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- ART FEATURE: Reviving bygone beauty
- GUEST OPINION: Support bill to embrace science standards
- MOMIX: A dance of illusion
- GET OUT: Bar BC excursion a blast from the past
- THEM ON US
- MUSIC BOX: Ugly Valley Boys make beautiful music
- PROPS & DISSES
- FEATURE: The Path to Ruins, Burgeoning author Andrew Munz hunts down Jess Walter
The sky is falling
Jet contrails clouded in conspiracy theories
Jackson Hole, Wyoming – Max Mogren looks up into a bluebird sky with disgust. The Jackson Hole forecast called for a mostly sunny day, and it mostly is. Except for a thin layer of high clouds slowly diffusing from what was jet wash left by a handful of commercial airliners criss-crossing a big mountain sky.
It’s the same in Aspen, Philly, and Virginia Beach. Nearly anywhere or everywhere in the United States, contrails billowing from jet engines are scarring our skies. For a movie director working on a period piece Western, they are a nightmare to shoot around. For Mogren and others who see conspiracy in the clouds, the contrails are an indication our government might be up to something sinister.
Are these “chemtrails,” as the tin foil hat crowd likes to call them, being sprayed to control the weather – or worse, us? Or are they the inevitable by-product of mass air travel? Unsightly, maybe, but relatively harmless.
“Given the system we live in, with so little oversight in government spending and programs we don’t really know much about it if anything. If chemicals are being sprayed for whatever reason, well, it would be naive to think some technologies are not being used for political, economic, or military purposes,” Mogren says. “My personal opinion is if somebody is going to spray chemicals on you to change your mood or make you sick, you wouldn’t have this visual evidence with these cloud formations. I believe the ones here are being used for weather modification.”
The technology has existed since at least the 1950s. Russians were first to attempt cloud seeding and other weather modification tools. Early this year, the United Nations confirmed at least 42 countries are actively involved in some form of weather-altering program. Desired outcomes vary but mainly these nations are trying to encourage precipitation in drought-stricken areas or, in some cases, keep rainclouds away from floodplains.
In Wyoming, three such state-funded orographic cloud-seeding programs are ongoing. The Wyoming Weather Modification Pilot Program includes target areas in the Medicine Bow, Sierra Madre, and Wind River ranges. They have been moderately successful.
But it’s not the fully disclosed cloud-seeding programs that concern people like Mogren. He’s more worried about what he isn’t being told.
“You have the drought in Texas. Now we see the worst drought in California history. I don’t want to say the government is causing the drought there but in the U.S. alone there are a dozen ongoing weather programs,” Mogren says. “But of the 42 countries involved in weather modification, the U.S. is notably absent from that list. That’s interesting to me. I’m concerned that programs being conducted without the knowledge of the average citizen or mainstream media could be having a massive impact whether we know it or not.”
Today’s forecast: Cloudy with a chance of ‘plane’
Chemtrail advocates pushed their agenda hard in the early aughts. Dismissed by mainstream media as alarmists looking too hard for a conspiracy, their chatter was diminished by the mid-2000s but not their resolve.
Well-known TV weatherman Scott Stevens lost his job of 10 years with Pocatello’s KPVI-TV after he began airing his unconventional opinions to a local audience that included Jackson Hole viewers.
“They let me go for talking about these things and I don’t regret it for one minute,” Stevens admits.
Stevens grew frustrated with his inability to provide accurate forecasts. He blamed so-called chemtrails for weather disturbances that defied computer models.
“My accuracy was not where I thought it should be, and I’m a very good forecaster,” Stevens says. “In the late 90s it began to be extremely difficult to forecast weather in this area. I would be waiting for the storm to start but the sky wouldn’t look right. It was all just a hazy misty mess. I would hear planes at 2 a.m. in Pocatello and it was a ‘WTF’ moment. ‘Why am I hearing commercial airlines running now?’ The upper atmosphere was warming and that is the kiss of death for storms. Imagery was showing warming holes and then the storm was gone. I found myself saying, ‘It just didn’t come together like we thought it would, folks.’ I had to do that time and time again, and it was starting to piss me off.”
Stevens began researching and digging into alternative websites. He installed time-lapse photography cameras at his home, pointed at the sky. He said they showed clear evidence of chemtrails contributing to cirrus cloud cover, which reflected sunlight and warmed the upper atmosphere. He showed them on the air. Producers at KPVI didn’t appreciate it and he was sacked in 2005.
“I had to do surveillance. I had to provide my viewers with accuracy. We were just throwing darts at a chart,” Stevens says in his defense. “We are so rotten at forecasting weather. They are fools if they think they can forecast the weather now. We have been missing input the Weather Service is not aware of. When I began researching these chalk lines in the sky, the pit of my stomach just dropped out. I began to understand how big of a game it was. The hurricane season in 2004, [Hurricane] Sandy; people were suffering and I had to say something and if it cost me my job I knew it. It was too important to humanity.”
