Project HAARP: Overview

The Pentagon's provocative plan to superheat the earth's ionosphere The HAARP phased-array transmitter zaps the earth's ionosphere with high-frequency radio waves. In an Arctic compound 200 miles east of Anchorage, Alaska, the Pentagon has erected a powerful transmitter designed to beam more than a gigawatt of energy into the upper reaches of the atmosphere. Known as Project HAARP (High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program), the $30 million experiment involves the world's largest "ionospheric heater," a prototype device designed to zap the skies hundreds of miles above the earth with high-frequency radio waves. Why irradiate the charged particles of the ionosphere (which when energized by natural processes make up the lovely and famous phenomenon known as the Northern Lights)? According to the U.S. Navy and Air Force, co-sponsors of the project, "to observe the complex natural variations of Alaska's ionosphere." That, says the Pentagon, and also to develop new forms of communications and surveillance technologies that will enable the military to send signals to nuclear submarines and to peer deep underground.

60 Greatest Conspiracies first reported on HAARP more than a year ago. Since then, inquiring Internauts have blamed the peculiar project for everything from UFO activity to major power outages in the Western United States, to, most recently, the downing of TWA Flight 800. (The Pentagon maintains that the HAARP array has been inactive since late last year.) Some have dubbed it the "Pentagon's doomsday death ray." Though many of these theories are, well, creatively amplified, an assortment of more grounded critics--environmentalists, Native Americans and Alaskan citizens among them--argue that the military does indeed have Strangelovian plans for this unusual hardware, applications ranging from "Star Wars" missile defense schemes to weather modification plots and perhaps even mind control experiments.

The HAARP complex is situated within a 23-acre lot in a relatively isolated region near the town of Gakona. When the final phase of the project was completed in 1997, the military had erected 180 towers, 72 feet in height, forming a "high-power, high frequency phased array radio transmitter" capable of beaming in the 2.5-10 megahertz frequency range, at more than 3 gigawatts of power (3 billion watts).

HAARP Hyperlinks -- Warm, Fuzzy HAARP The U.S. Navy's soothing, feel-good PR Web site devoted to HAARP reassures us that the project is entirely benign.

Angels Don't Play This HAARP Excerpts from the book that posits a connection between the work of suppressed scientist Nikola Tesla and Project HAARP.

Alternative HAARP Page Overview of facts and speculation swirling around the Gakona, Alaska, project. The Eastlund-ARCO Patent Outlines Eastlund's vision for a HAARP-like project drawing upon the inspiration of Nikola Tesla.

According to the Navy and Air Force, HAARP "will be used to introduce a small, known amount of energy into a specific ionospheric layer" anywhere from several miles to several tens of miles in radius. Not surprisingly, Navy and Air Force PR (posted on the official HAARP World Wide Web Internet site, an effort to combat the bad press the project has generated), downplays both the environmental impacts of the project and purported offensive uses of the technology. However, a series of patents owned by the defense contractor managing the HAARP project suggests that the Pentagon might indeed have more ambitious designs. In fact, one of those patents was classified by the Navy for several years during the 1980s. The key document in the bunch is U.S. Patent number 4,686,605, considered by HAARP critics to be the "smoking raygun," so to speak. Held by ARCO Power Technologies, Inc. (APTI), the ARCO subsidiary contracted to build HAARP, this patent describes an ionospheric heater very similar to the HAARP heater invented by Bernard J. Eastlund, a Texas physicist. In the patent--subsequently published on the Internet by foes of HAARP--Eastlund describes a fantastic offensive and defensive weapon that would do any megalomaniacal James Bond super villain proud.

According to the patent, Eastlund's invention would heat plumes of charged particles in the ionosphere, making it possible to, for starters, selectively "disrupt microwave transmissions of satellites" and "cause interference with or even total disruption of communications over a large portion of the earth." But like his hopped up ions, Eastlund was just warming up.

