Climate change - an integral part of US ‘Star Wars’ programme (novembre 2000)
by Michel Chossudovsky

While world attention and concern have been focussed on the need to prevent climate change by the control of carbon emissions, the dangers of ‘weather warfare’ have been ignored. Michel Chossudovsky draws attention to a US drive to perfect technology under its ‘Star Wars’ programme which will have the capacity to trigger climate change.

THE important debate on global warming under UN auspices provides but a partial picture of climate change; in addition to the devastating impacts of greenhouse gas emissions on the ozone layer, the world’s climate can now be modified as part of a new generation of sophisticated ‘non-lethal weapons.’ Both the Americans and the Russians have developed capabilities to manipulate the world’s climate.

In the US, the technology is being perfected under the High-frequency  Active Auroral Research Programme (HAARP) as part of the (‘Star Wars’) Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI).  Recent scientific evidence suggests that HAARP is fully operational and has the ability to potentially trigger floods, droughts, hurricanes and earthquakes. From a military standpoint, HAARP is a weapon of mass destruction. Potentially, it constitutes an  instrument of conquest capable of selectively destabilising agricultural and ecological systems of entire regions.

While there is no evidence that this deadly technology has been used, surely the United Nations should be addressing the issue of ‘environmental warfare’ alongside the debate on the climatic impacts of greenhouse gases...

Despite a vast body of scientific knowledge, the issue of deliberate climatic manipulations for military use has never been explicitly part of the UN agenda on climate change. Neither the official delegations nor the environmental action groups participating in the Hague Conference on Climate Change (COP6) (November 2000) have raised the broad issue of  ‘weather warfare’ or ‘environmental modification techniques’ (ENMOD) as relevant to an understanding of climate change.

The clash between official negotiators, environmentalists and American business lobbies has centred on Washington’s outright refusal to abide by commitments on carbon dioxide reduction targets under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.1 The impacts of military technologies on the world’s climate are not an object of discussion or concern. Narrowly confined to greenhouse gases, the ongoing debate on climate change serves Washington’s strategic and defence objectives.

‘Weather warfare’

World-renowned scientist Dr. Rosalie Bertell confirms that  ‘US military scientists ... are working on weather systems as a potential weapon. The methods include the enhancing of storms and the diverting of vapour rivers in the Earth’s atmosphere to produce targeted droughts or floods.’2 Already in the 1970s, former National Security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski had foreseen in his book Between Two Ages that:
‘Technology will make available, to the leaders of major nations, techniques for conducting secret warfare, of which only a bare minimum of the security forces need be appraised... [T]echniques of weather modification could be employed to produce prolonged periods of drought or storm. ‘

Marc Filterman, a former French military officer, outlines several types of ‘unconventional weapons’ using radio frequencies. He refers to ‘weather war,’ indicating that the US and the Soviet Union had already ‘mastered the know-how needed to unleash sudden climate changes (hurricanes, drought) in the early 1980s.’3 These technologies make it ‘possible to trigger atmospheric disturbances by using Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) radar [waves].’4

A simulation study of future defence ‘scenarios’ commissioned for the US Air Force calls for:
‘US aerospace forces to ‘own the weather’ by capitalising on emerging technologies and focusing development of those technologies to war-fighting applications... From enhancing friendly operations or disrupting those of the enemy via small-scale tailoring of natural weather patterns to complete dominance of global communications and counterspace control, weather modification offers the war fighter a wide range of possible options to defeat or coerce an adversary... In the United States, weather modification will likely become a part of national security policy with both domestic and international applications. Our government will pursue such a policy, depending on its interests, at various levels’.5

The High-frequency Active Auroral Research Programme (HAARP)

The High-frequency Active Auroral Research Programme (HAARP) based in Gokoma, Alaska - jointly managed by the US Air Force and the US Navy - is part of a new generation of sophisticated weaponry under the SDI. Operated by the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Space Vehicles Directorate, HAARP constitutes a system of powerful antennas capable of creating ‘controlled local modifications of the ionosphere’. Scientist Dr. Nicholas Begich - actively involved in the public campaign against HAARP - describes HAARP as:

‘A super-powerful radiowave-beaming technology that lifts areas of the ionosphere [upper layer of the atmosphere] by focusing a beam and heating those areas. Electromagnetic waves then bounce back onto earth and penetrate everything - living and dead.’6

Dr. Rosalie Bertell depicts HAARP as ‘a gigantic heater that can cause major disruption in the ionosphere, creating not just holes, but long incisions in the protective layer that keeps deadly radiation from bombarding the planet.’ 7

Misleading public opinion

HAARP has been presented to public opinion as a programme of scientific and academic research. US military documents seem to suggest, however, that HAARP’s main objective is to ‘exploit the ionosphere for Department of Defence purposes.’8  Without explicitly referring to HAARP, a US Air Force study points to the use of ‘induced ionospheric modifications’ as a means of altering weather patterns as well as disrupting enemy communications and radar.9

According to Bertell, HAARP is part of an integrated weapons system which has potentially devastating environmental consequences:
‘It is related to 50 years of intensive and increasingly destructive programmes to understand and control the upper atmosphere. It would be rash not to associate HAARP with the space laboratory construction which is separately being planned by the United States. HAARP is an integral part of a long history of space research and development of a deliberate military nature. The military implications of combining these projects [are] alarming. ... The ability of the HAARP/Spacelab/rocket combination to deliver very large amount[s] of energy, comparable to a nuclear bomb, anywhere on earth via laser and particle beams, [is] frightening. The project is likely to be ‘sold’ to the public as a space shield against incoming weapons, or, for the more gullible, a device for repairing the ozone layer.’10

In addition to weather manipulation,  HAARP has a number of related uses:
‘HAARP could contribute to climate change by intensively bombarding the atmosphere with high-frequency rays...

Returning low-frequency waves at high intensity could also affect people’s brains, and effects on tectonic movements cannot be ruled out.11

More generally, HAARP has the ability to modify the world’s electromagnetic field. It is part of an arsenal of ‘electronic weapons’ which US military researchers consider a ‘gentler and kinder warfare’.12

Weapons of the New World Order

HAARP is part of the weapons arsenal of the New World Order under the SDI. From military command points in the US, entire national economies could potentially be destabilised through climatic manipulations. More importantly, the latter can be implemented without the knowledge of the enemy, at minimal cost and without engaging military personnel and equipment as in a conventional war.

The use of HAARP - if it were to be applied - could have potentially devastating impacts on the world’s climate.

Responding to US economic and strategic interests, it could be used to selectively modify climate in different parts of the world, resulting in the destabilisation of agricultural and ecological systems.

It is also worth noting that the US Department of Defence has allocated substantial resources to the development of intelligence and monitoring systems on weather changes. The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Department of Defence’s National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) are working on ‘imagery for studies of flooding, erosion, land-slide hazards, earthquakes, ecological zones, weather forecasts, and climate change’ with data relayed from satellites.13

Policy inertia of the United Nations

According to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) signed at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro: ‘States have... in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the principles of international law, the (...)  responsibility to ensure that activities within their jurisdiction or control do not cause damage to the environment of other States or of areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction.’14

It is also worth recalling that an international convention which entered into force in 1978  bans ‘military or any other hostile use of environmental modification techniques having widespread, long-lasting or severe effects.’15 Both the US and the Soviet Union were signatories to the Convention on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques. The Convention defines ‘environmental modification techniques’ as referring to ‘any technique for changing - through the deliberate manipulation of natural processes - the dynamics, composition or structure of the Earth, including its biota, lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere, or of outer space.’16

Why then did the UN - disregarding the ENMOD Convention as well as its own charter - decide to exclude from its agenda climatic changes resulting from military programmes?

