Chapter Four

Dr. Bernard Eastlund chuckles as he tells about the time that the metaphorical light bulb clicked between his mind and that of Dr. Simon Ramo.

"He's a big guy in military science," Eastlund explained to Manning in a telephone interview. "He was the founder of TRW and all these big companies. They're a big defense contractor. At the time he was a board member for ARCO (Atlantic Richfield Oil Company)."

When Eastlund walked into the meeting room that day in the 1980's to give a presentation, he was aware of the senior scientist's presence. Eastlund had a collection of transparencies ready to slap onto the audiovisual table, to illustrate his new concept for focusing a powerful beam of radio-frequency or microwave energy onto the ionosphere. He had several reasons to expect approval.


For one, whoever would fire up electrical generators to power his proposed giant transmitter could be a big paying customer for ARCO's natural gas fields on the North Slope of Alaska,

"I came in with my viewgraphs," Eastlund recalls. "I showed one viewgraph on the location of the North Slope of Alaska. Where the earth's magnetic field is, where Russia is, and everything. Then 1 had another slide where I showed taking the gas, having an antenna and beaming it up."

Eastlund didn't have to show the next slide. The idea clicked and the military contractor apparently wanted to just think about it for a minute.

"(Ramo) basically told me to shut up, and sat there and said, 'such a great idea!' I didn't have to show any of the detail," Eastlund said with obvious pride. "It's that kind of a concept. In fact, dealing with knowledgeable people, I never made it beyond the third view graph. Then they all started inventing, themselves."

The senior scientist whom Eastlund impressed is an inventor who has patents on microwave technology, electron optics and guided missiles. Ramo co-authored the book Fields and Waves in Modern Radio in 1944, and in general he is a knowledgeable engineer.

Eastlund has been described as a soft-spoken, highly-reputable physicist, president of a technological company in Houston. "Eastlund is no wire-haired madman," Omni magazine once said46, citing his degrees from Massachusetts institute of Technology and Columbia University. While working for eight years in the Atomic Energy Commission's fusion program in the early 1970's, for example, he co-invented a "fusion torch" that would use plasma leftovers from fusion reactors in recycling solid waste.

Some time after the meeting where Ramo heard Eastlund's beam focusing ideas, the two worked together on a patent that they filed in early 1985.


Their "Method and Apparatus for Creating an Artificial Electron Cyclotron Heating Region of Plasma" was the second of a series of three patents that Eastlund assigned to a subsidiary of ARCO - Arco Power Technologies Inc. (APTI). Ramo's contribution to the concept was to use a large superconducting coil on the ground to modify earth's magnetic field at a high altitude, Eastlund said.

It had been a good time for Eastlund. The controversy over "the Eastlund patents" had not yet begun. No physicist had yet warned that experimenting with his patents could turn into "an act of global vandalism".

Eastlund had been hired by ARCO as a consultant, to come up with uses for the 30 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in ARCO's reserves on the North Slope of Alaska. ARCO's problem was the remote location of the gas. Building a pipeline and shunting the gas to industrial centers was no answer; that pipeline megaproject had been on the oil industry agenda for more than twenty years without development. The company would get maximum profit if it found a use for its product right there on the North Slope itself.

In that scarcely-populated stretch of icebound real estate, who would be the customers for massive amounts of power? Looking at it in terms of burning the gas on the spot to power a huge generator and make electricity, Eastlund realized that they were talking billions of watts of electricity, not just the millions watts put out by a city's megawatt power plant. What could his boss possibly do with a few gigawatts?

He rejected every idea that needed smaller amounts of power. Eventually Eastlund came up with a wild plan - use all that energy to power the biggest "ionospheric heater" in the world. The equipment on the ground would beam focused energy up to the ionosphere, where the beamed radio frequency (RF) waves would interact powerfully with charged particles that are always trapped there. The heating effect of the focused beam would then dramatically push a plume - a large section of the ionosphere - up and outward from Earth.

As it later turned out, the big ionospheric heater in Alaska would be located far from the North Slope gas fields. But the challenge had served to spark Eastlund's inventiveness.

