What if the government could change people's moral beliefs or stop political dissent through remote control of people's brains?
Sounds like science fiction, right? Well, a leaked document reveals that the US government, through DARPA research, is very close to accomplishing this.
Activist Post was recently contacted by an anonymous whistleblower who worked on a secret ongoing mind-control project for DARPA. The aim of the program is to remotely disrupt political dissent and extremism by employing "Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation" (TMS) in tandem with sophisticated propaganda based on this technology. TMS stimulates the temporal lobe of the brain with electromagnetic fields.
The program, conducted by The Center for Strategic Communication, is based at Arizona State University. The DARPA funding for this project can be confirmed on the ASU website here. The head of the project, Steve Corman, has worked extensively in the area of strategic communication as it applies to terrorism and "extremism" - or what could be called "the war of ideas."
Corman's latest project Narrating The Exit From Afghanistan and his many presentations make it quite obvious that the mission is to shape the narrative and literally change people's minds. Lest one believe it will be contained to overseas extremists, we should keep in mind that the word extremist is increasingly used domestically. The dissenters of yesterday could easily become the terrorist sympathizers and supporters of political violence tomorrow.
This DARPA research brings about many ethical questions and dilemmas. Mainly, this research aims to literally induce or disrupt the operation of narratives within the brain. In other words, this research aims to stop individuals from thinking certain thoughts and make others believe things they normally would not believe. This research has tremendous interrogation possibilities and could potentially be used to more successfully spread propaganda or stop political upheaval to an unsuspecting public.
This research is being conducted by The Center for Strategic Communication at ASU and is entitled “Toward Narrative Disruptors and Inductors: Mapping the Narrative Comprehension Network and its Persuasive Effects” A detailed overview of the project can be found in the document below. Highlights include:
In phase 3 of the research, the research group will “selectively alter aspects of narrative structure and brain functions via Transcranial Magnetic Simulation (TMS) to induce or disrupt selected features of narrative processing.” (Page 16, emphasis added)
TMS is a very powerful tool used to impair the brain functioning of individuals. See the videos below for a brief demonstration of the effects of TMS.
Once the research group determines which parts of the brain are associated with cognitive reasoning and narrative comprehension, they will be attempt to impair those sections in order to “create a fundamental basis for understanding how to disrupt or enhance aspects of narrative structure and/or brain functioning to minimize or maximize persuasive effects on subject proclivity to engage in political violence.” (Page 23)
Once it is determined that disruption of certain portions of the brain can enhance persuasive messaging, individuals can be persuaded to do things they normally would not do and believe things they normally would not believe. This could include something as simple as telling a closely guarded secret, to believing in government propaganda, or even committing a violent act. The group writes on page 26, “once we have produced a narrative comprehension model [i.e., how individuals comprehend stories and persuasive messages], end users [aka the government] will understand how to activate known neural networks (e.g., working memory or attention) and positive behavioral outcome (e.g., nonviolent actions) nodes with strategic communication messages as a means to reduce incidences of political violence in contested populations.” The group will investigate “possibilities for literally disrupting the activity of the NCN [narrative comprehension network] through Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation.” (page 30) [text added]
The group is so confident that they will be able to induce or disrupt the operations of narratives in the brain, that they say on page 26 that the research “offers the capability to induce or disrupt the operation of narratives in the brain, and develops the capability to induce narrative validity [i.e., the believability of a particular narrative/message], transportation [i.e., the ability to be engaged by a narrative], and integration [i.e., associating a particular narrative with a larger, more culturally specific narrative] with certainty.” [text added]
The group gives the following example of this projects usefulness: “If it is the case that activation in one particular neural network enables people to connect personal narrative to master narratives [i.e., cultural narratives], by disrupting activity in that brain area, we should be able to selectively impair that specific aspect of narrative processing while holding other meaning making processes constant, effectively creating a ‘narrative disruptor.’ Not only would this be an important finding in the science of neural networks and narrative persuasion, but would also have considerably practical and strategic importance.” (page 40) [text added]
Essentially, the research aims to literally disrupt how people think and comprehend ideas and messages.
