at the Salk Institute, the research center was partnered with the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Columbia University, University of California at San Francisco, University of Wisconsin at Madison, Wake Forest University, and the Mars Company (the manufacturers of Milky Way and Snickers bars) to prevent fatigue in combat troops through the enhanced use of epicatechina , a blood flow-increasing and blood vessel-dilating anti-oxidant glavany found in cocoa and, particularly, in dark chocolate.
The research was part of a larger DARPA program known as the “Peak Soldier Performance Program,” which involved creating brain-machine interfaces for battlefield use, including human-robotic bionics for legs, arms, and eyes. DARPA works closely with the Defense Science Office on projects that include the medical research community. Fitzsimons was at the forefront of DARPA research on the use of brain-connected “neuroprosthetic” limbs for soldiers amputated or paralyzed in combat.
According to his LinkedIn profile, James Holmes’s father, Dr. Robert Holmes, who received a PhD in Statistics in 1981 from the University of California at Berkeley, worked for San Diego-based HNC Software, Inc. from 2000 to 2002. HUNG, known as a “neural network” company, and DARPA, beginning in 1998, have worked on developing “cortronic neural networks,” which would allow machines to interpret aural and visual stimuli to think like humans. The cortronic concept was developed by HUNG Software’s chief scientist and co-founder, Robert Hecht-Nielsen. HUNG merged with the Minneapolis-based Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO), a computer analysis and decision-making company. Robert Holmes continues to work at FICO.
It has also emerged that Holmes, when he was 20, worked as a camp counselor at Camp Max Straus of the Jewish Big Brothers and Sister of Los Angeles. According to the Jewish Journal, among other tasks, Holmes helped to teach boys between the ages of 7 to 10 archery. In another unusual detail, the car Holmes used to drive to the Aurora movie theater had Tennessee plates. Holmes is originally from San Diego.
James Holmes is the grandson of Lt. Col. Robert Holmes, one of the first Turkish language graduates of the Army Language School, later the Defense Language Institute, in Monterey, California. Graduating from the Turkish language class in 1948, Holmes spent a career in the Army, which likely included more than a few intelligence-related assignments. Typically, U.S. military officers conversant in Turkish served with either the Defense Intelligence Agency or the Central Intelligence Agency at either the U.S. embassy in Ankara or the Consulate General in Istanbul, or both.
Terrence Sejnowski, the Francis Crick Professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the director of the Computational Neurobiology Laboratory, in an interview with Cognitive Science Online in 2008, had the following comment about recent studies of the human brain: “Alan Newell [cognitive psychology researcher at the intelligence community-linked RAND Corporation] once said that when AI [artificial intelligence] was founded not enough was known about the brain to be of any help and in the early 1980s , symbol processing was the only game in town. That has changed and we now know a lot about the brain, perhaps more than we need to know [emphasis added]. “
More than we need to know!
The links between the younger and elder Holmes and U.S. government research on creating super-soldiers, human brain-machine interfaces, and human-like robots beg the question: “Was James Holmes engaged in a real-life Jason Bourne TREADSTONE project that broke down and resulted in deadly consequences in Aurora, Colorado?” In any event, if the Batman movies are now serving as a newer version of J.D. Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye” subliminal messaging triggering mechanism, — Salinger’s novel was of interest to a number of American political assassins — keep in mind that August 10 is the opening date of The Bourne Legacy. It may be wise to skip that film in the theater for a while.
July 25-26, 2012 — Aurora police chiefs dubious connections
As Aurora, Colorado police chief Dan Oates receives accolades from officials from President Obama to Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, Oates’s past position with the New York Police Department is noteworthy as more details emerge of the connections between the alleged Century 16 movie theater shooter James Holmes and government-funded neuroscience research.
Oates retired from the New York Police Department in 2001 after a 21-year career. He served as safety services administrator in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the home of the University of Michigan, designated by former CIA director Richard Helms as one of the five top CIA-Advance Research Projects Agency (ARPA) [now known as the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency, or DARPA] “behavioral science” research campuses, along with Yale, M.I.T., U.C.L.A, and the University of Hawaii. In 2005, Oates left Ann Arbor to take up his present position in Aurora.
Oates’s last job with the NYPD was as the chief of the intelligence division. As a member of Police Commissioner Howard Safir’s executive staff, Oates’s prepared, according to The New York Daily News, a daily intelligence briefing for Safir, which lasted some two hours. Oates’s would have conceivably had access to a wide spectrum of intelligence information, including Drug Enforcement Administration, FBI, and other federal agency reports on the suspicious activities of a number of Israeli “art students” and “office movers” in the year leading up to the 9/11 attack on New Yorks World Trade Center.
However, Oates apparently missed the critical intelligence or, if he passed it to Safir, it was ignored. Safir, who served as New York Police Commissioner from 1996 to 2000 and was appointed by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, previously served as a federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs agent and in 10972, was one of two BND agents who arrested Harvard University researcher Timothy Leary, a proponent of LSD use. However, Leary had also conducted research, under the guise of the Harvard Psilocybin Project. the Concord Prison Experiment, and the Marsh Chapel Experiment, for the CIA’s MK-ULTRA mind control program. which was under the direction of CIA Technical Services director Dr. Sidney Gottlieb.
After Safir retired as police commissioner, he became the chief consultant to the CEO of ChoicePoint, Inc., the firm that was implicated in scrubbing voter rolls in Florida for the 2000 presidential election.
In December 2001, Safir became chairman and CEO SafirRosetti, a security firm that is a wholly owned subsidiary of Global Options Group, as well as CEO of Bode Technology, also a subsidiary of Global Options. Safir has also served as CEO of VRI Technologies LLC, a security investigations and data analysis firm; chairman of National Security Solutions, Inc., a counter-terrorism firm; chairman and CEO of the November Group Ltd, a strategic consulting firm headquartered in Annapolis, Maryland. In addition, he has served on the the board of directors of Implant Sciences Corp., an explosive trace detection sensor firm; and Verint Systems, Inc.
Verint was formerly known as Comverse/Infosys and the Department of Justice suspected the Israeli-owned firm, which had contracts to provide wiretapping systems to the FBI and Justice Department, of having significant links to Israeli intelligence. Comverse/Infosys, now known as Verint, was suspended from the New York NASDAQ index in 2007 over financial irregularities and money laundering brought about by the ex-CEO of Comverse/Infosys, Jacob “Kobi” Alexander, an Israeli national. Alexander fled prosecution for securities fraud in the United States and he now lives in the Namibian capital of Windhoek. Efforts to extradite Alexander from Namibia to the United States have been unsuccessful.
Verint provided the closed-circuit television surveillance system for the London Underground when the system was hit by terrorist bombs on July 7, 2005. A company called Visor Consultants was conducting a training exercise in which dummy bombs were used to simulate a terrorist bombing of the London Underground as the actual bombs were detonated. Giuliani, who appointed Safir as his polcie commissioner, happened to be staying in downtown London at the time of the bombings. Giuliani was staying and attending an economic conference at the Great Eastern Hotel, at which then-Israeli Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was also present.
Netanyahu had expressed a certain satisfaction over the 9/11 attack on U.S. television in implying the attack would be “good for Israel.” The response to the 9/11 attack was severely affected by actual commercial airplane hijacking drills being run by the Pentagon during the actual attacks.
Ironically, Safir’s one-time intelligence chief, Oates, would also face the strange situation where an emergency medical drill in nearby Douglas County, on the outskirts of Aurora, that dealt with a gunman shooting up a movie theater, was being conducted during the actual shooting at the Batman movie in Aurora.
Oates, in remarks to the media after the massacre at the theater, immediately moved to quash rumors on the Internet. He also told CBS News Face the Nation: “All evidence we have, every single indicator is that it was all Mr. Holmes ‘ activity and that he wasn’t particularly aided by anyone else.” Oates was discounting anything other than a “lone nut” theory behind the mass shooting.
The Aurora police also revealed they were mistaken when they first reported that the car Holmes allegedly drove to the theater to conduct his shooting spree had Tennessee license plates. The alleged shooters father, Robert Holmes, worked in some capacity for the U.S. Navy Personnel Research and Development Center in San Diego in 1988. The elder Holmes wrote a technical report for the center and the work appeared to have spanned from 1988 to 1989. In 2000, the San Diego center moved to a remodeled new “lab space” at the Naval Support Activity in Millington, Tennessee, near Memphis. The center was re-named the Navy Personnel Research, Studies and Technology (NPRST) Department. The Millington center concentrates on behavioral and social sciences research and is funded mostly out of the Human Systems Department at the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the Navy research branch that works closely with DARPA and the CIA. NPRST also has close working relationships with two universities, the University of Mephis and the University of Mississippi.
It has also been revealed that Holmes spoke at the Salk Institute at the age of 18 on temporal illusions. Holmes explains that a temporal illusion is an illusion that allows one to change the past. One of slides shows the name of Terrence Sejnowski, Terrence Sejnowski, the Francis Crick Professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the director of the Computational Neurobiology Laboratory. In 2008, Sejnowski wrote that since early brain research conducted by the RAND Corporation in 1980, “we now know a lot about the brain, perhaps more than we need to know.” In 2001, Sejnowski worked with the CIA to develop a facial recognition and analysis system to detect whether someone is lying. Three files of Sejnowski’s research papers are located in Box 58 at the System Development Foundation (SDF) in Palo Alto, California. SDF has a rather complex and mysterious origin is said to have been created “in the 1950s” as a not-for-profit entity. SDF has an archival depository relationship with the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica.
RAND and Stanford Research Institute, two of the CIA’s top west coast research centers, were involved in temporal illusion research throughout the 1970s and 80s. The CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency projects had various code-names, including GRILL FLAME and STAR GATE. All dealt with remote viewing, and WMR learned from a recent participant in the same program, now under the supervision of the National Security Agency (NSA) in Fort Meade, Maryland, has dealt on numerous occasions with temporal remote viewing, i.e. remote viewing of past and future events. The NSA program involves Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and the Monroe Institute in Faber, Virginia, according to the NSA source.
Dual Use Discipline for Understanding & Managing Complexity and Altering Warfare
by John Stanton
The Evolutionary Cognitive Neuroscience (ECN) discipline, and its associated fields, may produce tools that advance humanity’s ability to understand and manage itself. Simultaneously, ECN may also yield brain-centric weaponry that drastically alters human warfare. The United States Department of Defense (DOD) may marshal significant resources–as it did during the 1941 to 1946 Manhattan Project—to drive ECN research, development and testing. DOD is the only entity in the United States with the capability to fully fund ECN programs. The Dodds Defense Science Board and the United States ‘ Intelligence Community has recently suggested research thrusts into ECN and the merging of data-heavy sciences and social sciences. Success will ultimately depend on program directors and researchers ‘ acceptance of general Evolutionary Theory and, in particular, Evolutionary Psychology. Failure to do this will result in a mosh-pit of studies based on dated science and methodology.
The Evolutionary Psychology and Neuroscience disciplines are set merge into a unified field known as Evolutionary Cognitive Neuroscience or ECN. ECN may produce novel integrated micro, macro models of brain-behavior relationships based on the principles of general Evolution, Evolutionary Psychology and the findings of Neuroscience. Applications may range from predictive human behavior models to neuroweaponry.
Social science literature and United States ‘ Department of Defense (DOD) documentation also suggests that the time is ripe for an even larger merger between the data-heavy sciences and the social sciences. ECN may serve as both a conduit and foundation for this convergence particularly as the DOD recognizes its importance to national security. However, the entire effort will fail if program directors and researchers exclude general Evolution and Evolutionary Psychology from their methodologies.
Complexity (the number of ways-hows-and-whys a system can act) may become an anachronism as novel research demystifies consciousness reducing human complexity to a deterministic system. Biomachines that bypass time consuming conscious activity ultimately may be fielded by the DOD. The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) is already working towards this end. Through its Neurotechnology for Intelligence Analysts program, it has probed brain signals triggered when an analyst sees something interesting in a satellite image. The analyst’s brain registers the discovery long before the analyst becomes cognitively aware of it. “The brain can signal the discovery three times faster than the analyst can respond… My goal is to use these technologies to harness the speed of thought… I know it’s possible, especially if we confront these challenges not just as problems of biology and neuroscience but problems of physics, math, materials science and microtechnology. “
The DOD has a very aggressive interest in understanding and adapting to the Human Terrain (brain-behavior relationships in local, regional, national and global environments). With a budget of approximately $1.2 trillion ($US), and the ability to obtain additional funding, the DOD stands alone in its ability to accelerate research and development (R&D) programs in ECN, as well as catalyze the fusion of the data-heavy and social sciences. Such an effort may be as significant as the Manhattan Project (Atomic Bomb) or the development of Quantum Theory. There is historical precedent for thinking as much.
