The War on Christmas is Real

The Espresso Shot Heard Round the World

On November 5, Arizona vlogger and possible psychopath Joshua Feuerstein posted a Facebook video calling for a worldwide movement to force Starbucks to acknowledge Christmas.  His rant went viral, topping 12 million views in just three days.
Feuerstein was incensed that the world’s largest coffee chain had removed all vestiges of Christendom from its holiday paper cups, though a review of previous years’ cups reveals that Starbucks never actually had Christmas-themed cups in the first place. The cups usually feature stylized swirls, snowflakes, and other random wintery stuff. What does the birth of Christ have to do with the outline of a poinsettia? I don’t know, either. I just know that the ’99 cup design included a car so poorly drawn it resembled a UFO. Because Jesus.

starbucks cups

Feuerstein contends that Starbucks “hates Jesus” and is waging an assault-by-omission on Christmas.  Never mind, please, that Starbucks is offering Christmas blend coffees, Christmas albums, Christmas cookies, and porcelain Christmas mugs in all its stores. Frankly, the average Starbucks in November looks like Santa’s man cave.

Feuerstein also announced his intention to open carry in Starbucks, because Jesus just loved weaponry, right?

On a CNN appearance, he insisted that unnamed plotters are trying to “remove Christmas out of society.” He cited two examples: The SouthPark Mall in Charlotte, North Carolina, has “required that they take down their Christmas tree this year” (falseby popular demand, the mall’s Christmas tree will be going up) and “cities are banning nativity scenes in front of churches” (false – I can’t find a single instance of this happening in the U.S.; cities such as Santa Monica have banned public displays, but never private ones on church properties).

This sort of tirade has become an annual tradition in the U.S., and it is infinitely more beloved than fruitcake or mulled cider ever were.

I’ll Give You My Yule Log When You Pry It From My Frostbitten Hands

It all began roughly two decades ago, when Colorado pastor Jim Hagen noticed that employees at a shopping mall were greeting customers with “Happy holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” Obviously, this was not an attempt to sideline Christmas (the five aisles of tinsel-decked fuzzy reindeer that pop up in stores every October will attest to that), but Pastor Hagen took (or pretended to take) umbrage. He started a grassroots campaign to get in the face of any minimum-wage retail employee that dared say “happy holidays”, although “happy holidays” is probably more appropriate for a season that includes Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Henry Miller’s birthday, Solstice celebrations, and New Year’s Eve.

Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly later became the face of the movement. In 2004, he began collecting random tales of “holiday trees” being erected in public squares, of elementary schools staging “winter” pageants, etc. His collective term for these widely separated and unconnected incidents was – say it with me now – the “War on Christmas.”
According to O’Reilly (and other Fox pundits, notably John Gibson), this was a full-frontal assault on Christmas orchestrated by liberals, non-Christians, atheists, and Wal-Mart cashiers; a systematic effort to tear down public Christmas trees, banish nativity displays, sanitize school Christmas pageants, and render Christmas carols obsolete. In 2005, Gibson’s book The War on Christmas: How the Liberal Plot to Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday Is Worse Than You Thought became a bestseller.

However, Pastor Hagen and Fox News didn’t manufacture the War on Christmas all on their own. It was actually the brainchild of a British Fortune editor, Peter Brimelow. In the late ’90s, he founded one of the most virulent anti-immigration sites ever run by an immigrant: VDare.com. The Southern Poverty Law Center classifies VDare as an extremist site, and it isn’t difficult to understand why. The sidebar of the site’s main articles page is a wall of Confederate flags, advertised as part of a “Personal Patriot Pack” offered to generous donors. Featured articles include “Dalton Trumbo Had It Coming” and essays mourning the death of white civilization. VDare makes it plain that immigrants are probably the worst thing to happen in the history of this planet.
Every Christmas, VDare awards a prize to the writer who can present the most enraging example of the War on Christmas. Bill O’Reilly, as we’ve noted, sticks mostly to elementary school festivities and nativity mangers and such. VDare sticks mostly to immigrants, Communists, Muslims and Jews. You read that correctly. Year after year, the “winners” of VDare’s annual War on Christmas essay competition are crackpots who believe that Jews and other “Christophobes” are trying to abolish Christmas. The 2001 winner, for example, declared Hanukkah to be a make-believe holiday unworthy of observance, and waxed nostalgic over how awesome it was for Whittaker “Pumpkin Patch” Chambers to celebrate Christmas with his kids after leaving those crummy pinkos behind.

Santa Commie

More respectable Christian media outlets soon joined in the yearly rage-fest. In 2007, Focus on the Family, America’s most popular Christian radio show, called for listeners to throw out any mail-order catalogues that used the term “Happy Holidays.” They called this campaign Merry Tossmas.

It was around this time that my own late grandmother, worked into a righteous lather by an afternoon of Fox News viewing, told me she would shout “MERRY CHRISTMAS” to the first cashier that had the gall to say “Happy holidays!” to her. To my knowledge, she never had to bother.

Then came the legislators.  In 2008, Utah senator Chris Buttars announced a resolution pressuring retailers to allow their employees to use the word “Christmas” in their greetings to customers. He ultimately abandoned the idea, but declared the battle wasn’t over.
In 2009, Rep. Henry Brown, R-S.C., introduced a resolution calling for the House to protect Christmas symbols and traditions. Brown was particularly peeved that the Obamas’ holiday cards hadn’t explicitly mentioned Christmas. “I believe that sending a Christmas card without referencing a holiday and its purpose limits the Christmas celebration in favor of a more ‘politically correct’ holiday,” he told Fox Radio.

I was more than a little baffled by this War on Christmas rhetoric. You see, I live in a very multicultural city where Islam, Buddhism, and Judaism are well-represented. We also have a good number of Sikhs, Hindus, atheists and agnostics, Sai Baba people,  Bahá’í and Unitarian people, Maitreya people, Scientologists, folks who think Jesus came back as a South Korean, and people who worship a former shoe salesman.
Yet there is still a huge Christmas tree in the city square every year. Even when we had a Jewish mayor, you would find an enormous nativity manger parked outside city hall each Christmas. In our stores, Christmas carols play, greeters say “Merry Christmas” more than “Happy Holidays”, and expanded holiday hours are often called “Christmas hours.”

But I’m here to tell you that there is a War on Christmas, ladies and gentleman. It’s all real. A sinister cabal of people actually is trying to rip down your treetop angels and your boughs of holly and those gigantic inflatable snowglobes in your front yard. They are engaged in a tireless, year-round campaign against Christmas presents and gingerbread houses. These merciless killjoys don’t even want you to hang mistletoe or host ugly sweater competitions!

And guess what? These people are Christians.

Let’s take a look at the frontline soldiers in the real War Against Christmas.

Alex Jones/Infowars

Texas broadcaster and professional paranoid Alex Jones has long been an anti-Christmas fanatic. I first discovered this during his December 14, 2007 broadcast, when he spent a solid five minutes excoriating listeners for buying frivolous Christmas gifts like clothing and sweets and Pagan-inspired Christmas decorations – buy merchandise from the Infowars Store instead! Get the extended 12-hour director’s cut of The Obama Deception! Annoy your friends! Depress your family! Make everyone wish you’d get carted off to a FEMA camp so they don’t have to listen to your fatalistic bullshit a minute longer!

Three Christmases later, Jones’ Prison Planet website re-posted a Russia Today report titled Christmas is pagan celebration of shopping & eating’.

