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9/21/07  #435
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The next time secret government intelligent agents, aliens from UFOs, the Men-In-Black, or anyone else from the New World Order, come knocking on your door asking personal questions and wanting to bug your mail, phone and computer...You tell them that you are protected by the good folks at Conspiracy Journal!  Yes, that's right! Watch as they flee in fear from our intrepid reporters and field investigators, striving everyday to bring you the latest in weird, suppressed news and information that you won't see on your local six o'clock news.

This week, Conspiracy Journal takes a look at such joint-cracking tales as:

- Big Brother is Watching Us All -
- Villagers Fall Ill After Meteorite Hits Peru -
- Ireland Releases UFO Dossier -
- The Weird Russian Mind-Control Research Behind a DHS Contract -
AND:  Family in Cyprus Victims of Mysterious EM Effects

All these exciting stories and MORE in this week's issue of

~ And Now, On With The Show! ~



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In This Fantastic Issue:
Mental Armageddon: The Quest for Mind Control
Radionics: Mind Machines for Better Health
Mark David Chapman: Lone Nut or CIA Assassin?
America and Bio-Weapons: A Troubling Ethos
The Healing Sounds of Jonathan Goldman
And so much more, including book, music, and movie reviews, exhibit  listings, your fall horoscope, and conference listings!

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Mr. Happy Meets Mr. UFO

Culture of Contact Episode 4: Does Jeremy Vaeni have a deep dark secret similar to certain public stall lovin' politicians? We find out. Then, Timothy "Mr. UFO" Beckley joins for a winding, free-for-all of a conversation that is sure to get your mind racing!  All that and the prerequisite MORE! on this, the 4th edition of Culture of Contact!


Big Brother is Watching Us All

The U.S. and UK governments are developing increasingly sophisticated gadgets to keep individuals under their surveillance. When it comes to technology, the US is determined to stay ahead of the game.

"Five nine, five ten," said the research student, pushing down a laptop button to seal the measurement. "That's your height."

"Spot on," I said.

"OK, we're freezing you now," interjected another student, studying his computer screen. "So we have height and tracking and your gait DNA".

"Gait DNA?" I interrupted, raising my head, so inadvertently my full face was caught on a video camera.

"Have we got that?" asked their teacher Professor Rama Challapa. "We rely on just 30 frames - about one second - to get a picture we can work with," he explained.

I was at Maryland University just outside Washington DC, where Professor Challapa and his team are inventing the next generation of citizen surveillance.

They had pushed back furniture in the conference room for me to walk back and forth and set up cameras to feed my individual data back to their laptops.

Gait DNA, for example, is creating an individual code for the way I walk. Their goal is to invent a system whereby a facial image can be matched to your gait, your height, your weight and other elements, so a computer will be able to identify instantly who you are.

"As you walk through a crowd, we'll be able to track you," said Professor Challapa. "These are all things that don't need the cooperation of the individual."

Since 9/11, some of the best scientific minds in the defence industry have switched their concentration from tracking nuclear missiles to tracking individuals such as suicide bombers.

My next stop was a Pentagon agency whose headquarters is a drab suburban building in Virginia. The Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) had one specific mission - to ensure that when it comes to technology America is always ahead of the game.

Its track record is impressive. Back in the 70s, while we were working with typewriters and carbon paper, Darpa was developing the internet. In the 90s, while we pored over maps, Darpa invented satellite navigation that many of us now have in our cars.

"We ask the top people what keeps them awake at night," said its enthusiastic and forthright director Dr Tony Tether, "what problems they see long after they have left their posts."

"And what are they?" I asked.

He paused, hand on chin. "I'd prefer not to say. It's classified."

"All right then, can you say what you're actually working on now."

"Oh, language," he answered enthusiastically, clasping his fingers together. "Unless we're going to train every American citizen and soldier in 16 different languages we have to develop a technology that allows them to understand - whatever country they are in - what's going on around them.

"I hope in the future we'll be able to have conversations, if say you're speaking in French and I'm speaking in English, and it will be natural."

"And the computer will do the translation?"

"Yep. All by computer," he said.

"And this idea about a total surveillance society," I asked. "Is that science fiction?"

"No, that's not science fiction. We're developing an unmanned airplane - a UAV - which may be able to stay up five years with cameras on it, constantly being cued to look here and there. This is done today to a limited amount in Baghdad. But it's the way to go."

