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Battlescape Brain: Engaging Neuroscience in Defense Operations by Dr. James Giordano (2017)

Battlescape Brain: Engaging Neuroscience in Defense Operations

Home / Articles / Journal Article / Winter 2017: Volume 3 Issue 4

Battlescape Brain: Engaging Neuroscience in Defense Operations

Posted: December 12, 2017 | By: Dr. James Giordano, Ph.D., MPhil

Neuroscience and Technology in Defense Contexts

Recent convocation of participatory parties in the Biological and Toxins Weapons Convention has prompted a renewed focus upon which, how and to what extent currently available and/or new biotechnologies and techniques could be developed, weaponized and utilized. In this light, it becomes important to reconsider current progress and near future research and development of neuroscience and neurotechnology (i.e., neuroS/T), and the potential to employ neuroscientific tools and products in various domains of national security and defense.

At present, neuroS/T is being used in military contexts:

– For diagnostics and treatments of medical conditions;
– To create human-machine networks for optimizing particular types and dimensions of operational performance of military and intelligence personnel
– To develop non-lethal and lethal weapons

(for overviews of use in each and all of  these ways, see [1]).

In the main, it is the latter two types of application that foster the most concerns. For example, as depicted in Table 1, a variety of pharmacological agents (e.g., stimulants, including amphetamine derivatives; eugeroics, such as modafinil; and nootropics, such as the racetams) and brain-machine interfaces (such as EEG-based neurofeedback, transcranial magnetic and electrical stimulation, and brain-computer interfaces) can be employed to modulate activity within identified neurological networks operative in cognitive and motor processes and functions to facilitate and/or optimize key performance elements instrumental to the training and capabilities of warfighters and intelligence operators. [2,3,4,5]

As well, neuroS/T can be weaponized to target neurological substrates and mechanisms that affect physiology, cognition, emotions and behaviors. As shown in Table 2, such "neuroweapons" include drugs to degrade physiologic and cognitive functions, and/or to alter emotional states to affect the desire or capacity for aggression and combat; organic toxins that can induce neuromuscular paralysis and death; microbial agents (e.g., bacteria and viruses, inclusive of "bio-hacked", genetically-modified organisms) that can incur various levels of morbidity – or mortality, and a number of technologies that can be used to alter sensory, perceptual, cognitive and motoric functions. [6,7,8,9,3]

Current Conventions, Defining "Neuroweapons" and the Dilemma of Control

Obviously, research, production, and stockpiling of defined neuro-microbiologicals, and select chemicals and toxins are constrained and/or proscribed by the extant BTWC and Chemical Weapons Convention. However, other neurobiological substances (e.g., pharmaceutical formulations of neurotropic drugs, organic neurotoxins and bio-regulators) and neurotechnologies (e.g., neuromodulatory devices) developed and utilized as medical products might not, and these are readily and commercially available. [7,9]

As noted in a 2008 report of the National Research Council of the National Academies of Sciences entitled Emerging Cognitive Neuroscience and Related Technologies, products intended for the health market can be, and often are studied and developed for possible employment in military applications (e.g., to optimize or degrade aspects of human performance [10,11]). In the United States, any such activity in federally funded programs would be subject to oversight in accordance with dual-use research of concerns policies (of 2012 and 2014), reflecting the general tenor of the BTWC and CWC to date. [12]

But while such oversight and regulation constrains dual-use neuroS/T research in participatory states, it may provide opportunities for non-participatory countries and/or non-state actors to make in-roads in such enterprises to achieve a new balance of power. [13] Indeed, neuroS/T is an international endeavor, and a number of nations are engaged in dedicated programs of neuroS/T research with defense applications that may exert global strategic influence. [14] Moreover, neuroS/T research and development need not be illicit; exemptions for health and routine experimental use may foster a grey zone within which investigations for viability and employment as weapons may be undertaken.

The dedication of private and/or governmentally-supported industrial efforts to neuroS/T research and development could also enable and (at least be argued to) justify postures and protocols of diminished transparency, as commercial interests can be shielded as means to protect proprietary interests and intellectual property. Under such veils, dual-use agendas can be fostered and developed. An additional concern is that neurobiological and neurochemical substances and certain neurotechnologies can be obtained and/or developed (i.e., "bio-hacked") with relative ease by individual non-state actors who may be supported by state-endorsed venture capital, and who may operate without regard for regulations defined by the current BTWC, thereby creating further opportunistic windows for influence.

If we define a weapon as, "a means of contending against another…to injure, defeat, or destroy," [15] the question is not if, but to what extent the brain sciences could – and likely will – be engaged in such pursuits. Given such possibilities and probability for use, military applications of neuroS/T should not be overlooked or disregarded. Neuroweapons should not be considered for their mass destructive effect(s), but rather, should be acknowledged for their capability for amplified disruption that is executable on a variety of levels, from the individual to the political. This is particularly true of hybrid and asymmetrical engagement scenarios, in which the desired outcome is an increasing "ripple effect" resulting from a relatively small initial insult.

Furthermore, the ability to utilize neuroS/T to gain influence on the global stage is not limited to warfighting applications. The growing prominence of non-Western nations in neuroS/T research and production may afford greater leverage, if not purchase, to effect "strategic latency" (i.e., the potential to evoke significant shifts in the balance of power) by manipulating healthcare and biotechnology sales markets to affect socio-economics, and international relations. That neuroS/T can, and likely will be engaged for dual-use serves to fortify the strategic latency impact. [16]

Over the past decade, several academic papers and books, and international governmental reports have focused upon the military and dual-use potential of neuroS/T. [17,7,18,19] Initial studies, like the 2008 National Research Council report [10] and the 2014 report of the Temporary Working Group of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, [20] illustrated military interest in, and potential utility of neuroS/T, but were equivocal about realizing capabilities, and/or the threat of such neuroS/T development and use by hostile groups. However, with progress in the field, the subsequent 2014 National Academies' report Emerging and Readily Available Technologies and National Security: A Framework for Addressing Ethical, Legal and Societal Issues [21] clearly and definitively elucidated the viability and prospects of neuroS/T in international military and security scenarios. Indeed, given the pace, scope and investment(s) in the brain sciences, and the means that neuroS/T affords to "affect minds and hearts", current capabilities – and limitations – can rightly be seen as prompts to overcoming existing challenges, and increasing future opportunities. [22,23,6]

The Need for Deep Surveillance

In light of this, I opine that there is a need for increased surveillance of international neuroS/T research and development efforts and agendas. This will require more nuanced insights to the ways that current and near-term developments in neuroS/T could be exploited in security and defense operations, and the direct and manifest effects that such use might evoke. The scientific literature can be useful to assess current trajectories of neuroS/T research developments and advancement. Profiling recent and current literature for trend analysis in neuroS/T research and development is certainly important both to gauge progress, and to gain insights to what types of current tools and techniques could be usurped into use as weapons. But pulsing the literature is not sufficient, as information dissemination may be restricted in proprietary or otherwise classified projects, and/or publication may not be an option (or necessary contingency) for those personnel who have been recruited and are employed (by states or non-state organizations) to conduct research on a strictly financial quid-pro-quo basis.

Thus, surveillance should focus upon (1) university and industrial programs and projects in neuroS/T research, development, test and evaluation that have direct, dual-use and/or viable security and/or intelligence applications; (2) the extent and direction(s) of governmental and private investment in and support of neuroS/T research and development; (3) efforts toward recruitment of researchers and scholars with specific types of knowledge and skills; (4) product and device commercialization, (5) current and near-future term military postures, and (6) current, near- and intermediate-term market space occupation and leveraging potential. While requiring more finely grained investigation and more extensive intelligence, this level and type of surveillance is of high value for empirical, analytic modeling and gaming approaches to plot realistic contexts and trajectories of neuroS/T development and use, generate outcomes' speculation, and formulate contingency planning. [24] And, as Sonia Ben Ouagrham-Gormley (2015) recently noted, [25] appreciation for tacit knowledge of the personnel involved in international neuroS/T research and production will be crucial.

But here a caveat is warranted: the 2008 National Academies Report cautioned that surveillance-based identification of efforts to produce weaponizable neuroS/T could lead to a spiraling reaction of testing and production of countering (and/or more effective) agents. [10] These reactions will likely not be limited to incapacitating agents and devices, but will also be focused upon those techniques and technologies capable of optimizing human performance. The 2014 National Academies Report readily acknowledged the realistic possibility of escalating neuroS/T research and development (within an integrative multidisciplinary paradigm), its potential to affect international security, and the ethical, legal and social issues, questions and problems arising in and from attempts to monitor and effectively regulate both use and escalation. [21]

Indeed, as the changing perspectives of the 2008 and 2014 National Academies' reports demonstrate, the use of neuroS/T in military and insurgency settings is no longer viewed as a proverbial "Chicken Little" (i.e., "sky is falling") scenario of exaggerative claims and fears. [10,21] NeuroS/T has become ever more capable, and it's interest to, and role in military and insurgency settings is now evident and increasing. [8]

The recent convening of the State Parties of the BTWC fortified that a clearer view of the ways that neuroS/T is — and can be — employed within these scenarios is important to effectively depict risks and threats. The BTWC should continue to work to revise definitions of what constitutes a bioweapon, what is weaponizable and establish grounding criteria upon which dedicated efforts to more accurately assess and analyze neuroS/T research and development can be structured.

Toward What Response?

Still, there is question as to what extent international research efforts in neuroS/T should – and realistically can – be regulated. Projective and prescriptive ethical ideals can be developed, and these can be useful in formulating guidelines and policies that are sensitive and responsive to real-world scenarios of biotechnological research and its translation. [26] But the flexibility of these approaches also means that they are not conclusive, and the relative fluidity (or diversion) of neuroS/T between healthcare and dual-use or military applications demands due diligence to evaluate any such uses within the often blurred contexts (and "fuzzy" distinctions) of public health, political and military ethics, and the reach and rigor of international treaties and law. So while it is clear that the "sky is not falling," it remains to be seen if and how we may be best prepared for – and respond to – the possibilities that the building clouds of neuroS/T capability portend for the future.


This work was supported in part, by funding from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

The views expressed in this essay do not necessarily reflect those of DARPA, the Joint Staff-Pentagon, the United States Department of Defense, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, or the United States Department of Energy.


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 Paulus MP, Haase L, Johnson DC, Simmons AN, Potterat EG, Van Orden K, Swain JL. Neural mechanisms as putative targets for warfighter resilience and optimal performance. In: Giordano J. (ed.) Neurotechnology in National Security and Defense: Practical Considerations, Neuroethical Concerns. Boca Raton: CRC Press, 2014; pp. 51-64.
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Author, Dr. James Giordano Bio
Dr. James Giordano, Ph.D., MPhil

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Georgetown University Medical Center; U.S. Naval War College

James Giordano, Ph.D., MPhil, is Professor in the Departments of Neurology and Biochemistry; Chief of the Neuroethics Studies Program, Co-director of the Program in Science and Global Health Law and Policy, and Chair of the Sub-program in Military Medical Ethics of the Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics at Georgetown University Medical Center. He is Senior Fellow of the Project on Biosecurity, Technology, and Ethics at the US Naval War College, Newport, RI; Bioethicist in the US Defense Medical Ethics Center; and 2020-21 Visiting Professor of Biomedicine and Humanities, Creighton University, NE. As well, he chairs the Neuroethics Subprogram of the IEEE Brain Initiative; is a Fellow of the Defense Operations Cognitive Science section, SMA Branch, Joint Staff, Pentagon; and is an appointed member of the Neuroethics, Legal and Social Issues Advisory Panel of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). He has previously served as Donovan Senior Fellow for Biosecurity at US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM); as Research Fellow and Task Leader of the EU-Human Brain Project Sub-Program on Dual-Use Brain Science; as an appointed member of the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary's Advisory Committee on Human Research Protections (SACHRP); and as senior consultant to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Working Group on Dual-Use of International Neurotechnology.

A Fulbright scholar, Dr. Giordano was awarded the JW Fulbright Visiting Professorship at the Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich, GER, and currently is Distinguished Visiting Professor of Biotechnology, Health Promotions, and Ethics at the Coburg University of Applied Sciences, Coburg, GER. He was previously an International Fellow of the Centre for Neuroethics at the University of Oxford, UK.

Prof. Giordano is the author of over 300 papers, 7 books, 21 book chapters, and 25 government white papers on brain science, national defense and ethics. His book, Neurotechnology in National Security and Defense: Practical Considerations, Neuroethical Concerns (2015, CRC Press) is widely regarded and used as a definitive work on the topic. Prof. Giordano is a former US Naval officer, holding designations as an aerospace physiologist, research physiologist, and research psychologist, and served with the US Navy and Marine Corps. In recognition of his achievements he was elected to the European Academy of Science and Arts, and named an Overseas Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine (UK).

Gang Stalking Mind Control Cults
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A brief review of non-invasive brain imaging technologies and the near-infrared optical bioimaging (Kim et al., 2021)

A brief review of non-invasive brain imaging technologies and the near-infrared optical bioimaging

Beomsue Kim,
Hongmin Kim,
Songhui Kim &
Young-ran Hwang

Applied Microscopy volume 51, Article number: 9 (2021) Cite this article

A brief review of non-invasive brain imaging technologies and the near-infrared optical bioimaging

A brief review of non-invasive brain imaging technologies and the near-infrared optical bioimaging pdf


Brain disorders seriously affect life quality. Therefore, non-invasive neuroimaging has received attention to monitoring and early diagnosing neural disorders to prevent their progress to a severe level. This short review briefly describes the current MRI and PET/CT techniques developed for non-invasive neuroimaging and the future direction of optical imaging techniques to achieve higher resolution and specificity using the second near-infrared (NIR-II) region of wavelength with organic molecules.


The human brain controls all the intentional/unintentional movement of the body and complex mental function for high-level living. Various brain defects, such as senile brain diseases and social brain diseases, have gradually increased in recent times with an increase in human lifespan and excessive brain stimulus through environmental changes, social networks/stress, and addictions. However, the prognosis of neurological disorders is generally not favorable despite well-developed neurological treatments. This is primarily because of brain's characteristic wherein undetectable microdamage may lead to a severe functional defect depending on the damaged area. Therefore, the diagnosis of brain damage generally  re

quires the highest resolution using a noninvasive imaging technique. In the biomedical field, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET)/X-ray computed tomography (CT) are the most popular techniques for brain imaging. Although these techniques are advantageous in terms of rapid and precise imaging of the brain, they are also faced with challenges to represent cellular resolution in a sub-area of the brain. This review provides a brief introduction of brain imaging technologies and their multiple approaches to achieve a breakthrough, especially for the optical imaging technique using the second near-infrared (NIR-II) region of wavelength.

Brain MRI and fMRI

MRI uses radiofrequency pulse signals for arraying the hydrogen atom nuclei of the human body alignment. When the opposite resonating hydrogen atom nucleus is returned, the scanner senses the signal and converts it to an image. Therefore, hydrogen-rich soft tissues such as muscle, ligament, blood vessel, and brain are suitable for obtaining MRI images (Fig. 1a).

Fig. 1

Modality of MRI/fMRI. a Axial MRI slice of a patient with a brain tumor. b BOLD dependent fMRI scans of verbal fluency task performed by healthy controls (left) and subjects with alzheimer's disease (right). Adapted with permission from Crowe et al. 2017 (a) and from Preti et al. 2014 (b)

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Because of its noninvasiveness and nontoxic nature, multiple MRI snapshots enable tracking the time-dependent dynamic changes in the human brain. Functional MRI (fMRI) indirectly measures the brain's neural activity by detecting blood flow changes, relying on the fact that cerebral blood flow occurs simultaneously with nerve activation. The blood-oxygen-level dependent (BOLD) contrast method was developed as fMRI's primary form in 1990 using paramagnetic deoxyhemoglobin as the natural contrast agent (Ogawa et al. 1990). Since then, fMRI has been widely used for functional brain mapping under various cognitive conditions or neural disorders with millimeter precision through its high spatiotemporal resolution (Sereno et al. 1995; Filippi et al. 2018; Thibault et al. 2018; Chen 2019) (Fig. 1b). The technique is now applied to identify the target region of brain glioma (Ghinda et al. 2018) and epilepsy before surgery (Duncan et al. 2016) and to diagnose several neural disorders (schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorder, mild cognitive impairments, Alzheimer's disease, bipolar disorder, and major depressive disorder) by comparing patient's fMRI data with a massive reference dataset of healthy human brains, such as DiaNet and NeuroMark (Eslami et al. 2019; Du et al. 2020). However, the analytical time for extracting signal from noise is the bottleneck to a particular condition such as an emergency. Diffusion-weighted MRI (DWI) is an MRI method to detect the degree of water diffusion. Because of its short time requirement for visualization, DWI is used in the clinic to detect acute cerebral infarction by generating high DWI signals within a few minutes (Boonrod et al. 2018). The visualization of white matter, mainly formed by myelination, is an excellent target for clinical brain MRI, particularly in diagnosing multiple sclerosis (MS) and other neurodegenerative diseases (Inglese and Petracca 2013). However, their specificity cannot be increased to identify a specific biomolecule because the conventional MRI techniques generate imaging contrast based on their different resonance activity of hydrogen atoms (Dregely et al. 2018). The MRI lesion measurements generally show weak correlations with clinical conditions measured on the Disability Status Scale (Neema et al. 2007; Heath et al. 2018).

Current contrast agents for MRI

Magnetic materials have been studied in MRI to obtain a better image by increasing the relaxation rate of water molecules and the specificity through the property of the materials (Xiao et al. 2016). Clinical practice preferably uses T1 compared to T2 contrast agents, which can darken the desired area, resulting in less contrast effect and signal distortion. Gadolinium-based T1 contrast agents have advantages based on their high magnetic moment and stability (no electrons bounded), leading to their most extensive use during past decades. Alternatively, manganese and barium are also used as T1 contrast agents. However, those contrast agents have hardly been tried for brain imaging mainly because of their toxicity (Wahsner et al. 2019; Ding et al. 2020).

Iron is an essential substance for biomaterials such as hemoglobin and can quickly metabolize in the body, making it more biocompatible. However, a ferrous ion (Fe2+) needs to transform into a suitable ligand form in order to be used as a T1 contrast medium (Zhou et al. 2019). Initial trials use Fe + salts (e.g., Fe + chloride) and tri−/di-ethylene glycol to synthesize hydrophilic microscopic Fe + oxide nanoparticles, but it generates heterogeneous products causing abnormal MR relaxation times (Li et al. 2012). Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPION) are then synthesized for multimode imaging because of their nontoxic nature and flexible design, like the dextran-conjugated SPION for monitoring cancer progress through in vivo macrophage MRI (Schleich et al. 2015; Sharkey et al. 2017). In a recent study, SPION conjugated with a dopamine sensor could visualize dopamine in brain MRI in vivo at the animal level (Hsieh et al. 2019) (Fig. 2). Moreover, the ultra-small size of SPIONs (USPIO) conjugated with an Aβ antibody has been developed to diagnose AD (Yang et al. 2011; Luo et al. 2020).

Fig. 2

MRI contrast agent. Infusion of the DaReNa, a dopamine sensor (BM3h) coated SPION complex, show the enhancement of contrast and relaxation near the injection site (striatum, Str) and along the corpus callosum (cc). Scale bar = 2 mm. Reprinted with permission from Hsieh et al. 2019. Copyright 2017 American Chemical Society

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Adapting paramagnetic metalloproteins is a unique approach to generate a ferrous ion-based contrast agent, especially for detecting dopamine in brain MRI. Similar to hemoglobin in BOLD fMRI, the bacterial cytochrome P450-BM3 heme domain (BM3h) also carries a single iron (III) atom, generating different MRI contrast depending on their oxidation state (Shapiro et al. 2010; Brustad et al. 2012). An important finding was that dopamine had an affinity to bind to the substrate-binding pocket of BM3h, thereby causing a decrease in relaxivity, meaning that the enabling dopamine MRI (Brustad et al. 2012; Hsieh et al. 2019) (Fig. 2). Various mutants, including BM3h-8C8, BM3h-9D7, and BM3h-B7, have been identified through protein engineering of multiple rounds of mutagenesis by focusing on its high affinity to dopamine (Angelovski and Tóth 2017). A recent study revealed distinct neuromodulatory actions of striatal dopamine by combining fMRI and molecular imaging techniques for dopamine (Li and Jasanoff 2020). Despite its potential to image specific biomolecules, further studies on MRI are needed for a breakthrough in delivering the modified peptide for human brain MRI (Duro-Castano et al. 2020).


PET is a noninvasive imaging technique to visualize the dynamic distribution of a radioactive substance (e.g., Fluorine-18 labeled) in the body by detecting its emitted positrons. It can simultaneously take PET and CT images in one machine to show the anatomical localization of PET signal by CT (PET/CT). By using the high signal-to-noise ratio and the penetration efficiency of radioactive molecules, PET can detect the target at the maximum resolution regardless of the cellular composition of the surrounding tissues, unlike other noninvasive imaging techniques such as CT or MRI. Hence, the chance to develop a unique PET probe is relatively flexible, meaning that if a fast synthetic scheme for the PET labeling is available, such as fluorine-18 labeling, a well-developed compound can be tried for PET imaging.

Fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG), the most common PET probe, visualizes glucose metabolism, where its bright signal appears in high-energy demand areas of the body, such as cancers and active neurons. Therefore, 18F-FDG has been used for diagnosing several neurological diseases, including AD, PD, and glioma (Meyer et al. 2017; Kazemifar et al. 2017; Chételat et al. 2020; Quartuccio et al. 2020) (Fig. 3a). Besides 18F-FDG, tracers targeting general phenomena of neurological diseases such as high inflammatory responses have been studied for diagnosing neurodegenerative diseases. Imaging of neuroinflammation has been attempted with tracers of TSPO (18 kDa translocator protein/peripheral benzodiazepine receptor) protein (Kreisl et al. 2013). Although its representative inflammation biomarker is a common feature, the results with various TSPO tracers such as PK-11195, DAA1097, DAA1106, PBR06, PBR28, PBR111, and DPA713 in brain imaging are still controversial to reveal the use of TSPO for differentiating patients from healthy control; this might be due to the expression of TSPO in astrocytes, endothelial cells, and vascular smooth muscle cells (Perrone et al. 2016; Alam et al. 2017; Gui et al. 2020; Lee et al. 2020; Pannell et al. 2020).

Fig. 3

Modality of PET/CT. The standardized glucose uptake value ratios (SUVR) relative to the cerebellum from 18F-FDG PET scans of a healthy control (HC) and an Alzheimer's disease patient. Adapted with permission from Kazemifar et al. 2017

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Like neuroinflammation, it is often required to develop a novel method if no other promising PET imaging target existed. Forward phenotypic screening can be a choice to suggest a new approach when the appropriate target is not identified yet (Yun et al. 2014). A forward chemical screening using a large number of small fluorescent molecule libraries identified a novel small fluorescent molecule, named CDnir7 (compound of designation near-infrared 7), as the fluorescent probe for selectively labeling activated microglia/macrophage compared to non-activated control (Kang et al. 2014). Interestingly, CDnir7 showed specific labeling of mouse AD brain in vivo using multispectral optoacoustic tomography, meaning that the target of CDnir7 can be used as a novel biomarker for AD bioimaging (Park et al. 2019a) (Fig. 4). Although the target biomolecule for CDnir7 has not been identified yet, its potential to diagnose a neurological disease will lead to further development of CDnir7 as a PET probe similar to a recent dual-modal probe be used either for fluorescence and PET imaging (Kang et al. 2020).

Fig. 4

Modality of MSOT imaging. a The chemical structure of CDnir7 and the experimental scheme. b MSOT signals in the cortex of both AD and control brains before (Prescan) and after the intravenous injection of CDnir7. SSS, superior sagittal sinus. Adapted with permission Park et al. 2019a, b

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Near-infrared-II bioimaging

Fluorescence imaging

Fluorescence imaging is one of the most commonly used imaging tools in research and clinical settings, applied to either fixed and live specimens (Zhao et al. 2018). The advantages of fluorescence include its highest sensitivity, specificity, and spatial resolution that can reach subcellular levels. However, specific targeting of the desired biomolecule using fluorescence could not be applied for a long time because of the lack of labeling technology. Since the first report of 1941, immunofluorescence labeling techniques have used for tracking a specific biomolecule with the antibody bound with a bright and photostable fluorescent small molecules (Packer 2021). The trackable biomolecules include endogenous proteins, peptides, nucleic acids, glycoproteins, lipids, and self-labeling protein tags that can be recognized by an antibody. The utilization of green fluorescent protein (GFP) in the early 1990s led to numerous studies using a GFP with various purposes in basic research, such as fluorescence tagging of a target protein and fluorescence labeling of a specific cell type of a live organism (Tsien 1998; Ni et al. 2018). However, fluorescence bioimaging based on GFP expression requires transferring a large GFP expression cassette, which is typically achieved by injecting viral particles into the site of interest or generation of a transgenic animal. As both these methods are unsuitable for diagnostic purposes, especially for humans, there was a demand to develop a safe methodology with specificity to a biomolecule and high fluorescence.

Several small organic compounds have recently been reported with characteristics of fluorescence and biomolecule specificity, i.e., CDr20 (compound of cell designation red 20) to detect UDP-glucuronosyltransferase 1a7c enzyme activity, CDg16 (compound of cell designation green 16) for solute carrier 18b1, and TiY (tumor-initiating cell probe yellow) for vimentin (Lee et al. 2018; Kim et al. 2019a; Park et al. 2019b). This approach has advantages of brain imaging, in that the small size of organic compounds does not lead to any genetic modification or genetic material transfer. It may enter the brain's parenchymal area across the blood-brain barrier (BBB) without additional modification of the compound when injected into the peripheral bloodstream depending on its chemical properties (Miao et al. 2019). Nonetheless, the limited penetration depth of excitation light into the brain is a drawback of fluorescence biomolecules for noninvasive imaging (Hong et al. 2014). Moreover, although it seems to have no apparent toxicity or disturbance for the targeted organ's in vivo imaging, more detailed biocompatibility and toxicity test need to be performed for the above materials.

NIR fluorescence imaging

Biomedical fluorescence imaging has commonly focused on the visible light wavelength (380–700 nm) as its standard practice. For example, FDA-approved hexaminolevulinate emits fluorescence at 635 nm wavelength by producing endogenous protoporphyrin IX, which can be used to visualize nonmuscular invasive papillary bladder cancer (Witjes and Douglass 2007). However, compared to its clear description of the vascular system, other internal organs, including the brain, are difficult to detect because the tissue penetration efficiency of the light was insufficient (Cao et al. 2020). Moreover, tissue barriers in the target internal organs such as skin, fat, and bone can interfere the noninvasive imaging by its intense background noise in visible light. Based on the physical properties of tissue barriers related to wavelength, near-infrared (NIR) light (> 700 nm) has been used to overcome the tissue penetration depth, especially in noninvasive in vivo fluorescence imaging (Luo et al. 2011; Zhang et al. 2016; Wan et al. 2018). Notably, compared to a shorter wavelength of NIR window (700–900 nm, NIR-I), the longer wavelength (1000–1700 nm), called NIR-II, has advantages for deeper penetration because of the low photon absorption rate of barrier tissues and light scattering, and higher spatial resolution for in vivo imaging (Cao et al. 2020) (Fig. 5).