Last December, Infowars re-posted Michael Snyder’s essay on how Christmas gift-giving – and Christmas itself – is a sick, soulless pagan tradition.

So it’s well-established that Jones and company don’t like Christmas trees, Christmas gifts, and the other heathen and godless trappings of Christmas, right?

Well, not quite. In 2013, Jones sent two of his lackeys reporters to the Christmas tree display on the Texas state legislature grounds to express his outrage that non-Christians allegedly opposed having a Christmas tree there. He titled this report “Soft Killing Christmas” (video here). Confused yet? That’s Jonestown for you. Don’t agree with him, he’s already changed his mind.

Santa tapping your phones

The Santa = Satan Crowd

Last Christmas, the Born Again Independent Baptist Church in Harlem displayed “Santa is Satan” on its marquee sign. Most observers were baffled by this, but Pastor Edward Caruthers’ choice to associate Santa Claus with the Adversary of all mankind is not uncommon among American Christians.

santa is satan

Answers in Genesis features an article by Roger Patterson, urging parents to cool it with Santa Claus because belief in him involves deception and manipulation – and takes away too much attention from Christ. Cutting Edge Ministries has a handy chart to show you why Santa is the counterfeit Jesus.

Some Christians, like this guy, rebel against modern depictions of Santa because they stem from Coca-Cola marketing campaigns.

For true Santa-hate, it’s hard to top Wisconsin outsider artist Norbert Kox. An alleged former biker, Kox developed some rather outré Christian beliefs after an Easy Rider-calibre acid freakout in the ’70s. He decided that most of what we know about Christianity, right down to Jesus’s name, is really blasphemous misinformation that must be discarded by seekers after truth. That includes everything we think we know about Christmas. In the December 1986 issue of his now-defunct newsletter, The Wisconsin Caver, Kox linked Santa Claus to Zeus, “Old Nick” (the Devil), Odin, and just about every non-Christian deity known to history. He habitually referred to Santa as “Satan Claws.”

Santa watching you

“We Don’t Do Christmas”

It’s not just eccentrics waging war on Christmas, though. Many Christian denominations have always eschewed the season: The United Church of God , the Church of Christ, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Seventh Day Adventists are the best-known denominations to reject Christmas.
In addition, there are a growing number of evangelical Christians who won’t celebrate the holiday because it has pagan roots, encourages “worldly” behaviour such as greed, and/or isn’t explicitly referenced in the Bible.
In fact, there are so many of these Christians that Kirk Cameron addressed a presentation to them at Liberty University last year (video here) and attempted to reclaim Santa for Christianity with a feature film, Saving Christmas. He pointed out that Saint Nicholas was a model Christian who can be fondly remembered for his charity. Other, anti-Catholic evangelicals promptly told him to put a sock in it.

So if you want to save Christmas, you might end up saving it from the people who created it in the first place.

 

P.S.:  This post was written in my local Starbucks.

starbucks

Alex Jones Explains Ebola

 

This “special report” on Ebola in the U.S. by Alex Jones was uploaded on Saturday. It’s clearly just a teaser for Sunday’s radio broadcast, but it’s worth examining here because it contains several of the absurd disease factoids that Jones repeats ad nauseum on his show – and we all know what can happen when people hear something repeated over and over, without much context or explanation: They start to believe it. So let’s break this down:

1.  Lyme disease is a weaponized, tick-borne strain of syphilis created at Plum Island and unleashed upon America.

First of all, Lyme disease and syphilis are not the same thing. They are both caused by spirochete bacteria, yes, but Lyme disease is just as closely related to obscure skin diseases like tropical yaws as it is to syphilis. Syphilis is sexier, so Jones went with that.

The Plum Island Animal Disease Center of New York is a government facility that researches livestock diseases, primarily foot-and-mouth in cattle. The only sinister thing about the place is that during the Cold War, bioweapons research (aimed at livestock, not humans) was conducted there. This dark phase of the lab’s history spawned the theory that Lyme disease spread from Plum Island in the mid-’70s, carried to mainland Connecticut by the wild birds that populate the area.  This theory gained prominience with the publication of attorney Michael Carroll’s 2004 book  Lab 257: The Disturbing Story of the Government’s Secret Plum Island Germ Laboratory, which practically debunked itself.

2.  Biosafety level 4 labs are surrounded by minefields and machine gun nests, and can be incinerated with “huge canisters of natural gas” at the push of a button in case of accidental contamination.


cdc_explosion
Are BSL-4 labs rigged to self-incinerate in an emergency? Politifact Georgia has already tackled this subject in regards to CDC headquarters in Atlanta (and if the CDC isn’t designed to be incinerated, it’s doubtful that any federally-funded lab in the U.S. is). CDC spokesperson Karen Hunter told Politifact that materials are burned, but it’s not what Jones has in mind. Researchers simply decontaminate with common household cleaning products like bleach, then toss the cloths they’ve used into an incinerator.

If you want to see the real safety measures taken at Level 4 facilities, check out this 60-minute video tour of Boston University’s NEIDL lab. Note that BU is a weapons-free campus, as is the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston (where another BSL-4 lab is situated). Machine guns and landmines would not go over well at these locations. BSL-4 security precautions include much saner things like rigorous screening, perimeter fences and manned gates, and surveillance cams.

3.  A truck accident exposed Americans to “weaponized flu” 7 years ago.

I can’t find any evidence of such a thing happening. Jones is probably referring to a 2005 Canadian incident in which a FedEx truck carrying anthrax, influenza, and other germ specimens crashed in Winnipeg. There was no “weaponized flu” involved. All of the germs were weakened enough to be nonlethal even if they had escaped their shipping containers, which they didn’t.

4.  Mousepox is deadlier than Ebola, and scientists have released the “ingredients list” for it.

Mousepox is a mouse disease. Humans can’t get it. There is no “ingredients list”, because it is a naturally occurring disease. Jones seems to be confusing a controversial mousepox experiment with a 2012 debate over whether scientists should go public with the results of their research into H5N1.

5.  Professor Eric Pianka wants to unleash airborne Ebola on the world for real.

This is clearly a reference to the infamous comments made by University of Texas-Austin professor Eric Pianka back in 2006, one of Jones’ favourite bits of “evidence” that They are plotting to wipe out all but 1% of the world’s population. I’ve discussed this before at Leaving Alex Jonestown. The bottom line is that Pianka is a herpetologist, not a biochemist, and he was referring to a naturally occurring (not to mention fictional) strain of Ebola in a rhetorial manner.

6.  Eugenics/depopulation master plan: The elite want to eliminate up to 99% of the world’s population.

worldpop

Nope.

