The main point in the introduction with respect to “cognitive abilities” is the need to protect NATO’s decision-making and disrupt that of opponents (p. 5).
Information Warfare (IW) seeks to control the “flow of information” (p. 6). The five aspects are: “electronic warfare, computer network operations, PsyOps, military deception, and operational security” (p. 6).
Differing from plain Information Warfare, Cognitive Warfare (CW) “is a war through information, the real target being the human mind,” which is the “most vital infrastructure” (p. 36).
Cognitive Warfare (CW) “thwarts knowledge.” It “degrades” an enemy’s ability “to know” or “produce” “knowledge” (p. 6). Besides the military, CW is “applied to” politics, economics, culture, and society (p. 6). CW “targets the whole of a nation’s human capital.” (p. 6). It is “potentially endless.” (p.7)
There are more and more “neuro-weapons” (p. 7)
“Social engineering” is about “getting people to comply” (p. 7).
CW “is a war of ideologies that strives to erode the trust that underpins every society” (p.7)
CW could “unravel the entire social contract” (p. 8). Techniques include “fake news, deep fakes, Trojan horses, and digital avatars” in order to generate “suspicions” (p. 8).
The author refers to COVID-19 as an “example.” (p. 8). The huge number of texts, “including deliberately biased texts” (example cited is the “Lancet study on chloroquine”) create an “information” overload which leads to a “loss of credibility” and a “NEED FOR CLOSURE.” (p. 8). The capacity for people to challenge presented data is interfered with, and we tend to “fall back on biases” instead of making sound decisions (p. 8).
Comment: It is impressive that the author uses COVID-19 events as an example. The result of the COVID-19 propaganda went beyond information overload into anxiety and cognitive dissonance, and I believe the “need for closure” refers to the desire of the target population to resolve the tensions they feel through compliance.
Cognitive Warfare is “participatory propaganda” (p. 8). Propaganda is a “a set of methods” used to get a “mass of individuals” who are “psychologically unified through psychological manipulations” to participate in certain actions (p. 8). Propaganda is intended to “influence attitudes and behaviours” (p. 9).
New methods have led to an “unprecedented capacity to conduct virtual societal warfare” (p. 9).
Adversaries would seek to destabilize “populations, institutions and states” so as to “influence” and “undermine” the “autonomy” of their decision-making (p. 9).
Jacques Ellul’s Propaganda is quoted: “Modern propaganda is based on scientific analyses of psychology and sociology.” Techniques are based on man’s “tendencies,” “desires,” “needs,” “psychic mechanisms,” “conditioning,” “social psychology” and “depth psychology” (p. 9). [See also: Summary of “Propaganda” by Jacques Ellul (6)]
“Disinformation” takes advantage of the “cognitive vulnerabilities” of targeted human minds, e.g., “pre-existing anxieties or beliefs that predispose them to accept false information” (p. 9).
Regular propaganda involves passive submission whereas, with CW, everyone “participates, mostly inadvertently” by “actively” contributing to “information processing and knowledge formation” (p. 9).
“Behavioural Economics (BE)” (p. 9) (a better term than “data economy”) “applies psychological insights” “to explain economic” decisions (p. 10). Behavior becomes more and more “computational” (p. 10). We generate a huge amount of behavioural data, mostly without awareness, so “manipulation” is “easily achievable” (p. 10).
New “data capture methods” allow the “inference” of information which users had no intent to reveal (p. 10). This data establishes “new prediction markets called targeted advertising” (p. 10). This business relies on “online monitoring” (p. 10).
“Behavioural knowledge is a strategic asset” (p. 10). “Digital-age regimes” can exercise “remarkable control over” our minds (p. 10). It is simple to “divert” commercial data as the Cambridge Analytica [CA] “scandal” showed (p. 10). The CA “digital model” was “profiling individual voters” and targeting them with “personalized political advertisements.” CA collected a vast amount of data, creating a “window” into each person’s thinking (p. 10).
