In a scathing report issued this week, researchers with the Science Policy Forum have accused the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) of creating a technology—ostensibly used to genetically modify crops with insects—but that could be converted into a dangerous and illegal bioweapon.
The current program is being funded by the Pentagon’s darling “research” arm DARPA — who last year was found to be spending millions on “genetic extinction technology” that could wipe out entire species. DARPA’s new project, dubbed “Insect Allies” involves releasing fleets of genetically modified insects onto crops which would “infect” plants with a special virus that would genetically modify the plant on location.
As Gizmodo points out, if you think this sounds scary, you are not alone.
The lead author of the new Science Policy Forum report, Richard Guy Reeves from the Department of Evolutionary Genetics at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Plön, says the Insect Allies program is a disturbing example of dual-use research in which DARPA, in addition to helping out farmers, is also working on a potential weapon.
Naturally, as is the case with all accusations against DARPA when they get caught working on some sadistic planet killing plot, they are denying the accusations, writing them off as mischaracterizations.
The report was published in Science on October 5, and it is nothing short of chilling. According to researchers, DARPA “aims to disperse infectious genetically modified viruses that have been engineered to edit crop chromosomes directly in fields.”
As Gizmodo explains, the technology at the heart of this research could herald an entirely new way of genetically modifying crops. Instead of having to wait for a plant to pass its newly-acquired traits onto the next generation, genetic changes would be imposed upon living organisms, a process known as horizontal genetic alteration. Hence the technology’s name—Horizontal Environmental Genetic Alteration Agents, or HEGAAs.
The viruses will be delivered using genetically modified insects as a means of overcoming the previous limitations to delivering HEGAAs.
According to the report, “the regulatory, biological, economic, and societal implications of dispersing such horizontal environmental genetic alteration agents (HEGAAs) into ecosystems are profound. Further, this program stipulates that the means of delivery of these viral HEGAAs into the environment should be insect-based dispersion.”
DARPA plans to release swarms of genetically modified insects like leafhoppers, whiteflies, and aphids, that have been altered using CRISPR, or other gene editing systems. The swarms would be carrying an infectious virus to crops that are already established as a means of genetically modifying them on the spot.
If this sounds like science fiction to you, it should. However, it is most assuredly not fiction. As Gizmodo reports:
Insect Allies was announced in November 2016, and it currently involves research contracts in excess of $27 million. DARPA is funding four teams (not three, as claimed in the report), namely the Boyce Thompson Institute, Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, and the University of Texas, Austin. The defence agency maintains that “all work is conducted inside closed laboratories, greenhouses, or other secured facilities,” and that the insects will have built-in lifespans to limit their spread. DARPA is hoping to see tests done in greenhouses in as few as two years, with maize being a high-priority crop.
Considering DARPA’s history and their Pentagon funding, scientists are expressing justified concern over the development of this technology. The researchers in this report pull no punches when they claim it may be a cover to develop an offensive bioweapon.
“It is our opinion that the knowledge to be gained from this program appears very limited in its capacity to enhance U.S. agriculture or respond to national emergencies,” write the authors in the new Policy Forum. Instead, they say, “the program may be widely perceived as an effort to develop biological agents for hostile purposes and their means of delivery, which—if true—would constitute a breach of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC).”
Using insects as a means of distributing the viruses is a terrible idea, according to the authors of the report, because they cannot be controlled. The scientist claim that HEGGAs would be far more effective if simply sprayed overhead like most other delivery systems for agriculture.
Stopping short of calling it a weapon, DARPA actually acknowledged that this technology could be used as a means of national defense. According to the DARPA website:
National security can be quickly jeopardized by naturally occurring threats to the crop system, including pathogens, drought, flooding, and frost, but especially by threats introduced by state or non-state actors. Insect Allies seeks to mitigate the impact of these incursions by applying targeted therapies to mature plants with effects that are expressed at relevant timescales—namely, within a single growing season.
Jason Delborne, an Associate Professor at North Carolina State University, an expert in genetic engineering and its potential environmental, economic, and social consequences, says the concerns over the current DARPA research seem “appropriate,” according to Gizmodo.
Indeed, when the people who are exempted from most all federal regulations begin modifying swarms of insects to infect crops with viruses which would genetically modify them on the spot—and refer to this as national defense—it may be time to start paying attention.
Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor at Large at the Free Thought Project, where this article first appeared. Follow @MattAgorist on Twitter, Steemit, and now on Facebook.
Author’s Note: The text of this article has been drawn from an online debate at Science for Peace, Department of Physics, University of Toronto, September 2018
There is a popular explanation for the world chaos now upon us, and many scientists and philosophers advocate it. The form of this argument is that the rising global crisis we face traces back to human nature and genes to explain it.
The now widespread scientific category of anthropocene to locate the global crisis expresses the same idea and manages the same diversion from the common cause.
In fact, none can remotely explain the ongoing global system collapse nor the extreme climate destabilization which is the major known symptom of it.
The all-fronts planetary life crisis is confined to a much more specific causal mechanism: the cumulative, mounting and unregulated assaults of private industrial destruction, pollution, exhaustion and consumer waste in one relatively short span of the anthro-era.
But the ‘human-nature’ aka ’genetic’ argument obscures this fundamental fact. It does not come from stupid people, but it is a stupid explanation.
The Ancient Fallacy of ‘Human Nature’ to Explain Life-Blind Institutions
More exactly, it is an enduring preconception which has been dominant from ancient times. It has been often disproved, but its return expresses in another way the instituted life-blindness of the neo-capitalist era.
At this dangerous juncture of human evolution and history, it is one more ideological mind-lock to derail examination of the social-structural problem.
We need to bear in mind that the same ‘human nature’ argument was long in place to explain slavery as a natural phenomenon. Socrates, Plato and, most trenchantly, Aristotle, all conceived slavery as natural to human beings, and so unchangeable. They were very intelligent men, but assumed this as a given fact of the human condition.
Since first studying these philosophers, I have observed the argument reappearing in evil times to block people’s understanding of the actual social-structural cause of soluble problems.
For example, the acceptance of both war and slavery over millennia has been based on a ‘human nature argument’. It is natural for some to rule and others to serve them – and wars decide which group is the more fit to rule.
In fact, both institutions are not at all expressions of human nature, but pervasively enforced totalitarian institutions of mass murder and enslavement in particular social formations which serve the rich, non-working minority ruling them.
Capitalism is not Natural or Gene-Determined
Money-sequence capitalism is an historical extension of these institutions which still rules. Its difference is that a de-regulated and hyper-aggressive financialized form has brought mass-killing trends which have been one-way pathogenic since the Reagan-Thatcher turn against life-protective public law and non-partisan government.
It still rampages on today. But the long-ignored cumulative damages have caught up. Planetary life organization is paying the price in degeneration and collapse at every level while still further enriching those leading the global catastrophe.
They have dark reason to select for and quietly fund the argument of ‘genes’, ‘human nature’ and ‘anthropocene’ as the reason for the mounting chaos.
Yet this clinically insane rule is absurdly attributed to ‘human nature’ and ‘genes’ by even those not benefiting from it. After all, far more numerous victims are ‘human nature’ too with ‘human genes’ in ‘the anthropocene’, and only a minority agree with the policies, and ever more abhor the leaders and system they steer which together produce such inhuman character and eco-genocidal misrule.
Yet still you will have the most eminent thinkers – even the inventor of the ecological footprint – argue that our current ecocidal system is based on a genetic character formed in our distant past. He thinks it is indicated by the massive disappearance of large animals by human hand, but this has since been expertly attributed to selection by altered environmental conditions.
The ‘gene’ argument is very appealing, however, for its simplification into fixed one-cause ‘outcomes’. This is the theoretical essence of ‘sociobiology’ in general. It has been dominant in the academy and the legacy media as a seemingly scientific rationalization of a clear social disorder.
Yet as long as its cover story lasts, the rising crisis of life-blind private money-rule destroying the shared planetary life-ground need not be faced or solved.
The Solution of Nicer People
One of the enfeebling consequences of human-nature-gene diversions from the reigning system disorder is that it puts the onus on individual human beings to solve the problem by being “nicer” to and “kinder” to each other.
This certainly sounds good. Yet it track-switches critical attention from the life-blind corporate-market disorder to the personalities of individuals who normally have as such little or nothing to do with it, and are usually victims of its systematic stripping of public institutions, life-protective regulations and income bases.
Indeed this system disorder has invaded so many levels of society’s evolution that citizen life insecurity has been normalized in all phases of work, environment, and future however nice we are to each other as individuals (which I for one love).