Interestingly, we, the public, don't seem to mind. Opinion polls, both in the U.S. and Britain, say that about 75% of us want more, not less, surveillance. Some American cities like New York and Chicago are thinking of taking a lead from Britain where our movements are monitored round the clock by four million CCTV cameras.

So far there is no gadget that can actually see inside our houses, but even that's about to change.

Ian Kitajima flew to Washington from his laboratories in Hawaii to show me sense-through-the-wall technology.

"Each individual has a characteristic profile," explained Ian, holding a green rectangular box that looked like a TV remote control.

Using radio waves, you point it a wall and it tells you if anyone is on the other side. His company, Oceanit, is due to test it with the Hawaiian National Guard in Iraq next year, and it turns out that the human body gives off such sensitive radio signals, that it can even pick up breathing and heart rates.

"First, you can tell whether someone is dead or alive on the battlefield," said Ian.

"But it will also show whether someone inside a house is looking to harm you, because if they are, their heart rate will be raised. And 10 years from now, the technology will be much smarter. We'll scan a person with one of these things and tell what they're actually thinking."

He glanced at me quizzically, noticing my apprehension.

"Yeah, I know," he said. "It sounds very Star Trekkish, but that's what's ahead."

Source: BBC


Villagers Fall Ill After Meteorite Hits Peru

Radio reports that fumes from meteorite crater have sickened 600.

A fireball fell from the sky and slammed into southern Peru over the weekend, creating a huge crater that emitted a sickeningly smelly gas, local authorities said. More than 600 villagers fell ill, the Peruvian radio network RPP reported Tuesday.

Video reports from the scene, near the remote Andean village of Carancas along Peru's border with Bolivia, showed what appeared to be a 100-foot-wide (30-meter-wide), 20-foot-deep (6-meter-deep) impact crater with a bubbling pool of water at the bottom.

Authorities said that the crater was made Saturday by a falling meteorite. Agence France Presse quoted a local official, Marco Limache, as saying that "boiling water started coming out of the crater, and particles of rock and cinders were found nearby."

Limache told RPP that the gases emanating from the crater caused nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches and stomach pain — so much so that authorities were considering calling a state of emergency. The newspaper La Republica reported that seven policemen became ill and were taken to a hospital.

Regional Health Directorate reported that doctors and nurses found it necessary to establish auxiliary medical tents near the health center in Carancas. The medical tents were established so as to aid the rising number of people reporting to be sick.

Villagers decided not to drink the water in the area because they regarded it as contaminated in the wake of the impact, RPP reported. Experts from Peru's Geological, Mining and Metallurgical Institute, or Ingemmet, were reportedly on their way to the village in the country's Desaguadero region to evaluate the health risk.

Scientists confirmed that the meteorite that caused the crater was a chondrite meteorite. The water in the crater is to be drained and several teams of scientists from different countries will take samples from the crater itself and from surrounding areas.

It is thought that sulfur or other elements in the space rock may have reacted with the ground water to produce noxious fumes.

RPP said 600 people were affected in one way or another. Jorge Lopez, health director in the Puno region, told Reuters that his team examined about 100 people who suffered vomiting and headaches. “People are scared,” he said.

“We ourselves went near the crater, and now we’ve got irritated throats and itching noses,” Lopez said.

Source: MSNBC


How This 12-Inch Miracle Tube Could Halve Heating Bills

Amazing British invention creates MORE energy than you put into it - and could soon be warming your home.

It sounds too good to be true - not to mention the fact that it violates almost every known law of physics.

But British scientists claim they have invented a revolutionary device that seems to 'create' energy from virtually nothing.

Their so-called thermal energy cell could soon be fitted into ordinary homes, halving domestic heating bills and making a major contribution towards cutting carbon emissions.

Even the makers of the device are at a loss to explain exactly how it works - but sceptical independent scientists carried out their own tests and discovered that the 12in x 2in tube really does produce far more heat energy than the electrical energy put in.

The device seems to break the fundamental physical law that energy cannot be created from nothing - but researchers believe it taps into a previously unrecognised source of energy, stored at a sub-atomic level within the hydrogen atoms in water.

The system - developed by scientists at a firm called Ecowatts in a nondescript laboratory on an industrial estate at Lancing, West Sussex - involves passing an electrical current through a mixture of water, potassium carbonate (otherwise known as potash) and a secret liquid catalyst, based on chrome.

This creates a reaction that releases an incredible amount of energy compared to that put in. If the reaction takes place in a unit surrounded by water, the liquid heats up, which could form the basis for a household heating system.