Cyberpsychology (p. 11) is “at the crossroads” of “psychology and cybernetics” (p. 11). It is about clarifying the “mechanisms of thought” as well as the concepts, “uses and limits of cybernetic systems” (p. 11). Cyberpsychology studies the “way humans and machines impact each other” (p. 11).
The author refers to the focus of decision-making being on “Human in particular with its capacity to orient (OODA loop), fed by data, analysis and visualisations.” He notes the “inability of human” to “analyze” the data efficiently, which “calls for humans to team with AI machines” (p. 12).
“OODA loop” is explained here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OODA_loop:
“The OODA loop is the cycle observe–orient–decide–act, developed by military strategist and United States Air Force Colonel John Boyd. Boyd applied the concept to the combat operations process, often at the operational level during military campaigns. It is now also often applied to understand commercial operations and learning processes. The approach explains how agility can overcome raw power in dealing with human opponents. It is especially applicable to cyber security and cyberwarfare.”
Cognitive Science as defined by Wikipedia :
is the interdisciplinary, scientific study of the mind and its processes with input from linguistics, psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, computer science / artificial intelligence, and anthropology. It examines the nature, the tasks, and the functions of cognition (in a broad sense). Cognitive scientists study intelligence and behavior, with a focus on how nervous systems represent, process, and transform information. Mental faculties of concern to cognitive scientists include language, perception, memory, attention, reasoning, and emotion; …
The goal of cognitive science is to understand the principles of intelligence with the hope that this will lead to a better comprehension of the mind and of learning and to develop intelligent devices. …
Neuroscience as defined by Wikipedia:
is the scientific study of the nervous system. It is a multidisciplinary science that combines physiology, anatomy, molecular biology, developmental biology, cytology, computer science and mathematical modeling to understand the fundamental and emergent properties of neurons, glia and neural circuits. The understanding of the biological basis of learning, memory, behavior, perception, and consciousness has been described by Eric Kandel as the “epic challenge” of the biological sciences. …
Cognitive Bias (p. 13). In the case of information overload, the brain takes shortcuts to determine if a message is trustworthy. It tends to “believe statements” it has “already heard as true” even if they’re false. It believes messages “if backed by evidence” without regard to the “authenticity of that evidence” (p. 13).
Page 14 shows a radial diagram called the COGNTIIVE BIAS CODEX.
See designhacks.co. The chart is also here and here
The content is based on the “List of 188 Cognitive Biases.”
See also: https://archive.recomendo.com/posts/188-cognitive-biases https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_bias (links to the above list)
A common cognitive bias is “confirmation bias,” in which we look for confirmation of our beliefs (p. 14). Advantages will emerge for those who better understand cognitive strengths and weaknesses (p. 15).
Emotions limit “cognitive abilities” (p. 15). Social media is designed to be “addictive” (p. 15) and to generate “emotional bursts, trapping the brain in a cycle of posts” (p. 15). This can worsen polarization in society (p. 15). The author refers to Dominique Moisi’s book The Geopolitics of Emotion who presents the case that emotions have been “shaping the world and international relations” using the social media “echo-chamber” (p. 15).
There is a global “battle” for attention (p. 15). We want to prevent “competitors” from capturing the attention of the audience we are seeking to persuade (p. 15).
In 1966, B. J. Fogg of Stanford University coined the term “captology,” which is the study of how to use computers for persuasion (p. 15). Reference: Fogg, B.J. (2003). Persuasive Technology: Using Computers to Change What We Think and Do.
There is more research exploring the effect of technology on the brain (p. 16). Dr. James Giordano claims, “the brain will be the battlefield of the 21st century” (p. 16). [Reference: https://mwi.usma.edu/mwi-video-brain-battlefield-future-dr-james-giordano/].
A major challenge will be “protecting our brains from external aggression” (p. 16). With digital technology, the “human brain is changing” at a much faster rate (p. 16). A major finding is cognitive offloading, meaning that everyone has stopped memorizing “important information” (p. 16). “Memory is outsourced” to search engines, GPS, electronic calendars and calculators, leading to connections being disabled. (p. 17).
