DNA - The organic database that makes life possible. Have you ever wondered what your DNA says about you?

Wired Magazine’s website features several articles from the December 2007 issue about the new era of genome research: Genomics. The feature story is about the company 23andMe who will decode your genes for $1,000 US. Here’s the link to 23andMe’s site.

In addition, Wired has several related articles including a genome timeline, information about the writer’s genome, an open-source genetic engineering kit in development, and news of a genetic non-discrimination bill.


A closer look at yourself. Really. The process sounds simple enough: Order a sample kit, spit into the vial, send it back, they scan it, calculate your genetic risk factors, and they’ll let you log into their site to see what they’ve found. It makes for an interesting way to discover what your chromosomes say about what you are… and what may happen to you in the future. Currently, the cost and technology only gives you a strategic genotyping scan of 500,000 of your 3 billion base-pairs, but the results can affect your future in ways you may not (yet) realize.

What cancers will you get? Will you succumb to Alzheimer’s? Are you resistant to AIDS, bird flu, or high cholesterol? How long will you live? Will you develop the ability to fart lasers? Are you a woman trapped in a man’s body?


Linda Avey (L) and Anne Wojcicki, founders of 23andMe. Give them a k and they’ll scan your DNA.

These type of genetic questions are what the curious-about-themselves would like to answer. Unfortunately, they’re not the only ones who would like to “know more about you.”


Enter the Health Gestapo… and Genetic Discrimination. The results of your genetic scan can be beneficial by creating specialized drugs that can work with your genes to make you healthy. There can be some not-so-beneficial problems arising from the results. Health insurance carriers may insist on having genotyping done before insuring someone… unless they are forced to pay for it, but what the insurers can save by not insuring “genetically defective” people can offset those costs.

That can lead to the problem of genetic discrimination, the segregation of people due their genotypes. Imagine entire populations being denied health care because of “bad genes,” only allowing those with “good genes” to grow healthy and strong and reproduce. [”Master Race” and Nazi genetic experiment reference goes here.] There is a genetic nondiscrimination bill in Congress to prevent such crap, but it is being held up in Senate by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Oklahama) who claims it leaves employers vulnerable to liability:

An internal memo obtained Thursday from Coburn’s office said the senator’s make-or-break objection was the possibility that an employer who provides health insurance for its workers could be sued both as an insurer and as an employer. That means employers could be hit for much higher damages than insurers.

Another major problem: What if your genetic information falls into the wrong hands? Could they use that information against you? After all, DNA can be described as very personal information:

Wojcicki (one of the founders of 23andMe) is onto something when she describes our genome as simply information. Already, we calibrate our health status in any number of ways, every day. We go to the drugstore and buy an HIV test or a pregnancy test. We take our blood pressure, track our cholesterol, count our calories. Our genome is now just one more metric at our disposal. It is one more factor revealed, an instrument suddenly within reach that can help us examine, and perhaps improve, our lives.

Unfortunately, Google and Microsoft want that metric in their databases as they are now competing in tracing your medical history… and genome. 23andMe is partially funded by Google, who invested some $3.9 million for the start-up. In case you haven’t heard, Google was reported as having “comprehensive consumer surveillance and entrenched hostility to privacy.”


How to trade your bad genes for good ones. From the Wired article Genetic-Engineering Competitors Create Modular DNA Dev Kit:

College and high school students are helping MIT scientists develop an open source development kit for biological systems that could do for cells what Linux has done for computers.

As part of the International Genetically Engineered Machines competition held in Cambridge, Massachusetts, last week, Peking University students created tiny assembly lines out of bacteria. Their entry, “Towards a Self-Differentiated Bacterial Assembly Line,” won them the grand prize among 50 teams from around the world.

The idea is to create “genetic Legos” that can be used to crate chemicals, but this could be easily adapted for “human genetic improvement.” Being open source, it certainly sounds like a viable alternative to black-market genetic engineers to correct your genetic defects. That may happen if genetic discrimination becomes reality, as people will look to correct the “genetic defects” discovered in their genotype.


