WHAT'S GOING ON UP THERE?
Nick Begich can't be categorized by his long ponytail and youthful
appearance; he started his first business in 1974 at the age of 16
and has worked in mining, construction, real estate and, more
recently, a mid-level managerial job in the Anchorage School
Service in Alaskan politics and labor union organizing brought him
public service awards, a couple of appointments to the Alaska
Council for Economic Education and two terms as president of the
Alaska Federation of Teachers (AFT). But it was his longtime
interest in science that earned Begich the informal title of
His life took another turn when he happened to be thumbing through
the April 1994 issue of an Australian magazine that Patrick Flanagan
suggested he check out, when the name of Nick's hometown newspaper
caught his eye. "Odd that Nexus would print an item from the
Anchorage Daily News," he commented to his wife Shelah.
The contents of the news brief startled them - the federal government
was about to introduce some weird technology right in their
backyard, figuratively speaking. Nick copied the reference and
headed to the Anchorage municipal library to search out the original
story, a November 20, 1994 letter to Anchorage Daily News from Eric Nashlund. It told about a military-funded project called
HAARP High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program - intended to
"perturb" the ionosphere for Department of Defense experiments.
Nashlund's letter said:
"Some startling revelations came to light while researching the
background of a military-sponsored project starting construction in
Gakona... HAARP will be used to understand, stimulate and control
ionospheric processes that might alter the performance of
communications and surveillance systems, according to a HAARP fact
sheet. The HAARP environmental impact statement claims negligible
ionospheric impact, with no impact to climate, weather or ozone
"An ARCO company has the bid for construction of HAARP: ARCO Power
Technologies Inc. APTI holds a patent (# 4,686,605, "Method and
Apparatus for Altering a Region in the Earth's Atmosphere,
Ionosphere, and/or Magnetosphere", inventor: Bernard J. Eastlund;
assignee: APTI Inc., Los Angeles) which matches closely the HAARP
proposal dealing with transmitting extremely large amounts of
radio-frequency energy into the ionosphere. It is evident that HAARP
will at least test, if not fully implement, the patent capabilities.
"Patent #4,686,605 claims it has the following uses: 'cause...total
disruption of communications over a very large portion of the
Earth...disrupting not only land-based communications, but also
airborne communications and sea communications (both surface and
subsurface)... missile or aircraft destruction, deflection or
confusion... weather modification... by altering solar
absorption... ozone, nitrogen etc. concentrations could be
Whether or not APTI was using that particular patent for HAARP,
Begich questioned the wisdom of the whole effort,
technology works, is it in humanity's interest for a secretive
bureaucracy to control something which could stop all electronic
communications or change the planet's weather patterns?"
The library had the patent on microfiche. Its abstract (summary)
"A method and apparatus for altering at least one selected region
which normally exists above the earth's surface. The region is
excited by electron cyclotron resonance heating to thereby increase
its charged particle density. In one embodiment,
circularly-polarized electromagnetic radiation is transmitted upward
in a direction substantially parallel to and along a field line
which extends through the region of plasma to be altered.
radiation is transmitted at a frequency which excites electron
cyclotron resonance to heat and accelerate the charged particles.
This increase in energy can cause ionization of neutral particles
which are then absorbed as part of the region, thereby increasing
the charged particle density of the region."
When Begich examined the patent's section titled "prior art", he was
surprised to see references to articles about Nikola Tesla.
Eastlund's drawings did appear similar to patents issued to Nikola
Tesla in the late 19th and early 20th century!
Tesla's name had been associated with wild schemes, and Begich
wanted to find out why would-be planetary engineers were still
quoting the deceased inventor. Begich knew that Tesla was credited
with startling an earthquake, generating "balls of electromagnetic
energy" and other wonders. Toward the end of his life Tesla had
claimed to hold the keys to creating a shield in the upper
atmosphere that would destroy any incoming aircraft.
A cold chill ran through Begich after he read the articles cited.
The first was the New York Times of December 8, 1915:
"Nikola Tesla, the inventor, has filed patent applications on the
essential parts of a machine, possibilities which test a layman's
imagination and promise a parallel of Thor's shooting thunderbolts
from the sky to punish those who had angered the gods...Suffice it
to say that the invention will go through space with a speed of 300
miles a second, a manless ship without propelling engine or wings
sent, by electricity to any desired point on the globe on its
errand of destruction, if destruction its manipulator wishes to
It is not a time, said Dr. Tesla yesterday, 'to
go into the details of this thing. It is founded upon a
principle that means great things in peace; it can be used for
great things in war. But I repeat, this is no time to talk of
'It is perfectly practicable to transmit electrical energy without
wires and produce destructive effects at a distance. I have already
constructed a wireless transmitter which makes this possible, and
have described it in my technical publications, among which I refer
patent number 1,119,732 recently granted.