If the technology can be developed on a domestic scale, it means consumers will need much less energy for heating and hot water - creating smaller bills and fewer greenhouse gases.

Jim Lyons, of the University of York, independently evaluated the system. He said: 'Let's be honest, people are generally pretty sceptical about this kind of thing. Our team was happy to take on the evaluation, even if to prove it didn't work.

'But this is a very efficient replacement for the traditional immersion heater. We have examined this interesting technology and when we got the rig operating, we were getting 150 to 200 per cent more energy out than we put in, without trying too hard.

People are sceptical - but somehow it works

'We are still not clear about the science involved here, because the physics and chemistry are very different-to everything that has gone before. Our challenge now is to study the science and how it works.'

The device has taken ten years of painstaking work by a small team at Ecowatts' tiny red-brick laboratory, and bosses predict a household version of their device will be ready to go on sale within the next 18 months.

The project, which has cost the company £1.4million, has the backing of the Department of Trade and Industry, which is keen to help poorer families without traditional central heating or who cannot afford rocketing fuel bills.

Ecowatts says the device will cost between £1,500 and £2,000, in line with the price of traditional systems.

The development of the groundbreaking technology results from a chance meeting between Ecowatts chairman Chris Davies, his wife Jane and an Irish inventor, Christopher Eccles, while the couple were on holiday near Shannon in 1998.

After the inventor showed the couple his laboratory experiments, Mrs Davies, immediately signed a £20,000 cheque on the bonnet of her car and handed it over to Mr Eccles.

He later became chief scientist of Ecowatts' parent company Gardner Watts, but has since left after 'falling out' with the company, according to insiders. Sadly, Mrs Davies died three years ago, so she will be unable to share in the success of her husband's development of the idea.

Mr Davies, now 75, of Dedham, Essex, was unavailable for comment last night.

But Ecowatts chief executive Paul Calver said: 'When Jane Davies whipped out her cheque book, it turned out to be a very good investment indeed.

'She and Chris were always interested in ecology and now it looks as if our heat exchanger system is ready to go on sale soon. We're producing a device in the next nine months to heat radiators.

'Most British homes rely on gas, and the Government has admitted there is a problem getting a substitute. Our device will help solve that.'

Sustainable energy expert Professor Saffa Riffat, of Nottingham University, has also led a team investigating the system.

He said: 'The concept is very interesting and it could be a major breakthrough, but more tests are required. We will be doing further checks.'

Source: The Daily Mail (UK)


Living Your Dreams, in a Manner of Speaking

The kiss you share with the exquisite stranger is electric, deep and seemingly endless — that is until you open an eye and see drool on your pillow.

If only you could have slept long enough to consummate the seduction. Then again, you had no idea you were dreaming. Besides, you cannot control the nightly ride on the wings of your subconscious. Or can you?

Maybe, if you learn to practice “lucid dreaming,” a state in which a sleeping person becomes aware he or she is dreaming and may even be able to direct the action. Those who regularly experience the phenomenon say that like the physics-defying characters in “The Matrix,” they are able to generate or manipulate the fantastical events that unfold. They can fly without wings, play instruments they never learned, go bowling with T. S. Eliot — and, yes, indulge sexual fantasies.

It is likely some people have always had such dreams, said Jayne Gackenbach, a professor of psychology at Grant MacEwan College in Edmonton, Alberta, who conducts research into lucid dreaming. But the esoteric practice, which has been acknowledged in the West since at least 1867, seems on the verge of becoming much better known.

A film exploring its allure, “The Good Night,” written and directed by Jake Paltrow and starring his sister, Gwyneth, Penélope Cruz and Martin Freeman, is opening Oct. 5. Depressed by his waking life, the film’s main character is determined to master the art of lucid dreaming to escape to an inspiring, sensual unreality with a lacquer-lipped knockout. “What I find myself most attracted to are things that can actually occur,” Mr. Paltrow said in an interview. “There’s really nothing in this movie that couldn’t happen.”

For those wishing to become lucid dreamers, a nine-and-a-half-day instructional retreat, “Dreaming and Awakening: Lucid Dreaming, Consciousness and Dream Yoga,” is scheduled to begin Oct. 1 in Hawaii. Don’t want to pay the airfare? On Oct. 3, an online chat about lucid dreaming takes place, part of the PsiberDreaming conference of the International Association for the Study of Dreams. There are new and soon-to-be published books, like “Lucid Dreaming for Beginners: Simple Techniques for Creating Interactive Dreams” (Llewellyn Publications) and “Between the Gates: Lucid Dreaming, Astral Projection and the Body of Light in Western Esotericism” (Weiser Books).