More twisted than a double-helix. This is the kind of stuff that could give one fits. Some may never go down that road unless they’re forced kicking and screaming. Some will go willingly, only to be scared shitless by their results and hole themselves up in a bunker for the rest of their lives afraid of fulfilling their “genetic destiny.” Others may try to change that destiny.

Go go down that road, though, you will need to pay the toll. One grand, please…

This post has been filed under Cyberpunked living, News as Cyberpunk by Mr. Roboto.

November 11, 2007

The Secret Government: The Constitution in Crisis

WARNING: The following blog contains information that the Powers That Be do not want disclosed. Cyberpunk Review cannot be held liable for appearances of unmarked vans or black helicopters around one’s residence, readers being blocked from accessing our site, or visits from the Men in Black resulting from reading this blog. Reader discretion… and a full-body Faraday-cage suit… is advised.



“The Secret Government is an interlocking network of official functionaries, spies, mercenaries, ex-generals, profiteers and superpatriots, who, for a variety of motives, operate outside the legitimate institutions of government. Presidents have turned to them when they can’t win the support of the Congress or the people, creating that unsupervised power so feared by the framers of our Constitution. Just imagine that William Casey’s dream came true. Suppose the enterprise grew into a super-secret, self-financing, self-perpetuating organization. Suppose they decided on their own to assassinate Gorbachev or the leader of white South Africa. Could a President control them and what if he became the enterprise’s public enemy Number One? Who would know? Who would say no?”


I first heard these words during a Mental- Escher Cyberpunk Radio podcast. Out of curiosity, I searched the net and found the source: A PBS broadcast of a Bill Moyers report about a shadow-group who have been secretly influencing American policy and society in the name of “national security.” This show sounds like it was done recently during the Duh’bya regime, but SURPRISE, The Secret Government came out in 1987! It was released just after the Iran-Contra hearings, yet still holds relevance today as our own “government” continues the trend of secrecy in the name of “national security.”

There are two versions of this video out on the net: The full 90-minute version on Google Video and a 20-minute YouTube version. The full version is also available for download via torrent.

If you do a websearch, you will find numerous links to the videos, along with additional information, excerpts of the short version, the short version split into two parts, a book based on the piece (excerpts here), and even theories about who is at least part of “The Secret Government.” You may want to add the phrase “The Constitution in Crisis” or “PBS” when searching to filter out UFO conspiracies.


The Beginning of The End. The downward spiral started with the passing of the National Security Act of 1947, leading to the creation of a National Security Council… and the shadowy secret government of the Central Intelligence Agency.

The CIA was tasked with gathering foreign intelligence, then to take on covert operations in an effort to combat Communism, which America of the time saw a threat. Any hint of communism would be enough to trigger the CIA into action… and in 1953 Iran, they took action. The legitimate leader wanted to nationalize the oil fields, which were run by British companies. But Washington thought this was the first step to communism, so the CIA took action… bribing the army, police, and mobs to drive the Iranian Prime Minister out, and replacing him with the Shah, even training and arming his secret police. This allowed American companies to take control of the oil fields, and the British got screwed.

Seeing their success in Iran, the CIA went on to attempt other coups: Guatemala in 1954 (whose legitimate leader nationalized over a million acres of land over the objections of the United Fruit Company), Cuba, Korea, Vietnam, Lebanon, …practically every hotspot in the world was created by the CIA’s covert actions in the name of “national security.”

Not all of the CIA’s operations can be called successful; the Bay of Pigs, Ayatollah Khomeni, Ten years of Vietnam quagmire, … Yet, the CIA still continues to operate “behind the throne” without any real oversight or restrictions to keep them in check. Even after the fall of communism, the CIA was still in full effect, looking to expand their powers, and looking for any “enemy” to go after.

