Artificial manipulation of the climate is nothing new. During the Vietnam war, the US military used cloud seeding techniques to cause torrential rain and disrupt enemy supply lines. Last month, Chinese media reported that the Communist party was preparing 'rain-prevention techniques' to be used on the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics this year.
But some experts believe that new technology can enable governments to manipulate climate patterns globally for military use. Extreme weather patterns in recent years, such as record numbers of hurricanes, floods and droughts across the world, may have been the result of such technology being tested, they claim. Without concrete evidence to support them, such claims to many remain little more than a hot topic for conspiracy theorists.
But there are things about the various atmospheric research projects run by the US
military that that do not stack up. The High-Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) based in Gokona, Alaska, an array of transmitters pointed toward the sky, is claimed to be a scientific
endeavour for studying the properties and behaviour of the upper atmosphere (ionosphere). It consists of an 'Ionospheric Research Instrument', which fires a beam of
energy at the upper atmosphere, and a series of other antenna for monitoring changes. But to many the project resembles a 'death ray' with all the hallmarks of a James
Bond film. Canadian economist and policy adviser Dr Michel Chossudovsky calls it a "weapon of mass destruction". The project is funded by the U.S. airforce and navy,
and on its website claims that a key purpose is to "enhance communications and surveillance systems for both civilian and defence purposes" The idea is to magnify
communications signals so they can be received by receivers on submarines and underground bunkers. But, according to some, the facility also possesses the capability
to knock out communications in a wide area of the world, by making modifications to the ionosphere. If the facility has been used for this purpose it is doubtful that
we would ever find out.
In 1977 the U.S. was signatory to an international convention which banned "military or other hostile use of environmental modification techniques having widespread,
long-lasting or severe effects". It defined "environmental modification techniques" as "any technique for changing, through the deliberate manipulation of natural processes, the dynamics, composition or structure of the earth, including its biota, lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere, or of outer space". However, according to
Dr Choussudovsky, the scientific establishment has since been mute on the possibility that unusual weather patterns may have arisen from artificial manipulation. "This
is one of the most powerful weapons in the world but no-one mentions it at the policy level. This has potentially devastating consequences for the environment, yet no
one dares to raise it when they meet on the global climate agenda. "This is a weapon of mass destruction in the truest sense of the word. It could be used to interfere
with the climate in a wide area without anyone knowing anything about it."
According to radiation expert Dr Rosalie Bertell, HAARP has the facility for disrupting weather patterns. She said: "I believe that this is an attempt to influence
the course of the Vapor Rivers [streams of vapour carried in the lower atmosphere], five each in the northern and southern hemisphere, which bring rain from the tropics
into the temperate zones. "The course of these rivers, when changed, can cause drought or flooding. It is also likely that the HAARP manipulations of the ionosphere can
influence the shape of the jet streams, which in turn have effects on temperature and local weather patterns."
Her research is corroborated by Nick Begich, an author and associate of Dr Bernard Eastlund, one of the figures behind the creation of HAARP. According to Dr Choussudovsky, he owned a patent (US No: 4,686,605) entitled "Method and Apparatus for Altering a Region in the Earth's Atmosphere, Ionosphere and/or Magnetosphere", under a contract with Atlantic Ritchfield Corporation (ARCO), whose subsidiary Advanced Power Technologies Inc (APTI), completed the first stage of the HAARP project. The Epoch Times was unable to officially verify the ownership of the patent.
There has however been little official indication that HAARP is to be used for
military purposes. Conspiracy theorists point to an extract from the Air University of the US Air Force, AF 2025 Final Reportí¬a fanciful document of future technologiesí
as evidence. It reads: "U.S. aerospace forces [will] 'own the weather' by capitalizing on emerging technologies and focusing development of those technologies to
war-fighting applications ...
From enhancing friendly operations or disrupting those of the enemy via small-scale tailoring of natural weather patterns to complete dominance of global communications and counterspace control, weather-modification offers the war fighter a wide-range of possible options to defeat or coerce an adversary." However it is doubtful that the document, readily available online, carries any official indication of current policy. A spokesman for the U.S. department for Defence was unavailable to comment on the accusation at the time of going to print.