“It has gone from this very obscure type of dream to being discussed at the various dream and consciousness conferences,” Dr. Gackenbach said.

But it is not only dream experts discussing the topic. Two filmmakers described their lucid dreaming earlier this year. Michel Gondry, who directed “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” described for The Guardian lucid dreams in which “I generally end up having sex with the first girl I can find.” Guillermo del Toro, the director of “Pan’s Labyrinth,” mentioned his lucid dreaming on the National Public Radio program “Fresh Air.” “Pan’s Labyrinth” brings to life a twiggy mythological creature (a faun) he encountered in lucid dreams as a boy; the film won an Oscar this year for its surrealistic makeup.

Other films, including “Waking Life” and “Vanilla Sky,” have woven lucid dreaming into their plots. So have television series like “Alias,” “Star Trek” and “Ed” (Daryl Hall and John Oates make an appearance in Ed’s dream). Novelists including Stephen King, William Boyd and Graham Joyce have written about lucid dreaming, and the Verve, a British rock band, sang about it in “Catching the Butterfly.”

“Lucid dream” is the name of pop and jazz CDs, small businesses, modern artworks, even a sex toy.

Still, many people have never heard of it. Established sleep researchers say lucid dreaming is occasionally reported by subjects, though it is difficult to validate scientifically. “Yes, lucid dreaming exists,” said Dr. Rodney Radtke, the medical director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Duke University. “Yes, people certainly can, within their dream, realize ‘this is just a dream’ and continue to participate.”

“Do I believe that someone could potentially alter or interact with their dreams in such a way that they could change the dream? Yes,” he said. “Do I think that you could essentially design a dream — ‘Oh, I want to go to Honolulu and have this big hunk hit on me’? It’s a bit of a stretch. But I can’t say it can’t happen.”

He added: “Only in New York or California do they worry about this stuff.”

Stephen LaBerge, a psychophysiologist and the founder of the Lucidity Institute (, conducts lucid dream research and teaches people to do it.

“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible,” Dr. LaBerge said. “Fly. Dream sex. That’s what everybody likes to do. There’s also the possibility of creative problem-solving, overcoming nightmares and anxieties, learning more about yourself.”

A student at Stanford University, where Dr. LaBerge conducted much of his research, wrote in The Stanford Daily: “In one of my earliest experiences with lucidity, I announced to an auditorium full of people that I was their god (wasn’t I?). When they did not respond deferentially, I used telekinesis to send one of them flying across the room.”

It can be particularly appealing to those who have nightmares, as it allows them to realize while still asleep that they are just dreaming.

Interest in these potential real-world benefits and the otherworldly freedoms of lucid dreaming — as well as the questions it provokes about the precarious nature of reality — has spurred the invention and evolution of seemingly wacky dream aids. There are masks with lights and sounds; Orwellian devices that announce THIS IS A DREAM! in the middle of the night; and pills.

At the Hawaii gathering next month, attendees will be able to check out Dr. LaBerge’s NovaDreamer, a mask meant to light up during REM sleep and cue the person entangled in the sheets that he or she is dreaming. It is based on the notion that people can make a plan while awake and then execute it in their dreams. A light or sound is meant to remind them of their goal of lucid dreaming without actually waking them up. Participants may also take part in experiments with an herbal version of a drug that impacts acetylcholine, a neurotransmitting compound that affects memory.

As bizarre as these things may sound, there is a scientific rationale for cueing users during REM sleep. “REM-sleep dreams are much more visual,” said Matthew P. Walker, the director of the Sleep and Neuroimaging Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley, and a former assistant professor of psychology at the Harvard Medical School. “They have a strong narrative that runs through them. They’re hallucinogenic.”

There are several reasons for this, including that the lateral prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain involved in logical reasoning and working memory, becomes more inactive during REM sleep, while other areas of the brain, like the visual and emotional centers, rev up.

Scientists, however, are still trying to discover the difference between the dreaming brain and the lucid-dreaming brain. The leading candidate, Dr. Walker said, is the lateral prefrontal cortex. He thinks that during REM sleep, the activity level of this logic-oriented part of the brain begins to rise back to waking levels, and when it does, an invisible switch is flipped and the sleeper gains lucidity. “In the next five years, I think somebody will demonstrate that,” he said.

