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Anger and Forgiveness"Are You There Alone?"10 Good Questions about Life and DeathA Casebook of Ethical Challenges in NeuropsychologyA Companion to BioethicsA Companion to BioethicsA Companion to GenethicsA Companion to GenethicsA Companion to Muslim EthicsA Cooperative SpeciesA Critique of the Moral Defense of VegetarianismA Delicate BalanceA Life for a LifeA Life-Centered Approach to BioethicsA Matter of SecurityA Natural History of Human MoralityA Philosophical DiseaseA Practical Guide to Clinical Ethics ConsultingA Question of TrustA Sentimentalist Theory of the MindA Short Stay in SwitzerlandA Very Bad WizardA World Without ValuesAction and ResponsibilityAction Theory, Rationality and CompulsionActs of ConscienceAddiction and ResponsibilityAddiction NeuroethicsAdvance Directives in Mental HealthAfter HarmAftermathAgainst AutonomyAgainst BioethicsAgainst HealthAgainst Moral ResponsibilityAgency and AnswerabilityAgency and ResponsibilityAgency, Freedom, and Moral ResponsibilityAging, 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How Much?Why Some Things Should Not Be for SaleWisdom, Intuition and EthicsWithout ConscienceWomen and Borderline Personality DisorderWomen and MadnessWondergenesWould You Kill the Fat Man?Wrestling with Behavioral GeneticsWriting About PatientsYou Must Be DreamingYour Genetic DestinyYour Inner FishYouth Offending and Youth Justice Yuck!
In Mind Wars, Moreno seeks here not merely to educate and document the last 70 years of military-funded psychological warfare research. The author goes further to address the public policy and social ethics issues raised by CIA and defense establishment-related interest and funding of neuropsychological research. Complimenting his earlier work concerned with secret biotechnology, biological and chemical warfare experiments, this new volume discusses the implications of the funding of modern psychology and neuroscience by defense agencies since the early 1940's, and some of the key experiments now known to have taken place. Moreno covers much ground within his 8 short chapters, though remaining largely introductory with respect to the details of particular experiments and their implications for the basic pre-clinical neurosciences and medicine. Indeed, the reader already familiar with the experimental neuroscience research literature (or otherwise seeking to learn how to conduct such experiments !) may be a little disappointed if turning to this book for that purpose. However, this is by no means a failing of the author, or of his book. In 'Mind Wars', Moreno is admittedly interested to provide an account, not so much of the psychological theories and professionals involved in neuropsychological science, but instead to recount the intelligence agencies interest in funding their psychobiological experiments, and thereafter the ethical implications of so doing.
For the reader new to the field of psychological warfare and augmented human cognitive action, there is much to absorb from each chapter. Excellent, though brief, introductions are given to the development of Delgado's first brain 'stimoceiver' experiments from the 1960s, and their modern equivalent -- for example, the hi-tech single-unit cellular recording and stimulation during eye-hand coordination movements in awake behaving monkeys (including those conducted by the current reviewer), myoelectric limb prostheses and other wearable robotic devices. A further chapter deals with psychoactive drugs (for both good and bad effect), another with 'brain reading' (rather than brainwashing) which describes the various ways in which we are now able to detect the relatively specific activity of the conscious mind (and how one might disrupt it), using whole-brain scanning techniques. Much of this work is being conducted in an attempt to understand how one might better predict behavior (rather than control it), but once one has that knowledge, it is far from clear that one might not be tempted to 'augment' an operator's behavior in particular ways. To quote Moreno directly at this point, ".. soldiers are not normally asked for their informed consent before accepting what their command regard as the best preparation for battle... [so why might one expect/hope that]... augmented cognitive enhancements should be regarded differently from anything else a soldier can be legally ordered to do." [p.53].
According to the author's sources, at least 30% of academic research psychology in the USA is funded (either directly or indirectly) by the US military, and/or intelligence agencies, and often without the knowledge of the State-sponsored researchers themselves. Adherents of conspiracy theories will be pleased to learn that Moreno is aware of the contributions of the US government's funding of parapsychology research (Stargate), the SRI remote-viewing era in response to the Eastern-block's psychotronics work of the 1970s-80s, and even MK-ULTRA is given a brief mention in passing. Also cited are modern experiments with ultrasound and remote acoustic beam devices, and similarly effective, exotic 'non-lethal' weapons. But as with his discussions of the other more mainstream scientific research, the author is more concerned with the ethical implications of such work in this volume. Following a useful introduction to policy and funding processes with respect to government (and especially defense) related history of support for scientific research across both academic and private institutions, Moreno's core argument concerns problems with conducting science in secrecy. The solution, the author contends, is not to banish such experiments altogether, but in keeping them open to peer review, public scrutiny and accountability -- better housed in university-based labs than conducted in 'secret' underground bases out of sight. Having possibly coined a new word in his discussing 'neurosecurity' (presumably referring not solely to one's being able to protect oneself from propaganda and brainwashing attempts), in his own words, the author advises us clearly that, "...secrecy about science is not necessarily good for [any society's] security...' (p.168). Whatever your personal views, psychological preferences, comfort zone, or intelligence leanings with regards the rationale and funding of empirical experiments, this is a must read for those seeking to be informed by scientific machinations of mind, or softer (though no less important) mind matters.
© 2007 Anthony Dickinson
Dr. Tony Dickinson, PIC Academy (Asia), Hong Kong
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