“I think the military is the place to do it… I think it is time for the Pentagon to do for human science what it did for chemistry in World War I, for physics in World War II and for computers in the post-Cold War era. I’m convinced that we are fighting human wars now and that another stealth bomber, another battleship is not how to win these wars… “
This DOD R&D effort may certainly revolutionize warfare. In the process it may also transform the understanding and conduct of human affairs which in turn may present challenges to the legitimacy of long established, cumbersome institutions. For example, from a policy and organizational perspective, the United States may find it necessary to create some sort of DOD-Plus organization: one centralized defense and foreign apparatus that has a comprehensive capability to anticipate and respond to evolving threats in local, regional, national, and global environments. A secondary organization might be needed for post-response consequence and stability management.
Another side-effect of this R&D activity may be a significant shift in the way human beings view themselves nestled as they are on the outskirts of 1 of the estimated 125 billion galaxies in the known universe. Already, papers such as Quantum Physics in Neuroscience and Psychology: A Neurophysical Model of Mind-Brain Interaction offer intriguing insights and prospects. ECN encourages innovative thinking through progressive and tested science.
“Neuroscientists studying the connection of mind and consciousness to physical processes in the brain often assume that a conception of nature based on classic physics will eventually turn out to be adequate. That assumption would have been reasonable during the nineteenth century. But now, in the twenty-first century, it is rationally untenable. Quantum Theory must be used in principle because the behavior of the brain depends sensitively upon atomic, molecular and ionic processes, and these processes in the brain often involve large quantum effects.
The whole range of science, from atomic physics to mind-brain dynamics, has the possibility of being brought together into a single rationally coherent theory of an evolving cosmos that is not constituted by matter but by actions of agents. In this conceptualization of nature, agents could naturally evolve in accordance with the principles of natural selection, owing to the fact that their efforts have physical consequences. The outline of a possible rationally coherent understanding of the connection between mind and matter begins to emerge… A shift to this pragmatic approach that incorporates agent based choices as primary empirical input variables may be as important to progress in neuroscience and psychology as it was to atomic physics. “
In the United States, the ongoing obsession with national security and the enormous funding necessary to soothe a national psyche of fear and war is a key driver for enhancing security thereby eliminating the uncertainty of daily living. ECN may generate predictive and diagnostic biotechnologies to reduce tension. Such a development could eliminate much uncertainty and concomitant drama in human affairs by providing leaders with assets to manage the complexities in brain-behavior relationships. To get there though, reliable data on human beings, as they function as interconnected consumers, warfighters, enemies, refugees, diplomats, criminals, and citizens of their respective nations will need to be collected and assessed. The entire effort depends on the application of general Evolution and Evolutionary Psychology.
A comprehensive knowledge base of planetary ecosystems and how humans interface with those ecosystems will have to be constructed and meshed with the findings of brain-behavior functions. The dissection of the individual and global organism may lead to unprecedented forecasting capability The ultimate outcome may be the creation of biomachine systems that suggest procedures and diagnostics with which to anticipate and/or minimize a wide range of human problems. Biomachine tools that can suggest courses of action such as military intervention, diplomacy, containment, stability and consequence management operations, economic aid, covert operations, or a Pontius Pilate approach to nations that engage in internal self-destruction may become available.
Worldscape 2007: Savannah’s and Jungles
The United States diplomatic corps has made general use of standard psychology, game theory, and related social sciences to engage in diplomacy on behalf of the United States. Likewise, the Department of Defense (DOD) has used elements of the social sciences–especially psychology–to predict, for example, who will or will not earn pilot’s wings, or become a special forces operator.
Now, however, the DOD is moving far beyond its generalized use of the social sciences and is making a considerable effort to incorporate ECN and a bevy of related disciplines into its arsenal.
If approached correctly and conducted properly, this effort, and the technology and/or knowledge transfer from it, could be the catalyst for a certifiable revolution in human affairs. At the very least, Dodds surge into these fields may produce unmanned and autonomous intelligence biotechnologies, warfighting and medical biomachinery (with civilian applications), along with thousands of terabytes of data on human behavior. In any other time this might be termed acceptable progress. Advancements in ECN and associated fields have changed what acceptable means.
Consider, for example, the Defense Advanced Research Agency (DARPA) Biologically Inspired Cognitive Architectures (BICA) program. “Recent advances in cognitive psychology and neuroscience have given us a much richer scientific understanding of how cognition works in the human brain. The BICA program is developing a new generation of cognitive architectures and computational models of human cognition based on that new understanding. ” One BICA team consists of scientists from the University of Michigan, MIT Media Lab, AlgoTek, Dartmouth, Johns Hopkins, Harvard University and Rutgers University. They have developed TOSCA: A Comprehensive Brain Based Cognitive Architecture. According to the researchers,
“This organization [TOSCA] starts to answer the question as to where is the magic in human cognition…”
The United States ‘ national security establishment has determined that the study of the brain-behavior relationships–and its participation and interaction with the global organism–is essential to national security. Today, in the intelligence community, for example, the social sciences are being called upon to assist analysts in the development of new methods for educing information (interrogation) from prisoners of war and/or conflict.
Beyond contributions to United States ‘ national security, ECN and associated disciplines may offer new approaches and solutions to minimize violence and ethnic conflict; prevent or manage warfare, pandemics and poverty; protect the global commons; reduce income disparity; and negotiate the allocation of finite resources and space amongst nations and/or groups. New gear is required to help humanity manage that which is the source of its complexity: brain-human behavior relationships.
“We are at a crossroads of human existence: We possess the technical knowledge required to provide for the material needs of all of humanity without systematic plunder and extermination of others: yet, systematic plunder and genocidal extermination continue to thrive.”
“We used to wonder where war lived, what it was that made it so vile. And now we realize that we know where it lives, that it is inside ourselves. “
Humanity is one of the many children of evolutionary forces. ECN may play a key role in helping humanity relook its role on the planet. ECN may convince humans that they are agents in an interconnected local to global organism. The acceptance of this fact, this reality, may come just in time for humanity as it faces global instability. Such knowledge—and the practical application of it–now seems critical to the survival, stability and prosperity of our species and those that support us.
A key feature of Homosapiens sapiens ‘ evolutionary design has been the ability to forecast; to think ahead, to model and simulate multiple scenarios and outcomes for survival, stability and prosperity. Evolution seems to be working its magic as sections of the government, commercial organizations, academia, and the worlds public recognize that survival, stability and prosperity are very fragile realities. There seems to be a sense of urgency in developing new models to manage the future.
The human species faces global climate change; ethnic conflict in geostrategic regions; simmering immigration conflict in apparently stable democracies; intermittent warfare; disinformation; income disparity and employment insecurity, the mobility of corporations to roam the planet in search of low cost labor; the continued spread of weapons of mass destruction; and—significantly–a new era of global economic competition between individual powers like China, Basil, India, Russia, the United States, and consortium’s like the European Union, the South American Community of Nations, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
In local-to-global savannahs and jungles; nations, and groups that want to form nations, now have many choices for international support, recognition, and economic and military assistance. They can roam the globe via the Internet or by aircraft. They can openly appeal to national governments, covertly appeal to a government military-intelligence agencies and private security contractors, or to quasi-state groups for support. They have far more maneuverability to pit the larger global economic competitors against one another to get the best economic package, thwart a military intervention, or simply buy time to purse a policy. Iran, for example, in pursuit of regional influence, nuclear power and weapons capability, has conducted an impressive series of maneuvers that often match European Union, Chinese, Russian, Turkish, Pakistani and Indian economic needs against United States and Israeli interests.
Predators and Prey
On the flip side, larger nations can utilize smaller nations and quasi-state groups in an effort to pursue policies and destabilize competitors. With its military supremacy, the United States, like any upstanding, self-interested predator, has consistently made life and trade difficult for many intransigent nations and groups. But why do many nations prefer war? The phenomenon of removing the brakes on non-violent behavior and the promotion of war as a positive activity and economic engine is one of the most understudied issues in human history. ECN may be useful in understanding the war phenomenon as it relates to creation of dehumanized others and violence in general.
According to the United States ‘ Federal Bureau of Investigation, approximately 16,000 people are murdered each year in the United States. Nations and people around the globe are coping not only with “crime”, but with the fallout from conventional and guerrilla warfare in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Chechnya, Pakistan, Turkey, Iran, Sudan, Colombia, Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Kashmir, Nigeria, and Saudi Arabia. Refugees fleeing conflict, increased global fuel costs, the spread of disease, and the creation of slums that house next-generation insurgents are just a handful of the effects of todays conflicts.
The United States ‘ generic response to much of this international activity has been to restructure military commands and build more military bases, embassies and consulates around the globe to encircle and contain conflict areas. In short, a sort of quarantine-based approach. This is particularly evident with countries and regions rich in natural resources and in close proximity to sea and land-based choke points. A recent example of this was the creation of a new Unified Combatant Command called AFRICOM. Coincidently, the United States government announced AFRICOM’s existence on February 6, 2007, in the midst of the Chinese governments 12 nation tour of Africa.
Global climate change, in the most severe scenarios, threatens to alter large portions of the planet and in the process either exterminate or relocate many of the humans, plants and other creatures that subsist on it. With the most advanced predictive human behavior models available, humanity may still ignore data forecasting catastrophe. Federal, state and local officials ‘ response to Hurricane Katrina demonstrated that even with ample warning and time to prepare for difficult outcomes, ignorance stymied success.
Severe weather events may continue to destabilize densely populated coastal regions resulting in refugee populations and disruption of commercial and national security enterprises. Hurricane Katrina temporarily shut down United States ‘ Navy contractor Northrop Grumman’s shipbuilding operations in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Katrina has hampered Northrop Grumman’s ability to hire skilled workers and house them. Hence, it is no surprise that global climate change has been determined to be an urgent national security threat to the United States by the influential Center for Naval Analysis in Alexandria, Virginia.
Just as global climate change is inevitable, so too is an increase in the worlds population. By 2050 there will likely be 9 billion human beings occupying the globe with 60 percent of that number living in urban environments in close proximity to ocean littoral zones. Approximately 1 billion of the 9 billion will be relegated to slum life or coerced to migrate as displaced human beings in search of improved economic opportunity.
One Thing Affects Everything
According to Robert Jervis, “Garrett Hardin gets to the heart of the matter in pointing out that, contrary to many hopes and expectations, we cannot develop or find any highly specific agent which will do only one thing… We can never do merely one thing. Wishing to kill insects, we may put an end to the singing of birds… Seeking to protect the environment by developing nonpolluting sources of electric power, we build windmills that kill hawks and eagles that fly into the blades; cleaning the water in our harbors allows the growth of mollusks and crustaceans that destroys wooden piers and bulkheads… “
Jervis pointed out that it’s the same in politics. “In politics, connections are often more idiosyncratic, but their existence guarantees that here too, most actions, no matter how well targeted, will have multiple affects.”
This dizzyingly interconnected environment has confused, perhaps even frightened, todays global leaders and their advisors whose worldviews were heavily influenced by the binary simplicity of the Cold War and the illusory post-Cold War dominance of the United States. More problematic is local-to-global leadership that tends to consult antediluvian belief systems and mythical beings in their decision making processes. Hence, leaders the world over—particularly here in the United States–are making decisions based on a Flatland approach, ignoring consequences, fallout, outcomes, and linkages. This mode of thinking rolls downhill to infect local, regional, national and global populations.
For example, the United States ‘ involvement in Iraq and elsewhere on the Asian continent provides an obvious example of cloudy judgment by leadership and the subsequent disastrous fallout. Additionally, once dominant institutions, and important tools of United States foreign and economic policy, are seeing their influence wane in the presence of simple geopolitical competition The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are two organizations whose reach has been shortened by the inflexibility and predictability of United States ‘ foreign policy. The Chinese government has been courting alliances by disbursing large amounts of cash in the form of no interest loans and with minimal interference in the borrower’s internal affairs. This is in stark contrast to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund who demand painful economic reforms from their borrowers.
With $1 trillion (US) in cash reserves, and an energy-hungry economy, China is acting as one might expect: it is maximizing its prospects for survival. stability and prosperity.
Exploring and Dissecting the Human Terrain
“The increasing global interdependence implies an increase in complexity. However, the relationship that was discussed between this complexity and the internal structural changes that are taking place in social and economic systems provides us with an additional insight. The change from hierarchical to distributed control implies that the complexity of collective behaviors is not only increasing, it is already higher than that of a single individual. In this context, the traditional conflict between individual and collective good and rights should be revisited. This philosophical and practical conflict manifested itself in the conflict between democracy and communism. It was assumed that communism represented an ideology of the collective while democracy represented an ideology of the individual. The transition to a complex organism implies that this conflict has been resolved, not in favor of one or the other, but rather of a third category—an interdependent complex collective formed out of diverse individuals.
