• Government claims program is to help soldiers with stress syndrome; others fear ramifications.
By Shane Smith —
Reports have recently emerged that the United States Navy is researching the benefits and pitfalls of microchips in servicemen for the purpose of tracking them and their health as well as even, possibly, delivering some forms of bio-technology to them.
The Daily Mail reported on June 16 that the chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group met with presidential candidate and self-described “transhumanist” Zoltan Istvan to discuss the ups and downs of soldiers with microchips embedded in their bodies, both authorized and unauthorized.
Istvan, a candidate for the U.S. presidency that doesn’t appear on any ballots, says that the Navy is concerned about the risks that unauthorized microchips, embedded in soldiers, posed for national security. The meeting with Istvan was ostensibly to begin the process of developing a policy for personnel that enter military service with microchips already embedded in their bodies.
Istvan, who campaigns on the slogan, “Let’s make Americans immortal,” is a firm believer in the inevitability of a microchipped future for all Americans, something he looks forward to. If such a future is our fate, it would make sense that the military would take note and prepare.
But what’s the more likely motivation for the Navy’s interest in microchipped soldiers: that, suddenly, potential recruits will be filled with biotech that could affect the security of the military, or the potential for microchips to create a better, more resilient, more obedient soldier?
It wouldn’t be the first time for a government agency to toy with the idea of microchipped supersoldiers. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has been actively developing technology that would allow soldiers to become implanted with microchips and has already had success in the field. In the 2015 book, The Pentagon’s Brain: An Uncensored History of DARPA, America’s Top-Secret Military Agency, author Annie Jacobsen claims that these chips are already being implanted in the brains of soldiers returning from Middle Eastern war zones. Dubbed “neuroprosthetics,” the implanted chips are designed to repair the psychological damage that comes with prolonged presence in a war zone. The alleviation of post-traumatic stress disorder as well as enhancing the general psychological well-being of returning soldiers is the professed aim of the program.
President Barack Hussein Obama has used the power of executive order to fast-track the development of this implantable microchip technology. In August 2014, The Washington Post reported on Obama’s 19 executive orders aimed at improving the mental health of U.S. troops. One order specifically directed the funding for research into implantable microchip technology. A $78.9 million, five-year research program, overseen by DARPA, was inaugurated with that executive order.
This program is just a small part of the Obama administration’s “BRAIN Initiative,” which involves the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and others. BRAIN, short for Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies, includes as a major effort the creation of chips implantable in the brain that can take readings of the subject’s brain and body activity in real time.
Aside from the purported noble reasons given for the existence of this government-funded research, what are the chances that all this is for the benefit of returning soldiers?
For the past 100 years, U.S. soldiers have been widely used as guinea pigs to test new government and military technology, expendable test subjects to discard once the experiment is complete. It borders on the absurd to believe that, somehow, government has had a change of heart and suddenly cares about the well-being of injured soldiers.
As for the Navy, they have had a close relationship with DARPA for years. The creation of the Sea Hunter, a first-of-its-kind unmanned drone warship developed by DARPA for the Navy, is just one example of how closely they work together on new military technology.
Research and development of implantable chips for naval officers will surely be undertaken by DARPA.
The Navy may know something the rest of us don’t, like the reality of a future where embedded microchips are a requirement for every civilian, something sold as a safety measure and used to track our movement, what we eat, what we think, how we feel, who we interact with, etc., as we live out our lives.
Don’t think civilians would accept such an Orwellian decree? Look at everything Americans have accepted for the past 15 years, including the USA PATRIOT Act, the Transportation Security Administration, mass surveillance, National Security Letters, and endless wars.
For the most part, Americans have accepted all this with a complacent and distracted attitude. All it takes for us to accept less privacy, less liberty, is some event that induces just the right amount of politically exploitable fear.
But as DARPA can perfect the super-soldier, they can also expend equal energy in developing super-sheep, the perfectly docile, perfectly patriotic civilian who goes to work, pays taxes, and votes, thinks, and speaks exactly as the political class wishes him to. If one remote tweak of a super-soldier’s chip can block fear and post-traumatic stress while enhancing aggression, think of how a similar tweak could affect an entire population.
Shane Smith is a freelance writer with an economics background, who lives in Norman, Oklahoma. This article originally appeared on the website Red Dirt Report.