Fig. 5

Commonly used materials for fluorescence imaging. Diagrams of the spectral ranges of the major fluorescence materials and its tissue penetration capacity. SWNTs, single walled carbon nanotubes; RENPs, rare-earth doped nanoparticles; D-A-D, donor-acceptor-donor

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Brain imaging using NIR-II light has been developed in two directions: functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) and bioimaging with exogenous NIR molecules. fNIRS measures brain activities noninvasively by measuring oxygenated and deoxygenated hemoglobin like BOLD fMRI (Steinbrink et al. 2006). The advantage of fNIRS is its safety, inexpensiveness, and simplicity compared to fMRI. These advantages led to its rapid development, including the multi-directional fNIRS and probes' increment for high-density measurement (Shin et al. 2017; Shimokawa et al. 2019; Chiarelli et al. 2020). As cortices can be an appropriate target for fNIRS bioimaging, the current sensitivity has reached to facilitate to detect of the symptoms of neurological disorders, including schizophrenia, stroke, epilepsy, major depressive disorder, AD, and PD (Koike et al. 2013; Hatakeyama et al. 2017; Li et al. 2018; Sirpal et al. 2019; Stuart et al. 2019; Tian et al. 2019; Yang et al. 2019; Ho et al. 2020).

Organic molecules used for the near-infrared imaging of brain

On the other hand, exogenous NIR molecules have gradually developed for visualizing brain imaging starting from brain tumors and cerebrovascular disorders. For example, through the intrinsic photoluminescence of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) with 1300–1400 nm NIR-II window, it was possible to image blood flow of the mouse brain at a depth of > 2 mm with Fig. 6

Modality of NIR-IIb fluorescent optical imaging. a In vivo mouse brain vessel imaging using a cerium-doped rare earth nanoparticle. b 3D reconstruction of cerebral blood vessels of the rhesus macaque based on ICG-mediated NIR-II fluorescence confocal microscopic in vivo imaging up to depth of 470 μm. Adapted with permission from Zhong et al. 2017 (a) and from Cai et al. 2020 (b)

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Over the past decades, researchers have attempted to synthesize several types of NIR fluorescent organic probes having specificity to a biomolecule, which originated from the types of core structures polymethine backbone or donor-acceptor-donor (D-A-D) skeleton, for in vivo imaging (Fig. 7) (Li et al. 2020). The targeted biomolecules were reactive oxygen species, reactive nitrogen species, metal ions, anions, and intracellular pH changes, for achieving high/specific reactivity between the synthetic molecule and the target in live animal cells (Li et al. 2020; Zhao et al. 2021). The biomedical trials resulted in remarkable results for in vivo bioimaging of systemic cancers and hepatotoxicity with NIR-II probes because of its dramatic change of the quantum yield and the spectroscopic properties after reacting with the target biomolecules (Table 1).

Fig. 7

Examples of the chemical structures of NIR organic dyes. Sky colors represent adjustable structures of Cy7 derivatives, such as ICG, CDnir7, TiNIR, etc.; BBTD, benzobisthadiazoles

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Table 1 Summary of the NIR organic dyes
Full size table

However, limiting the target biomolecules cause the failure of developed NIR-II probes for penetrating BBB, the most substantial barrier for brain bioimaging, due to the usage of a restricted number of chemical motifs for reactivity to the specific biomolecule (Li et al. 2020). One of the strategies to overcome the limitation is continuously developing novel compounds for the biomolecules. Alternative approache is the targeting thousands of other biomolecules, including thousands of the previously undesignable molecules, such as enzymes/proteins, carbohydrates, and nucleic acids. As mentioned earlier, forward chemical screening based on the diversity of small molecules often generate an unpredictable result that can target other biomolecules, thus showing the brain's cellular or functional specificity, such as FABP7 binder and CDr3 (Yun et al. 2012).

Interestingly, a recently reported cancer stem cells (CSC) probe, TiNIR (tumor-initiating cell probe near-infrared), was developed by screening 710 cyanine small organic fluorescent compounds. TiNIR showed specificity to lung CSC and was compatible with NIR bioimaging and photoacoustic imaging in vivo (Kim et al. 2019b) (Fig. 7). The subsequent target identification process for TiNIR identified its unexpected target, hemoxygenase-2 (HO-2), for the specific labeling of lung CSC (Kim et al. 2019b) (Table 1). Because there is limited information on HO-2, a constituent form of hemeoxygenase, the forward chemical screening method has proved to be a new path to develop the CSC in vivo bioimaging probe. Future studies to reveal its structure-activity relationship require the discovery of a core structure of TiNIR for binding to the novel target, thus providing fundamental knowledge for the hardly known biomolecule, including its preference for HO-2 posttranslational modifications, which is regulated by the brain condition during seizures, hypoxia, and hypotension (Parfenova and Leffler 2008).

Future perspective

The brain remains a mystery, but has become a vital organ for diagnosis. There is a high demand to investigate the brain's functional structures in detail and analyze their responses efficiently; therefore, innovative imaging techniques must be developed to confirm the brain's fine and functional structure without any physical damage. The current brain imaging techniques such as MRI, fMRI/CT, and PET are reliable and can generate a substantial valuable dataset for brain imaging. Especially, the recent development in the field of medical image analysis called radiomics allows the acquisition of more specified and detailed clinical information from radiological images. Various radiomics models numerate and standardize images based on the features that can distinguish pathological regions from the surrounding structure by the unit of pixels (2D) and voxels (3D). Such conversion of visual information to numeric values enables the quantitative analysis of medical images, which allows discovery of new pathological behavior previously imperceptible. The novel radiomics techniques have been applied to image analysis of brain MRI or CT scans to predict brain metastasis of cancers originated from various organs. (Kniep et al. 2019; Chen et al. 2019).

The application of radiomics, however, is limited to post-data processing of raw image to maximize the amount of information. The original limitation of radiological imaging technology itself, i.e., tissue accessibility and specificity, can only be overcome by the development of a vivid but simple optical imaging device for human in vivo brain imaging. The current findings indicate that NIR-II small molecules are suitable for large animal brain imaging, thus implying their potential applicability to humans.

Although many efforts to develop NIR-II probes have been made to visualize vascular systems or cancer cells, focusing on specific cells of the brain, especially the parenchymal cell types such as neurons and glia, will open new avenues for their use in diagnosing human brain disorders. Novel approaches that can target specific biomarkers of each cell type with desirable optical properties, biocompatibility, and low toxicity will be crucial for noninvasive in vivo human brain imaging.

The main questions that can be addressed using novel technologies
Q1. How to measure the level of a neurotransmitter with a non-invasive technique in the live brain?
Q2. Is it possible to imaging intravascular structure of the live brain in a sub-millimeter resolution?
Availability of data and materials

The datasets used and/or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


MRI: Magnetic resonance imaging

PET/CT: Positron emission tomography / X-ray computed tomography

SPECT: Single-photon emission computed tomography

NIR-II: Second near-infrared

fMRI: Functional MRI

BOLD: Blood-oxygen-level dependent

DWI: Diffusion-weighted MRI

MS: Multiple sclerosis

SPION: Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles

USPIO: Ultra-small size of SPIONs

BM3h: BM3 heme domain

18F-FDG: Fluorodeoxyglucose

TSPO: 18 kDa translocator protein/peripheral benzodiazepine receptor

CDnir7: Compound of designation near-infrared 7

CDr20: Compound of designation red 20

CDg16: Compound of cell designation green 16

TiY: Tumor-initiating cell probe yellow

BBB: Blood-brain barrier

fNIRS: Functional near-infrared spectroscopy

ICG: Indocyanine green

BBTD: Benzobisthiadiazole

CSC: Cancer stem cells

TiNIR: Tumor-initiating cell probe near-infrared

HO-2: Hemoxygenase-2

SWNTs: Single walled carbon nanotubes

RENPs: Rare-earth doped nanoparticles


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We would like to thank Dr. Yeri Han from DGMIF (Daegu, Korea) for helpful comments.


This work was supported by KBRI basic research program through Korea Brain Research Institute funded by Ministry of Science and ICT (21-BR-01-12).

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Neural Circuit Research Group, Korea Brain Research Institute (KBRI), 61, Cheomdan-ro, Dong-gu, Daegu, 41068, South Korea

Beomsue Kim, Hongmin Kim, Songhui Kim & Young-ran Hwang


B.K., H.K., and S.K. wrote the paper; B.K., H.K., S.K., and Y.H. drew figures/table; B.K. supervised all processes. The author(s) read and approved the final manuscript.

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Kim, B., Kim, H., Kim, S. et al. A brief review of non-invasive brain imaging technologies and the near-infrared optical bioimaging. Appl. Microsc. 51, 9 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s42649-021-00058-7

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Gang Stalking Mind Control Cults
28 Mar 2023 | 4:20 am

Obama-Biden Administration Legalized Neurological Surveillance After Trump’s Election (2/7/23)

Obama-Biden Administration Legalized Neurological Surveillance After Trump's Election

February 7, 2023

Obama-Biden Administration Legalized Neurological Surveillance After Trump's Election
In the Obama-Biden administration in 2013, after Trump's election, the US government legalised "neurological surveillance."

In numerous earlier publications, it was stated how U.S. federal government regulations on "biosurveillance" raise the potential that the government is trying to "real-time" "mind read" and "mind control."

It is important to stress that if the U.S. or other governments planned on developing technologies for "brain" or "neurological" surveillance and/or control, they would likely employ the most extensive propaganda strategies to convince everyone that it is absurd to think "mind reading" or "mind control" are even remotely possible, let alone something a government could do covertly and from an unidentified location.

Additionally, if neuroscientists were planning to create "mind reading" or brain recording technologies that could be used for surveillance, they most likely would want to ensure that they were covered by U.S. federal law. Other federal legislation in the United States (in addition to "biosurveillance" statutes) may indicate that the government wanted to create and employ "neurological surveillance" or "brain surveillance" technologies.

In 2016, a bill establishing a new "neurological surveillance system" was passed.

But first, it's important to explain a distinct federal law on biosurveillance that was passed in the United States in 2013. The National Biodefense Science Board and the Secretary of Health and Human Services were obliged by a statute passed by the Obama-Biden administration in 2013 to:

identify any duplicative surveillance [biosurveillance] programs under the authority of the Secretary, or changes that are necessary to existing programs, in order to enhance and modernize such activities, minimize duplication, strengthen and streamline such activities under the authority of the Secretary, and achieve real-time and appropriate data that relate to disease activity, both human and zoonotic. (127 STAT. 178)

Achieving "real-time and suitable data that relate to disease activity, both human and zoonotic," according to the regulation, was a need for surveillance systems. The need for the "biosurveillance" network or networks to "obtain real-time… data" for human diseases must be emphasised. "Real-time data" denotes information gleaned by "monitoring" of human conditions at all times, ostensibly even before a doctor or other professional has made a diagnosis.

Therefore, it is highly unlikely that the term "surveillance" simply refers to "tracking the number of diagnosed instances" of a disease.

The National Neurological Conditions Surveillance System was then made legal by the United States federal government in 2016. The human brain is included in the category of "neurological problems." The following is a partial description of the 2016 law:


In General − The Secretary [of HHS], acting through the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and in coordination with other agencies as the Secretary determines, shall, as appropriate—

(1) enhance and expand infrastructure and activities to track the epidemiology of neurological diseases; and

(2) incorporate information obtained through such activities into an integrated surveillance system, which may consist of or include a registry, to be known as the National Neurological Conditions Surveillance System. (130 STAT. 1077)

Another point is that the law mentioned above, which permits the CDC to monitor "neurological conditions" "in coordination with other agencies" and ostensibly "in real-time," is likely more specific than it would be if the U.S. federal government had used the more generic terms "mind reading" or "mind control." The physical and chemical "state" of the human brain is surely what the "National Neurological Conditions Surveillance System" refers to in "real-time." Additionally, as it is a "national… system," it applies to all of America.

Thus, if scientists or anyone working for the U.S. government wanted to authorise brain surveillance and brain control while staying somewhat hidden, they might use wording similar to those in the statute above.

FBI has used most complete surveillance imaginable on Americans, extensive propaganda

The FBI, local police, local and federal secret police, and other U.S. government entities use widespread monitoring, secret stalking, secret intimidation, secret causing harm, and other secret acts. More information from prior articles is necessary here.

In a different article (pdf below), the "extensive" propaganda and other deception utilised by the federal government of the United States to deceive millions of people over a long period of time was described.

Thus, it is possible for U.S. government representatives or representatives of other nations to deceive Americans via years of propaganda into believing it is absurd to believe that mind control or mind reading may be possible.

Furthermore, it must be repeatedly emphasised that the FBI and local police in some areas of the United States conducted what has been called the most thorough surveillance operations on Americans with the apparent goal of "destroying" the targeted individuals and groups. Page 6 and Page 31 This implies that the FBI and some local law enforcement agencies have a history of utilising surveillance as a weapon, and if brain surveillance is conceivable, such organisations may employ it.

Gov't discussions of brain 'recording' and brain activity 'control' mean 'mind reading' and 'mind control'

The idea that remote technologies that use radio waves, electromagnetic waves, x-rays, and other technologies, including ones the government probably isn't telling Americans about, could be created to be used remotely and covertly to torture and monitor the human brain seems to not be all that outlandish.

In fact, it is so plausible that even the American federal government seems to believe that it is possible to "read minds." Of course, it's not "mind reading," according to the U.S. government. It is described in several ways, such as the following:

Our ability to record [brain] electrical activity at the cellular level, in humans, is expanding, providing a unique opportunity to link the activity of individual neurons with more global signals obtained using noninvasive imaging methods such as fMRI [functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging]. In turn, both cellular‐level and global signals can then be linked to human behavior, thought, and emotion. (Page 62)

In the worldly sphere, potential protection, though not a guarantee, comes from requiring government to disclose methods, technologies, and personnel of all government entities, such as the FBI and federal and local secret police, and from making it illegal to use any technologies which affect or monitor the human brain or body.)

Thus, both brain modification (sometimes referred to as "mind control") and "optimal decisions" of the brain have been considered in U.S. federal government documents. Page 7 and page 69 Is it likely that these individuals want to fully or largely control the human brain? According to the history of the FBI's and local police's covert operations, the FBI, certain local police, and others would advocate total control over people's thoughts, acts, and conduct.

Gang Stalking Mind Control Cults
28 Mar 2023 | 4:13 am

Cognitive liberty. A first step towards a human neuro-rights declaration (Sommaggio, et. al., 2017)

Cognitive liberty. A first step towards a human neuro-rights declaration

Cognitive Liberty. A first step towards a human neuro-rights declaration pdf

by Paolo Sommaggio, Marco Mazzocca, Alessio Gerola, Fulvio Ferro

BioLaw Journal – Rivista di BioDiritto, n. 3/2017

ABSTRACT: This paper discusses the emerging debate concerning the concept of Cogni-
tive Liberty and its connection with human rights. Therefore, considering how recent
developments of neurosciences are granting us an increasing ability to monitor and
influence mental processes, this article aims to provide a clear definition of Cognitive
Liberty understood as a necessary condition to all other freedoms that cannot be re-
duced to existing rights. In this regard, after presenting the most important positions
on the issue, we introduce our point of view, according to which Cognitive Liberty al-
lows us to lay the groundwork for building new neuro-related Human Rights.

Cognitive liberty; cognitive enhancement; neuroscience; neurolaw; human

SUMMARY: 1. Introduction – 2. The neuro-technologies – 3. Cognitive Liberty: in search of a definition – 4. Cogni-
tive Liberty: negative formulation – 5. Cognitive Liberty: positive formulation – 6. Cognitive Liberty and Human
Rights – 7. The debate: the conception of Bublitz – 8. The debate: the conception of Ienca and Andorno – 9.
Conclusion – 10. References.

1. Introduction

In the novel "The Emerald city of Oz" L. Frank Baum imagines the existence of particular pills
taken by professor Wogglebug's students to acquire notions of Algebra, Geography and Latin,
in order to avoid regular school attendance and allow them to have more free time for sports
and recreational activities.1

At the present time, this is no longer just a fantasy fiction. Neuroscientists, indeed, claim to take the
place of the well-known fantasy character through the use of neuroscience and neuro-technologies.
This is because, recent studies on the relations between the structure of the brain (and the nervous
system) and human knowledge led to develop techniques for monitoring (and influencing) brain ac-
tivity, allowing them to affect reasoning, to alter emotions or memory, and to enhance cognition.
However, one should note that these techniques seem to have a sort of double face. On the one side,
they increase the risk for the security and the privacy of what is in our brain; on the other side, they
represent an amazing opportunity to augment our brain potential.

This is not an issue to be addressed in terms of "mind ownership", since such terminology represents
an incorrect use of a legal category. Rather, it seems to be necessary to analyse the concept of Cogni-
tive Liberty (CL), as coined by American civil rights activists.
This is a concept that, according to Richard Boire and Wrye Sententia's opinions, is something similar

to a wall to protect the individual from the claims of any other person2. Indeed, as they highlighted in
many of their essays, Cognitive Liberty is the right to control one's own mind: the basic brick of per-
sonal freedom. In the last decade, this concept became a slogan in support of various civil rights
struggles: among the others, the claims against non-voluntary interference and forced psychiatry or
for decriminalisation of psycho-active substances.

Nowadays, Cognitive Liberty is a complex and central concept in the relationship between neuro-
technologies and the internal sphere of every person. The problem, however, is the lack of a theoret-
ical framework of negative intervention in other minds and, at the same time, the lack of positive
self-determined alterations on/to one's own mind.

This is the reason why, after providing a general definition of Cognitive Liberty (as well as its positive
and negative aspects) we will introduce the problem of the relationship between CL and Human
rights: the former concept, in fact, has been considered since the beginning as a potential human
right. Indeed, according to Boire, «As we frantically race into the third millennium, with micropro-
cessors becoming faster, cheaper, and smaller, with surveillance cameras proliferating in public spac-
es, with the human genome program about to issue its first 'working draft' of the human DNA se-
quence, and with an out-of-control Frankensteinian machine named the War on Drugs, all awhirl in
the ocean of modern day culture, it is imperative that we, as a society, expressly acknowledge the
fundamental human right to cognitive liberty and immediately begin to define its contours»3.

Therefore, the aim of this paper is to analyse if CL may be considered as a new human right or as the
preliminary condition to think about all human rights. Consequently, we will firstly review the main
positions in the current debate about this issue and, then we will introduce our point of view, accord-
ing to which CL plays a pivotal role allowing us to think about all new neuro-related human rights. In-
deed, only thinking about the CL features we are able to build a serious framework of the other neu-
ro-rights able to lead us to a new Declaration of Human Neuro-Rights with which, we hope, we can
reach an agreement with every author involved in the study of Cognitive Liberty. In this paper we
present some steps useful in building a sort of a stairway to reach a Declaration of Human Neuro-

2. The neuro-technologies

The advancement of neuro-technologies raises a number of philosophical, ethical and legal conun-
drums that are connected to issues such as personal identity, privacy, social justice and autonomy. In
this section we provide a brief overview of existing neuro-technologies and of the kind of questions
that their development and application pose.

a) Brain Imaging. The first set of neuro-technologies we consider are brain imaging techniques. The
main techniques employed for the purpose of brain monitoring and imaging include electroenceph-
alography (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance (fMRI)
. They provide structural and functional
information about the brain and its neural activity, that is used for diagnostic and research purpos-
es. Through fMRI, for example, neuroscientists are able to study the ways in which neurons fire up
and thus to correlate brain activity with mental activity, localizing the areas of the brain that re-
spond to certain stimuli, like pain or language recognition. This information provides a clearer un-
derstanding of the way in which the brain works and how it supports our thoughts. However, the
correlation between psychological traits and their neural basis is still not perfectly understood, and
fMRI can only provide indirect access to neural activity through the measurement of changing blood
flow associated with it. The accuracy with which these are matched is, therefore, still considerably
limited, and although further developments may pose severe challenges in the future that we ought
to be ready to address, no considerable threat to privacy seems to be in place at the current state of
the art4. At any rate, the impact of the social influence of neuroscientific information should not be
underestimated. Excessive hype in the results of brain imaging techniques can thus lead to a blind
trust in its predictive power. The appearance of objectivity and authority that brain images carry
may lead people to misinterpret them as more predictive than they really are. The simple presence
of neural information, real or fake, is enough to make a certain piece of information appears as
more authoritative and credible5. For example, the widespread belief that a socially reprehensible
trait, say paedophilia, is associated with a precise neural correlate, might lead to the stigmatization
and discrimination against individuals that are discovered to possess such neural characteristics,
even in the absence of associated psychological evidence. An area in which neuroscientific studies
based on brain imaging are applied to address real world cases is, for example, neuro-marketing. Its
goal is to collect neural information concerning decision-making processes by measuring the cus-
tomers' response to an advertisement, in order to test its effectiveness. Neuro-marketing could thus
lead to the infringement of the decisional autonomy of the individual, if it enabled companies to hi-
jack customers' choices that bypass their level of awareness. With current technology and level of
understanding, however, it is not possible to manipulate customers' behaviour in such a way that
the target does not realize the attempt to nudge him or her6. Nonetheless, there might be more ef-
fective ways to alter customers' behaviour, as we will see shortly.

Brain Stimulation. The next set of technologies comprises neuro-stimulation ones: they offer treat-
ments based on electrical and magnetic stimulation of the brain through medical devices fixed on
the head or implanted into the brain. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and Deep Brain
Stimulation (DBS) currently have widespread applications for the mitigation of the symptoms of
neurological and psychiatric disorders like Parkinson's disease, epilepsy and depression7. Among the
various issues that these technologies raise, we are particularly interested in the ways brain stimula-
tion alters the patient's personality and identity. Although evidence about the psychological effects
of these kinds of treatments is conflicting, numerous studies report various degrees and types of al-
terations, depending on the mode, degree and area of stimulation8. Mood and personality changes
due to DPS for example comprise states of excitement and euphoria, impulsivity and a tendency to
obsessive disorders.9 These changes can be so radical as to pose a challenge to individuals to adapt
themselves to a new concept of themselves. It is hard, however, to determine whether such chang-
es are caused by the degree and area of stimulation, or by the attempt of psychological adaptation
to a new health status. Additionally, given the numerous different accounts of personal identity that
the literature offers, it is hard to tell how much an individual's personality changed, and thus, to give
an indication of the degree of change of identity which the person underwent.

Brain Alterations. A third set of neuro-technologies comprises psychoactive drugs, which are known
to cause changes of personality too. Psychopharmacological agents such as methylphenidate (Ri-
talin), modafinil (Provigil), donepezil (Aricept), fluoxetine (Prozac) and amphetamines (Adderall) are
regularly employed to treat a wide array of conditions, like Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), narco-
lepsy, Alzheimer's disease, dementia and depression. Anyway, as side effects they may also enhance
mood, concentration, wakefulness, assertiveness and sociability10. Other substances have been
shown to cause the temporary alterations of human psychological traits. Oxytocin, for example, is
involved in a number of cases of pro social behaviour in mammals. The administration of oxytocin
increases social trust and risk-taking11, an aspect that may be used to treat patients that suffer from
social phobia or autism12, but might also be used to cheat or deceive somebody by decreasing their
level of suspicion. Additionally, it may also increases aggression, since oxytocin is involved in the ag-
gressive behaviour that mammals display when a mother defends her litter from a threat.13 Yet oth-
er psychopharmacological drugs are studied for their potential to affect memory, which may offer
treatments for people suffering from Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and Post Traumatic Stress
Disorder (PTSD). Both memory formation and consolidation, and the emotional strength of memo-
ries can be altered in order to enhance or inhibit memory recollection. MCI can cause memory defi-
cits that could be remedied by strengthening the process of memory formation and consolidation.14
PTSD symptoms, on the other hand, can be alleviated by reducing the intensity of the emotions at-
tached to traumatic memories. At the current state of the art, these techniques cannot be used to
selectively modify people's memories 15. In spite of this, future developments of memory modifica-
tion technologies raise issues concerning the continuity of personal identity due to the alteration of
memories that play a role in defining who we are. All these effects on one's personality, due to
technological or pharmacological intervention in the brain, makes us question the authenticity of
the resulting behaviour, which again connects to the issue of identity change, as well as to personal
autonomy. How radical must a change be in order to count as a substantial alteration of personal
identity, and how much of it is due to the intervention? How "free" are the decisions of the person
after the treatment, and how does the self-perception of autonomy impact one's perception of self-
worth? These questions will come back again in later parts.

Cognitive Enhancement. The last issue that will be taken in consideration here is the so called cogni-
tive enhancement. Both neuro-stimulation technologies and psychoactive drugs, in fact, can be used
to augment human cognitive capacities such as attention, focus and memory (but also mood, per-
sonality traits and behaviour)16. Although the majority of techniques and products are tested specif-
ically for the treatment of specific disorders, nootropic drugs (also called smart drugs) in particular
are regularly used off-label to obtain a boost during mental efforts, especially by students. Even
though the degree of the possible enhancement is at the present time limited, the issues that this
use of neuro-technologies raises are broad and challenging. Besides changes in personality and
identity as outlined above, cognitive enhancement could impact self-esteem, since it puts into ques-
tion the connection between our efforts and achievements17. Differences of accessibility due to, for
example, prohibitive costs for the poorer parts of society, could cause the exacerbation of the gap
between social classes18. The widespread use of cognitive enhancers might redefine what is consid-
ered "normal", impacting personal and social identities on issues related to well-being and thus lead
to an increased medicalisation of traits once considered normal19. It may also cause direct and indi-
rect coercion and social pressure on people who refuse to use them and who might face marginali-
zation and penalization in competitive settings or in the workplace20. Lastly, their availability on the
market might foster the commodification of certain psychological traits considered desirable, which
would no longer be seen as a symbol of personal value but rather of status21.

Therefore, to sum up, the neuroscientific technologies promise to:

a) Be able to "read" the mind of people simply through brain scans.
b) Be able to change mood and personality
c) Be able to induce aggression or other behaviour modification
d) Be able to alter memory formation and consolidation
e) Be able to augment cognitive ability (or capacity)

These are the reasons why the field of neuro-ethical needs is bringing about the necessity of an ever
increasing consideration of social and ethical implications of neuro-technological discoveries22.

3. Cognitive Liberty: in search of a Definition

It is not simple to give a clear and exhaustive definition of Cognitive Liberty. Of course, it is a relative-
ly new term, since it was only in 2000 that W. Sententia and R. G. Boire introduced the word and the
concept of Cognitive Liberty in order to emphasise the role and resilience of individual thought in the
free usage of technologies at our disposal.

This is a term designed, on the one hand, to expand the traditional notion of "liberty of thought" and,
on the other hand, to push legal systems of democratic societies to integrate such a right into their

In this context, it is important to highlight that the term 'cognitive' denotes the process an individual
uses to organize the information he receives, since the mind collects and selects information accord-
ing to perception, attention, comprehension and memory to guide the behaviour24.