 

The Top 10 Stupidest/Weirdest Theories About Flight MH370

lost numbers

We all know the first part of the story: Early in the morning on March 8, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, just one hour into its flight, lost radio contact with air traffic controllers. After going silent in the Gulf of Thailand, the plane unexpectedly veered west and flew back across Malaysia, heading into the Strait of Malacca. As indicated by primary radar returns, it was last charted heading northwest towards a navigational waypoint called IGREX, near the Andaman Coast of Phuket. However, ACARS reports indicate that Flight 370 remained in the air for at least 4 hours after losing radio contact, and the UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch collaborated with the satellite company Inmarsat to track the plane as far as the Indian Ocean west of Perth, Australia – meaning the plane was airborne for at least 8 hours after losing radio contact. As there are no potential landing sites anywhere near this location, it is assumed that Flight 370 crashed into the ocean. Despite extensive searches, not a single piece of debris has been found. Another search is scheduled for August. There were 277 passengers and 12 crew members aboard, making Flight MH370 the largest aerial disappearance in history.

mh370 map

Flight MH370’s last known movements (Daily Mail)

Contradictory and false information given by Malaysian authorities led many people to suspect that Malaysia knew exactly what had happened to its plane, and was suppressing the truth for reasons unknown. In Beijing, victims’ family members have protested and staged vigils outside the Malaysian Embassy, demanding the truth. One of the first Western conspiranoids to contribute a theory was Rupert Murdoch, who tweeted that jihadists had hijacked the plane to “make trouble for China.” Rush Limbaugh chimed in that the plane may have been shot down by some “hostile little country.” Then the professional conspiranoids took over. Here, in no particular order, are ten of the goofiest narratives they came up with to explain the disappearance of Flight 370.

10.   Scientific Sabotage

Retired Delta Air Lines Captain Field McConnell believes Flight 370 was hijacked to obtain information about pending technology patents from some of the passengers, Chinese employees of Freescale Semiconductor, an Austin-based microchip company. According to McConnell, Freescale has developed a classified technology that uses paint and electronics to turn regular jets into stealth aircraft. He points out that a patent (#8671381) related to integrated circuits and semiconductor wafers was approved just days after the plane vanished. McConnell and others have claimed that the rights to this patent were supposed to have been split five ways: 20% to Freescale Semiconductor, and 20% each to four employees who were on the plane. 

This theory isn’t completely out in left field, since rashes of odd scientist deaths related to innovative or secret technology have occurred a few times. In the ’80s, over a dozen British scientists involved in defense research died rather weird, untimely deaths; several of them worked for Marconi. But there have also been red herring Dead Scientist memes floating around in the conspiracy world for years, including the Dead Microbiologists meme that began shortly after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. The list of dead microbiologists thought to have some knowledge of U.S. and/or Iraqi bioweapons became so absurdly long that even community college biology teachers ended up on it.

Field McConnell’s theory crumbles under scrutiny. Not one of the names listed on patent #8671381 appears on the passenger manifest released by Malaysian authorities. To date, there is no evidence that any of the people listed on the patent worked for Freescale or that the patent has anything to do with Freescale.

It must also be noted that McConnell and co-researcher David Hawkins have one of the most batshit insane, least coherent websites on the entire Internets: Abel Danger. Don’t believe me? Try reading whatever the hell this is. The entire website is like that – lesbian assassins taking over the world, word salad, Floyd Cramer videos. Field McConnell is also the author of the self-published tome Lesbian Cults, Pedophile Oaths and the Guild of Patented Hits. I challenge you to read more than two pages of it on Amazon without getting annoyed. Can’t be done.

The Scientific Sabotage theory has been embraced by Henry “Lesbian Candy Bars” Makow, though he awkwardly grafts the Diego Garcia abduction theory (below) onto it. Needless to say, Makow also found a way to drop a Rothschild into the mix, repeating the snopes-debunked factoid that Jacob Rothschild owns Freescale. Rothschild is a member of the Blackstone Group’s International Advisory Board, and the Blackstone Group owns more 196 million shares in Freescale, but the Carlyle Group and TPG Group Holdings both own the same number of Freescale shares as the Blackstone Group does. Then Makow got bored with missing planes and returned to his usual gay-bashing and theories like “Jesse James Killed John Wilkes Booth by order of the Freemasons.”

9.   The U.S. is hiding the plane at Diego Garcia (AKA the Assphone Scenario)

This theory holds that either the plane was hijacked by agents of the U.S. government, then flown to the U.S. military base on the island of Diego Garcia, or the plane made an emergency landing at this base and was captured on arrival. 

 Here’s how it started: Shortly after the flight’s disappearance, a message and a photo were posted to 4chan by a man claiming to be a passenger. The message read, “I have been held hostage by unknown military personal after my flight was hijacked (blindfolded). I work for IBM and I have managed to hide my cellphone in my ass during the hijack. I have been separated from the rest of the passengers and I am in a cell. My name is Philip Wood. I think I have been drugged as well and cannot think clearly.”

The photo was just a black screen, but its Exif data identified the iPhone user, a time consistent with the plane’s last known movements, and GPS coordinates of a building on Diego Garcia.

Philip Wood, a 50-year-old IBM engineer living in Asia, actually was a passenger on the plane. Wood’s girlfriend, Sarah Bajc, has appeared on CNN and a few radio shows to air her belief that he and his fellow passengers are being held hostage at a secret facility. She hasn’t mentioned the Assphone message, but one has to wonder if she accepts it as genuine. I doubt that she does, because she seems like a smart lady.  And to accept the Assphone Scenario, one has to accept a shit-tonne of dodgy things:

  • that the abductors remembered to dose everybody with drugs, but forgot to confiscate phones from all of their super-secret hostages, on a military base that has wi-fi
  • that a successful, industrious adult man, caught in a situation that would make Jack Bauer twig out, decided not to email a loved one or post a message to Facebook or notify the FBI or send a message to his Congressman
  • instead, he chose 4chan, because credibility
  • he relied on 4chan for his salvation
  • srsly, people, fucking 4chan

8.   Accidental Shootdown and Cover-up (AKA the Whoops Scenario)

Whether Limbaugh really believed his shootdown theory or not is unclear. Let’s face it, most of the time he just says words on the air. If he believes his theory, then he thinks Malaysians accidentally shot down their own plane in blind panic.

Nigel Cawthorne has a different shootdown theory. His book Flight MH370: The Mystery, released in May, argues that a joint US-Thai fighter jet training drill accidentally shot down the plane. Fearing an international incident (or maybe just epic embarrassment), Thailand and the U.S. collaborated on a cover-up that would put Charles Widmore to shame.

Cawthorne is a freelance journalist and prolific author. His specialties are the sexual peccadilloes of English gentlemen and Hollywood starlets, historical military battles, ’60s celebrities, and true crime. His titles include The Mammoth Book of Football Hooligans and Takin’ Back My Name: The Confessions of Ike Turner. A review of Flight MH370: The Mystery by David Free of The Australian might confirm your suspicions about Cawthorne’s level of expertise in this area. The book contains many typos, factoids, and speculative scenarios, but no new evidence that would support the War Games/Whoops scenario.

7.   Black Hole, Wormhole, Portal from Donnie Darko

A poll posted on CNN‘s website reported that 9% of respondents thought it was either very or somewhat likely that the plane was abducted by aliens, “time travelers or beings from another dimension.” To date, CNN has not conducted a poll to determine how many people like to screw with CNN polls.

The notion that a “miniature” black hole swallowed the plane shouldn’t have gone anywhere, but CNN Newsroom host Don Lemon briefly entertained it on-air. Panelist Mary Schiavo gently informed him that black holes don’t work like that.

If it seems unbelievable that anyone could believe time travel made a jet vanish, keep in mind that people still buy into the Philadelphia Experiment and Montauk Project hoaxes.

6.   Reptilians or Whatever

Alexandra Bruce, a conspiracy writer who specializes in stories about reptoid aliens and New Age flim-flam, became the first person to throw out the obligatory “ALIENS” theory. Her evidence consisted of a YouTube video of a computer simulation of the plane departing from Kuala Lumpur,  in which the simulated plane seems to vanish in the presence of an aircraft Bruce identifies as a UFO.  Boston.com journalist Jack Pickell, in his own rundown of silly Flight 370 theories, pointed out that the “UFO” was clearly marked as Korean Airlines Flight 672.

