The Federation of American Scientists’ Steven Aftergood unearthed this fascinating nugget in a recent Navy directive on its “Human Research Protection Program,” which, much as the name suggests, is tasked with safeguarding human research subjects from inhumane experiments.
The Under Secretary of the Navy (UNSECNAV) is the Approval Authority for research involving… severe or unusual intrusions, either physical or psychological, on human subjects (such as consciousness-altering drugs or mind-control techniques).
Umm, mind control. Part of me is relieved that research, of the Manchurian Candidate variety, if it does indeed exist, requires some form of high level approval. Mostly, though, I’m unnerved by the possibility that government researchers are spending any time whatsoever contemplating this line of inquiry. Perhaps I shouldn’t be too surprised. The DoD is known for floating some pretty absurd proposals, such as one in 1994 by researchers at the Air Force’s Wright Laboratory who pitched developing “harassing, annoying, and ‘bad guy’ identifying chemicals.” One example:
Chemicals that effect human behavior so that discipline and morale in enemy units is adversely affected. One distasteful but completely non-lethal example would be strong aphrodisiacs, especially if the chemical also caused homosexual behavior.
Your tax dollars at work folks.