With transmitters of
this kind we are enabled to project electrical energy in any amount
to any distance and apply it for innumerable purposes, both in war
and peace, through the universal adoption of this system, ideal
conditions for the maintenance of law and order will be realized,
for then the energy necessary to the enforcement of right and
justice will be normally productive, yet potential, and in any
moment available, for attack and defense.
The power transmitted need
not be necessarily destructive, for, if distance is made to depend
upon it, its withdrawal or supply will bring about the same results
as those now accomplished by force of arms'
Begich noticed the next article referred to in the patent also ran
in the New York Times, on September 22, 1940 and read:
"Nikola Tesla, one of the truly great inventors, who celebrated his
eightyŚ ourth birthday on July 10, tells the writer that he stands
ready to divulge to the United States government the secret of his
'teleforce', with which, he said, airplane motors would be melted at
a distance of 250 miles, so that an invisible Chinese Wall of
Defense would be built around the country..."
"This 'teleforce', he said, is based upon an entirely new principle
of physics that 'no one has ever dreamed about', different from the
principle embodied in his inventions relating to the transmission of
electrical power from a distance, for which he has received a number
of basic patents. This new type of force, Mr. Tesla said, would
operate through a beam one one hundred-millionth of a square
centimeter in diameter, and could be generated from a special plant
that would cost no more than $2,000,000 and would take only about
three months to construct."
"The beam, he states, involves four new inventions, two of which
already have been tested. One of these is a method and apparatus for
producing rays 'and other manifestations of energy' in free air,
eliminating the necessity for a high vacuum; a second is a method
and process for producing 'very great electrical force'; the third
is a method for amplifying this force and the fourth is a new method
for producing 'a tremendous electrical repelling force'. This would
be the projector, or gun, of the system. The voltage for propelling
the beam to its objective, according to the inventor, will attain a
potential of 50,000,000 volts."
"With this enormous voltage, he said, microscopic electrical
particles of matter will be catapulted on their mission of defensive
destruction. He has been working on this invention, he added, for
many years and has recently made a number of improvements in it."
There was a third reference, apparently written by Tesla, that
Begich could not obtain. Tesla's ideas in these articles raised more
questions in Begich's mind about the version of a "law and order"
likely to rise from any military organization controlling such
technology. He believed that if this technology were to be
implemented anywhere, it should be done so openly and honestly, and
only when it can be safe and worthwhile for improving the human
condition. The idea of unleashing such power into the planet's
ionosphere disturbed him deeply.
Begich made telephone calls, did more reading and heard the reaction
of a few independent scientists to the military-funded project in
the sky. Their request to the military could be stated bluntly as:
"Back off, Charlie; this is our planet too."
There was another aspect that concerned him besides HAARP's possible
effect on weather or on emergency communications in the Alaskan
bush. Over the years he had seen impressive studies saying that even
low power levels of pulsed radio frequency beaming could affect
human physiology, minds and moods. He decided to find out more, much
more, from reputable sources. It would be foolish to hit the alarm
button about HAARP without being certain.
One concern was clearly speculative. One of the HAARP documents33
"Ionospheric disturbances have been detected and
ascribed to earthquakes such as the Alaska earthquake on March 28,
He wondered if the reverse might be true if deliberate ionospheric disturbances could in turn resonate with the materials
in the earth and trigger an earthquake.
The earthquake question was only one of the questions nagging at the
independent researchers. Begich did not know it at the time, but the
research would focus his energies in a way that would attract
additional similar minded people. Eventually their directed energies
would "perturb" something bigger than themselves. Perhaps his life
had led up to this.
Nick Begich, Jr. was raised in a political family where "making a
difference" was a way of life. His father, Nick Begich, Sr., served
as a state senator and later a representative in the United States
Congress, and his mother Pegge was politically active in Alaska for
more than 30 years.
After the disappearance of the airplane carrying his father and U.S.
House Majority Leader Hale Boggs in 1972 when Nick Jr. was a
teenager, his life changed irrevocably. However, the theme instilled
by his parents was one of service and persistence. He and his five
siblings between themselves also chalked up a lifetime of political
But an equally strong thread in Nick's life was an interest in
science. His early investigations led to an invitation to the 1978
International Biorhythm Research Association conference in Atlanta,
as a youthful science "outsider" among fifty senior
scientists from around the world.
33 National Telecommunications and Information Administration
Preliminary Assessment of Air
Force Ionospheric Research Instrument, Stage 2, Oct. 1,1993.
