by William Thomas
Earth Island Journal
Summer 2002 - volume 17 no. 2
Jet Trails in the Sky Used to
Now they Linger...
It was around noon on March 12, 2000 when S.T. Brendt, the
late night reporter for WMWV Radio, entered the kitchen of her
country home in Parsonsfield, Maine.
Her partner, Lou Aubuchont, was
puzzling over what he had seen in the sky a half-hour before. The
fat puffy plumes arching up over the horizon were unlike any
aircraft condensation trails ("contrails") he had ever seen.
Instead of dissipating like normal contrails, these intersecting sky
trails grew wider and began to merge. Looking towards the sun,
Aubuchont saw what appeared like "an oil and water mixture"
reflecting a prismatic band of colors.
Ordinarily, contrails flare briefly in the stratosphere as hot moist
engine exhaust flash-freezes into a stream of ice-crystals. These
pencil-thin condensation trails are short-lived, evaporating into
invisibility as exhaust gases cool quickly to the surrounding air
As National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
meteorologist Thomas Schlatter explains, the formation of
condensation trails requires temperatures lower than about minus 76
F and humidity of 70 percent or more.
Because the Federal Aviation Authority
requires military tankers and transporters to cross continental
airspace at altitudes below 30,000 feet, ensuring safe separation
from airliners flying between 35,000 and 39,000 feet, these military
flights should leave no contrails at all.
But in late 1997, Aubuchont began to notice thicker trails extending
from horizon to horizon. Hanging in the sky, these expanding white
ribbons would invariably be interwoven by more thick lines left by
unmarked Air Force jets, white or silver in color.
As Brendt glanced out the window, it looked like another gorgeous,
cloudless day. But not quite. She spotted two jets laying billowing
white banners to the north. Turning her gaze due west, Brendt saw
two more lines extending over the horizon. She called Lou.
Within 45 minutes, the couple counted 30
"This isn't right," Brendt thought.
"We just don't have that kind of air traffic here."
While Aubuchont kept counting, Brendt
started calling airports.
Alerted by a call from Brendt, Richard Dean, WMWV's assistant
news director and the WMWV news staff filed outside and counted 370
lines of persistent contrails in skies usually devoid of aerial
Brendt phoned a number of Air Traffic Controllers. They all stated
that nothing unusual was going on. After several calls, Brendt
reached one ATC manager who offered a different story. He told
Brendt that his radars showed nine commercial jets during the same
From her location, he said, she should
have been able to see only one plane.
"What about the other 29?" Brendt
The ATC official confided off-the-record
that he had been ordered "by higher civil authority" to re-route
inbound European airliners away from an airborne "military exercise"
in the area.
"They wouldn't give me any of the
particulars and I don't ask," he explained.
The controller (who insisted on being
identified only as "Deep Sky,") subsequently repeated his statements
on tape before witnesses at the WMWV studio.
On December 8, 2000, Terry Stewart, the Manager for Planning
and Environment at the Victoria International Airport, responded to
a caller's complaint about the strange patterns of circles and grids
being woven over the British Columbia capitol.
Stewart left a message on an answering
machine tape - a message that later was heard by more than 15
million radio listeners.
"It's a military exercise, [a] US
and Canadian Air Force exercise that's going on. They wouldn't
give me any specifics on it."
Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Comox
on Vancouver Island is Canada's biggest radar installation.
CFB Comox is easily capable of tracking
the US formations coming up from the south.
When asked for a response to Stewart's
statement, the base information officer at CFB Comox replied tersely
"No military operation is taking
Stewart later told the Vancouver Courier
that his information had come directly from Comox.
By the summer of 2001, pictures of contrails were being circulated
by the Associated Press and the word "chemtrails" could be overheard
in coffee shop conversations across the continent
'It's a Hoax'
In an April 20, 2001, letter to a US senator, Col. Walter
Washbaugh, chief of the Congressional Inquiry Division for the
Secretary of the Air Force in Washington, DC, called chemtrails,
"a hoax." Washbaugh blamed the
increased number of contrails on "significant civil aviation
growth in the past decade."
He is right on that score.
A National Science Foundation study has
found that in certain heavily trafficked corridors, artificial cloud
cover has increased by as much as 20 percent.
Colonel Washbaugh ascribed widely reported grid patterns to
overlapping aircraft flying north-south, east-west airways. The only
thing wrong with this explanation, a Texas air traffic controller
told me, is that US airways do not run north-south.
