by The Daily Express
The Daily Express (U.K.) - 2005-07-16
October 8, 2005
The huge mushroom cloud soared skywards, the
captain was gripped by fear, believing his plane was about to be engulfed by
the fall-out from a nuclear explosion.
After declaring mayday and ordering his crew to
don oxygen masks, the experienced pilot had the presence of mind to record
that the cloud measured an estimated 200 miles in diameter and was tipped by
an eerie light, like nothing he had seen before. Eventually, it soared
harmlessly into the atmosphere, leaving the passenger jet to continue safely
on its journey from Anchorage, in Alaska, to Tokyo.
But far below, a fleet of fishing boats trawling the sea between Japan and
the Soviet Union was drenched by a violent but short-lived downpour before
the weather suddenly cleared. Nuclear tests and volcanic activity were later
ruled out but scientists concluded that this was not a natural phenomenon.
More than two decades later suspicion still
exists that the stunned airline crew and fishermen in 1973 were witnessing a
sinister Cold War experiment, in which water from the Sea of Japan was blown
into the air to create clouds and rain.
British government papers, just released by the National Archives, show that
throughout the Seventies there was deep mistrust between the two superpowers
over environmental warfare.
The documents reveal that both the US, which led
the field, and the Soviet Union had secret military programs with the goal
of controlling the world's climate.
"By the year 2025 the United States will own
the weather, " one scientist is said to have boasted.
Since then, a United Nations treaty has been
signed which bans environmental warfare, such as causing earthquakes,
melting the polar ice caps and altering climate.
But some experts believe that clandestine work
to create the ultimate weapon of mass destruction continues.
These claims are dismissed by skeptics as wild conspiracy theories and the
stuff of James Bond movies but there is growing evidence that the boundaries
between science fiction and fact are becoming increasingly blurred. The
Americans now admit that they invested L12million over five years during the
Vietnam war on "cloud seeding" - deliberately creating heavy rainfall to
wash away enemy crops and destroy supply routes on the Ho Chi Minh trail, in
an operation codenamed Project Popeye.
It is claimed that rainfall was increased by a third in targeted areas,
making the weather-manipulation weapon a success. At the time, government
officials said the region was prone to heavy rain.
However this sort of rain-making experiment was nothing new. In Britain, it
has been alleged that before the devastating Lynmouth floods in Devon in
1952, the RAF had been conducting secret rain-making tests. Aircraft
showered clouds with silver iodide, on which water droplets formed, became
heavy and eventually fell to the ground as rain. In the next 12 hours nine
inches of rain fell - 250 times the normal amount for August - and 35 people
Former North Devon MP Tony Speller, then a 22-year-old soldier who
helped in the relief effort, sought answers from the MoD.
"I have no doubt they were seeding in the
area because there were RAF log books to prove it, " he says now. "Of
course the MoD denied any knowledge but that is not to say it did not
Speller, now 76, adds:
"I doubt we will ever know the truth."
Early work on climate control was crude and
unpredictable but it is claimed that both the Americans and Russians
continued to experiment behind closed doors even after the UN ban in the
mid-Eighties, and both now possess sophisticated systems which are capable
of controlling the weather - with potentially devastating results.
In the US, the technology was developed under the high-frequency active
auroral research program (HAARP)
- originally part of Ronald Reagan's controversial Star Wars defence system.
Based in Gokoma, Alaska, the weapon operates by beaming powerful radio waves
into the upper atmosphere to alter weather patterns. Some experts claim the
system is already up and running, while others say it won't be ready for
another 20 years.
Michel Chossudovsky, professor of economics at the University of
Ottawa in Canada, who has studied official military documents about HAARP,
is in no doubt that the weapon is ready.
"There are very clear statements by the US
Air Force to the effect that weather modification technology is
available. HAARP will be fully operational by next year and could be
used in actual military situations, " he says.
The Ultimate Weapon of Mass
"To claim this system has any nonmilitary purposes is twisting the
truth. I don't think there are any peaceful applications - it is a
weapon of mass destruction, capable of major climatic disturbance. Part
of the beauty is that the enemy might never know that a weapon had been
used. I believe the UN agreement is certainly being violated."
He claims that at least one British firm has
been involved in its development.
"It is time people began focusing on these
weapons instead of concentrating solely on global warming, "
Chossudovsky adds. "Both are a serious threat."
The Russians are thought to have their own
"weather steering" system, called
Woodpecker, involving the transmission of
low-frequency waves which are capable of disrupting the atmosphere and
altering the path of the jet stream. It is claimed that a prolonged drought
in California in the Eighties was caused by the blocking of warm, moist air
for many weeks.
According to Damian Wilson, a physicist with the Met Office,
controlling climate is a reality but not a precise science.
"Clearing fog by dropping dry ice into
clouds is a proven technique which has been around for decades, " he
"Large amounts of research have been
invested in seeding clouds to generate rain and it is done in countries
where there are water shortages. The problem is that it is unpredictable
and you need clouds to start with. The technology does not exist to make
rain fall from clear blue skies so it cannot be used in the desert to
end droughts and famines."
Wilson believes it is possible to alter the
course of a hurricane, which could have enormous life-saving potential. The
current mayhem in the Caribbean and America's Eastern seaboard also shows
what a destructive weapon a well-targeted storm could prove.
The Americans used cloud seeding to try to control a hurricane in 1947 but
the tactic backfired when it picked up strength and hit Savannah, Georgia.
It is known that the US carried out further hurricane-manipulation
experiments between 1962 and 1983, under the codename Project Stormfury,
after it was calculated that a single hurricane contained as much energy as
all the world's power stations combined.
More recent projects have involved pouring tens
of thousands of gallons of vegetable oil on to the sea.
"Hurricanes gather their strength from the
warm sea surface, " says Wilson.
"By spreading a large film of oil on the sea
it would reduce the intensity by cooling the surface. In theory it is
possible to change the path of the hurricane this way. It would not
surprise me if military research into controlling the weather goes on.
As we suffer more summer droughts in the south-east of England I would
also expect to see pressure for cloud seeding to be introduced in this
It is not just the weather that has attracted
the attention of the military.
Scientists have also researched ways of
triggering earthquakes. By setting off small quakes, pressure
could be released and a disaster averted. But military scientists believe it
is also possible to direct powerful energy beams into vulnerable fault
zones, causing the Earth's plates to shift, creating a massive earthquake.
Along fault lines beneath the oceans, the same technology could be used to
launch devastating tsunamis.
Part of the problem in banning experiments involves agreeing a definition of
what environmental warfare is. It has been argued that the famous
Dambusters mission during the Second World War, when bouncing bombs were
used to flood the German industrial heartland, were a form of environmental
Half a century later, the threat is still being taken sufficiently
Former US defense secretary William Cohen warns:
"Terrorists are engaging even in an eco-type
of terrorism whereby they can alter the climate, set off earthquakes and
volcanoes remotely through the use of electromagnetic waves. It's real,
and that's the reason why we have to intensify our efforts."
Owen Greene, director of research at
Bradford University's department of Peace Studies, believes efforts are
continuing in secret to develop weapons that harness nature.
"There is so much money within the Pentagon
that it would surprise me if they were not looking into it, " he says.
"I suspect it is going on in both the US and
Russia. You can't stop people researching the weather. As for
earthquakes, you don't even need to spend money on active military
programs because there is so much other work going on which could easily
be adapted. Some of the ideas are quite credible."
Another defense source says: "
The risk is that by fooling around with
nature, we may unleash irreversible damage and change our entire
Despite these stark warnings, such is the
immense power of nature, it seems inevitable that Man will continue to play