DHS pondering Russian "mind control" "science" to fight terrorism

The Department of Homeland Security is considering granting a terrorism detection contract to a crackpot Russian "mind control" outfit called the Psychotechnology Research Institute. PRI's technology shows "subliminal" pictures of terrorist attacks to travelers and "detect" terrorists based on how they respond. Wired has a great long feature about these kooks and the feds who love them.
The problem, he said, is that there is no science he is aware of that can produce the specificity or sensitivity to pick out a terrorist, let alone influence behavior. "We're still working at the level of how rats learn that light predicts food," he explained. "That's the level of modern neuroscience."

Developments in neuroscience, he noted, are followed closely. "If we could do (what they're talking about), you would know about it," Schoenbaum said. "It wouldn't be a handful of Russian folks in a basement."



  1. Watching Jon Ronson’s hilarious and disturbing ‘The Crazy Rulers Of The World’ [Link] reveals much about the minds behind these decisions.

  2. And it all runs on a Windows-based PC? Yeah, that’ll end well. I can just imagine people with subliminal images of the blue screen of death in their heads.

  3. Greeeeat.
    Then they’ll let ’em advertise there too.

    “Subject falls below the threshold for a terrorist, but they ARE highly suggestible to KFC and Pepsi!”

    “Log that.”

  4. Can somebody say, “thoughtcrime”?

    Argh, it’s aggriavating to see the US becoming more and more Soviet. At least (I think) the Soviet government weren’t dumb and incompetent.

  5. What would be the effect of subjecting all travelers to subliminal pictures of terrorist attacks? Perpetual fear. Thanks, DHS, I feel more secure!!

  6. Yes, @netsharc, the Soviet government was precisely this dumb and incompetent, as were the Nazis — it’s a side effect of authoritarianism to believe that if you clap hard enough, there will be fairies, or effective mind rays, or a way to know who posted Dangerous Ideas to the tubes.

    Magic thinking. Prescientific. It’s such a mistake to think competence has anything to do with it — even imagining a competent authoritarian government requires the assumption that people do something because it works (not just because they want to) and don’t do something else because it doesn’t work (not just because they don’t want to).

    By subjecting an action to adjudication by reality (i.e. seeing if it works or not) you are submitting to another, higher authority. The true authoritarian leader has … troubles with that.

    You probably think I’m joking, and to a certain extent this is, of course, tongue-in-cheek. But deep down, it’s not funny. It’s real.

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