Most were in the life sciences. The youth
presented a simple paper about the idea that his country's
researchers over-specialized and that multidisciplinary teams were
the way to breakthroughs in science. His associations from this
early experience led to a lasting interest in electrophysiology and
life sciences. The studies became his creative outlet while he
worked at mundane administrative jobs.
With this background, he could sort through the HAARP technical
documents and see implications of its type of ionospheric
interference. As he saw it, the government had understated the
risks. As had fellow Alaskan Clare Zickuhr and others, he sent
"piles of files" out to friends around the world, and information
summer of 1994, Begich wrote an article about HAARP for
magazine, to get the story out. He mentioned the Eastland patent,
but acknowledged that it was controversial,
"The United States military denies that the HAARP project has
anything to do with these patents. However, a careful review of the
government documents leading to the contract with APTI leads one to
the conclusion that... the military is deliberately attempting to
"While it is true that the device being built will not produce the
full effects described in the patents, it is a necessary step in
proving the effectiveness of the technology, in advance of a larger
"...patent number 4,686,605, issued August 11, 1987...is one of
three related patents by the same inventor, one of which was locked
up under a Navy National Security Order in the late 1980's."
In his Nexus article, Begich said that the Eastlund patents go
beyond the applications dreamed of by Tesla. The Eastlund patent
said that scientists in the previous few years had been trying to
learn about the belts of trapped electrons and ions above the earth,
in order to control and use the phenomena for beneficial uses;
"For example, in the late 1950's and early 1960s, both the United
States and the USSR detonated a series of nuclear devices...to
generate large numbers of charged particles at various
"This can cause confusion of or interference with, or even complete
disruption of, guidance systems employed by even the most
sophisticated of airplanes and missiles. "35
'The ability to employ and transmit over very wide areas of the
earth...electromagnetic waves of varying frequencies...provides a
unique ability to interfere at will with all modes of communication,
land sea and/or air, at the same time."36
"...this invention provides
the ability to put unprecedented amounts of power in the Earth's
atmosphere at strategic locations and to maintain the power
injection level, particularly if random pulsing is employed, in a
manner far more precise and better controlled than heretofore
accomplished by the prior art, particularly by the detonation of
nuclear devices., ."37
"...what is used to disrupt another's communications can be employed
by one knowledgeable of this invention as a communication network at
the same time. In addition, once one's own communication network is
established, the far-reaching effects of this invention could be
employed to pick up communications signals of others for
intelligence purposes... "38
34 united States patent
number 4,686,605, issued August 11,1987.
37 united States patent number 4,686,605, issued August 11, 1987.
Eastlund spelled out other possible developments of his super-heater
in the sky:
"...missile or aircraft destruction, deflection or
confusion could result, particularly when relativistic particles are
"Also, large regions of the atmosphere could be lifted to an
unexpectedly high altitude so that missiles encounter
unexpected...drag forces with resultant destruction or
"Weather modification is possible by, for example, altering upper
atmosphere wind patterns by constructing one or more plumes of
particles which will act as a lens or focusing device. "40
"Also...molecular modification of the atmosphere can take
place so that positive environmental effects can be achieved.
Besides actually changing the molecular composition of an
atmospheric region, a particular molecule or molecules can be
chosen for increased presence. For example, ozone, nitrogen etc.
concentrations in the atmosphere could be artificially
increased. Similarly, environmental enhancement could be
achieved by causing the breakup of various chemical entities
such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrous oxides, and the
Begich pointed out to Nexus readers that the
HAARP device being
built at that time was not big enough to test ail of Easthmd's
ideas. But it certainly looked like the military was interested in
his patents. Begich had experience with "procurement" - the
bureaucratic term for getting government contracts - and had once
worked in the heart of Texas' defense contractor country.
of this case jumped out at him.
On November 3, 1993, the U.S. Air Force announced that the prime
contractor on the first phase of the HAARP project was ARCO Power
Technologies Inc. (APTI).
At the time the project was put out for
bids, APTI was a subsidiary of Atlantic Richfield Oil Company (ARCO)
and owned the patent rights to Eastlund's
ionosphere-altering schemes, Begich looked up APT1 in the Dun &
Bradstreet directory of corporations42 and learned that APTI had a
president in Los Angeles and a staff of 25 employees in Washington
DC, with sales of only $5 million a year.
How did a small subsidiary get the military contract for such a
According to the record, it won the right to build
the project through exemptions in the military procurement process.
The HAARP contract with APTI was more than five times larger than
APTIs annual sales. As Begich saw it, the only way a
virtually-unknown company in the military contracting arena could
get such a contract is if they had proprietary information needed by
The trail circled back to the Eastlund patents,
Begich quoted the May-June 1994 issue of Microwave News, in which
Eastlund described a "full, global shield" of accelerated electrons
created with radio frequency (RF) transmitters. The HAARP project
"obviously looks like a first step inwards this", Eastlund told the
editor. However, he noted that the uses he described would need a
significantly more powerful device with a much larger antenna than
the HAARP array.
