28 March, 2014

THE DARK SIDE OF DARPA


I’m always happy when people from the Third World do well in the USA. But then there are those disturbing moments, like the time I learnt what my beautiful Ethiopian flatmate, who fed me ingera and had a lovely laugh, was doing in Brown University’s engineering laboratories. One day she told me she was designing a bullet that could go through bulletproof material.

Granted, to be doing research in your early twenties is a triumph—but at what cost, I often thought. As I get more immersed in Buddhist philosophy, and the “Do No Harm” secular counterpart of the Dharmic “Don’t kill, don’t steal, don’t lie” continues to resonate in my head, it is clear that the right livelihood is as important as one’s career triumphs or the salary one draws in one’s job.

So when I read about Arati Prabhakar, it was with a mixture of scepticism and unease. Aarati is Obama’s handpicked chief of DARPA, the US’s defence research agency. A profile at WIRED magazine gives her background-she’s a techie and a geek with a Silicon Valley background, not a defence head honcho. It looks like President Obama wanted to turn the talent and the money from the geek world into the defence world. Also the “double benefit” of hiring a woman and a minority is well documented-and especially in the defence sector, its a smart move because it could mute criticism.

The only problem, of course, that DARPA’s projects are hardly transparent to the public. The poster girl is pretty but the dark sides of the DARPA world is not.

Ms. Prabhakar is asking for a raise in the budget of DARPA for 2015.  Amongst others, she says:
By seeking out scalable approaches for dynamically controlling the electromagnetic spectrum or distributed cooperative efforts to achieving air dominance, DARPA can help reduce the cost of future systems. 
The above from defence.gov, DARPA’s Role to ‘Change What’s Possible,’ Director Says, By Claudette Roulo of the American Forces Press Service. 


So the Americans want to control the electromagnetic spectrum. Why, we should ask. And we should ask this seriously, because there’s a lot of things that can be done with the electromagnetic spectrum that may not yet be known to the public yet. Including methods of torture invisible and undetectable to the human eye.


And this seems to be paired with (Below quote from same article):


Prabhakar said DARPA also looks for research areas that are "bubbling." One of those areas is biology, she said, which is beginning to intersect with engineering.
"In that research, we're seeing the seeds of technological surprise," the director noted.


So what exactly is DARPA up to? Does the  US Congress know? I doubt they’ve asked, or even if they have, I doubt  they have gotten a honest answer. And even if they have, I doubt this information is in the public domain. It is entirely possible, however, that these enthusiastic, proactive gentlemen and ladies have already started to implement their new found scientific marvels onto people without their consent or knowledge.

 In fact, looking at the US’s punitive regime of punishment to selected minorities, and selected targets thought to be “enemies,” it is highly likely that agencies of this sort have already started to experiment with new technologies for the purpose of control and repression. The international world needs to step up and investigate what is going on in these laboratories. Ban Ki Moon shaking hands with Obama is not going to override the fact the international community is responsible for finding out what is going on in these laboratories of darkness.

The American defence empire has operated outside of moral or ethical guidelines since its inception. It doesn’t follow any international or human rights norms except its own-which in many cases is non-existent. Anything goes, as long as it can be defended for national defence purposes.

This has worked fine, for as long as there’s the required trillions to fund such activities. Apparently there’s also a nice market for these goodies to  autocratic regimes like Saudi Arabia, which just bought 45 billion in defence technology from the USA this year. Slavery continues unabated in Saudi and the Gulf-labor is cheap and dead bodies easily disposed of. But now it appears the USA’s trillions are coming under greater scrutiny. As is the bond program which gave the US unlimited largesse to run up massive debts to fund indiscriminate attacks on sovereign countries worldwide.


Can we rely on European leaders and others to come through in this crucial moment? Are they asking the right questions and connecting the right dots? Or will they let this let it slide past, leading us into another century of violence, torture, wars and sinister scientific usage?

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