A 15-month investigation by the Guardian and BBC Arabic reveals how retired US colonel James Steele, a veteran of American proxy wars in El Salvador and Nicaragua, played a key role in training and overseeing US-funded special police commandos who ran a network of torture centres in Iraq. Another special forces veteran, Colonel James Coffman, worked with Steele and reported directly to General David Petraeus, who had been sent into Iraq to organise the Iraqi security services.
As neuroscientists decipher the workings of the brain, new questions will be raised about decoding memories, ascertaining intentions and defusing criminal behaviour. What if neuro-evidence is invited into the courtroom?
Join an in-depth discussion that explores the possible, plausible and probable impacts of neuroscience disrupting the justice system.
This session was developed in partnership with TIME.
· Nita A. Farahany, Professor, Law and Philosophy, Duke University, USA.
· Jack Gallant, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of California, Berkeley, USA.
· Brian Knutson, Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, Stanford University, USA.
· Sam Muller, Director, Hague Institute for the Internationalisation of Law, Netherlands.
Moderated by Rana Foroohar, Assistant Managing Editor, Business and Economics, Time Magazine, USA.
Although people around the world are becoming increasingly aware of the United States’ global geography of surveillance, covert action, and other secret programs, much of this landscape is invisible in our everyday lives.
The drone war, for example, seems to happen “somewhere else” while surveillance programs take place among the (largely) invisible infrastructures and digital protocols of the internet and other communications networks. Moreover, the state agencies responsible for secret programs strive to make them as invisible as possible. In this talk, artist Trevor Paglen discusses his work attempting to “see” the various aspects of the secret state. In examples ranging from tracking spy satellites to foraging through the bureaucratic refuse of CIA front companies, Paglen will discuss methods used to identify and exploit structural contradictions in classified programs which render them visible, and comment on the aesthetics and politics of attempting to “see” secrecy.
The internet, GPS, voice recognition programs like Siri – many of the technologies that we use today were developed with national security in mind. These inventions and many others began as projects of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Defense Department’s secretive military research agency. For more than fifty years, DARPA has held to a singular and enduring mission: to make pivotal investments in breakthrough technologies for national security. The genesis of that mission and of DARPA itself dates to the Cold War and the launch of Sputnik in 1957, and a commitment by the United States that it would be the initiator and not the victim of strategic technological surprises. Working with innovators inside and outside of government, DARPA has repeatedly delivered on that mission, transforming revolutionary concepts and even seeming impossibilities into practical capabilities. The ultimate results have included not only game-changing military capabilities such as precision weapons and stealth technology, but also major innovations in modern civilian society.
How do they do it? What makes this military organization such fertile ground for invention? What technologies with useful daily applications have failed to enter into civilian use? Can Silicon Valley learn from DARPA, or vice versa? Drawing on extensive interviews, declassified memos and inside sources, investigative journalist Annie Jacobsen will share insights into this top-secret organization.
Speaker Annie Jacobsen is an Investigative Journalist and Author [of The Pentagon’s Brain: An Uncensored History of DARPA, America’s Top-Secret Military Research Agency].
The conversation is moderated by Andrew Becker, Reporter, The Center for Investigative Reporting.