Further, and perhaps even more terrifying, on page 40, the group writes, “Mechanical disruptions of narrative processing may be, ultimately, replicated in through targeted strategic communication campaigns that approximate the narrative disruptions induced via magnetic stimulation.” So, after figuring out which parts of the brain are activated by particular persuasive messages and propaganda, the government can test out messages that only activate particular portions of the brain and not others, in order to persuade individuals to believe or not believe something.
Essentially, they are attempting to modify brain functioning without TMS, and only words. One can only imagine the strategies the government could use with this technology. They could make the public believe almost anything that suits their needs. It could literally lead to mass brainwashing.
But what does this mean, practically? It means that if this research succeeds, the government will be able to modify how one personally thinks. They could strap you in a chair, put a machine to your head, turn off parts of your brain, introduce a persuasive message, and make you believe it.
Further, through extensive research, they may be able to replicate the machine’s brain disrupting functioning simply through carefully crafted and researched persuasive messages and propaganda. They can use brain imaging to determine which portions of the brain are activated when a particular message is presented to an individual, and if the “right” portions are activated, they know the message will circumvent one’s mental reasoning and lead to almost automatic acceptance. With enough data, the government could spread propaganda through the media that people will almost automatically believe, whether it is true or not.
In terms of interrogation possibilities, Transcranical Magnetic Stimulation can be forced upon individuals to make them believe certain things, say certain things, and perhaps admit to acts they did not actually commit (as the TMS can induce narrative validity), or commit acts they normally would not commit.
The government is literally trying to brainwash the public. This is not science fiction. Technology has made it possible to induce and disrupt cognitive functioning in individuals. In the future, your thoughts may not be your own, but ones that have been implanted into your brain through exceedingly successful and validated propaganda.
Meeting notes indicate concern about how the project will be perceived, particularly the focus on the Christian/Muslim element.
Note: As you can see, Scribd has taken down the documents. While we attempt to get them restored, here are the mirror links:
Toward Narrative Disruptors and Inductors: Mapping the Narrative Comprehension Network and its Persuasive Effects
In 2002 The Economist noted that neuroscience would be the future of mind control. Well, now we're evidently here. This area of study has received $100 million in funding via Obama's ten-year BRAIN Project, as well as a $1.3 billion commitment from Europe. The human brain is seen as the final frontier, and is being explored from every angle conceivable.
The above investments are openly discussed. The same is true for the National Nanotechnology Initiative 2011 Strategic Plan. This 60-page document lays out a projected future "to understand and control matter" for the management of every facet of human life in the areas of environment, health and safety. Twenty-five U.S. Federal agencies are participating.
Concurrently, there is heavy military funding through agencies such as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). This raises the question of transparency when a "black budget" often justifies total secrecy in the name of national security.
Advancements in neuroscience are coming at an exponential rate, as each day seems to headline a new breakthrough. For example, it recently has been announced that:
The 'Google Earth' of 3D Brain Maps is Here
"Neural Dust" is being researched, which could enable remote spying on the human brain.
A new microchip can mimic the brain and imitate the brain's information processing in real time. These are mainstream announcements and can no longer be dismissed as conspiracy theory.
For now, there appears to be a lot of parsing of words within the ASU project to stress that this is about "persuasion" not "influence" which can be seen in the meeting notes. It's also repeatedly mentioned that there is not a desire to organically change the brain itself, but to focus on the story being told and how to properly disseminate information -- propaganda, in other words. Finally, there is the troubling note about focusing on the Christian/Muslim narrative as exemplary of the extremism which needs to be reprogrammed.
Given what we know about the other military research into direct mind control, any benign assertions of this project at ASU must be called into question. The fact that members of this group were divided into teams red and blue to construct arguments for and against if word were to get out to "activists" and the public is additionally troubling.
If we combine all of this information with other releases about The Pentagon's work with "narrative networks," reported on by the BBC, it becomes clear that now is the time to discuss ethics, as no one in the scientific and military communities seems eager to bring possible attacks on our free will to the forefront.
Will you take the red pill or the blue pill?