5.   Predictive Programming

“Predictive programming”, which I have written about here and at Leaving Alex Jonestown, is the profoundly dumb notion that the baddies who run everything can’t do terrible things to us without asking our permission first (a common theme in the folklore of vampires, demons, and other supernatural entities). But they can’t just ask, “Mind if we kill several hundred of you today?”, so they resort to seeding clues about their plans into episodes of The Simpsons. As reported by the Independent, predictive programming experts agree that the 2012 Pitbull/Shakira song “Get It Started” betrays prior knowledge of Flight 370’s disappearance, containing lines such as, “Now it’s off to Malaysia” and “Two passports, three cities, two countries, one day.” The lyrics “No Ali, No Frazier, but for now off to Malaysia” refer to the shady character known as Mr. Ali (no word yet on who the hell Frazier is), and the “two passports” are clearly a reference to the stolen Austrian and Italian ones Mr. Ali provided to two mystery passengers. The song also mentions Times Square, Tom Cruise, and Manila. I think this means that Tom Cruise is going to marry a Filipino ladyboy on New Year’s Eve.

No fewer than eight people share the writing credits for “Get It Started.” In addition to making me fearful about the future of pop music in general, this makes me doubtful that the Illuminati was involved. I could see letting Shakira in on a secret plan to kidnap a planeful of people – she could never become an effective whistleblower, because people are so busy staring at her that they rarely hear a word she’s saying. But seven other people? That’s just silly. Besides, if Morrissey didn’t predict MH370, then no one did.

4.   A Scary-Ass Machine or Something

Mike “Health Ranger” Adams, who was recently featured on Dr. Oz’s TV show, ponders the fate of the plane in this article at his Natural News site. He dismisses the conventional explanations,  one by one, before telling us that an “entirely new, mysterious and powerful” weapon can make airplanes vanish without trace.  Whoever controls this Aircraft-Disappearing Machine clearly has the capability to dominate the whole planet. Elsewhere on his website, however, Adams opines that a rogue nation has commandeered the plane and will soon be using it as a “stealth nuclear weapon.”

langoliers

Maybe it was these guys.

3.    China

This theory, first proposed by Reddit user Dark_Spectre, also revolves around Philip Wood, who was an IBM Technical Storage Executive for Malaysia. Since IBM was one of the companies implicated by Edward Snowden as helping the NSA spy on China, maybe the Chinese hijacked the flight to abduct and interrogate Wood. And maybe the U.S. found out about it, located the plane, and killed all the passengers to prevent the Chinese from learning anything. Or maybe, in bloody retaliation for NSA algorithms, China patiently waited nearly a year after Snowden’s IBM revelations to off Philip Wood in a manner that looks totally accidental. Makes sense.

Eric-Snowden1

Fail.

2.    Israel

Israel framed Iran. Without actually framing Iran. Yoichi Shimatsu aired this theory during an interview with conspiranoid radio host Jeff Rense (below). Citing alleged eyewitness reports from anonymous sources, “Jews did 9/11” researcher Christopher Bollyn reported that a lookalike of MH370 is being stored in a hangar at Tel Aviv Airport, possibly for use in a future false flag attack by Israel.

1.    Distraction

No matter what you talk about, some dickhole is going to inform you that there’s something more important to talk about. In Conspiracyland, this is taken to the nth extreme, creating elaborate Russian nesting dolls of derp. For example, after mentally disturbed mother Miriam Carey was gunned down for driving through a barricade in D.C., Jones declared that her death was simply a distraction from the government shutdown, while the shutdown was “political theater billed as a government shutdown”, while the political theatre was just globalists reinforcing a false left/right paradigm. Is everything a distraction? Just where do distractions stop and real events begin, guy?

In the case of Flight 370, people opined that it was a distraction from the Ukraine, One of these people was David Hawkins, of the aforementioned Abel Danger website.

Technically, everything on this planet distracts you from something else on this planet. No one has to deliberately engineer distractions in an age of commercial-free television, beer pong, and breastaurants.

Perhaps we shouldn’t judge any of these wonky theories too harshly, though. Reporter and CNN commentator Jeff Wise has candidly admitted in a piece for Canada’s National Post that he poured feverish enthusiasm and plenty of money into pursuing a theory that turned out to be flat-out wrong. Unlike a lot of the other MH370 armchair detectives, who will defend their discredited theories to the death, Wise has admitted his error, and he explains just how easy it is to fill in the blanks or craft wildly imaginative scenarios when there are so many unanswered questions, so many red herrings, so many unknowns.
Like Flight 19, Flight 370 seems destined to become one of the great unsolved mysteries of our time…and that means we’ll be seeing scores more wacky theories in years to come.

Following the Chemtrails IV: A Timeline of Significant Chemtrail Events

Part IV of Following the Chemtrails

Where did it all begin?

In researching chemtrail sightings and theories, I was stunned to learn that this phenomenon didn’t begin with people noticing persistent contrails in the sky, wondering what they could be, and searching for explanations. Chemtrail theories actually began as a horror story about deliberate world depopulation, crafted and spread by a small network of Christian Patriot conspiracy researchers – including one rather infamous anti-Semite.
There are strong indications that at least some of these guys were trying to create a contrail cash cow for themselves, which has forced me to rethink the entire chemtrail phenomenon. It was my original view that the chemtrail issue is not, as the U.S. Air Force contends, a hoax. I believed that like most conspiracy theories, chemtrail theories evolved in organic fashion from various anecdotes and incidents.
That’s not to say there haven’t been hoaxes. Photos have been altered, then distributed among chemtrail researchers. Less than credible “whistleblowers” have told bizarre stories that can’t be verified. Clearly, anyone who engages in this sort of fraud isn’t searching for the truth. In my experience, the average chemtrail-watcher is searching for the truth. He is concerned about the potential effects of chemtrails, and he wants answers.
Now, after looking into the history of the phenomenon, I suspect the hoax allegation has some merit, after all. I still believe the average chemtrail-watcher is a genuinely concerned citizen who honestly believes he is seeing strange, unexplained vapour trails, and doing what he thinks is right. But I do not trust the motives of those who started the rumours of death-by-contrail.

To see why I reached this conclusion, let’s examine the history of chemtrails.

Early 1980s

Farmers, environmentalists, and others in the eastern U.S. report that ground water is contaminated with ethylene dibromide (EDB), a carcinogenic chemical used as a pesticide and as an anti-knocking agent in leaded aviation fuel (“avgas”). EDB has been never a component of jet fuel, because jet fuel does not contain lead.

1984

EDB is banned for pesticide use in some places, phased out in others (in remains in use to this day in some areas).

Late 1980s

EDB use in avgas is phased out.

1994

HAARP installation begins in Gakona, Alaska.

1995

Concerns about EDB contamination resume among some Christian Patriots. They suspect that the newly-introduced military jet fuel JP-8 contains some contaminant, or combination of contaminants, that are intended to kill us. The prime suspect is – guess what? – EDB. These concerns rapidly spread throughout the country via online message boards and mass emails.

