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Blast from the pastRorschach test for terrorists

Published 21 April 2011

DHS wanted to test a Russian mind-reading technology which worked, more or less, like a Rorschach test for terrorists; developers of the method insisted that the technique was sound and objective; it is not clear what happened with the research work and whether or not it has yielded any practical results; neither the agency nor the institute contracted to do the work issued follow-up information

One if the images used in Institute testing // Source: wired.com

The Department of Homeland Security’s determination to leave no stone unturned in its quest to secure the nation can sometimes lead it to some odd places.

One of the oddest is a circular, windowless room near the end of a Moscow subway line that houses the test chamber of the Psychotechnology Research Institute.

Back in September of 2007, Wired.com reported that DHS was pressing forward with testing of the mind-reading method by awarding a sole-source contract to investigate its effectiveness. In May of that year, DHS had announced plans conduct the first U.S.-government sponsored testing of SSRM Tek.

The research center, directed by the grandmotherly Elena Rusalkina, stressed the technology’s objectivity. “We worked out a program with (a psychiatric facility) to study criminals. There’s no way to falsify the results. There’s no subjectivism,” she insisted. She maintained that the system was ideal for use in airports and other travel hubs, because of its evaluative speed.

The institute is the research center for SSRM Tek, acronym for Semantic Stimuli Response Measurements Technology, a method that that reportedly tested a subject’s involuntary response to subliminal messages.

Presented as an innocent computer game, a test subject sat before a monitor as a range of apparently scrambled subliminal images flashed across a computer display. In response, the subject pressed a button. The cumulative selections made by the tested individual would indicate whether or not there should be further investigation.

Rusalkina is the widow of the late Igor Smirnov, the controversial Russian scientist often portrayed in the media as having Rasputin-like persuasive powers. Smirnov has long been considered the “father” of Russian psychotronic, or mind-control weapons.

In the West, mind-control is generally considered to be safely in the realm of tin-foil-hatted conspiracy theorists, but in the now-defunct Soviet Union, it was considered to be a legitimate area of research and development.

Smirnov, who died in 2004, was consulted by the FBI during the Branch Davidian stand-off in Waco, Texas in 1993. His suggestion was to broadcast the equivalent of pig squeals into the compound to persuade David Koresh and his followers to surrender.

The FBI was put off by his unorthodox approach to resolving the stand-off, and dismissed his suggestion.

Since the initial announcement by DHS of intent to grant the evaluation contract, no word has been released concerning the evaluation, the contract, the results, or, for that matter, any other aspect of the matter.

HSNW’s extensive research has been unable to uncover any information on developments related to the project since the contract announcement. There have been no statements about SSRM from any source.

Inquiring minds want to know: We wonder whether any of our readers would have knowledge of what happened with the research work the contract called for, and whether or not that work has yielded any results.

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