by William Thomas
Hubris on this scale has not been seen since the Manhattan Project's top scientists warned that the world's first above ground nuclear reaction could ignite the entire atmosphere in a runaway chain-reaction. They detonated the device -- code-named Trinity -- at Almorgado, new Mexico anyway. Now US scientists drawing military pay are willing to take similar risks with HAARP.
Though there is compelling evidence that previous ionospheric experiments have gone awry (see "Woodpecker" sidebar), HAARP is hurrying ahead. Despite Congressional cancellation of the "Star Wars" program in 1995, funding continues to find its way into "compartmentalized" projects like HAARP. Begich notes that $30 million has been spent on HAARP's initial antenna array. Another $30 million was used to upgrade Alaska's Poker Flats rocket range for mapping magnetic field lines, and $25 million has been spent on a massive Cray computer to correlate HAARP data at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks.
The Ottawa-based Planetary Association for Clean Energy claims that Phase 1 testing of HAARP at one gigawatt effective radiated power has been underway since "initial tuning" began on December 14, 1994. Eschewing Eastlund's natural gas scheme, HAARP's military-corporate backers plan to shift from on-site generators to the local power grid. By the summer of 1996, Alaskan utility lines will supply enough power to begin the next phase of testing.
But there's a glitch. Begich reports that an expanded $175 million antenna array capable of focusing Phase 2's four gigawatts of radiated power has yet to be funded. Instead, the Alaskan MD explained in a series of interviews, $15 million has been included in the 1996 US defense budget to demonstrate underground scanning using HAARP.
The Earth Tomography Mission has become the "proof-of-concept" linchpin of the Alaska program. Its premise is simple. Once HAARP has heated a patch of the ionosphere, the resulting plasma "mirror" can be tilted to reflect energy beamed from a second transmitter deep into the Earth. A smaller ionospheric heater called HIPAS has been relocated from Colorado to Alaska especially for this task.
Seismologists routinely set off explosive charges to map oil and mineral deposits, much like a CAT scan. Long waves generated by the HAARP-HIPAS duo will also pass through the Earth's mantle with almost no resistance, allowing technicians to virtually "X-ray" hidden bunkers or missile silos up to eight kilometers underground.
The Earth Tomography Mission is considered so vital to US security, Begich believes that HAARP's full antenna array will be funded later this year. "After the Earth Tomography Mission is proven," he adds, "close to $200 million" will be appropriated by Congress for the Phase 2 transmitter upgrade in 1997.
HAARP's US Navy partner wants to use the HAARP-HIPAS combo to bounce Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) signals to submarines running deeply submerged 12,000 miles away. An earlier navy plan to send messages through the Earth would have seen 6,000 miles of antennas buried near Clam Lake, Wisconsin. Nearly half of the state would have been irradiated with high-power ELF radiation.
"But Senate protest mounted," write Cyril Smith and Simon Best in Electromagnetic Man, and the Clam Lake plan was scuttled after navy scientists found that a single day's exposure altered the blood chemistry in nine of the 10 technicians working on the transmitter. Besides exhibiting heart irregularities, the technicians had trouble doing simple addition.
Begich says that ELF waves reflected back to Earth from HAARP will cover a "footprint" of several thousand square miles with penetrating frequencies identical to human brainwaves. "HAARP could be significantly damaging to biological life," the MD warns, as our brainwaves become "entrained" or locked in-step with transmissions between 20 to 30 hertz. At these frequencies, Begich says, "you're agitating people."
The Air Force insists that HAARP's electromagnetic emissions will cause "no bio-effects." Eastlund concurs. "Some of the things that are talked about, as a scientist I'm not sure there's any foundation to them -- like mind control and things like that." What about weather modification? "I had looked at using this intense beam, which can be angled, to do some experiments in terms of guiding the jetstream, moving it from one spot to another," Eastlund admitted. "I presume it is possible, which might lend credence to these other things."
Eastlund was less sure that rearranging the ionosphere could cause a calamity. "You can certainly do things that will change the ionosphere," he said from his Texas home. "Then it becomes the burden of proof to see if it has deleterious effects on the ground. And some people speculate that it does. But (the ionosphere) is a pretty low energy density environment."
While grilling a steak at his backyard, Eastlund used a cooking analogy to illustrate HAARP's anticipated surface power level of one-watt per square centimeter. "You wouldn't be too worried about that, would you?" he asked. "You've got that in your microwave oven. You cook your turkey with it."
But who wants to be the turkey being microwaved?
There is no question that HAARP's high-power energy waves will pluck all living cells in range of its powerful beam, whipping brain and body molecules back-and-forth 20 or 30 times a second. Researchers in Finland, Poland, Russia and the US have seen how such stresses can tear up DNA blueprints at the instant of cell division - "particularly during pregnancy, early brain growth and old age," Becker points out.