The Contrail Science website contains links to what appear to be some of the earliest known online references to unusual contrails, which would later be called chemtrails. This material was originally published on The Patriot Page (the now-defunct website of Clarence Napier, still accessible via the Wayback Machine).
In emails distributed through BIOWAR-L (an email list service dealing with biological weapons), people exchanged information about “mysterious” persistent vapour trails left by military jets throughout the U.S., the health effects of EDB, and the depopulation conspiracy theory.
A few people submitted soil and water samples for lab testing, which confirmed the presence of EDB (not surprising, as it is known to persist in ground water). They concluded that EDB was coming from the sky. These test results, if they ever existed, were never actually reproduced.

Acting on information he allegedly received in 1993, Larry Wayne Harris of Lancaster, Ohio begins selling a self-published booklet (Bacteriological Warfare: A Major Threat to North America), warning that Iraqi sleeper cells will launch anthrax attacks against multiple cities in the U.S., aiming to reduce the U.S. population to 50 million by 2025. He conducted research for this booklet at the library of the Aryan Nations compound. He was a card-carrying member of Aryan Nations, which is not only America’s largest white supremacist organization, but also the nation’s largest and most violent prison gang.

dafuqreally

I’m sure we can trust their impeccable research skills.

At the time, Harris believed Jews controlled the world and had to be opposed (according to the Anti-defamation League, he later renounced these views).

Harris claims the information about impending anthrax attacks was given to him by the daughter of a former Iraqi president. She allegedly told him that Iraqi women were smuggling massive amounts of weaponized anthrax into the U.S. in their vaginas, preparing for synchronized biological assaults on numerous U.S. cities that would reduce the nation’s population to just 50 million souls by the year 2025.
In the spirit of goofy FBI code-names, let’s call this plan VAGTHRAX.

Harris makes some cash selling his booklet about VAGTHRAX at gun shows and conspiracy conventions, scaring the hell out of his fellow Patriots and Aryan brethren.
Though Harris was supposedly teaching people how to defend themselves against terrorist attacks, it has been noted that his booklet appeared to double as an instruction manual for terrorism. For instance, it laid out in considerable detail how to sabotage power lines and launch large-scale biological attacks. Not exactly information the average American would need.

toxic virgins by Doug Brinkman

Coming not-so-soon

Harris is arrested and charged with mail fraud after posing as a research microbiologist to obtain bubonic plague from the American Type Culture Collection. He had stolen some stationery bearing the letterhead of the Ohio lab where he was employed as a water inspector to do this. Convicted of mail fraud, Harris is placed on probation.
Harris claims to be a CIA asset and a licensed microbiologist throughout most of the ’80s and early ’90s. He also boasts that he has scientifically proven the existence of God. None of these claims are true.
He continues to warn about impending Iraqi bioattacks for the next three years.

Most of the early Internet communications about poisonous contrails mention Harris as a good source of information on the topic. Christian Patriots are advised to submit soil and fuel samples to him for testing. At least one EDB/JP-8 researcher, radio evangelist Bill Brumbaugh, submitted a JP-8 sample to Harris for analysis in the late ’90s. Harris, without supplying any documentation, reported that the jet fuel contained EDB. Questionable results like these were trumpeted throughout the Patriot/conspiracy community, adding literal fuel to the fire.

1996

The Defense Department publishes a study, Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025. This paper will become central to the weather control/geonengineering theories about persistent spreading contrails, which gradually overshadow the EDB/depopulation theory.

September 17, 1997

Richard Finke of Ohio distributes an email with the heading “Lines in the Sky Identified!”. This may be the first mass email on the subject of “deadly” contrails. In it, Finke declares that lab testing of samples from “JP-8 contaminated fields” in Maryland and Pennsylvania have revealed the presence of ethylene dibromide (again, not surprising, as EDB has been used as an agricultural pesticide for years). The testing was conducted by Aqua-tech Environmental. Finke wrote of contrails, “The lines are dispersed and may linger for hours, slowly filtering down to unsuspecting pests, and I guess we’re the PESTS.”

1998

Richard Finke and Larry Harris set up a “defensive biowar and disaster recovery” consulting firm called LWH Consulting. They promote their services by sending out mass emails warning that a biological attack on the U.S. is imminent, and posting information about poisonous contrails on message boards.
LWH Consulting was legally incorporated under the name of Harris’ attorney, Curt Griffith, who was suspended from practicing law in the state of Ohio in 2004 for ripping off two of his clients. Griffith also defended Harris in court.

Just as the biowarfare threat helped Harris sell his VAGTHRAX booklet, the EDB contamination scare may have helped Patriot radio broadcasters sell colloidal silver. You can’t read any of the early chemtrail reports without running into mention of colloidal silver as a defense against contrail-created illnesses. Later, chemtrail researcher Will Thomas began selling USANA brand vitamins and mineral supplements on his website, writing, “You don’t have to be a Gulf War veteran to be suffering daily effects from Chemical Warfare (CW) exposure. As a frequent writer on environment and health, while researching a major article on chemical sensitivities, I learned that Multiple Chemical Sensitivity can be triggered by massive repeated low level exposure to oil and other chemical releases…”
In 2000 and 2001, Larry Harris hawked a line of Solutions-4-You® anti-microbial products and a lichen-based herb called Lechenya Meera that could supposedly protect you from anthrax and other biochem warfare agents. He claimed a Ph.D at that time, though I can’t find any confirmation that he has one, and billed himself as “one of 17 registered microbiologists in the US” (I rather doubt this, as the National Registry of Certified Microbiologists certifies dozens of registrants each year).
Because chemtrail information is so closely tied to product placement and dishonest self-promotion like this, we should not eliminate the possibility that chemtrail theories are driven – at least in part – by profit motives.

February 18, 1998

Harris and a cohort, William Leavitt, are arrested in Vegas for possessing anthrax. When the anthrax turns out to be an avirulent strain, Harris is charged only with probation violation and receives a longer, more restrictive probation for impersonating a CIA agent.
After the hearing, Curt Griffith reportedly warned him, “Don’t let the word ‘CIA’ come out of your mouth.”
Though Harris wasn’t in possession of any dangerous biological agents this time, the Vegas anthrax arrest scared the hell out of people and made national headlines. It was alleged that Harris wasn’t just warning the world about impending biological attack – he was planning one himself. A cohort had reported to authorities that Harris boasted about possessing enough anthrax to poison a U.S. city.

After Harris’ second arrest, the speculation about persistent contrails gradually shifted from EDB to other toxic ingredients (mostly metals). But the legend of EDB-contaminated jet fuel lives on. Joseph E. Mario, in his Anti-Aging Manual (1998), declared that EDB was being dispersed over the U.S. via JP-8 jet fuel exhaust (contrails) for the purpose of indiscriminate population reduction. As “evidence”, Mario noted that EDB had been detected in Cape Cod cranberry ponds, Maryland and Pennsylvania. Again, this can be explained by agricultural fumigation. There was no need to bring aircraft into the equation at all.

February 1998  

Tommy Farmer collects samples of what he calls “angel hair”, a fibrous material presumably deposited by aircraft on six occasions between February, 1998 and January, 1999. The term might be familiar to UFO buffs, as “angel hair” was a common feature of early close encounter reports. Farmer claims he fell ill after his first contact with the “angel hair” (today, sticky filaments known as “chemwebs” are still being reported).

After the initial hubbub of 1997 and early 1998, the poisonous contrail theories went sub rosa for several
months, kept alive by only a handful of conspiracy researchers like Clarence Napier, John Hammell, Chip Tatum, Dot Bibbee, and Joe Burton.

1999, on the other hand, would be the Year of the Contrail.

