by Dr. Nick Begich and Jeane Manning
Earthpulse Flashpoints, Newtext Number Three
"The earth is delicately balanced,
and seeks to restore balance when disturbed. No one really knows
how ionospheric experiments will affect that balance, or what
the earth will do in response to try to restore balance."
These words are from Rosalie Bertell,
Ph.D., of Toronto, Canada, founder of the International Institute of
Concern for Public Health. Dr. Bertell was commenting
a U. S. military experiment named HAARP (High Frequency
Active Auroral Research Program).
HAARP may be the test run for a
ground-based 'Star Wars' defense system. Military documents say it
is intended to disrupt portions of the ionosphere (electrically
active layer above the upper atmosphere) by heating it with powerful
pulsed radio frequency beams. Radiation that bounces back to the
surface of the planet would be in the long-wave ELF (extremely
low frequency) range.
Intended to be the most powerful ionospheric heater ever built,
HAARP's ground-based apparatus - an array of 48 antennae each
powered by its own transmitter - sits in the remote Alaskan
wilderness northeast of the city of Anchorage. HAARP is much more
than the auroral (Northern Lights) and radio-communications research
project as is claimed by researchers at the University of Alaska's
Geophysical Institute and their financial backers - the U.S. Navy
and U.S. Air Force.
Any weapons system in its early stages
can be easily disguised as "pure" research. The fact is however,
that HAARP is a military experiment aimed at invasively manipulating
the ionosphere by beaming high energy upward from the ground. Such
activity could potentially disrupt natural systems on the earth and
high above it.
Individual members of the European Parliament are among the growing
number of people worldwide who have been startled to hear about
HAARP. Voices expressing various levels of concern are being heard
in many countries. For example, in contrast with the
cautiously-worded comment of Dr. Bertell, a Germany-based researcher
in the field of quantum electrodynamics, Al Zielinski, paints an
apocalyptic word-picture. (He says HAARP technology could trigger a
disaster with a global impact - electromagnetic waves causing
destruction "when interacting with protective layers of the earth
and its gravitational field".)
The ionosphere seems very far away, but even when undisturbed by
humans it affects our everyday lives. For example, radio broadcasts
are bounced off this electrically charged layer which lies between
forty and six hundred miles above the surface of the earth, just
above the ozone layer. The ionosphere is alive with electrical
activity, so much so that its processes are "non-linear". This means
that the ionosphere is dynamic, and its reactions to experiments are
The concept of non-linear is important in understanding the concerns
of independent scientists who are knowledgeable about advanced
physics and who warn against brash high-energy experiments on the
ionosphere. Non-linear processes can change suddenly and
unexpectedly, or they can increase in power dramatically. Some
theorists such as Zielinski say that a non-linear process can under
certain conditions tap into the background energy of space, which is
also called "zero-point fluctuations of the vacuum".
Studying radio communications by using a tool as powerful as HAARP
is a worthy scientific task in the opinion of the authors, but some
independent researchers question whether the means justifies the
end. Is it wise to poke holes in Earth's electrical umbrella?
Is it wise to prod a dynamic natural
system without knowing how it might react?
Technology Could Perform A Variety Of Tricks
HAARP is intended to heat and lift a portion of the ionosphere above
a selected location or locations on the planet in order to make a
huge invisible "mirror" for bouncing electromagnetic radiation back
to the surface of Earth. Why?
The answer is that the U.S. military
communicate with its submerged
submarines by penetrating the oceans with ELF (Extremely Low
penetrate the land with ELF in
order to search for hidden tunnels or other sites of
military interest (a process known as earth-penetrating
What else could a HAARP-type project do
in the near future? If the technology is scaled up in size, it
Shield a territory from
intercontinental ballistic missiles
Discriminate between incoming
Disrupt communications over a
large area of the globe
Chemical structure of the upper
atmosphere and possibly alter the weather
Affect human mental functioning
Impact the health of humans and
other biological systems.
