At an age of about fifty years, Clare Zickuhr took time for
assessment, and was satisfied as he looked around in the early
1990's. He had worked his way through data management jobs to a
position as accountant for a multinational oil company, ARCO. The
good life included hosting friends in a 3,000 square foot house on
the bluff outside Anchorage, with a wall of windows overlooking Cook
And watching Beluga whales romp in the inlet, or standing
beside his wife Barbara in companionable silence, contemplating a
panoramic sunset over a distant mountain range. Barbara was content
with her own range of interests, from collecting art to studying
That the Zickuhrs would become activists in an eclectic group of
environmentalists was too foreign a possibility to consider. A visit
from a neighbor in October of 1993 changed their serene existence,
however. Jim, a pilot with Alaska Airlines, came over one night and
mentioned that at a pilots' meeting he had heard about a government
project called HAARP that was going up "in the bush" northeast of
Anchorage. Jim knew Clare was a ham radio operator who spent a
couple of nights a week closeted with his shortwave equipment and
that he ran three ham-nets.
Jim bunded him a flyer which said HAARP
was an acronym chosen by military agencies to name their project,
which would include a large array of antennae on the ground beaming
a billion watts of electromagnetic power - at radio frequencies - up
through the atmosphere. It would be the biggest zapper in the world!
Even if it didn't get beyond the megawatt (millions of watts) stage,
such a transmitter was certain to interfere with communications in
the bush. People in remote areas of Alaska rely on radios for life
or death calls such as for a Medivac aircraft to save a child's
Jim wondered what electronic interference from HAARP could do to
onboard systems on the jets which he pilots Clare listened to his
worries about aircraft that are controlled by remote operation
instead of having direct cable levering rudders and other equipment.
Such a craft could be more susceptible to a big blast of energy that
might lock it into position or over ride the remote control.
Reassurances from the Federal Aviation Administration reported in
the media were not the last word as far as pilots were concerned.
That night when Zickuhr sat down in front of his shortwave apparatus
and went on the air, he asked other ham radio operators if they had
heard about the HAARP transmitter. They hadn't
heard, but wanted to learn about the biggest "ionospheric heater" in
the world. They learned that similar antennae in other countries had
beamed electromagnetic power into high level experiments for years,
but HAARP would be the most powerful, zapping the upper atmosphere
with an unprecedented power level of energetic particles.
Engineering Mother Nature - the planetary environment would become a
new ball game.
Some hams lived in areas where HAARP public relations people were
holding public briefings, and these operators reported back on the
air. The Pentagon had been shopping for a site, because HAARP's
radio interference would be too strong to locate near military
"Then why do they think we want it in our own backyards?" asked some
individuals whose communities were considered as possible sites.
When the choice was made to build it near
Gakona, a hamlet about 140
miles north of Prince William Sound, some of the on the air chatter
While he still had time to sit in front of the two-story fireplace
for a leisurely read, Clare had finished a book titled Miles from
Nowhere. It was about people living in "the lower 48" states, in
places where there were fewer than two people per square mile. The
military had of course chosen such areas to do its hazardous testing
such as nuclear blasts.
"Gakona reminds me of that Miles, from Nowhere theme," he told
Barbara. "Few people around to complain."
Although he sympathized with bush dwellers concerned about how close
they were to electromagnetic radiations from HAARP, his main
question was more global.
"What all is this thing going to do to the
HAARP's public relations sheet described it as pure scientific
research on the aurora borealis and research on the ionosphere's
ability to affect communications. The U.S. Air Force and Navy were
paying for the project, but they said it was not a weapons system.
Later, Clare Zickuhr would learn that the technology definitely
could be used for military purposes. He wondered what else they
weren't telling the taxpayers about HAARP.
His training as an accountant led him to ask about the checks and
balances in the situation. HAARP planners would choreograph
experiments on the crucial envelope of charged particles which
circled the planet - the ionosphere, which protects Earth's
inhabitants, like a spherical umbrella, from cosmic radiations. What
independent scientists - not in any way funded by the military - were
monitoring this project? He could find none.
Especially missing were
biologists and independent atmospheric physicists, if there are any
"Basically," he concluded, "the military is going to give the
ionosphere a big kick and see what happens. My biggest worry is what
they're going to do by
punching holes in the ionosphere or heating it. It's going to have
reactions that they don't know how to predict. Look at the past - they set off nuclear explosions in the atmosphere before they
figured out 'hey that's going to cause problems' and changed the
wind patterns for years."
Barbara shared his view, and expressed it with an Alaskan's common
"They're like boys playing with a sharp stick,
finding a sleeping bear and poking it in the butt to see what's
going to happen."
