Chemtrails in the Sky Are Evidence of Nefarious Activities for Broad-Based Conspiracy Theorists

Cultural panic over pollution in the sky and changing weather patterns has given rise to a peculiar conspiracy theory about jet plane exhaust.

Anyone living near a major metropolitan airport has gazed up at the sky and seen them: patchworks of crisscrossing contrails left by passing jetliners. Most of us don't give a second thought to this common sight of a scratched-up sky. If we do, it's likely to reflect on the explosion in air traffic and its growing contribution to air pollution.

But for an expanding minority of Americans, those hanging contrails represent something much more sinister than increased carbon emissions. Since the late 1990s, a flourishing conspiracy theory subculture has been ringing the alarm that many of these contrails aren't normal vapor-and-exhaust contrails at all. Rather, they are chemtrails, mysterious and menacing chemical evidence of secret government programs to modify the weather and depopulate the planet.

Investigation into, and speculation over, the nature of these chemtrails has grown over the last decade from a marginal belief into a millions-strong Transatlantic Truth Quest, with chemtrails taking on the stature of celestial UFOs. If first-wave UFO sightings were the projection of early Cold War fears, chemtrails are the climate-change-age corollary, with cultural panic over pollution and changing weather patterns projected onto the clouds and planes in the sky.

As with flying saucers, hundreds of YouTube clips purport to capture cities "getting pasted" by secret government planes. Dozens of chemtrails Web sites compete for the loyalty and business of a sprawling, gullible and increasingly global chemtrails flock. Like the white lines that are its obsession, the chemtrails scene crisscrosses with every other strand in the pantheon of cosmic conspiracy culture. Most chemtrails sites, like the lovable dontchemtrailmebro.com, also peddle in 9/11 Truth, alien contact, Northern Idaho survivalism and the "suppressed" theories of the twin martyred wizards of etheric energy, Wilhelm Reich and Nicolai Tesla.

The chemtrails scene is a loud saloon of shouting New Age conspiracists spouting conflicting theories at the bar, with the usual assortment of hucksters and Internet paranoids filling the tables. The self-styled leaders of the movement are a diverse lot but share a consensus starting point that thousands of jets are spraying millions of gallons of "chemtrail soup" around the world on a daily basis.

Chemtrails, they hold, are easily distinguished from normal contrails by their longer duration and expansive dissipation patterns. Most of the spraying is believed to take place at night over the population centers of NATO countries, although some skywatchers suspect Russia and China are being targeted as well. As for the content of the soup and who is responsible for the program, that's where things get contentious. But the major theories are generally some variation or combination of the following:

1)U.S. oil companies are secretly spraying reflective chemicals in the air to reduce global warming and thus reduce criticism of fossil fuels.

2) A New World Order cabal -- also known as the Illuminati -- is spraying cities with pathogens in the first of a two-stage depopulation program.

3) NATO aircraft are involved in a top-secret weather-modification program, and/or are refining a new-generation of high-frequency atmospheric weapons.

4) The U.S. government is using commercial and military aircraft to assist and monitor weather events like hurricanes and tornadoes in order to both destroy enemies and pump money into the domestic economy through emergency spending/recovery bills.

Scott Stevens is a leading proponent of the fourth theory. A former TV meteorologist in Pocatello, Idaho, Stevens was fired when he began giving national radio interviews on chemtrails. He took his severance and moved to the foothills above Denver International Airport, where he now conducts plain-sight research into chemtrails full time, maintains the chemtrails site weatherwarsinfo.blogspot.com, and hosts "Amerika Now," a local AM-radio conspiracy culture talk show.

"I don't buy the theory that chemtrails are a pathogenic depopulation program," says Stevens. "You don't need to get so high in the atmosphere for that. And you don't need airplanes."

Instead, he suspects a global cabal is using chemtrails to maintain "situational awareness" of the atmosphere to better anticipate and control the weather. "There isn't a major weather event that can't be mitigated or exacerbated," he says. "The chemtrails allow Them to take a sort of MRI of the atmosphere."

Stevens is certain that chemtrails are an essential component of this mother of all weapons -- total weather control -- but admits being stumped by the cloak around the ground operation that supports the program. "Are these just painted-up commercial planes? Are there passengers aboard? What I do know is that the shipping companies are part of it. FedEx and UPS are compromised. Their chemtrails are egregious."

Stevens believes President Barack Obama has been briefed on the chemtrails program, but is agnostic about whether the new president can break free from the powerful, entrenched interests behind the spraying.

The darkest of the chemtrails theories holds that a massive fleet of planes, under the aegis of NATO, the U.S. Air Force or the Illuminati, is spraying the soup as a part of a "binary population elimination weapon." Stage one involves passing pathogens to weaken humanity's collective immune system. Once general T-cell weakness is attained, we can expect aerial dispersal of smallpox or anthrax. Supporters of this theory like to quote fringe independent journalists and survivalist rags like the Idaho Observer. A typical comment left under a chemtrails YouTube clip warns viewers that they are now breathing "ethylene dibromide, nano-particulates of aluminum and barium, cationic polymer fibers with unidentified bioactive material, and tiny parasitic nematode eggs of some type."