Ionospheric heaters as a class of
research instruments are nothing new; they have operated in Puerto
Rico, the former Soviet Union and Tromso, Norway (operated by Max
Planck Insitut fur Aeronomie) as well as at another site in Alaska.
But what is being tested in the Alaskan wilderness since 1994 is new
-- a tool that can focus and steer the radio frequency energy
upward. This makes it capable of hitting the ionosphere with a far
greater impact than possible from the previous design of heaters.
As HAARP's focused radio-frequency beams
heat and boil targeted locations of the ionosphere, Earth's
electrical system will be injected with a further excess of
high-energy particles. What happens when a saturated system is
infused repeatedly with too much energy? This question has been
raised by independent physicists.
Each experiment with the HAARP is a test run for what can later be a
powerful multi-purpose tool for the United States military. When
completely built, the tool will beam an immense amount of focused
radio-frequency energy upward, heating and therefore lifting a part
of the ionosphere. To picture how HAARP works, imagine a radio
telescope in reverse; antennas that send out signals instead of
receiving them. Then imagine an array of the most powerful of such
instruments, working together to focus a beam upward.
How can a lay person understand what such a tool could do? Alaska
state legislators are not necessarily trained in science, so in the
spring of 1996 their State Affairs committee called in
representatives of both sides of the HAARP controversy.
(Following publication of the book
Angels Don't Play This HAARP, many Alaskans became aware of the
experiment in their backyard and asked their lawmakers to look at
Lawmakers Hear Scientists' Concerns
One of the experts who testified at the State Affairs Committee
hearing was Richard Williams of Princeton, New Jersey. He has
a doctorate degree in physical chemistry from Harvard University and
worked for 30 years as an industrial scientist in solid state
electronics, electronics, structure of clouds, water evaporation and
other environmental problems. Dr. Williams is an independent
scientist; he's not dependent on funding from the military.
This lends him a degree of independent
judgment which compels us to quote him at length:
"I want to alert the legislature to
an activity now going on in Alaska that, in addition to any
local effect, might become a global threat to the atmosphere.
That is HAARP. The initial experiment, as Mr. (project manager
John) Hecksher said, will be done using modest power levels and
are not a cause for concern. However, the project's internal
documents indicate that plans include the eventual use of power
levels up to ten billion watts.
This is an enormous power level,
more than 200 times the total electrical power level used by the
city of Juneau. There could be a serious impact in the
atmosphere that might result from energies of this magnitude.
Effects might include drastic alteration of the thermal,
refractive, scattering and emission character of the atmosphere
over a wide range of the electromagnetic spectrum."
"Experiments at this power level would produce large changes in
the concentration of charged particles in the ionosphere that
would persist for some time and might even lead to permanent
Dr. Williams told the committee
that he is a supporter of the armed forces, but as a scientist he
wanted to explain how "unintended consequences of innocent and
beneficial human activities can cause serious changes on a global
We introduced two examples of activities earlier this century which
caused unintentional and serious changes in the atmosphere, with
effects worldwide. The first example he cited was the growing
concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
"What we don't know yet is how this
will affect the delicate balance of life on earth."
The second unintended change that he
cited is damage to the ozone layer, that shields us from harmful
"In neither of these examples would
an Environmental Impact Statement have identified the problem in
time. Do we have any way to judge what (HAARP's) energy can do
to the upper atmosphere?"
Charged Particles, A Product Of HAARP
Perhaps, Dr. Williams offered, we do have an indicator:
results of high-altitude nuclear explosions by the US and USSR
during the Cold War. Intended to produce artificial radiation zones
and possibly counteract a threat of intercontinental ballistic
missiles, the explosions resulted in global interruptions of radio
communications and profound disturbances of the upper atmosphere,
including greatly increased concentrations of charged particles.
Following one of these tests, in July of 1962, James Van Allen
used specially-instrumented satellites to monitor the electron
population in the upper atmosphere. He reported a large initial
increase in electron population, followed by a slow decrease, with
significant disturbances still observable a year after the
"But this was just one injection of
energy," Dr. Williams said.