Clare ordered a copy of the HAARP Environmental Impact Statement
(EIS), from which he took names of others who had questioned HAARP.
He used that first mailing list to contact people who wanted to
learn more about it, and he tried to get a group going in Anchorage.
Near the end of 1993, the Zickuhrs hosted a couple of meetings in
their home. In the first meeting, as the assembled Alaskans
expressed their views, Barbara realized she and Clare had opened
their doors to people they probably would not have met in any social
It was a bit of a shock, From the comfort of an upper middle class
home and removed from subsistence level rural or urban alternative
lifestyles, the Zickuhrs' world had turned fairly smoothly. She
joked about being a bleeding heart liberal herself and Clare being
more middle of the road in his views. These guests, however, ran the
gamut of extremes from "let's shoot the government people" to
"aliens are involved in this". Sometimes it felt like she was in a
bad mystery novel. Previously neither of the Zickuhrs had run into
fringe political views about, for a mild example, "black budget
projects" which not even legislators know about.
Barbara later reflected that,
"For me, it was an exercise in social
restraint, which isn't my gift. But I grew to really accept these
people for what they were and worked with them. There were an
amazing range of views, but in the end I could see that was a real
By the next meeting, more people were involved in seriously trying
to get answers about HAARP. One of the people pointed out that,
Environmental Impact Statement sort of pooh-poohed, or played down,
the reactions in the ionosphere."
Someone else at the meeting looked
at a possible effect which would be more visible to Alaskans - game
birds. The effect on migrating waterfowl was also played down in the EIS,
someone mentioned, although to the credit of the government
scientists they had admitted "we really don't know what the effect
The first mailing list of around fifteen grew to one hundred and
fifty who were sent updated information - a HAARP fact sheet,
decision documents from the Air Force, and then the most valuable in
terms of information, the Request for Proposal documents. With
Zickuhr's accounting experience, he could understand it. HAARP
documents they received at that time generally restricted discussion
of military plans to the category "enhance C3 systems" which seemed
to mean keeping track of where submarines are and what might be
happening in a battle.
"That's ELF waves they're using for that," Clare pointed out.
"Extremely Low Frequency waves, which people in the lower
forty-eight (states) fought against because of health risks, but
we're up here 'miles from nowhere' and no one is going to react to
If no one else was going to resist the intrusive technology, he
would have to do what he could. Who else would stand up?
He ran into
a wall of apathy:
- Local people around the site had been led to view HAARP as a source
of a few gravel hauling or site maintenance jobs.
- A reporter at the Anchorage newspaper contributed to the NO HAARP
"library", by passing on information he had been sent. However, his
bosses apparently did not support his wish to write an in-depth
article about the project.
- After Clare Zickuhr dropped off an information packet at the city's
television station, he never got a response.
- A "grassroots" environmental group showed interest but didn't do
- After the NO HAARP group sent information about waterfowl vs. HAARP
to the headquarters of the Audubon Society, the society did not
The Zickuhrs spent about $3,000 on telephone bills and mailings
while opposing HAARP. Meanwhile, one of the "guys in the bush"
encouraged other activists to write a couple of thousand words about
HAARP, and Clare gave it a try. He wrote an article titled "Monster
in the Wilderness" and sent it to Gar Smith in San Francisco, editor
of Earth Island Journal.
A technical consultant told the journal
that the technology would be impossible. That stalled the printing
of the article, until another tireless networker, Remy Chevalier of
Connecticut, urged Gar to reconsider. Clare sent more information
and in the end the published co-authored article was included in the
"Most Under-reported News of 1994" list, for the book Project.
Since he worked for ARCO, and its subsidiary APTI had the contract
to build HAARP, Clare filed an internal conflict of interest
statement in early 1994 so that his employers would know that he was
working against a project that another arm of the company was
65 Project Censored, Four Walls Eight Windows, NY 1995.
Early in his involvement, Clare became frustrated by being unable to
get what he felt were straight answers from the government about
HAARP. Barbara eventually grew discouraged too.
"I feel we're just
like a mosquito buzzing around, treated like we're not worth paying
As it turned out, the Zickuhrs' sacrifices did play a major role - keeping the resistance alive until the
NO HAARP momentum grew stronger in 1995 when the media had noted its
"Project Censored" status. When Clare retired from this job with ARCO
during company cutbacks and he and Barbara sold their house to go
traveling through the "lower 48", the guys in the bush carried on.
It was March, 1995.
"Project HAARP is driven by fear psychology - preparation for nuclear
That path won't lead to the next century."
David Yarrow 66
66 David Yarrow, author of Return of the Dragon: Hazards of
Made-Made Magnetism. Albany. NY.