The colonel told the senator:
"The Air Force is not conducting any
weather modification and has no plans to do so in the future."
In fact, the Pentagon has long been
interested in using weather as a weapon of war.
Attempts to steer hurricanes by spraying
heat-robbing chemicals in their paths date from the 1950s. The
recipe for creating "cirrus shields" was outlined in a 1996 US Air
Force study subtitled "Owning
the Weather by 2025."
The report explained how "weather force
specialists" were dispersing chemicals behind high-flying tanker
aircraft in a process called "aerial obscuration."
Official denials reached new altitudes of absurdity when another
"The US Air Force (USAF) does not
conduct spraying operations over populated areas."
Apparently the colonel had forgotten how
USAF air tankers dispensed thousands of tons of "Agent Orange"
defoliants over the land and people of Vietnam.
Meanwhile, the Internet was abuzz with chemtrail conspiracy theories
ranging from aliens leaving messages in the sky to government
agencies dumping mind-control chemicals on an unsuspecting populace.
The only problem was none of the theories were plausible.
In 1994, the Hughes aerospace company was issued a remarkable
The Welsbach patent "Stratospheric
Welsbach Seeding for Reduction of Global Warming"
proposed countering global warming by dispensing microscopic
particles of aluminum oxide and other reflective materials into the
This "sky shield" would reflect one or
two percent of incoming sunlight.
The patent suggested that tiny metal
flakes could be,
"added to the fuel of jet airliners,
so that the particles would be emitted from the jet engine
exhaust while the airliner was at its cruising altitude."
Computer simulations by Ken Caldeira
at California's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL)
calculated that employing Welsbach's chemical-sunscreen technology
could stop warming over 85 percent of the planet, despite an
anticipated doubling of atmospheric carbon within the next 50 years.
LLNL estimated the cost of creating this
so-called Sky Shield at $1 billion dollars a year - a cheap
fix to avoid threatening the massive profits of the oil industry.
At the 1998 International Seminar on Planetary Emergencies,
Edward Teller, the "Father of the H-bomb," presented his Next
Teller called for spreading reflective
chemicals over the Earth to act like a mirror-shade. If it was
impossible to protect the entire planet, these chemical sky shields
could, at least, be extended to cover allies who secretly agreed to
allow this unprecedented geo-engineering experiment to be carried
out over their territory.
In the July-August 1998 Science and Technology Review, Teller argued
that the Sky Shield offered a more "realistic" option for addressing
global warming than drastic cutbacks in CO2 emissions.
When asked if the technology was being pursued, Teller replied:
"To my knowledge the answer is
negative... My recommendation was a tentative one depending on
further evidence whether expecting global warming is realistic."
In fact, the technology already exists.
In 1975, the US Navy patented a device
"a powder contrail having maximum
The powder contained a mixture of 0.3
micron-sized titanium dioxide pigment particles coated with 0.007
micron hydrophobic colloidal silica and 4.5 micron particles of
The purpose of the apparatus was,
"to generate contrails or reflective
screens for any desired purpose."
The Welsbach Patent proposed
using "very fine, talcum-like" powder of 10 to 100 micron-sized
aluminum oxide to produce a "pure white plume" in the sky.
In a May 2000 draft report submitted to the International Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC), an expert panel chosen from among 3,000
atmospheric scientists, concluded that Teller's scheme might work.
But the IPCC warned against unpredictable upsets of the atmosphere.
The panel also warned against angry populaces reacting to "the
associated whitening of the visual appearance of the sky."
Caldeira was so concerned that he went public. Deflecting sunlight
would further cool the stratosphere, he warned, and this could
intensify icy clouds of ozone-gobbling CFCs that could destroy the
ozone layer - the Earth's already damaged solar radiation shield.
Was Teller's Sky Shield experiment already underway? During his
interview with WMWV reporters, Deep Sky hinted that it was. Were the
tankers observed on ATC radars involved in climate modification?
Our FAA source hesitated before
"That approximates what I was told."
Similar military activities were ongoing
in other regions, he stated.
The Internet buzzes with conspiracy theories about chemtrails being
used as part of a secret government biological experiment.
But after more than three years of
intense investigation, I have found no proof that chemtrails
constitute a deliberate biological attack. (To be effective,
bio-attacks must conducted close to the ground and never in
daylight, in order to avoid ultraviolet sterilization of toxins.)