The traditional collective model was a model that relied on the uniformity of the individuals rather than diversity. Similarly, the ideology of the individual did not view the individual in relation to the collective, but rather the individual serving himself or herself. It should be acknowledge that both philosophies were deeper than their caricatures would suggest. The philosophy of democracy included the idea that the individualistic actions would also serve the benefit of the collective, and the philosophy of communism included the idea that the collective would benefit the individual.
Nevertheless, the concept of civilization as a complex organism formed out of human beings is qualitatively different than either form of government. There are two natural conclusions to be drawn from recognizing that human beings are part of a global organism. First. one can recognize that human civilization has a remarkable capacity for responding to external and internal challenges. The existence of such a capacity for response does not mean human civilization will survive external challenges any more than the complexity of an organism guarantees its survival. However, one can hope that the ability to prevent local disasters will increase… Second, the complexity of our individual lives must be understood in the context of a system that must enable its components (us) to contribute effectively to the collective system… The merging of disciplines in the field of complex systems runs counter to the increasing specialization in science and engineering [but] it provides many opportunities for synergies and the recognition of general principles that can form a basis for education and understanding in all fields. “
In February 2007, the Defense Science Board (DSB) released a little noticed report titled, 21st Century Strategic Technology Vectors. In the report the DSB recommended that military planners explore the Human Terrain in which US warfighters operate. To do this, the DSB suggested a radical approach: tap into the non-kinetic social sciences network for analytical data and marry future findings and applications to the military warfighting toolkit.
“Human, Social, cultural and behavior (HSCB) modeling… pushes the boundaries of Dodds comfort zone the farthest. However, it is an area that DOD cannot afford to ignore. The DOD needs to become much more familiar with the theories, methods, and models from psychology, sociology, cultural anthropology, cognitive science, political science and economics in order to be able to identify those with real potential to add value to Dodds toolkit. Coupling these to quantitative and computational modeling and simulation techniques from mathematics, physics, statistics, operations research, and computer science could lead to powerful new tools that represent complex human and social systems… One promising starting point for the application of HSCB models is to complement the more familiar physical network modeling with human/group behavioral models.
HSCB models are designed to help understand the structure, interconnections, dependencies, behavior, and trends associated with organizational entities. Macro HSCB models address nation states, socio-cultural regions, economies, and political systems. Micro HSCB models deal with religious and ethnic tribes, militias, insurgent and terrorist networks, and military units at the tactical level. Integrated models try to tie together the macro and micro models. A formidable challenge in modeling social and behavioral phenomena is to integrate and make coherent micro-macro models at multiple levels of data, granularity, and analysis, and across multiple disciplines of the social sciences, and to acquire and structure data that can be used to guide and test the models. “
Evolutionary Psychology: Some Basics
Evolutionary Psychology offers four linked, interdependent paths to understanding how brain-behavior relationships change over time in individuals and populations. Change and/or adaptation happens biologically through molecular development that affects the genetic substrates of behavior; psychologically through emotions, and conscious and unconscious mental activity; culturally through social life; and environmentally as behavior adapts to ecosystem and social system changes.
Evolutionary Psychology is an approach and a way of thinking. The mind is seen as a set of information-processing mechanisms designed by natural selection to solve adaptive problems faced by our hunter-gatherer ancestors during the Pleistocene era. There are five basic principles that form the foundation of Evolutionary Psychology.
The brain is a physical system. It functions as a computer. Its circuits are designed to generate behavior that is appropriate to your environmental circumstances.
2. Our neural circuits were designed by natural selection to solve problems that our ancestors faced during our species evolutionary history.
3. Consciousness is just the tip of the iceberg. Most of what goes in your mind is hidden from you. As a result, your conscious experience can mislead you into thinking that our circuitry is simpler than it really is. Most problems that you experience as easy to solve are very difficult to solve as they require very complicated neural circuitry.
4. Different neural circuits are specialized for solving different adaptive problems.
5. Our modern skulls house a stone age mind.
“Our species lived as hunter-gatherers 1000 times longer than as anything else. The world that seems so familiar to you an me—a world with roads, schools, grocery stores, factories, farms and nation-states—has lasted for only an eye blink of time when compared to our entire evolutionary history The computer age is only a little older than the typical college student and the industrial revolution is a mere 200 years old. Agriculture first appeared on earth only 10, 000 years ago, and it wasn’t until abut 5000 years ago that as many as half the human population engaged in farming rather than hunting and gathering. Natural selection is a slow process and there haven’t been enough generations for it to design circuits that are well adapted to post-industrial life. “
Evolutionary Cognitive Neuroscience: Problem Solving Tool
ECN fuses Evolutionary Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience into one unified theory of human behavior based on the foundations of evolutionary meta-theory. The fruitfulness of ECN and, hence, the Dodds R&D efforts to divine the Human Terrain, depends largely upon the willingness of participants and practitioners to accept and apply the general principles of Evolution and, most particularly, the basic tenets of Evolutionary Psychology.
“Like Pre-Darwinian psychology and other social sciences, cognitive neuroscience without evolution will have difficulty accurately describing the functional workings of the human mind… A cognitive neuroscience approach to ultimate questions without evolutionary meta-theoretical guidance makes little sense… An evolutionary perspective provides a structure from which to guide empirical investigations and hypothesis generation about brain behavior relationships…
Evolutionary psychology assumes that an evolved psychological mechanism and its corresponding neural substrates is an information-processing module that was selected during a species ‘ evolutionary history because it reliably produces behavior that solved a particular adaptive problem. Evolved psychological mechanisms are understood in terms of their specific inputs, decision rules and outputs. The filter of natural selection operates on psychological mechanisms that produce behavior. Natural selection cannot operate on behavior directly, but on the genes associated with neural substrates that generate the psychological mechanisms that produce the behavior… Evolutionary Psychology is not post hoc storytelling: its practitioners often use a deductive approach moving from theory to data…
The majority of psychological mechanisms are presumed to be domain specific. The mind is comprised of content-dependent machinery—physiological and psychological mechanisms–that is presumed to have evolved to solve specific adaptive problems. Psychological mechanisms can also be expressed as cognitive biases that cause people to more readily attend to some pieces of information relative to others… A domain, when referring to a psychological mechanism, is a selection pressure, an adaptive problem. Domain, then, is synonymous with problem. A domain-specific mechanism refers to a problem-specific mechanism—a mechanism that evolved to solve a specific adaptive problem. Although evolutionary and cognitive psychologists use the term domain-specific, perhaps some confusion could be avoided if the more accurate term problem-specific were employed.
Why is ECN important? Without evolutionary meta-theoretical guidance, cognitive science will fail to describe with anything but superficial accuracy the human and animal mind. Cognitive science will simply explain proximate mechanisms (i.e., the “how”) or brain-behavior relationships (most often using theoretical models derived from standard social science models). This is only half the equation. The approach misses the ultimate (i.e., “why”) questions of brain behavior relationships.
By adopting the ECN approach and directly addressing ultimate questions about brain-behavior relationships, scientists will be in a position to better describe the cognitive processes and the neural correlates that they investigate. Likewise without cognitive neuroscientific methods, evolutionary psychology may not be able to adequately describe and understand the neurophysiological mediators to psychological adaptations and hence may never be able to accurately describe the evolved nature of the human mind. Without peering into the brain with techniques such as modern functional neuroimaging, evolutionary psychological investigations can only describe the cognitive processing of human mental characteristics.
Evolutionary Psychology can describe function but is limited in its description of structure, and thus has no ability to relate function to structure which might be important especially in comparative investigations of cognitive evolution. The relationship between structure and function is inherently a problem of evolutionary biology; .i.e., the genes that give rise to brain structure and its component nuclei and modularity, as well as its ability to process information, were the combined units of selection.
The need for an integrated science of the mind that utilizes evolutionary meta-theoretical guidance to cognitive neuroscience investigations is overdue, but beginning to flourish… By adopting an ECN approach, scientists will be in a position to think about uniquely human traits such as higher-level consciousness, theory of mind and self awareness.
It is likely that the most exciting advancements in technology for understanding the evolved mind are going to come from interdisciplinary collaborations… In fact, ECN might be the only approach that can give rise to such an understanding. Evolutionary cognitive neuroscience might be the newest science of the mind. “
ECN may be used to inform current studies of human activity by providing insights as to how 21st Century humanity graduated from multiple hunter-gatherer bands, tribes, chiefdoms, and kingdoms to become nation-states. This may provide insights to public policy makers of the future, particularly given that humanity may be now working its way from nation-state back to tribal-state as the accelerated global mobility of everything from insurgent groups and viral strains to ideas and corporations threatens slow-moving governing institutions. Already, ECN has tackled matters as varied as water pollution and fetal development; the role of women and men in society and conflict; violent crime; leadership styles; terrorism, law and sentencing; world government; drug use, and an array of other issues falling into brain-behavior relationships.
In the end, humanity should be its own best resource for researching and solving complexity since humanity itself is the root cause of its problems. ECN may lead humanity to figure itself out. In that process there may be a possibility that this discovery will show that the species is really not as complex as it is egotistical and dualistic by evolutionary design. Humanity may find that it does, indeed, occupy a special place–not in the known universe or some mythical after-life, but right here at home.
Neuroweapons may be an outcome of ECN R&D programs. It is likely that DOD may classify as Top Secret programs that seek to turn the speed of thought into a weapon, or programs that blur the line between human and machine. With classification, no one may ever know of the existence of such programs. Some in the scientific community have suggested that, beyond the development of neuro-biomachinery and genetic manipulation, non-traceable neuroweapons with viral genetic payloads may be used to disrupt the brain and central nervous system. As a result, the creation of neurosecurity advisory and/or ethics boards may be required to keep R&D and testing efforts in bounds.
July 31-August 1, 2012 — Holmes’s shrink’s government connections
WMR previously reported on the connections between accused Aurora movie theater shooter James Holmes and U.S. government-funded neuroscience research programs at the Anschutz Medical Campus at the University of Colorado and at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, in addition to his father research work on neural networks for the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency (DARPA). It has now emerged that James Holmes’s psychiatrist, Dr. Lynne Fenton, worked as a psychiatrist for the U.S. Air Force.
Aurora police seized a notebook, containing drawings of stick figures opening fire with weapons, that Holmes mailed to Fenton before he allegedly carried out the massacre of the theater audience at a screening of the Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises.” Holmes’s defense attorneys are trying to obtain the notebook, which legal experts claim is privileged information between Fenton and Holmes, who was under her care during the time leading up to the shooting spree that killed 12 and wounded more than 58 others.
Fenton officially practiced Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in Denver but she has specialized in the study of schizophrenia. Fenton has served as the Director of Student Mental Health Services at the Anschutz campus since 2008. Holmes was one of six students to receive a National Institutes of Health grant for neuroscience research at Anschutz, a program he suddenly withdrew from in May.
Fenton is a graduate of the Chicago Medical School in 1986 and did her residency at Northwestern University in 1990. Northwestern’s Department of Biomedical Engineering receives government funding to conduct research into neural engineering and rehabilitation, including restoration of human function, for example, neuroprosthetics, novel motor system therapies for stroke victims and assistive technologies for victims of neuropathologies, bio-inspired technologies for robotics, such as artificial sensor arrays, locomotion systems, sensory-feedback control algorithms. The former Fitzsimons Army Medical Center, whose facilities Anschutz now occupies, specialized in neuroprosthetics for veterans who lost limbs in combat.
In May, before he dropped out of his NIH-funded program at Anschutz, Holmes presented a paper on Micro DNA Biomarkers in a class on the Biological Basis of Psychiatric and Neurological Disorders.
The Salk Institute, where Holmes, an an intern, worked on temporal illusion projects, is part of the University of California at San Diego. The San Diego campus also hosts the Neural Engineering and Theoretical Neuroscience Laboratory and the Retina Engineering Center of the Department of Bioengineering at the Jacobs School of Engineering, which has a program funded by the U.S. Army Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC), headquartered at Fort Detrick, Maryland, the home to a number of highly classified military medical research projects , incident weaponized anthrax research. One of the lab’s projects is the design of retinal implants to replace damaged photoreceptors in the eye by detecting light and properly stimulating neurons in the retina or, simply stated, a technology that would allow the blind to see.
Fenton was also the chief of physical medicine for the Wilford Hall U.S. Air Force Medical Center at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, from 1990 to 1993.
On April 16, 2003, Air Force Colonel Philip Shue, a psychiatrist at the Air Force Medical Center, kissed his wife good-bye before driving to work. On his way to work, Shue was killed instantly in a crash in which the driver side was severely impacted. The Air Force, local, and state police determined that Shue committed suicide. End of story? Not quite.