Yet it is not individual choices that are responsible for the system oppressing the majority’s livelihoods, their life conditions and their futures, including that of their children. To focus on them is an implicit form of blaming the victim. Their being nicer people is essentially beside the point of the problem.
In logical terms, this is a fallacy of division. It falsely infers from the properties of a collective entity the properties of the individuals members of it, thereby making them responsible for its getting worse or better. “We are all responsible, each and every one of us for this human crisis” is a boring choral expression of this fallacy.
Because it makes those saying this seem so, well, nice and kind, they can bask in virtuous-self reflection. Those in fact leading the crisis as its planners and executives, with obscenely high financial pay-offs and privileges for doing so, are meanwhile left blameless and off the hook.
The cui bono question – who benefits and profits from this life-insane system? – is nullified a-priori.
Those who argue this way are not so nice as they seem. They present as good people to others, ingratiate themselves to those in control, and avoid having to face the real problem. This is all certainly easier and safer. In fact, it may bring top-down favor to the pacifiers and their ‘peace activism’ for side-tracking from the real evil and its lead agents.
The Cover-Up Culture of the Omnicidal System
Self-centering avoidance of the omnicidal system also lies in perfect line with the atomic-agency metaphysics of ‘free-market choice’. It is the individual consumer who chooses the system.
Again we revert to the individual human character as responsible for the system disorder – although, in fact, the consumer’s desires are operantly conditioned into preferences (why far more money is spent on pervasive advertisements than on research or health); the conditions of production are ruled out of trade regulations and rights (why ‘race to the bottom’ worker and environmental standards occur); and almost consumer or citizen remotely chooses that societies must compete to lower taxes to the rich, abolish public scrutiny and enforcement of environment and consumer thazards, and have their elected representatives decided by invisible corporate lobbies and money manipulators.
Human nature? Genes? Consumer choice? The cover-up culture has many levels.
All the argument forms analysed above share one feature. They locate responsibility in individual agency. This is the dominant metaphysics of Western civilization, and why we have such a problem today recognizing the collective system derangement.
In fact, we are continuously misled from understanding and knowing the collective causal mechanism of the Great Disorder as a central function of it – to divert blame, responsibility and social action from the inherited but cumulatively pathological misrule from the top which threatens life on Earth itself.
Only one diagnostic model fits all of the depredatory phenomena across organic, social and ecological life hosts. It is not ‘human nature’ or ‘genes’ or ‘the anthropocene’, or too few ‘nice/kind’ individuals, or ‘consumer choice’.
The true causal mechanism of all the one-way degenerate trends of this cumulatively omnicidal disorder is a highly invasive private financial cancer metastasizing across societies and global life organization.
Prof. John McMurtry is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and author of the three-volume study, Philosophy and World Problems of UNESCO’s Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS). His works are translated across continents, and his last book is The Cancer Stage of Capitalism: from Crisis to Cure.
This book is fascinating, surprising and disquieting, in roughly equal portions. The fascination arises from a remarkable new science making discoveries almost daily. The surprises are in discoveries that overturn what seemed like settled knowledge about humanity’s evolution and spread.
And the disquiet stems from the implications. If history is written by the winners, the history in our DNA is darker and bloodier than anything imagined in Game of Thrones.
David Reich is a specialist in ancient DNA and the head of the Reich Lab at Harvard. He and his colleagues can read whole genomes in a single bone, faster and more cheaply than anyone would have thought possible in the 1990s.
The genetics of ancient-DNA analysis are complex, and Reich doesn’t dumb down the technical aspects. Sometimes his explanations baffle more than enlighten. But he shows that it’s a wise population that knows its ancestors: we of European descent, for example, are a recent mixture of four different peoples as unlike one another as modern Europeans are from modern East Asians.
Other surprises are coming thick and fast. Reich himself was surprised to find that modern non-African humans derive about two per cent of their ancestry from Neanderthals; we’re also remote descendants of the Denisovans, a human group we didn’t even know existed until 2008. The Denisovans also inter-bred with their distant cousins the Neanderthals and were among the ancestors of South Asians, New Guineans, Australians and Melanesians. And the DNA of the Australians’ ancestors, Reich tells us, has also been found in Brazil’s Amazon region — churning up the prehistory of the Americas and hinting at as many as four distinct migrations from Asia.
