In a black spruce forest north of Alaska's Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, a bristling array of antennas rises into the air. It looks like a cable television station, but it's something far more ominous: the military's semi-secret High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP), designed to give the Pentagon strategic control over the upper atmosphere.
HAARP, slated for final completion in 2002, sends out a focused and steerable electromagnetic (EM) beam that can superheat and actually lift sections of the ionosphere - the electrically charged upper layer of our atmosphere lying 40 to 500 miles above the Earth's surface. The EM waves are targeted to bounce back to Earth from "virtual" mirrors and lenses, created by warming specific areas of the ionosphere until they produce a flat or curved shape, capable of strategically redirecting significant amounts of electromagnetic energy.
According to a Joint Services Planning Document issued by the Air Force and Office of Naval Research, HAARP's uses include: "providing communication to deeply submerged submarines," "geophysical probing," "control[ling] the properties of radio waves," and "generat[ing] mirrors which can be exploited for long-range, over-the-horizon surveillance purposes, including the detection of cruise missiles."
Other military documents point out HAARP's potential for altering weather patterns for defensive tactical measures, exploring Earth-penetrating tomography (used to locate weapons facilities underground) and geophysical probing for natural resources like oil, mineral deposits and gas.
Dr. Nick Begich, author of Angels Don't Play This HAARP, warns that the consequences of the military's experiment are more serious than mere tampering with the ionosphere. "Energy in certain frequencies when reaching the outermost portions of the ionosphere can be amplified up to 1,000 times by natural processes. A serious environmental disaster (such as geoelectric storms, hurricanes or floods) may well be the result," Begich cautions.
HAARP's inventor, Bernard Eastlund, says there's no cause for concern - yet. "What's up there now is not, in my opinion, big enough to be concerned about. 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."
Stage III of Eastlund's patent is a considerable expansion incorporating HAARP's military defense goals: 360 antennas together reaching 1.7 gigawatts (1,700,000,000 watts) of power, enabling HAARP to alter a significant portion of the ionosphere, and create a virtual mirror theoretically capable of astounding defensive feats.
HAARP first gained attention in 1993 when the Federal Aviation Administration began advising commercial pilots about the large amounts of electromagnetic radiation that HAARP could generate, possibly interrupting pilot communication and electronic instrumentation.
Gar Smith of the San Francisco-based Earth Island Institute says that the environment will also suffer under HAARP. "HAARP's powerful radiation beam could pose a problem for migratory birds because the transmitter stands in the path of the critical Pacific Flyway. In addition, HAARP's ability to generate strong magnetic fields could conceivably interfere with the migration of birds, marine life and Arctic animals that are known to rely on the Earth's magnetic fields to navigate over long distances."
The military's "HAARP Fact Sheet" says that the project is merely another ionospheric heater, like the small-scale ones currently conducting scientific research in Puerto Rico, Norway and the former Soviet Union. And HAARP's Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), prepared by the U.S. Air Force, claims that HAARP's power levels, though 10 times higher than any transmitted on Earth, will cause "no significant impacts to birds, aquatics or the atmosphere," according to James Boatwright, deputy assistant secretary of Air Force installations.
On a smaller scale, the Wisconsin and Michigan-based PAVE PAWS, the largest over-the-horizon radars in the U.S., use one million watts of power, which have been known to disable TVs, radios and satellite communications over a 250-mile range. PAVE PAWS radiation can also "disrupt cardiac pacemakers seven miles away and cause the inadvertent detonation of electrically-triggered flares and bombs in passing aircraft," says Gar Smith. By stage three, HAARP will be 1,700 times more powerful than initial testing, and it would halt all types of communication nearby, including cellular phones, radar and radio frequencies, TVs and satellites. Some researchers believe HAARP's transmissions can also interfere with human brain activity.
Eastlund's patent was kept sealed for one year under a governmental secrecy order, but is now public. "It is possible not only to interfere with third-party communications, but to take advantage of one or more such beams to carry...a communications network even though the rest of the world's communications are disrupted," says the patent, adding that it could also be used to misdirect enemy missiles.
So far, proponents of HAARP have concentrated solely on its defensive and tactical military applications, but one patent speculates that the device would be able to alter "upper-atmosphere wind patterns...so that positive environmental effects can be achieved...For example, ozone, nitrogen and other concentrations in the atmosphere could be artificially increased." HAARP could also theoretically create rain in drought-ridden areas, decrease rains during flooding and redirect hurricanes, tornadoes and monsoons away from populated areas.
Some 150 different international treaties, in place since 1975, prohibit the use of "weather warfare," implying a legal challenge to HAARP, since its patents include weather modification experiments. And beyond atmospheric dangers, the FEIS filed by the Air Force and Navy says that HAARP transmissions "can raise the internal body temperature of nearby people; ignite road flares in the trunks of cars; detonate aerial munitions used in electronic fuses, and scramble aircraft communications, navigation and flight-control systems." U.S. studies show that even small increases in EM radiation from devices like HAARP can cause human health problems such as leukemia, cataracts, birth defects and cancer, alter brain chemistry, and elevate cholesterol, blood-sugar, blood pressure and heart rates.
With initial testing now underway, people will soon discover just what notes this HAARP will play.
CONTACT: NO HAARP, P.O. Box 916, Homer, AK 99603/(no phone); Air Force Phillips Laboratory, 3550 Aberdeen Avenue SE, Kirtland AFB, NM 87117-5776/(505)846-0011; Dr. Nick Begich, P.O. Box 201393, Anchorage, AK 99520/(907)694-1277.
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|Title Annotation:||High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program|
|Author:||Rembert, Tracey C.|
|Date:||Jan 1, 1997|
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