Brave new world
Mogren has devoted countless hours of his life to studying chemtrails and warning his followers to their dangers on numerous social media outlets. He was skeptical, himself, at first after noticing a couple of jets mark up the California sky while surfing a few years ago.
Like most chemtrail apostles, Mogren identifies the early 1990s as the tipping point. Before then, chemtrailers insist, plane contrails were skinny and dissipated quickly. Now they are laced with chemicals – aerosol sulfates, nano particles consisting of aluminum and barium titanate, or even tiny metal flakes designed to form ice crystals, which could last up to two weeks in the atmosphere, reflecting the sun’s rays and potentially keeping the earth cooler. This information can be readily found in numerous sources including a paper authored by David Mitchell and William Finnegan called “Focus on Climate Engineering: Intentional Intervention in the Climate System.” It was co-sponsored by the Department of Energy.
Author and pilot Patrick Smith, whose long-running “Ask The Pilot” column has appeared on Salon.com for years, counters the idea that contrails have changed since the 1990s.
“Are there more trails today than before? Yes, but it’s also true there are close to twice as many planes flying since 1995,” Smith says. “Theorists like to point to the size of them and that’s just nonsense. I fly across the oceans a lot. We fly the same tracks, within a few thousand feet of each other – next to them or above them. And you watch the contrails of other jets, they will start and stop. Some leave a long trail, some short. It all has to do with change in atmospheric conditions.”
Still, patents for chemical additives that could be introduced into jet fuel were filed for by several companies and individuals including one by the Hughes Aircraft Company in 1991. Pilot programs, some secretive, others less so, ramped up during the 1990s. Operation Cloverleaf, for instance, which began in 1997, was shrouded in secrecy until a whistle-blower stepped forward.
“There’s a lot we don’t really know. There is no oversight. No accountability,” Mogren complains.
Stevens agrees. “The government doesn’t tell you anything. They are all just a bunch of liars, top to bottom,” he says.
The private sector also is involved. Virgin Airlines CEO Richard Branson has offered $25 million for anyone who can come forward with a viable “climate technofix” as part of his Virgin Earth Challenge. Bill Gates has forked over a reported $4.6 million to scientists working in the field of geoengineering and climate related research.
Skeptics scoff at the notion that commercial airlines are being utilized by the government to covertly aid in geoengineering a climate-altering agenda. Smith, especially, doesn’t buy the hype.
“Are you telling me with 12,000 daily commercial flights and 50 to 60 thousand active pilots that no one has come forward to this point?” he asks. “Not one jet fueler, mechanic, airline employee? What an amazingly successful theory that no one has come forward.”
Mogren says some have, including ex-Air Force veteran Kristen Meghan, who claimed she witnessed canisters of metallic powders routinely shipped onto the base where she was stationed.
Numerous videos routinely make their way around the internet, purporting to show barrels filled with chemicals on board or crews deploying spray from military planes. Many have been debunked as fake. One popular video posted in April of this year, entitled “Pilot forgets to turn off chemtrails before landing,” shows a Cathay Pacific Airlines jet streaming contrails off its wings as it sets down at LAX.
“Yeah, that video of the triple-7 landing in [Los Angeles] where you can see all the vortices of moisture coming off all the engines. It’s pretty normal stuff for the conditions. It’s seen routinely under an approach path,” Smith says. “The level of collusion that must be involved to have a [chemtrail] switch in every cockpit, what can I say other than to laugh and smile and say there is no cockpit button? It’s hard to get up the energy to dignify that contention with an answer.”
Stevens doesn’t believe the airlines can be in on it, either. He thinks chemtrail technology can be traced to something bigger than government.
“I think at the very least they are using it to stress the population of the world. That’s the whole reason I’m doing this: For public insight,” Stevens says. “There is a very dark element going on and I’m on the record for that. They are controlling the population. They want us starving and they want us victims because then we are easy to control. They are not human. This is why NASA will not talk about ET episodes. It’s one of the side effects of that dark infection of our government. But it’s not clear who is doing it. It’s the top of the power structure, irrespective of nationality. All nations yield to this power.”
Mogren does not share Stevens’ radical notions. He thinks weather alteration is very real but stops short of mass genocide.
“I’m not sure the potential exists to use spraying out of airplanes as a biological weapon,” Mogren says. But it’s happened in the past. All the way back to Vietnam and Operation Popeye and Agent Orange. But, personally, I don’t think it’s being done to people in America.”
If the United States, or some nefarious Illuminati, was behind a concerted effort to affect people or weather, and if it seems unlikely they would employ the commercial airline industry to distribute their payload, what is the plausibility of such a grand scheme?