While the Eastlund controversy continued, Begich wrote that a
February 1990 paper from the Navy and Air Force43 made it clear that
the project goal is to learn how to manipulate the ionosphere on a
more grand scale than the then Soviet Union could do with its
similar facilities. HAARP would be the largest ionospheric heater in
the world, located in a latitude most conducive to putting
Eastlund's invention into practice. Looking at the northern lights,
as the aurora is called in Alaska, was not the point of HAARP.
Begich quoted from the U.S. Air Force "Record of Decision,
High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP), Final
Environmental Impact Statement" of October 18, 1993:
"The data obtained from the proposed research would be used to
analyze basic ionospheric properties and to assess the potential for
developing ionospheric enhancement technology for communications and
surveillance systems... A potential DoD (Dept. of Defense)
application of the research is to provide communications to
submerged submarines. These and many other research applications are
expected to greatly enhance present DoD technology."
"The Air Force and Navy proposes to build and operate the most
versatile and capable ionospheric research facility in the world.
The government intends to utilize the unused Over-the-Horizon
Backscatter (radar) site near Gakona, Alaska, for this program...
Research requirements stipulated that the selected site must fall in
the range of latitudes between 61 and 65 degrees, either north or
south. Sitting constraints included that the site must be: on US
soil, on DoD land to the maximum extent practical..."
The response to the Nexus article showed that more people were
interested in HAARP than the Alaskan researchers had originally
expected, Begich noticed that many of the independent
researchers were afraid to identify themselves and "take on the
42 America's Corporate Families 1993 ,1, p. 156.
43 "Joint Services
Program Plans and Activities", February 1990.
One group of individuals whom Begich - appreciating
their wish to be anonymous - began to refer to as "the guys in the
bush" sent him volumes of files that they saw as relating to HAARP,
Books, papers, news clippings and Internet items arrived each week,
as well as occasional government records. He paid less attention to
the Internet items, unless they mentioned books or articles or
patents he could check out firsthand. One day a box arrived at the
Begich family home, containing about eighteen inches of new files.
About this time, Sir Anton Jayasuriya of the Open International
University of Complementary Medicines invited Begich to present a
paper at the World Congress on Alternative Medicines and to receive
a doctorate degree in traditional medicine. The honor was totally
unexpected, and he packed for travel. As it turned out,
circumstances did not allow him to travel to Sri Lanka, so he
planned a trip to Finland instead. In Finland he would at last see
his old friend (from the 1978 conference and from correspondence)
Dr. Reijo Makela, in order to talk about promoting Makela's
scientific discoveries in electrophysiology.
Meanwhile one of the HAARP researchers in Canada had written to
thank him for the Nexus article. Jeane Manning was a writer who had
just completed a manuscript, The Coming Energy Revolution. She
suggested they collaborate on an article for an American
publication. Begich replied by telephoning her in Vancouver. They
learned that each had too much pressing information in their files
to compress into an article. It had to be a book.
On his stopover at the Seattle airport before flying to Finland,
Begich met with Manning for a few hours and found they shared
similar values. They decided to try long-distance book authoring.
While he was in Finland, the only unsettling event was that
HAARP-related files which he had forwarded to Reijo Makela had
mysteriously disappeared from Reijo's office. The two men discussed
the project anyway, and concluded that HAARP was an affront to good
sense and a threat to safety. This conclusion was based on Makela's
advanced understanding of the effects of radio waves upon people.
Back in Anchorage, in early 1995 the Begiches sent an airline ticket
to Jeane Manning, and their nine year old son moved into his
sisters' bedroom for two weeks when she arrived. Nick took time off
from work and they spread HAARP-related files for twenty feet across
the carpet in his study, while typing on his computer and a borrowed
Shelah joined them for a visit to NO HAARP
activist Clare Zickuhr and his wife, and they also drove hours into
the "bush" country to speak with other activists. The most revealing
interviews, however, took place over the telephone lines. While in
Alaska, Jeane phoned Houston, Texas, and interviewed a man who has
apparently been elbowed out of the inner circle of gigawatt-heater
Was it because he talked too much to the media?
"Scientists build toys.
This is a neat big toy."44
Dr. Bernard Eastlund,
talking about HAARP.
"Tests of this kind could cause irreversible damage."45
44 Dr. Bernard Eastlund Feb,20,1995 interview with
45 Dr. Richard Williams, "Atmospheric Threat",Physicsand Society, Apr.1988.