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Weaponized Plants: Pentagon’s Synthetic Organisms Could “Militarize the Environment”



What if you were deemed a fugitive 20 years from now, for doing something such as vocally speaking out against  the status quo, growing cannabis, or going against the grain of the system. Then one day, you’re walking in some rural area you escaped to in order to avoid capture by the state, and the environment recognizes your identity and becomes weaponized to you.

The moss in the woods recognizes your biological footprint and creates a toxin to anesthetize you until authorities arrive to place you under arrest. The trees in this forest are not even equipped with cameras, but engineered, synthetic organisms with a biological code connected to a database that recognizes you are a fugitive and responds by creating toxins.

Although the idea of a fugitive being specifically targeted by intelligent synthetic biology is a particularly far-fetched scenario, fully engineered, synthetic ecosystems weaponized against people are something the Pentagon is actually working on.

DARPA is flirting with creating environments where every organism is engineered to perform biological tasks, from creating chemicals to being weaponized. The trees, moss, grass, insects, bacteria, and soil of an ecosystem could be engineered to release toxins on people, or put people to sleep until the state’s forces arrive, or perform any function they can engineer an organism to do.

Of course they present these ideas to the pubic promising prosperity, suggesting there will be industrial applications for organisms creating fuel, materials, and things that would be useful, but that’s never how it ends up when DARPA creates something.

They are mostly talking about using bacteria to create different chemicals. They discuss engineering insects to give genes to plants and alter them. A headline from Slate reads “DARPA’s Synthetic Biology Initiatives Could Militarize the Environment.” Reading from that article:

“Among other initiatives, researchers at DARPA are attempting to engineer insects to deliver protective genes to plants; to transform bacteria and yeast into factories to produce on-demand chemicals and fuels; and to develop methods to reverse any threats posed by gene drives. (Gene drives are a mechanism, both natural and human-induced, that drives genetic traits through a population, in some instances to suppress a population.)

These programs represent a new and controversial approach to leveraging the natural world—one that, in essence, militarizes the environment.  The technologies that emerge will not only be a big deal for the innovations they will bring, but also for the legal and ethical lines they may cross. Many of these projects are strictly for defense, rather than offense, but given the size of the budgets here, the U.S. military investment makes up a rather large portion of the money in synthetic biology research. It’s possible, then, that DARPA’s work is bending the entire field of synthetic biology toward military applications.

Before 2008, the federal government invested basically negligible amounts in synthetic biology. But between 2008 and 2014, it poured approximately $819 million into synbio research. Since 2012, the majority of that funding came not from the budgets of civilian organizations like the National Science Foundation or the National Institutes of Health, but from DARPA and other Defense Department initiatives. DARPA created at least five programs, most of which are now housed at its Biological Technologies Office, that demonstrate the agency’s interest in ecological manipulations.”

Even mainstream articles suggest these biological experiments will not end up being used for “defense” or innocuous, helpful applications. The Pentagon, the US government and it’s mad scientists have used just about every technology they’ve ever produced to enrich themselves at the expense of citizens and anyone else standing in their way.

Why would it be different now? The power structure will wield these technologies for themselves, and they will be turned against regular people if they want that.

In other news, headlines about DARPA read DARPA Wants to Hack Your Brain to Make You Learn Faster,” and DARPA to Use Electrical Stimulation to Enhance Military Training.”

They are talking about strategically hitting specific nerves in the brain with electrical signals to enhance learning, make information sink in deeper when a person learns it, ect. According to IEEE Spectrum:

“For the new stimulation project, dubbed targeted neuroplasticity training, or TNT, research teams will focus on peripheral nerves that project into the brain and tug at memories. By delivering electrical pulses into the body’s nervous system, the scientists aim to modulate the brain’s neural connectivity and production of key chemicals. That kind of neural tuning can “influence cognitive state—how awake you are, or how much attention you’re paying to something you’re viewing or performing,” says Doug Weber, a bioengineer at DARPA who heads up the TNT project.

If it works—if researchers can improve a person’s ability to learn—the DoD could reduce the amount of time spent training soldiers and intelligence agents.”

Of course, America’s universities and institutes of technology participate in efforts like this all the time. Academics are paid by the military industrial complex to unquestioningly advance technology. The article also says: “The Defense Department’s research arm, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), today announced it had awarded multimillion-dollar contracts to eight university groups that will study and develop such technologies.”

It requires an understanding of DARPA’s history and what we can call “mad science” in general to form an opinion on whether or not this is a good idea.

Understanding how power and warfare work, one can understand that this technology will not be used for the benefit of citizens: if it did work, it wouldn’t be for us. Right now they are trying to develop it for soldiers: for people paid to kill other people and perform tasks for the system. More war. More citizens locked down.

But even if this were for the citizens, and it became decentralized and beneficial for us (which does happen, the Internet is a DARPA technology that ended up breaking free and benefiting the people), when you warp nature and abuse biology for the benefit of some contrived military effort, it often ends up backfiring.

Nature seems to have most of life’s solutions already embedded in it’s code, as vitamins and minerals are the building blocks of our bodies, as all organisms operate and live in harmony with nature (with some ecosystems being less harmonious of course, danger is still very real).

And when scientists cross a certain line with altering biology, engineering life, forcefully altering the functions of the brain or an organism, it often turns out disastrous. Other less understood or neglected aspects of the organism may be altered in ways they shouldn’t be. Unexpected consequences often occur when people try to engineer life, or forcefully alter the human body.

It should be a civic duty, a regular practice to research what DARPA and these mad scientists are trying to do. It should be a regular, even daily practice, if we’re going to pay attention to what the future is becoming and be prepared for it.

So try it today: just go to your search engine and type in “DARPA news.” Do that every day, and you’ll start to get a feel for the future different factions of people are trying to manufacture.

After paying attention every day for a long time, a person will be better equipped to know how to reverse the trajectory powers are putting the people on, and how to create a better future.

This article (Weaponized Plants: Pentagon’s Synthetic Organisms Could “Militarize the Environment”) is a free and open source and can be re-published anywhere with proper attribution to the author and

(Image credit: SeniorJ Deviant Art, Wiki, 18 the Elephant, Lenntech)

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