Though the strength of electromagnetic waves falls off rapidly with distance from its source, US studies show that only a small increase in electromagnetic radiation transmitted in frequencies like HAARP's can cause human health problems. Manning finds little comfort in siting the Alaska transmitter away from cities. "We are concerned with what bounces back from the ionosphere," she says. Department of Defense consultant Robert Windsow warns that temperature inversions, or clear damp nights, could send HAARP's high-energy beams streaming back to Earth with "up to tenfold increase in field intensity."
Nobody knows what HAARP's human health effects will be. Not yet, anyway. And no biologists have been assigned to the project. Manning was not reassured to find that HAARP's Final Environmental Impact Statement had been prepared not by the US Environmental Protection Agency, but by the US Air Force and their seagoing partners. The October, 1993 study scrutinizes five gravel sources for cement. Some birds and fish would be disturbed by gravel removal, decided Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Installations), James Boatright. But activating HAARP at power levels 10-times higher than any transmitted on Earth will cause "no significant impacts to birds," "aquatics" or "the atmosphere," Boatright believes.
HAARP's inventor agrees. Sort of. "What is up there now is not in my opinion big enough to be concerned about," Eastlund said. "It has to be used judiciously but it's not the kind of power level that can do the stuff that's in my patents yet. But they're getting up there. This is a very powerful device. Especially if they go to the expanded stage."
The Air Force is not advertising its Phase 3 timetable. During a January, 1996 interview which CBC television's "Undercurrents", HAARP project manager John Hecksur denied the existence of Technical Memorandum 195, which outlines projected HAARP tests. This was interesting. Because paging through my own copy of the October, 1991 Technical Memorandum No. 195, I found on page 185 a call by the Ionospheric Effects Division of the US Air Force Phillips Laboratory for HAARP to reach a peak power output of 100 gigawatts.
At 10 gigawatts, Eastlund claims his ionospheric heater will form an "artificial magnetic field" about 10-fold greater than the field strength naturally occurring between the ground-based antenna and 50 kilometers altitude. At 100 billion watts effective radiated power, all environmental bets are off.
Bemused by blood and bone, we forget that we are electric beings. The brains and central nervous systems of all living creatures interact with their surroundings through measurable electronic frequencies. Besides enabling our brains to respond to these printed words, our bodies act as sensitive antennas to electromagnetic emissions from such everyday devices as TV sets, power lines, microwave ovens, electric blankets and cell phones.
But HAARP is no hair drier. Located near the Anchorage and Fairbanks airports, just 220 km from the Canadian border, its high-energy transmissions could raise havoc with radios, and the electronic navigation and control systems of passing aircraft. The official HAARP Fact Sheet admits that "interference with television, AM and FM radio, ham radios, cellular phone and/or satellite dishes possibly may be anticipated."
This does not make Gordon Crandall III happy about HAARP. After studying its planned operations schedule of 140 days per year over 20 years, the head of the US Commerce Department's Systems Review Branch wrote a report critical of the transmitter. Dated October, 1993, the paper notes that HAARP will interfere with the radio communications many Alaskans depend on instead of telephones. "Radiation hazards to aircraft crew and passengers and migratory waterfowl are (also) expected from such high-power transmitters, which aim at the ionosphere," Crandall added.
As Earth Island Journal editor Gar Smith and former ARCO accountant Clare Zickhur point out in the Fall, 1994 edition of EIJ, HAARP's increasingly powerful transmissions are already radiating through the heart of the Pacific Flyway. Migrating birds, as well as caribou and whales, could be severely disoriented, they warn.
So could salmon. University of Alaska geophysical researcher, Larry Gedney, believes that magnetite found in the brains of all living organisms acts as a biological compass, guiding salmon and other pelagic creatures home along Earth's magnetic field lines. In a letter asking the US EPA to halt the project, Alaskan Jim Roderick noted that "the fisheries that exist in proximity to the HAARP Project are the most productive in the State of Alaska."
Migrating critters may also have to contend with bad weather spawned by HAARP. But Eastlund is not convinced that unintended storms will be a by-product of those experiments. "When it gets up there and does things," he says, speaking of HAARP's directed energy beam, "the atmosphere's way down below it and it's not clear what effects those can have on the atmosphere."
What is clear is that a strong electrical coupling exists between the ionosphere and the lower atmosphere. As Dynamic Systems' Charles Yost told an International Aerospace and Ground Conference in 1992: "If the ionosphere is greatly disturbed, the atmosphere below is subsequently disturbed." Becker has demonstrated how harmonic resonance from high-energy transmissions causes charged particles to stream down into the atmosphere, forming ice crystals and precipitating rain clouds. As Begich reminds British Columbians: "Change Alaska weather and you know where it's going."
Is this legal? The Environmental Modification Convention -- ratified by the US in 1979 -- prohibits military use of environmental modification techniques. "In Alaska, many of us are not happy with the prospect of ARCO altering the Earth's neutral atmospheric properties," Charles Elok Edwardsen, Jr. wrote to President Clinton. "We do not want to be anyone's testing grounds as the Bikini Islands have been."