Therefore, Cognitive Liberty is a very complex concept due to its multi-dimensional features.
Bublitz assumes that it may be considered as a principle that guarantees «the right to alter one's
mental states with the help of neurotools as well as to refuse to do so» 25. Nevertheless, it is also de-
fined as the right of each individual to think autonomously and independently, to use the complete
set of their mental abilities and take part in several ways of thought. This latter definition, indeed,
expresses three conceptual points of interest:

• Privacy. The content of our thoughts must remain private until one decides to share them.
Therefore, according to Boire and Sententia, we can interpret the cognitive liberty with special
focus on the protection of individual freedom and self-determination from the State and other
subjects, but particularly from the State or commercial entities: a sort of protection from the
coercive and non-consensual use of neuro- technologies.

• Autonomy. Every human being must be able to think independently and use the full spectrum of
their mental faculties26. In this regard, Cognitive Liberty is something like a freedom to control
one's own consciousness and electrochemical thought processes this is because it is the neces-
sary ontological substrate for just about every other freedom. Thus, now it is clear why Wrye
Sententia presented cognitive liberty as a conceptual update of freedom of thought that takes
«into account the power we now have, and increasingly will have to monitor and manipulate
cognitive function»27

• Choice. The capabilities of the human mind should not be limited. Until one person directly
damages others, governments should not prohibit cognitive enhancement or the realization of
any other mental state.

Therefore, since Cognitive Liberty ensures the possibility to control our own consciousness it should
allow us to avoid an attack from an economic corporation or from a coercive political legislation, or
even social orders to achieve a communal cognitive standard28.
Moreover, following the thesis of Bublitz, we think CL is not just a political claim, but something more
similar to a pre-condition of every legal concept related to a person, i.e. «the implicit assumption of
any legal order based on individual self-determination and responsibility»29. The importance of this
concept may be unearthed from the consideration that it is integral to the foundation of every legal
system. This is a crucial theme because self-determination regarding one's own cognition is essential
for free will and for every kind of free action.

4. Cognitive Liberty: negative formulation

Conducts which aim to provoke damage (intense suffering or physical disabilities) and mental manip-
ulations (behavioural alterations or subliminal conditioning of choices and preferences) are often not
sufficiently prosecuted by national and international authorities. Thus, it is necessary to find a con-
ceptual framework that brings together all these conducts, in order to provide a stronger protection
from them. We think this concept may be the "negative" formulation of Cognitive Liberty: a defen-
sive concept against "mental" abuses from third parties like police, medical agencies, commercial en-
tities, or, indeed anyone, but the owner's mind.

Boire's paper Neurocops: The Politics of Prohibition and the Future of Enforcing Social Policy from In-
side the Body highlights the forced use of drugs and psychiatric treatment on prisoners without a
conscious and informed consent30.

On a regulatory level, in addition to physical integrity CL is also taken in consideration, even though
such an issue is only marginally considered in psychopharmacological treatments and in modern neu-
rosciences. As a matter of fact, there are no debates revolving around the correlation between indi-
vidual thought and cerebral neurochemistry. To avoid the erosion of liberty from the inside it is nec-
essary to acknowledge the integrity of the neurochemical processes submitted to the personality of
an individual. The essential features to make these interventions may require the fulfilment of two

1) that a member of the healthcare staff trained in such subject must fully inform the individual
about treatment alternatives, about risks and benefits deriving from this therapy or about the
possibility of abstention from the cure;
2) the individual must also be able to decide freely and voluntarily if he intends to undergo the

As a premise of this decision, the subject must have the power of free choice from undue incentives
or any other situation regarding deception, enforceability or constriction, fraud or any other form of
coercion or humiliation. This coercion, even if used to compassionate ends, like the imposition of
care, is still considered coercion. The only exception to the requirement of informed consent, besides
the emergence of possible harm to himself or others, is a statement of mental infirmity, even though
a clear definition of this condition on a medical or legal level has yet to be developed.

In the case Sell vs United States, other limits to the use of neuro-techniques are fixed.
These limits can be articulated in four points: 1) there must be a state public interest (such as, in the
present case, to subject a potentially hazardous subject to judgment); 2) medicines administered
must at the same time bring the subject to his senses and not cause unwanted effects; 3) the ac-
cused may not be subjected to alternative healthcare that may yield the same results; 4) the drug
should be administered in the best medical interests based on the subject's health condition 31.

As a matter of fact, we believe that the danger of a forced, or of a too aggressive use of neuro-
technologies, can result not only in a new conception of punishment, but might have consequences
in those clefts of the legal orders where will is an element of secondary importance.

In many social orders, as is well known, public authorities can put forward medical interventions
completely regardless of the acceptance of those who undergo them; for example, involuntary
healthcare treatments. We believe that, over the next few years, this blind spot could represent a
picklock to test new forms of "normalisation" using neuro-techniques32.

In 2012, Hank Greely tried to open the debate on the use of involuntary treatments precisely for the
modification/elimination of antisocial behaviour, as well as for the treatment of diseases and of psy-
chic distress33. This scholar is one of those who consider it an immediate necessity to develop the ba-
sis of a direct intervention in the neuro-deviant brain, be it in criminals or simply people in psychic

He asserts the daring thesis that neurosciences will provide the ability to modify undesired behav-
iour, by changing the neurological basis of agent individuals. This reasoning is very simple: if we agree
that we are willing to intervene directly on the brain of a subject in case of severe disease or disa-
blement, there is no reason to disagree on the treatment of the causes, also 'related to the brain', of
socially undesired behaviour.

Greely proposes safety and effectiveness as standards to evaluate this kind of treatment. He asserts
that the traditional forms of direct brain intervention (ad example lobotomy) are unduly simplistic
solutions for a very complex problem, since they are neither safe nor effective34.

Therefore, it is necessary to test new forms of intervention, safe and effective, in order to eradicate
socially unaccepted behaviour through behaviour control, provided that the interventions are safe,
effective and not improper35.

For the purpose of suggesting an experimentation in this direction, Greely examines three types of
situations: the fully-voluntary possibility; the semi-voluntary choice between direct intervention and
an unappealing alternative (e.g. jail); and a third completely forced option.

Sure, at least in the first two cases the problem of the true character of a voluntary act could emerge
since the decision could come from the individual's family or environment. However, Greely's reply
consists of introducing an «extensive process to ensure that the offender had thought long and hard
about it, was competent, and was not acting in hope of early release» 36.

Secondly, according to Greely, it is necessary to consider the nature of the behaviour that one seeks
to modify. Let us think about a change of one's shyness or aggressiveness or of one's religiousness, or
to those who, for various reasons, want to become "someone else".

As for the possible objection on the harm to human dignity caused by these interventions, Greely re-
plies: «but does a social consensus that a treatment offends human dignity justify forbidding compe-
tent adults from doing what they want to themselves, even if such a consensus could reliably be

In respect to the semi-voluntary choice, according to Greely it is necessary to consider the types of
alternatives proposed to the deviant individual. A court cannot offer the alternative between going
to jail or voting for a certain party, and neither between jail and torture. Therefore, it is necessary to
evaluate the appropriateness of the intervention, that is its character of interest in regard to the in-
dividual's behaviour. Obviously, the alternative between jail and a safe and effective direct interven-
tion is certainly tempting and, from the author's point of view, represents an appropriate proposal.

As to completely involuntary direct treatments, Greely wonders for which reason they should not be
proposed without alternatives (that is, imposed), if they comply with the safe-effective-not improper

If we can serenely send someone to jail, unsuccessfully attempting to modify their behaviour, there is
no reason to fear the scandal caused by a certainly more effective modification concerning the brain.
The problem, we think, involves individual freedom, that is, the "resistibility" of traditional means
that leave residual autonomy to the subject. That is, that autonomy which the new means of direct
intervention would not leave.

In this regard, Greely also asserts the need to identify a space of unattainable "cognitive liberty"; a
sort of privacy level beyond which one should not go38. But, even given this sort of unattainability, it
is difficult to assert that direct brain intervention could not become a commonly used practice to
modify behaviour that is socially unfavourable or not accepted by the community, or vice versa to
ease accepted behaviour.

With regard to this issue, Martha Farah believes that possible interventions on central nervous sys-
tem, such as subcutaneous stimulators or neurosurgical operations, should not be used in any cir-
cumstances to subjugate the interests of an individual to the interests of society, because they com-
mit a clear violation of the right to human dignity. To each convict must be granted the right to keep
his thought and his personality away from any kind of intervention aimed at damaging individual lib-
erty. The possible submission to permanent interventions as an alternative to imprisonment, inte-
grates in any case an implicit coercion to the individual will39.

Such instances of protection also emerge in the debate about the negative contribution given by
neuroscientific innovations to the privilege of non-self-incrimination during an investigation or dis-
pute. This privilege protects the defendant from being forced to sue by affirming facts from which his
responsibility may arise (in the United States this possibility is governed by the V Amendments to the
Constitution). However, it does not yet offer protection from possible coercive analysis of its mental
processes. The problem presents itself mainly when data obtained from brain scans, such as fMRIs,
are not only treated as information on the individual, but as true testimonies for non-intervention of
the right to self-incrimination 40.

As a result, Nita Farahany proposed the idea of the possible creation by the US Congress of a law on
the Non-Discrimination of Genetic Information to protect individual Cognitive Liberty, interpreted as
the right to privacy against mental processing41. We think this is a good way to go ahead in the de-
fence of personal neuro-sphere: using the analogy with the international declarations that protect
the Human Genome.

5. Cognitive Liberty: positive formulation Cognitive Liberty and Human Rights

As we have seen, «Negative rights are those rights that impose obligations on governments and oth-
ers citizens to refrain from interfering with the rights bearer» 42. By contrast, the positive formulation
of Cognitive Liberty argues that the existing neuro-technologies should be widely available to anyone
who wants them.

The main cases on this theme concern the free personal use of psychoactive substances and cogni-
tive devices (such as Transcranial Direct Current Stimulator or Neuro Feedback Equipment43) which
may lead to a cognitive enhancement, even if the concept of enhancement may be related both to a
hypothetical individual level (such as, for instance, the increase of one's own memory) and to a hypo-
thetical general level (such as, for instance, the drug treatment in academic exams)44. However, if, on
the one hand, the use of such "treatments" may be considered ethically permissible by society, on
the other hand, the limited evidence regarding their efficacy and the potential safety problems in the
long term might suggest being careful with their use. This dichotomy is also the basic foundations on
which the transhumanist and bio-conservative debate is built. In fact, while the aim of the formers is
to «create the opportunity to live much longer and healthier lives, to enhance our memory and other
intellectual faculties, to refine our emotional experiences and increase our subjective sense of well-
being, and generally to achieve a greater degree of control over our own lives» 45, the others argued
that the «use of CE could have profound and unpredictable consequences for society because it
could allow people to create cognitive structures of a type that do not occur within the range of
normal human experience» 46.

And this is precisely the point: today a shared concept of "normality" has still not been elaborated.
Indeed, according to Sommaggio «In the neuro-scientific context, there are at least two formulae re-
ferring to normality: the statistical model, based on the observation of uniformity of behaviour, and
the socio-biological, or evolutionary, model» 47. Nevertheless, both conceptions may be questioned.
The first one by the fact that empirical observation suffers from the statistical syndrome: the bell-
curve, namely a standardised data distribution, such as that where for each genius there can be an
idiot, with the resulting defeat of any normality definition. The second one may be criticized by the
fact that it leads to a blind alley: we are unable to identify the reasons why certain behaviour may
have consisted of a "bad" or "good" adaptation to social-environment.

Furthermore, even if we assume a libertarian point of view, nonetheless a criticism of cognitive en-
hancement can be put forward. Indeed, the wealthy will have access to CE while the poor will not,
thus resulting in wider disparities in society, since it represents a potentially huge market, not only
for drug companies but also for physicians who might enter the potentially lucrative market, espe-
cially of cosmetic neurology48.

Moreover, some scholars wondered whether the availability of enhancers might not create profes-
sional duties for individuals in high-risk professions, such as surgeons or pilots, to utilize them (even
though, at present, since there is a reasonable doubt about their efficacy and their possible negative
effects, it is possible to conclude that such a legal duty cannot be imposed)49. This is because some
safe and effective medications for therapeutic uses can be extremely dangerous outside the prescrip-
tion. In this regard, specific studies are required to assess risks and benefits of cognitive enhance-
ment. At least a guideline on their use should be traced taking into account the possible long-term
repercussions of the side effects of these technologies. This is the reason why some researchers, in
an article published in Nature, proposed the creation of a Committee of doctors, educators and law-
yers to collaborate in the development of policies aimed at defining the criteria for the use of cogni-
tive enhancers in healthy subjects50. In this sense, we may wonder if State legislatives should or
should not intervene to prevent the actions of those who want to use such enhancers.

This is what happened, for instance, with regard to the doctor-child-parent relationship. Indeed, due
to the vulnerability of children to various forms of coercion, the ANN Committee Ethics, Law, and
Humanities Committee Position Paper concluded that prescribing stimulants for enhancement with-
out diagnosis of a neurologic disorder is unjustified in legally and developmentally non-autonomous
children and inadvisable for near-autonomous adolescents51.

Obviously, there are many arguments in favour of the use of cognitive potentials legitimated by the
right to autonomously determine our own identity and conscience. The aforementioned model could
then lead to a recognition of the possibility to modify the cognitive sphere with enhancing tools, up
to the consideration of the free management of our mind as a fundamental human right52.

6. Cognitive Liberty and Human Rights

As we saw, neuro-technology has the potential to impact and redefine legal systems even though, up
to now, international human rights law does not make any reference to neuroscience. From a broad-
er point of view, we can say that neuro-technologies have the potential to redefine the very concep-
tion of our global society. Indeed, they can influence everyone since they are able to modify the cog-
nitive inner structure of every human being, thus raising issues related to human rights.
We do not want to start a debate about the foundation of human rights since, in this paper, we pre-
fer to use the conception of human rights defined by Beitz53. He considers human rights as «require-
ments whose object is to protect urgent individual interests against predictable dangerous ('standard
treats') to which they are vulnerable under typical circumstance of life in a modern world order com-
posed of states»54. We think cognitive liberty has all the features required by Beitz. In our opinion, CL
can be conceived as a requirement to protect the mind's self-determination against the intervention
of other subjects (or the State) and this element is a common core of the whole world.
The same consideration may be used to circumvent the so-called "rights inflation" that is the tradi-
tional objection against the recognition ore the creation of new human rights. We could use a justifi-
catory test for these new kinds of rights to test if they are proper human rights. We think that no one
could deny that CL does not only deal with a very important asset but also responds to a common
and serious threat to that asset. On the other hand, no one is able to impose burdens on its practice
or to deny its feasibility in most of Countries. This may be considered as the Nickel test55.

7. The debate: the conception of Bublitz

It is not easy to describe the debate that Cognitive Liberty has brought into the human rights per-
spective. This is because, given the particular complexity of the definition of CL, it is difficult for
scholars to associate that definition with one or more human rights. In this sense, some of the most
valuable attempts were made by Jan Christoph Bublitz.

The reconstruction of this German author's thought is not easy, given the continuous progress of his
point of view. However, it seems that something in his conception of cognitive liberty has never
changed (lasted unchanged): mind-body differentiation. Indeed, throughout his works, it is possible
to see how often the author focuses on how, «while legal systems have developed detailed rules of
permissible behaviour with bodies, [..] legal doctrines over conduct with another's mind are hard to
find and strikingly underdeveloped»56.

It is, indeed, a distinction that leads other authors to address not only the question of the relation-
ship between body and mind, but especially that of the relationship between mind and brain. This is
because, despite the «current trend in psychiatry to relabel all mental disorders as brain disorder» 57,
this does not mean that properties of one automatically become properties of the other and, at least
for normative purposes which, involving concepts such as ''harm'' or ''dysfunction'', both mental and
the physical (brain) level merit attention on their own58.

This is the reason why they «claim that a human right to mental self-determination does exist or is,
as a tacit assumption, woven into the law's structure»59.

The purpose of this right would be twofold: on the one hand, in «its negative dimension, it protects
the freedom from severe interference by the state and third parties»60. On the other hand, in its pos-
itive dimension, it grants the freedom to self-determine one's inner sphere.

Unfortunately, as many authors pointed out, the «problem is that such a right is unfortunately nei-
ther expressly acknowledged by Constitutions or Human Rights Treaties nor given much attention by
legal scholars» 61. Nevertheless, since the «legal subject is the aggregate of its mental faculties, be-
havioural dispositions, emotional propensities and so on» 62, it is possible to consider Cognitive Liber-
ty not just as a right granted (or denied) by legal orders but as the basic assumptions on which liberal
legal orders are built.

This change in perspective is not without normative consequences. In fact, «while some interests are
protected by some strong rights, others may not enjoy any legal protection at all» 63, even if, as men-
tioned, some of these interests are the basis on which many of the rights are based.

In this sense, the case of Cognitive Liberty is emblematic. In fact, even if «Cognitive Liberty or a right
to mental self determination guarantees individual sovereignty over their mind […], such a right is
not enshrined in constitutions, human-rights treaties or legal textbooks» 64. Sure, many Western de-
mocracies protect mental injuries as body injuries. However, «legal protection of the mind cannot be
identical to the protection of the body, but requires distinct and yet-to-be worked-out criteria»65.
Of course, even now, according to Bublitz, it is possible to observe the presence of some rights such

• the freedom of thought
• the right to a free development of personality
• the rights of Privacy
• the right to mental Integrity

which are in the proximity of Cognitive Liberty, understood as the rights to mental self- determina-

Nevertheless, it is the same author who, by analysing the different dimensions of this conception of
CL, specifies how this can be understood as:

• liberty to change one's mind
• protection against intervention into other mind to preserve mental integrity
• an obligation for states to promote the cognitive liberty

Anyway, we would like to emphasise how, in a subsequent work, the perspective of the German
scholar changes and moves from a concept of Cognitive Liberty understood as mind self-
determination (strongly connected to the concept of mind integrity) to a concept of CL understood as
Freedom of Thought.

The change of perspective seems to be related to the «advent of tools that confer more powers over
our own and other's mental»66. So that, «the question is no longer, whether it is possible to change
thoughts, but rather, who should be allowed to do so» 67.

To identify Cognitive Liberty with freedom of thought allows the author to no longer claim the exist-
ence of a human right to mental self-determination, but simply insert new meanings into an existing
human right. But this new point of view forces the author to admit the practical irrelevance of this

Indeed, despite, «at least in theory, a strong human right protects persons against unwanted inter-
ventions into their minds […] Freedom of thought has failed to stand the test of practical applicabil-
ity»68. Even in this case, however, it should be noted how this notion of Cognitive Liberty seems to
be a prerequisite of Legal systems rather than a right protected by them.

This might be the reason why, recently, starting from considerations regarding moral bio-
enhancement (MBE), i.e. interventions «focussed on improving the moral aspects of the psychologi-
cal conditio humana through bio-technological means such as pharmaceuticals or electrostimulation
of the brain»69, Bublitz describes the following three different types of freedom which could be en-
dangered by this type of intervention.

1. Freedom to Fall. On a first reading, it refers to the freedom to act in a morally incorrect way.
However, no idea of freedom permits persons to fall — and fail — in, for instance, a criminal act,
because everyone is obliged to refrain from committing those acts. Therefore, as written by
DeGrazia «the elimination of freedom [to fall] with respect to rape and child molestation is no
great loss»70.

2. Freedom of Will. This is an important freedom since «MBE may not only curb the freedom of ac-
tion – after all, enhanced persons can act as they please – but rather the freedom to choose
which actions to pursue» 71.

3. Freedom of Mind. The notion of this freedom «has not received much scholarly attention, alt-
hough it should be accorded a central role in ethical assessments of mind-interventions» 72. At
first approximation, it has at least two important aspects:

1. «First, freedom of mind relates to the degree of independence from internal impediments
and to the strength of one's mental capacities, from attention and memory to various types
of thinking or subduing impulses. In other words, one aspect of mental freedom is conscious
control over one's mind» 73.

2. A «second, and this time a negative sense of mental freedom: to remain untouched from in-
terventions tampering with consciously uncontrollable mental elements — we can call this
the protection of peace of mind» 74.

Therefore, «although the notions mental freedom, conscious control and mental integrity may need
further explication, it is hardly disputable that MBE often interferes with aspects that they describe»

In this respect, one should note that it is possible to change another's opinions even with a mere
speech. For this reason, interfering with opinions cannot be intrinsically unlawful. Even if it is neces-
sary to specify that «direct and indirect interventions differ significantly in terms of respect of the af-
fected person. Indirect interventions engage with the other's first-person perspective, with her
views, desires and personality, whereas direct interventions bypass her conscious and unconscious
control capacities» 76. Therefore, at least with regard of Freedom of Mind (in positive and negative
terms) Bublitz claims a normative intervention.

It is not easy, thus, to follow the path traced by the German scholar. Indeed, given the concrete pos-
sibility of altering the mind of others, he tries to find regulatory references that will achieve all the
goals promised by new technologies. To do this he explored many possibilities; from the recognition
of a right to mind self-determination (strongly connected to the concept of mind integrity), to a kind
of extensive interpretation of the right to freedom of thought, up to the explicit request for the
recognition of all profiles linked to Freedom of Mind.

Nevertheless, even though he truly explores the problems related to Cognitive Liberty, in our opinion
the suggested solution proposed by Bublitz seems unfit to solve all of the problems we try to investi-
gate in this paper. In our opinion, the best solution is not a modification, or an extension of existing
rights, but rather a completely new perspective on Neuro-Rights architecture.

8. The debate: the conception of Ienca and Andorno

Similarly, in the examination led by Ienca and Andorno, the focus is the refusal of the coercive use of
neuro-technologies and the development of the legal category of Cognitive Liberty, which must be
supported by the reconceptualization of existing human rights or the introduction of new human

– the right to cognitive liberty;
– the right to mental privacy;
– the right to mental integrity;
– the right to psychological continuity.

These authors argued that: «For the purposes of our analysis, in this article we will focus exclusively
on the negative formulation of the right to cognitive liberty, namely as the right to refuse coercive
uses of neuro-technology. In addition, while we welcome the introduction of the right to cognitive
liberty, we argue that this notion is not alone sufficient to cover the entire spectrum of ethical and
legal implications associated with neuro-technology. Rather, the establishment of cognitive liberty as
a human right should be coordinated with a simultaneous reconceptualization of existing rights or
even the creation of other new neuro-specific rights. This is the right to mental privacy, the right to
mental integrity and the right to psychological continuity» 77.

In consideration of the first point, the question is whether actual standards of privacy protection in-
clude the information incorporated or generated by our mind 78.

The authors suggest the extension of the category with the formal recognition of the right to mental
privacy, which is intended to protect any information, conscious or unconscious, deriving from the
brain (and also to protect the brain structures that give rise to these data) and which can be illegally
recorded by a dedicated neural instrumentation and indiscriminately shared in the digital ether. An-
other problem is that related to attacks on the brain by criminal groups. They can directly manipulate
mental capabilities, and the resulting mental integrity, through the use of neurological devices, the
same way computer hackers do.

As everyone knows, physical and psychological integrity is currently safeguarded by Article 3 of the
European Charter of Human Rights which emphasises the right in medicine and biology79. Mental in-
tegrity should both ensure that patients with mental health issues can easily access psychiatric
treatments and supports, and protect the mental dimension from possible harm by others. This re-
consideration of mental integrity should lead to specific regulatory protection from possible neuro-
chemical interventions designed to irreversibly modify individual personality with direct cognitive

The right to psychological continuity would be a specification of neural nature regarding the right to
personal identity developed by the European Court of Human Rights on the basis of Article 8 of the
European Convention on Human Rights and recognized by the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights. Here, the right to personal fulfilment and the full development of personality is explained in
Art. 22 and 29. In any case the utmost attention and public debates are imperative before authoris-
ing intentional intrusions into the personal sphere 80.

Finally, Ienca & Andorno argue that: «All these proposed neuro-focused rights are mutually linked
and stand in an intimate family relationship. Being the substrate of all other freedoms, cognitive lib-
erty in its positive sense is a prerequisite of all other neuro-focused rights. As such, it is to mental pri-
vacy, mental integrity and psychological continuity in a very similar relationship as freedom of
thought is to privacy, integrity and identity rights. However, in its negative sense of protection from
coercive use, cognitive liberty can only partly account for the unintended uses of emerging neuro-
technology. In fact, illicit intrusions into a person's mental privacy may not necessarily involve coer-
cion, as they could be performed under the threshold of a person's conscious experience. The same
goes for actions involving harm to a person's mental life or unauthorized modifications of a person's
psychological continuity, which are also facilitated by the ability of emerging neuro-technologies to
intervene into a person's neural processing in absence of the person's awareness» 81.

Therefore, in the opinion of Ienca and Andorno, Cognitive Liberty is a prerequisite of all the rights fo-
cused on neuro aspects. We think that in order to take further their perspective the better approach
is to leave the idea to the introduction of a new neuro-oriented right into the current declarations of
Human Rights in order to focus on a totally new Declaration of Human Neuro-rights.

9. Conclusions

In conclusion, we think we have shown the pivotal role that CL plays in the new neuro-oriented soci-
ety. In doing this, we have presented some steps useful to build a sort of a metaphorical stairway.

As a first step we described importance and features of the concept of Cognitive Liberty understood
as a necessary condition to all other liberties, since it is their neuro-cognitive substrate.

As a second step, we reported how other proponents of Cognitive Liberty, suggest considering it as a
fundamental human right as well as a central legal principle guiding the regulation of neuro-
technologies. In this regard, one should remember, as Bublitz argued, how «hard it is to conceive of
any conception of a legal subject in which the mind and mental capacities (e.g. acting from reasons,
deliberation) are not among its necessary constitutive conditions» 82.

Subsequently, as a third step, we argued how Cognitive Liberty has all the features needed to make it
a key concept from which new human rights can emerge. This is because, it cannot just be reduced
to existing rights. But, it may be considered as a basis of all liberties, both internal and external. In-
deed, since Cognitive Life, in its various forms and degrees, is inherent to all human beings, so cogni-
tive liberty is consistent with a definition of human rights as inalienable rights «to which a person is
inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being» 83, regardless of their nation, location,
language, religion, ethnic origin or any other status.

As a fourth step we saw how the integration of Cognitive Liberty into the human rights framework
would enable the protection of constitutive features of human beings that are not being entirely pro-
tected by existing rights.

As a fifth step, we have shown how this conception of CL could be understood both as a new human
right and as a necessary condition to build a set of new Neuro-Rights. In fact, in the same way as
what happened with the notion of Human Genome, we claim a Universal Declaration on Neuro-
Rights. This is because, the adaptive ability that human rights law has already shown may be a useful
tool in responding to the challenges posed by neurosciences. The path is already mapped out and it
is like a stairway.

Therefore, contrary to what is written by Bublitz and Andorno-Ienca, we think that it is not only pref-
erable and fair, but it would also be easier solve the problems related the concept of Cognitive Liber-
ty through a new Declaration of Human Neuro-Rights; as the path that has already be traced with re-
gard to the Human Genome.