"To develop a military system, such
as the one proposed by HAARP to communicate with submerged
submarines, takes many tests, even if the system is never used
in combat. For example, for test purposes over the years, the
nuclear armed countries have exploded more than 2,000 nuclear
weapons, mostly near the Earth's surface or under ground. A
single massive injection of energy into the atmosphere violently
disturbs its properties, and as Van Allen showed, the effect can
last for a year or more."
"What would be the effect of repeatedly injecting high energy
thousands of times? I believe the answer is that no one knows."
Those were changes of the atmosphere on
a global scale, Dr. Williams noted. He pondered the possibility of
additional, special, effects for polar regions, where the upper
atmosphere has unique properties.
Showers of charged particles coming from
storms on the sun veer toward the poles, where they enter the
atmosphere and produce the northern lights; some changes in the
ozone layer have been most extreme over Antarctica and the far
"Any future global changes in the
atmosphere might well be noticed first in polar regions. Alaska
may get the first warning of coming changes. And serve as the
miner's canary for the rest of the world. If this happened,
Alaska's state motto, 'North to the Future', would take on an
unintended and ironic meaning."
"For any program that might damage the atmosphere on a global
scale, we need to have full warning of the plans in advance, and
informed public discussion, to justify the activity and identify
all possible hazards."
Dr. William Gordon (Ph.D. at Rice University, an electrical
engineer specializing in radio communications) has worked on an
ionospheric heater project and said there is "no convincing
evidence" that exposure to low frequency electric or magnetic fields
causes monitorable health hazards. He said the U.S. Navy has
sponsored a series of studies asking if their ELF transmitters in
the states of Wisconsin and Michigan have caused harm.
"The results are not all in, but
from the material I have looked at, operation of the ELF
facility does not produce ecological effects..."
While testifying at the legislative
hearing he claimed that operation of very powerful transmitters have
no adverse health effects.
Dr. Patrick Flanagan of Arizona disagrees. Dr. Flanagan also
gave telephoned testimony.
Since the proponents of HAARP focused
attention on whether those questioning the project have prestigious
academic backgrounds, Dr. Begich introduced Patrick Flanagan at
He has a doctorate in both medicine
and physics and has experience in government weapons projects:
he developed and sold a guided missile detector to the U.S.
military when still a youth. Later he developed an electronic
device for communication with the brain.
Dr. Flanagan worked with a Pentagon
think tank that was run by the former head of the Office of
Scientific Research. He also developed speech encoding systems.
He has worked for NASA, Tufts University, the Office of Naval
Research, and at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds for the Department
of Unconventional Weapons and Warfare.
The major portion of Dr. Flanagan's life
work, however, has been on electromagnetic fields and their effects
on living systems. In 1968 he turned his back on
government-sponsored research, and since then has done independent
research in his own laboratory.
Institute Points To Health Effects
Possible effects of future HAARP fields on living systems is a
concern that should be discussed, Dr. Flanagan told the committee.
"One of the purposes of HAARP is to
develop ELF (extremely low frequency) capability, for
transmitting high-energy ELF waves, from .001 HZ all the way up
to 40 Kilohertz, as described in (the military's) literature."
In the meantime, new research by other
scientists shows that ELF signals may have profound effects on
living organisms. Dr. Flanagan cited the example of known effects of
ELF on the Circadian rhythms, which is the biological clock, of all
living organisms including humans.
"The Max Planck Institute in Germany
has done quite a bit of work on this, showing that very low
energy levels - in fact, energy levels that are one tenth of the
strength of the earth's magnetic field, can have profound
effects on these rhythms... Mr. Hecksher and his colleagues may
say that ELF fields from HAARP are not harmful, but remember --
our government once sprayed DDT (pesticide) on school children
while they were eating lunch, and said this was not harmful..."
