seit über 100 jahren.
A hilly landscape in northern Austria in mid-1944. Day after day, the U.S. Air Force flew bomb attacks against the Hermann-Goering-Werke, Austria's largest steel mill. On their way back, the planes often bombed farm houses and other unimportant targets, just to get rid of some left over bombs.
In addition to bombs they also emitted a strange substance: finely shredded aluminum foil. Like autumn leaves, aluminum strips still gracefully descended from the sky when the bombers had already disappeared. Crops and pastures were littered with zillions of thin silvery strips. Children gathered some of the strange material, not knowing what to do with it.
The foil was used by the American aircraft to jam German radar screens which guided the powerful anti-aircraft defenses surrounding the steel mill.
Aluminum not only jams radar screens. It also reflects sunlight back into space. It serves as a means to partially block radiation and can thus be used to counteract global warming. There are people out there in talk radios and on the Internet who believe that this is being done. This is the story of the chemtrails.
In 1989, the Berlin Wall came down. Shortly after, most of the inefficient and polluting East German industries were shut down. Suddenly, no more fumes, dust and toxic gases were emitted into the atmosphere around the German capital.
The results were drastic. Berlin's climate changed back to what it had been before World War II. No more months of depressingly uniform gray skies. Intermittent shine and rain returned to Berlin, and people reacted with optimism.
The United States is not only a large country. It is also in many respects very different from other countries. One of these differences is America's sometimes strange relationship between the people and their government. Large sections of the American people, especially in the Midwest, traditionally mistrust the federal government. Some of them even consider the government their enemy.
The history of the militias culminating in the Oklahoma bombing is but the tip of an iceberg of paranoia of people who think the government is mean and out to get at them. Worse than the government, in their view, is only the United Nations which is allegedly plotting to take over Washington D.C., remove civil liberties and confiscate people's hard earned wealth to distribute it to developing countries.
In other words: there are probably few developed and democratic countries in which so many citizens are ready to easily believe any rumor about alleged misdeeds of their own government.
Add up the above facts and you get the story of the chemtrails, short for chemical trails. It is a wild tale of military planes partly painted to look like commercial aircraft implementing a top secret government scheme to counteract global warming by spraying fine aluminum dust, barium, titanium and assorted chemicals, thus using the aircraft as distributors of reflective aerosols or humidity collecting aerogels.
Look up, says a student on the campus to his friend, look at the sky. What do you see? I see a plane flying at high altitude, leaving its white vapor trail behind. O.K. do you notice anything else?
Look again. Isn't it strange that the vapor trail does not dissolve and disappear as quickly as it should? I can tell you why. It's a chemtrail. It's the aluminum dust or the chemicals which do not dissolve. As you can see, they are doing it again. When the damn stuff comes down it will poison us. They poison us because they are afraid of global warming. And tonight, watch the quarter moon. If it is bright almost like a full moon it shows the light reflected from earth.
There they are, the sky watchers with their polarized sunglasses to make the multicolored halo on the fringes of chemtrails better visible. Whenever skies are blue they watch them. They see the planes flying not only once, twice. They see them crisscrossing the sky to produce a coherent vapor shield, guided by satellites. They can't prove it but they are afraid. Who are they? Are they just suffering from a collective nightmare or is there any substance to back up their suspicion?
Edward Teller, the father of the hydrogen bomb, has allegedly hatched the scheme of using metals to render the atmosphere more reflective. There are scores of self-appointed and real scientists. There are timelines, tables and calculations. There are eye witnesses describing what they have seen. There are people who fell ill after having watched chemtrails above their heads, especially when living near busy airports. It's a big thing with all the paraphernalia of a popular American movement.
But is it true?
Who is afraid of global warming? The Bush administration for years bravely rejected any suggestion that there is a human element partly responsible the current warming trend. The U.S. government famously refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol aimed at stabilizing global emissions of climate gases, mainly of carbon dioxide. So why should this administration launch and finance a costly secret anti-warming project?
Precisely because the Kyoto Protocol is ridiculously insufficient, some chemtrail believers say. Kyoto has shown that the world community is unable to agree on any practical initiative to control global warming. The protocol, if implemented, would be useless in terms of slowing down global temperatures and only serve to put rich-country industrial production in a carbon dioxide reduction straightjacket.
Given the fact that the world community is allegedly unable to effectively fight warming, the wisest and richest government is assumed to have felt the need to go ahead on its own and save the world, chemtrail believers think.
Compared to the enormous sacrifices, industry and with it the entire economy would have to make by reducing carbon dioxide emissions to climatically innocuous levels it would be much less expensive to create a shield in the troposphere which stabilizes world temperatures by blocking out, say, 15 percent of solar radiation at an annual cost of only a few billion dollars.
That's how the argument goes. Runaway paranoia, current fact or future option? Would a global aerosol campaign mean collateral deaths from cancer, respiratory diseases, chemical poisoning, as chemtrail campaigners suspect?
Or are they seeing flying saucers in a clear blue sky?
In several respects, the chemtrail idea mirrors typically American thinking in ignoring much of the rest of the world. It's the American government suspected of having taken action; it's mainly North American skies in which action is supposed to be taking place, as if that surface alone would suffice to illuminate the dark parts of the moon.
Like other conspiracy theorists chemtrail believers ignore the possibility of an effective whistleblower among pilots coming forth; of a senior government accountant discovering the related expenses and wondering loud what they are good for; of the always hungry news media conducting in-depth research on the story and debasing it.
In any case, there is considerable entertainment value in exploring the chemtrail universe on the Internet which leads to other grand designs such as, for instance, HAARP, "the High Frequency Active Aural Research Project ... a large-phase arrayed antenna system in Gakon, Alaska, jointly operated by the U.S. Air Force and Navy. Powered by more than a billion watts of energy, HAARP works by beaming tightly-focused radio waves into the upper atmosphere. These waves stretch the earth's ionosphere further out into space, causing a vacuum that pulls and alters global weather. Among many other capabilities, HAARP can heat and move sections of the upper atmosphere to create everything from super-storms to drought."
If the U.S. military has such a powerful tool at its disposal, why can't it get rid of those hurricanes devastating North America's coasts almost every year? (The place is actually called Gakona, Alaska, and was explored by Popular Mechanics, a responsible mainstream print magazine.)
It's a weird but fascinating world out there on the 'net. Find out for yourself by just letting your favorite search engine explore “chemtrails.”
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—— John Wantock