Lucid-dream researchers say there are myriad mental exercises a person can do during waking hours to try to become cognizant while dreaming. One technique involves performing various reality checks many times a day — such as looking at the numbers on a watch, looking away, and then looking at them again to make sure that night has not suddenly become day. The theory is that if a person does this regularly while awake, he or she will likely repeat it while dreaming and will recognize inconsistencies — if, say, the watch is melting in a Dali-esque way. Then the sleeper will think: “This looks surreal. I must be dreaming.”

In “The Good Night,” the would-be lucid dreamer performs a series of reality checks: he flips a light switch on and off (light in dreams is not usually nuanced); looks in a mirror (reflections in dreams are often obscured); and stares at his hands (in dreams one’s hands may be elongated or have fewer fingers).

Keeping a dream journal is also said to promote better recall and to train people to identify signs that indicate they are dreaming — chatting with the deceased, floating cars, talking skeletons. Again, the idea is that when people are sleeping, they will recognize these things as signs they are dreaming and they will become lucid.

Waking up half an hour earlier than usual, staying awake for 30 to 60 minutes and then going back to sleep may also induce lucid dreams, Dr. LaBerge has found. Dr. LaBerge honed his own lucid-dreaming abilities by writing his dreams down immediately after waking and telling himself he intended to remember and recognize his dreams.

Psychologists who study lucid dreaming do not know why some people need more help triggering full lucidity than others, though they agree that adept lucid dreamers are excellent at remembering dreams. Dr. Gackenbach said they tend to have strong visualization and spatial skills. They can look at a machine and envision how the parts work inside, she said, or sew a dress from scratch and know exactly what the finished frock will look like. Many practice meditation.

Of course some professionals, particularly psychoanalysts, think orchestrating one’s dreams is not a critical goal.

“We distinguish between the manifest content of the dream — the dream as you remember it — and the latent content of it,” said Dr. Edward Nersessian, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and a training and supervising psychoanalyst at the New York Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. “Whatever you manage or do not manage to do with the manifest content isn’t really that relevant. That’s like a screen behind which lies all sorts of answers which you have to go digging for.”

When then asked if lucid dreaming was a dangerous enterprise, he chuckled gently and said: “If people who do it think it calms their anxiety, I’m all for it.”

Source: NY Times


Ireland Releases UFO Dossier

Ireland's defence forces maintained a dossier on unidentified flying objects (UFOs) for 37 years, according to details released Thursday under the country's freedom of information laws.

The documents dating back to 1947 that were released to the Irish Times newspaper log a range of strange sightings. Descriptions of UFOs that were reported range from being like fried eggs to a household iron with fins at the back, according to the newspaper.

In recent months, the British and French authorities opened their files on UFO sightings to the public. A spokesman for the Department of Defence said that since 1984 the UFO file was no longer maintained by the Defence Forces.

The file up to then includes a report of a UFO sighting in Boherlahan, near Cashel, Co Tipperary, in 1984. It was "the same shape as a fried egg" and had "some kind of an aerial on top and it was brown in colour", local teenager Conor Dwyer told The Irish Times at the time. A 10-year-old boy reported it made a buzzing noise like a chainsaw and said the bright lights dazzled him.

The file also contains a classified memo on an alleged sighting of a flying projectile over a bog in Donegal in May the same year. An off-duty garda and a farmer were cutting turf near Falcarragh when they heard "a gushing sound". The garda looked up and saw a grey object travelling at speed over his head. It was shaped like a household iron with fins at the back.

The memo noted the garda was "extremely reluctant" to be interviewed but agreed after receiving assurances his identity would not be revealed. However, the garda's cover was blown a month later in Phoenix. The magazine speculated it had been a sea-launched guided missile.

An early entry in the file concerns a statement by a Cahirciveen shopkeeper and farmer in June 1947. He told gardaí he saw a circular object moving "faster than a motor car" through the sky. "It was flat and was like a big wheel or large plate . . . the rim was white and it was hollow in the centre".

Two months later, the Cork Examiner reported two priests separately saw a strange rocket-like object in the sky the same evening. A Garda superintendent wrote he was satisfied it was a shooting star: "The pressmen in Killarney like to keep abreast of the times and now that the age of 'flying saucer' has arrived, they like to keep in the news, particularly where any money can be made out of it."

Source: The Irish Times


The Weird Russian Mind-Control Research Behind a DHS Contract

The future of U.S. anti-terrorism technology could lie near the end of a Moscow subway line in a circular dungeon-like room with a single door and no windows. Here, at the Psychotechnology Research Institute, human subjects submit to experiments aimed at manipulating their subconscious minds.