Anyone outside the military-industrial-academic complex, watching Eastlund research the history of other ionospheric heaters, might wonder - why would anyone want to heat and lift part of the upper atmosphere?


46 Bill Lawren, "Rediscovering Tesla", Omni magazine, March 1988.

Was the motive to allow his country to get a jump ahead of the Soviet Union, which had experimented with related technology? Only they know for sure, Some of Eastlund's research was supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)47 under the project title "Alaska North Slope Electric Missile Shield".

The United States already had smaller antennae in several locations, for experiments in bouncing radio waves off the ionosphere. With a bigger tool than anyone else and the ability to focus its beam, the United States military could fry incoming missiles, disrupt global communications, change the chemical composition of the upper atmosphere and even engineer weather by redirecting very high wind patterns (jet streams).

Other tricks which his invention could do would be debated a few years later. "Earth-penetrating tomography", (scanning the earth with radiations bounced off the sky - basically, X-raying the ground in a search for tunnels and hidden caches) is a use which would show up in the National Defense Authorization Act for 1995. And there are possible uses that are more futuristic than the tomography.

In the 1980's it wasn't an easy sell to the patent office, however. When he applied for the first of several patents on his ionospheric-heater invention, the patent examiner told Eastlund that his invention sounded like science fiction. Eastlund replied that the technology was all known. Step-by-step, he backed up his claims with paperwork that proved that the technology was possible. Then the government officials were impressed.


But before the document moved out into the public literature in 1991, the Navy first slapped a Secrecy Order on his U.S. patent number 5,038,664 for a year. That patent told how to make a "shell of relativistic particles" high in the sky. "Relativistic" particles travel at near the speed of light.

When Eastlund had the military's attention, the Pentagon opened its pocketbook and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on the initial study of his claims. Eastlund said in a 1988 radio interview that the defense department had done a lot of work on his concepts, but he was not at liberty to give details. He later told Manning that after he had worked within ARCO for a year and applied for patents, Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) had combed through his theories then issued a contract for him to study how to generate the relativistic electrons in the ionosphere.

After 1986 he was off the ARCO payroll, before the invention drew much lire in the media. Its first major publicity was in 1988, the year after one of his patents on the system - how to beam huge amounts of electromagnetic energy to selected regions of the upper atmosphere48 - was made public.

The publicized patent was titled "A Method and Apparatus for Altering a Region of the Earth's Atmosphere, Ionosphere and Magnetosphere". Eastlund told Alex Chadwick of National Public Radio that the patent should have been kept under government secrecy. He said he had been unhappy that it was issued publicly, but, as he understood it, the patent office does not keep basic "fundamental information" secret.

46 Bill Lawren, "Rediscovering Tesla", Omni magazine, March 1988.
47 DARPA Contract No. DAAHDJ-86-C-0420 "Alaska North Slope Electric Missile Shield.

"You don't get a patent if you don't describe in enough detail to another person how to use it," he said.

Specifics of military applications of his patent remain proprietary (secret), he added.

The radio interviewer, Chadwick, confronted Eastlund about aspects which troubled the interviewer - mainly the enormity of what the inventor claimed his invention could do. Effects such as changing the planet's atmosphere sounded like something out of a Jules Verne novel.

Sounding quite proud of his accomplishments, Eastlund replied that nothing in the patent was science fiction; it is based on combining known technologies.

"Many of the applications in here are aimed at beneficial effects."

Are artificial sunspot-effects beneficial?


Chadwick pointed to page eleven of the patent, where Eastlund claimed that his invention could disrupt communications all over the world. With a short laugh, the inventor acknowledged the claim.

"And obviously that doesn't sound too beneficial, so I'm contradicting my answer to the last statement. But in the patent itself is the fact that you can do that. Sunspots or solar flares will disrupt communications badly. This would do that through basically the same mechanism."

Eastlund's enthusiasm for planetary-scale engineering came through just as clearly in an interview with Omni magazine. While acknowledging that many of the uses of his invention are warlike, he also talked about "more benign" uses. His view of benign included using the technology to reroute the high-altitude jet stream, which is a major player in shaping global weather.