In this paper, we intended to consider these steps as parts of a metaphorical stairway to national and
international protection of the inner sphere of every human being. In this sense, Cognitive Liberty
will be the key concept for a new kind of 'habeas corpus': a recourse in law through which a person
can report on unlawful intervention into her or his inner world. That is a new 'habeas mens' that
would mean "my mind is free". Free from interventions of others, and free to change our mind as we
choose. To sum up, we ask for the go-ahead of the legal recognition of the neuro-cognitive issues in a
defensive and proactive sense. We do not mind what form these neuro-rights will take. We are inter-
esting in unearthing this problem and in putting Cognitive Liberty at the centre of this conceptual
turning point of our future international society.

 Paolo Sommaggio: Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Trento, Trento, Italy. Email: pao-
lo.sommaggio@unitn.it; Marco Mazzocca: Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Public, International, and Communi-
ty Law, University of Padua, Padua, Italy. Email: marco.mazzocca.1@phd.unipd.it; Alessio Gerola: Postgraduate
Student, Department of Philosophy, University of Twente, Enschede, Netherlands. Email:
a.gerola@student.utwente.nl; Fulvio Ferro: Undergraduate Student, Faculty of Law, University of Trento, Tren-
to, Italy. Email: fulvio.ferro@studenti.unitn.it. The article was subject to a double blind peer review process.


1 Cf. L. FRANK BAUM, The Emerald City of Oz, Chicago, 1910.

2 Cf. R. G. BOIRE, Cognitive Liberty Part 1, in Journal of Cognitive Liberties, 1/1, 2000, pp 7-13.; W. SENTENTIA,
Neuroethical Considerations: Cognitive Liberty and Converging Technologies for Improving Human Cognition, in
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1013/1, 2004, pp. 221-228.
3 R. G. BOIRE, Cognitive Liberty Part 1, cit., p. 7.
4 Cf. M.J. FARAH et al., Brain Imaging and Brain Privacy: A Realistic Concern?, in Journal of Cognitive Neurosci-
ence, 21/1, 2010, pp. 119-127.
5 Cf. D. S. WEISBERG et al., The Seductive Allure of Neuroscience Explanations, in Journal of Cognitive Neurosci-
ence, 20/3, 2008, pp. 470–477.
6 Cf. C. E. FISHER, L. CHIN and R. KLITZMAN, Defining Neuromarketing: Practices and Professional Challenges, in
Harvard Review of Psychiatry, 18/4, 2010, pp. 230–237.

7 Cf. F. JOTTERAND AND J. GIORDANO, Transcranial magnetic stimulation, deep brain stimulation and personal identi-
ty: ethical questions, and neuroethical approaches for medical practice, in International Review of Psychiatry,
23/5, 2008, pp. 476–485.
8 Cf. E. BELL ET AL., A Review of Social and Relational Aspects of Deep Brain Stimulation in Parkinson's Disease In-
formed by Healthcare Provider Experiences, in Parkinson's Disease, 2011,
https://dx.doi.org/10.4061/2011/871874 (last visited 12/09/2017).
9 Cf. F. JOTTERAND and J. GIORDANO, Transcranial magnetic stimulation, deep brain stimulation and personal iden-
tity: ethical questions, and neuroethical approaches for medical practice, cit.; E. BELL et al., A Review of Social
and Relational Aspects of Deep Brain Stimulation in Parkinson's Disease Informed by Healthcare Provider Expe-
riences, cit.
10 Cf. F. JOTTERAND and J. GIORDANO, Transcranial magnetic stimulation, deep brain stimulation and personal iden-
tity: ethical questions, and neuroethical approaches for medical practice, cit.
11 Cf. M. KOSFELD et al., Oxytocin increases trust in humans, in Nature, 435/7042, 2005, pp. 673–676.
12 Cf. T. BAUMGARTNER et al., Oxytocin Shapes the Neural Circuitry of Trust and Trust Adaptation in Humans, in
Neuron, 58/4, 2008, pp. 639–650.

13 Cf. C. N. DEWALL, et al., When the Love Hormone Leads to Violence: Oxytocin Increases Intimate Partner Vio-
lence Inclinations Among High Trait Aggressive People, in Social Psychological and Personality Science, 5/6,
2014, pp. 691–697.
14 Cf. G. LYNCH, Memory enhancement: the search for mechanism-based drugs, in Nature Neuroscience, 5/11,
2002, pp. 1035–1038.
15 Cf. S. M. LIAO and A. SANDBERG, The Normativity of Memory Modification, in Neuroethics, 1/2, 2008, pp. 85–
16 Cf. F. JOTTERAND and J. GIORDANO, Transcranial magnetic stimulation, deep brain stimulation and personal
identity: ethical questions, and neuroethical approaches for medical practice, cit.
17 Cf. P. BREY, Human Enhancement and Personal Identity, in J. K. B. O. FRIIS, E. SELINGER and S. RIIS (ed.), New
Waves in Philosophy of Technology, Basingstoke, 2009, pp. 169–185.

18 Cf. D. WOLFSLEHNER, Ethical Assessment of Research and Innovation: A Comparative Analysis of Practices and
Institutions in the EU and selected other countries, in SARTORI project Annex 2.c.1, 2015,
https://satoriproject.eu/media/2.c.1-Neurosciences_and_NT.pdf (last visited 12/09/2017).
19 Cf. P. BREY, Human Enhancement and Personal Identity, cit.
20 Cf. D. WOLFSLEHNER, Ethical Assessment of Research and Innovation: A Comparative Analysis of Practices and
Institutions in the EU and selected other countries, cit.
21 Cf. P. BREY, Human Enhancement and Personal Identity, cit.
22 Cf. W. SENTENTIA, Neuroethical Considerations: Cognitive Liberty and Converging Technologies for Improving
Human Cognition, cit., p. 222.
23 Cf. W. SENTENTIA, Freedom by design: Transhumanist values and cognitive liberty, in M. MORE and N. VITA-
MORE (ed.), The Transhumanist Reader: Classical and Contemporary Essays on the Science, Technology and Phi-
losophy of the Human future. Chichester, 2013, pp. 356-357.
24 Cf. N. BOSTROM and R. ROACHE, Smart Policy: Cognitive Enhancement in the Public Interest, in Contemporary
Readings in Law and Social Justice, 2/1, 2010, pp. 68-84.

25 J.C. BUBLITZ, My Mind is Mine?! Cognitive Liberty as a Legal Concept, in E. HILDT and A. FRANCKE (ed.), Cognitive
Enhancement, New York, 2013, pp 233-264, p. 234.
26 Cf. W. SENTENTIA, Neuroethical Considerations: Cognitive Liberty and Converging Technologies for Improving
Human Cognition, cit., p. 223.
27 W. SENTENTIA, Cognitive Enhancement and Cognitive Liberty: comments to the president's council on bioethics,
in H. F. DIDSBURY (ed.), 21st Century Opportunities and Challenges: An Age of Destruction Or an Age of transfor-
mation, Washington, 2003, pp 233-245, p. 234.
28 Cf. J.C. BUBLITZ, Cognitive Liberty or the International Human Right to Freedom of Thought, in J. CLAUSEN and N.
LEVY (ed.) Springer Handbook of Neuroethics, Dordrech, 2015, pp. 1309-1333, p. 1313; W. SENTENTIA, Freedom by
design: Transhumanist values and cognitive liberty, cit., p. 358.
29 J.C. BUBLITZ, My Mind is Mine?! Cognitive Liberty as a Legal Concept, cit., p. 243.

30 Cf. R. G. BOIRE, Neurocops: The Politics of Prohibition and the Future of Enforcing Social Policy from Inside the
Body, in Journal of Law and Health, 19/2, 2004, pp. 234-258.
31 Cf. A. U. ETHERIDGE and J. R. CHAMBERLAIN, Application of Sell vs United States, in Journal of the American Acad-
emy of Psychiatry and the Law, 34/2, 2006, pp. 248-250.
32 Cf. G. MEYNEN, A neurolaw perspective on psychiatric assessments of criminal responsibility: Decision-making,
mental disorder, and the brain, in International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 36/2, 2013, pp. 93-99.
33 Cf. H. T. GREELY, Direct Brain Interventions to "Treat" Disfavored Human Behaviors: Ethical and Social Issues, in
Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 91/2, 2012, pp. 163-165.
34 Cf. H. T. GREELY, Neuroscience and criminal justice: not responsibility but treatment, in University of Kansas
Law Review, 56/5, 2008, pp. 1103-1138.
35 Cf. H. T. GREELY, Direct Brain Interventions to "Treat" Disfavored Human Behaviors: Ethical and Social Issues,
cit., p. 163.
36 Ivi., p. 164.
37 Ibid.
38 In this sense, he wrote: «A "resistible" treatment, such as a prison rehabilitation effort, still seems to leave
some freedom for choice; the more effective (and irresistible) the treatment, the greater the invasion of liber-
ty. I feel that there should be some protected space of cognitive liberty, but, given that all interventions affect
the brain, it is hard to see why mandatory brain interventions should be impermissible only if they are direct».
39 Cf. M. J. FARAH, Emerging ethical issues in neuroscience, in Nature Neuroscience, 5/11, 2002, pp. 1123-1129,
p. 1126.
40 Cf. M. IENCA and R. ANDORNO, Towards new human rights in the age of neuroscience and neurotechnology in
Life Sciences, Society and Policy, 13/5, 2017, https://doi.org/10.1186/s40504-017-0050-1 (last visited
12/09/2017). (last visited 12/09/2017), p. 16.
41 Cf. N. A. FARAHANY, Incriminating Thoughts, in Stanford Law Review, 64/2, 2012, pp. 351-408, p. 406.
42 R. H. BLANK, Cognitive Enhancement: Social and Public Policy Issues, London, 2016, p. 52.
43 Cf. H. MASLEN et al., The regulation of cognitive enhancement devices: extending the medical model, in Journal
of Law and the Biosciences, 1/1, 2014, pp. 68-93, p.72.
44 Cf. N. BOSTROM and A. SANDBERG, Cognitive Enhancement: Methods, Ethics, Regulatory Challenges, in Science
and engineering ethics, 15/3, 2009, pp. 311–341, p. 311.
45 N. BOSTROM, Human Genetic Enhancements: A Transhumanist Perspective in Journal of Value Inquiry, 37/4,
2003, pp. 493-506, p. 493.
46 G. LYNCH, L.C. PALMER and C. M. GALL, The likelihood of cognitive enhancement, in Pharmacology, Biochemistry
and Behavior, 99/2, 2011, pp 116-129, p. 126.
47 P. SOMMAGGIO, Neuro-civilization: A New Form of Social Enhancement, in Athens: ATINER'S Conference Paper
Series No: SOS2016, 2016, pp. 3-18, p. 9.
48 Cf. J. GIORDANO, Neuroethical issues in neurogenetic and neuro-transplantation technology: The need for
pragmatism and preparedness in practice and policy, in Studies in Ethics, Law, and Technology, 4/3, 2010,
https://doi.org/10.2202/1941-6008.1152 (last visited 13/09/2017); D. LARRIVIERE and M. A. WILLIAMS, Neuroen-
hancement: Wisdom of the Masses or "False Phronesis"?,in Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 88/4, 2010,
pp. 459–461.
49 Cf. H. MASLEN et al., The regulation of cognitive enhancement devices: extending the medical model, cit.
50 Cf. H. T. GREELY et al., Towards responsible use of cognitive-enhancing drugs by the healthy, in Nature,
456/7233, 2008, pp.702-705.
51 Cf. D. LARRIVIERE et al., Responding to requests from adult patients for neuroenhancements, Guidance of the
Ethics, Law and Humanities Committee, in Neurology, 73/17, 2009, pp. 1406-1412; W. D. GRAF et al., Pediatric
neuroenhancement: ethical, legal, social, and neurodevelopmental implications, in Neurology, 80/13, 2013, pp.
52 Cf. M. J. BLITZ, A Constitutional Right to Use Thought-Enhancing Technology: Cognitive Enhancement: Ethical
and Policy Implications in International Perspectives, in F. JOTTERAND and V. DUBLJEVIC (ed.), Cognitive Enhance-
ment, Oxford University Press, New York, 2016, pp. 302-306.
53 Cf. C. R. BEITZ, The idea of human rights, Oxford university press, New York, 2009.
54 Ivi., p. 109.
55 Cf. J. NICKEL, Human Rights, in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2014,
https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/rights-human/ (last visited 22/06/2017).
56 J.C. BUBLITZ and R. MERKEL, Crimes Against Minds: On Mental Manipulations, Harms and a Human Right to
Mental Self-Determination, in Criminal Law and Philosophy, 8/1, 2014, pp. 51–77, p 52.
57 Ivi., p 56.
58 Therefore, in this regard, «Speaking of depression, for instance, is speaking about specific mental symptoms.
Whether a person suffers from depression solely depends on her exhibiting these symptoms. Even if we knew
(what we currently don't) that every instance of depression strongly correlates with chemical ''imbalances'' in
neurotransmitter levels (say Serotonin) » Ivi., p. 57.
59 Ivi, p. 60.
60 Ibid.
61 Ibid.
62 Ivi., p. 62.
63 J.C. BUBLITZ, My Mind is Mine?! Cognitive Liberty as a Legal Concept, cit., p. 237.
64 Ivi. p. 242.
65 Ibid.
66 J.C. BUBLITZ, Cognitive Liberty or the International Human Right to Freedom of Thought, cit., p. 1312
67 Ibid.
68 Ivi, p. 1318
69 J.C. BUBLITZ, Moral Enhancement and Mental Freedom, in Journal of Applied Philosophy, 33/1, 2016, pp. 88-
106, p. 88.
70 D. DEGRAZIA, Moral enhancement, freedom, and what we (should) value in moral behavior, in Journal of Med-
ical Ethics, 40/6, 2014, pp. 361–368, p. 367.
71 J.C. BUBLITZ, Moral Enhancement and Mental Freedom, cit., p. 93.
72 Ivi, p. 94.
73 Ivi, p. 95.
74 Ivi, p. 97.
75 Ivi, p. 98.
76 Ivi, p. 99.
77 M. IENCA and R. ANDORNO, Towards new human rights in the age of neuroscience and neurotechnology, cit., p.
78 In this regard, a possible protection is provided by the European Convention on Human Rights in Article 8,
which recognizes the right to respect family life, domicile and correspondence. Indeed, as set out in its second
paragraph «There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is
in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public
safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of
health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others».

79 However, it is necessary to recognize that the rights of the Charter apply only to the institutions, agencies
and bodies of the Union respecting the principle of subsidiarity as well as to Member States in the implementa-
tion of Union law, as stated in art. 51.
80 Cf. M. IENCA and R. ANDORNO, Towards new human rights in the age of neuroscience and neurotechnology, cit.,
pp. 11-24.
81 Ivi, p. 24.

82 J.C. BUBLITZ, My Mind is Mine?! Cognitive Liberty as a Legal Concept, cit., p. 242.
83 M. SEPULVEDA, et al., Human Rights Reference Handbook, Ciudad Colon, 2004, p. 3.

Gang Stalking Mind Control Cults
28 Mar 2023 | 4:02 am

The professor trying to protect our private thoughts from technology (Edward Helmore Sun 26 Mar 2023 )

The professor trying to protect our private thoughts from technology

The professor trying to protect our private thoughts from technology

Prof Nita Farahany argues in her new book, The Battle for Your Brain, that intrusions into the mind are so close that lawmakers should enact protections

Edward Helmore

Sun 26 Mar 2023 05.00 EDT

Private thoughts may not be private for much longer, heralding a nightmarish world where political views, thoughts, stray obsessions and feelings could be interrogated and punished all thanks to advances in neurotechnology.

Or at least that is what one of the world's leading legal ethicists of neuroscience believes.

Prof Nita Farahany: 'We need a new human right to cognitive liberty'

In a new book, The Battle for Your Brain, Duke University bioscience professor Nita Farahany argues that such intrusions into the human mind by technology are so close that a public discussion is long overdue and lawmakers should immediately establish brain protections as it would for any other area of personal liberty.

Advances in hacking and tracking thoughts, with Orwellian fears of mind control running just below the surface, is the subject of Farahany's scholarship alongside urgent calls for legislative guarantees to thought privacy, including freedoms from "cognitive fingerprinting", that lie within an area of ethics broadly termed "cognitive liberty".

Certainly the field is advancing rapidly. The recent launch of ChatGPT and other AI tech innovations showed that some aspects of simulation of thought, termed machine learning, are already here. It's been widely noted also that Elon Musk's Neuralink and Mark Zuckerberg's Meta are working on brain interfaces that can read thoughts directly. A new field of cognitive-enhancing drugs – called Nootropics – are being developed. Technology that allows people experiencing paralysis to control an artificial limb or write text on a screen just by thinking it are in the works.

But aside from the many benefits, there are clear threats around political indoctrination and interference, workplace or police surveillance, brain fingerprinting, the right to have thoughts, good or bad, the implications for the role of "intent" in the justice system, and so on.

Farahany, who served on Barack Obama's commission for the study of bioethical issues, believes that advances in neurotechnology mean that intrusions through the door of brain privacy, whether by way of military programs or by way of well-funded research labs at big tech companies, are at hand via brain-to-computer innovations like wearable tech.

"All of the major tech companies have massive investments in multifunctional devices that have brain sensors in them," Farahany said. "Neural sensors will become part of our everyday technology and a part of how we interact with that technology."

Coupled with advances in science aimed at decoding and rewriting of brain functions are widespread and pose a discernible risk, Farahany argues, and one that requires urgent action to bring under agreed controls.

"We have a moment to get this right before that happens, both by becoming aware of what's happening and by making critical choices we need to make now to decide how we use the technology in ways that are good and not misused or oppressive."

The brain, Farahany warns, is the one space we still have for reprieve and privacy, and where people can cultivate a true sense of self and where they can keep how they're feeling and their reactions to themselves. "In the very near future that won't be possible," she said.

I wrote this book with neurotechnology at the forefront as a wake-up call, but not just neurotechnology but all the ways out brains can be hacked and tracked

Nita Farahany
In a sense, we already use technology to translate our thoughts and help our minds. Social media's ability to read minds is already offered, free of charge, through participation with like and dislike functions, predictive algorithms, predictive text and so on.

But advances in neurotechnologies – exploiting a direct connection to the brain – would offer more precise and therefore potential dangerous forays into a hitherto private realm.

"I wrote this book with neurotechnology at the forefront as a wake-up call, but not just neurotechnology but all the ways out brains can be hacked and tracked and already are being hacked and tracked," Farahany said.

Concerns about military-focused neuroscience, called the sixth dimension of warfare, are not in themselves new.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) has been funding brain research since the 1970s. In 2001, the military umbrella launched a program to "develop technologies to augment warfighters".

François du Cluzel, a project manager at Nato Act Innovation Hub, issued a report in November 2020 entitled Cognitive Warfare that, it said, "is not limited to the military or institutional world. Since the early 1990s, this capability has tended to be applied to the political, economic, cultural and societal fields."

The US government has blacklisted Chinese institutes and firms it believes to be working on dangerous "biotechnology processes to support Chinese military end uses", including "purported brain-control weaponry".

In late 2021, the commerce department added 34 China-based entities to a blacklist, citing some for involvement in the creation of biotechnology that includes "purported brain-control weaponry" and of "acting contrary to the foreign policy or national security interests" of the US.

Nathan Beauchamp-Mustafaga, a policy analyst at the Rand Corporation and author the China Brief, has warned of an "evolution in warfare, moving from the natural and material domains – land, maritime, air and electromagnetic – into the realm of the human mind".

Farahany argues that societies need to go further than addressing cognitive warfare or banning TikTok. Legislation to establish brain rights or cognitive liberties are needed alongside raising awareness of risks of intrusion posed by digital platforms integrated with advances in neuroscience.

"Neuro rights" laws, which include protections on the use of biometric data in health and legal settings, are already being drawn up. Two years ago, Chile became the first nation to add articles into its constitution to explicitly address the challenges of emerging neurotechnologies. The US state of Wisconsin has also passed laws on the collection of biometric data regarding the brain.

Most legal protections are around the disclosure of the collection of brain data, not around neuro rights themselves.

"There's no comprehensive right to cognitive liberty, as I define it, that applies to far more than neurotechnologies but applies to self-determination over our brains and mental experiences, which applies to so many of the digital technologies we're approaching today," Farahany said.

Or, as Farahany writes in her book: "Will George Orwell's dystopian vision of thoughtcrime become a modern-day reality?"

The answer could be yes, no or maybe, but none of it precludes an urgent need for formal brain protections that legislators or commercial interests may not be inclined to establish, Farahany believes.

She said: "Cognitive liberty is part of a much broader conversation that I believe is incredibly urgent given everything that is already happening, and the increasingly precision with which it's going to happen, within neurotechnology."

Gang Stalking Mind Control Cults
19 Mar 2023 | 8:49 pm

Brendon O’Connell: The IIA PSYOP (Interactive Internet Activities) How Information is Weaponized

Epigraph Quote:

"Both the old alt-media and Main Stream Media are all controlled by the same NATO and Marine psyche warfare operation run out of private data analytic companies, like Dynology and Clear Force, to name just a few. These work in tandem with private security contractor teams playing crisis actor, larpa, and johnny-on-the-spot witness for critical events.. There are vast pools of registered out-of-work actors and gophers recruited in the same vein as a criminal informant for police operations. Many, but not all, of these people are literally registered pedophiles, drug dealers and users for the real dirty jobs….

This is all an expendable work force. Just as the East German Stasi, recruited and maintained its RAT Lines, and a lot of them were literally rats, of street information and gangstalking teams. These are IIA operations as set up in Iraq and Afghanistan, aka military psychological warfare operations…. They've been around for centuries. But now it is an absolute science applied to multiple avenues of information flow. From the so-called mainstream to the Alt Media.

… We are all part of this system. We are all in the pool they can draw from, puff up, delete, suppress, and use as they wilt when the data analytics indicate short, medium, and long-term requirements for information-limited release, controlled release, or outright suppression and deletion. This is large scale military-intelligence-based psychological warfare designed and applied to the enemies of the United States overseas and now brought home and privatized, but still run by the same military personnel in private subcontractor form."

Brendon O'Connell, this video

Brendon O'Connell: The IIA PSYOP (Interactive Internet Activities) How Information is Wesponized

Internet Interactive Activities = Tactical Social Media Information Warfare & Psychological Operations.


Department of Defense Information Operations Joint Publication

Internet Interactive Activities is the General Jim Jones Shadowgate Dynology Network that Targets the Most Powerful Truth Tellers. While the Most Powerful Contributors are pushed down from viewers and made invisible, the Controlled Opposition Limited Hangouts are pushed to the top.

The Entire System is RIGGED to push the Cabal Approved Narrative.

Even the Alternative News Networks are Captured Operations.

Sure Alex Jones, Russell Brand, Joe Rogan, and Glen Beck tell a lot of truth. But they are there to BLOCK the truth from going any further. The best Liars will tell you 90% Truth. But it is the last 10% that is the most important and Dangerous to the Globalist Cabal.

Internet Interactive Activities Methods are actually Far More Effective. Outright Censorship will merely push Truth Tellers to other platforms. While IIA is a STEALTH ATTACK, that in most cases the Victims of these Operations seldom know WHAT is being done. And those who do suspect such Tactics can very rarely Prove it.

While the Truth Bombs dropped by Controlled Opposition Operatives may sound like the full truth to those not more well informed on a subject like the public at large, the most powerful part of Information Warfare is to NEVER ALLOW THE MOST POWERFUL INFORMATION TO REACH THE PUBLIC.

Controlled Opposition Operatives will inform their audience just enough so that they will be satisfied that they know the full truth, and thus Block Them from looking any further.


Having full awareness about these Tactics that are being used against you every day is crucial, and will effect Everything You Do On The Internet…

@OratorBlog March 17, 2023
Defense Primer: Information Operations

Congressional Research Service

Updated December 9, 2022


pdf Download: https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/IF/IF10771

Gang Stalking Mind Control Cults
18 Mar 2023 | 11:44 pm

NATO Warfighting 2040 Report

Innovation Hub Warfighting 2040 Project Report–HOW WILL NATO HAVE TO COMPETE IN THE FUTURE?

March 2020

Executive Summary

2040 will be marked by a deregulated world where a wide number of actors will vie for power. Many factors have changed the world, such as climate change, and caused a lasting disorder, particularly in terms of security. In this disorder, new actors have emerged and consolidated their power at the expense of states and international institutions that have become impotent while the world has become de-Westernized, paving the way for the sinicisation of the world.

The character of warfare also has changed. The majority of conflicts remain below the traditional threshold of the commonly accepted definition of warfare, but new forms of warfare have emerged such as information and cognitive warfare, while the human mind is being a new domain of war.

The Innovation Hub Warfighting 2040 Project seeks to conduct an independent future analysis of the operating environment. This independent analysis will inform concept development writers with an alternative assessment of the future informed by non-traditional NATO sources and will result in a more robust and complete capstone concept.


Objective: Study questions

In order to inform SACT on how to develop capabilities and prepare for future

operations, this study addressed three main questions.

•What will be different in 2040?

•How will this impact NATO operations?

•What should NATO do to prepare for this?

No one can predict the future, but everyone tries to shape it. Consciously or not, everyone builds a vision of the future that is heavily biased by one's culture and current situation. While it is impossible to remove the individual biases, the careful design of this study method allows to mitigate their effects and come to more rationale findings.

A first goal was to mitigate group think. The fact that people tend to conform to the opinion develop by the group. This was achieved through: •Conducting individual expert consultations in which each participant would have no knowledge of other participants' insights.

Conducting discussions and confrontations between ideas anonymously; which allowed everyone to disagree without being identified and face group judgement. The other goal was to avoid western/NATO/military cultural bias. This was achieved through:

•Engaging with a worldwide audience through an open online platform.

•Select experts not directly related with Defense and from different cultures and locations.

•Involve the younger generations and students from various universities.
Insights collection

The NATO Operations 2040, Open Online Exercise ran from February 18, 2020 through March 1, 2020. Anyone could participate.

-Interface: The context and NATO operations were very briefly explained with the intent to keep the contributions in scope without directing them. Each participant was asked to post as many individual ideas as they wanted about 2040. They were required to explain how the idea would impact NATO operations. All participants could comment, elaborate, counter, ask about any idea. All participants were asked to invest (rate) others' ideas.

•Demographics: Significant efforts were made to involve participants outside of the traditional NATO echo chamber (western military); principally through social media engagement. As a result two thirds of the participants are considered to be from outside of the traditional NATO environment, from other nations, continents and demographics?

•The online platform was provided by the University of South California, that previously supported the US Army with similar crowdsourcing initiatives.
Expert consultations

16 experts participated individually in the study. They were selected for their expertise in diverse relevant topics and for their specific angles of approach and culture of origin.

Their areas of expertise included: Politics, Economy, Sociology, Climate Change, Finance, Criminology, Cyber security, Quantum computing, Virtual Reality, Psychology, Neuro Science, Intelligence, Information, Forecast, Science Fiction, China and Pacific, Middle East, Russia, Latin America, Middle East etc.

They were asked to provide their insights through an essay or an interview. Some of their ideas were fed back into the open online platform in order to generate an open debate about them.
Student focus groups

Student working groups were organised in NATO Nations to discuss the study questions, bibliography, blogs, podcasts The analysis of alternative sources such as various blogs, podcasts and articles was also part of the study.