Elena Rusalkina, the silver-haired woman who runs the institute, gestured to the center of the claustrophobic room, where what looked like a dentist's chair sits in front of a glowing computer monitor. "We've had volunteers, a lot of them," she said, the thick concrete walls muffling the noise from the college campus outside. "We worked out a program with (a psychiatric facility) to study criminals. There's no way to falsify the results. There's no subjectivism."

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has gone to many strange places in its search for ways to identify terrorists before they attack, but perhaps none stranger than this lab on the outskirts of Russia's capital. The institute has for years served as the center of an obscure field of human behavior study -- dubbed psychoecology -- that traces it roots back to Soviet-era mind control research.

What's gotten DHS' attention is the institute's work on a system called Semantic Stimuli Response Measurements Technology, or SSRM Tek, a software-based mind reader that supposedly tests a subject's involuntary response to subliminal messages.

SSRM Tek is presented to a subject as an innocent computer game that flashes subliminal images across the screen -- like pictures of Osama bin Laden or the World Trade Center. The "player" -- a traveler at an airport screening line, for example -- presses a button in response to the images, without consciously registering what he or she is looking at. The terrorist's response to the scrambled image involuntarily differs from the innocent person's, according to the theory.

"If it's a clean result, the passengers are allowed through," said Rusalkina, during a reporter's visit last year. "If there's something there, that person will need to go through extra checks."

Rusalkina markets the technology as a program called Mindreader 2.0. To sell Mindreader to the West, she's teamed up with a Canadian firm, which is now working with a U.S. defense contractor called SRS Technologies. This May, DHS announced plans to award a sole-source contract to conduct the first U.S.-government sponsored testing of SSRM Tek.

The contract is a small victory for the Psychotechnology Research Institute and its leaders, who have struggled for years to be accepted in the West. It also illustrates how the search for counter-terrorism technology has led the U.S. government into unconventional -- and some would say unsound -- science.

All of the technology at the institute is based on the work of Rusalkina's late husband, Igor Smirnov, a controversial Russian scientist whose incredible tales of mind control attracted frequent press attention before his death several years ago.

Smirnov was a Rasputin-like character often portrayed in the media as having almost mystical powers of persuasion. Today, first-time visitors to the institute -- housed in a drab concrete building at the Peoples Friendship University of Russia -- are asked to watch a half-hour television program dedicated to Smirnov, who is called the father of "psychotronic weapons," the Russian term for mind control weapons. Bearded and confident, Smirnov in the video explains how subliminal sounds could alter a person's behavior. To the untrained ear, the demonstration sounds like squealing pigs.

According to Rusalkina, the Soviet military enlisted Smirnov's psychotechnology during the Soviet Union's bloody war in Afghanistan in the 1980s. "It was used for combating the Mujahideen, and also for treating post-traumatic stress syndrome" in Russian soldiers, she says.

In the United States, talk of mind control typically evokes visions of tinfoil hats. But the idea of psychotronic weapons enjoys some respectability in Russia. In the late 1990s, Vladimir Lopatin, then a member of the Duma, Russia's parliament, pushed to restrict mind control weapons, a move that was taken seriously in Russia but elicited some curious mentions in the Western press. In an interview in Moscow, Lopatin, who has since left the Duma, cited Smirnov's work as proof that such weaponry is real.

"It's financed and used not only by the medical community, but also by individual and criminal groups," Lopatin said. Terrorists might also get hold of such weapons, he added.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, Smirnov moved from military research into treating patients with mental problems and drug addiction, setting up shop at the college. Most of the lab's research is focused on what it calls "psychocorrection" -- the use of subliminal messages to bend a subject's will, and even modify a person's personality without their knowledge.

The slow migration of Smirnov's technology to the United States began in 1991, at a KGB-sponsored conference in Moscow intended to market once-secret Soviet technology to the world. Smirnov's claims of mind control piqued the interest of Chris and Janet Morris -- former science-fiction writers turned Pentagon consultants who are now widely credited as founders of the Pentagon's "non-lethal" weapons concept.

In an interview last year, Chris Morris recalled being intrigued by Smirnov -- so much so that he accompanied the researcher to his lab and allowed Smirnov to wire his head up to an electroencephalograph, or EEG. Normally used by scientists to measure brain states, Smirnov peered into Morris's EEG tracings and divined the secrets of his subconscious, right down to intimate details like Morris' dislike of his own first name.

