In a move that will either disappoint conspiracy theorists or add fuel to the fire (or maybe both), the Air Force has announced that it will be shutting down the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program, better known as HAARP, before the end of June.
The $300 million facility was established in 1993 in Gakona, Alaska by the U.S. Air Force, Navy, DARPA, and the University of Alaska in order to help scientists and meteorologists understand more about the ionosphere, the layer of air 53-370 miles above earth. But since its inception, conspiracy theorists have insisted that the program has other covert aims, such as controlling the weather and trying to harness and use the power of nature as a weapon. Hugo Chavez suggested that HAARP, or a program like it, caused the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Chavez argued that the U.S. was “playing God” with tectonic weapons and that the U.S. subsequently sent troops Haiti “under the guise of the natural disaster.” HAARP has also been blamed by some as the cause of global warming, Japan’s Fukushima disaster, tornadoes in the Midwest, and others.
HAARP’s alleged use as a weather weapon has been bolstered by comments such as those made by U.S. defense secretary William Cohen in 1997, who said:
[Terrorists] are engaging even in an eco-type of terrorism whereby they can alter the climate, set off earthquakes, volcanoes remotely through the use of electromagnetic waves. So there are plenty of ingenious minds out there that are at work finding ways in which they can wreak terror upon other nations. It’s real, and that’s the reason why we have to intensify our efforts.
The Air Force doesn’t acknowledge anything about the conspiracy theories, or their possible effects on the shutting down of the facility. Instead, David Walker, the deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for science, says, “We’re moving on to other ways of managing the ionosphere, which the HAARP was really designed to do. To inject energy into the ionosphere to be able to actually control it. But that work has been completed.” Hmm…interesting. That sounds like more than “studying” the ionosphere, though sources at HAARP have been forthright about wanting to use the ionosphere to boost communications. HAARP uses heavy duty radio transmitters to emit high-frequency signals, which get the ionosphere all electrically revved up. Then HAARP researchers use radar, magnetometers, sonar, and other devices to measure the changes in the ionosphere. Still, I can see the above statement adding fodder to the controversy, as it’s both vague and juicy enough to be interpreted in multiple ways, especially as it suggests success in controlling the ionosphere.
The facility is being dismantled quickly, which will likely cause conspiracy theorists to wonder what the Air Force is hiding. It’s possible that the University of Alaska will buy the facility, but at an operating cost of $5 million per year, any such deals remain rumors, which seems appropriate.