Innovation Branch staff analysed the information from these sources and sought to take into account the full range of political and societal factors, as well as technological advances, to describe the policy environment in 2040. An analysis of the strategic idea of warfare followed, where the staff compared the traditional Western way of warfare with the futuristic way of warfare. Finally, implications and recommendations for NATO are included to ensure that NATO is ready to wield strategic power and compete in the 2040 strategic environment.
The global strategic context

Evidence suggests that the strategic landscape in 2040 will be a multipolar one, with multiple States, organizations, and non-State actors vying for strategic or regional influence.

The global strategic context in 2040 will undoubtedly be marked by the following main challenges:

-A deregulated globalization,

-The impact of climate change,

-The growing threat of human engineering.

The current context shows a political world undergoing major changes:

A deregulated globalisation

The end of liberalism?

The liberal democracy long seen as triumphant over the great ideological quarrels of the twentieth century is today seen as being in peril for not having been able to satisfy the people. The dominant liberal narrative since the end of WWII is losing ground and many countries and leaders reject the liberal system as a danger.

emocracy in particular is no longer seen as the ultimate form of government while at the same time order and authoritarianism is deemed to better cope with the dangers of a deregulated world.

While authoritarians are on the rise, electorates turned by extremes in democracies. Authoritarian systems are seen as a "viable alternative" due to proven successes; they keep a tight grip on society through social control, while democracies are thought weak by design.

Nation-states might become more authoritarian in the future.

The loss of institutional credibility

The strategic landscape in 2040 may see global organizations face tough challenges to their effectiveness and existence.

The lack of trust in the efficiency of international institutions is characterised by the global loss of credibility in the current institutions, by a decreasing faith in the world order and its system, by eventually a loss of public confidence in international/multinational institutions.

Populations will question the purpose and existence of international organisations if those organizations are perceived to be ineffective. The decline of international organisations and stress on them may lead to transformations of alliances and organisations.

New actors and the weakening of States

New actors have already emerged (such as global corporations, criminal organisations, Non-governmental organisations, world forums, anonymous and global cyber networks able to irreparably harm states and infrastructures. . . ), some of them being already more powerful than the majority of the world's states, leading necessarily to a redistribution of power that could increasingly defy the power of the states on the one hand and replace the states given their lack of efficiency on different matters.

While sovereign states are still major players in international relations, the changing international context as mentioned above has led to an erosion of their power on the international scene, but also internally. Paradoxically, the loss of confidence in international institutions does not seem to benefit states but rather a multitude of new actors, particularly in the economic field (e. g. the GAFA-Google/Amazon/Facebook/Apple). The State faces many challenges to its power, whether from populist and autocratic movements, or from corruption at the highest levels of business and political leadership, and this power erosion will likely continue through 2040. This inescapable process is all the more remarkable that it goes along with a return to the nation.

While the state is challenged, the nation is seen as a refuge from the challenges of globalization in particular in Western countries where more and more phenomena of rejection of international institutions and return to the nation are observed.

The manifestations of this phenomenon range from the rise of nationalists, the indictment of multinational institutions, the refusal of leadership and even the downturn of states into themselves by building walls, rejection of multiculturalism, etc. . .

The real question is whether power is still desired today by the states in a world where the major challenges represented by climate changes, pandemic etc. . . require more than ever a globalised response.

The world order established after World War 2 is dying, states are receding turning the world into a long lasting disorder. This could end up in the collapse of the Westphalian order where States will no longer hold a monopoly on the use of legitimate international force and where multiple actors will defend, violently if necessary, their own interests.

The world disorder

The study describes a highly deregulated strategic environment with two main superpowers -USA and China-constantly challenged by regional powers.

The macro-economic environment is undergoing transformation. The shifting economic power from North America and Europe towards Asia is under way. Additionally, the shift of economic power from West to East may lead to what is called "a multipolar world of reserve currencies" noting that dollar dominance is uncertain for the next 20 years, and that alternatives to the U. S. Dollar exist that could replace the global reserve currency.

While the United States and China lead a multipolar world, others will emerge as strategic or regional influencers.

The general weakening of states, the de-Westernization of the world and the lack of global leadership should naturally lead China to assume the world leadership according to its own rules.

Climate Change and resource competition

While climate change is commonly regarded as a main driver of change for the world order there is no agreement on its potential consequences.

Climate change threatens the very survival of the human species, and in political terms, it could also be used by governments to fuel fears and undermine political regimes, notably by weaponising migrations.

Besides the human consequences on health and migrations that are hard to predict, climate change will exacerbate the risk of violent conflicts, and conflicts over natural resources could have catastrophic consequences. If humanity fails to adapt to climate change intra-state or even ethnic conflicts, which were thought to have definitively disappeared, could resurface, undermining the internal balance of nation-states.

With so many people competing within limited areas, environmental stresses becomes a concern for the future. Topics such as bio-economy, bio-risk from agriculture, food security, climate manipulation, and even weaponisation of climate change are threats or challenges that may be drivers of conflict.

Densely populated urban areas near coasts and environmental stressors such as climate change and resource competition will therefore most likely describe the future strategic environment.

The combination of climate change and a deregulated globalisation, especially the process of the weakening of states may be devastating since it requires more than any other threat a global and coordinated response.

The new Promethean Myth of hacking the human

Technology is also seen as a major driver of the future. The combination of booming new technologies (AI, computer science, nanotechnologies, biotechnologies in particular) suggests an infinite field of new threats and opportunities.

Among those technologies, the convergence of bio-engineering and computer science may have a strategic impact in 2040.

In particular, it gives humanity the opportunity to fundamentally rethink and reorganize the notion of human life.

Future technologies hold out the possibility of fundamentally changing the human nature, opening the door to technological advances that are even more dangerous than they are imperceptible. These technologies could eventually lead to human control and to transhumanism.

While the future environment will continue to be oversaturated with information, society must parse through to find "truth. " Society will be vulnerable to manipulation with information, and as adversaries try to fracture societies, the social fabric will be tested.

Conflicts of 2040 will be non-conventional, frequently interrupted, highly asymmetrical and strategically poised.

Information and Cognitive Warfare will play a major role.

The Way of the West

For the most part of its existence, NATO has faced one adversary in a Cold War where strategy was dominated by deterrence through nuclear threat and a conventional war strategy, or what was called"grand tactics" by Antoine-Henri Jomini. To this day, many believe that NATO nations are "stuck" in the Cold War era.

The post-Cold-War mindset of Western militaries could be construed as one of prioritising speed and risk management in warfare. John Boyd and his OODA loop are thought to have facilitated a movement into thinking about accelerating warfare tempo and speed, while risk management use of the military instrument of power began when pre-emption of adversary actions took center stage. Warfare is slowing down at the operational and strategic levels due to the threats expanding reach and preference for warfare in the "grey zone. "

Some would argue that the global information age is "driving war into the shadows," and making conventional war obsolete. Conventional war theory in the West leaves the military instruments of power with large, expensive, and hard to replace systems while the State spends money on "newer versions of old platforms. " Additionally, the acquisition of these systems is predicated on antiquated assumptions that the Western militaries will be able to move freely without detection in permissive environments during a future war.

As shown on Figure 1, the warfare model depicts time across the horizontal axis and escalation along the vertical axis. Western States use the risk management philosophy during a crisis and if conflict escalates above the threshold of war, the militaries are prepared to cross the threshold of war and win with overwhelming firepower from a conventional force. Following hostilities, escalation falls below the threshold of war and post-conflict activities dominate the military strategy.

In an ideal world, the military would expect to handle a crisis, or two, and maintain readiness to either deter adversaries from escalating across the threshold of war or decisively defeat the adversary should they escalate across the threshold.
The New Era of Warfare

Adversaries are increasingly turning to war without crossing the threshold of war. To describe this phenomenon and new way to wage war, the Innovation Branch developed a graphic (Figure 2). Again, time is represented by the horizontal axis and escalation is represented by the vertical axis. In this model, there is a constant state of crisis and adversaries practice brinkmanship to "test" the threshold of war and reveal "acceptable behavior" that NATO is willing to accept before invocation of Article 5. Consequently, allowing this type of adversary action may enable their behavior and inadvertently raise the threshold of war. This type of warfare resembles to "shadow wars" and requires a whole-of-government approach to warfare.

Domains and Geo-strategy

This new type of warfare occurs in multiple domains and redefines geo-strategy. Warfare will include the use of social networks, lend/lease programs to build militaries, offensive information campaigns exploiting conspiracy theories, and soft power instruments and influence within NATO operations. Additionally, warfare might extend to new areas such as the ocean floor as nations vie for resources in neutral territory and build advanced basing, or underground warfare. The futurist version of warfare taking place in multiple domains and outside of the traditional North Atlantic sphere of influence suggests that the threat has global reach when practicing this new way of warfare in domains like cyber, undersea, and space.

A need to redefine war

Actions "below the threshold of violence" are made possible because there is a reluctance to counter them directly, which would imply dealing with real military capabilities.

Non-state actors can range from techno-guerrillas to quasi-regular armies with the full range of capabilities. Those potential adversaries may be capable to contest the domains that NATO and Western States historically dominated (i. e. in every domain: air, sea, land, space and cyber). In addition to these rising threats, regimes that operate well in 'grey zones' have a broader concept of war and are better able to harness political warfare in a more controlled way than the West, which will require a renewed and broader definition of war.

Privatization of Violence Non-state entities of the 21st Century operate in extremely blurred situations where the frontiers are difficult to separate. The new security industry of private companies/mercenaries provides services for military operations recruiting former militaries as civilians to carry out passive or defensive security.

There are many factors at play that lead to the privatization of violence. As the State weakens, non-State actors seek to fill the role. Actors such as corporations, cartels, and wealthy or powerful individuals that turn to mercenaries or contractors to build their private armies or insure their own security. For States the benefit is threefold:

•A lower cost than regular armed forces

•A lower impact on public opinion in case of casualties

•The use of plausible deniability when fighting in the new era of warfare.

For NATO with regards to the future warfare, the privatisation of war should be seen as a major threat since:

•Mercenaries do not fight conventionally, and traditional war strategies used against them may backfire (asymmetry of ethics)

•Terrorists/humanitarians/nations/multinational companies may hire high-motivated mercenaries (asymmetry of will)

•Money is a higher motivation than nationalism/patriotism (asymmetry of will)

•They can operate in all domain including cyber with the full range of capabilities.

The "low entry price to high tech war," leads to the proliferation of advanced weapons and warfighting technologies available to the masses. As these technologies proliferate throughout the world, the ability to wage war increases for the non-State actors and their private armies could potentially match the warfighting capability of conventional forces. War and Technology Future war will inevitably be permeated by technology and in particular digital technology. We have to start from the assumption that technology is sufficiently shared that we will not have a full and uncontested supremacy on the technological field. In addition, some very basic and very affordable technologies may durably cancel out the effects of complex technology and our adversaries will oppose their will to our presumable technology dominance. In other words, it would be a mistake to over-rely on our presumable technology dominance But since we will share technologies, opportunities and vulnerabilities will be shared too. Automation and AI represent the major risk, yet the combined use of robotics and autonomous systems and artificial intelligence without human interaction, regardless of the degree of technological advancement, cannot be strategically decisive. The only decisive force in warfare during 2040 combat will be "boots on the ground" while technology will only be a force multiplier.
Information and Cognitive Warfare

The leveraging of the cyber domain (and information environment) to deliver non-kinetic and non-lethal effects has transformed warfare and shifted the center of gravity to a battle of narratives among the population from conventional violent conflict. Western dominance of these two domains is no longer a strategic premise, which means that adversaries can match, or outmatch, the State on a global scale using these domains.

Information warfare involves the use of information overload or manipulation of information to create plausible deception and political discord. The purpose of these methods of distorting the information sphere is to create an environment where it is difficult to determine "the truth". Information warfare is not radically new (cf. Sun Tzu) but the new capabilities offered by the cyberspace and information technologies make it possible to reach out to a very wide audience with messages that are tailored and almost personalised to the chosen target.

It could be a decisive instrument of national power -it is a military problem without a military solution that requires governments to control the narrative through coordinated messaging between nations, which requires military liaison with other government departments and organizations throughout the nation. In other words, information warfare is the number one threat and requires a whole-of-government effort that suits authoritarian regimes more than Western governments.

Cognitive warfare, very similar to information warfare, is a new way to wage war in the new era of warfare. This type of warfare primarily attacks the beliefs and opinions of the population with the aim of destabilising the cohesion, security and prosperity of a nation. It is about influencing the population, because technology facilitates a further reach into the population.

Cognitive warfare uses disinformation campaigns and steady streams of AI-generated fake news in an effort to undermine democratic foundations and weaken States through eroding trust in institutions and seeding doubt and indecisiveness in society at large. To demonstrate what the future of cognitive warfare could look like, scenarios describe cybercriminals mastering behavioral psychology and spreading disinformation, conspiracy theories, and online memes anonymously to create a chaotic information environment. The use of AI fakes and identity theft is also envisioned to facilitate this type of new warfare. It gives adversaries the ability to blur the lines between war and peace in their quest to put an enemy on the verge of defeat prior to hostilities by disrupting control of the country and armed forces. In a near future anonymous groups (maybe backed up by some hostile states) may seek to defeat governments prior to hostilities by undermining governments through cognitive warfare designed to enable popular movements of self-determination.

Cognitive warfare, much like information warfare, requires the whole-of-government approach to successfully defeat an adversary short of hostilities. As said before, liberal democracies are less equipped to fight in this cognitive warfare than authoritarian regimes.

To successfully exploit the information domain in the new era of warfare, competitors will have to take advantage of data that permeates throughout the domain. Several participants in the Innovation Hub online exercise explored the use of strategic analysis in the information domain. Data collection efforts in the information domain could include collecting data from smartphones/SIGINT, behavior observation, Chinese business investments, and influential people throughout society. Data could be used to help predict adversary behaviors or crises. Additionally, data could be used to simulate the global environment to test strategic decisions and military operations. These ideas represent just a few of the possibilities that could shape how information and cognitive warfare develop in future warfighting.
Weaponisation of neurosciences

Broad and rapid advancements in neuroscience and its technologies have prompted renewed and growing interest in the use of these tools and methods to exert influence and power on the global stage. While it has been said that everything could be weaponized, neurosciences and, more broadly speaking, Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Information Technology and Cognitive Sciences (NBIC) are clearly providing state and non-state actors some true game changers.

The increasing use of neuroscience by our opponents poses the problem of a graduated and proportionate response to a non-kinetic attack in this area.
Instruments of Power

Fighting in the new era of warfare requires a whole-of-government approach using all instruments of power. Western States need to think differently than they do now, they need to up their "strategic IQ" to fight an adversary using all instruments of power in harmony. This new way of thinking, a revolution in thinking, must transform how the military fights and not what it fights with. All instruments of power must be available to fight in the new era of warfare, and NATO as an organization only has access to the military instrument of power and limited diplomatic power. Matejic believes that "NATO is absent from the affairs of State and indeed the public consciousness of nations on the cusp of informational segmentation," and this constrains NATO in fighting the new way of warfare. In order to increase the "strategic IQ" in NATO, the organization must gain expertise on new challenges like China and become familiar with foreign direct investment and global value chains, as opposed to just areas like defence investment. The new era of warfare poses a problem without a military solution, and a revolution in thinking is needed to compete in this era.

Traditional adversaries of the West are more suited for the new era of warfare due to being less transparent and more controlling over the economy and society. These authoritarian regimes can wage a war in the shadows using nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, and cognitive science (NBIC) better than the West. There are multiple reasons why the West is vulnerable when it comes to capability to wage this type of war. Asymmetry of ethics hamstrings actions in the west when it comes to the ethics of using NBIC in warfare. Additionally, the structure of the Western State government leads to lagging policies, laws, and regulations while debate carries not only for NBIC topics, but also for AI.
Speed of Irrelevance

NATO as a political-military alliance is in a strategic dilemma when it comes to waging war in the new era of warfare. The new era calls for accelerated decision-making, yet NATO is governed by consensus and organized with layers of bureaucracy. NATO members need to realize that there are adversaries that aim to degrade NATO's capability to act by influencing decision-makers through information and cognitive warfare. These adversaries will target and try to divide society to hamper decision-making in the West, which will buy time for adversaries. This means that NATO nations must focus on maintaining political and social coherence for Western democratic ideals.

Looking at the opposite spectrum of time, the speed of technology development poses difficulty for interoperability through procurement and life-cycle management processes. Interoperability is critical for NATO forces to defend the Alliance, and uneven modernization between member nations threatens interoperability of forces. Additionally, uncoordinated policies from the member nations regarding disruptive and emerging technologies affects interoperability. Given that interoperability is paramount to the Alliance, measures must be taken to ensure that all nations can take advantage of emerging technologies and that nations coordinate policies on those technologies. Recommendations

Human mind as the sixth domain of operation

The reality of the Human mind hacking threat is undeniable and NATO must react in a concrete manner.

With the human mind being a warfare domain, NATO should develop capabilities to distort the flow of information to adversaries. Additionally, NATO should be prepared to use the information and cognitive domains both defensively and offensively.

This will start with an exhaustive state of the art study addressing the nature, plausibility, development of that threat, together with an impact assessment of attacks already perpetrated. Evidence gathering, structuration of the study do not raise any particular issue and can be distributed among several military and non-military international partners, but particular attention must be given to the quality of the deliverables so that they lend themselves well to the two next steps of NATO response.

A whole-of-government approach to fight the new type of war

Warfighting will transition to a battle for the human mind below the threshold of war. The modern concept of war is not about weapons but about influence. To shape perceptions and control the narrative during this new type of war, battle will have to be fought in the cognitive domain>

In order to effectively fight in the information and cognitive domains, NATO needs to emphasize a whole-of-government approach in order to address adversaries exploiting NBIC in future warfare. This will require "improved coordination between the use of force and the other levers of power across government," which could mean changes to how defence is resourced, equipped, and organized in order to offer military options below the threshold of armed conflict and improve the military contribution to resilience.

Of course the likelihood of a low-intensity conflict developing into a high-intensity conflict should not be excluded.
Human Capital

Beyond improving coordination with other levers of power and capability development in cognitive warfare, NATO must look at how strategists are educated and recruited/ retained in the military. NATO needs to focus on upping the "strategic IQ" of the organization by recruiting and educating its strategists that can coordinate whole-of-government solutions. Additionally, NATO needs to think about the human potential in ranks and how technology and the HUMAN will operate in harmony when fighting the new way of war.
Information is key

Information is key. The routes used by information should be considered and secured as supply routes.

More generally, information warfare which in itself is not radically new, is benefiting from the extension of connected networks that present a wide range of actions ranging from shaping human motivations, group dynamics and social movements, sapping the enemy's will to fight without fighting by information and cognition distortion to more purely military actions.

Our competitive edge will come from better leveraging the tools we have:

•quickly deriving information from data;

•more efficiently and securely delivering information, guidance and authorities to the nodes that are able to act.
NATO Intelligence

To enhance interoperability and resilience, NATO must consider an inter-service intelligence capability, or Open Source Agency (OSA) that exploits open source intelligence (OSINT). Generally, users of data operate on 1-2 percent of relevant information, and an OSA would provide a radical improvement for NATO capability in collection, processing, and analysis of data. This organization could assist with warfare in the cyber domain, using big data and effective partnering to properly attribute attacks in a domain where anonymity makes attribution difficult. An inter-service OSA could bring nations together to exploit OSINT (Open Source Intelligence) and enhance interoperability and resilience.

Agility and adaptiveness

With the advent of hypersonic capabilities and automation in warfare, NATO will require quicker decision-making. Current processes, organization and bureaucracy in NATO hinder the potential adoption and exploitation of machine-speed warfare. The competitive edge in this new era of warfare will come from having the ability to quickly derive information from data and being able to deliver that information and guidance efficiently and securely throughout the network. To remain agile enough to fight the new type of war, NATO must not only excel at information warfare, but flatten its organizational structure, or there is a threat that NATO will not exist in 2040. Furthermore, to prevent strategic paralysis when faced with the speed of emerging weapon systems, NATO must consider pre-delegation of authority to military commanders. Lastly, transitioning from a risk management to a defence and deterrence mindset will assist NATO to become adaptive in this new environment.

Rapidly integrate Innovation

Innovation has shifted from the public sector to the private sector, and the military must learn how to work with technology companies rather than the defence companies. This includes considering perception sensitivities in the public and being transparent to avoid employee protests like the Project Maven Google employee protest. Specifically, NATO struggles with the idea of forming relationships with non-defence companies. Additionally, the procurement process is too complex and too long, which means that the process lacks the speed at which technology companies like to work with and reduces profit margins below what startups are comfortable with. The excessive red tape associated with the procurement process creates an environment where specialization in navigating through red tape is necessary for companies and "builds walls around innovation. "

In contrast, China enjoys an advantageous military-civil fusion due to the nature of their government structure. The government is far more integrated into the economy and can essentially dictate economic conditions and actions. Although China has an advantage with military-civil fusion, the country still has the same challenges as NATO in speed of innovation. When it comes to integrating technology in warfare, the challenge is not inventing the technology, but in figuring out how to apply the technology to warfighting.

Gang Stalking Mind Control Cults
18 Mar 2023 | 9:37 pm

NATO’s Cognitive Warfare: An Attack on Truth And Thought by Alonso Bernal, et. al., 2020 & 2 Related Videos (w/ transcription)

Webmaster Introduction: It should be obvious to anyone familiar with the topic of gangstalking aka organized stalking, that these are merely diversionary terms for "cognitive warfare." Targeted individuals: You will probably be both relieved and outraged, as I am, in reading through these articles and listening to these videos. Relieved, because this explains a lot about we've been going through. Outraged, because cognitive warfare (CW) is clearly being waged against us by our own governments and militaries, which enlist nearly all sectors of our society to assist in its implementation. These despicable devils are traitors to everything we thought America stood for.

I. https://www.innovationhub-act.org/sites/default/files/2021-03/Cognitive%20Warfare.pdf

Cognitive warfare seeks to make enemies destroy themselves from the inside out. We define cognitive warfare as the weaponization of public opinion, by an external entity, for the purpose of (1) influencing public and governmental policy and (2) destabilizing public institutions.


Video Transcription:

NATO: An Attack on Truth and Thought:

Cognitive Warfare:
A recent definition from Backes, Oliver & Swab, Andrew. (2019). Cognitive Warfare. The Russian Threat to Election Integrity in the Baltic States. Harvard's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs:

"Cognitive warfare is a strategy that focuses on altering how a target population thinks and through that, how it acts."

Despite the intentional vagueness of this definition, it serves as a more than suitable framework for a further examination of cognitive warfare. Our own research and analysis of past, present, and potential future use cases of the term have allowed to further segment CW into two operational fields.

Goals of cognitive warfare: Cognitive warfare (CW) at its core can be seen as having the same goal as any type of warfare. As Carl von Clausewitz states: (War is the use of force) 'to compel our enemy to do our will'. (Larger quote is: 'War is nothing but a duel on a larger scale' – a physical contest between people, each using force 'to compel our enemy to do our will'.)

Cognitive warfare unlike traditional domains of war, does not primarily operate on a physical plane. Therefore, it does not utilize a physical force in order to compel it's enemies. However, it could also be argued that the goal of cognitive warfare is unlike any other type of warfare. Rather than compel our enemy to do our will, the goal of Cognitive Warfare is to get the enemy to destroy himself from within, rendering him unable to resist, deter, or deflect our goals.

In either case, the goals of cognitive warfare are achieved though different methods than the goals of conventional warfare. Cognitive warfare has two separate but complementary goals: destabilization and influence. While both of these goals can be accomplished separately to successfully weaponize public opinion, they can also be jointly attained by using one as a means to the other.

The targets of cognitive warfare attacks may range from whole populations to individual leaders in politics, the economy, religion, and academics. Further, the role of lesser known social leaders must not be overlooked. So-called connectors, mavens, and sales people can be instrumental in the application of cognitive warfare."

Maven (definition): A person who has special knowledge or experience; an expert, A self-styled expert in a given field, someone who is dazzlingly skilled in any field

III. COGNITIVE WARFARE: The Battle for Your Brain [Part One]

IV. Cognitive Warfare and the Use of Force by Lea Kristina Bjørgul, Nov., 2021

NATO currently recognizes five warfighting domains: land, sea, air, space, and cyberspace. An increasing amount of literature[1] suggests adding a sixth: the cognitive domain.[2] The gap this new domain is supposed to fill is the territory fought over in the battle for the minds of a country's population. This article briefly describes the phenomenon of cognitive warfare, and sheds light on one (of many) legal and ethical challenges that should be resolved before NATO further considers whether or not the cognitive domain should be added as the 6th warfighting domain.

Even though propaganda and influence strategies have always existed, the sophistication of new digital technologies, and the increasingly widespread use of social media has made it possible for actors to reach larger audiences with customized and targeted content at machine speed. Cognitive warfare takes well-known and novel approaches within information, cyber, and psychological warfare to a new level by not only attempting to alter the way people think, but also how they react to information. Furthermore, methods of cognitive warfare blur the lines between civilian and military targets, and arguably shifts the application of force from physical to virtual domains.

Defining cognitive warfare

Cognitive warfare attempts to alter people's perceptions, which is the fundamental basis for action. Perception is a product of cognition, which is the "mechanism" cognitive warfare attempts to tap into. To understand cognitive warfare, it is useful to start with the concept of cognition, possibly defined as "the mental process of acquiring and comprehending knowledge, which implies the consumption, interpretation and perception of information" (Ottewell, 2020). Consequently, one possible understanding is that the cognitive domain consists of "perception and reasoning in which maneuver is achieved by exploiting the information environment to influence interconnected beliefs, values, and culture of individuals, groups, and/or populations" (ibid).

Based on the interpretation of the cognitive domain presented above, Paul Ottewell (2020) defines cognitive warfare as "maneuvers in the cognitive domain to establish a predetermined perception among a target audience in order to gain advantage over another party." Another definition has been presented by Rosner and Siman-Tov (2018, p. 1), who assert that cognitive warfare is "manipulation of the public discourse by external elements seeking to undermine social unity or damage public trust in the political system." Bernal, Carter, Singh, Cao & Madreperla (2020, p. 3) contend that cognitive warfare is "the weaponization of public opinion, by an external entity, for the purpose of (1) influencing public and governmental policy and (2) destabilizing public institutions." Lastly, Oliver Backes and Andrew Swab (2019) understand cognitive warfare as a strategy that focuses on altering, through information means, how a target population thinks – and through that how it acts.

Together these definitions highlight the core elements of cognitive warfare. They argue that the aim is to influence and/or destabilize through altering how people think and act. However, they also emphasize that the end goal is to gain some sort of advantage over another party. In sum, the purpose of cognitive warfare is to bring about a change in the target community's policy, via the cognitive process, advantageous to the attacking state (or non-state actor).

Consequently, the aim of cognitive warfare is arguably the same as within the other warfighting domains; to impose ones will upon another state. This is in line with one of the main elements of Clausewitz's definition of war: "…an act of violence intended to compel our opponent to fulfill our will" (Von Clausewitz, 1968). According to Clausewitz, war is conducted for some second-order purpose. States do not go to war simply to commit violence, but to impose their will upon other states.

