Target of Weather Conspiracy Theories Powers Down

A scientific research program based in Alaska is shutting down, much to the relief of many conspiracy theorists who believe it has been used as a global super-weapon.

According to an article in the Anchorage Daily News:

“The U.S. Air Force gave official notice to Congress Wednesday that it intends to dismantle the $300 million High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program in Gakona this summer. The shutdown of HAARP, a project created by the late Sen. Ted Stevens when he wielded great control over the U.S. defense budget, will start after a final research experiment takes place in mid-June, the Air Force said in a letter to Congress Tuesday…. Built at a cost of more than $290 million, the site has 180 antennas on 30 acres that are used to direct energy into the ionosphere, which is 55 miles to 370 miles above the Earth, and monitor changes in the flow of charged particles.”

HAARP Conspiracies

The program had become a favorite subject of conspiracy theories suggesting it had some sinister purpose. Nick Redfern, in his book “Keep Out! High Security Facilities, Underground Bases, and Other Off-Limits Areas,” asks rhetorically:

“Is such technology already being secretly utilized on a planet-wide scale, in order to instill fear in, and exert control over, the world’s population, and also exert military control and influence over areas of strategic interest? Many conspiracy theorists say yes… Those who see HAARP as having a distinctly covert agenda point to what they consider the project’s darkest of all secrets: The earthquake in Haiti.”

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Redfern suggests that the January 2010, 7.0 magnitude earthquake — which leveled much of Haiti’s urban areas and killed at least 100,000 people — “was a deliberate HAARP-induced event, designed to provide the United States government with a reason to make its presence strongly felt in an area in which it had special interests.”

In classic follow-the-money-not-the-facts conspiracy thinking, the specific special interests in this case is oil. Redfern states that “HAARP can be secretly utilized to find underground and undersea oil reserves.

How, exactly, a technology designed for studying the ionosphere — which extends high above the earth’s surface — is also used for detecting underground oil reserves or causing earthquakes is never explained.

Crass desire for oil as a reason to kill hundreds of thousands of people and devastate an already poor country might be more plausible if the United States wasn’t already one of the world’s top oil producers – getting most of the balance from Canada and South America. It would also be more likely if devastating a country’s infrastructure could somehow help instead of greatly impede the ability to access oil underneath it, and if America hadn’t donated over $1.4 billion in earthquake recovery aid.

Four and a half years later there seems to be little or no evidence of the urgent oil exploration that was presumably the whole point of the ruthless top-secret HAARP conspiracy project.

Of course it’s not just the Haiti earthquake. Conspiracy theorists suspect HAARP of causing the 2011 earthquake and the resulting tsunami that led to the Fukushima nuclear meltdown. Why would the U.S. government want cause an earthquake in, and irradiate part of, a close ally’s country? Oil, of course.

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As for HAARP itself, Brian Dunning, writing for his Skeptoid podcast, notes:

“There’s nothing remotely secret or even classified about HAARP. No security clearance is needed to visit and tour the site, and HAARP usually holds an open house every summer during which anyone can see everything there. During the rest of the year, research is conducted. There are several other similar research stations around the world, namely the Sura facility in Russia, EISCAT in Norway, the Arecibo observatory in Puerto Rico, and the HIPAS observatory near Fairbanks, operated by UCLA. Sadly for the conspiracy theorists, HAARP has no potential to affect weather. The frequency of energy that HAARP transmits cannot be absorbed by the troposphere or the stratosphere, only by the ionosphere, many kilometers higher than the highest atmospheric weather systems.”

The program is being shut down because its research is done and its funding is spent. That fact that the HAARP project is over will, of course, not deter conspiracy theorists. Some will claim that the shutdown is only of the “official” work, but that “black ops” projects will continue there in even greater secrecy. Those who accept that the project truly has ended will likely proudly take credit for having helped force the government to shutter it by getting the truth out there.

Photo: The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program site, Gakona, Alaska, is pictured with Mount Wrangell in the background. Credit: U.S. Air Force photo

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