When Obama promised American veterans that he is planning to “improve” their health and the health of current military troops, he mentioned one “idea” that centered on the development of a new computer chip designed to modulate the nervous system that promises to cure anything and everything from arthritis to post-traumatic stress syndrome. While it sounds promising, especially for those veterans and the disabled, it comes with a price.
The work will be headed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, a program ran by the Pentagon to develop high-tech equipment under the Electrical Prescriptions program or ElectRx. The programs manager, Doug Weber, says “it would it work similar to a pacemaker, “continually assessing conditions and providing stimulus to maintain healthy organ function using their body’s own systems.”
According to a joint fact sheet released by the Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs, the $78.9 million, five year research program, is part of Obama’s larger “Brain Initiative,” to develop minimally invasive neuro-technologies. The Brain Initiative also involves the National Institutes of Health, DARPA, the National Science Foundation and the FDA, among others.
When I said it came with a price I wasn’t necessarily talking money. For a more candid look at the Pentagon’s long standing interest in neuroscience you should read “Mind Wars” by Jonathan Moreno of the University of Pennsylvania. The book was originally published in 2006 but was updated and re-released in 2013. According to Moreno, the Pentagon’s interest in neuro-technologies dates back many years and includes the ability to enhance soldier’s capabilities as well as disable and monitor the minds of our enemies.
One of the most disturbing lines of research examined by Monreno involved neural implanted electrodes, which lead to the development of the cochlea implant that restores hearing in the deaf by feeding signals from microphones into the auditory nerve but, such development could also be used to create bionic soldiers and control earth’s population.
The National Security Agency has already developed a method of mind control called Remote Neural Monitoring (RNM) which according to MindTech Sweden is expected to be used also for crime detection and investigation. Helsingin Sanomat, the largest newspaper in Scandinavia wrote in 1999 that neuro-electromagnetic “ involuntary human experimentation” had been going on within the so-called “vulnerable population” for about 50 years, in the U.S., Japan and Europe, in the name of ‘science or national security’ in the “worst Nazi-type testing,” contrary to human rights. “Physical and psychological torture of mind control victims today is like the worst horror movies only, unlike the horror movies, it is true.”
Mind control technology in the US is classified under “non-lethal” weaponry but that is deceiving because the technology is lethal. Death comes slowly in the form of ‘normal’ illnesses such as cancer, leukemia, heart attacks, Alzheimer’s, etc.
Human enhancement used by the military to create more effective soldiers today consists of caffeine and amphetamines to keep troops alert, “go-pills” for pilots on long-distance missions, modafinil (a cognitive enhancer), dietary supplements and even gene therapy and God only knows what long term effective this has already had on our veterans.
Established standards in biomedical ethics govern the research stage of experimentation on human subjects but ‘military necessity’ or the exigencies of war can justify actions that are otherwise impermissible. Of course, our current president doesn’t follow any law he disagrees with so one can only guess what type of precedent that sets for future administrations! Bionic soldiers, mind control, the possibilities for abuse are enormous! Think Total Recall!
As history has shown over and over, the proliferation of every invented military technology is the norm. In the case of neural technology, while it may produce medical breakthroughs for the treatment of injuries and illness, but in the hands of a rogue government?
In changing human biology we also may be changing the assumptions behind existing laws of war and human ethics. In the real world “mutant powers” really do matter. Do we trust our government leaders or future government leaders with this type of technology?
If the last decade has taught us nothing, it has taught us that we live in an ‘us versus them world.’ Us being the citizens with rights guaranteed under our Constitution and them being the governing elite who would sell their own grandmother to stay in power. If anyone puts an electrode into your brain, your brain can be controlled.
“Man does not have the right to develop his own mind. . .We must electrically control the brain. . .” Dr. Jose M.R. Delgado, directorof Neuro Psychiatry, Yale Medical School, 1974