With information overload, the brain tends to scan and “pick out what appears” important “with no regard to the rest” (p. 16). There is a “loss of critical thinking” because of reading screens and not being able to read actual books (p. 16). More advanced modes of thought are neglected, so therefore “brain development” is affected (p. 16).
Behaviours in virtual environments can affect our actions in real life (p. 17). I would point to the entertainment technology predictions made in Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.
“Social neuroscience” offers the possibility of identifying “thoughts, emotions and intentions” through biological “observation” (p. 17). If a “correspondence” can be determined “between biological functions” and “social cognitions and behaviours,” there could be many uses for “neuroscientific methods” (p. 17). The “manipulation of our perception, thoughts and behaviours is taking place on previously unimaginable scales of time, space and intentionality” (p. 18).
Scientists study how to free us from bodily limitations. “The line between healing and augmentation becomes blurred” (p. 19). The “logical progression of research is to achieve a perfect human being” (p. 19). After the US Brain Initiative began in 2014, “all the major powers (EU/China/Russia)” have funded “brain research programs” (p. 19).
“The Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies® (BRAIN) Initiative is aimed at revolutionizing our understanding of the human brain.”
See https://www.braininitiative.org/mission/ and https://www.braininitiative.org/participants/ (original link is gone, linked to May 2022 web archived version) and
https://www.braininitiative.org/alliance/ (IARPA, NSF and many others).
“The White House BRAIN Initiative (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies), is a collaborative, public-private research initiative announced by the Obama administration on April 2, 2013, with the goal of supporting the development and application of innovative technologies that can create a dynamic understanding of brain function.”
Progress in “NBIC (Nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, and cognitive science) including advances in genomics” “has the potential for dual-use” (p. 19). Military applications include “improving the performance of soldiers” and “developing new weapons,” e.g., “directed energy weapons” (p. 19).
Neuroscience and Technology (NeuroS/T) (p. 19). Neuroscience uses different techniques to “evaluate and influence neurologic substrates and processes of cognition, emotion, and behaviour” (p. 19). There is research on understanding and modifying the “physiology, psychology, and/or pathology” of targets (p. 19). Some neuroS/T are used to assess, and some used to impact the “nervous system,” for example, “drugs” (p. 19). Other goals include “human-machine interfaces to optimise combat capabilities of” “drones” (p. 19).
A 2014 US report said that neuroS/T were being “increasingly considered” (p. 20). The most “proactive” projects are by the “United States Department of Defense,” especially by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA)” (p. 20).
The 2008 National Research Council report says, “an ability to better understand the capabilities of the body and brain … could be exploited for gathering intelligence, military operations, information management, public safety and forensics” (p. 20).
The “potential for neuroS/T” to provide “insight” into affecting cognition, emotion, and behaviour make the “brain sciences” appealing for “security, intelligence, and military” purposes (p. 20). These “capabilities afford considerable power” (p. 20).
Many countries are “developing and subsidising neuroS/T research” for “dual-use agendas” (p. 20).
Comment: In my view all of this just means, in effect, that internationally, mind control techniques or cognitive warfare weapons are being perfected using the possibility of foreign conflicts as an excuse.
Direct Weaponisation of NeuroS/T: This may be achieved by “augmenting or degrading functions of the nervous system” (p. 21). “Computational neuroscience and neuropharmalogic research” can be used for “simulating, interacting with, and optimising brain functions,” (p. 21) and also for the “classification and detection of human cognitive, emotional, and motivational states” (p. 21). Technologies include “human/brain-machine interfacing neurotechnologies” which can optimize “data assimilation” (p. 21). Neuroweapons include existing ones such as “nerve gas and various drugs,” “sensory stimuli,” “sleep deprivation,” and distributing “provocative information … (i.e., PSYOPS)” (p. 21). These can affect, for example: “memory,” “wake-sleep cycles,” “impulse control,” “mood,” “trust and empathy,” “speed, strength” (p. 22). Examples include inducing “passivity,” “disability or suffering,” or death (p. 22).
Comments: The riot police in the novel Brave New World (Chapter 15) sprayed a “powerful anaesthetic” to induce sleep. The plot of Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged uses a sonic weapon. Colonel John B. Alexander, according to Wikipedia is a “leading advocate for the development of non-lethal weapons and of military applications of the paranormal.”