“It’s neither the airlines or the military,” Stevens says. “If you are going to run a fleet of 1,200 planes over the U.S. and Canada they can’t have U.S. markings on them. They’ve built their own airline. In the West they look like United or Delta. They’re also made to look like Fed Ex planes.”
When pressed to explain how a fleet of 1,200 planes can take off and land without anyone noticing now that Area 51 is declassified, Stevens went off the rails.
“We have aircraft carriers that are dedicated to this program,” Stevens speculates. “They are not in the oceans. They are in the sky, hiding in interdimensional space.”
Whether the weather
Assuming the U.S. government or some higher power is not attempting to create an obedient society of sheep, it brings us back to climate control. So what if the United States and other nations are attempting to alter weather to suit its needs? Isn’t snow a good thing for ski towns? Don’t we want rain to fill our reservoirs in drought-plagued zones?
Mogren, for one, worries any science that can be used for good carries also the potential for abuse.
“It is such a powerful tool. You would have an ace in the hole,” Mogren explains. “Think about it: In combat, if you can cause it to rain more over your territory to grow and harvest crops, you win. If you can cause a drought over your enemy’s territory, you win. It’s not as traceable as dropping bombs. If you are spraying a zillion tiny aluminum bombs that cause a flood or a drought, there is an element of uncertainty as to whether you are doing something or not.”
Experts still disagree whether the climate can be manipulated much to any degree. They can’t even agree if lacing jet fuel with additives to create upper atmosphere cirrus clouds will cool the earth or heat it. The theory is, creating or promoting high cirrus cloud cover, 30,000 to 40,000 feet above sea level – the cruising altitude range of most commercial flights – will cause a reflection of some of the sun’s warming infra-red radiation rays, not allowing them to reach the planet, thereby cooling the earth.
But wait a minute. That same cloud layer will also trap outgoing heat, keeping overnight lows higher. In fact, local meteorologist Jim Woodmencey speculates any chemtrail experimentation would actually contribute to global warming. Fellow weatherman Stevens couldn’t agree more.
“Global warming is an utter joke,” Stevens says. “We’ve had disaster after disaster that has been blamed on gas; your CO2. These trails are probably having a slight warming effect on the planet. We might be in a stretch of warmer weather now, but another ice age is coming. Sun activity is waning. If there is anything they are doing, it is to keep the planet warmer against this impending ice age.”
The stats seem to back our local meteorologists. After 9/11, a rare opportunity to study the effects of jet contrails presented itself. With all air traffic grounded by the FAA for three days, scientists scrambled to investigate clear blue skies. What they found was astounding.
Research from Penn State and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, published in the science journal Nature, found “an anomalous increase in the average diurnal temperature range for the period Sept. 11-14, 2001, as compared to the 30-year average of the same three days.” The difference between daytime highs and overnight lows was higher over these flightless days by 2 degrees Fahrenheit – a significant increase that would indicate contrail-produced clouds were, at the very least, playing a part in preventing the Earth from cooling at night.
Climate manipulation, whether achieved through the use of jet contrails or other, more far-fetched methods, will always be controversial. The American Meteorological Society has come out against fooling with the weather. They stated such cloud-modification attempts “could change global circulation with potentially serious consequences such as changing storm tracks and precipitation patterns. As with inadvertent human-induced climate change, the consequences of reflecting sunlight would almost certainly not be the same for all nations and peoples, thus raising legal, ethical, diplomatic, and national security concerns.”
The ethical concerns were spotlighted in 2005, when the Boston Globe interviewed Harvard’s director of the Laboratory for Geochemical Oceanography, Daniel Schrag. He said, “Suppose we could control hurricanes, but stopping one requires an incredibly hot day in Africa that would burn up all the crops.” Or “Let’s say you have a mirror in space. Think of two summers ago when we were having this awful cold summer and Europe was having this awful heat wave. Who gets to adjust the mirror?”
For now, chemtrail proponents continue to be in the minority, fractioned by a few holding tightly to fringe conspiracy theories. Smith, for one, has had it with arguing with them.
“It’s hard to debate it in the right way with them,” Smith says. “Ultimately it doesn’t matter what you say. I can contradict any of their arguments and they just accuse you of lying. They say, ‘You’re one of them.’ It’s like arguing faith or religion. You can’t argue the science of it with them.”
Mogren just stares into the sky and sighs.
“This could very well be screwing up our climate worse than CO2,” Mogren says. “Just see how unnatural the sky looks. Even if it’s not having an effect. Just the disturbance of the aesthetics. This huge ‘X’ in the sky above the Grand Teton looks like a cum stain on the atmosphere. It looks disgusting.”
About Jake NicholsJake is a work in progress.
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