Dr. Flanagan in his brief testimony
cited a study by a researcher at Catholic University which showed
that coherent ELF fields, which is what HAARP will generate, can
have an effect on DNA. For example they create abnormal development
in chicken embryos and "possibly in humans".
In reply to denial by a military representative, Dr. Flanagan said
there are thousands of papers written by reputable scientists on the
negative effects of ELF fields on living systems. The Environmental
Protection Agency released a report in 1991 linking electromagnetic
fields to leukemia and brain cancer in children, for example.
"we have a paper here that was just
published in 1996 entitled Superimposing Spatially Coherent
Electromagnetic Noise Inhibits Field-induced Abnormalities in
Developing Chick Embryos. The paper shows that very low energy
ELF fields develop abnormalities in developing chick embryos."
(The fields could be counteracted by applying a white noise
"There is a tremendous amount of
background literature on this. So ELF fields are not just
harmless, as is being implied.... I don't think the question of
electromagnetic safety has been entered at all."
Flags Waving In The Ionosphere
Mark Farmer, a journalist from Juneau, Alaska, also
testified. Farmer prefaced his testimony by reminding the military
representatives that he quotes statements from their own documents.
Farmer's articles have been published in the prestigious defense
magazine, Jane's Defense Weekly, and in Popular
Farmer agreed that HAARP needs independent monitoring but he
is not opposed to HAARP and appreciates the instrumentation.
Particularly because it is currently only one-tenth of its eventual
"...the actual transmitter, as Mr.
Hecksher says, is going to be a complex of incoherent scatter
radars, some imaging devices. The super computer from UAF
(University of Alaska, Fairbanks) is going to be tied in I
imagine, for diagnostics. There's a spun liquid mercury mirror
that's being put in. This is cutting-edge stuff and we in Alaska
are lucky to have it, in some respects. I am generally in favor
of the program, but the oversight (monitoring of the project)
"There is no supranational treaty that deals with the upper
atmosphere or the ionosphere like there is for Antarctica or
outer space," Farmer continued.
"I doubt if the power levels of HAARP are going to do anything
really bad, but I don't know. Back in the 1950s and 1960s we
blew up hydrogen bombs in the upper atmosphere... that delivered
a lot more energy than HAARP can. But with (HAARP's)
beam-steering, the pulsing capabilities, and maybe some
instigation from secret organizations or counter-proliferation
groups within the U. S. government, there could be some bad
"So there needs to be oversight other than the military."
Farmer noted that Phillips laboratory,
where HAARP's project manager is based, does basic research, as does
the Office of Naval Research. But they also build secret weapons.
Most of Farmer's writing involves a covert testing base in Nevada
called Area 51; he has spent much time in that area and in observing
military secrecy tactics. He does not see HAARP itself as a secret
project, but added that he does believe there are some secret
initiatives. HAARP documents are unclassified,
"at least that I've been able to
find. But there are classified documents dealing with 'Star
Wars' (Strategic Defense Initiative) related projects
such as using ionospheric heaters, back in the '1980s, which
HAARP is actually a spin-off from."
HAARP technology could be used for
beneficial purposes, Farmer said. However, if people outside the
military lose interest in asking that HAARP's power levels and
purposes be monitored by independent science councils, then the
hidden world of defense corporations will probably step in.
"The black programs will probably
seep in from the side. And there will be secret initiatives."
Could Other Countries
Build Powerful Zappers?
One of the legislators, Representative Green, asked if HAARP
is opening a "Pandora's box" - other countries would soon have
whatever technology is developed in HAARP. Could what begins in its
simplistic form, safe and controllable, later be used as a weapon by
increasing the level of energy, and possibly detrimental effects,
over selected areas?
Edward Kennedy, from Naval Research Laboratory in Washington,
D.C., who is a technical interface between the contractor for HAARP
(Raytheon Corporation) and the government, said that is difficult to
"We in the United States have no
control over what other countries might do."
he said, most other countries probably would not be able to finance
building such a powerful instrument.