"I said, 'gee, the guys back at home have got to see this,'" Morris recalled.

The Morrises shopped the technology around to a few military agencies, but found no one willing to put money into it. However, in 1993 Smirnov rose to brief fame in the United States when the FBI consulted with him in hope of ending the standoff in Waco with cult leader David Koresh. Smirnov proposed blasting scrambled sound -- the pig squeals again -- over loudspeakers to persuade Koresh to surrender.

But the FBI was put off by Smirnov's cavalier response to questions. When officials asked what would happen if the subliminal signals didn't work, Smirnov replied that Koresh's followers might slit each other's throats, Morris recounted. The FBI took a pass, and Smirnov returned to Moscow with his mind control technology.

"With Smirnov, the FBI was either demanding a yes or a no, and therefore our methods weren't put to use, unfortunately," Rusalkina said, taking a drag on her cigarette.

Smirnov died in November 2004, leaving the widowed Rusalkina -- his long-time collaborator -- to run the institute. Portraits of Smirnov cover Rusalkina's desk, and his former office is like a shrine, the walls lined with his once-secret patents, his awards from the Soviet government, and a calendar from the KGB's cryptographic section.

Despite Smirnov's death, Rusalkina predicts an "arms race" in psychotronic weapons. Such weapons, she asserts, are far more dangerous than nuclear weapons.

She pointed, for example, to a spate of Russian news reports about "zombies" -- innocent people whose memories had been allegedly wiped out by mind control weapons. She also claimed that Russian special forces contacted the institute during the 2003 Moscow theater siege, in which several hundred people were held hostage by Chechen militants.

"We could have stabilized the situation in the concert hall, and the terrorists would have called the whole thing off," she said. "And naturally, you could have avoided all the casualties, and you could have put the terrorists on trial. But the Alfa Group" -- the Russian equivalent of Delta Force -- "decided to go with an old method that had already been tested before."

The Russians used a narcotic gas to subdue the attackers and their captives, which led to the asphyxiation death of many of the hostages.

These days, Rusalkina explained, the institute uses its psychotechnology to treat alcoholics and drug addicts. During the interview, several patients -- gaunt young men who appeared wasted from illness -- waited in the hallway.

But the U.S. war on terror and the millions of dollars set aside for homeland security research is offering Smirnov a chance at posthumous respectability in the West.

Smirnov's technology reappeared on the U.S. government's radar screen through Northam Psychotechnologies, a Canadian company that serves as North American distributor for the Psychotechnology Research Institute. About three years ago, Northam Psychotechnologies began seeking out U.S. partners to help it crack the DHS market. For companies claiming innovative technologies, the past few years have provided bountiful opportunities. In fiscal year 2007, DHS allocated $973 million for science and technology and recently announced Project Hostile Intent, which is designed to develop technologies to detect people with malicious intentions.

One California-based defense contractor, DownRange G2 Solutions, expressed interest in SSRM Tek, but became skeptical when Northam Psychotechnologies declined to make the software available for testing.

"That raised our suspicion right away," Scott Conn, CEO and president of DownRange, told Wired News. "We weren't prepared to put our good names on the line without due diligence." (When a reporter visited last year, Rusalkina also declined to demonstrate the software, saying it wasn't working that day.)

While Conn said the lack of testing bothered him, the relationship ended when he found out Northam Psychotechnologies went to SRS Technologies, now part of ManTech International Corp.

Semyon Ioffe, the head of Northam Psychotechnologies, who identifies himself as a "brain scientist," declined a phone interview, but answered questions over e-mail. Ioffe said he signed a nondisclosure agreement with Conn, and had "a few informal discussions, after which he disappeared to a different assignment and reappeared after (the) DHS announcement."

As for the science, Ioffe says he has a Ph.D in neurophysiology, and cited Smirnov's Russian-language publications as the basis for SSRM Tek.

However, not everyone is as impressed with Smirnov's technology, including John Alexander, a well-known expert on non-lethal weapons. Alexander was familiar with Smirnov's meetings in Washington during the Waco crisis, and said in an interview last year that there were serious doubts then as now.

"It was the height of the Waco problem, they were grasping at straws," he said of the FBI's fleeting interest. "From what I understand from people who were there, it didn't work very well."

Geoff Schoenbaum, a neuroscientist at the University of Maryland's School of Medicine, said that he was unaware of any scientific work specifically underpinning the technology described in SSRM Tek.

