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> Haarp Covered By Wired, An interesting overview of the facility and controversy
Sarielite
post Aug 6 2009, 09:05 AM
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How the project got started as a way to revive the radio transmission research field:
QUOTE
Bringing Haarp to fruition was, well, complicated. A group of scientists had to cozy up to a US senator, cut deals with an oil company, and convince the Pentagon that the project might revolutionize war. Oh, and along the way they sparked enough conspiracy theories to make the place sound like an arctic Area 51.

But the shocking thing about Haarp isn't that it's a boondoggle (it's actually pretty worthwhile) or that it was spawned by a military-industrial-petrochemical-political complex (a hallowed government tradition). It's that, all too often, this is the way big science gets done in the US. Navigating the corridors of money and power is simply what scientists have to do.


How the project became the go-to facility for conspiracy theories:
QUOTE
For more than a year, planning proceeded largely out of public view. Then, in 1993, an Anchorage teachers' union rep named Nick Begich—son of one of Alaska's most important political families—found a notice about Haarp in the Australian conspiracy magazine Nexus.

When Begich was 13, a Cessna carrying his father, a Congressional representative, disappeared. Neither the plane nor its passengers were ever recovered. Over the years, Begich became obsessed with uncovering mysteries. Between gigs as a gemologist, miner, school supervisor, and Chickaloon tribal administrator, he regularly lectured on government mind-control technology. So you can imagine his reaction when he began looking into Haarp: the weather-control patents, the Pentagon proposals for long-range spying, the oil company schemes. Senator Stevens had even suggested that the ionosphere could end our dependency on fossil fuels. "At any time over Fairbanks," Stevens said on the Senate floor, "there is more energy than there is in the entire United States." Begich had hit the conspiracy jackpot.

In 1995, he self-published a book, Angels Don't Play This HAARP. It sold 100,000 copies. He started giving speeches on Haarp's dangers everywhere, from UFO conventions to the European Parliament. Marvel Comics, Tom Clancy, and, of course, The X-Files made the facility an ominous feature of their narratives. A Russian military journal warned that blasting the ionosphere would trigger a cascade of electrons that could flip Earth's magnetic poles. "Simply speaking, the planet will 'capsize,'" it warned. The European Parliament held hearings about Haarp; so did the Alaska state legislature.

Begich told his audiences that Haarp was a high-powered weapon prototype. Forget spying underground with low-frequency waves—Haarp was so strong it could trigger earthquakes. And by dumping all those radio waves into the ionosphere, Haarp could turn a miles-wide portion of the upper atmosphere into a giant lens. "The result will be an absolutely catastrophic release of pure energy," he wrote. "The sky would literally appear to burn."

The military's response only amped up the conspiracists. When program managers swore that the facility would "never be used for military functions," Begich would trot out military reports touting satellite-blinding research plans or then-secretary of defense William Cohen's suggestion that "electromagnetic waves" could alter the climate and control earthquakes and volcanoes remotely.


It's an interesting article, I recommend reading the whole thing. Excellent reporting from Wired, as usual.


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Fremen Bryan
post Aug 7 2009, 12:43 PM
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This post has been edited by Fremen Bryan: Aug 7 2009, 01:00 PM


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