Despite this common feature, there are important differences between actions in the cognitive domain and in the physical domains. First, cognitive warfare is non-kinetic. The assertion is that it is possible to win a strategic competition in the cognitive domain without the use of conventional force, i.e., before the targeted party recognizes that its interests are threatened. Some academics will reject the idea that actions that do not include the first part of Clausewitz's definition (physical violence) can be characterized as acts of war.[3]Others suggest that physical violence is not the only form of violence that should matter.[4] Regardless of one's standpoint within this larger academic debate, the result of treating the cognitive domain as a warfighting domain is the implication that an action within this domain can be characterized as an act of war. Consequently, one main issue that the Alliance potentially needs to resolve is: when should an action within the cognitive domain be considered an unlawful use of force? This question is important to address because some actions within the other domains fall below the threshold of use of force, and this will also be the case within the cognitive domain. How do we determine where this threshold should lie?

Use of force in the cognitive domain

To approach this question, the natural starting point is the U.N. Charter, which defines the limits of warfare. Article 2(4) prohibits the "threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state." The main exception from the prohibition of use of force is expressed in Article 51, which allows for "self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations." These articles were written at a time when lethal kinetics were the main instruments of war. However, as previously mentioned, cognitive warfare is not kinetic, nor directly lethal. Establishing a threshold within the cognitive domain is consequently very challenging, but no less important. The importance lies in Article 51. Categorizing actions within the cognitive domain is a precondition to determining which legal regime governs state behavior. As an example, if we decide that state-sponsored influence operations should constitute a use of force, then international law governing the use of force, and the Law of Armed Conflict, apply. In appropriate circumstances (if an armed attack has occurred), a state's right to self-defense could be triggered, in accordance with Article 51, and thereby permit a forceful – and perhaps even armed – response. Thus, discerning a use-of-force threshold seems to be necessary to distinguish between lawful peacetime maneuvers in the cognitive domain, and unlawful uses of force within this domain which could trigger the right to national (and collective) self-defense.

Legal and ethical clarity about this issue should therefore be of high priority if the Alliance decides to treat the cognitive domain as a military operational domain. A framework needs to be developed, from which a set of principles and legal articles can be derived, so that acts of cognitive warfare can be identified and appropriately be responded to.

One approach to this challenge is to revisit the debate that took place when NATO declared the cyber domain as an operational domain. The main issue for the participants in that debate was that cyberattacks are non-kinetic, and most importantly, the argument that the existing international frameworks could not accommodate cyberattacks because they do not appear to use physical or violent means as they only involve the manipulation of computer code. However, given the potential consequences of cyberattacks, many argued that it was implausible to suggest that no state could ever use military force to protect itself from them. As a result, a new consensus within the legal and philosophical literature argued that the nonphysical or nonviolent nature of cyberattacks should be irrelevant if they produce significant physical effects (e.g., injury or death of individuals or damage or destruction of physical objects) (Schmitt, et al., 2013, p. 93). Consequently, they concluded that a state is justified in using military force to defend itself unilaterally from cyberattacks that intentionally and directly produce significant death and destruction (Smith, 2018, p. 223; Schmitt, et al., 2013, pp. 48-49, 93).[5] An example is the cyberattack commonly referred to as "Stuxnet," which disrupted Iran's nuclear enrichment information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure in a joint US and Israeli operation (Fruhlinger, 2017). The action resulted in physical damage on centrifuges at the nuclear fuel processing plant.

The threshold suggested for the cyber domain is that actions that directly and intentionally cause significant physical effects, qualify as a use of force (and potentially trigger the right to national self-defense).[6] Some have suggested that this framework can be revised and used to develop legal definitions and metrics for cognitive acts of war.[7]

However, this does not seem plausible nor satisfactory, as the operations within the cognitive domain that we have seen so far, such as the Russian influence operation targeting the American public in connection to the 2016 presidential election, has not led to "significant physical effects." One could argue that influence campaigns with the goal of destabilization and encouragement to violence (e.g., the January 6th, 2021, attack on the U.S. Congress) can in fact result in physical harm. However, these effects are indirect, not direct, as the current consensus encourages. Consequently, the framework suggested for the cyber domain cannot easily be adapted and applied to the cognitive domain in a meaningful way.


Cognitive warfare arguably represents a significant and new challenge to our moral and legal understanding of war. Consequently, there is a need for debate regarding how this new type of warfare should be understood and regulated. The important and difficult challenge for the Alliance moving forward is to think fundamentally new about which actions in the cognitive domain should be considered unlawful actions of war if it decides to implement the cognitive domain as the 6th warfighting domain.



Backes, Oliver & Swab, Andrew. (2019). Cognitive Warfare. The Russian Threat to Election Integrity in the Baltic States. Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

Bernal, Alonso et al. (2020). Cognitive Warfare: An Attack on Truth and Thought. URL: Cognitive Warfare.pdf (innovationhub-act.org)

Fruhlinger, Josh. (2020). Ransomware explained: How it works and how to remove it. CSO. URL: https://www.csoonline.com/article/3236183/what-is-ransomware-how-itworks-and-how-to-remove-it.html

Ottewell. Paul. (2020). Defining the Cognitive Domain. OTH. Defining the Cognitive Domain – OTH (othjournal.com)

Von Clausewitz, Carl. (1968). On War. Penguin Classics.

Rosner, Yotam & Siman-Tov, David. (2018). Russian Intervention in the US Presidential Elections: The New Threat of Cognitive Subversion. INSS Insight, No. 1031.URL: Russian Intervention in the US Presidential Elections: The New Threat of Cognitive Subversion | INSS

Schmitt, Michael N et al. (2013). Tallinn Manual on the international law applicable to cyber warfare. Cambridge University Press.


[1] See for example: Ottewell. Paul. (2020). Defining the Cognitive Domain. OTH. Defining the Cognitive Domain – OTH (othjournal.com); Janson, Julie. (2018) It's time to take the human domain seriously. USCYBERCOM is our chance. OTH. It's time to take the human domain seriously. USCYBERCOM is our chance. – OTH (othjournal.com); Elkins, Laura. (2019). The 6thWarfighting Domain. OTH. The 6th Warfighting Domain – OTH (othjournal.com); Cognitive Warfare.pdf (innovationhub-act.org)

[2] There is an ongoing debate about whether this new domain should be referred to as the "cognitive domain" or the "human domain." See for example Ottewell. Paul. (2020). Defining the Cognitive Domain. OTH. Defining the Cognitive Domain – OTH (othjournal.com). The author of this article supports the term "cognitive domain."

[3] See for example: Rid, T. (2012). Cyber war will not take place. Journal of Strategic Studies, Vol. 35(1), pp. 5-32.

[4] See for example: Finlay, Christopher J. (2018). Just War, Cyber War and the Concept of Violence. Philosophy & Technology. Vol. 31 pp. 357-377 and Finlay, Christopher J. (2017). The concept of violence in international theory: a Double-Intent Account. International theory. Vol. 9 (1), pp. 67-100.

[5] See for also: Cook, James. (2010). "Cyberation" and just war doctrine: A response to Dipert', The Journal of Military Ethics Vol 9(4), pp. 411–423; Roscini, Marco. (2010). World wide warfare – "jus ad bellum" and the use of cyber force. Max PlanckYearbook of United Nations Law Vol 14, pp. 85–130; Silver, Daniel. (2002). Computer network attack as a use of force under Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter. International Law Studies Vol 76, pp. 73–97; Eberle, Christopher. (2013). Just war and cyberwar. The Journal of Military Ethics Vol. 12(1), pp. 54–67.

[6] The Tallinn Manual includes both directness (i.e., greater or lesser extent of attenuation in the causal chain) and immediacy (e.g., the sooner the effect manifests) as criteria for assessing the relationship between cyber-cause and physical effect (Schmitt et al., 2013, p. 50).

[7] Bernal, Alonso et al. (2020). Cognitive Warfare: An Attack on Truth and Thought. URL: Cognitive Warfare.pdf (innovationhub-act.org), pp. 35-36

FOTO: Anette Ask/Forsvaret

Gang Stalking Mind Control Cults
17 Mar 2023 | 1:40 am

Cognitive Warfare June-November, 2020 Francois du Cluzel

Cognitive Warfare: Battle For The Brain Francois du Cluzel 2020

(Webmaster Comment: This new 6th domain of warfare sounds an awful lot like organized stalking-electronic torture to me….. The below article includes quite a few very self-serving lies. One notable and recurring lie is that "our enemies" (Russia and China are named) are controlling the minds of our citizens. That was the same ploy used against anti-war activists during the Vietnam and other wars- they must be working for "the communists." In fact, this is merely another ploy to designate another enemy that can be fought and defeated by the "military-industrial complex"- the gorilla that ate the world. More accurate terms for "cognitive warfare" include gangstalking, authoritarian political warfare, torture, murder, attempted murder, and treason. Other terms would be "abuse of power" and "mutiny." And yes, I believe, this is the "program" to which Dr. James Giordano refers when he referred to needing a "whole of nation approach." Let's be clear here: we are dealing with psychopaths. Live by the sword, die by the sword, mfs..)

Epigraph Quotes:

Cognitive warfare (CW), the "battle for your brain," is a new form of military combat that forms a 6th military warfare domain (in addition to air, land, sea, space, and cyberspace). (See: Behind NATO's 'cognitive warfare': 'Battle for your brain' waged by Western militaries (by Ben Norton, October 8, 2021)). According to Norton,CW "is the art of using neuro science/technologies (S/T) to alter the cognition of human targets" in order "to harm the cognitive abilities of opponents," "make everyone a weapon," "harm societies as well as military," and "capture the psycho-cultural as well as the geographical high ground" at home and abroad. CW involves "hacking the individual" via cybertorture and neuroweapons and it weaponizes individuals and entire societies so domestic "citizen-based agents" (collaborators with military and police) wage war against "targeted individuals"/adversaries. In cognitive warfare, anyone and everyone can be a target! The chief developer and deployer of CW is the US Department of Defense.

Hybrid warfare includes cognitive warfare (CW) as well as economic warfare, cyber warfare, information warfare, and psychological warfare. In the above post, author Francois Du Cluzel, asserts that "NATO member states are already targeting (THEIR OWN) domestic populations at an unprecedented rate as the NATO military cartel increasingly sees their own domestic populations as a threat!" (This is the targeted individual program!!) He adds that "CW will lead to the militarization of all aspects of human society, from the most intimate of social relationships to the mind itself." Cluzel notes that "weaponization of neuroS/T can and will be used to induce morbidity, disability or suffering; and 'neutralise' potential opponents or incur mortality" – in other words, to maim and kill people. Furthermore, CW "is potentially endless since there can be no peace treaty or surrender for this type of conflict."

Cluzel also notes that"NATO military officers are calling on corporations to invest in NATO's cognitive warfare research." So we now have an entire secret, lethal, war domain funded largely by the private sector, aka Public Private Partnerships (PPPs). Maurice Strong was selling PPPs as an alternative to representative government in Agenda 21! Whoever pays this piper gets to "selectively cull" (i.e., target) whichever part of "the herd" it wishes. So we must ask: Which groups provide the greatest input into the selection of "blacklisted" individuals who are placed on the DHS-FBI Terrorist Screening Data Base? 

Dr. Eric Karlstrom, from Excommunicated From Crestone/Baca, CO (NWO "Potemkin Village" For MKULTRA Cults)! Covert
Ops, Globalist Spies, Psychotronic/Cognitive Warfare, & Nonconsensual Human Experimentation

Cognitive Warfare  June-November, 2020 Francois du Cluzel


June-November 2020 François du Cluzel

Executive Summary 4……………………………………………………………………………………
Introduction 5……………………………………………………………………………………………….
The advent of Cognitive Warfare 6……………………………………………………………….
From Information Warfare to Cognitive Warfare 6
Hacking the individual 7
Trust is the target 8
Cognitive Warfare, a participatory propaganda 8
Behavioural economy 9
Cyberpsychology 11
The centrality of the human brain 12……………………………………………………………..
Understanding the brain is a key challenge for the future 12
The vulnerabilities of the human brain 13
The role of emotions 15
The battle for attention 15
Long-term impacts of technology on the brain 16
The promises of neurosciences 17
The militarisation of brain science 19…………………………………………………………….
Progress and Viability of Neuroscience and Technology (NeuroS/T) 19
Military and Intelligence Use of NeuroS/T 20
Direct Weaponisation of NeuroS/T 21
Neurodata 22
The neurobioeconomy 23
Towards a new operational domain 25…………………………………………………………..
Russian and Chinese Cognitive Warfare Definition 26
It's about Humans 28
Recommendations for NATO 32
Definition of the Human Domain 32
Impact on Warfare Development 34
Conclusion 36………………………………………………………………………………………………….
Bibliography and Sources 37………………………………………………………………………….
Annex 1 38………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Nation State Case Study 1: The weaponisation of neurosciences in China 38
Annex 2 41………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Nation State Case Study 2: The Russian National Technology Initiative 41
Innovation Hub – Nov 2020 Page of2 45

This is Allied Command Transformation (ACT) sponsored study
but the views and opinions expressed in this publication strictly re-
flect the discussions held on the Innovation Hub forums. They do
not reflect those of ACT or its member Nations, so none of them can
be quoted as an official statement belonging to them.
Innovation Hub – Nov 2020 Page of3 45

Executive Summary

As written in the Warfighting 2040 Paper, the nature of warfare has changed. The majority of
current conflicts remain below the threshold of the traditionally accepted definition of war-
fare, but new forms of warfare have emerged such as Cognitive Warfare (CW), while the hu-
man mind is now being considered as a new domain of war.

With the increasing role of technology and information overload, individual cognitive abili-
ties will no longer be sufficient to ensure an informed and timely decision-making, leading to
the new concept of Cognitive Warfare, which has become a recurring term in military termi-
nology in recent years.

Cognitive Warfare causes an insidious challenge. It disrupts the ordinary understandings and
reactions to events in a gradual and subtle way, but with significant harmful effects over time.
Cognitive warfare has universal reach, from the individual to states and multinational organi-
sations. It feeds on the techniques of disinformation and propaganda aimed at psychological-
ly exhausting the receptors of information. Everyone contributes to it, to varying degrees,
consciously or sub consciously and it provides invaluable knowledge on society, especially
open societies, such as those in the West. This knowledge can then be easily weaponised. It
offers NATO's adversaries a means of bypassing the traditional battlefield with significant
strategic results, which may be utilised to radically transform Western societies.

The instruments of information warfare, along with the addition of "neuro-weapons" adds to
future technological perspectives, suggesting that the cognitive field will be one of tomor-
row's battlefields. This perspective is further strengthened in by the rapid advances of NBICs
(Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Information Technology and Cognitive Sciences) and the
understanding of the brain. NATO's adversaries are already investing heavily in these new

NATO needs to anticipate advances in these technologies by raising the awareness on the true
potential of CW. Whatever the nature and object of warfare, it always comes down to a clash
of human wills, and therefore what defines victory will be the ability to impose a desired be-
haviour on a chosen audience. Actions undertaken in the five domains – air, land, sea, space
and cyber – are all executed in order to have an effect on the human domain. It is therefore
time for NATO to recognise the renewed importance of the sixth operational domain, namely
the Human Domain.


Individual and organisational cognitive capabilities will be of paramount importance because
of the speed and volume of information available in the modern battlespace. If modern tech-
nology holds the promise of improving human cognitive performance, it also holds the seeds
of serious threats for military organisations.

Because organisations are made up of human beings, human limitations and preferences ul-
timately affect organisational behaviour and decision-making processes. Military organisa-
tions are subject to the problem of limited rationality, but this constraint is often overlooked in
practice .1

In an environment permeated with technology and overloaded with information, managing
the cognitive abilities within military organisations will be key, while developing capabilities
to harm the cognitive abilities of opponents will be a necessity. In other words, NATO will
need to get the ability to safeguard her decision-making process and disrupt the adversary's

This study intends to respond to the three following questions:

• Improve awareness on Cognitive Warfare, including a better understanding of the
risks and opportunities of new Cognitive / Human Mind technologies;
• Provide 'out-of-the-box' insight on Cognitive Warfare;
• And to provide strategic level arguments to SACT as to recommend, or not,
Cognitive / Human Mind as an Operational Domain.

The advent of Cognitive Warfare

From Information Warfare to Cognitive Warfare

Information warfare (IW) is the most related, and, thus, the most easily conflated, type of
warfare with regards to cognitive warfare. However, there are key distinctions that make
cognitive warfare unique enough to be addressed under its own jurisdiction. As a concept, IW
was first coined and developed under US Military doctrine, and has subsequently been adopted in different forms by several nations.

As former US Navy Commander Stuart Green de-
scribed it as, "Information operations, the closest2
existing American doctrinal concept for cognitive
warfare, consists of five 'core capabilities', or ele-
ments. These include electronic warfare, computer
network operations, PsyOps, military deception,
and operational security."

Succinctly, Information Warfare aims at controlling
the flow of information.  Information warfare has been designed primarily to support objectives defined by the tradi-
tional mission of military organisations – namely, to produce lethal kinetic effects on the bat-
tlefield. It was not designed to achieve lasting political successes.
As defined by Clint Watts, cognitive Warfare opposes the capacities to know and to produce,
it actively thwarts knowledge. Cognitive sciences cover all the sciences that concern knowl-
edge and its processes (psychology, linguistics, neurobiology, logic and more).3
Cognitive Warfare degrades the capacity to know, produce or thwart knowledge. Cognitive
sciences cover all the sciences that concern knowledge and its processes (psychology, linguis-
tics, neurobiology, logic and more).

Cognitive Warfare is therefore the way of using
knowledge for a conflicting purpose. In its broadest
sense, cognitive warfare is not limited to the military
or institutional world. Since the early 1990s, this ca-
pability has tended to be applied to the political,
economic, cultural and societal fields.
Any user of modern information technologies is a
potential target. It targets the whole of a nation's
human capital.

"Conflicts will increasingly depend
on/and revolve around, information
and communications— (…) Indeed,
both cyberwar and netwar are
modes of conflict that are largely
about "knowledge"—about who
knows what, when, where, and why,
and about how secure a society"
John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt
The Advent of Netwar, RAND, 1996
"Big Data allows us to develop fabu-
lous calculation and analysis per-
formances, but what makes it possi-
ble to respond to a situation is rea-
son and reason is what enables to
take a decision in what is not calcu-
lable, otherwise we only confirm the
state of affairs."

Bernard Stiegler

The most striking shift of this practice from the military, to the civilian, world is the perva-
siveness of CW activities across everyday life that sit outside the normal peace-crisis-conflict
construct (with harmful effects). Even if a cognitive war could be conducted to complement to
a military conflict, it can also be conducted alone, without any link to an engagement of the
armed forces. Moreover, cognitive warfare is potentially endless since there can be no peace
treaty or surrender for this type of conflict.

Evidence now exists that shows new CW tools & techniques target military personnel directly,

not only with classical information weapons but also with a constantly growing and rapidly
evolving arsenal of neuro-weapons, targeting the brain. It is important to recognise various
nations' dedicated endeavours to develop non-kinetic operations, that target the Human with
effects at every level – from the individual level, up to the socio-political level.

Hacking the individual

The revolution in information technology has enabled cognitive manipulations of a new kind,
on an unprecedented and highly elaborate scale. All this happens at much lower cost than in
the past, when it was necessary to create effects and impact through non-virtual actions in the
physical realm. Thus, in a continuous process, classical military capabilities do not counter
cognitive warfare. Despite the military having difficulty in recognising the reality and effec-
tiveness of the phenomena associated with cognitive warfare, the relevance of kinetic and re-
source-intensive means of warfare is nonetheless diminishing.

Social engineering always starts with a deep dive into the human environment of the target.
The goal is to understand the psychology of the targeted people. This phase is more impor-
tant than any other as it allows not only
the precise targeting of the right people but
also to anticipate reactions, and to develop
empathy. Understanding the human envi-
ronment is the key to building the trust
that will ultimately lead to the desired re-
sults. Humans are an easy target since they
all contribute by providing information on
themselves, making the adversaries' sock-
puppets more powerful.4

In any case NATO's adversaries focus on identifying the Alliance's centres of gravity and vul-
nerabilities. They have long identified that the main vulnerability is the human. It is easy to
find these centres of gravity in open societies because they are reflected in the study of human
and social sciences such as political science, history, geography, biology, philosophy, voting
systems, public administration, international politics, international relations, religious studies,
education, sociology, arts and culture…

Cognitive Warfare is a war of ideologies that strives to erode the trust that underpins every

"Social engineering is the art and science of
getting people to comply to your wishes. It is
not a way of mind control, it will not allow
you to get people to perform tasks wildly
outside of their normal behaviour and it is
far from foolproof"

Harl, People Hacking, 1997

Trust is the target

Cognitive warfare pursues the objective of undermining trust (public trust in electoral pro-
cesses, trust in institutions, allies, politicians…). , therefore the individual becomes the5
weapon, while the goal is not to attack what individuals think but rather the way they think .6
It has the potential to unravel the entire social contract that underpins societies.
It is natural to trust the senses, to believe what is seen and read. But the democratisation of
automated tools and techniques using AI, no longer requiring a technological background,
enables anyone to distort information and to further undermine trust in open societies. The
use of fake news, deep fakes, Trojan horses, and digital avatars will create new suspicions
which anyone can exploit.

It is easier and cheaper for adversaries to undermine trust in our own systems than to attack
our power grids, factories or military compounds. Hence, it is likely that in the near future
there will be more attacks, from a growing and much more diverse number of potential play-
ers with a greater risk for escalation or miscalculation. The characteristics of cyberspace (lack
of regulation, difficulties and associated risks of attribution of attacks in particular) mean that
new actors, either state or non-state, are to be expected .7

As the example of COVID-19 shows, the massive amount of texts on the subject, including
deliberately biased texts (example is the Lancet study on chloroquine) created an information
and knowledge overload which, in turn, generates both a loss of credibility and a need for
closure. Therefore the ability for humans to question, normally, any data/information pre-
sented is hampered, with a tendency to fall back on biases to the detriment of unfettered deci-

It applies to trust among individuals as well as groups, political alliances and societies.
"Trust, in particular among allies, is a targeted vulnerability. As any international institu-
tion does, NATO relies on trust between its partners. Trust is based not only on respecting
some explicit and tangible agreements, but also on 'invisible contracts,' on sharing values,
which is not easy when such a proportion of allied nations have been fighting each other for
centuries. This has left wounds and scars creating a cognitive/information landscape that our
adversaries study with great care. Their objective is to identify the 'Cognitive Centers of
Gravity' of the Alliance, which they will target with 'info-weapons'."8

Cognitive Warfare, a participatory propaganda9

In many ways, cognitive warfare can be compared to propaganda, which can be defined as "a
set of methods employed by an organised group that wants to bring about the active or pas-
sive participation in its actions of a mass of individuals, psychologically unified through psy-
chological manipulations and incorporated in an organisation."10

Behavioural economics (BE) is defined as a method of economic analysis that applies psycho-
logical insights into human behaviour to explain economic decision-making.

As research into decision-making shows, behaviour becomes increasingly computational, BE
is at the crossroad between hard science and soft science .12

Operationally, this means massive and methodical use of behavioural data and the develop-
ment of methods to aggressively seek out new data sources. With the vast amount of (behav-
ioural) data that everyone generates mostly without our consent and awareness, further ma-
nipulation is easily achievable.

The large digital economy companies have developed new data capture methods, allowing
the inference of personal information that users may not necessarily intend to disclose. The
excess data has become the basis for new prediction markets called targeted advertising.
"Here is the origin of surveillance capitalism in an unprecedented and lucrative brew: behav-
ioural surplus, data science, material infrastructure, computational power, algorithmic sys-
tems, and automated platforms", claims Soshanna Zuboff .13

In democratic societies, advertising has quickly become as important as research. It has finally
become the cornerstone of a new type of business that depends on large-scale online monitor-

The target is the human being in the broadest sense
and it is easy to divert the data obtained from just
commercial purposes, as the Cambridge Analytica
(CA) scandal demonstrated.

Thus, the lack of regulation of the digital space – the
so-called "data swamp"- does not only benefit the
digital-age regimes, which "can exert remarkable
control over not just computer networks and hu-
man bodies, but the minds of their citizens as
well" .14

It can also be utilised for malign purposes as the
example of the CA scandal has shown.

CA digital model outlined how to combine personal data with machine learning for political
ends by profiling individual voters in order to target them with personalised political adver-

Using the most advanced survey and psychometrics techniques, Cambridge Analytica was
actually able to collect a vast amount of individuals' data that helped them understand
through economics, demographics, social and behavioural information what each of them
thought. It literally provided the company a window into the minds of people.

The gigantic collection of data organised via digital technologies is today primarily used to
define and anticipate human behaviour. Behavioural knowledge is a strategic asset. "Behav-
ioural economics adapts psychology research to economic models, thus creating more accu-
rate representations of human interactions."15

"Cambridge Analytica has demonstrated how it's possible […] to leverage tools to build a
scaled-down version of the massive surveillance and manipulation machines"16

"Technology is going on unabated
and will continue to go on unabated.
[…] Because technology is going so
fast and because people don't under-
stand it, there was always going to be
a Cambridge Analytica."
Julian Wheatland
Ex-Chief Operating Officer of
Cambridge Analytica

As shown by the example of Cambridge Analytica, one can weaponise such knowledge and
develop appropriate offensive and defensive capabilities, paving the way for virtual societal
warfare. A systematic use of BE methods applied to the military could lead to better under17 –
standing of how individuals and groups behave and think, eventually leading to a wider un-
derstanding of the decision-making environment of adversaries. There is a real risk that ac-
cess to behavioural data utilising the tools and techniques of BE, as shown by the example of
Cambridge Analytica, could allow any malicious actor- whether state or non-state- to strate-
gically harm open societies and their instruments of power.


Assuming that technology affects everyone, studying and understanding human behaviour
in relation to technology is vital as the line between cyberspace and the real world is becom-
ing blurry.

The exponentially increasing impact of cybernetics, digital technologies, and virtuality can
only be gauged when considered through their effects on societies, humans, and their respec-
tive behaviours.

Cyberpsychology is at the crossroads of two main fields: psychology and cybernetics. All this
is relevant to defense and security, and to all areas that matter to NATO as it prepares for
transformation. Centered on the clarification of the mechanisms of thought and on the con-
ceptions, uses and limits of cybernetic systems, cyberpsychology is a key issue in the vast
field of Cognitive Sciences. The evolution of AI introduces new words, new concepts, but also
new theories that encompass a study of the natural functioning of humans and of the ma-
chines they have built and which, today, are fully integrated in their natural environment (an-
thropo-technical). Tomorrow's human beings will have to invent a psychology of their rela-
tion to machines. But the challenge is to develop also a psychology of machines, artificial in-
telligent software or hybrid robots.

Cyber psychology is a complex scientific field that encompasses all psychological phenomena
associated with, or affected by relevant evolving technologies. Cyber psychology examines
the way humans and machines impact each other, and explores how the relationship between
humans and AI will change human interactions and inter-machine communication .18
* * * *
Paradoxically, the development of information technology and its use for manipulative pur-
poses in particular highlights the increasingly predominant role of the brain.