Brain research has developed rapidly due to the sharing of information across disciplines. This is called “advanced integrative scientific convergence (AISC)” (p. 22) and is referred to in various articles online (e.g., Integrative Convergence in Neuroscience: Trajectories, Problems, and the Need for a Progressive Neurobioethics by J. Giordano). The AISC approach is the use of “computational (i.e., big data) methods” to allow better “insight” and “intervention” to the “structure and function(s) of the brain” (p. 22).
Some “neurotechnologies can be employed kinetically” (i.e., to injure, etc.) and some “non-kinetically” (to cause contention and disruption) (p. 22).
This large quantity of information could be used to understand in detail the human brain and could be used to create “data repositories” which could become “descriptive or predictive metrics for neuropsychiatric disorders” (p. 22). Stealing or “modifying such information” could influence “military and intelligence readiness” (pp. 22-23). Manipulating “both civilian and military neurodata” could impact the “type of medical care” and whether it’s provided or not. It could influence how people are treated socially (pp. 22-23)!
Comment: This seems like a reference to the Social Credit System used in China (and predicted by Bertrand Russell years ago) to regulate “social behaviour” and evaluate trustworthiness. It’s an abusive system that violates the right to due process, whether or not it’s influenced by an external enemy. Similarly, in the first place, health care decisions shouldn’t be made electronically top-down by governments or insurance companies. This needs to be stopped.
The author refers to the use of “precision pathologies” combined with “misinformation” in order to cause society-wide disruption, even threatening “national stability” (p. 23).
Comment: I think that describes the COVID operation.
“Digital biosecurity” is a concern. “Hacking of biological data” has already happened (p. 23). It’s likely there will be more attempts to harness neurodata to gain power advantages in “social, legal and military” spheres (p. 23).
According to a Wikipedia article on “Neuroprivacy,” which discusses “neurological surveillance,” and refers to “neuroimaging data” and major ethical concerns regarding it, “neurodata is valuable to advertising and marketing entities by its potential to identify how and why people react to different stimuli in order to better influence consumers.”
The Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), or Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) and the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) are both mentioned (p. 24). Existing treaties and laws (such as these) address “particular products of the brain sciences.” However, “other forms of neuroS/T (e.g., neurotechnologies and neuroinformatics)” are outside their scope (p. 24). Many neuroS/T are addressed in treaties and laws, but not newer techniques such as neurodata (p. 22). Future battles will depend on not just “biological dominance,” but also on “cognitive dominance” (p. 24).
The Sixth Domain
CW adds a third combat dimension – cognitive—to the “physical and informational dimensions” (p. 25). CW also creates a new domain – a sixth domain – a “new space of competition, beyond the land, maritime, air, cybernetic and spatial domains” (the other five domains) (p. 25). The “human domain” is a less restrictive term than “cognitive domain.”
The point of CW is to “seize control of human beings, … organisations, nations, but also of ideas, psychology, … thoughts, as well as the environment” (p. 25).
The author asserts that CW “embodies the idea of combat without fighting” as per Sun Tzu: “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”
CW’s goal is to “make everyone a weapon” (p. 25).
Russia is discussed. Vladimir Karyakin is quoted saying that “advances in psychology,” “make it possible to exert a specified effect on large social groups” and “reshape the consciousness of entire peoples” (p. 26). Russian CW comes under “Reflexive Control Doctrine” which “compels an adversary decision maker to act in favour of Russia by altering their perception of the world” (p. 26). It uses “multiple inputs,” and “both true and false information” to “make the target feel that” they are making their own decision (p. 26).
Annex 2 has more information about Russian CW (p. 40). According to the author, Russia has a “modernisation plan” called “the National Technology Initiative (NTI).” NTI “experts and the Agency for Strategic Initiatives (ASI) identified nine emerging high-tech markets, …, including neuroscience and technology” (p. 42). The ASI calls this “NeuroNet” which focuses on “distributed artificial elements of consciousness and mentality” (p. 42).