HAARP project manager John Hecksher told the committee that
the ionospheric heater in Norway is comparable to HAARP: it has an
antenna array very much like what HAARP will have. However,
regarding HAARP's ability to create a narrow beam, Norway's
instrument is two or three times less powerful than what HAARP will
Dr. Begich wanted the discussion to focus on the unique features of
HAARP technology, not merely on power levels transmitted from the
ground. The significant feature which distinguishes HAARP from other
ionospheric heater projects operating around the world is the
focusing capability of this particular design. The ability to focus
radio-frequency energy into a narrow beam and to steer that beam
gives it a powerful advantage in "perturbing the ionosphere".
Dr. Siun Akasofu, head of the University of Alaska's
Geophysical Institute, argued that speaking about the focusing is
misleading and that even if the radio-frequency beam is focused,
"...the amount of energy going into
the ionosphere is so little that you cannot see any light coming
from the ionosphere. One of most sensitive instruments in the
world cannot see it. On the other hand, look at the aurora; you
can see it with your naked eye." (We experienced Dr. Akasofu's
statement as being strange, because the scientific literature on
ionospheric heaters is full of references to "enhanced airglow"
from the experiments.)
Dr. Begich and Dr. Flanagan
asked the committee to look at the absence of independent biological
scientists and people with backgrounds in electrophysiology, in the
think tanks where HAARP-type experiments are hatched. People with
those backgrounds are also concerned, he said, that using a tool for
disturbing the ionosphere is not a decision that should be made only
by the United States; it's a global issue.
Alaska may acquire a defense shield in the form of an advanced HAARP-type
technology, Dr. Begich noted.
"But it has to be reviewed from a
biological standpoint, not just a mechanical standpoint."
About Power Levels
At the legislative hearing, HAARP employees focused on HAARP's
current power levels, while the researchers on the other side of the
controversy focused attention on the direction in which the power
levels for the project are heading.
Has the military decided to downsize this current program they call
HAARP because of public attention to it?
At the legislative hearing,
a representative of the military said the current developmental
prototype of HAARP is capable of 3.6 kilowatts of radiated power.
The full scale prototype will provide up to ten times that, or about
3,600 kilowatts, he said.
Dr. Patrick Flanagan noted that,
"the power levels described by Dr.
Hecksher aren't consistent with a statement he made on a TV show
(Sightings). When he was interviewed -
see below videos, (Dr. Hecksher) said the
HAARP system can punch holes through the ionosphere and these
holes would heal shortly after a HAARP system was turned off."
To punch a hole through the ionosphere
would take more than the alleged 3,600 kilowatts, Dr. Flanagan
indicated. He did mention, however, that there was another
the "maser amplification of the
HAARP energy. For example, if HAARP is applying 3,600 kilowatts
to the ionosphere, there's a possibility of what is called maser
amplification of that energy by charged particles in the
ionosphere...the energy is powered by the energy from the sun.
So that these charged particles in the ionosphere can be caused
to mase... So that puts out more energy than HAARP is putting
What do the military planners have in
Technical Memorandum 195, an unpublished 613-page compilation
concerning the HAARP Workshop on Ionospheric Heating Diagnostics,
(held in 1991 at Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts) includes
this piece of information: the desired level of power for HAARP is
100 billion watts, vastly greater than what the military is now
claiming as a goal. Other documents from the military were openly
published and refer to power levels between one and ten gigawatts
Whatever the eventual power level it does not take much power
bouncing back to the surface of the earth to affect living
organisms. Dr. Nick Begich also told the State Affairs
Committee about a substantial amount of science literature on
the topic that has been published as recently as the early 1990s.
The findings suggest that lower levels of energy (lower than
previously believed) can affect human physiology.
These studies are the most significant
aspect of what has not been properly disclosed by those responsible
for the HAARP project's safety, he testified. The project began when
the debate over effects of ionizing and non-ionizing radiation was
still in its infancy.
Since then, many scientists have come to
the conclusion that lower energy densities, when pulsed in the right
frequency range, will have profound health effects.