The Inupiat community elder has not been the only person writing about HAARP. When Nick Begich came through Seattle in September, 1994, Manning met him at Seatac airport. Each of them was carrying a stack of documents. Back-issues of Geophysical Quarterly, technical memoranda, HAARP-related patents, conference proceedings, interview transcripts and correspondence would soon grow to a stack over four-feet high. "It might as well be a book," Manning recalls telling Begich. "Would you like to collaborate?"
In early 1995, Nick took time off from work and they spread their HAARP-related files for 20 feet across the carpet in his Anchorage study. The resulting book became the dog-eared text for the anti-HAARP movement.
Why has Manning devoted so much energy to exposing HAARP? "Because I've heard this attitude of scientists that if we can do it, let's try it and see what happens," she told me. "And now they're dealing with a system that's so vital to life on this planet..." Manning paused. I just don't trust these guys. Their own documents brag about the fact that they don't know what will happen when they push it, as they put it, beyond the next level of effects in the ionosphere."
In September, 1995, Popular Science "broke" the HAARP story in popular print. Broadcasters have since come onboard with a rush. Besides CBC TV's "Undercurrents", the Fox network's "Sightings" and BBC television's "Horizons" aired HAARP segments in January and February, 1996. And Begich reports more than 3,000 hours of syndicated radio airtime have been devoted to HAARP since the book was published. "Opposition is building steadily," Begich said . "Going into the project, I didn't believe we'd stop it at all. They were too far into it to pull back. Now I'm not too sure."
For Begich, worldwide resistance to HAARP' is "an opportunity to change the paradigm," and redirect intellectual and material resources into life-enhancing technologies. Along with Jeane Manning and Jim Roderick, he is helping spearhead a worldwide electronic protest through faxes, phone calls and the Internet.
In November, 1995, Begich described HAARP at an "Alternative Medicines" conference in Sri Lanka. Delegates from 67 developing nations were astonished, then angered by what they saw as yet another example of the West's reckless disregard for the planet. Three months later, the Alaskan medical doctor persuaded Alaska's governor to read Angels Don't Play This HAARP. Begich has also begun meeting with lawyers for environmental lobbyists to plan legal strategies aimed at blocking further HAARP transmissions.
In March, 1996, 3,000 people from around the planet gathered at the Environmental Law College in Eugene, Oregon to hear Manning talk on HAARP. Speaking from her Vancouver home after meeting a few weeks later with concerned physicists in Utah, Manning expressed the hope it can be stopped.
That hope was bolstered on April 2, 1996 when the Alaska state legislature's Committee on State Affairs met for a two-hour hearing on HAARP. While Air Force press officers took the opportunity to attack Manning and Begich, physicists Richard Williams and Patrick Flanagan verbally dismantled HAARP.
Nick Begich was jubilant. He told Manning that he was sure more hearings will be held. The Alaska medical researcher is also hopeful that a legislative oversight committee comprising concerned citizens and scientists will be struck to oversee the experiment.
Begich wants a biologist on that committee. And Manning is optimistic that concerned and credible scientists from the US, Mexico and Europe will soon step forward to voice their public opposition to HAARP. "It's really important that Canadians contact their political representatives and have them speak out," Manning said. If an alerted citizenry can switch HAARP off, the US Air Force's "wild blue yonder" might turn out to be not so wild after all.
I first heard the "Woodpecker's" distinctive chirping on my shortwave receiver in 1976. As Lowell Ponte explained in Gallery magazine: "Drawing on theories developed by Nikola Tesla, the Soviets tried to coordinate radio impulses to manipulate Earth's magnetic field in the ionosphere. By warping the high-altitude jetstream, the Soviets hoped to reverse a 36 year cooling trend" and a serious of disastrous crop failures.
Soon after Soviet engineers switched on seven big transmitters near a place called Chernobyl, the jetstream kinked dramatically. As its weather-forming winds bent into an unfamiliar configuration, Becker in Cross Currents, and Cyril Smith and Simon Best in Electromagnetic Man describe how Alaskans basked in unseasonable winter warmth. Snow fell for the first time in Miami and the Bahamas, and winter turned out to be remarkably mild across the USSR.
Encouraged by their "success," the Soviets renewed their efforts. In 1978, a spectacular hurricane nearly sunk my boat a hundred miles off the California coast. Towns were flooded ashore and cliffside dwellings washed into the sea. Smith and Best report that record cold temperature fell across the eastern seaboard, along with the heaviest snowfalls in living memory.
"The Soviet experiment got out of control," Dr. Andrew Michrowski recalled in the April 19, 1990 Vancouver Sun. As the Tesla expert who worked for Canada's Secretary of State explained: "They created these giant changes in the Earth's magnetic field, but then they could not dissipate the standing waves."
According to US Air Force Lt. Colonel Tom E. Bearden, Woodpecker ended disastrously in 1981, when a runaway resonance effect blew up the Soviet's ELF transmitter at Gomel near Chernobyl.