January 1999

Canadian journalist Will Thomas publishes his first two articles about the dangers of contrails, “Mystery Contrails May Be Modifying Weather” and “Contrails: Poison From the Sky”. In these two short pieces, Thomas laid out a number of suppositions that have since become entrenched as chemtrail factoids:

  • The “poisonous” contrails are sprayed by “fleets” of aircraft flying in gridlike patterns.
  • The “spraying” is done by military jets. Thomas described the work of Tommy Farmer, a former engineering technician with Raytheon Missile Systems who had been tracking the patterns of jet contrails for more than a year. Farmer “positively identified” two of the aircraft most often involved in aerial spraying as the Boeing KC-135 and the Boeing KC-10, both used by the U.S. Air Force for air-to-air refueling.
  • The “spraying” is also done by unmarked military jets.
  • Contrails may be part of HAARP-related experiments.
  • Contrails may contain substances that facilitate weather modification, and substances that are harmful to us, such as bacteria.
  • Contrails may cause a variety of ailments, ranging from respiratory difficulty to lupus. No direct evidence of a link between contrails and these ailments is provided by Thomas; he is content to rely upon anecdotal evidence. Anecdotal evidence is a great place to start. It is not a great place to finish.

Thomas also rehashes the EDB-in-jet-fuel theory, and mentions public concerns about fuel dumping (discussed in Part III.5 of this series).

January 25, 1999

Art Bell discusses contrails on the popular paranormal-themed radio show Coast to Coast AM for the first time, with guest Will Thomas.

February 10, 1999

Will Thomas sends an email to John Hammell, warning that people throughout the U.S. and the U.K. are falling ill with flu because of contrails. He speculates that a virus may be in the jet fuel along with EDB, and strongly urges people to stay indoors when jets are flying overhead. The email is widely distributed. It is so hysterical in tone that I reproduce it here in its entirety to show you how speculation and misinformation were disseminated in the early days of the chemtrail phenomenon:

“Tell everyone to STAY INDOORS when contrails are being woven overhead. I’ve got a BBC photo of a freezer-semi filled with dead bodies in England – all from sudden respiratory ailments. We’re talking (according to the BBC) 6,000 deaths from respiratory failure in two weeks. People are VERY SICK here. And spraying continues, after heavy spraying last Friday over Asheville, Knoxville, Dallas and other US centers. I have this morning received reports of ‘many deaths’ from a ‘cough that never leaves’ in Louisiana. This is big. This is real. I have positively verified that Emergency Rooms are overflowing with acute respiratory cases from coast to coast. Doctors are telling the New York Times that this is NOT the flu. The only lab test I have shows JP8 present in soil samples after spraying. The ethylene dibromide in JP8 is banned by the EPA as a known carcinogen and an extremely toxic substance that attacks the respiratory system at very low doses of exposure. There may be a viral component to the spraying, as well. I am tracking this and will get back to… STOP PRESSES! I have just this minute received a call that confirms my worst fears. According to a source within the Canadian Intelligence Service, heavy spraying taking place over Victoria, BC (near me) and other population centers throughout North America are classified ‘tests’. I now know what the ‘tests’ are aimed at achieving. And it is not pretty. This is a MAXIUMUM RED ALERT for everyone on your list, John. TAKE COVER! Stay indoors during spraying. This is NOT ‘woo-woo’. This is NOT a drill.”

The most astonishing thing about this email is that the epidemic Thomas describes didn’t exist. There were no reports of a “mystery” respiratory illness published by the New York Times or the BBC in 1998 or 1999. Rather, there was one article in the Times about a well-known virus that affects infants and young children (respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV). If 6000 people in England alone had perished from the same illness in two weeks, this would have been an epidemic on par with the influenza outbreak of 1918. Yet I could not find a single 1998 or 1999 article (BBC or otherwise) that included information about 6000 sudden deaths in the UK. There were plenty of media releases concerning outbreaks of respiratory illnesses that occurred that year (see this one on an illness in Afghanistan or this one about  Nipah virus in Singapore and Malaysia, for instance). In these cases, dozens or even a few hundred people fell ill. But 6000, in a single country? No, nothing on that scale happened in 1998-1999.  If Thomas did, indeed, see a “BBC photo” of a truckload of corpses, it was either unpublished or misrepresented to him. As for the “many” coughing-related deaths in Louisiana, Thomas provides no verifying information. My own search for a ’99 Louisiana outbreak of respiratory illness came up empty. In short, this terrifying email does not contain any verified information.  In the winter of 1998-1999, neither the flu nor respiratory illnesses other than RSV were particularly serious. In 2000, the CDC reported the “numbers and types of circulating influenza viruses are similar to the previous two seasons (1997-98 and 1998-99). These findings suggest that this year’s flu season has not been unusually severe.” Even if the flu or respiratory illnesses had been worse than usual in 1998-1999, the connection to contrails would not be a given. Such outbreaks are not uncommon.
In another post, we’ll look more closely at Will Thomas’s chemtrail research and some of the other bizarre misinformation he has been disseminating. It will be obvious that his scientific knowledge is extremely limited. This is not an insult; it is a statement of fact. Ignorance is nothing to be ashamed of, because it does not have to be a permanent condition. Mr. Thomas can brush up on his science skills anytime he chooses.

March 30, 1999

Clarence Napier, a Christian Patriot conspiracist, claims to have located the “hidden” HQ for the death-spraying “United Nations” planes in Arizona. He declares that Arizona is the epicentre of contrail-poisoning activity (to this day, Pheonix remains a central hub of chemtrail-watching and activism). In the last post, we explored how firefighting planes (particularly Everygreen Aviation’s Supertanker) have been repeatedly mistaken for “chemtrail-spraying” planes.
In his email, Napier wrote:

“To every one in the Phoenix, Tucson, and Chandler, Arizona area, should try to check this  location out. I’m shure [sic] I have located the airfield were [sic] the planes spraying the contrails  are based in Arizona. If you get on my Web Page you will see a photo of the planes in the field,  William Thomas said people have reported to him that they looked at these planes through  telescopes, and reported that they are painted all white with no markings, and that is how I spotted this field, and the entrance to it is well hidden.”

Napier postulated that these unmarked planes were United Nations aircraft, and that the purpose of the spraying was to sicken and kill people all over the world. He posted photos of the “hidden” airfield on his website without identifying it.
One diligent researcher investigated and learned the airfield was Chandler Memorial Airport, an airfield owned by the area’s Pima and Maricopa Indian Nations. Since 1978, the airfield has been leased to International Air Response, an aviation outfit that had been contracting with the U.S. Forest Service to fight forest fires since the late ’60s. The entrance to the Chandler Memorial airfield was not hidden, and its operations were not secret.

March 1999

The word “chemtrail” begins appearing online. A portmanteau of the words “chemical(s)” and “contrail”, its exact provenance is unknown (I have been told by many chemtrail-watchers that Will Thomas coined the word. This may be true, but all I know for certain is that the word didn’t emerge until the spring of 1999. I have found no appearances of the word prior to March of that year). Jay Reynolds, who has been researching the contrail-related conspiracies since the late ’90s, has stated the word was coined by former USAF captain John Grace, who used the pseudonym “Val Valerian”.
In the early days, when the contrail theories revolved around a chemical pesticide, “chemical contrail” made sense. But today, when the theories are focused on metal oxides, “nanobots”, and fibers, “chemtrail” is a bit of a misnomer.

November 20, 1999

Art Bell again discusses chemtrails on Coast to Coast AM, with guest Clifford Carnicom.

