Thursday, 29 May 2014

Pentagon Plans to Implant Chips in Brains of Veterans

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The Pentagon is planning to implant veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with small electronic sensors that will map their brains. The project will proceed with the help of a $30-million grant provided by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

According to a statement released by Massachusetts General Hospital — the creator of the chip — the “deep brain stimulation (DBS) device … will monitor signals across multiple brain structures in real time.”

“Our goal is to take DBS to the next level and create an implantable device to treat disorders like PTSD and TBI. Together with our partners we’re committed to developing this technology, which we hope will be a bold new step toward treating those suffering from these debilitating disorders,” said Dr. Emad Eskandar, director of functional neurosurgery at Massachusetts General Hospital and the project’s principal investigator.

Draper Laboratory, a non-profit research group with experience in the development of “miniaturized smart medical devices,” will partner with Massachusetts General and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in creating the brain implant.

In a description of its work that sounds more Manchurian Candidate and less treatment for depressions and PTSD, Draper Laboratory reports that its “emphasis has shifted to research in innovative space navigation topics, intelligent systems that rely on sensors and computers to make autonomous decisions.”

DARPA will pay to manipulate the minds of military veterans as part of its support of President Obama’s brain mapping initiative.

On April 2, 2013, President Obama announced his plan to spend $100 million to “revolutionize our understanding of the human mind.”

Dubbed the BRAIN Initiative — short for Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies — the program calls on the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and DARPA to kickstart the research.

Describing the brain-mapping project as one of his administration’s “Grand Challenges,” the president explained the goal behind the grants:

Imagine if no family had to feel helpless watching a loved one disappear behind the mask of Parkinson’s or struggle in the grip of epilepsy. Imagine if we could reverse traumatic brain injury or PTSD for our veterans who are coming home. Imagine if someone with a prosthetic limb can now play the piano or throw a baseball as well as anybody else, because the wiring from the brain to that prosthetic is direct and triggered by what's already happening in the patient's mind. What if computers could respond to our thoughts or our language barriers could come tumbling down. Or if millions of Americans were suddenly finding new jobs in these fields — jobs we haven’t even dreamt up yet — because we chose to invest in this project.

Freeing the human race from disease is a noble endeavor, but perhaps President Obama should explain how the military’s super-secret research and development group (DARPA) is going to help.

DARPA’s funding of the new brain chip to be implanted in veterans answers that question in part. In a statement announcing its participation in BRAIN, DARPA set out its vision for “support[ing] national security” through a “better understanding of [the] human brain.”

To help keep the country safe, DARPA declares, it will focus on the following aspects of the function of the human brain:

DARPA plans to explore two key areas to elicit further understanding of the brain. New tools are needed to measure and analyze electrical signals and the biomolecular dynamics underpinning brain function. Researchers will also explore, abstract and model the vast spectrum of brain functions by examining its incredible complexity.

And:

DARPA’s planned investment includes new programs to address the areas outlined and ongoing efforts designed to advance fundamental understanding of the brain’s dynamics to drive applications (Revolutionizing Prosthetics, Restorative Encoding Memory Integration Neural Device, Reorganization and Plasticity to Accelerate Injury Recovery, Enabling Stress Resistance), manufacture sensing systems for neuroscience applications (Reliable Neutral Interface Technology, Blast Gauge), and analyze large data sets (Detection and Computational Analysis of Psychological Signals).

Readers will rightly be concerned about the president’s plan to order DARPA to fiddle with the minds of veterans in the name of “national security.” We all should be equally concerned about the future expansion of the project to include civilian threats to the homeland.

In fact, Dr. Eskandar may have tipped the president’s hand in a statement published in the Massachusetts General press release. “Our hope is that this project will not only restore quality of life for those affected, both military and civilian, but dramatically change the way we approach the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders,” the doctor said. (Emphasis added.)

It isn’t beyond the pale of the imagination to foresee a federal initiative to identity and implant these chips in the brains of those believed to pose a potential threat to public safety. The use of tragedies to justify tyranny is typical of President Obama and others anxious to assume control over the population.

Do not misunderstand. The forces committed to severing the fetters of the Constitution are adroit at arousing the passions of the Right and the Left. They have no partisan preference. Their single-minded mission is to subtly shepherd this nation (and all others) along the gently sloping road to Gomorrah, and they will syncretize the evangelical fury of all political denominations willfully and gleefully toward the worldwide establishment of their own debauched dogma: slavery is freedom.

As The New American has chronicled, DARPA is playing a central role in the long-term goal.

In March 2013, Esquire magazine’s Luke Dittrich highlighted the president’s plan to map the mind, questioning the participation of DARPA in something that has been portrayed by the official media as a way to “alleviate the symptoms of warriors' mental problems.” 

In his research, Dittrich uncovered a paper by a few of the scientists involved in the BRAIN Initiative that reveals a more sinister aspect of the government’s quest to understand the mind. The paper — entitled “The Brain Activity Map Project and the Challenge of Functional Connectomics” — includes predictions of the development of “techniques for wireless, noninvasive readout of the activity of neuronal populations.” 

In simpler terms, this research would allow those in control of the discoveries gleaned from this program to wirelessly access and control the brains of target populations.

Consider this excerpt from the academic study, as well:

This emergent level of understanding could also enable accurate diagnosis and restoration of normal patterns of activity to injured or diseased brains, foster the development of broader biomedical and environmental applications, and even potentially generate a host of associated economic benefits.

“Restoration of normal patterns” takes on an eery aspect when viewed in concert with the DARPA connection.

Rittich recognized this potential for less-than-noble application in his article. He writes:

I'm not saying that the President's brain-mapping project is a bad idea. As he put it in his State of the Union address, it could help "unlock the answers to Alzheimer's," among other worthy goals. But I do think it's worth considering that this same project is also a DARPA-associated endeavor that could lead to the development of the first truly sci-fi caliber mind-control technology.

Here are some questions no one is asking: Will these implantations be done voluntarily? Or, will the Veterans Administration (VA) nominate veterans for the procedure based on some criteria created by bureaucrats and known only to the Obama administration and its apparatchiks? 

Technology blog Endgadget reports that it may be a while before those questions are answered. "Affected veterans will have to wait a while to see results. Clinical trials for the implants aren't expected until five years from now, and it'll take longer still for a wide-scale deployment," it reports.

Endgadget reports that “researchers want to be cautious and avoid the ethical problems inherent to altering someone's mind.” 

One question more: If President Obama were interested only in relieving the suffering of veterans, would he not immediately clean house at the VA and refuse to allow the secretive DARPA to have a hand in his plan to control the brains of veterans?

These questions will, like the others, go unanswered, and veterans may soon become guinea pigs for government experimentation once again.

Regardless, what is known is that with millions of tax dollars deposited by BRAIN into its research coffers, DARPA can begin planning to identify brain activity typical of those who could potentially pose a threat to national security. These threats could be eliminated by bringing such citizens into a federal government lab run by the National Institutes of Health to have their “diseased” brains healed and returned to “normal” function.

 

Joe A. Wolverton, II, J.D. is a correspondent for The New American and travels nationwide speaking on nullification, the Second Amendment, the surveillance state, and other constitutional issues.  Follow him on Twitter @TNAJoeWolverton and he can be reached at

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