Another way to control the weather with his technology would be to build "plumes of atmospheric particles to act as a lens or focusing device" for sunlight, he told Omni. With this, the people controlling the antennae could aim in such a way that the return beams would hit a certain part of the earth. With the heating ability, they could experiment until they could control wind patterns in a specific place.

The Omni article explained.

"What this means, he says, is that by controlling local weather patterns one could, say, bring rain to Ethiopia or alter the summer storm pattern in the Caribbean. His device might even help regenerate the depleted ozone layer, patch the ozone hole over Antarctica, or break up atmospheric industrial pollutants like carbon monoxide or nitrous oxide."

Not every scientist shared Eastlund's eagerness to experiment with the ionosphere. Dr. Richard Williams, a physicist with the David Sarnoff Research Center in Princeton, New Jersey, sent a letter to a scientific journal warning that Eastlund's invention might become a serious threat to the earth's atmosphere49.


49 Richard Williams,"Atmospheric Threat", Physics and Society Vol.17 No.2 April 1988, page16.


Williams summed up the contents in Eastlund/APTI's patent for altering the atmosphere, ionosphere and/or magnetosphere:

"The idea of the invention is to generate a beam of radio waves of enormous intensity and direct this toward the upper atmosphere. At certain altitudes, electron cyclotron resonance heating of existing electrons would cause further ionization of the neutral particles of the atmosphere. Among the intended uses of the invention are to 'disrupt microwave transmissions of satellites' or to cause 'even total disruption of communications over a very large portion of the earth'. Other intended uses include weather modification, lifting large regions of the atmosphere, and intercepting incoming missiles."

Williams came up with a pithy one-word description of the concept skybusting.

"This 'skybusting' concept may sound like a tall order, but look at the power levels that will be used (10-to-the-ninth-power up to 10-to-the-eleventhpower watts)! This is equivalent to the output of ten to 300 large power generating stations."

High-energy experiments pose a danger to the upper atmosphere, Williams said. He then referred to Eastlund's statement in the radio interview - that a secret military project was already underway to study and implement the invention.


Williams had a chilling warning.

"Tests of this kind could cause irreversible damage."

Williams reminded his fellow physicists that small changes in the upper atmosphere, such as mere traces of manmade substances, can have a profound effect. An example is the destructive effects on the ozone layer, a protective layer of Earth's atmosphere which absorbs dangerous ultraviolet radiation. While making it clear that the ozone layer and ionosphere are separate layers, physicists say the layers are interconnected as well as separate.


Regarding the ozone layer, Williams said,

"After long negotiations, the federal government had joined in an international treaty to protect the ozone layer. A few tests of the Eastlund invention might undo all that we have accomplished with the treaty."

Effects in the upper atmosphere cannot be kept in one spot, Williams noted.

The publicity was apparently not welcomed by ARCO Power Technologies Inc. In August of 1992, Jeane Manning had confronted the president of APTI, Ramy Shanny, Ph.D., after a power-beaming workshop at an International Energy Conversion Engineering Conference. She had come to the IECEC meeting to further educate herself about energy alternatives, but one item on the program took her away from the "advanced and innovative systems" sessions for a morning. The schedule said that a representative of APTI would be in a workshop on power-beaming, and she wanted to ask the person whether APTI was going to build Eastlund's invention.

Manning slipped in the room without needing to point to the press pass on her suit jacket. The workshop was a rather intimate gathering of colleagues from national laboratories, the federal department of energy and universities; the meeting room held less than thirty people. There was one other woman in the room, also looking severely professional as befits a senior research scientist at a national laboratory.

The discussion bounced from topic to topic, as if the participants were in a hurry to get the formal meeting over and meet informally. Canada was involved in an experimental aircraft that flew to 150 miles in 1987 from microwave power beamed from the ground, Manning learned. ARCO, Raytheon, Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Japanese scientists made history in microwave-power beaming. These aircraft or satellite projects can be used for surveillance, the speakers bragged. Or to relay power for "development of remote natural resources".