Per the patent text, the physicist's "method and apparatus for altering a region in the earth's atmosphere" would also: "cause confusion of or interference with or even complete disruption of guidance systems employed by even the most sophisticated of airplanes and missiles"; "not only... interfere with third-party communications, but [also] take advantage of one or more such beams to carry out a communications network at the same time. Put another way, what is used to disrupt another's communications can be employed by one knowledgeable of this invention as a communications network at the same time"; "pick up communication signals of others for intelligence purposes"; facilitate "missile or aircraft destruction, deflection, or confusion" by lifting large regions of the atmosphere "to an unexpectedly high altitude so that missiles encounter unexpected and unplanned drag forces with resultant destruction or deflection of same." If Eastlund's brainchild sounds like a recipe for that onetime Cold War panacea, the Strategic Defense Initiative (AKA "Star Wars"), it's probably no coincidence.

The APTI/Eastlund patent was filed during the final days of the Reagan administration, when plans for high-tech missile defense systems were still all the rage. But Eastlund's blue-sky vision went far beyond the usual Star Wars prescriptions of the day and suggested even more unusual uses for his patented ionospheric heater. "Weather modification," the patent states, "is possible by... altering upper atmospheric wind patterns or altering solar absorption patterns by constructing one or more plumes of particles which will act as a lens or focusing device." As a result, an artificially heated could focus a "vast amount of sunlight on selected portions of the earth." HAARP officials deny any link to Eastlund's patents or plans. But several key details suggest otherwise. For starters, APTI, holder of the Eastlund patents, continues to manage the HAARP project.

During the summer of 1994, ARCO sold APTI to E-Systems, a defense contractor known for counter-surveillance projects. E-Systems, in turn, is currently owned by Raytheon, one of the world's largest defense contractors and maker of the SCUD-busting Patriot missile. All of which suggests that more than just simple atmospheric science is going on in the HAARP compound. What's more, one of the APTI/Eastlund patents singles out Alaska as the ideal site for a high-frequency ionospheric heater because "magnetic field lines... which extend to desirable altitudes for this invention, intersect the earth in Alaska." APTI also rates Alaska as an ideal location given its close proximity to an ample source of fuel to power the project: the vast reserves of natural gas in the North Slope region--reserves owned by APTI parent company ARCO.

Eastlund also contradicts the official military line. He told National Public Radio that a secret military project to develop his work was launched during the late 1980s. And in the May/June 1994 issue of Microwave News, Eastlund suggested that "The HAARP project obviously looks a lot like the first step" toward the designs outlined in his patents. Eastlund's patent really trips into conspiratorial territory in its "References Cited" section. Two of the sources documented by Eastlund are New York Times articles from 1915 and 1940 profiling Nikola Tesla, a giant in the annals of Conspiratorial History. Tesla, a brilliant inventor and contemporary of Edison, developed hundreds of patents during his lifetime, and is often credited with developing radio before Marconi, among a host of other firsts. Of course, mainstream science has never fully acknowledged Tesla's contributions, and his later pronouncements (he vowed that he had developed a technology that could split the earth asunder) have left him straddling that familiar historical territory where genius meets crackpot. Not surprisingly, fringe science and conspiracy theory have made Tesla something of a patron saint. Whenever, talk radio buzz or Internet discussion turns to alleged government experiments to cause earthquakes or modify weather, references to government-suppressed "Tesla Technology" are sure to follow.

Judging from the APTI patent, Tesla was a major inspiration for Eastlund ionospheric heater. The first New York Times article, dated September 22, 1940, reports that Tesla, then 84 years old, "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." Quoting Tesla, the Times story continues: "This new type of force, Mr. Tesla said, would operate through a beam 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 second New York Times story, dated December 8, 1915, describes one of Tesla's more well-known patents, a transmitter that would "project electrical energy in any amount to any distance and apply it for innumerable purposes, both in war and peace." The similarity of Tesla's ideas to Eastlund's invention are remarkable, and by extension the overlap between Tesla and HAARP technology is downright intriguing. Apparently, APTI and the Pentagon are taking Eastlund's--and by extension, Tesla's--ideas seriously.

Eastlund seems to agree. As he told one journalist/conspiracy pathfinder: "HAARP is the perfect first step towards a plan like mine. ...The government will say it isn't so, but if it quacks like a duck and it looks like a duck, there's a good chance it is a duck."





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