Shue’s t-shirt was ripped open from his chest to his navel, with a six-inch vertical incision in his chest. Oddly, Shue’s nipples had been removed. Shue’s wrists were wrapped in duct tape. Investigators determined that Shue had suffered a psychological breakdown before mutilating himself and then committing suicide. A Kendall County grand jury later concluded that no foul play was involved in Shue’s death and no crime was committed.
Noted pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht, who investigated the assassination of John F. Kennedy — determining there was more than one assassin — and other high-profile deaths, concluded that there was no way that Shue could have mutilated himself and that Shue fell victim to torture and homicide. A trial over payment of Shue’s USA life insurance policy did result from the death but the presiding judge changed the cause of Shue’s death from suicide to homicide although he ruled in a “take nothing” decision that USA was not liable in paying out Shue’s life insurance claim to Shue’s first wife. Nevertheless, the Kendall County Sheriff office refused to re-open the case as a homicide. And, like the trial of James Holmes in Aurora, the judge ruled that cameras were not permitted in the court room during the Shue trial. Subsequently, in a politically-motivated prosecution by the Bush administration, Wecht faced 84 criminal counts of misuse of his public office as Allegheny County medical examiner, including alleged misuse of an Allegheny County fax machine. In 2009, the Bush-appointed U.S. Attorney in Pittsburgh dismissed all charges against Wecht. However, the case left Wecht $8 million in debt.
Shue’s murder, deemed a “suicide” by authorities, fits a familiar pattern of the government eliminating witnesses to illegal activities and gross misconduct. Although Fenton preceded Shue by ten years at the Backhand psychiatric department, Shue’s suspicious death is an indication that he may have become aware of unethical activities at the medical center. Shue had also announced his decision to retire from the Air Force shortly before his death.
In 2005, Fenton received a reprimand from the Colorado medical board for prescribing Vicodin, Xanax, Lorazepam, and Ambien to her husband, her employee, and herself.
“Richard Pack, CEO – Prior to joining International Media Ventures, Dick Pack was the Vice President of the Special Operations Support Division of L-3 Com, GSI, located in Tampa, Florida. The organization that he led served the Special Operations Community in a variety of locations, under several separate contracts including the U. S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base.
Robert Holmes – Director of Stratigic Communications – Prior to joining International Media Ventures, Brigadier General “Bob” Holmes was the Director, Inter-Agency Task Force, Center for Special Operations, Headquarters U.S. Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. Prior to his role at USSOCOM General Holmes was the Deputy Director of Operations, U.S. Central Command.
Marc Sherrill – Director of Operations – Before accepting his current position with International Media Ventures, Marc Sherrill was a Senior Program Manager for IT Engineering Support to the Special Operation Resources Business Information Systems (SORBIS) for US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) IMV About Webpage”
“As [Tom Burghardt] documented in” Unconventional Warfare in the 21st Century: U.S. Surrogates, Terrorists and Narcotraffickers “(Antifascist Calling, December 19, 2008), the Pentagon’s field manual (FM 3-05.130) titled Unconventional Warfare lays it out in black and white:
Irregulars, or irregular forces, are individuals or groups of individuals who are not members of a regular armed force, police, or other internal security force. They are usually nonstate-sponsored and unconstrained by sovereign nation legalities and boundaries. These forces may include, but are not limited to, specific paramilitary forces, contractors, individuals, businesses, foreign political organizations, resistance or insurgent organizations, expatriates, transnational terrorism adversaries, disillusioned transnational terrorism members, black marketers, and other social or political “undesirables.” (Unconventional Warfare, p. 1-3)
“CONVERGING TECHNOLOGIES FOR IMPROVING HUMAN PERFORMANCE” June 2002 424 pages
National Science Foundation
Department of Commerce
The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Department of Commerce
(DOC) organized a workshop on December 3-4, 2001. This report incorporates the views expressed at the workshop of leading experts from government, academia, and private sector, and detailed in contributions submitted thereafter by members of the U.S. science and engineering community.
‘… the combined role of nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology in accelerating
advancement of mental, physical, and overall human performance. “
“Changing the societal” fabric “towards a new structure”
CONVERGING TECHNOLOGIES FOR IMPROVING HUMAN PERFORMANCE:
NANOTECHNOLOGY, BIOTECHNOLOGY, INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCE
Expendable Elite: One Soldier Journey into Covert Warfare (new expanded edition) A special operations perspective on the Vietnam War and the truth about a White House concerned with popular opinion
This true story of a special forces officer in Vietnam in the mid-1960s exposes the unique nature of the elite fighting force and how covert operations are developed and often masked to permit and even sponsor assassination, outright purposeful killing of innocents, illegal use of force, and bizarre methods in combat operations. Expendable Elite reveals the fear that these warriors share with no other military person: not fear of the enemy they have been trained to fight in battle, but fear of the wrath of the U.S. government should they find themselves classified as “expendable.” This book centers on the CIA mission to assassinate Cambodian Crown Prince Nordum Sihanouk, the author unilateral aborting of the mission, the CIA’s dispatch of an ARVN regiment to attack and destroy the camp and kill every person in it as retribution for defying the agency, and the dramatic rescue of eight American Green Berets and hundreds of South Vietnamese.
Daniel Marvin is a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Special Forces and former Green Beret who served in the Korean and Vietnam wars. He lives in Cazenovia, New York.
The U.S. military is already using, or fast developing, a wide range of technologies meant to give troops what California Polytechnic State University researcher Patrick Lin calls “mutant powers.” Greater strength and endurance. Superior cognition. Better teamwork. Fearlessness.
But the risk, ethics and policy issues arising out of these so-called “military human enhancements” — including drugs, special nutrition, electroshock, gene therapy and robotic implants and prostheses — are poorly understood, Lin and his colleagues Maxwell Mehlman and Keith Abney posit in a new report for The Greenwall Foundation (. pdf), scheduled for wide release tomorrow. In other words, we better think long and hard before we unleash our army of super soldiers….
In this possible mutant future, what enhancements should be regulated by international law, or banned outright? If an implant malfunctions or a drug causes unexpected side effects, who is responsible? And if one side deploys a terrifying cyborg army, could that spark a devastating arms race as nations scramble to out-enhance each other? “Does the possibility that military enhancements will simply lead to a continuing arms race mean that it is unethical to even begin to research or employ them?” Lin, Mehlman and Abney wonder.
The report authors also question whether the military shouldn’t get give potential enhancement subjects the right to opt out, even though the subjects are otherwise subject to military training, rules and discipline. “Should warfighters be required to give their informed consent to being enhanced, and if so, what should that process be?” the researchers ask.
Moreover, it’s theoretically possible that future biological enhancements could be subject to existing international laws and treaties, potentially limiting the enhancements — or prohibiting them outright. But the application of existing laws and treaties is unclear, at best. “Could enhanced warfighters be considered to be ‘ weapons ‘ in themselves and therefore subject to regulation under the Laws of Armed Conflict?” the researchers write. “Or could an enhanced warfighter count as a ‘ biological agent ‘ under the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention?”
The December 14 murder of 20 children and 6 women at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, has garnered vast media attention and caused countless people with no connection to the victims to grieve for them. This is not a new phenomenon: nearly all mass murders carried out by civilians generate the same type of coverage and response.
But what of the far more numerous incidents of government murder of innocents? Most of them hardly make the news at all; fewer still produce widespread outpourings of sympathy.
The George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations deliberately sabotaged Iraqi sanitation systems and prevented their repair through sanctions. That, too, was not widely reported, and neither president apologized for it. Quite the opposite: Clinton’s Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, told a reporter that “the price” — half a million dead Iraqi children — was “worth it” to oust Saddam Hussein from power, an objective the bombings and sanctions manifestly failed to achieve.
Under Clinton, too, federal agencies laid siege to the Branch Davidian compound outside Waco, Texas, and in the name of saving children from abuse killed 17 kids and another 59 adults inside the compound.
No government employees were ever brought to account for that incident, though some of the surviving Davidians were tried and convicted for daring to resist the feds ‘ assault on their home.
Going back even further, one could point to Harry Truman’s atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki or the Allies ‘ firebombing of German and Japanese cities, which also targeted first responders, under both Truman and his predecessor, Franklin Roosevelt. Even today those actions are justified by many Americans on the basis that “all’s fair in love and war”; and besides, they “saved American lives” — the only ones, apparently, that count.
The U.S. government, of course, is not alone in murdering innocent people. One thinks immediately of the great evils of Adolf Hitler National Socialists, who killed perhaps 1 million people, or the communist regimes of the Soviet Union, China, and elsewhere, responsible for the deaths of nearly 100 million. All told, governments killed more than 262 million people in the 20th century outside of wars, according to University of Hawaii political science professor R.J. Rummel. Add to that the war dead, also the responsibility of governments, and the figure becomes astronomical. The vast majority of instances of death by government are unknown to all except researchers such as Rummel. Those that are more widely known often have their apologists.
No sane person sticks up for the perpetrator of the Sandy Hook massacre. Likewise, it’s about time people stopped sticking up for governments that perpetrate far worse killings — and started prosecuting the people who order them and carry them out.
“… As you might expect, there are serious moral and legal risks to consider on this path. Last week in the UK, The Royal Society released its report ” Neuroscience, Conflict and Security.” This timely report worried about risks posed by cognitive enhancements to military personnel, as well as whether new nonlethal tactics, such as directed energy weapons, could violate either the Biological or Chemical Weapons Conventions.
While an excellent start, the report doesn’t go far enough, as I have been explaining to the US intelligence community , National Research Council, DARPA, and other organizations internationally. The impact of neural and physical human enhancements is more far-reaching than that, such as to the question of torturing the enhanced. Other issues, as described below, pose real challenges to military policies and broader society….. “
Google the term “viral receptor mapping”. Scan the entries. If you can understand any of it, write a guest article.
“You ever seen a Cognitive Degrade, Marta?”
Recombinant DNA technology [genetic engineering] faces our society with problems unprecedented not only in the history of science, but of life on the Earth. It places in human hands the capacity to redesign living organisms, the products of some three billion years of evolution…. It presents probably the largest ethical problem that science has ever had to face. Our morality up to now has been to go ahead without restriction to learn all that we can about nature. Restructuring nature was not part of the bargain…. For going ahead in this direction may be not only unwise but dangerous. Potentially, it could breed new animal and plant diseases, new sources of cancer, novel epidemics.
Despite a U.S. economy that is sliding ever faster toward complete implosion, Obama is doubling down on the initiative with another $100 million dollar commitment even as very little of the assertions about job growth have been proven.
In light of where the funding is coming from, it is worth re-examining the darker pay off potential.
Under the proposed budget, released Tuesday (March 4), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will contribute an estimated $100 million to the effort; the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) will invest $80 million; and the National Science Foundation (NSF) will provide another $20 million. (Source)
The NIH plans to develop a “toolbox” of technologies to map the brains circuitry, measure activity in brain circuits and probe how these circuits lead to unique human cognition and behavior.
DARPA will continue to develop memory prostheses as part of an effort called Restoring Active Memory, to create medical devices that measure and stimulate neurons to ease the symptoms of diseases such as PTSD and depression, a project called Systems-Based Neurotechnology for Emerging Therapies (SUBNETS); and to develop prosthetic limbs that would restore control and sensation to amputees, known as Prosthetic Hand Proprioception and Touch Interfaces (HAPTIX).
The NSF will focus on three main areas: interdisciplinary research; new theories, models and tools to guide research; and technologies to handle huge amounts of new data. The NSF has already provided $25 million in funding to an MIT research center for “Brains, Minds and Machines,” as well as funding to support scientific collaborations.
Since this all sounds so positive, and we are apparently to believe that DARPA just wants to cure Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, we might want to re-visit some of what has been discussed previously in order to put this into proper context.
As The New American has rightly highlighted, whenever DARPA is involved, we can expect that there will be creepy military applications… like mind control. This mission has actually been around for some time within the halls of elite think-tanks, and now appears to be coming to full fruition. We have even seen the recent exposure by a whistleblower at the University of Arizona who came forward to reveal a connection to DARPA’s desire to recreate through narrative the results from Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. In short, affecting thought patterns and, in particular, changing religious views in order to thwart the fanaticism that supposedly underpins the War on Terror.
A closer look at the area being invested in by the National Science Foundation reveals what Big Data and the merger of human and machine intelligence is really about. Please read Medical Nanobots Will Connect Brain to Cloud Computing to get a better understanding of where this part of the initiative is headed, as well as the article Big Government Seeks New Ways to Manage “Big Data” to see how heavily invested our largest federal agencies are in collecting and analyzing data in order to find ways to predict human behavior – something that is already taking shape in “predictive policing” as we see it being rolled out in Chicago. Departments such as the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the U.S. Geological survey, and DARPA are all right there.
