By Mark Anderson —
A San Jose State University anthropologist has published a two-part article in the magazine Anthropology Today that probes the kind of invasive, pervasive “human mapping” that some believe is linked to the massive United States military exercise, Jade Helm 15 (JH15), taking place in nine states through September 15. What’s encouraging is that Dr. Roberto J. González, in summing up his research, goes beyond analysis and calls for academic resistance to this futuristic, but all-too-real, Pentagon quest to read our minds.
In part one of González’s article, “The Pentagon’s Quest for a ‘Social Radar,’” published in June, the professor outlines a host of forecasting efforts, examines one company in particular and reviews the role of anthropologists in their development and critique.
The second part, “‘Big data,’ algorithms, and computational counterinsurgency,” published this month, analyzes the rise of “predictive policing” and its Pentagon connections, reviews some relevant programs and examines these in light of scientists’ concerns over the development of artificial intelligence and long-term human survival.
A particularly troubling aspect of all of this is that the military is increasingly defining public protest as a pathology, or illness, which may be deemed hostile since it may spread like a contagion, unless the military intervenes to “protect” us all from dissenters.
González notes that there’s been a volcanic rise in data gathering since 9-11—so much so that the National Security Agency had to build a massive Utah complex just to handle it.
“A significant effect has been the Pentagon’s renewed interest in cultural and ethnographic data,” which includes “initiatives designed to embed social scientists with combat brigades . . . and new funding sources supporting social science research tailored for military consumption,” he wrote.
By comparing protests to disease, González notes that U.S.-based Aptima, Inc. for example, developed E-MEME, Epidemiological Modeling of the Evolution of MEssages, “web-based software designed to identify and track the flow of ideas or ‘memes’ through electronic media, helping model and forecast how sentiment can spread over time and place to influence susceptible populations.”
Robert McCormack, Ph.D., the project’s principal investigator, drew an explicit analogy between protests and uprisings on one hand and contagious diseases and epidemics on the other.
“If we can better understand the flow of ideas through electronic channels to sway the perceptions of groups,” said McCormack, “we may be better prepared to develop appropriate strategies, such as supporting democratic movements or perhaps dissuading suicide bombers.”
Aptima partnered with Virginia-based Circinus, LLC on E-MEME, whose co-founder, Carson Edmondson, conducted real-world psychological warfare consulting during the U.S. occupation of Iraq.
Circinus lists its locations on its website, which appear to be all armed forces installations, indicating they are embedded in U.S. military facilities around the globe: Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Fort Draper, Utah, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, Fort Huachuca, Arizona, Camp Roberts, California, Camp Humphreys, South Korea, U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria, Germany, and in various locations in Afghanistan.
Moreover, Aptima and Circinus collaborated on project INSIGHT, which recently received $12.7 million in funding from the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, a research agency under the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The project goes so far as to flirt with the dark world of trans-humanism involving “high-definition transcranial direct-current brain stimulation and nutritional intervention” in order to “build a better brain.”
Citing several credible sources, González goes on to wonder whether the U.S. will detain or kill a person “if a computer predicts that he will become an insurgent.” Even more disturbing is the implication that eventually self-driven weapons systems—airborne and ground drones, robot soldiers—will be merged with this data-collection obsession to create automated warfare.
González does not mention JH15 by name. However, Jade Helm could be interpreted as an acronym for Joint Assistant for Development and Execution. This would not just apply to the U.S. Army’s current JH15 ground training in nine U.S. states, but ultimately for “network-centric warfare” utilizing artificial intelligence.
AFP Roving Editor Mark Anderson is a veteran reporter who covers the annual Bilderberg meetings and is chairman of AFP’s new America First Action Committee, designed to involve AFP readers in focusing intensely on Congress to enact key changes, including monetary reform and a pullback of the warfare state. He and his wife Angie often work together on news projects.