In the spring of 1998, rain falling through heavy chemtrails over
Espanola, Ontario was found to contain concentrations of aluminum
particles seven times higher than permitted by Canadian health
Provincial health officials ordered
tests after residents began complaining about severe headaches,
chronic joint pain, dizziness, sudden extreme fatigue, acute asthma
attacks and feverless "flu-like" symptoms. The results of the test
were not released.
The reports of illness all came from residents inside a
50-square-mile area who complained that they had been subjected to
"months of spraying" by photo-identified US Air Force tanker planes.
The USAF denied the intrusions.
On November 18, 1998, Canadian Opposition Party Defense Critic
Gordon Earle petitioned Parliament on behalf of the people of
Speaking on behalf of Canada's New
Democratic Party, Earle stated:
"Over 500 residents of the Espanola
area have signed a petition raising concern over possible
government involvement in what appears to be aircraft emitting
They have found high traces of
aluminum and quartz in particulate and rainwater samples. These
concerns combined with associated respiratory ailments have led
these Canadians to take action and seek clear answers from this
The petitioners call upon Parliament
to repeal any law that would permit the dispersal of military
chaff or of any cloud-seeding substance whatsoever by domestic
or foreign military aircraft without the informed consent of the
citizens of Canada thus affected."
A Harvard School of Public Health team
determined that particulates with a diameter less than 10 microns
(one-tenth the thickness of a human hair) pose a serious threat to
On April 21, 2001, the New York Times
"These microscopic motes are able to
infiltrate the tiniest compartments in the lungs and pass
readily into the bloodstream, and have been most strongly tied
to illness and early death, particularly in people who are
already susceptible to respiratory problems."
On December 14, 2000, the New England
Journal of Medicine reported that inhaling particulate matter of
a size 10 microns or smaller leads to,
"a 5 percent increased death rate
within 24 hours."
Teller's sunscreen calls for spraying 10
million tons of talcum-fine reflective particulates of 10 to 100
On October 2, 2001, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) introduced
the "Space Preservation Act of 2001" (HR 2977), which called for the
elimination of "exotic weaponry" from space.
Among the weapons to be banned were
such as HAARP (High Frequency
Active Auroral Research Program) and
Though HR 3616 was later amended to
remove the section that would have banned chemtrails, the original
bill acknowledging the existence of chemtrail technology remains on
the pages of the Congressional Record.
With "chemtrails" now officially admitted by the US government, an
even bigger trial is set to begin in the court of public opinion.
An earlier version of this report appeared in the
October-November 2001 issue of Nexus Magazine.
Sightings of oddly lingering plumes sometimes resembling rocket
trails are not confined to North American skies.
While on leave in Italy in the summer of 1999, the US Navy's Kitty
Chastain sat on her hotel balcony and watched aerial grids being
laid all day just offshore over the Bay of Naples.
In Spain, on April 27, 2000, American tourist John Hendricks dashed
off a quick email from El Café de Internet:
"Were we surprised to see that the
chemtrails are as bad here as they are anywhere, both in
Mallorca and in Barcelona."
"Add Sweden to the list," a Swedish resident wrote after
spotting eight to 10 parallel contrails. "I know the commercial
routes, and we have a bunch of them, but not where these trails
Chemtrail activity has been reported in
at least 14 allied nations including Australia, Belgium, Britain,
Canada, France, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand,
Scotland, Sweden and the United States.
Chemtrail photos from France, Australia, Scotland and Germany may be
viewed on the author's website [www3
According to the National Center for Atmospheric Research in
Boulder, Co., the only way to form artificial clouds in warm dry air
is to introduce enough particulates into the atmosphere to attract
and accrete all available moisture into visible vapor.
If repeated often enough, the resulting
rainless haze can lead to drought.
Patrick Minnis, an atmospheric researcher with California
Environmental Resources Evaluation System (CERES) and ardent
chemtrails critic at NASA's Langley Research Center, reports that
cirrus cloud cover over the US is up 5 percent overall because
particulates in engine exhaust are acting as cloud-forming nuclei.
As the number of flights currently
exceeds 15 million annually worldwide, artificial clouds will
intensify as air travel continues to climb.
Perhaps the appearance of chemtrails is a "sign from on high" that
our atmosphere has become dangerously burdened with pollutants.