They would get their wish in 2001. Some say they let the events of 9/11 happen to justify their plans for an American police-surveillance state, and perpetuating the war-driven economy they have come to depend on for the past sixty years.


A rose by any other name… Ironically, the Secret Government may have been outed as early as 1961 by outgoing president Dwight D. Eisenhower in his farewell address:

A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction…

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Being a former General, Eisenhower was aware of the dangers of a war-driven society and government. But it wouldn’t be until 1975 when the Secret Government/Military-Industrial Complex would be investigated. There, they would learn of such CIA activities as deals with the Mafia, poisons, drugs, and the overthrowing of legitimate governments.

Recently, ZDNet’s Robin Harris blogged about his opinion of net neutrality while creating a new term for the MIC of the information age: the Governmental-Communications complex. He cites Qwest’s CEO’s “legal” problem when he refused to go along with the government’s post-9/11 domestic invasion-of-privacy program.


Who else is part of The Secret Government? While the CIA has been confirmed as a member of the “enterprise”, there has been some speculation (read: conspiracy theories) about who else is part of the shadow sect. One group to consider is FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, who have powers via “Executive Orders” like the ability to move entire populations, seize whatever they need or want, and even cancel the Constitution if needed. Here’s what a couple of people found out about FEMA.

There can be others who can considered part of the Secret Government, whether directly or indirectly: AT&T, Apple, The Federal Reserve, the oil companies, the health and drug cartels, the auto industry, the popular media factory, and don’t forget about the Blackwater mercenary corps!


The Power of The Secret Government.

… the secret government had also waged war on the American people. The hearings examined a long train of covert actions at home, from the bugging of Martin Luther King by the FBI under Kennedy and Johnson to gross violations of the law and of civil liberties in the 1970s. They went under code names such as Chaos, Cable Splicer, Garden Plot, and Leprechaun. According to the hearings, the secret government had been given a license to reach, as journalist Theodore White wrote, all the way to every mailbox, every college campus, every telephone, and every home.

Sound familiar yet? Just add the Internet and “every computer.” And it may not even be limited to domestic spying, either. There have been conspiracy theories linking the Secret Government to the assassinations John Kennedy and even Martin Luther King, Jr. If they have the capacity to assassinate or ruin foreign leaders, why not troublesome citizens. As for telling the truth, forget it. As long as they see “enemies” here and abroad, they are going to try to keep their secrets in the name of “national security,” including suppressing the TRUTH and crating a virtual reality for the media and news outlets to spew on the masses (ask Dan Rather).

Imagine the following: Two presidents tell lies. One lies about having an affair with an intern, the other lies about a foreign nation, whose leader may have been installed by the Secret Government, developing nuclear weapons and starts a war that mirrors Vietnam. The adulterous president faces impeachment, while the warmonger president openly violates the Constitution using the “national security” blanket to justify his criminal actions, but is not facing any charges and now wants immunity for his co-conspirators. Secret Government at work? No? Here’s a clue to consider: A lie about a blowjob didn’t kill 4000 American soldiers or thousands of Iraqi citizens.


Can it happen again? You bet it can!

The apparatus of secret power remains intact in a huge White House staff operating in the sanctuary of presidential privilege. George Bush (senior) has already told the National Security Council to take more responsibility for foreign policy which can of course be exercised beyond public scrutiny. And a lot of people in Washington are calling for more secrecy, not less, including more covert actions. This is a system easily corrupted as the public grows indifferent again, and the press is seduced or distracted. So one day, sadly, we are likely to discover once again that while freedom does have enemies in the world it can also be undermined here at home, in the dark, by those posing as its friends.


Those are the closing words of the short version by Bill Moyers. Prophetic? If not, you must have been born recently, or been asleep since 2001.

Just watch the videos, and I won’t blame you if you want to hide in your bunker, or take up arms for a revolution. Remember: No fate but what you make.

This post has been filed under Internet Find, Made for TV, Documentary, News as Cyberpunk by Mr. Roboto.

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