European Parliament acknowledges impacts of HAARP

In February 1998, responding to a report of Mrs. Maj Britt Theorin - Swedish MEP (Member of the European Parliament)  and longtime peace advocate - the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, Security and Defence Policy held public hearings in Brussels on HAARP.17 The Committee’s ‘Motion for Resolution’ submitted to the European Parliament:
‘Considers HAARP... by virtue of its far-reaching impact on the environment to be a global concern and calls for its legal, ecological and ethical implications to be examined by an international independent body...; [the Committee] regrets the repeated refusal of the United States Administration... to give evidence to the public hearing ...into the environmental and public risks [of] the HAARP programme.’18

The Committee’s request to draw up a ‘Green Paper’ on ‘the environmental impacts of military activities’, however, was casually dismissed on the grounds that the European Commission lacks the required jurisdiction to delve into ‘the links between environment and defense’.19 Brussels was anxious to avoid a showdown with Washington.

Fully operational

While there is no concrete evidence of HAARP having been used, scientific findings suggest  that it is at present fully operational. What this means is that HAARP could potentially be applied by the US military to selectively modify the climate of an ‘unfriendly nation’ or ‘rogue state’ with a view to destabilising its national economy.

Agricultural systems in both developed and developing countries are already in crisis as a result of New World Order policies including market deregulation, commodity dumping, etc. Amply documented, IMF and World Bank ‘economic medicine’ imposed on the Third World and the countries of the former Soviet bloc has largely contributed to the destabilisation of domestic agriculture. In turn, the provisions of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) have supported the interests of a handful of Western agri-biotech conglomerates in their quest to impose genetically modified seeds on farmers throughout the world.

It is important to understand the linkage between the economic, strategic and military processes of the New World Order. In the above context, climatic manipulations under HAARP (whether accidental or deliberate) would inevitably exacerbate these changes by weakening national economies, destroying infrastructure and potentially triggering the bankruptcy of farmers over vast areas. Surely national governments and the United Nations should address the possible consequences of HAARP and other ‘non-lethal weapons’ on climate change.


1.   The latter calls for nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 5.2% to become effective between 2008 and 2012. See Background of Kyoto Protocol at

2.   The Times, London, 23 November 2000.

3.   Intelligence Newsletter, 16 December 1999.

4.   Ibid.

5.   Air University of the US Air Force, AF 2025 Final Report,

6.   Nicholas Begich and Jeane Manning, The Military’s Pandora’s Box, Earthpulse Press, See also the HAARP homepage at

7.   See Briarpatch, January 2000.

8.   Quoted in Begich and Manning, op. cit.

9.   Air University, op. cit.

10. Rosalie Bertell, ‘Background of the HAARP Program’, 5 November 1996,

11. Begich and Manning, op. cit.

12. Don Herskovitz, ‘Killing Them Softly’, Journal of Electronic Defense, August 1993. According to Herskovitz, ‘electronic warfare’ is defined by the US Department of Defence as ‘military action involving the use of electromagnetic energy...’ The Journal of Electronic Defense at has published a range of articles on the application of electronic and electromagnetic military technologies.

13. Military Space, 6 December, 1999.

14. UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, New York, 1992. See complete text at

15. See Associated Press, 18 May 1977.

16. ‘Environmental Modification Ban Faithfully Observed, States Parties Declare’, UN Chronicle, July 1984, Vol. 21,  p. 27.

17. European Report, 7 February 1998.

18. European Parliament, Committee on Foreign Affairs, Security and Defense Policy, Brussels, doc. no. A4-0005/99, 14 January 1999.

19. EU Lacks Jurisdiction to Trace Links Between Environment and Defense’, European Report, 3 February  1999.

Michel Chossudovsky is Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa and author of The Globalization of Poverty
(second edition, Common Courage Press, 2000).

© Copyright by Michel Chossudovsky, Ottawa, November 2000.