As government data collection ramps up, the Obama administration through the Office of Science and Technology Policy has announced a $200 million investment in taking this information “from data to decisions.” So thats now a total of $400 million in this overall data-brain initiative. All to make our lives more prosperous and healthy? Let’s look at other possibilities….
The UK think-tank, The Royal Society (which has openly admitted to studying how to play God with the climate) kicked off a program in 2010 that revealed its multifaceted investigation into the identification of organic brain function and potential control over human behavior.
The Brain Wavesproject is divided into four modules, each tasked with studying the impact of developments in the field of neuroscience and neurotechnology.
The titles of the modules reflect the areas of examination:
Module 1: Society and policy
Module 2: Implications for education and lifelong learning
Module 3: Conflict and security
Module 4: Responsibility and the law
The results from these modules have been published, and clearly illustrate how this panel views the lower public masses in light of their status as the elite arbiters of human destiny. The dual approach to this investigation must be kept in mind as the U.S. government is now rolling out the BRAIN initiative as the next great thing since the human genome project. The ramifications are potentially even more momentous.
We often hear from critics that these think-tanks are an essential part of scientific discovery, and that drawing conclusions of a nefarious nature about their intent is paranoid conspiracy theory — they are only thinking, after all. I would submit that objective scientific inquiry is absolutely necessary and that the proper role of science is to disseminate results to the public for open debate, prior to their implementation. However, think-tanks such as the Royal Society betray, by their own language, subjective biases (and corporate connections) that have no place in true science.
The Royal Society funds over 700 private ventures, which undoubtedly are directed by findings from studies such as Brain Waves. While their studies might be couched in scientific terminology, there is always a philosophical overlay that indicates a desire to study the sciences specifically for use toward a purpose that a relatively small group sees fit. Furthermore, given that many developments in neuroscience are already being forced upon the public in a negative manner, the claims of open debate and “welcoming comments from the public” seem disingenuous. Rather, what we have is a another think-tank blueprint that is merely stating the current course planned long ago, as well as what is to be rolled out in the near future under projects like BRAIN.
Just as we have seen from other think tanks such as the Project For a New American Century, Council on Foreign Relations, Brookings Institution, and a host of others; their thoughts translate to reality on a less-than-coincidental frequency, so we would do well to listen to what they have been saying.
The Project (an elite view of the brain)
As an initial aside, perhaps lending insight into their philosophical perspective: the image they have chosen to represent Module 1 of the project is “a drawing of Purkinje cells (A) and granule cells (B) from pigeon cerebellum.” Slightly odd given that their results are directed toward humans, but this would be consistent with much of elitist statements and writings from Bertrand Russell to Aldoux Huxley, Henry Kissinger, and others who literally refer to the masses as a lower form of animal. (Are we to assume we are viewed here as bird brains?)
Module 1 (108-page PDF) An overview for subsequent modules in “neuroimaging, neuropsychopharmacology, and neural interfaces – and discuss (es) the translation of this knowledge into useful applications… as well as the ethical questions and governance issues.”
Their statement of intent reads as follows:
Increasing understanding of the brain… will increase our insights into normal human behaviour and mental well-being, as well as enabling other enhancement, manipulation, and even degradation of brain function and cognition…
The array of ‘ neuro ‘ disciplines lend themselves to applications in diverse areas of public policy such as health, education, law, and security. More broadly, progress in neuroscience is going to raise questions about personality, identity, responsibility, and liberty, as well as associated social and ethical issues. The aim of the Royal Society’s Brain Waves project is to explore what neuroscience can offer, what are its limitations, and what are the potential benefits and the risks posted by particular applications. (page 1)
Similar to their discussion of weather control, this study seeks an all-inclusive approach that spans the full spectrum of society, begging the same question they asked previously regarding the implementation of scientific discovery, “Who decides?”
Module 2 (36-page PDF) “The report authors, including neuroscientists, cognitive psychologists and education specialists, agree that if applied properly, the impacts of neuroscience could be highly beneficial in schools and beyond.”
From the summary:
The emerging field of educational neuroscience presents opportunities as well as challenges for education. It provides means to develop a common language and bridge the gulf between educators, psychologists, and neuroscientists.
One group is conspicuously absent from this particular part of the summary: parents. Rather, we are given a small glimpse into the mindset of technocrats and scientific dictators everywhere who have a worldview of central management and social engineering as the solutions for society at large. In this new world, it is the state and its scientists who are to hold the key for humanity’s next stage of evolution, not the individual or family unit.
Module 3 (75-page PDF) “This report considers some of the potential military and law enforcement applications arising from key advances in neuroscience.”
From the summary:
This new knowledge suggests a number of potential military and law enforcement applications. These can be divided into two main goals: performance enhancement, i.e. improving the efficiency of ones own forces, and performance degradation, i.e. diminishing the performance of ones enemy. In this report we consider some of the key advances in neuroscience, such as neuropharmacology, functional neuroimaging, and neural interface systems, which could impact upon these developments and the policy implications for the international community.
Here is a video of the Chair of the Royal Society’s new project, Professor Rod Flower, who has some interesting things to say about how the military applications are “very, very exciting and potentially very useful for us,” as indicated by their study of neuroscience applications. For me, Brave New Worldcomes to mind. This video is specifically related to Module 3, but provides a good overview of the general areas of study.
Module 4 (46-page PDF) “Neuroscientists seek to determine how brain function affects behaviour, and the law is concerned with regulating behaviour. It is therefore likely that developments in neuroscience will increasingly be brought to bear on the law. This report sets out some of the areas where neuroscience might be of relevance, along with some of the limits to its application. Specific issues discussed include risk assessment in probation and parole decisions; detecting deception; assessing memory; understanding pain; and Non-Accidental Head Injury HAHA). “
From the summary:
Many questions have been asked about what neuroscience might offer for the law. For instance, might neuroscience fundamentally change concepts of legal responsibility? Or could aspects of a convicted person brain help to determine whether they are at an increased risk of reoffending? Will it ever be possible to use brain scans to ‘ read minds ‘, for instance with the aim of determining whether they are telling the truth, or whether their memories are false? It has been suggested that “for the law, neuroscience changes nothing and everything” (1). This report takes a different position: that discoveries in neuroscience (or in genetics or psychology) will not completely revolutionise the theory of practice of the law in the near future; but there are already some important practical implications of recent neuroscientific discoveries, which should impact on the law, and there will certainly be many more over the next few years.
Here we see an indication of the endgame, which we already see being played out in the latest high-tech phase of the War on Terror. Technologies like FAST are being touted as mobile lie detectors that all people will be scanned by for “malintent” regardless of any presumption of innocence. Scientists will decide the markers, the computer will provide the reading, and a bureau of State agents will make the final threat analysis. The only function that “law” has under this type of scenario is which prison or rehabilitation center to assign to those marked as trouble by the scientific dictatorship.
The area of brain study being conducted by the worlds most elite think-tanks poses a central problem for self-determination. We already have seen how the establishment think-tanks dictate their policies regarding “normal behavior.” For example, the list of new “disorders” coming from mainline medical sources are actually normal human behavior for people of sound mind and, yet, the global Orwellian initiative to declare everyone mentally ill is already well underway, as shown by the skyrocketing prescriptions given across the board to both adults and children.
The conclusions drawn by think-tanks can very easily transform the rest of society, as they are disseminated down through the institutions and private ventures that they fund, permeating outward to the general society at large. Add to this the military and legal implications, and even a bird brain can envision where we might be heading next.
New DNA technique makes once-theoretical genetic manipulation seem possible, and soon
A simple way to alter DNA could open door to alarming eugenic pursuits
Gene editing experiments should be off limits until ethical guidelines can be decided, some scientists say
It’s a scenario that has haunted biologists since the dawn of the DNA age: the evil scientist custom-crafting a human being with test tubes and Petri dishes.
So when a Chinese team revealed last month that it had used a new laboratory technique to alter a gene in human embryos, it set off an urgent debate over the ethics — and wisdom — of tinkering with the most basic building blocks of life.
The technology makes genetic manipulations that were theoretical in the past seem easy to achieve — and soon.
If scientists figure out how to do it in a way that’s safe for patients, gene editing could produce tremendously beneficial medical treatments. The Chinese researchers, for instance, were trying to repair a defect that causes beta thalassemia, a potentially fatal blood disorder.
But a simple way to alter DNA could open the door to more frightening eugenic pursuits. That makes people nervous.
Icelanders boost medical research by donating their DNA to science
“The positive side is, it allows regular biologists to change the DNA in any organism. The negative side is, it allows regular biologists to change the DNA in any organism,” said Harvard Medical School geneticist George Church. “You can twist any technology into something bad.”
In the last few months, many researchers have come to realize that the new gene editing tool, known as CRISPR/Cas9, might provide an easy means for molding a person when he or she is just a single-celled embryo.
CRISPR/Cas9 makes it possible for nearly any scientist to edit DNA in nearly any cell. In the last couple of years, scientists have used it to edit genes in adult human cells, including bone marrow cells that may be modified to make people resistant to HIV. Researchers have also used it on animal embryos, including an experiment that proved it was possible to create primates with customized versions of genes involved in immune function and metabolism.
With thousands of labs using the technology, it seemed inevitable that someone would try it on human embryos.
That’s troubling to many scientists because, unlike edits to a bone marrow cell, alterations in a single-celled embryo would be copied into all the rest of the embryo’s cells as it developed — and passed down via sperm or egg to the embryo’s children, grandchildren and generations beyond.
Before the Chinese study appeared in the journal Protein & Cell, top scientists had already called for a high-level summit to hash out the ethical issues raised by this sort of research. The goal is to make sure gene editing in embryos isn’t used prematurely in patients, or employed to create genetically enhanced humans. Some experts say use of CRISPR/Cas9 on human embryos should be put on hold until these hard questions can be addressed.
Millions of DNA samples stored in warehouse worry privacy advocates
“We’ve got to take this seriously,” said Caltech biologist David Baltimore, who won a Nobel Prize for his early work on the genetics of viruses that cause cancer.
The potential to make permanent changes to DNA that are passed from generation to generation has been recognized for decades. Although the risks were clear, the urgency was lacking.
“It was logistically so complex that there was no clear path forward, so we didn’t worry about it a lot,” Baltimore said. “Now it’s here.”
Scientists have made steady progress in their ability to edit DNA, but the CRISPR/Cas9 system marks a major advance in ease and flexibility of use.
The system occurs naturally in bacteria and helps them fight invading viruses. It uses strands of RNA called clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats, or CRISPRs, to direct DNA-chopping enzymes from the Cas protein family to sever the viral genome.
About three years ago, microbiologists and bioengineers realized the system could be deployed to edit DNA in many organisms. If there was a specific spot in the genome they wanted to target, all they’d have to do is design the right CRISPR machinery to get to that location, a relatively straightforward task.
Once in place, a specially engineered Cas enzyme could latch on and cut the DNA strand, allowing scientists to correct the mistake. Some researchers have adapted the system to repress or activate genes; others, to make insertions.
The CRISPR/Cas9 method is much simpler — and cheaper — than earlier gene editing technologies in which scientists had to synthesize complex proteins to carry out the same work. Some experts predict that the scientists who figured out how to use CRISPR/Cas9 to edit genes will win a Nobel Prize for their discovery.
The Chinese researchers, from Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, were attempting to modify a mutant form of a gene called HBB. Certain mutations prevent people from producing enough hemoglobin to transport oxygen through the bloodstream, resulting in beta thalassemia. The team wanted to see whether they could delete the mutated portion of HBB and replace it with the correct DNA.
To make sure their experiments wouldn’t result in genetically engineered babies, they used single-cell embryos rejected by fertility clinics that weren’t viable because they had been fertilized by two sperm.
They are hardly the only ones attempting to edit genomes for the sake of human health. Uptake in labs has been so enthusiastic that CRISPR has become a verb, a la Google.
“People say, ‘I’m going to CRISPR that,'” said UC Davis stem cell biologist Paul Knoepfler.
Some of the enthusiasm turns to concern, though, when it comes to making DNA changes that would be passed on to future generations.
A recent commentary in the journal Nature laid out a variety of potential problems. Mistakes might occur in the editing process that could result in severe birth defects. Successful edits could affect other parts of the genome that were meant to be left alone. It’s impossible to get consent from future generations who might inherit an altered gene. People could use gene editing for “non-therapeutic genetic enhancement” — making designer babies with blue eyes and high IQs.
The authors, worried that problems with embryo editing could derail work on gene therapies in general, called on scientists to cease all experiments that would affect multiple generations until discussions about safety and ethics were complete.
Those concerns were echoed a few weeks later in an essay in the journal Science that said embryonic gene editing experiments should be off-limits in clinical settings, such as fertility clinics.
