Monday, December 12, 2005

Brain Machine Interface and other Military Shenanigans

Much of this is based on an article I read in Walrus magazine.

A research project at Duke University has aimed to join thought to action in a very literal sense in recent years. A few months ago, a lab monkey moved a robotic arm in a lab 1000km away just by thinking about doing it. This technology, called Brain Machine Interface, would make it possible for people to control military machinery, such as tanks, from abroad just through thought alone. Another piece of military hardware being developed by the military right now hearkens back to the Reagan Era, when he was pushing "Star Wars." Space will definitely be indispensible to war in the new millenium. This hardware has been given the name "rods from God," and it consists of tungsten bolts that can be dropped from space with unerring precision on even small targets anywhere on the planet with destructive impact.

In the 1960s, the CIA conducted experiments with subjects who watched tv and films. They found that moving images produced a shift between left-brain and right-brain activity, inducing a chemical trance that suppresses judgement and heightens suggestibility. In other words, the audience of moving images were very often inculcated with the message and values of the programming. While this research might be invalidated by the century-long exposure to moving images, the fifty years of exposure to tv, and the related increase in visual literacy, several recent meetings between Hollywood magnates and the Pentagon confirm that many in power maintain a belief in the results of these studies.

In 1995, Hollywood and the Pentagon met to discuss allowing the Pentagon access to technology of digital manipulation that would allow them to fabricate news stories. A hypothetical case might portray an important leader of Iran spouting anti-American rhetoric in the same speech he openly proclaimed Iran's intention to pursue a vigorous nuclear weapons program. With such invented news coverage, they could mobilize support for various military interventions. Such programs advocated by the Pentagon fall under the purview of "Psyops" or psychological operatives, several of whom already work for CNN. One psyop plan included the projection of a huge holographic image of Allah over Baghdad that urged Iraqis to overthrow Hussein. But the problem of how they would visually depict Allah siderailed the project.

In 2003, several top Hollywood directors again met with the Pentagon, and this time the deal was that the government offered the directors access to military technology such as F-18s in exchange for editorial control of the films. According to insiders, they don't suggest changes some of the time, they always demand changes. They have done this in coordination with the release of video games that involve the player in a virtual version of the war in Iraq to recruit new soldiers for the war, and to retain the ones they already have.

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