News Stories

Brain Weapons

The way to win a war? Control your soldiers' MINDS. It sounds like a movie plot (NOTE: This special interview is just for subscribers), but it's TRUE: The Pentagon has starting a six-year, $49 million effort to deploy extreme neuroscience and biotechnology to fight wars. And the infamous "drones" that we use in Iraq and Afghanistan may soon be put to use in civilian life. Is this the end of privacy?

In Wired.com, Noah Shachtman writes, "For years, armed forces and intelligence community researchers have toyed with ways of manipulating minds. During the Cold War, the CIA and the military allegedly plied the unwitting with dozens of psychoactive drugs, in a series of zany (and sometimes dangerous) mind-control experiments. More recently, the Pentagon's most revered scientific advisory board warned in 2008 that adversaries could develop enhancements to their 'cognitive capabilities, and thus create a threat to national security.' The Pentagon has funded projects to optimize troop's minds, prevent injuries, preemptively assess vulnerability to traumatic stress, and even conduct 'remote control of brain activity using ultrasound.'"

Is there a civilian use for the drones that the US is using to bomb enemy sites in Iraq and Afghanistan? (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this show). They could be used by law enforcement agencies to spy on criminals. They could also be used by private investigators to track misbehaving spouses in divorce cases. A "drone" unmanned aircraft costs only a few hundred dollars to build and can be controlled with an iPhone. In the Wall Street Journal, Siobhan Gorman quotes celebrity photo agency CEO Gary Morgan as saying, "It would strike fear in the hearts of every celebrity having a birthday party." Gorman quotes divorce lawyer Raoul Felder as saying, "If the Israelis can use them to find terrorists, certainly a husband is going to be able to track a wife who goes out at 11 o'clock at night and follow her." She quotes Israeli Special Forces operative Aaron Cohen as saying, "I'm all for it, if the paparazzi want to use drones and get off the streets and stop crashing into each other."

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