"There's no question your brain is able to perceive things below your ability to consciously express or identify," Schoenbaum said. He noted for example, studies showing that images displayed for milliseconds -- too short for people to perceive consciously -- may influence someone's mood. "That kind of thing is reasonable, and there's good experimental evidence behind it."

The problem, he said, is that there is no science he is aware of that can produce the specificity or sensitivity to pick out a terrorist, let alone influence behavior. "We're still working at the level of how rats learn that light predicts food," he explained. "That's the level of modern neuroscience."

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

In the meantime, the DHS contract is still imminent, according to those involved, although all parties declined to comment on the details, or the size of the award. Rusalkina did not respond to a recent e-mail, but in the interview last year, she confirmed the institute was marketing the technology to the United States for airport screening.

Larry Orloskie, a spokesman for DHS, declined to comment on the contract announcement. "It has not been awarded yet," he replied in an e-mail.

"It would be premature to discuss any details about the pending contract with DHS and I will be happy to do an interview once the contract is in place," Ioffe, of Northam Psychotechnologies, wrote in an e-mail. Mark Root, a spokesman for ManTech, deferred questions to DHS, noting, "They are the customer."

Source: Wired


Family in Cyprus Victims of Mysterious EM Effects

Pipes bursting, toilets collapsing, random power cuts and headaches: paranormal phenomena, or is there a perfectly plausible scientific explanation?

For five years, the tenants of a semi-detached house in Strovolos, Nicosia, were experiencing all the above weird happenings.

The family living there must have changed their toilet seat and plumbing 40 times. The pipes would crack open, flooding the floor. Even a 100-year-old olive tree outside the house wilted and died.

Then one day, out of the blue, the episodes stopped.

Panicos Kafkalias, the owner of the house, says he had brought in all kinds of experts to solve the mystery: geologists, civil and mechanical engineers.

The geologist attributed the problem to possible gas leakage from the soil. Others suggested the foundations were filled with water, warning that the house might collapse any moment. All the opinions were speculative.

Frustrated, Kafkalias called in an expert on electromagnetism. After conducting measurements, the expert found excessively high levels of electromagnetic fields. This aroused their suspicions, and their attention turned to a mobile antenna mast installed on a high-rise building overlooking the house.

Kafkalias decided to cross-reference these findings, by calling in the government Electromechanical Services. Their results, however, were different to those of the independent expert.

Around mid-July, the suspicious mast was moved, and all the strange phenomena ceased.

“Everything’s normal now,” says Kafkalias. “We finally have peace of mind.”

He said his daughter and grandchildren, who also lived there, had been feeling physically sick during the five years.

“My daughter would have frequent headaches, the children too, they were in a bad mood. My son-in-law used to complain of pain in the joints. Once the antenna was relocated… poof! No more problems.”

The neighbours also suffered from similar physical symptoms, although only Kafkalias’ house had infrastructure problems.
Hot on the trail of the antenna mast, Kafkalias made enquiries and discovered that no permit had been secured for the antenna from Town Planning. An application for a permit had been made, however.

But just as he planned to take the matter up with authorities, the offending mast was moved.

“I think they must have got wind of this antenna business, and quietly took it somewhere else.”

He says the mast now straddles the top of another building, in the same neighborhood.

“I haven’t heard whether it’s causing any trouble to the people who now live next to it,” says Kafkalias. “But I’m going to find out.”

The consensus of the scientific community is that radiation from mobile phone base station antennas is too low to produce health hazards, as long as people are kept away from direct access to the antennas.

Activists remain unconvinced, saying that the majority of studies are government-sponsored, hinting at vested interests in industry.

And they blame electromagnetic radiation emitted by mobile antennae for a number of health problems, including cancer, headaches and short-term memory loss.

Still, where the Strovolos house is concerned, no possibility should be ruled out.

“Case studies in Texas have strongly pointed to geological conditions – such as the presence of limestone and water – as the cause of physical effects on people, including hallucinations,” said a spokesperson for Psychognosia, a non-profit organisation in Cyprus that deals in the scientific study of the paranormal.

“Getting to the bottom of such phenomena often involves a process of elimination. But keep in mind that in this case [Strovolos], it could be a number of things happening at the same time,” the source told the Mail.

Kafkalias, who himself has never hinted at anything metaphysical, agrees:
“OK, the headaches maybe, but what about the pipes bursting? Was it all because of the antenna? We just can’t figure it out.”

Source: Cyprus Mail


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