The Chinese study bore out many people’s fears. Though the researchers were able to target the HBB gene, only rarely did the desired correction occur. Sometimes they made changes in the wrong places. Summing up their data, the team concluded that it was still too soon to use CRISPR/Cas9 to edit embryos in clinical settings.
“They ran into all sorts of problems,” Baltimore said. “It drives home that we’re not ready to do this.”
Most think that will change before long. With no international rules governing this research, scientists are scrambling to get guidelines in place. Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, announced last week that his agency would not fund gene editing experimentation involving embryos, which “has been viewed almost universally as a line that should not be crossed,” he said in a statement.
Baltimore, who is in favor of allowing the research, said gene editing could be put to great use for medical treatments — perhaps even in embryos, once it is proved safe and if there is no other way to circumvent disease.
“I’m not a believer that you should limit scientific capabilities,” he said. “I’d rather scientists decide how they should use it.”
Church predicted that worries about the technology would dissipate as people got more comfortable with gene editing.
He thought experiments using older DNA technologies — including recent work that sought to alter highly pathogenic H5N1 bird flu viruses to see whether they could become more contagious — were far scarier than what was likely to emerge from CRISPR.
Others aren’t so sure.
Knoepfler, who has been writing about the embryo editing discussions on his blog, thinks CRISPR/Cas9 use is advancing so quickly that it could render all the careful, considered ethical debates moot.
DARPA Silent Talk: A planned program attempting to identify EEG patterns for words and transmit these for covert communications.
The final pile of rock and sand will include a review of Moreno’s book “Mind Wars”, multiple articles (several in downloadable pdf format), and I’ll end with an expanded statement of my premise and some questions for you (and the people who made “The Bourne Legacy”).
“… Militaries have experimented with ways to enhance soldiers’ cognitive function for more than 100 years, noted Moreno. Sustained alertness was one of the first objectives of such research, and the Prussian army experimented with cocaine as far back as the late 1800s. Caffeine and nicotine were used for this purpose during the World Wars, and in Vietnam methamphedamine (speed) became the stimulant of choice for many.
In the 1980s a new drug, modafinil, entered the scene. Approved for the treatment of narcolepsy, the drug has been shown to extend alertness for as long as 60 to 70 hours among some people with normal sleep-wake cycles. The drug, branded as “Provigil,” has recently gone off patent, meaning that cheap generic versions of the drug will become available. Last year the People’s Liberation Army of China announced that it had developed its own “anti-sleep” pill.
In the new edition of Mind Wars, Moreno addresses new attempts by the Defense Department to improve soldier performance beyond alertness. One such area is in preventing post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, using beta blockers—drugs that diminish the brain’s uptake of stress hormones.
Moreno and Crowley [ a former State Department official who now leads an effort at Penn State University and the U.S. Army War College to enhance the civilian-military dialogue] proposed two basic principles: First, the individual should have control over the contents of his or her mind. Second, the individual gets to decide who gets access…..
How neuroscience research can inform military counterintelligence tactics, and the moral responsibilities that accompany such research
By Jonathan D. Moreno | November 1, 2012
“… Earlier this year I published an update of my 2006 book Mind Wars: Brain Research and National Defense, in which I had described the implications of neuro-science for military and counterintelligence technologies. The publication of the new version, Mind Wars: Brain Science and the Military in the 21st Century, was more than justified both by the favorable reception the first edition enjoyed (surprisingly, it is still the only book on the topic), and the subsequent burst of interest in the issues raised in the first book. Both within the neuroscience community and among various governmental and nongovernmental policy organizations, the potential applications of brain research to national security are no longer being ignored…..”
Given the fact that the Gilroy brothers note Moreno’s book “Mind Wars” as a key element of their research, and given the fact that Moreno notes that his book was used by the Gilroys in the making of the film The Bourne Legacy, I had to read it myself.
I bought a used copy. And it proved to be very interesting.
While it certainly verifies much of what has been stated above and below, there are a couple of telling points that might clue us in to where Moreno is coming from. (It’s not clear to me at this time whether the Gilroys see this the way I do.)
It seems heartening to read, in the concluding eighth chapter “Toward An Ethics of Neurosecurity”:
“… Policies and procedures will need to be in place for those experiments and applications of the new neuroscience and related fields that can’t be captured in the routine regulatory process because of national security needs. As Peter W. Singer has observed,”[T]he Pentagon’s real world record with things like the aboveground testing of atomic bombs, agent orange, and golf war syndrome certainly doesn’t inspire the greatest confidence among the first generation of soldiers involved [in human enhancement].”
Equally, Moreno says “… A number of the scientists, lawyers, ethicists, and advocates with whom I spoke in the course of writing this book agreed that there had to be a vigorous protection of at least one nonnegotiable premise when considering the appropriate security applications of neuroscience. In the law, this principle might be expressed in terms of the protections afforded in the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution regarding self-incrimination:”To be a witness against himself.” Philosophically, this can be expressed as the proposition that no one else should be able to decide what goes into my brain or who”reads” it…..”
At the bottom of that page , Moreno cites philosopher Patrick Lin [ http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/blog/2010/12/robots-ethics-war ] who asks about “a firewall for society”, whether some of these enhancements should be restricted to only special or elite military teams, and whether or not these elite teams (members?) should be prohibited from returning to society.
On pages 200-201, Moreno acknowledges that “genetically engineered biological weapons can become very scary neuro-weapons. Bioweapons such as viruses have a payload: the genetic content of the virus; a delivery system, the outer viral coat; and a target, such as an organ system of the human body. All three components of the weapon system can be manipulated by pathogen genetic engineering. For example, certain viral and bacterial pathogens can be engineered by insertion of foreign or synthetic genes with properties not naturally found in the virus or bacterium to become advanced neuro-weapons targeting the brain and nervous system. Based on work already done in the offensive biological weapons program of the former Soviet Union, scientists who are expert in biological weapons defense have worried out loud to me about the threat of technological surprise posed by advanced viral neuro-weapons carrying synthetic genes coded for short peptides (short strings of biological active amino acids with biological activity) into the central nervous system.
[Note the interesting parallel with cyber-security codes.]
Inside the central nervous system, the technological surprise stems from designer peptides produced from synthetic genes… that could function as malign neuromodulators… disabling brain functions by modifying the relationships and communications between neurons. In such advanced neuro-weapons, the infectious pathogen is really just a Trojan horse, selected for its ability to get the synthetic gene quickly into a target it cannot otherwise reach.
The advanced neuo-weapon does not necessarily have to enter the brain and nervous system to modulate function. And example is Franciscella tularensis genetically modified to produce beta-endorphin. This bacterium, a well-known biological weapon in its native form, is the cause of tularemia, also known as rabbit fever because it’s often found in rodents and can be passed to humans by direct contact or by handling the particles.[ There are, of coure, multiple known references to the bio-warfare spray-testing done by the US on its own people.] … If the bacterium has been engineered to generate a potent neurochemical, the damage would have already been done before the infection became a clinical problem..…” Moreno goes on to cite an anonymous source, a 20-year US biodefense expert who preferred not to be identified by name, who notes that “If one can disrupt unit loyalty through fear or another emotion, the Army would cease to exist as a fighting force.”
This is within the range of peptide effects.
In Chapter Six (“Building Better Soldiers”), on page 143, Moreno notes that DARPA’s ultimate goal is “to enable superior physical and physiological performance by controlling energy metabolism” but notes that there won’t be any clinical trials. On pages 144-145, he gets into the topics of brain chips, the construction of artifical parts of the brain, and the purposeful destruction of memory.
But it’s in Chapter One where we find the truth.
Frankly, I find much of Moreno’s rhetoric to be a form of soft-peddling, an acquiescence to the power of the scientific paradigm, the security state apparatus he served well in an advisory capacity, and the prevailing national viewpoint, especially when diuscussing recnt interrogation policy.
In Chapter One (“DARPA On Your Mind”), after the first page detailing a phone call he received from a victim of government experimentation, he uses the perjorative phrase “conspiracy theories” to characterize the “obsessions” of such victims and adds this plum, the fourth major paragraph in his revised treatise as one of the world’s only ethicists focused on neuro-warfare:
“Despite the vast distance between their worldview and mine, I long been impressed with the irreducible kernel of truth behind their obsessions. That interest in understanding and manipulating the brain, while always strong, has flourished in recent years, particularly among those scientists in the United States and elsewhere who have been supported by the national security establishment. Often this interest is generally but misleadingly referred to as ‘mind control.’ Detailed research on the mind/brain is complex, rich, and rather odd; an offbeat slice of our social history.”
[Yes, after reading “Journey Into Madness”, “A Terrible Mistake”, and multiple other sources, I’d definitely use the descriptive word “offbeat”.]
There is extensive discussion throughout the book, mostly under the heading interrogation for counterintelligence, with reference to Abu Ghraib, the CIA, the FBI, Guantánamo Bay, use of hallucinations and hormones as well as humiliation and stress and with occasional use of the word torture. Marino mentions the KUBARK manual and its discussion of the feeling of being “plunged into the strange”, that interval of suspended animation or psychological shock or paralysis caused by traumatic or sub-somatic experience which disrupt’s one’s familiar emotional and psychological associations.
On page 81, Moreno notes that:
“To a great extent, modern psychology and social science were founded on the financial support they receive from national intelligence agencies during and after World War II. It has been estimated that a third of American research psychologists were part of the war effort, including some of the most important names in the field. These close ties remained after hostilities against the Axis powers ended. In the early 1950s, nearly all federal funding for social science came from the military, and the Office of Naval Research was the leading sponsor psychological research from any source in the immediate post-war years.”
So of course when Moreno uses that word ”worldview”, given that the national security state was built in great part by the people who were critically involved in funding both sides of World War Two and who covertly integrated into it the Nazi medical experimentation mindset through Operation Paperclip (initially through the USAF), Dulles’ secret surrender, etc., he might as well used the term popularized by Hegel: weltanschauung.
Judith Young, whose credentials are noted at the link, has a two-part article published, according to my printed copy, on October of 2008 at GlobalResearch.ca which speaks of how the perceptions and behavior of the populace are controlled “through mental and emotionl manipulation of the very reality it experiences” (shades of Elihu Katz ); she cites Aldous Huxley who spoke of a “method of control by which a people can be made to enjoy a state of affairs by which any decent standard they ought not to enjoy”. She discusses the experiments on dogs done by Martin Seligman and Steve Maier which gave us torture and documented the techniques of learned helplessness. She talks about Naomi Klein’s work on the shock doctrine of disaster capitalism; on the normalization of the abnormal, or the “re-shaping [of] our very construct of human nature in terms of its basest parameters, especially in the areas of acquisitiveness, violence, and sexuality” (any of that going on near you today?); on the disorientation of the ‘twixt and ‘tween; of Armen Victorian’s book “The Mind Controllers” (a summary is here) and the whole subject of experimentation, the disempowerment of which demonstrates “all too clearly the abnormal and grotesque nature of the oligarchy’s evil: the evil is so horrific to those with an open eye that they recoil utterly. There is a powerful Latin phrase for phenomena (such as incest) that are so far outside the archetypal realm of acceptability that they fall under a special category: “contra naturum.” The power elite’s audacity is indeed opposed to the very laws of nature. Rather than allowing our disbelief and horror to disable us, including our horror over dehumanization efforts that attempt to degrade the majesty of the human species, we must find the outrage needed to confront and eradicate it as an evil that is so aberrational as to be itself sub-human.”
“Within ten years soldiers could be equipped with transcranial magnetic stimulation devices or brain-computer interfaces, which would make it possible for their commanders to steer their emotions and to control their thoughts.”
Here are a few excerpts and highlights:
“… the potential consequences of mapping and decoding the brain could be more grave than any other scientific breakthrough in human history since it could affect the very concept of free will and individual autonomy …” [See James Giordano and Rachel Wurzman, ‘Neurotechnologies as Weapons in National Security and Defense – An Overview’, Synesis 2011, T:59. ]
“… The officially stated goal of the NSF BRAIN Initiative is “to generate an array of physical and conceptual tools needed to determine how healthy brains function over the lifespan of humans and other organisms; and to develop a workforce to create and implement these tools aimed at establishing a more comprehensive understanding of how thoughts, memories and actions emerge from the dynamic activities in the brain.” …”
National Science Foundation, “BRAIN: Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies”, NSF website, <http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/brain/initiative/>, accessed 3 October 2014.