China and CW doctrine is discussed (p. 27), which is said to include the use of “cognitive science and biotechnology” for “mind superiority.” It defines the “Cognitive Domain of Operations” as the “battlefield for conducting ideological penetration (…) aiming at destroying troop morale and cohesion, as well as forming or deconstructing operational capabilities” (p. 27).
“Cognition” technologies affect the “ability to think and function,” and “subliminal cognition” technologies target “emotions, knowledge, willpower and beliefs” (p. 27).
He Fuchu, The Future Direction of the New Global Revolution in Military Affairs” is quoted, saying that operations will expand “to the domain of consciousness” and the “human brain will become a new combat space” (p. 27).
Areas of research include “biosensing,” “biomaterials,” “human enhancement options,” and improving “cognitive performance” (p. 27).
China has “defined” “Military Brain Science (MBS)” to create a “new” “brain war” “combat style” (p. 27).
There is more information on China in Annex 1 (p. 38). China’s Brain Project is mentioned. China influences international neuroS/T through “research tourism” to bring in “foreign researchers,” “control of intellectual property,” “medical tourism,” and “influence in global scientific thought” (p. 38).
The author emphasizes that “China’s ethical research guidelines are, in some domains, somewhat more permissive than those in the West (e.g., unrestricted human and/or non-human primate experimentation)” (p. 38). Its global positioning “and the somewhat permissive ethics that enable particular aspects and types of experimentation – may be seductive to international scientists” (p. 39). The author calls on NATO to recognize “the reality of other countries’ science and technological capabilities” and to “decide how to address differing ethical and policy views” (p. 40).
(End of the discussion about China).
Comment: In my opinion, it is urgent that those of us in the public who seek to maintain traditional ethics and respect for human life assert our views very strongly.
The “theatre of operations” includes “civilian populations,” etc. Strategic advantage will come from cultural knowledge (p. 28). In the future, it’s important to have “better soldiers and more effective humans” (p. 29). Developments in science, including those related to the human domain, can give anyone “potentially devastating power” (p. 29).
“The modelisation of human dynamics” in Computational Social Science “will allow the use of knowledge from social sciences” to be related to the behaviour of “enemies or allies” (p. 32).
Social Sciences combined with Data Sciences / Systems Engineering (“Weber” methodology) (pp. 29-30) will be important in assisting “military analysts” to produce better intelligence for “decision-making.” The example given is about predicting the “behaviours of terrorist groups” (p. 30).
Comments: This method seems to be referring to Max Weber’s methodology:
See Search results
“Sociology, for Max Weber, is ‘a science which attempts the interpretive understanding of social action in order thereby to arrive at a causal explanation of its course and effects.’”
The Law Questions are raised as to “what extent international law can sufficiently respond to the legal challenges involved” with the new technology (p. 31). NATO needs to work at creating a “common understanding of how cognitive weapons” can be used in compliance with “international norms” (p. 31). “Full compliance with the rules and principles of LoAC [“Law of Armed Conflict”] is essential” (p. 31).
Information about the Law of Armed Conflict:
Explanation by Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_humanitarian_law:
“International humanitarian law (IHL), also referred to as the laws of armed conflict, is the law that regulates the conduct of war (jus in bello)”
Wikipedia lists a series of entities (with links to each topic) under the main heading and several sub-headings:
International Humanitarian Law (IHL)
Courts and Tribunals
- Nuremberg trials
- International Military Tribunal for the Far East
- International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
- International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
- International Court of Justice
- International Criminal Court
- Law of war
- Lieber Code
- Human shields
- War crimes
- Hague Conventions
- Geneva Conventions
- Third Geneva Convention
- Fourth Geneva Convention
- Protocol I
- Protocol II
- Protocol III
- Rome Statute
I believe the contents of the above chart was changed (as of March 8) unless I’m mistaken:
The “Principles” section was changed to “Violations” and just list the topic
- War Crimes
A final section was added: “Related areas of law” which includes:
- Law of war
- (jus ad bellum)
- International human rights law
- International criminal law
Related posts on international law:
Research into “human enhancement and cognitive weapons” is likely to be subject to “ethical and legal challenges.” These technologies could be used for “malicious purposes” (p. 31). It is important to recognize “potential side effects,” e.g., speech and “memory impairment,” “aggression, depression and suicide” (p. 31). It would be very serious if one of these devices undermined the ability of a “subject to comply with the law of armed conflict” (p. 31).
