A new project being developed by Barack Obama’s Defense Department may allow federal agents to monitor you, without your knowledge, and determine whether you have committed thoughtcrime.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a division of the Defense Department, has launched a program entitled “Narrative Networks,” which seeks to measure how beliefs and propaganda affect the human mind and motivate people to oppose the U.S. government’s interests. The Pentagon hopes this will allow the feds to identify those who have accepted enemy propaganda, then target them with opposing messages. At present, the target is those who live in other countries, but it holds great potential dangers if or when it is applied to American citizens.

The Narrative Networks undertaking will first examine how certain kinds of stories affect the brain’s neurochemistry, then attempt to “detect narrative influence.” Social scientists are tasked with a goal to “take narratives and make them quantitatively analyzable.” For instance, how do civilians react to the news (true or false) that U.S. soldiers bombed a village of civilians? Are terrorist recruits more likely to be swayed by hearing American troops are infidels? Once they measure how a believing, pro-terrorist’s brain works, they seek to determine who has fallen victim to these anti-American narratives — and prepare for action.

Once the project’s researchers discover how “narratives” affect the mind and how to determine those who have accepted such memes, the second phase of the project will create “prototype technologies” to detect a person’s inner beliefs by measuring such physical stimuli as eye dilation, pulse rate, or MRI signals — without the subject ever knowing (s)he was being monitored. “Efforts that rely solely on standoff/non-invasive/non-detectable sensors are highly encouraged,” DARPA notes.

How long will it be before the federal government decides vigilance against terrorism requires it to monitor its citizens for potential cognitive treason? How long before schoolchildren are monitored to see if they have been exposed to unapproved “narratives” in their homes? How will the government steer its message toward such people?

The potential answers are chilling.

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