“… The ethical concerns of neuroscientists are also grounded in previous government efforts to research ‘mind control’ during the Cold War. The CIA MK Ultra projects of 1953 to 1964, which included 149 subprojects in over 80 research institutions in three countries, were conducted alongside the chemical and biological warfare experimentation of the U.S. Army’s Special Operations Division. Some of the research aimed at the development of ‘truth drugs’, psychochemical warfare methods, and even at developing brain implants for remotely controlling the brains of test subjects.9 However, at least according to information in the public domain, nothing with an operational value has been produced in this period. Since scientific knowledge of the brain has dramatically increased over the last sixty years this could change very soon and make some of the fantastic goals of Project Artichoke/ MK Ultra research actually achievable. An increasing amount of bold claims about new methods of brain stimulation, synthetic telepathy, and indeed ‘mind control’ can be now found even in mainstream magazines and newspapers such as The Economist, The Washington Post, and Discover Magazine.10 What once seemed far out or ‘conspiracy theory’ has moved somewhat closer into the realm of possibility.
As the Royal Society report pointed out [see Royal Society, Brain Waves Module 3: Neuroscience, Conflict and Security (London: The Royal Society 2012). 9 Cheryl Welsh, ‘Cold War Nonconsensual Experiments: The Threat of Neuroweapons and the Danger It Will Happen Again’, Essex Human Rights Review 9/1 (June 2012), 1-32. ], there are two different goals of national security neuroscience research: ‘performance enhancement’ and ‘performance degradation’. …
Much less is known about the military’s efforts for developing methods that can degrade the mental performance of the enemy. The aforementioned National Research Council report [ see National Research Council, Emerging Cognitive Neuroscience and Related Technologies (Washington, DC: National Academies Press 2008), 129 ] suggests: “[t]he neurotechnology degradation market segment is completely underground with only speculative information available.” The report stresses: “This cognitive weapons market does exist…’…”
“Neurotechnologies could be used for degrading the performance of the enemy in various ways, which would enable friendly forces to defeat or neutralize an enemy without using direct violence. Neuroscience could improve existing weapons and methods of nonlethal warfare, e.g. PSYOPS and information warfare (including cyber war). It could also lead to the development of entirely new nonlethal weapons, which could be called ‘neuroweapons’. Robert McCreight suggests the following definition: “Neuroweapons are intended to influence, direct, weaken, suppress, or neutralize human thought, brainwave functions, perception, interpretation, and behaviors to the extent that the target of such weaponry is either temporarily or permanently disabled, mentally compromised, or unable to function normally.”25 This could be achieved through a variety of means: biochemical agents, directed energy weapons, and even information/ software.”
“… the alkaloid drug scopolamine is known for putting people exposed to it in a highly suggestible state, in which they lose their free will.28 Jonathan Moreno seems to be also concerned about future ‘brain targeted bioweapons’ that could alter behavior. Microbiologists have recently discovered mind- controlling parasites that can manipulate the behavior of their hosts according to their needs by switching genes on or off.29 Since human behavior is at least partially influenced by their genetics, nonlethal behavior modifying genetic bioweapons could thus be, in principle, possible. …”
“… Analyst James Dunnigan claimed that there “are radio transmitters that jam and short-circuit the human nervous system. This temporarily disables people the radio beams are aimed at.”37 In the future it might be possible to influence moods and mental capacity using the electromagnetic spectrum, thus induce passive, peaceful, riotous, or any other desirable behavior.”
“Information-/ Software Based Neuroweapons
Not all neuroweapons need to be of a physical nature – some might just consist of information that is designed to manipulate behavior or it could be software that hacks neural devices or implanted chips. DARPA has within its Biological Technologies Office a neuroscience-based project called ‘Narrative Networks’, which aims “to understand how narratives influence human cognition and behavior, and apply those findings in international security contexts.”38 The context to national security is to understand why certain narratives are believed and others not and how narratives can support terrorism. The used methods include research into how the brain responds to certain narratives and the development of computer models of how narratives affect individuals and social networks. Such research can be used to make propaganda or psychological operations more effective or to undermine the propaganda of an adversary. Military Information Support Operations already intersect with cyber security and cyber operations because of the existence of online communities and social networks through which information spreads and through which people can be influenced. Once neural devices are more commonly used and are connected to computers they could be hacked like any other piece of electronics, the difference being that it is not just the correct functioning of an external device that is at stake, but also the functioning of the minds of users. A hacker of neural device could alter brain waves, moods, mental state and capacity of the user and might even take control of a user’s body through a BCI to perform an unintended action.39 Such hacking of a neural device and thus a user could even permanently ‘rewire’ the brain of the user or ‘brainwash’ them. Less technologically sophisticated methods of ‘mind hacking’ are imaginable. Malicious software might attack the minds of users by manipulating the flicker rate of the monitor and by displaying subliminal messages on the screen that cannot be consciously perceived.40 Although the effectiveness of subliminal messages has been often dismissed, neuroscientists have found indications that subliminals do work in the sense of somewhat affecting the behavior of people who have been exposed to them.41
Threats and Challenges
The term ‘neurowarfare’ has been in use for several years to broadly describe the military utilization of neuroscience and technology (neuro S/T).42 From the current literature three different aspects of ‘neurowarfare’ can be distinguished: 1) neurowarfare as neuro enhancement of own personnel that allows them to perform better in terms of their cognitive abilities and decision-making; 2) neurowarfare as getting inside the heads of enemies for interrogation and strategic intelligence using neuro S/T; and 3) neurowarfare as neuro S/T enabled methods for influencing enemy behavior much more directly than mere PSYOPS. The ongoing academic debate on the potential future role of neuro S/T has already led some commentators to suggest that brains are becoming the new battlegrounds.43 The mind or ‘neurospace’ could soon emerge as a new distinct and most likely final domain of warfare after land, sea, air, outer space, and cyberspace.44”
“… All warfare is ultimately aimed at forcing the own will on the enemy and manipulating the enemy into accepting defeat and terminating hostilities. In the words of Richard Szafranski “[t]he object of war is, quite simply, to force or encourage the enemy to make what you assert is a better choice, or to choose what you desire the enemy to choose.”46 So it makes sense to direct most efforts and resources towards the psychological manipulation of the enemy instead of towards the physical destruction of things and the killing of people, which are really secondary to the subjugation of the enemy’s will…..”
“… Zach Lynch mentions in his book several Cold War era Russian research projects for the development of biochemical neuroweapons, such as Project Flute, which would be a neurotoxin that remains dormant until triggered by stress and then could “damage the nervous system, alter moods, trigger psychological changes, and even kill.”57 Military analyst Timothy Thomas has written more than a decade ago about the Chinese being interested in ‘new concept weapons’ for ‘human network attacks’, which include ‘infrasound weapons, lasers, microwave and particle beam weapons and incoherent light sources.’58 Given China’s growing economic prowess and its investments in neuroscience research, which already alarmed the NRC back in 2008, and its ability to conduct human experimentation on a sufficient scale necessary for developing neuroweapons, the country could leap far ahead of the West. Apart from the conventional military threat by state actors there could be also new security challenges on the horizon.
New Security Threats
Neuro S/T will lead to the emergence of some entirely new and nontraditional security threats, amongst them new challenges to state secrecy and new forms of terrorism. Adversaries might try to remotely monitor the mental processes of leaders or other people of interest. Developing computer models of their minds could enable adversaries to predict their behavior and decisions. Captured personnel could be forced to reveal secrets by scanning their brains or by hacking their brain implants. Since all electronic devices can be in be in principle be hacked, there is no reason to believe that neural devices would be any different. A hacker could remotely hack into brain implants and thereby possibly access and alter the mental states, emotions, thoughts, and memories of people. Unless extensive precautions are taken nobody could be save from having their mental processes monitored and potentially being remotely influenced.
In the 1950s the CIA tried to create ‘Manchurian candidates’, who could be programmed to carry out any mission without their knowledge or consent, in its Project Artichoke. The CIA tried drugs, hypnosis, electroshocks, and sensory deprivation, also in combination, but was ostensibly unsuccessful.59 More advanced methods of behavioral modification could make the programmable and unwitting assassin a reality…..”
“… James Giordano and Rachel Wurzman have pointed out “neurotechnology can be used to create weapons that may have unprecedented capacity to alter cognitions, emotions, beliefs, and behaviors of individuals, and groups – if not societies.” 65
“… it could be impossible for a prosecutor investigating war crimes to prove that a soldier whose brain controlled a weapons systems with a BCI has ‘willfully’ killed non- combatants and would be guilty of a war crime since Western legal standards have always distinguished between thought and action. 67….”
“… There are four general security strategies that can be considered in the context of developing a doctrine of neurodefense: detection, deterrence, reaction, and adaptation.
“… Timothy Thomas famously pointed out that ‘the mind has no firewall’. However, it would have to be a necessary to engineer something like a firewall for the human mind. For example, neural devices need to be designed from the beginning with security in mind.69 Relevant technology needs to be domestically and internationally controlled. Security services, law enforcement, and courts need to be sufficiently informed about the existence of potential neuroweapons technologies and need to be trained to investigate possible nefarious usage of such technology. The minds of soldiers and of political leaders might need to be shielded against attempts of remote influencing and remote mind control. More ambitiously, societies might even try to shape the neuroecology in a way that reduces opportunities for nefarious manipulation. These will be great challenges, but they are not insurmountable.”
“… many ideas for successful neurosecurity and defense can be learned from both biosecurity and cyber security. It will be possible to master these challenges. However, more important than neurodefense will be for society and decision-makers to figure out how to use neuro S/T for the betterment of humanity rather than for the perpetuation of human conflict and warfare while not at the same time crushing individual freedom and autonomy….”
Colonel Richard Szafranski, US Air Force.
Professor of National Security Studies, Air University.
Military Review: The Professional Journal of the United States Army. November 1994, pp. 41-55.
This is the key point: the effective employment of air and space power has to do not so much with airplanes and missiles and engineering as with thinking and attitude and imagination.
— General Merrill A. McPeak, USAF.
Military power resides in the domain of the mind and the will; the provinces of choice, “thinking,” valuing or “attitude;” and insight or “imagination…” Because of this, military power can increase in effectiveness even as it decreases in violence… Air and space operations help establish the essential preconditions for meeting national security political objectives without force… what I call neocortical warfare.
The aim (of neocortical warfare) is not merely to avoid battles. The aim is to cause the enemy to choose not to fight by exercising reflexive influence, almost parasympathetic control, over products of the adversary’s neocortex. In actively enjoining the minds of adversaries not to fight, we must understand the adversary’s culture, world view and the representational systems the adversary recognizes, values and uses to communicate intent.
[Ed.: Though I have not download it here (I did read it), this may be of interest to the distant citizen observer given current and recent events in the Caucasus, the intrigues around the Tsarnaev/Boston Marathon bombing trial, the conflict in the Ukraine, etc.
On page 11, for example, after the quote from Griffith’s tome On Guerilla Warfare about human will, we find retired Army Major General and former Commandant of the U.S. Army War College Robert Scales’ testimony that “The center of gravity in war is no longer the enemy’s army, it’s the enemy’s people” and an introduction to Szafranski’s “Neocortical Warfare”, and the idea of right-brain information warfare.
Later, on page 26: “Whoever gets to the people first, with ideas that stimulate self-interest, gains a decisive lead…” and, after a description of the methodology of the assassination of Dudayev, Alvin Toffler and his wife (remember The Third Wave?), on page 49:
“When a reporter can capture an event on a cellular phone camera and can transmit the image across the world in near-real-time, government information control—regardless of its intentions or that event’s context—is not so easy:
[T]he new media of the Third Wave include powerful new technologies that “de-massify” audiences and permit one-to-one customized communication. They also put cheap diffusion power in the hands of anyone with access to the Internet. Marshall McLuhan once wrote that the photocopying machine made everyone his or her own publisher. That was true on a tiny scale. The Internet makes everyone a potential media producer on a global scale.”]
“… The target system of information warfare can include every element in the epistemology of an adversary. Epistemology means the entire “organization, structure, methods, and validity of knowledge.” 17 In layperson’s terms, it means everything a human organism–an individual or a group–holds to be true or real, no matter whether that which is held as true or real was acquired as knowledge or as a belief. ….”
“… The US defense company DARPA has been interested in the human genome for years, and as you might expect from the company that’s created 99 percent of the world’s deadly robots, their interest isn’t purely for educational purposes. Skirting around the Human Chimera Prohibition Act is difficult, but they seem to be experimenting with various ways to engineer a “super soldier” with their research into the human genome.
One project in their 2013 budget projection sets aside $44.5 million to develop “biological systems that cross multiple scales of biological architecture and function, from the molecular and genetic level.” The goal is to enhance the soldier’s abilities in a warzone.
But here’s another project that’s, honestly, blatantly terrifying: Their Human Assisted Neural Devices program (on page 70 of the budget, if you want to look), sets a goal to “Determine whether networks of neurons can be differentially modulated through optogenetic neural stimulation in animal models.”
Optogenetics is an obscure branch of neuroscience that is used to, we kid you not, “manipulate neuronal activity and to control animal behaviour.”
