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It's a Christian issue: whether or not it's right for a government to secretly conduct experiments or other actions that can harm the public, or do major things with wide repercussions in secret.

Frequently it's not right. But it has happened.

Just recently, news arrived that the U.S. military -- a stronghold of secrecy (and often for understandable reasons) -- has developed an infrared laser "cannon" that "can strike down drones in seconds flat, officials demonstrated in a video simulation. In what could be a scene from 'Star Wars,' the video released Monday (4/9/13) by the Navy shows a large mobile laser gun lock target onto an unmanned drone and instantaneously shoot down the object, which explodes and falls to the sea."

Speaking of drones: there is concern that these -- along with all the surveillance cameras now used in North America and Western Europe, and the accessibility of personal computers to spy agencies -- could one day be used, without our knowing, against us. Warns Psalm 64:5: "They hold fast to themselves an evil purpose; They talk of laying snares secretly; They say, 'Who can see them?'"

It has happened in the past -- government operating secretly in a way that harmed citizens.

Start with experiments. There was the "Tuskagee Episode," during which hundreds of poor sharecroppers in the U.S. who had contracted syphilis and thought they were receiving free medical treatment were actually being studied for how the disease would progress untreated; they never received penicillin, even though it was available after the experiments began.

It was worse in Guatemala, where the government there allowed the U.S. to actually inject syphilis into prisoners, soldiers, and mental patients in order to study the effects.

That was in the 1940s; nearly seven hundred men and women were exposed to the disease without their informed consent (later treated when diseases manifested).

In South America, vaccines that had an added effect of preventing conception were administered by the American government -- and exposed by a Catholic organization, Comite Pro Vida de Mexico.

According to an investigative author, F. William Engdahl, the Rockefeller Foundation funded a program to develop a vaccine that caused abortions. This occurred "in the early 1990s, according to a report from the Global Vaccine Institute, when the World Health Organization oversaw massive vaccination campaigns against tetanus in Nicaragua, Mexico, and the Philippines."

Several years ago, in Europe, the World Health Organization acknowledged that "mock-up" vaccines containing an active ingredient for the flu virus -- one that has not circulated in years -- was included by a pharmaceutical company in a vaccine for another, more common virus in order "to shorten the time between the emergence of a pandemic virus and the availability of safe and effective vaccines." (In other words, as a way to hasten approval.)

Also, in recent times, a pharmaceutical company based in Deerfield, Illinois, reportedly was caught shipping live avian flu viruses mixed with vaccine material to medical distributors in 18 countries. 

That was claimed as a mistake, but there is apprehension about private and government motives when one recalls past alleged U.S. government experiments.

"In a 1977 special report to Congress, the U.S. Army admitted conducting hundreds of chemical and biological warfare tests, including at least twenty-five that deliberately targeted the unsuspecting public," asserts a website, Race and History. "The military disclosed evidence that it had released disease-causing germs in at least 48 open-air tests." 

"In 1994, Senator John D. Rockefeller's report (Examining Biological Experimentation on U.S. Military) further revealed that over the previous fifty years, the U.S. military intentionally exposed hundreds of thousands of their own soldiers to dangerous microbes, mustard and nerve gas, radiation, hallucinogens, and psychochemicals." 

Those are the claims. Whenever major events like 9/11 or now the Boston marathon bombing occur, many race to theories that it was all planned to enhance arguments for yet more surveillance. That's a stretch, but there are those who wonder why there were bomb-sniffing dogs at the finish line before the bomb went off -- indicating perhaps that the government knew what was going to occur (but is keeping it secret -- perhaps not to create panic). [Left, Navy seal with skull hat, as was also spotted, right, on hat of spectator with backpack at Boston Marathon; did government have hint of attack and sends Seals to detect radiation?] There may well be something to the idea that government at times hides terrorist activities so as not to inspire terrorists into more direct actions.

The crash of a jetliner off Long Island in 1996 comes to mind (a number of witnesses saw what seemed like a surface-to-air missile), as does the crash of an airliner into Queens right after September 11.

These were certainly not actions of our own government, but the events hardly seemed unrelated, and there have been plenty of previous whitewashes, some that did involve actions of our government in a manner at times surreptitious. In Viet Nam, there was the cover-up of Agent Orange.

This all comes to mind due to recent concerns that the government is spraying aluminum aerosols in the sky to reflect back sunlight and supposedly thus lessen warming.

Many make this claim; others fret about experiments ("HAARP") in electromagnetism.

Just this week, a Chinese colonel (perhaps absurdly) charged that the U.S. had bio-engineered a brand of bird flu that is now afflicting that country.

But -- again -- the public at large?

Here too there is evidence that on a small scale such has occurred.

In 1931, Rockefeller University in New York financed experiments in Puerto Rico whereby a doctor named Cornelius Rhoads  "deliberately infected his subjects with cancer cells to see what would happen," reports Engdahl.

Meanwhile, there have been suspicious outbreaks of "mad-cow" disease among deer and cattle near U.S. military facilities (where also strange cattle mutilations take place, as if something may have escaped and is being monitored among livestock by sampling tissues such as eyelids).

When swine flu erupted several springs ago, it bore DNA signatures that some saw as indications it had been bio-engineered.

And so those who worry about what is done in secret -- especially by government -- have certain justified concerns. Can it go too far? Are some conspiracy theories absurd? Yes. We must ask the Holy Spirit to shield us from paranoia. At the same time, in our strange time, vigilance is the price of liberty.

[resources: Spiritual Dangers of the Twenty-first Century and Retreats in Buffalo (5/4), Syracuse (5/5)]

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