Chapter Six

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 Inlet.


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 medical anthropology.

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 life.

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 facilities.

"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 died down.

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 upper atmosphere?"

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 such independents.

"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 sense observation.

"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 situation.

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 plus."

By the next meeting, more people were involved in seriously trying to get answers about HAARP. One of the people pointed out that,

"the 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 will be".

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 it."

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 anything.

 - After the NO HAARP group sent information about waterfowl vs. HAARP to the headquarters of the Audubon Society, the society did not reply.

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 working on.


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 attention to."

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 Armageddon. 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.


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