And the budget goes on to specify that they hope to have a working demonstration of that technology on a “non-human primate” sometime this year, which indicates that they’re pretty far along, and definitely shows where they want to eventually go with the technology—zombie human supersoldiers…..”
— from September 2012 on DARPA’s experiments to create Military SuperSoldiers) [how much work has been done in three years?]
“The military’s most farseeing agency, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, required the services of Eleventh Hour‘s Jacob Hood in last night’s episode to figure who violently killed some test-chimps and a veterinarian in the agency’s super soldier program. It seems a mad scientist had found some way to increase the size of a human amygdala, which led the soldier to have extreme, and unthinking, fight-or-flight reactions. Whenever someone approached this super soldier in a threatening way, he reacted with extreme prejudice. Naturally, the mad scientist wasn’t supposed to be testing on people, which is why by the end of the show he was off to prison.
But DARPA is pretty serious about improving the, ahem, human component of soldiering. After decades of focusing on machines (like unmanned flying drones, GPS, and Internet), DARPA decided toward the end of the 1990s to focus on improving the actual biology of the soldiers. Contrary to the show, the goal is not extremely obedient killers. The modern military is focused on small teams functioning independently, far from base and reinforcements of any kind. To succeed in this kind of environment, they want to actually increase the ability of soldiers to think creatively, to stay awake longer, and to be physically active longer without becoming tired.
With a major hat tip to Wired‘s excellent Dangerous Nation blog, here’s a sample of the lines of research DARPA is pursuing: Studying how dolphins are able to sleep with just half their brains, figuring how Iditarod sled dogs can run thousands of miles without depleting their fat and glycogen reserves, and how to copy a pig’s ability to eat just about anything.
Not everyone is comfortable with this kind of souped up people, though. In 2002, Congress panicked about funding an army of super men. Administrator Michael Goldblatt, one of the most enthusisatic futurists in government, was booted out, and DARPA dialed back some of its activities, or at least, dialed back the names of the work. But they also shifted some funding away from biological activities and toward advanced materials. MIT, for one, came in for a $50 million Army grant to use nanotechnology to build the super suit of the future. Maybe we can be a little more comfortable with that.
The next frontier of genetic modification is not centered around a certain fruit or vegetable, but humans. More specifically, military personnel. Genetically modified humans is the next venture for biotechnology companies working with the United States military, with the admitted goal of producing a ‘super soldier’ that does not require food or sleep to perform Olympic-style physical feats.
The genetically modified humans, or ‘super soldiers’, will even be able to regrow limbsthat were destroyed by enemy fire and live off of their fat stores for extreme lengths of time.
Backed by $2 billion a year in funding, the Pentagon’s Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently unleashed the news after years of secret experimentation and study. The organization did not say whether or not genetically modified humans currently exist to such an extent, however it is known based on previous reports that human chimeras have already been created outside of the public spotlight. Such scientific experiments have drawn fire from scientists and activists alike, who are demanding for laws to forbid the creation of ‘monsters’.
As of right now, DARPA has a functioning exoskeleton that enables soldiers to run far faster and handle heavy weights. This is but a step in the direct of full modification of the genetic coding of soldiers.
DARPA, of course, has earned the nickname of the ‘mad scientist’ wing for its rampant experiments in modifying life and fusing biology and technology. In working with killer drones, DARPA earlier this year was developing research into contact lens-mounted displays that could transport information from drones into the eyeballs of soldiers. Furthermore, the agency is also developing helmets in which the soldiers could communicate ‘telepathically’ with the kill drones.
The announcement ties in with the 2045 project, which I’ve covered in the past. The project offers ‘immortality’ to the wealthy elite who financially back it, and touts artificial bodies and brains for humans to achieve ‘immortality’. This entire system, of course, ties into a larger ‘singularity’ project as outlined by the creator of the 2045 plan and others like Ray Kurzweil. In a nut shell, ‘consciousness singularity’ can be defined by a merging of all ‘transhuman’ bodies into one ‘hive mind’ of sorts. Likely a massive super computer of some sorts that has full control over the minds of those ‘hooked in’.
It truly sounds insane, yet it is plainly stated out in the open. A number of issues arise from this singularity plan (not to even mention the fact that ‘soldiers’ are slowly becoming more of DARPA creations than human), such as the serious threat to humanity’s very integrity. We’ve seen the many issues regarding traditional GMOs on public health and the environment, now what about human modification?
“… One of the things that Dr. de Hart and I encountered over and over again in our research for Transhumanism: A Grimoir of Alchemical Agendas, was not only the alchemical nature of the phenomenon, but the idea of the super-soldier as being one of the goals.
I hope you caught the massive implications of what is being said in this article. First, notice the budget of $2 billion dollars being spent to realize this Frankenstein nightmare, and that’s just the funding we know about. Imagine, when added to this, all the money being gleaned from black budgets and all their murky sources of “financing.”
But second, notice the blatant return to a theme we heard coming out of the crazed and hoarse voices in Germany in the 1930s, and their race to create the Aryan superman, the “human” super-being bereft of normal human compassion. Consider just these two statements:
“Some of the medical feats DARPA would like to enhance are the ability of military soldiers to regrow limbs destroyed in battle.”
“Scientists are researching the construction of soldiers that feel no pain, terror and do not suffer from fatigue as tests on the wiring of the human brain are furthered by Jonathan Moreno, professor of bioethics at Pennsylvania State University. Moreno is working with the DoD in understanding neuroscience.”
Combining these two statements yields a being that feels no pain, and presumably no terror from the threat of death precisely because it can regrow limbs (and therefore, potentially repair any other injury). In short, one is dealing with a kind of virtual immortality, and that of a soldier.
I submit that when one loses this basic fear, in the full knowledge that no rational harm can come to it, that this being will lose normal human compassion: the temptation will be to see such a super-soldier as a sort of god. After all, the ancient gods, from Yahweh to Marduk and Errakal and Zeus, viewed a different way, were but warlords, and immortal ones at that. That this consequence – the immortal and a-moral super-soldier – seems to be in mind is evidenced in the following remark:
“While Roger Pitman, professor of psychiatry at Harvard University is experimenting with propranolol which is a beta blocker that is believed to erase “terrifying memories”, soldiers are subjected to more research while serving to alleviate the psychological effects of war. Moreno explains: ‘The problem is: what else are they blocking when they do this? Do we want a generation of veterans who return without guilt?’”
What is disturbing is that the lessons of history do not seem to have been learned. What we are reading here is an immoral purpose being conceived for science; what we are reading here is Nazism’s Aryan super-man, Nietzsche’s Uebermensch, Stalin’s “New Soviet Man,” updated and made palatable, because surely it cannot happen here. After all, we are a democracy.
It is a tale as old as humanity itself, from Greece to Giza, from Babylon to the Bible, from the Vedas to Viracocha, the story is told over an over, for it too, is a lesson not of myth, but of history: for having created the ultimate creature, the gods soon learned that they had made it far too intelligent and powerful, and that it was a threat to them. DARPA appears to have read the texts, but misunderstood the lesson.”
The Good Strangers program, also known as SSIM
(Strategic Social Interaction Modules)
For the past few years MacroCognition LLC has been part of DARPA’s Strategic Social Interaction Modules (SSIM) program, nicknamed The Good Strangers project. The goal of this project is to train military and police to elicit voluntary, rather than coercive compliance, and to build trust rather than resentment. MacroCognition performed cognitive task analysis interviews to identify the most important Good Stranger skills, and is consulting with BBN to apply these lessons to design a beyond-the-state-of-the-art interaction simulation. MacroCognition is also part of a team to develop innovative training methods for becoming a Good Stranger.
Klein, H.A., & Klein, G. (2013, May). Cultivating good will amidst hostility. Paper presented at The 11th International Conference on Naturalistic Decision Making, Marseille, France.
[Ed.: I have been reading about John Boyd and his OODA loop since the turn of the century. I was particularly struck by its applications in computer science, in military science, in 9/11 and in sports. The OODA loop is taught to USAF rugby teams, among others.
As the father of two elite athletes who read widely and excerpted the high-points of hundreds of books into an e-book about sports and performance pyshology, I have been a student of how the human mind works for about the same time; hence, the intersection or overlap. I have also applied this knowledge as a planner and educator to systems of emergency response.
I have also been a student of the martial discipline of aikido; the reference in Major Tremblay’s paper to Miyamoto Musashi is fascinating, since Morihei Ueshiba and his lineage of aikido instructors — notably including Richard Strozzi Heckler — also preach awareness, shaping the environment, and more. There is a reference to time and space, and one of the essential components in any martial art is that of ma, and of ma-ai.
I am presently digesting three books by Dr. Joe Dispenza. These describe the ways in which the human mind interacts with the body. My exploration of Dispenza is an extension of my having read Restak, Sesjnowski, Ratey, Gelb, Johnson, Senge, Gardner, Csikszentmihalyi, Murphy, Nachmanovitch, Booth, Gallwey, Orlick, Ravizza, Langer, and LeDoux.
I am struck hard by the references in Major Tremblay’s paper on pages nine and ten — and their overlap with similar references in some of the papers noted above about DARPA developments in neuro-cognitive weaponization — to the human nervous system.
“As Dr. Margaret Polski recently articulated in her book Wired for Survival: Rational (And Irrational) Choices from the Gas Pump to Terrorism: “the nervous system is a bio-electro- chemical signaling and information system that links all sensory, mental and physical activity at cellular, molecular, and neural levels.” She goes on to state that this incredibly complex system influences behavior through four main mechanisms: “voluntary actions of the muscles (somatic systems), involuntary actions of the smooth muscles, heart and glands (autonomic systems), the endocrine system and the immune system.”22
The nervous system is comprised of the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) and the peripheral nervous system (a supporting collection of spinal and cranial nerves). The inputs and outputs of the central nervous system are influenced by incoming sensory information conveyed by the peripheral nervous system. This is to say that our thoughts, choices, and actions are inextricably linked to the outside world.23 This physiological description is another way to view the difference between outside inputs to observation (those that are picked up by the peripheral nervous system) and those implicit inputs such as feedback loops (those mobilized by central nervous system in preparation and anticipation) of expectant observations.”
I am alarmed — given the rhetoric from the current administration through its Department of Homeland Security and the NDAA legislation that certain classes or types of American citizens must be perceived as potential if not real enemies — with the intersection of the application of the OODA loop, already known and described as widely taught within US military training and doctrine — with the observations of Dr. Gary Klein, an expert on decision-making and a DARPA consuitant, about story-telling and narrative-shaping — and the research done by Professor Krishnan in his paper on psy-ops and neurowarfare. It cannot be denied that the US government (or at least some of its more prominent rogue operators) have been deeply involved in the creation of psy-ops aimed at the American population through the mainstream media, the social media, the weaponization of the Internet by the NSA, et al.
If we are in a world in which toddlers are becoming closely acquainted with the use of androids, then shaping narratives and other forms of brain-washing through the media and education come into focus. If those also involve neurowarfare, our brains and our freedoms — at both the individual and the societal level — are cooked.
If existing and repeated legislation identifies those whose opinions about the policies and governance of the nation differ from those who currently hold the power in a lock-tight grip of control and influence as enemies of the state…;
If journalists and whistle-blowers are targets for intimidation, legal assault, jail time, and even assassination…;
If the administrations of Bush and Obama and their “neocon henchmen — including State, Justice, Homeland Security, DARPA and other components — have been highjacked by
“… incestuous amplification hijacks the orientation of an individual’s OODA loop by overriding actual observations to a point where the subsequent orientation induces the individual to perceive and act on what he or she wants to see rather than what actually is.”
then we have every reason to fear the possibility of neuro-warfare being conducted on and against the unwitting and unaware American people.
Do I have reason to be alarmed?
Were the Gilroys and the others who were involved in the creation of The Bourne Legacy issuing a warning out of genuine concern, or engaged in predictive programming or the pre-establishment of yet another traumatizing fear?
I’ve been doing a customized three-step dance in which I am catching up with substantial personal medical change and detail (for the better), and shifting gears in terms of the local climate; it’s spring which, in these parts, jumps to summer pdq, and so it is getting warmer, which necessitates a change in clothing, internal apartment air flow, re-arranging lots of space inside a small apartment, moving bookcases, desks, re-wiring things, and un-packing old boxes (in which I have found a few old surprises — oh, that’s where that disappeared to) which you will continue to see in mild form in the not-too-distant future.
I’ve tried to stay current over at Occurrences , and have been drafting and polishing several substantially large pieces for BoyDownTheLane and The Sullen Bell.
Coming soon will be a good deal of material that will sway back and forth across the corpus callosum both topically and between those two sites.
Expect something next week that will extend in one case for a week and in the other for months.
And then there’s all those goodies I’ve been packing away ….