This story is over 5 years old
Tech by VICE

Haarp Bizarre

Up in the wastelands of Gokona, Alaska, there is a forest of high frequency radio antennae. The US government claims it is conducting research into the uppermost reaches of the atmosphere.

by Bruno Bayley
02 August 2008, 12:00am

Illustration of the world being destroyed by a giant tsunami of turds by Mimi Leung

Up in the wastelands of Gokona, Alaska, there is a forest of high frequency radio antennae. The US government claims it is conducting research into the uppermost reaches of the atmosphere, but Dr Nick Begich, a well-respected local education official, suspects there are darker motives afoot. He, like others, suspects this station will become a huge weapons platform that can control the weather, cause earthquakes, and fuck with people’s minds anywhere in the world via low frequency airwaves bounced off the sky. It sounds pretty far-fetched but also exciting, so we got in touch with him.

Vice: So, what is HAARP?

Dr Nick Begich:
It’s the “High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program”. It’s the most powerful ionospheric heater ever built. The Alaskan Geophysical Institute and its sponsors, the US Navy and Air Force claim it’s just “auroral and radio-communications research”, but it’s much more than that. Any weapons system in its early stages can be disguised as “pure” research. The fact is, however, that HAARP is a military experiment aimed at invasively manipulating the ionosphere by beaming high energy upward from the ground.

What does it do?

HAARP is intended to heat and lift a portion of the ionosphere above a selected location on the planet to make a huge invisible “mirror” for bouncing electromagnetic radiation back to the surface of Earth. The US military wants to communicate with its submerged submarines by penetrating the oceans with Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) radiations. It could also penetrate the land with ELF in order to search for hidden tunnels or bunkers.

Wow, like X-ray vision via radio waves from space? Pretty cool. What else could a HAARP-style project do in the near future?

It could fry enemy satellites. The US military could use HAARP to disrupt communications over a large area of the globe, possibly alter the weather, affect human mental functioning and impact the health of humans and other biological systems.

That’s a bit scarier.

Well, some scientists have expressed concern that it could be used to trigger geophysical events like earthquakes, impact weather and affect the emotional states of people. Ionospheric heaters as a class of research instruments are nothing new; they have operated in Puerto Rico, the former Soviet Union and Tromso, Norway as well as at another site in Alaska for some time. But what is being tested in the Alaskan wilderness is new—a tool that can focus and steer the radio frequency energy upward. This makes it capable of hitting the ionosphere with a far greater impact than possible from the previous design of heaters.

That’s more like it! But why do you think the government is lying? Why, for instance, do they offer free tours of the HAARP site if it’s a top secret death ray?

As a research instrument it offers great possibilities. But it was primarily constructed for military applications. We accept their stated intentions, but we question the risks. Moreover, there are side effects that may or may not be part of their open programme in terms of environmental and public health. The US military does not spend money that does not result in military technologies. This is a weapon. It’s very scary stuff.