Predicting ‘ghost populations’
One striking result of this high-tech genealogy is the ability to predict populations whose bones we haven’t found yet. One such group was the Ancient North Eurasians, whose DNA was found in both modern Europeans and Indigenous Americans. Well after that “ghost population” was identified, the 24,000-year-old bones of an Ancient North Eurasian were found in a cave near the Siberian village of Mal’ta.
We know more about the genetic history of “West Eurasia” — Europe from the Urals to the sea — than of the rest of the world. That’s because European bones are more accessible than those from Asia, Africa and the Americas.
But it’s also a cultural and political problem: China won’t send its bones outside the country, and Indigenous peoples of the Americas take a dim view of strangers messing with their ancestors’ remains. Reich praises the wisdom of Danish DNA researcher Eske Willerslev, who has persuaded some Indigenous groups that ancestral DNA can strengthen their claims to their land.
March 29, 2018
Our DNA can feed its proper data into a network of consciousness and can call up data from the network and also establish contact with other participants in the network. When words and phrases were spoken and modulated on specific frequencies — the reprogramming effect on DNA was extraordinary.
In recent years, Russian scientists have embarked on groundbreaking DNA research, and have made a stunning scientific discovery. In an astonishing experiment, these scientists discovered that the human body’s DNA can easily be reprogrammed by human speech.
According to them, our DNA is not only responsible for the construction of our body but also serves as data storage and in communication. The Russian linguists found that the genetic code, especially in the apparently useless junk DNA follows the same rules as all our human languages. To this end they compared the rules of syntax (the way in which words are put together to form phrases and sentences), semantics (the study of meaning in language forms) and the basic rules of grammar. They found that the alkalines of our DNA follow a regular grammar and do have set rules just like our languages. So human languages did not appear coincidentally but are a reflection of our inherent DNA.
Researchers have been able to “cut and paste” the desired programming onto a human DNA molecule — and successfully repaired damaged DNA or reprogrammed the human genome altogether.
The Russian biophysicist and molecular biologist Pjotr Garjajev and his colleagues also explored the vibrational behavior of the DNA. The bottom line was: “Living chromosomes function just like solitonic/holographic computers using the endogenous DNA laser radiation.” This means that they managed for example to modulate certain frequency patterns onto a laser ray and with it influenced the DNA frequency and thus the genetic information itself. Since the basic structure of DNA-alkaline pairs and of language (as explained earlier) are of the same structure, no DNA decoding is necessary.
Turning Frogs into SalamandersIn their DNA experiments with animals, the Russian scientists successfully transmitted information patterns from one set of DNA to another — and were even able to reprogram cells to another genome. They transformed frog embryos into salamander embryos — without lifting a single scalpel or making one incision!
This discovery is part of an exciting field of genetic science called epigenetics. Epigenetics is the phenomena whereby genetically identical cells express their genes differently, resulting in different physical traits.
What if you could change your genes just as easily as changing your clothes?
Did you know that you can actually program your DNA to create a healthy body in as little as 2 minutes? DNA, which is the “blueprint” of life that carries the genetic information in your cells, governs the development and functioning of the human body. It is a widely held belief that DNA, which is shaped like a double helix, has a fixed structure and cannot be changed.
But a recent study from the Institute of HeartMath has shed startling results that challenge what we thought we knew about DNA. In the study, human DNA was placed in a sealed test tube. Test subjects who were trained to generate focused feelings were able to intentionally cause a change in the shape of the DNA.
Negative emotions, produced at will, caused the two strands that comprise human DNA to wind more tightly. Heart-centered feelings of love and appreciation generated by the research subjects caused the DNA strands to unwind and exhibit positive changes in just 2 minutes.
Biologists have suspected for years that some kind of epigenetic inheritance occurs at the cellular level. The different kinds of cells in our bodies provide an example. Skin cells and brain cells have different forms and functions, despite having exactly the same DNA. There must be mechanisms–other than DNA–that make sure skin cells stay skin cells when they divide.
This may be the first scientific evidence of the long-held theory that emotion greatly affects our health and quality of life. This is proof positive that DNA and health are related, and we can communicate with and “program” our DNA through emotion — and thus, change the very blueprint of our health and our life. If we can influence the behavior of DNA and health in a test tube, what untold health benefits might we experience by changing the DNA in our bodies?