One well-dressed man stood up and asked for cooperation among the champions of laser beaming and the proponents of microwave beaming,

" find out what the stuff can do. Let's get a team together and solicit money from the folks with the pocketbooks."

A project engineer for a large university's Center for Space Power was asked about environmental effects of microwave power beaming. He replied that the biggest challenge for the people in the room was the public perception of an environmental impact. Studies about microwave energy and microwave ovens were done in the 1970's and '80's, he noted, but since then the bulk of the environmental studies have focused on 60-hz transmission lines.

"But I think, with the data that's out there, you can show that at the power densities we're talking about operating, there certainly will not be any thermal effects, and the power densities where the people will be going close to the beam will be such that you're not going to have a problem."

To Manning's surprise, he admitted that,

"the big question is 'what (when people are exposed to power-beaming) are the effects from low-density, long-term duration?' There hasn't been any kind of study on that, and that's going to be such a detailed involved intensive study that it's not going to be done in the near future. Because there's no mandate."

Manning swore quietly into her tape recorder.

"Then why in the world are they asking for money to build their toys before such a study is done?"

She didn't ask the question aloud, because she wanted to hear as much as possible from the next speaker - the president of APTI. Perhaps she could find out if the beaming to ionosphere experiment had been canceled,

Dr. Shanny was a rather swarthy and large man, dressed in a well-tailored dark suit, His presentation was brief, with an audiovisual about ARCO's experiment in beaming microwave power to an aircraft in Canada, and a few comments. Perhaps being there was more important than giving a detailed report.

Afterward, Manning waited outside the meeting room door on the sun-dazzled patio, and stopped Shanny as he came out. She introduced herself with her business card from Explore! magazine, then asked him about the status of the Bernard Eastlund patented technology.

Shanny backed away from her, gesturing with his hands and using facial expressions to convey the impression that Eastland is crazy and the company was not going to have anything further to do with Eastlund's futuristic patent.

Momentarily assured that APTI would not be building the mega-instrument, Manning let him rejoin his group and head for a restaurant. Then she replayed the scene in her mind and realized he had not given her a single complete sentence that she could quote. The message - disavowing Eastlund's work and reassuring her that APTI would not build such a technology - had cleverly been conveyed without Shanny having committing to uttering words.

A couple of years later, the giant defense contractor E-Systems bought Shanny's company, APTI. The trail from Eastlund's schemes was further buried in 1995, after Raytheon corporation bought the HAARP contract - and thus the APTI patents - from E-Systems,

Even if the contractors really did completely disown the controversial Eastlund patent # 4,686,605, APTI was the assignee on a dozen others whose technologies were related. APTI, and the larger defense contractors who later swallowed APTI and its patents, probably did leave Bernard Eastlund's controversial patents in their dust50 as they accelerated their power-beaming technology.


Among the unpublicized patents - also assigned to APTI Inc. - that Nick Begich uncovered were:

  • 5,068,669 "Power Beaming System"

  • 5,041,834 "Artificial Ionospheric Mirror Composed of a Plasma Layer..."

  • 4,999,637 "Creation of Artificial Ionization Clouds Above the Earth"

  • 4,817,495 "Defense System for Discriminating Between Objects in Space"

  • 4,873,928 "Nuclear-Sized Explosions Without Radiation"

In the interview with Manning, Eastlund explained why his method for creating a high-energy missile shield was an improvement over the current Strategic Defense Initiatives type of beaming - no satellites needed. The antennae on the ground radiate energy into the areas high above the Earth without the use of particle beaming from satellites to accelerate electrons in the ionosphere.


At very high altitudes, the effects would multiply if a high enough power level was used.

"I took a factor of about a million steps {increase) in power it could deliver at, say, 100 kilometers altitude. I took it way beyond what the slate of the art was at the time...It opened up new things. As I understand it, that's one of the selling points of HAARP - by having this massively-greater power, you can do a lot more interesting things. Basically, what I said in the patents."