The brain is the most complex part of the human body. This organ is the seat of intelligence,
the interpreter of the senses, the initiator of body movements, the controller of behaviour and
the centre of decisions. !

The centrality of the human brain

For centuries, scientists and philosophers have been fascinated by the brain, but until recently,
they considered the brain to be almost incomprehensible. Today, however, the brain is begin-
ning to reveal its secrets. Scientists have learned more about the brain in the past decade than
in any previous century, thanks to the accelerating pace of research in the neurological and
behavioural sciences and the development of new research techniques. For the military, it rep-
resents the last frontier in science, in that it could bring a decisive advantage in tomorrow's

Understanding the brain is a key challenge for the future

Substantial advances have been made in recent decades in
understanding how the brain functions. While our decision-
making processes remain centered on Human in particular
with its capacity to orient (OODA loop), fed by data, analysis
and visualisations, the inability of human to process, fuse
and analyse the profusion of data in a timely manner calls for
humans to team with AI machines to compete with AI ma-
chines. In order to keep a balance between the human and
the machine in the decision-making process, it becomes nec-
essary to be aware of human limitations and vulnerabilities.
It all starts with understanding our cognition processes and
the way our brain's function.

Over the past two decades, cognitive science and neuro-
science have taken a new step in the analysis and under-
standing of the human brain, and have opened up new per-
spectives in terms of brain research, if not indeed of a hy-
bridisation, then of human and artificial intelligence. They
have mainly made a major contribution to the study of the
diversity of neuro-psychic mechanisms facilitating learning
and, as a result, have, for example, challenged the intuition
of "multiple intelligences". No one today can any longer ig-
nore the fact that the brain is both the seat of emotions the in-
teractive mechanisms of memorisation, information processing, problem solving and deci-

Discipline associating psy-
chology, sociology, linguistics,
artificial intelligence and neu-
rosciences, and having for ob-
ject the explicitation of the
mechanisms of thought and
information processing mo-
bilised for the acquisition,
conservation, use and trans-
mission of knowledge.
Trans-disciplinary scientific
discipline associating biology,
mathematics, computer sci-
ence, etc., with the aim of
studying the organisation and
functioning of the nervous
system, from the point of view
of both its structure and its
functioning, from the molecu-
lar scale down to the level of
the organs.

The vulnerabilities of the human brain

"In the cognitive war, it's more important than ever to know thyself."19
Humans have developed adaptations to cope with cognitive limitations allowing more effi-
cient processing of information. Unfortunately, these same shortcuts introduce distortions in
our thinking and communication, making communication efforts ineffective and subject to
manipulation by adversaries seeking to mislead or confuse. These cognitive biases can lead to
inaccurate judgments and poor decision making that could trigger an unintended escalation
or prevent the timely identification of threats. Understanding the sources and types of cogni-
tive biases can help reduce misunderstandings and inform the development of better strate-
gies to respond to opponents' attempts to use these biases to their advantage.

In particular, the brain:
– is unable to distinct whether particular information is right or wrong;
– Is led to take shortcuts in determining the trustworthiness of messages in case of informa-
tion overload;
– is led to believe statements or messages that its already heard as true, even though these
may be false;
– accepts statements as true, if backed by evidence, with no regards to the authenticity of the
that evidence.

Those are, among many others, the cognitive bias, defined as a systematic pattern of deviation
from norm or rationality in judgment.20

There are many different cognitive biases inherently stemming from the human brain. Most21
of them are relevant to the information environment. Probably the most common and most
damaging cognitive bias is the confirmation bias. This is the effect that leads people to look
for evidence that confirms what they already think or suspect, to regard facts and ideas they
encounter as further confirmation, and to dismiss or ignore any evidence that seems to sup-
port another point of view. In other words, "people see what they want to see" .22
Cognitive biases effect everyone, from soldiers on the ground to staff officers, and to a greater
extent than everyone admits.

It is not only important to recognise it in ourselves, but to study the biases of adversaries to
understand how they behave and interact.

As stated by Robert P. Kozloski, "The importance of truly "knowing yourself" cannot be un-
derstated. Advances in computing technology, particularly machine learning, provide the mil-
itary with the opportunity to know itself like never before. Collecting and analysing the data
generated in virtual environments will enable military organisations to understand the cogni-

tive performance of individuals."23

Ultimately, operational advantages in cognitive warfare will first come from the improvement
of understanding of military cognitive abilities and limitations.

The role of emotions

In the digital realm, what allows the digital industries and their customers (and notably ad-
vertisers) to distinguish individuals in the crowd, to refine personalisation and behavioural
analysis, are emotions. Every social media platform, every website is designed to be addictive
and to trigger some emotional bursts, trapping the brain in a cycle of posts. The speed, emo-
tional intensity, and echo-chamber qualities of social media content cause those exposed to it
to experience more extreme reactions. Social media is particularly well suited to worsening
political and social polarisation because of their ability to disseminate violent images and
scary rumours very quickly and intensely. "The more the anger spreads, the more Internet
users are susceptible to becoming a troll."24

At the political and strategic level, it would be wrong to underestimate the impact of emo-
tions. Dominique Moïsi showed in his book "The Geopolitics of Emotion" , how emotions -25
hope, fear and humiliation – were shaping the world and international relations with the
echo-chamber effect of the social media. For example, it seems important to integrate into
theoretical studies on terrorist phenomena the role of emotions leading to a violent and/or a
terrorist path.

By limiting cognitive abilities, emotions also play a role in decision-making, performance, and
overall well-being, and it's impossible to stop people from experiencing them. "In the face of
violence, the very first obstacle you will have to face will not be your abuser, but your own

The battle for attention

Never have knowledge and information been so accessible, so abundant, and so shareable.
Gaining attention means not only building a privileged relationship with our interlocutors to
better communicate and persuade, but it also means preventing competitors from getting that
attention, be it political, economic, social or even in our person-
al life.

This battlefield is global via the internet. With no beginning and
no end, this conquest knows no respite, punctuated by notifica-
tions from our smartphones, anywhere, 24 hours a day, 7 days a

Coined in 1996 by Professor B.J. Fogg from Stanford University,

"captology" is defined as the science of using "computers as technologies of persuasion".27

"We are competing with sleep"
Reed Hastings
CEO of Netflix

The time has therefore come to adopt the rules of this "attention economy", to master the
technologies related to "captology", to understand how these challenges are completely new.
Indeed, this battle is not limited to screens and design, it also takes place in brains, especially
in the way they are misled. It is also a question of understanding why, in the age of social
networks, some "fake news", conspiracy theories or "alternative facts", seduce and convince,
while at the same time rendering their victims inaudible.

Attention on the contrary is a limited and increasingly scarce resource. It cannot be shared: it
can be conquered and kept. The battle for attention is now at work, involving companies,
states and citizens.

The issues at stake now go far beyond the framework of pedagogy, ethics and screen addic-
tion. The consumption environment, especially marketing, is leading the way. Marketers have
long understood that the seat of attention and decision making is the brain and as such have
long sought to understand, anticipate its choices and influence it.

This approach naturally applies just as well to military affairs and adversaries have already
understood this.

Long-term impacts of technology on the brain

As Dr. James Giordano claims, "the brain will the battlefield of the 21st century".28

And when it comes to shaping the brain, the technological environment plays a key role.
The brain has only one chance to develop. Damage to the brain is very often irreversible. Un-
derstanding and protecting our brains from external aggression, of all kinds, will be one of
the major challenges of the future.

According to the neuroscientist Maryanne Wolf, humans were not meant to read and the in-
vention of printing changed the shape of our brains . It took years, if not centuries, to assess29
the consequences – social, political or sociological for example – of the invention of printing. It
will likely take longer before understanding accurately the long-term consequences of the
digital age but one thing everyone agrees on is that the human brain is changing today faster
than ever before with the pervasiveness of digital technology.

There is a growing amount of research that explores how technology affects the brain. Studies
show that exposure to technology shapes the cognitive processes and the ability to take in in-
formation. One of the major findings is the advent of a society of 'cognitive offloaders', mean-
ing that no one memorises important information any longer. Instead, the brain tends to re-
member the location where they retrieved when it is next required. With information and vis-
ual overload, the brain tends to scan information and pick out what appears to be important
with no regard to the rest.

One of the evolutions already noticed is the loss of critical thinking directly related to screen
reading and the increasing inability to read a real book. The way information is processed af-
fects brain development, leading to neglect of the sophisticated thought processes. Brains will
thus be different tomorrow. It is therefore highly probable that our brains will be radically

transformed in an extremely short period, but it is also likely that this change will come at the
expense of more sophisticated, more complex thinking processes necessary for critical analy-

In an era where memory is outsourced to Google, GPS, calendar alerts and calculators, it will
necessarily produce a generalised loss of knowledge that is not just memory, but rather motor
memory. In other words, a long-term process of disabling connections in your brain is ongo30 –
ing. It will present both vulnerabilities and opportunities.

However, there is also plenty of research showing the benefits of technology on our cognitive
functions. For example, a Princeton University study found that expert video gamers have a31
higher ability to process data, to make decisions faster or even to achieve simultaneous multi-
tasks in comparison to non-gamers. There is a general consensus among neuroscientists that a
reasoned use of information technology (and particularly games) is beneficial to the brain.
By further blurring the line between the real and the virtual, the development of technologies
such as Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) or Mixed Reality (MR) has the potential
to transform the brain's abilities even more radically . Behaviours in virtual environments32
can continue to influence real behaviour long after exiting VR.33

Yet, virtual environments offer the opportunity to efficiently complement live training since it
can provide cognitive experience that a live exercise cannot replicate.

While there are concerns and research on how digital media are harming developing minds, it
is still difficult to predict how the technology will affect and change the brain, but with the
ubiquity of IT, it will become increasingly crucial to carefully detect and anticipate the im-
pacts of information technology on the brain and to adapt the use of information technology.
In the long-term, there is little doubt that Information Technologies will transform the brain,
thus providing more opportunities to learn and to apprehend the cyber environment but also
vulnerabilities that will require closely monitoring in order to counter and defend against
them and how to best exploit them.

The promises of neurosciences

"Social neuroscience holds the promise of understanding people's thoughts, emotions and
intentions through the mere observation of their biology."

Should scientists be able to establish a close and precise correspondence between biological
functions on the one hand and social cognitions and behaviours on the other hand, neurosci-
entific methods could have tremendous applications for many disciplines and for our society
in general. It includes decision-making, exchanges, physical and mental health care, preven-
tion, jurisprudence, and more.

This highlights how far neurosciences occupies a growing place in medical and scientific
research. More than just a discipline, they articulate a set of fields related to the knowledge of
the brain and nervous system and question the complex relationships between man and his
environment and fellow human beings. From biomedical research to cognitive sciences, the
actors, approaches and organisations that structure neuroscience are diverse.
Often convergent, they can also be competitive.

While the discoveries and challenges of the neurosciences are relatively well known, this field
raises both hope and concern. In a disorganised and, at times, ill-informed way,
"neuroscience" seems to be everywhere. Integrated, sometimes indiscriminately, in many
debates, they are mobilised around the issues of society and public health, education, aging,
and nourish the hopes of an augmented man.
* * * *
Today, the manipulation of our perception, thoughts and behaviours is taking place on
previously unimaginable scales of time, space and intentionality. That, precisely, is the source
of one of the greatest vulnerabilities that every individual must learn to deal with. Many
actors are likely to exploit these vulnerabilities, while the evolution of technology for
producing and disseminating information is increasingly fast. At the same time, as the cost of
technology steadily drops, more actors enter the scene.

As the technology evolves, so do the vulnerabilities.

Some NATO Nations have already acknowledged that neuroscientific techniques and technol-
ogies have high potential for operational use in a variety of security, defense and intelligence
enterprises, while recognising the need to address the current and short-term ethical, legal
and social issues generated by such use .37

Military and Intelligence Use of NeuroS/T

The use of neuroS/T for military and intelligence purposes is realistic, and represents a clear
and present concern. In 2014, a US report asserted that neuroscience and technology had ma-
tured considerably and were being increasingly considered, and in some cases evaluated for
operational use in security, intelligence, and defense operations. More broadly, the iterative
recognition of the viability of neuroscience and technology in these agenda reflects the pace
and breadth of developments in the field. Although a number of nations have pursued, and
are currently pursuing neuroscientific research and development for military purposes, per-
haps the most proactive efforts in this regard have been conducted by the United States De-
partment of Defense; with most notable and rapidly maturing research and development
conducted by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Intelligence
Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA). To be sure, many DARPA projects are explicit-
ly directed toward advancing neuropsychiatric treatments and interventions that will im-
prove both military and civilian medicine. Yet, it is important to note the prominent ongoing –
and expanding – efforts in this domain by NATO European and trans-Pacific strategic com-
petitor nations.

As the 2008 National Research Council report stated, "… for good or for ill, an ability to bet38 –
ter understand the capabilities of the body and brain… could be exploited for gathering intel-
ligence, military operations, information management, public safety and forensics". To para-
phrase Aristotle, every human activity and tool can be regarded as purposed toward some
definable "good". However, definitions of "good" may vary, and what is regarded as good for
some may present harm to others. The potential for neuroS/T to afford insight, understand-
ing, and capability to affect cognitive, emotional, and behavioural aspects of individuals and
groups render the brain sciences particularly attractive for use in security, intelligence, and
military/warfare initiatives.

To approach this issue, it is important to establish four fundamental premises.

• Firstly, neuroS/T is, and will be increasingly and more widely incorporated into ap-
proaches to national security, intelligence gathering and analysis, and aspects of mili-
tary operations;
• Secondly, such capabilities afford considerable power;
• Thirdly, many countries are actively developing and subsidising neuroS/T research
under dual-use agendas or for direct incorporation into military programs;
• Fourthly, these international efforts could lead to a "capabilities race" as nations react
to new developments by attempting to counter and/or improve upon one another's

This type of escalation represents a realistic possibility with potential to affect international

security. Such "brinksmanship" must be acknowledged as a potential impediment to at-
tempts to develop analyses and guidelines (that inform or prompt policies) that seek to con-
strain or restrict these avenues of research and development.

Neuroscientific techniques and technologies that are being utilised for military efforts include:

1. Neural systems modelling and human/brain-machine interactive networks in intel-
ligence, training and operational systems;
2. Neuroscientific and neurotechnological approaches to optimising performance and
resilience in combat and military support personnel;
3. Direct weaponisation of neuroscience and neurotechnology.

Of note is that each and all may contribute to establishing a role for brain science on the 21st
century battlescape.

Direct Weaponisation of NeuroS/T

The formal definition of a weapon as "a means of contending against others" can be extended
to include any implement "…used to injure, defeat, or destroy". Both definitions apply to
products of neuroS/T research that can be employed in military/warfare scenarios. The ob-
jectives for neuroweapons in warfare may be achieved by augmenting or degrading functions
of the nervous system, so as to affect cognitive, emotional and/or motor activity and capabili-
ty (e.g., perception, judgment, morale, pain tolerance, or physical abilities and stamina) nec-
essary for combat. Many technologies can be used to produce these effects, and there is
demonstrated utility for neuroweapons in both conventional and irregular warfare scenarios.

At present, outcomes and products of computational neuroscience and neuropharmacologic
research could be used for more indirect applications, such as enabling human efforts by sim-
ulating, interacting with, and optimising brain functions, and the classification and detection
of human cognitive, emotional, and motivational states to augment intelligence or counter-
intelligence tactics. Human/brain-machine interfacing neurotechnologies capable of optimis-
ing data assimilation and interpretation systems by mediating access to – and manipulation
of – signal detection, processing, and/or integration are being explored for their potential to
delimit "human weak links" in the intelligence chain.

The weaponised use of neuroscientific tools and products is not new. Historically, such
weapons which include nerve gas and various drugs, pharmacologic stimulants (e.g., am-
phetamines), sedatives, sensory stimuli, have been applied as neuroweapons to incapacitate
the enemy, and even sleep deprivation and distribution of emotionally provocative informa-
tion in psychological operations (i.e., PSYOPS) could rightly be regarded as forms of
weaponised applications of neuroscientific and neurocognitive research.
Innovation Hub – Nov 2020 Page of21 45

Products of neuroscientific and neurotechnological research can be utilised to affect

1) memory, learning, and cognitive speed;
2) wake-sleep cycles, fatigue and alertness;
3) impulse control;
4) mood, anxiety, and self-perception;
5) decision-making;
6) trust and empathy;
7) and movement and performance (e.g., speed, strength, stamina, motor learning, etc.).

In military/warfare settings, modifying these functions can be utilised to mitigate aggression
and foster cognitions and emotions of affiliation or passivity; induce morbidity, disability or
suffering; and "neutralise" potential opponents or incur mortality.


The combination of multiple disciplines (e.g., the physical, social, and computational sci-
ences), and intentional "technique and technology sharing" have been critical to rapid and
numerous discoveries and developments in the brain sciences. This process, advanced inte-
grative scientific convergence (AISC), can be seen as a paradigm for de-siloing disciplines to-
ward fostering innovative use of diverse and complementary knowledge-, skill-, and tool-sets
to both de-limit existing approaches to problem resolution; and to develop novel means of
exploring and furthering the boundaries of understanding and capability. Essential to the
AISC approach in neuroscience is the use of computational (i.e., big data) methods and ad-
vancements to enable deepened insight and more sophisticated intervention to the structure
and function(s) of the brain, and by extension, human cognition, emotion, and behaviour .39

Such capacities in both computational and brain sciences have implications for biosecurity
and defense initiatives. Several neurotechnologies can be employed kinetically (i.e., providing
means to injure, defeat, or destroy adversaries) or non-kinetically (i.e., providing "means of
contending against others," especially in disruptive ways) engagements. While many types of
neuroS/T have been addressed in and by extant forums, treaties, conventions, and laws, other
newer techniques and technologies – inclusive of neurodata – have not. In this context, the
term "neurodata" refers to the accumulation of large volumes of information; handling of
large scale and often diverse informational sets; and new methods of data visualisation, as-
similation, comparison, syntheses, and analyses. Such information can be used to:

• more finely elucidate the structure and function of human brain;
• and develop data repositories that can serve as descriptive or predictive metrics for
neuropsychiatric disorders.

Purloining and/or modifying such information could affect military and intelligence readi-
ness, force conservation, and mission capability, and thus national security. Manipulation of

provided, could influence the ways that individuals are socially regarded and treated, and in
these ways disrupt public health and incur socio-economic change.

As the current COVID-19 pandemic has revealed, public – and institutional public health –
responses to novel pathogens are highly variable at best, chaotic at worst, and indubitably
costly (on many levels) in either case. To be sure, such extant gaps in public health and safety
infrastructures and functions could be exploited by employing "precision pathologies" (capa-
ble of selectively affecting specific targets such as individuals, communities;, domestic ani-
mals, livestock, etc.) and an aggressive program of misinformation to incur disruptive effects
on social, economic, political, and military scales that would threaten national stability and
security. Recent elucidation of the Chinese government's Overseas Key Individuals Database
(OKIDB), which, via collaboration with a corporate entity, Shenzhen Zhenua Data Technolo-
gy, has amassed data to afford "insights into foreign political, military, and diplomatic fig-
ures…containing information on more than 2 million people…and tens of thousands who
hold prominent public positions…" that could be engaged by "Beijing's army of cyberhack-

Digital biosecurity – a term that describes the intersection of computational systems and bio-
logical information and how to effectively prevent or mitigate current and emerging risk aris-
ing at this intersection – becomes ever more important and required. The convergence of neu-
robiology and computational capabilities, while facilitating beneficial advances in brain re-
search and its translational applications, creates a vulnerable strategic asset that will be
sought by adversaries to advance their own goals for neuroscience. Hacking of biological data
within the academic, industry, and the health care systems has already occurred – and neuro-
data are embedded within all of these domains.

Thus, it is likely that there will be more direct attempts at harnessing neurodata to gain lever-
ageable informational, social, legal, and military capability and power advantage(s), as sever-
al countries that are currently strategically competitive with the U.S. and its allies invest heav-
ily in both neuro- and cyber-scientific research programs and infrastructure. The growing for-
titude of these states' quantitative and economic presence in these fields can – and is intended
to – shift international leadership, hegemony, and influence ethical, technical, commercial and
politico-military norms and standards of research and use. For example, Russian leadership
has declared interest in the employment of "genetic passports" such that those in the military
who display genetic indications of high cognitive performance can be directed to particular
military tasks.

The neurobioeconomy

Advancements in neuroS/T have contributed to much growth in the neuro-bioeconomy. With
neurological disorders being the second leading cause of death worldwide (with approxi-
mately 9 million deaths; constituting 16.5% of global fatalities), several countries have initiat-
ed programs in brain research and innovation.

These initiatives aim to:

1) advance understanding of substrates and mechanisms of neuropsychiatric disorders;
2) improve knowledge of processes of cognition, emotion, and behaviour;
3) and augment the methods for studying, assessing, and affecting the brain and its

New research efforts incorporate best practices for interdisciplinary approaches that can
utilise advances in computer science, robotics, and artificial intelligence to fortify the scope
and pace of neuroscientific capabilities and products. Such research efforts are strong drivers
of innovation and development, both by organising larger research goals, and by shaping
neuroS/T research to meet defined economic, public health, and security agendas.
Rapid advances in brain science represent an emerging domain that state and non-state actors
can leverage in warfare. While not all brain sciences engender security concerns, predominant
authority and influence in global biomedical, bioengineering, wellness/lifestyle, and defense
markets enable a considerable exercise of power. It is equally important to note that such
power can be exercised both non-kinetic and kinetic operational domains, and several coun-
tries have identified neuroS/T as viable, of value, and of utility in their warfare programs.
While extant treaties (e.g., the BTWC and CWC ) and laws have addressed particular prod40 –
ucts of the brain sciences (e.g., chemicals, biological agents, and toxins), other forms of neu-
roS/T, (e.g., neurotechnologies and neuroinformatics) remain outside these conventions' fo-
cus, scope, and governance. Technology can influence, if not shape the norms and conduct of
warfare, and the future battlefield will depend not only upon achieving "biological domi-
nance", but achieving "mental/cognitive dominance" and "intelligence dominance" as well.
It will be ever more difficult to regulate and restrict military and security applications of neu-
roS/T without established standards and proper international oversight of research and po-
tential use-in-practice.
* * * *. *
In sum, it is not a question of whether neuro S/T will be utilised in military, intelligence, and
political operations, but rather when, how, to what extent, and perhaps most importantly, if
NATO nations will be prepared to address, meet, counter, or prevent these risks and threats.
In this light (and based upon the information presented) it is, and will be increasingly impor-
tant to address the complex issues generated by the brain sciences' influence upon global
biosecurity and the near-term future scope and conduct of both non-kinetic and kinetic mili-
tary and intelligence operations.41

Towards a new operational domain

The advent of the concept of "cognitive warfare" (CW) brings a third major combat dimension
to the modern battlefield: to the physical and informational dimensions is now added a cogni-
tive dimension. It creates a new space of competition, beyond the land, maritime, air, cyber-
netic and spatial domains, which adversaries have already integrated.
In a world permeated with technology, warfare in the cognitive domain mobilises a wider
range of battle spaces than the physical and informational dimensions can do. Its very essence
is to seize control of human beings (civilian as well as military), organisations, nations, but
also of ideas, psychology, especially behavioural, thoughts, as well as the environment. In ad-
dition, rapid advances in brain science, as part of a broadly defined cognitive warfare, have
the potential to greatly expand traditional conflicts and produce effects at lower cost.

Through the joint action it exerts on the 3 dimensions (physical, informational and cognitive),
cognitive warfare embodies the idea of combat without fighting dear to Sun Tzu ("The
supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting"). It therefore requires the mobil-
isation of a much broader knowledge. Future conflicts will likely occur amongst the people digital-
ly first and physically thereafter in proximity to hubs of political and economic power.42

The study of the cognitive domain, thus centred on the human being, constitutes a new major
challenge that is indispensable to any strategy relating to the combat power generation of the

Cognition is our "thinking machine". The function of cognition is to perceive, to pay atten-
tion, to memorise, to reason, to produce movements, to express oneself, to decide. To act on
cognition means to act on the human being.

Therefore, defining a cognitive domain would be too restrictive; a human domain would
therefore be more appropriate.

While actions taken in the five domains are executed in order to have an effect on the human
domain , cognitive warfare's objective is to make everyone a weapon.43

To turn the situation around, NATO must strive to define in a very broad sense and must
have a clear awareness of the meanings and advances of international actors providing NATO
with specific strategic security and broader challenges in the field of cognitive warfare.

Russian and Chinese Cognitive Warfare Definition

Russian Reflexive Control

In 2012, Vladimir Karyakin added: "The advent of information and network technologies,
coupled with advances in psychology regarding the study of human behaviour and the con-
trol of people's motivations, make it possible to exert a specified effect on large social groups
but [also] to also reshape the consciousness of entire peoples."44

Russian CW falls under the definition of the Reflexive Control Doctrine. It is an integrated
operation that compels an adversary decision maker to act in favour of Russia by altering
their perception of the world .45

This goes beyond "pure deception" because it uses multiple inputs to the decision maker us-
ing both true and false information, ultimately aiming to make the target feel that the decision
to change their behaviour was their own:

– The Reflexive Control is ultimately aimed at the target's decision making.
– The information transmitted must be directed towards a decision or position.
– The information must be adapted to the logic, culture, psychology and emotions of the

The reflexive control has been turned into a broader concept taking into account the
opportunities offered by new IT technologies called 'Perception Management'. It is about
controlling perception and not managing perception.

The Russian CW is based on an in-depth understanding of human targets thanks to the study
of sociology, history, psychology, etc. of the target and the extensive use of information

As shown in Ukraine, Russia used her in-depth knowledge as a precursor and gained a
strategic advantage before the physical conflict.

Russia has prioritised Cognitive Warfare as a precursor to the military phase.
* * * *
China Cognitive Warfare Domain

China has adopted an even broader definition of CW that includes the systematic
utilisation of cognitive science and biotechnology to achieve the "mind superiority."
China has defined the Cognitive Domain of Operations as the battlefield for conducting
ideological penetration (…) aiming at destroying troop morale and cohesion, as well as
forming or deconstructing operational capabilities"

It encompasses six technologies, divided across two categories (Cognition, which includes
technologies that affect someone's ability to think and function; and subliminal cognition that
covers technologies that target a person's underlying emotions, knowledge, willpower and

In particular, "Chinese innovation is poised to pursue synergies among brain science, artificial
intelligence (AI), and biotechnology that may have far-reaching implications for its future
military power and aggregate national competitiveness."46

The goal of cognitive operations is to achieve the "mind superiority" by using information to
influence an adversary's cognitive functions,
spanning from peacetime public opinion to
wartime decision-making.47

Chinese strategists predict that the pace and
complexity of operations will increase dra-
matically, as the form or character of war-
fare continues to evolve. As a result, Peo-
ple's Liberation Army (PLA) strategists are
concerned about the intense cognitive chal-
lenges that future commanders will face,
especially considering the importance of optimising coordination and human-machine fusion
or integration. These trends have necessarily increased the PLA's interest in the military rele-
vance not only of artificial intelligence, but also of brain science and new directions in in-
terdisciplinary biological technologies, ranging from biosensing and biomaterials to human
enhancement options. The shift from computerisation to intelligentisation is seen as requiring
the improvement of human cognitive performance to keep pace with the complexity of war-
fare" .48

As part of its Cognitive Domain of Operations, China has defined "Military Brain Science
(MBS) as a cutting-edge innovative science that uses potential military application as the
guidance. It can bring a series of fundamental changes to the concept of combat and combat
methods, creating a whole new "brain war" combat style and redefining the battlefield."49
The pursuit of advances in the field of MBS is likely to provide cutting edge advances to
China.The development of MBS by China benefits from a multidisciplinary approach
between human sciences, medicine, anthropology, psychology etc. and also benefits from
"civil" advances in the field, civilian research benefiting military research by design.