Dr. Bruce H. Lipton, a world-renowned leader in cellular biology and quantum physics research, and bestselling author of The Biology of Belief, was one of the first scientists to recognize the importance of epigenes.
He has proven that a human being (you) can “rewrite” the way your genes express themselves. As such, you can cause cancer cells (or any abnormal or mutated cells) to act like normal human cells.
In one of Dr. Lipton’s most important experiments, he proved that when he took a “sick” cancer cell from a “sick” body, and transferred it to a healthy environment, the cell recovered quickly and behaved normally. And in ongoing epigenetic trials, half the patients are in complete remission from cancer!
Our DNA contains your genetic code. It has always been considered the “blueprint” of your life — something over which you thought you had no control whatsoever. Whether good or bad, your genes are like a set of cards dealt to you in a card game.
Epigenetics offers a life-changing opportunity for you to have better genes than the ones you were born with! You may even be able to influence cellular metabolism and remedy genetic defects, as the Russian scientists have been able to do successfully.
You aren’t what you eat, exactly. But over many generations, what we eat does shape our evolutionary path. “Diet,” says anthropologist John Hawks, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, “has been a fundamental story throughout our evolutionary history. Over the last million years there have been changes in human anatomy, teeth and the skull, that we think are probably related to changes in diet.”
As our evolution continues, the crucial role of diet hasn’t gone away. Genetic studies show that humans are still evolving, with evidence of natural selection pressures on genes impacting everything from Alzheimer’s disease to skin color to menstruation age. And what we eat today will influence the direction we will take tomorrow.
When mammals are young, they produce an enzyme called lactase to help digest the sugary lactose found in their mothers’ milk. But once most mammals come of age, milk disappears from the menu. That means enzymes to digest it are no longer needed, so adult mammals typically stop producing them.
Thanks to recent evolution, however, some humans defy this trend.
Around two-thirds of adult humans are lactose intolerant or have reduced lactose tolerance after infancy. But tolerance varies dramatically depending on geography. Among some East Asian communities, intolerance can reach 90 percent; people of West African, Arab, Greek, Jewish and Italian descent are also especially prone to lactose intolerance.
Northern Europeans, on the other hand, seem to love their lactose—95 percent of them are tolerant, meaning they continue to produce lactase as adults. And those numbers are increasing. “In at least different five cases, populations have tweaked the gene responsible for digesting that sugar so that it remains active in adults,” Hawks says, noting it is most common among peoples in Europe, the Middle East and East Africa.
Ancient DNA shows how recent this adult lactose tolerance is, in evolutionary terms. Twenty-thousand years ago, it was non-existent. Today, about one-third of all adults have tolerance.
That lightning-fast evolutionary change suggests that direct milk consumption must have provided a serious survival advantage over peoples who had to ferment dairy into yogurt or cheese. During fermentation, bacteria break down milk sugars including lactase, turning them into acids and easing digestion for those with lactose intolerance. Gone with those sugars, however, is a good chunk of the food’s caloric content.
Hawks explains why being able to digest milk would have been such a boon in the past: “You’re in a nutrition limited environment, except you have cattle, or sheep, or goats, or camels, and that gives you access to a high energy food that infants can digest but adults can’t,” he says. “What it does is allow people to get 30 percent more calories out of milk, and you don’t have the digestive issues that come from milk consumption.”
A recent genetic study found that adult lactose tolerance was less common in Roman Britain than today, meaning its evolution has continued throughout Europe’s recorded history.
These days, many humans have access to plentiful alternative foods as well as lactose-free milk or lactase pills that help them digest regular dairy. In other words, we can circumvent some impacts of natural selection. That means traits like lactose tolerance might not have the same direct impacts on survival or reproduction that they once did—at least in some parts of the world.
“As far as we know, it makes no difference to your survival and reproduction in Sweden if you can digest milk or not. If you’re eating out of a supermarket (your dairy tolerance doesn’t affect your survival). But it still makes a difference in East Africa,” Hawks says.
These days, it isn’t uncommon to find an entire grocery store aisle devoted to gluten-free cookies, bread and crackers. Yet trouble digesting gluten—the main protein found in wheat—is another relatively recent snag in human evolution. Humans didn’t start storing and eating grains regularly until around 20,000 years ago, and wheat domestication didn’t begin in earnest until about 10,000 years ago.