1999

The white supremacist/conspiracy publication The Spotlight begins publishing stories about contrails, promoting the theory that they are part of a secret military operation.

Clifford Carnicom sets up his first website about chemtrails.
When it comes to chemtrails, I don’t think it would even be possible to overestimate the work Clifford Carnicom. He is, quite simply, the leader in the field of chemtrail research. Will Thomas and others are certainly influential, but it is Carnicom who has introduced each new “discovery” about chemtrails. Carnicom was the first person to produce a documentary about chemtrails (Aerosol Crimes, 2004). His was the first major website devoted to chemtrails. He was the first person to publish articles on the alleged links between chemtrails and Morgellons disease. He was the first to document what he believes are “nanotech devices” in Morgellons sufferers. It’s safe to say that whatever theory Carnicom comes up with next, the majority of chemtrail-watchers will accept as probable.

2001

Chemtrails are mentioned under the heading of “exotic weapons systems” in a bill sponsored by Dennis Kucinich, H.R. 2977 (107th): Space Preservation Act of 2001. They are removed from subsequent versions of the bill.

2002

On Coast to Coast AM, guest Will Thomas discusses the theory that the military is using jets to spray aluminum oxide and/or barium stearate into the air for weather modification and advanced radar/HAARP experiments.

2003

The biowarfare theory of chemtrails, introduced to the public by Will Thomas in ’99, becomes much more popular in 2003. It is reinforced by the claims of Clifford Carnicom, who says he heard important information from another researcher, who heard it from a military source.
According to Carnicom’s source, airplanes are dispersing polymer filaments with freeze-dried bacteria or viruses and metals (barium, aluminum) attached. The metals heat up from the sun, allowing the pathogens to survive in the cool air.
The ultimate goal of the spraying, Carnicom states, is the “control of all populations through directed and accurate spraying of drugs, diseases”. He declares that people who have “tried to reveal the truth have been imprisoned and killed”, but does not provide any names for verification.

2004

The incredibly weird “sylph” sightings begin. Chemtrail watchers report seeing cloudlike forms absorbing chemtrails, then vanishing. Some believe the sylphs are living creatures. Others suspect they are supernatural entities along the lines of angels, or nanobot swarms that can be manipulated remotely (like the Smoke Monster in Lost).

Clifford Carnicom releases his self-produced documentary Aerosol Crimes, the first feature-length film about chemtrails.
As with any conspiracy theory that gains some traction, infighting and suspicion among researchers soon surfaces. Chemtrail-fighter Don Croft declares that Carnicom’s Aerosol Crimes is disinformation. Croft tries to eliminate chemtrails with Reichian orgone devices (bits of metal).

2007

Lydia Mancini starts the website Barium Blues to document the “barium chemtrails” she has been seeing since about 2003.

Will Thomas publishes his book Chemtrails Confirmed.

August 2007

The Discovery Channel program Best Evidence airs a show on chemtrails.

2008

The Carnicom Institute becomes a registered non-profit organization

Toxic Skies, a fictional movie dealing with chemtrails, is released in Australia. The second film from Canadian thriller/horror director Andrew C. Erin is a medical thriller, starring Anne Heche as a virologist struggling to identify a mysterious disease.
As a medical thriller, the film is deeply uminpressive (at one point Heche’s character declares, “We don’t know if it’s Avian Flu or bubonic plague”). The film receives attention in the conspiracy community for three reasons: It explicity mentions chemtrails, the context is profoundly negative, and it was “banned” in North America.
Spoilers: The virus is being spread via pellets that have been mixed into jet fuel (must be one tough virus to survive not only the temperatures of a jet’s fuel system, but the cold temperatures of high altitude). The virologist develops a vaccine to inoculate people against the virus, and must race against the clock – and the bad guys-  to deliver it.
The film was shot in Spokane by a mostly Canadian crew, but premiered in Australia, causing some chemtrail researchers to cry out that it had been “banned” in the U.S. In reality, the film was simply picked up by a foreign distributor. The highest bidder gets distribution rights, and the American distributors evidently weren’t impressed. After being screened in Australia, Toxic Skies began showing up everywhere else. It is available in the U.S. and Canada. It’s even on Netflix.
Then there were those who believed Americans were supposed to see the movie. You see, many conspiracy researchers believe in something they call “predictive programming”. In essence, they contend that the world’s elite (the Illuminati, the globalists, the lizards, etc.) are required by some ancient code of conduct to have willing victims (I mentioned this briefly in a Wednesday Weirdness Roundup, in relation to Beavis and Butthead “predicting” 9/11). In other words, They have to tell us what They’re going to do to us before They do it. So They seed clues into TV commercials, cartoons, magazine articles and even low-budget medical thrillers. Chemtrail researchers who look for predictive programming would probably point to the vaccine in Toxic Skies as just another ploy. First, the Illuminati poisons you with a chemtrail virus, then they dupe you into taking a vaccine that will also kill you.
To my knowledge, no one has asked the director himself how he feels about chemtrails. Perhaps Mr. Erin just picked an interesting conspiracy theory to hang a thriller on, as so many screenwriters do. I challenge you to scan the list of conspiracy theories at Wikipedia  and find a single one that hasn’t become fodder for entertainment. FEMA camps? X-files. Fluoride? Dr. Strangelove. Morgellons? Bugs.

January 2008

Local news station KSLA in Shreveport, Louisiana broadcasts a report on chemtrails. Producers sent water samples collected in August 2007, in Stamps, Arkansas to a lab. The man who collected the samples suspected that jets flying over his property were spewing chemicals or metals. The results showed the water to contain 68.8 parts per billion (68.8 µg/L) of barium. The EPA limit is 2 ppm (2000 µg/L), and the tests found 0.0688 ppm (68.8 µg/L), just 3.4% of the allowable limit. But the KSLA reporter misread 68.8 µg/L as 6.8 parts per million, over three times the EPA level.
When the mistake was pointed out, KSLA issued a correction to its report.

October 2008

The chemical depopulation theory persists. MythicShadow posts the following on an online forum:

“STRANGE DAYS STRANGE SKIES YOU ARE NOW BREATHING ETHYLENE DIBROMIDE, NANO-PARTICULATES OF ALUMINUM AND BARIUM AND CATIONIC POLYMER FIBERS WITH UNIDENTIFIED BIOACTIVE MATERIAL: “We the people have not been warned, advised or consulted but are certainly vulnerable to the outcomes.” Lightwatcher.com “Biologic components have been reported in airborne samples that include: modified molds, desiccated red blood cells and exotic strains of bacteria” Additionally, award winning investigative reporter, Will Thomas, has reported findings of over 300 types of virally mutated fungi in the chemtrail fall out. The Idaho Observer has reported findings of 26 metals including barium, aluminum and uranium, a variety of infectious pathogens and chemicals and drugs including sedatives in chemtrail fallout. Dr.R. Michael Castle reports the finding of cationic polymer fibers. Others have reported findings of tiny parasitic nematode eggs of some type encased in the fibers. 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. Our health is under attack as evidenced by the skyrocketing rates of chemtrail induced lung cancer, asthma and pulmonary/respiratory problems as well as the emergence of a new plague, Morgellons Disease, an infection with a new and unknown pathogen that is seriously disabling and disfiguring. Over 12,000 families in the U.S. are now infected with Morgellons. I am one of the infected. Our skies are increasingly hazed over with fake barium/ aluminum particulate, ethylene dibromide chemtrail clouds. Whether in the atmosphere or in the Ocean this added particulate matter is a hazard to the health of every living thing on this planet. My health and the health of my family has already been drastically affected. There is a main-stream media blackout on this subject so the only way to get the word out is by word of mouth. People are already dying because of the chemtrails. Life expectancy is down. This situation presents an immediate and serious threat to you, your family and loved ones. We must join together to stop this insane program of chemtrail spraying now. Please do what you can to help.”