The “objective of Cognitive Warfare is to harm societies,” not just militaries (p. 32). This kind of warfare “requires a whole-of-government approach.” This means “coordination” between the military and “other levers of power” to “shape perceptions and control the narrative” (p. 32). CW also needs “sustained cooperation between Allies” “to ensure” “coherence” and “credibility” (p. 32).
Comment: To me this sounds a lot like how COVID-19 policies were implemented. This aspect of controlling the narrative was definitely planned in the 2019 “Event 201” pandemic exercise.
The Human Domain is “the sphere of interest in which strategies … can be designed … that, by targeting the cognitive capacities of individuals and/or communities … will influence their perception and tamper with their reasoning capacities, hence gaining control of their decision making, perception and behaviour levers …” (p. 33).
Reference is made to military doctrine and “establishing DOTMLPFI components upstream” (p. 34). Information about this can be found online (https://hubzonehq.com/about-hubzonehq/dotmlpfi-home/ and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DOTMLPF)
DOTMLPFI stands for:
The author calls for a “development analysis” to optimize the military for whatever is most likely. He also calls for ACT to do a deeper study, including for example, “different ethical systems” because of “ethical dissonance” (p. 35).
He refers to coming up with a “common agreed taxonomy (Cognitive Dominance / Superiority / Cognitive Center of Gravity etc.)” (p. 35).
Whether or not they refer to the identical concepts, I notice that these terms are found online:
Cognitive Center of Gravity
It is surprising to me that this military-like terminology is used in scientific and medical literature.
The author says that NATO needs to “thwart the cognitive efforts of” adversaries or else our “liberal societies” will “lose the next war” (p. 36).
Progress in NBIC [Nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive science] allow us to “extend propaganda and influencing strategies” (p. 36).
Comment: Note that the ‘N’ in NBIC stands for nanotechnology! I would note the description of one of the mRNA vaccines includes the following: “The nucleoside-modified messenger RNA … is formulated in lipid nanoparticles ….” (see Wikipedia article for “lipid nanoparticles”).
CW might “be the missing element that allows the transition from military victory” “to lasting political success.” Only the “human domain” can produce “the final and full victory.”
Comment: This sounds a lot like the “ultimate revolution” of Aldous Huxley. In his concept, conflict won’t be possible any longer because a scientific dictatorship will be fully in control of each human being.
There are quite a few books and information sources cited in the bibliography and end notes. I have listed only a few examples, mostly web articles. See the document for the main authors and books.
Online Collaboration with Johns Hopkins University is mentioned. I found an article on this topic written by Johns Hopkins University and Imperial College UK published at the NATO website: https://www.nato.int/docu/review/articles/2021/02/26/cognitive-biotechnology-opportunities-and-considerations-for-the-nato-alliance/index.html
Hackathon “Hacking the Mind”: Run by Dr. Kristina Soukupova and the Czech Republic Defense and Security Innovation Hub, October 2020. See https://www.hackthemind.cz/en/.
Comments: My observations on this web page: “We work closely with NATO…”
“The enemies of Euro-Atlantic civilisation are changing and growing stronger. Our society is becoming suicidally divided and atomized …”
Note the Gnostic way of dividing the world into good and evil from one of the partners, Ales Pospisil:
“We want to show the battlefield of the future and draw a sharp line between the world of good and the world of evil …”
Comment: in my view, it’s just not civilized in a traditional sense to talk that way about other nations and human beings. The point about atomization is true. The Oligarchy wants us to look at the world in this way, because their plan is similar to what is outlined in books like A Brief History of the Future by Jacques Attali.
A few of the other references:
Matt Chessen, The MADCOM Future: How AI will enhance computational propaganda, The Atlantic Council, Sep 2017