"The chemtrails are part of a genocidal program to reduce the global population by up to 90 percent," says Ken Adachi, who subscribes to the depopulation theory and runs educate-yourself.org. "The Illuminati only want 500,000 people on the planet, maximum. Chemtrails are one of the vectors. Poisoning people is easier than rounding everyone up in liquidation camps."

Adachi, who keeps a daily log of chemtrails activity in Orange County, Calif., says hundreds of people write him every week with stories of spraying over their communities. He finds hope in the radicalizing nature of their chemtrails discovery. What starts as a stand-alone concern soon leads to the question "Why?" and a shocking self-education in the reality of the Illuminati's New World Order.

Often the various theories will be thrown together into a chemtrails conspiracy soup. "Welcome to the brave new world of toxic barium skies, weather control, mind control and population control through the use of chemtrails modulated with electromagnetic frequencies generated by HAARP," says a chemtrails YouTube clip.

If you don't know what HAARP (High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program)is, you have so much to learn.

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The dean of the chemtrails conspiracy scene is William Thomas, the Canadian journalist who coined the term. Thomas has written a book on the subject, Chemtrails Confirmed, and produced a documentary film, Mystery Lines In the Sky. (All majors accepted at www.willthomasonline.net.) Thomas has reported finding over 300 types of virally mutated fungi in the chemtrail fallout, which he believes is a project with multiple goals. In an interview with the online conspiracy radio program, "The Jeff Rense Program," Thomas mused that possible actors ranged from the "oil industry mafia" to the United States military. But even after all of his groundbreaking research, Thomas admits that he is still waiting for "a real, honest-to-God whistle-blower" to step forward and connect all the dots.

Some thought that moment had finally arrived in 2002, when Dennis Kucinich introduced a House bill that sought to ban space weapons. Tucked deep into a subclause in the first draft of H.R. 2977 was the word "chemtrails," listed among the weapons and practices Kucinich wanted outlawed. It was the first time the word had ever appeared in any sort of official document in Washington.

For the civically challenged chemtrails scene, the event was tantamount to the United States government officially admitting that the program was "real." Although Kucinich quickly removed the word and denied responsibility for the original inclusion, chemtrails enthusiasts continue to dog the congressman wherever he speaks. In Europe, similar alarms were set off when Erik Meijer, a Dutch Socialist member of parliament, submitted an official query to European Parliament in Brussels, demanding an investigation into the phenomenon.

The Kucinich bill wasn't the first time someone in government acknowledged the chemtrails conspiracy theory. Far from it. State agencies have given more careful attention to chemtrails than any other conspiracy theory, after UFOs. And they have addressed its activists with a seriousness it is impossible to imagine with regard to, say, 9/11 Truthers.

In 2000, the EPA, NASA, FAA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a joint "Aircraft Contrails Factsheet" that sought to address the fears and claims of the increasingly rambunctious chemtrails crowd. The six-page illustrated report explains the science of contrails, such as the role humidity plays in the variance between how long contrails linger and spread, sometimes forming cirrus cloud cover; and their zero impact on human health.

The report admits a link between contrails and climate change, but says this is not the purpose of the global air travel industry. The EPA report also includes photos of contrail clusters of the kind found on chemtrails sites. Although the word "chemtrails" does not appear in the report, the structure and tone make it clear that the exercise is aimed at the chemtrails conspiracists, delivered as a school nurse might talk to a student about excessive masturbation in a roundabout way in order not to embarrass herself or the student.

The Air Force, on the other hand, has no qualms about talking straight to the chemtrailers. The USAF followed the EPA's multi-agency report with its own 24-page fact sheet on emissions. The report included a section titled "The 'Chemtrail' Hoax." Here the military bluntly addresses the idea that "the Air Force [is] involved in spraying the U.S. population with mysterious substances [and] conducting weather-modification experiments." It explains that long-lasting contrails are not new and have been under official study since the 1950s, and that the grid patterns highlighted by chemtrailers result from the National Airspace System being structured on a four-directional grid with aircraft flying at designated increments of elevation.

Inevitably, the official "denials" only served to further excite the chemtrails legions.

More popular than ever, chemtrails is the perfect 21st century conspiracy. It combines the 20th century fear of poisonous fallout with anxiety over very real changes in climate and pollution of the atmosphere, including by some of the very toxins and metals said to be ingredients in "chemtrails soup."

Like most conspiracies, there are grains of truth in its basic components. The planet is under attack. The climate is undergoing drastic changes. Governments do lie. Pollution is causing more and more respiratory illness. The military does have secret weapons programs, some of them involving high-frequency weapons and weather modification.

How individuals choose to deal with these truths -- and the larger context of civilizational crisis and individual powerlessness -- is up to them, of course. But there are healthier and much more relaxing ways of projecting skyward than imagining genocidal Illuminatic air fleets spraying toxic soup.

There is one good alternative we all learned in boy and girlhood, before computers and Internet-driven conspiracy theories began draining so much of our personal and cultural energy. It involves going outside on a nice day, finding a warm patch of grass and watching the clouds (contrails, too) as they spread, crisscross and drift.

It's amazing what we can see in the clouds. Frolicking bunnies, mating mountain goats, leaping unicorns, comforting angels. All sorts of wonderful, fantastical things…

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Alexander Zaitchik is a freelance journalist.