50- Eastlund/APTI patent #4,686,605"Method and Apparatus for Altering a Region in the Earth's Atmosphere, Ionosphere and Magnetosphere"; # 5,038,664 "Method for Producing a Shell of Relativistic Particles, held up one year by Navy secrecy order; and # 4,712,155 "Method and Apparatus for Creating an Artificial Electron Cyclotron".

Is it possible that the HAARP scientists could have miniaturized the technology so that they don't need such a large area of land and electrical power as called for in Eastlund's patents? Manning asked him.

"It's entirely possible," he replied. "They have had a lot of good engineers working on it for some time. I would hope they have improved it."

In 1994 Eastlund wrote to an Australian who was concerned about HAARPs impact on New Zealand and Australia, David White.51

"As we discussed, this (HAARP) antenna may be a first step toward determining if some of the applications discussed in my patents could be accomplished. Most of the military applications require generation of relativistic electrons in the ionosphere. It is my understanding that one of the purposes of the HAARP antenna is to study the generation of relativistic electrons."

The speeded-up electrons would travel along Earth's magnetic field lines and could either "bounce" on a field line over Australia and return to the north, or "be lost and fall into the atmosphere".

"Don't panic," Eastlund wrote, "this happens very high in the atmosphere."

"It is... years in the future that enough electrons might be generated to merit concern in the Southern hemisphere, and that only if it can be proven that such electrons can be created with the antenna."

In the meantime, Eastlund said,

"since I stopped working for ARCO, I have spent some time investigating uses of the antenna for possible replenishment of the ozone holes, and for steering the jet stream for weather modification."

When the ionizing beams make some ozone by a breakdown in the atmosphere, he later told Manning, they also increase nitrogen compounds up there.

"The problem is, it takes a lot of energy to make a lot of ozone."

The scientist planned to continue to work on the problem.

He would like recognition for his part in inventing the HAARP advanced ionospheric heater.

"They own it, but they can't take credit for it," he said. "I was upset, because 'internal politics' is why I was let go. I went to my patent lawyer, and he said 'Ben, don't worry about it. It's a far out idea... If it works, the United States government says you invented it. And they can't take that away.' "

As evidence that HAARP was based on Eastlund-type technology, he said,

"...In the RFP (Request for Proposal) for the project, for example, they stated that generation of relativistic electrons was one of the objectives of the program."

Eastlund gave a vivid picture of how energetic those electrons are.

"The electron that hits your TV screen is moving at 25,000 electron-volts. When it gets more than a half-a-million, that's when you call it relativistic. The ones (HAARP) is talking about are one to three million electron-volts."

51 March 26, 1994, letter from Bernard Eastlund to David White of Production Technologies Inc., quoted with permission from Dr. Eastlund.

The patent he wrote with Simon Ramo dealt with the how-to.

"How you turn the knobs on your antennae and beam things and make things happen."

Since the Earth's magnetic field is barely strong enough to turn the needle on a compass, Ramo added the concept of using a very large ground-based superconducting coil to modify the amount of the earth's magnetic field at a certain altitude, Eastlund told Manning,

"To give you a little more ability to control things...It would allow you to more effectively do things up at the high altitude."

The reporter asked,

"Has anyone raised the thought of things getting out of control?"

Eastlund didn't seem to notice the anger behind her question, and he gave an enthusiastic technical answer.

"I don't mean control in that sense," he said, "Let's say you want electrons to get hot. You send your waves through and they get hot, but only use up one per cent of what you sent... So you have to use a huge antenna.... Control in terms of doing what you want."

The physicist emphasized that he is in favor of HAARP.

"If ten per cent of any of these things work out, it's going to be a very neat thing."

A growing number of people don't agree. Before we meet Clare Zickuhr and "the guys in the bush", the next chapter will look back at the history of attempts to do "neat things" in the upper atmosphere.

"When the Earth came alive it began constructing its own membrane, for the general purpose of editing the sun... The sky is a miraculous achievement. "52

Lewis Thomas,


52 Lewis Thomas, "The World's Biggest Membrane, The Live sofa Cell", Massachusetts Medical Society 1973.


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