"The sphere of operations will be expanded
from the physical domain and the informa-
tion domain to the domain of consciousness,
the human brain will become a new combat
space."He Fuchu, "The Future Direction of the New Global Revolution in Military Affairs.

It's about Humans

A cognitive attack is not a threat that can be countered in the air, on land, at sea, in cyber-
space, or in space. Rather, it may well be happening in any or all of these domains, for one
simple reason: humans are the contested domain. As previously demonstrated, the human is
very often the main vulnerability and it should be
acknowledged in order to protect NATO's human
capital but also to be able to benefit from our ad-
versaries's vulnerabilities.

"Cognition is natively included in the Human
Domain, thus a cognitive domain would be too
restrictive", claimed August Cole and Hervé Le
Guyader in "NATO's 6th domain" and:

"…the Human Domain is the one defining us as individuals and structuring our societies. It has its
own specific complexity compared to other domains, because of the large number of sciences it's based
upon (…) and these are those our adversaries are focusing on to identify our centres of gravity, our
vulnerabilities." .50

The practice of war shows that although physical domain warfare can weaken the military
capabilities of the enemy, it cannot achieve all the purposes of war. In the face of new contra-
dictions and problems in ideology, religious belief and national identity, advanced weapons
and technologies may be useless and their effects can even create new enemies. It is therefore
difficult if not impossible to solve the problem of the cognitive domain by physical domain
warfare alone.

The importance of the Human Environment

The Human Domain is not solely focusing of the military human capital. It encompasses the
human capital of a theatre of operations as a whole (civilian populations, ethnic groups, lead-
ers…), but also the concepts closely related to humans such as leadership, organisation, deci-
sion-making processes, perceptions and behaviour. Eventually the desired effect should be
defined within the Human Domain (aka the desired behaviour we want to achieve: collabora-
tion/ cooperation, competition, conflict).

"To win (the future) war, the military must be culturally knowledgeable enough to thrive in
an alien environment" .51

In the 21st century, strategic advantage will come from how to engage with people,
understand them, and access political, economic, cultural and social networks to achieve a
position of relative advantage that complements the sole military force. These interactions are
not reducible to the physical boundaries of land, air, sea, cyber and space, which tend to focus
on geography and terrain characteristics. They represent a network of networks that define
power and interests in a connected world. The actor that best understands local contexts and
builds a network around relationships that harness local capabilities is more likely to win.

"Victory will be defined more in
terms of capturing the psycho-cultur-
al rather than the geographical high
ground. Understanding and empathy
will be important weapons of war."
Maj. Gen. Robert H. Scales

For the historian Alan Beyerchen, social sciences will be the amplifier of the 21st century's

In the past wars, the problem was that the human factor could not be a significant amplifier
simply because its influence was limited and difficult to exploit; humans were considered
more as constants than as variables. Certainly, soldiers could be improved through training,
selection, psychological adaptation and, more recently, education. But in the end, the human
factor was reduced to numbers. The larger the army, the greater the chance of winning the
war, although the action of a great strategist could counterbalance this argument. Tomorrow,
to have better soldiers and more effective humans will be key.

Last, the recent developments in science, all kinds of science, including science related to the
human domain, have empowered anyone, whether individuals or committed minorities, with
potential devastating power at their disposal. It has created a situation never seen before in
the history of mankind, where individuals or small groups may jeopardise the success of53
military operations.

The crucible of Data Sciences and Human Sciences

The combination of Social Sciences and System Engineering will be key in helping military
analysts to improve the production of intelligence for the sake of decision-making.54
The Human Domain of Operations refers to the whole human environment, whether friend of
foe. In a digital age it is equally important to understandfirst NATO's own human strengths
and vulnerabilities before the ones of adversaries.

Since everyone is much more vulnerable than before everyone needs to acknowledge that one
may endanger the security of the overall. Hence, a deep understanding of the adversary's
human capital (i.e. the human environment of the military operation) will be more crucial
than ever.

"If kinetic power cannot defeat the enemy, (…) psychology and related behavioural and social
sciences stand to fill the void."55

"Achieving the strategic outcomes of war will necessarily go through expanding the dialogue
around the social sciences of warfare alongside the "physical sciences" of warfare..(…) it will
go through understanding, influence or exercise control within the "human domain".56
Leveraging social sciences will be central to the development of the Human Domain Plan of
Operations. It will support the combat operations by providing potential courses of action for
the whole surrounding Human Environment including enemy forces, but also determining
key human elements such as the Cognitive center of gravity, the desired behaviour as the end
state. Understanding the target's goals, strengths, and vulnerabilities is paramount to an op-
eration for enduring strategic outcomes.

The deeper the understanding of the human environment, the greater will be the freedom of
action and relative advantage.

Legal and ethical aspects

Legal aspects

The development, production and use of Cognitive Technologies for military purposes raise
questions as to whether, and to what extent, existing legal instruments apply. That is, how the
relevant provisions are to be interpreted and applied in light of the specific technological
characteristics and to what extent international law can sufficiently respond to the legal chal-
lenges involved with the advent of such technology.

It is essential to ensure that international law and accepted norms will be able to take into ac-
count the development of cognitive technologies. Specifically, to ensure that such technolo-
gies are capable of being used in accordance with applicable law and accepted international
norms. NATO, through its various apparatus, should work at establishing a common under-
standing of how cognitive weapons might be employed to be compliant with the law and ac-
cepted international norms.

Equally, NATO should consider how the Law of Armed Conflict (LoAC) would apply to the
use of cognitive technologies in any armed conflict in order to ensure that any future develop-
ment has a framework from which to work within. Full compliance with the rules and princi-
ples of LoAC is essential.

Given the complexity and contextual nature of the potential legal issues raised by Cognitive
technologies and techniques, and the constraints associated with this NATO sponsored study,
further work will be required to analyse this issue fully. Therefore, it is recommended that
such work be conducted by an appropriate body and that NATO Nations collaborate in es-
tablishing a set of norms and expectations about the use and development of Cognitive tech-
nologies. The immediate focus being how they might be used within extant legal frameworks
and the Law of Armed Conflict.


This area of research – human enhancement and cognitive weapons – is likely to be the subject
of major ethical and legal challenges, but we cannot afford to be on the back foot when inter-
national actors are already developing strategies and capabilities to employ them. There is a
need to consider these challenges as there is not only the possibility that these human en-
hancement technologies are deliberately used for malicious purposes, but there may be impli-
cations for the ability of military personnel to respect the law of armed conflict.

It is equally important to recognise the potential side effects (such as speech impairment,
memory impairment, increased aggression, depression and suicide) of these technologies. For
example, if any cognitive enhancement technology were to undermine the capacity of a sub-
ject to comply with the law of armed conflict, it would be a source of very serious concern.
The development, and use of, cognitive technologies present numerous ethical challenges as
well as ethical benefits, such as recovery from Post traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Policy
makers should take these challenges seriously as they develop policy about Cognitive Tech-
nologies, explore issues in greater depth and determine if other ethical issues may arise as
this, and other related, technology develops.

Recommendations for NATO

The need for cooperation

While the objective of Cognitive Warfare is to harm societies and not only the military, this
type of warfare resembles to "shadow wars" and requires a whole-of-government approach
to warfare. As previously stated, the modern concept of war is not about weapons but about
influence. To shape perceptions and control the narrative during this type of war, battle will
have to be fought in the cognitive domain with a whole-of-government approach at the na-
tional level. This will require improved coordination between the use of force and the other
levers of power across government. This could mean changes to how defence is resourced,
equipped, and organised in order to offer military options below the threshold of armed con-
flict and improve the military contribution to resilience.

For NATO, the development of actions in the cognitive domain also requires a sustained co-
operation between Allies in order to ensure an overall coherence, to build credibility and to
allow a concerted defense.

Within the military, expertise on anthropology, ethnography, history, psychology among other
areas will be more than ever required to cooperate with the military, in order to derive quali-
tative insights from quantitative data, as an example. In other words, if the declaration of a
new field of combat consecrates the new importance of humans, it is more about rethinking
the interaction between the hard sciences and the social sciences. The rise of cognitive tech-
nologies has endowed human with superior analysis and accuracy. In order to deliver timely
and robust decisions, it will not be a question of relying solely on human cognitive capacities
but of cross engineering systems with social sciences (sociology, anthropology, criminology,
political science…) in order to face complex and multifaceted situations. The modelisation of
human dynamics as part of what is known as Computational Social Science will allow the use
of knowledge from social sciences and relating to the behaviour of social entities, whether en-
emies or allies. By mapping the human environment, strategists and key military leaders will
be provided reliable information to decide on the right strategy.

Definition of the Human Domain

Thus defined by NATO's major adversaries, the mastery of the field of perceptions is an ab-
stract space where understanding of oneself (strengths and weaknesses), of the other (adver-
sary, enemy, human environment), psychological dimension, intelligence collection, search for
ascendancy (influence, taking and conservation of the initiative) and capacity to reduce the
will of the adversary are mixed.

Within the context of multi-domain operations, the human domain is arguably the most im-
portant domain, but it is often the most overlooked. Recent wars have shown the inability to
achieve the strategic goals (e.g. in Afghanistan) but also to understand foreign and complex
human environments.

Cognitive warfare was forced upon the Western liberal democracies by challenging in-
ternational actors who have strategised to avoid the military confrontation, thus blurring the
line between peace and war by targeting the weakest element: humans. CW which includes
the increasing use of NBICs for military purposes may provide a sure way of military domi-
nance in a near future.

"Military power is of course one essential segment of security. But global security refers to a
broad range of threats, risks, policy responses that span political, economic, societal, health
(including cognitive health!) and environmental dimensions, none of these being covered by
your current domains of operations! Some international actors already use weapons that pre-
cisely target these dimensions, while keeping their traditional kinetic arsenal in reserve as
long as they possibly can. NATO, if it wishes to survive, has to embrace this continuum and
claim as its responsibility, together with its allies to, seamlessly, achieve superiority all across

Raising awareness among Allies

While advances in technology have always resulted in changes in military organisations and
doctrines, the rapid advancements in technology, in particular in brain science and NBIC,
should force NATO to take action and give a greater consideration to the emergence of the
threats that represents Cognitive Warfare. Not all NATO nations have recognised this
changing character of conflicts. Declaring the Human as sixth domain of operations is a way
to raise awareness among the NATO Nations. NATO should consider further integrating
Human situational awareness in the traditional situation awareness processes of the Alliance.

Anticipating the trends

There is evidence that adversaries have already understood the potential of developing
human-related technologies. Declaring the Human Domain as a sixth domain of operations
has the potential to reveal possible vulnerabilities, which could otherwise amplify rapidly. It
is not too late to face the problem and help keep the dominance in the field of cognition.

The Human Domain of operations could tentatively be defined as "the sphere of interest in
which strategies and operations can be designed and implemented that, by targeting the
cognitive capacities of individuals and/or communities with a set of specific tools and
techniques, in particular digital ones, will influence their perception and tamper with
their reasoning capacities, hence gaining control of their decision making, perception
and behaviour levers in order to achieve desired effects."

Delays in declaring the Human Domain as a domain of operations may lead to fight the last

Given that the process of declaring a new domain of operations is a lengthy process and given
the sensitivity of the topic, NATO needs to be fast in focusing on political/military responses
while capacity/threats of our opponents are still low.

Finally, ethical problems should be raised. Since there is no agreed international legal
framework in the field of neurosciences, NATO may play a role in pushing to establish an
international legal framework that meets the NATO Nations' ethical standards.

Accelerating information sharing

Accelerated information sharing among Alliance members may help faster integration of
interoperability, to assure coherence across multi-domain operations. Information sharing
may also assist some nations in catching up in this area. In particular, surveillance of ongoing
international activities in brain science, and their potential dual-use in military and
intelligence operations should be undertaken and shared between Allies along with
identification and quantification of current and near-term risks and threats posed by such

Establishing DOTMLPFI components upstream

The first step is to define the "human domain" in military doctrine and use the definition to
conduct a full spectrum of capability development analysis, optimising the military for the
most likely 21st century contingencies. Since the Human Domain complements the five
others, each capability development should include the specificities of modern threats,
including those related to cognitive warfare and, more generally, the sixth domain of
operations. The Human Domain is not an end in itself but a means to achieve our strategic
objectives and to respond to a type of conflict that the military is not accustomed to dealing

Dedication of resources for developing and sustaining NATO Nations capabilities to prevent
escalation of future risk and threat by:

1) continued surveillance;
2) organisational and systemic preparedness;
3) coherence in any/all entities necessary to remain apace with, and/or ahead of tactical and
strategic competitors' and adversary's capabilities in this space.
Impact on Warfare Development

By essence, defining a new domain of operations and all the capabilities and concepts that go
along with it, is part of ACT's mission

ACT should lead a further in-depth study with a focus on:
• Advancements on brain science initiatives that may be developed and used for non-
kinetic and kinetic engagements.
• Different ethical systems that govern neuroscientific research and development. This
will mandate a rigorous, more granular, and dialectical approach to negotiate and re-
solve issues and domains of ethical dissonance in multi- and international biosecurity
• Ongoing review and evaluation of national intellectual property laws, both in relation
to international law(s), and in scrutiny of potential commercial veiling of dual-use en-
• Identification and quantification of current and near-term risks and threats posed by
such enterprise(s)
• Better recognizing the use of social and human sciences in relation with "hard" sci-
ences to better understand the human environment (internal and external)
• Include the cognitive dimension in every NATO exercises by leveraging new tools and
techniques such as immersive technologies

Along with those studies, anticipating the first response (such as the creation of a new NATO
COE or rethink and adapt the structure by strengthening branches as required) and defining a
common agreed taxonomy (Cognitive Dominance/Superiority/Cognitive Center of Gravity
etc…) will be key tasks for ACT to help NATO keep the military edge.


Failing to thwart the cognitive efforts of
NATO's opponents would condemn
Western liberal societies to lose the next war
without a fight. If NATO fails to build a
sustainable and proactive basis for progress
in the cognitive domain, it may have no
other option than kinetic conflict. Kinetic
capabilities may dictate a tactical or
operational outcome, but victory in the long
run will remain solely dependent on the
ability to influence, affect, change or impact
the cognitive domain.

Because the factors that affect the cognitive domain can be involved in all aspects of human
society through the areas of will, concept, psychology and thinking among other, so that
particular kind of warfare penetrates into all fields of society. It can be foreseen that the future
information warfare will start from the cognitive domain first, to seize the political and
diplomatic strategic initiative, but it will also end in the cognitive realm.

Preparing for high-intensity warfare remains highly relevant, but international actors
providing NATO with specific strategic security challenges have strategised to avoid
confronting NATO in kinetic conflicts and chose an indirect form of warfare. Information
plays a key role in this indirect form of warfare but the advent of cognitive warfare is
different from simple Information Warfare: it is a war through information, the real target
being the human mind, and beyond the human per se.

Moreover, progresses in NBIC make it possible to extend propaganda and influencing strate-
gies. The sophistication of NBIC-fueled hybrid attacks today represent an unprecedented
level of threat inasmuch they target the most vital infrastructure everyone relies on: the hu-
man mind .59

Cognitive warfare may well be the missing element that allows the transition from military
victory on the battlefield to lasting political success. The human domain might well be the de-
cisive domain, wherein multi-domain operations achieve the commander's effect. The five
first domains can give tactical and operational victories; only the human domain can achieve
the final and full victory. "Recognising the human domain and generating concepts and capa-
bilities to gain advantage therein would be a disruptive innovation."60

"Today's progresses in nanotechnology, biotech-
nology, information technology and cognitive
science (NBIC), boosted by the seemingly un-
stoppable march of a triumphant troika made of
Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and civilisational
"digital addiction" have created a much more
ominous prospect: an embedded fifth column,
where everyone, unbeknownst to him or her, is
behaving according to the plans of one of our
August Cole, Hervé Le Guyader
NATO's 6th Domain

Bibliography and Sources

August Cole, Hervé Le Guyader, NATO 6th Domain of Operations, September 2020
Dr. James Giordano, Emerging Neuroscience and Technology (NeuroS/T): Current and Near-Term
Risks and Threats to NATO Biosecurity , October 2020
Nicolas Israël and Sébastien-Yves Laurent, "Analysis Facing Worldwide Jihadist Violence
and Conflicts. What to do?" September 2020
Online Collaboration with Johns Hopkins University
"Cognitive Biotechnology, Altering the Human Experience", Sep 2020
"Cognitive Warfare, an attack on truth and thoughts", Sep 2020
Under the direction of Professor Lawrence Aronhnime
Contributors: Alonso Bernal, Cameron Carter, Melanie Kemp, Ujwal Arunkumar Taranath,
Klinzman Vaz, Ishpreet Singh, Kathy Cao, Olivia Madreperla
DTEX (Disruptive Technology Experiment) – 7 October 2020
NATO Innovation Hub Disruptive Technology Experiment (DTEX) on disinformation.
Under the direction of Girish Sreevatsan Nandakumar (Old Dominion University)
Hackathon "Hacking the Mind"
Run by Dr. Kristina Soukupova and the Czech Republic Defense and Security Innovation
Hub, October 2020.

Hack the mind – Poznej sílu. Mysli!

Annex 1

Nation State Case Study 1: The weaponisation of neurosciences in China

As described in the Five-Year Plans (FYPs) and other national strategies, China has identified
and acknowledged the technical, economic, medical, military, and political value of the brain
sciences, and has initiated efforts to expand its current neuroS/T programs. China utilises
broader strategic planning horizons than other nations and attempts to combine efforts from
government, academic, and commercial sectors (i.e., the "triple helix") to accomplish coopera-
tion and centralisation of national agendas. This coordination enables research projects and
objectives to be used for a range of applications and outcomes (e.g., medical, social, military).
As noted by Moo Ming Poo, director of China's Brain Project, China's growing aging popula-
tion is contributing to an increasing incidence and prevalence of dementia and other neuro-
logical diseases. In their most recent FYP, China addressed economic and productivity con-
cerns fostered by this aging population, with a call to develop medical approaches for neuro-
logical disorders and to expand research infrastructure in neuroS/T.

This growing academic environment has been leveraged to attract and solicit multi-national
collaboration. In this way, China is affecting international neuroS/T through
1) research tourism;
2) control of intellectual property;
3) medical tourism;
4) and influence in global scientific thought. While these strategies are not exclusive to
neuroS/T; they may be more opportunistic in the brain sciences because the field is
new, expanding rapidly, and its markets are growing, and being defined by both
share- and stake-holder interests.

Research tourism involves strategically recruiting renowned, experienced scientists (mostly
from Western countries), as well as junior scientists to contribute to and promote the growth,
innovation, and prestige of Chinese scientific and technological enterprises. This is apparent
by two primary efforts. First, initiatives such as the Thousand Talents Program (launched in
2008) and other programs (e.g., Hundred Person Program, Spring Light Program, Youth
Thousand Talents Program, etc.) aim to attract foreign researchers, nurture and sustain do-
mestic talent, and bring back Chinese scientists who have studied or worked abroad. Further,
China's ethical research guidelines are, in some domains, somewhat more permissive than
those in the West (e.g., unrestricted human and/or non-human primate experimentation),
and the director of China's Brain Project, Mu-Ming Poo, has stated that this capability to en-
gage research that may not be (ethically) viable elsewhere may (and should) explicitly attract
international scientists to conduct research in China.

Second, China continues to engage with leading international brain research institutions to
foster greater cooperation. These cooperative and collective research efforts enable China to
achieve a more even "playing field" in the brain sciences. China leverages intellectual proper-
ty (IP) policy and law to advance (and veil) neuroS/T and other biotechnologies in several
ways. First, via exploitation of their patent process by creating a "patent thicket". The Chinese
patent system focuses on the end-utility of a product (e.g., a specific neurological function in a
device), rather than emphasising the initial innovative idea in contrast to the U.S. system. This
enables Chinese companies and/or institutions to copy or outrightly usurp foreign patents
and products. Moreover, Chinese patent laws allow international research products and ideas
to be used in China "for the benefit of public health," or for "a major technological advance-
ment." Second, the aforementioned coordination of brain science institutions and the corpo-
rate sector establishes compulsory licensing under Chinese IP and patent laws. This strategy
(i.e., "lawfare") allows Chinese academic and corporate enterprises to have economic and le-
gal support, while reciprocally enabling China to direct national research agendas and direc-
tives through these international neuroS/T collaborations. China enforces its patent and IP
rights worldwide, which can create market saturation of significant and innovative products,
and could create international dependence upon Chinese neuroS/T. Further, Chinese compa-
nies have been heavily investing in knowledge industries, including artificial intelligence en-
terprises, and academic book and journal partnerships. For example, TenCent established a
partnership with Springer Nature to engage in various educational products. This will allow
a significant stake in future narratives and dissemination of scientific and technological dis-

Medical tourism is explicit or implicit attraction and solicitation of international individuals
or groups to seek interventions that are either only available, or more affordable in a particu-
lar locale. Certainly, China has a presence in this market, and at present, available procedures
range from the relatively sublime, such as using deep brain stimulation to treat drug addic-
tion, to the seemingly "science-fictional", such as the recently proposed body-to-head trans-
plant to be conducted at Harbin Medical University in collaboration with Italian neurosur-
geon Sergio Canavero. China can advance and develop areas of neuroS/T in ways that other
countries cannot or will not, through homogenising a strong integrated "bench to bedside"
capability and use of non-Western ethical guidelines.

China may specifically target treatments for diseases that may have a high global impact,
and/or could offer procedures that are not available in other countries (for either socio-politi-
cal or ethical reasons). Such medical tourism could create an international dependence on
Chinese markets as individuals become reliant on products and services available only in
China, in addition to those that are "made in China" for ubiquitous use elsewhere. China's
growing biomedical industry, ongoing striving for innovation, and expanding manufacturing
capabilities have positioned their pharmaceutical and technology companies to prominence
in world markets. Such positioning – and the somewhat permissive ethics that enable particu-
lar aspects and types of experimentation – may be seductive to international scientists to en-
gage research, and/or commercial biomedical production within China's sovereign borders.

Through these tactics of economic infiltration and saturation, China can create power hierar-
chies that induce strategically latent "bio-political" effects that influence real and perceived
positional dominance of global markets.

China is not the only country that has differing ethical codes for governing research. Of note
is that Russia has been, and continues to devote resources to neuroS/T, and while not uni-
formly allied with China, has developed projects and programs that enable the use of neuro-
data for non-kinetic and/or kinetic applications. Such projects, programs, and operations can
be conducted independently and/or collaboratively to exercise purchase over competitors
and adversaries so as to achieve greater hegemony and power.

Therefore, NATO, and its international allies must
4) recognise the reality of other countries' science and technological capabilities;
5) evaluate what current and near-term trends portend for global positions, influence, and
6) and decide how to address differing ethical and policy views on innovation, research, and
product development.

Annex 2

Nation State Case Study 2: The Russian National Technology Initiative61

Russian President Vladimir Putin has explicitly stated intent to implement an aggressive
modernisation plan via the National Technology Initiative (NTI). Designed to grant an over-
match advantage in both commercial and military domains against Russia's current and near-
term future key competitors, the NTI has been viewed as somewhat hampered by the nation's
legacy of government control, unchanging economic complexity, bureaucratic inefficiency
and overall lack of transparency. However, there are apparent disparities between such as-
sessment of the NTI and its capabilities, and Russia's continued invention and successful de-
ployment of advanced technologies.

Unlike the overt claims and predictions made by China's scientific and political communities
about the development and exercise of neuroS/T to re-balance global power, explication and
demonstration(s) of Russian efforts in neuroS/T tend to be subtle, and detailed information
about surveillance and extent of such enterprise and activity is, for the most part, restricted to
the classified domain. In general, Russian endeavours in this space tend to build upon prior
work conducted under the Soviet Union, and while not broad in focus, have gained relative
sophistication and capability in particular areas that have high applicability in non-kinetic
disruptive engagements. Russia's employments of weaponised information, and neurotropic
agents have remained rather low-key, if not clandestine (and perhaps covert), often entail na-
tion-state or non-state actors as proxies, and are veiled by a successful misinformation cam-
paign to prevent accurate assessment of their existing and developing science and technolo-

Military science and technology efforts of the USSR were advanced and sustained primarily
due to the extensive military-industrial complex which, by the mid-1970s through 1980s, is
estimated to have employed up to twenty percent of the workforce. This enabled the USSR to
become a world leader in science and technology, ranked by the U.S. research community as
second in the world for clandestine S&T programs (only because the overall Soviet system of
research and development (R&D) was exceptionally inefficient, even within the military sec-
tor). The collapse of the USSR ended the Soviet military-industrial complex, which resulted in
significant decreases in overall spending and state support for R&D programs. Any newly
implemented reforms of the post-Soviet state were relatively modest, generating suboptimal
R&D results at best. During this time, Russian R&D declined by approximately 60% and aside
from the Ministries' involvement with the military sector, there was a paucity of direct coop-
eration between Russian R&D institutions and operational S&T enterprises. This limited in-
teraction, was further compounded by a lack of resources, inability to bring new technology
to markets, absent protections for intellectual property, and "brain drain" exodus of talented
researchers to nations with more modern, cutting-edged programs with better pay and op-
portunities for advancement.

Recognising the inherent problems with the monoculture of the Russian economic and S&T
ecosystems, the Putin government initiated a process of steering Russia toward more lucra-
tive, high-tech enterprises. The NTI is ambitious, with goals to fully realise a series of S&T/
R&D advancements by 2035. The central objective of the NTI is establish "the program for
creation of fundamentally new markets and the creation of conditions for global technological
leadership of Russia by 2035." To this end, NTI Experts and the Agency for Strategic Initia-
tives (ASI) identified nine emerging high-tech markets for prime focus and penetrance, in-
cluding neuroscience and technology (i.e., what the ASI termed "NeuroNet"). Substantive in-
vestment in this market is aimed at overcoming the post-Soviet "resource curse", by capitalis-
ing on the changes in global technology markets – and engagement sectors – to expand both
economic and military/intelligence priorities and capabilities. According to the ASI, Neuro-
Net is focused upon "distributed artificial elements of consciousness and mentality", with
Russia's prioritisation of neuroS/T being a key factor operative in influence operations direct-
ed and global economies and power. Non-kinetic operations represent the most viable inter-
section and exercise of these commercial, military, and political priorities, capabilities, and
foci of global influence and effect(s).
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Innovation Hub – Nov 2020 Page of45 45


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