2010

The first professionally produced, feature-length documentary about chemtrails is released. What in the World Are They Spraying?, directed by Michael J. Murphy, draws more attention to chemtrails than anything to date. The film centres on the geoengineering theory of chemtrails, though depopulation and a few other theories are mentioned.

Once again, a racist connection to chemtrail theories rears its ugly head: The executive producer of WITWATS is G. Edward Griffin. A disciple of Hitler-adoring conspiranoid Eustace Mullins, Griffin was a speechwriter for George Wallace’s presidential campaign. Like Mullins, he has made a career out of promoting a broad array of conspiracy theories and quacky medical “cures” while warning about the Commie menace.

WALLACE

George Wallace wasn’t a racist. He just didn’t like black people, that’s all.

Next to the work of Clifford Carnicom, the release and distribution of WITWATS is probably the single most important event in the history of the chemtrail phenomena. We’ll examine it in detail in a another post.

2012

Paul Wittenberger, co-director of What in the World Are They Spraying?, releases a documentary about depopulation, The Great Culling. It is promoted as a follow-up to WITWATS, but Michael J. Murphy and his Truth Media Productions distance themselves from it. Other chemtrail researchers, like Rosalind Peterson, ask not to be included in the film. Francis Mangels, a retiree who threatened to shoot down jets to preserve his veggie garden during a county meeting, also distances himself from the “culling” theory of chemtrails and the Wittenberger documentary.

 

Top 10 Stupidest/Weirdest Jack the Ripper theories

Finger-pointing-225x300

125 years ago yesterday, the last known victim of an unknown serial killer was found stabbed and eviscerated in her dismal rented room in London’s East End Whitechapel district. Over the previous two months and ten days, this man had murdered at least four other area prostitutes, desperate and impoverished women in their forties. At 24 or 25, Mary Kelly was the youngest victim of the Whitechapel killer.

The killer had seemingly made a name for himself, quite literally, by writing letters to news agencies and professionals associated with the investigation. One of these missives was signed “Jack the Ripper”.  It is now believed, by former FBI profiler John Douglas and others, that this particular letter was a hoax sent by someone other than the killer. (Douglas and Olshaker, 2000)

Ripper - Signature

So it’s unlikely we’ll ever know what the killer really called himself, or what his name was. Nonetheless, theories about his identity continue to abound, even after countless other serial killers have come and gone. There’s something about the events of that dingy time and place that smear the public imagination like a mysterious, fascinating stain. At least once a year, some new theory about the killer finds its way into a mass market paperback or the pages of the Daily Mail. A few are worthy of consideration, but then there are the theories that are so tragicomically absurd you have to wonder if the writer is any saner than “Jack” was. Leaving out the obvious hoaxes (such as the James Maybrick and James Carnac “diaries”), here are my Top 10 Stupidest/Weirdest Jack the Ripper theories:

10. A “Satanist” named Robert Donston (or D’Onston) Stephenson

donston.photo

Donston entered the Whitechapel saga by way of Aleister Crowley. In an essay penned about half a century after the murders, Crowley relates the story of lovely authoress Mabel Collins, a devotee of Theosophy who became estranged from her male lover (Donston) by a treacherous female lover (Baroness Vittoria Cremers). The Whitechapel murders had already begun by the time this domestic drama was playing out.
Crowley believed that “Jack” was a cannibal, consuming parts of his victims’ bodies right at the scenes of his crimes. So did Miss Collins and the baroness. One day, as they were discussing how it could be possible for Jack to do such a thing without getting blood on his shirtfront, Captain Donston donned his opera cape for them and showed them how easy it would be for a man to protect his shirt with the dark, heavy fabric. Cremers thought little of this until she crept into Donston’s room, hoping to retrieve a packet of Mabel’s love letters to save the woman from any blackmail or embarrassment. In a trunk beneath his bed, she discovered five dress ties stained with blood.
On December 1, 1888, the Pall Mall Gazette published an article (here) in which the anonymous author postulated that the murders were black magic ceremonies designed to imbue the killer with power, in accordance with instructions in the writings of Eliphas Levi. The locations of the murders, Anonymous explained, would form a cross (Crowley changed this to a five-pointed star). Crowley dismissed this theory, believing (as many did) that there were seven “Ripper” murders in Whitechapel, but wondered if Donston had written the article, and if the killer had been following some astrological pattern in his selection of crime scenes (an idea brought to his attention by crime reporter Bernard O’Donnell).  After conducting his own research, Crowley concluded that at the time of each murder, either Saturn of Mercury was precisely on the Eastern horizon.
The interesting story of Captain Donston is exactly that: An interesting story. Donston was known to Crowley only as “Captain Donston”, and it’s unlikely he ever met the man in person. It seems all his information about him came from old Vittoria Cremers, a member of his O.T.O. lodge. Later writers discovered that an alcoholic confabulist named Robert “Roslyn” D’Onston (or Donston) Stephenson had lived in London at the time of the murders, and he was deemed a prime suspect by some Ripperologists (notably, the late Melvin Harris).
In a 2003 book, Jack the Ripper’s Black Magic Rituals, career criminal Ivor Edwards resurrected the black magick/Donston theory, positing that the Whitechapel killer really did plot out the five murders to form a giant shape (a vesica piscis). The snag in this theory is that D’Onston Stephenson was a patient at London Hospital at the time, being treated for neurasthenia. He checked himself into the hospital in late July, one month before the first murder, and checked out on December 7, one month after the last murder. Edwards gets around this by pointing out that the hospital was in the Whitechapel area. Security was so lax, he maintains, that curiosity-seekers regularly snuck onto hospital grounds to catch glimpses of John Merrick, the Elephant Man….so isn’t it plausible that Stephenson could sneak out, slay prostitutes, then sneak back in without being observed? Four times?
The evidence here is ridiculously thin, and Edwards pushes the envelope even further by insisting that Stephenson murdered his wife, Anne Deary, in 1887 (it isn’t even known if she died at this time). The only real, discernible connection D’Onston Stephenson has to the Whitechapel killings is that he had his own suspect in mind; Dr. Morgan Davies, one of the physicians at London Hospital. He reported his suspicions to the police, and gave a statement to Inspector Thomas Roots of Scotland Yard after his release. Other than this, and the secondhand tales of an old girlfriend, there doesn’t seem to be the slightest bit of evidence against Mr. Stephenson. Note that among three people who championed the black magic theory of the crimes, there were three different designs attributed to the killer (a cross, a star, and a vesica piscis).

9. Crowley

Ac2

before his Telly Savalis phase

Aleister Crowley was not known to be a violent man, despite rumours that he sexually tortured at least one of his wives. Yet the notion persists in some quarters that if you’re an occultist, you probably kill people. Crowley was portrayed as a pedophile serial killer in the web series lonelygirl15, and more recently has been called out as a Jack the Ripper copycat by historian Mark Beynon and blamed for six of the deaths linked to the bogus Curse of King Tut.
And, since he lived in London during the 1880s, why not make him Jack the Ripper as well? After all, he expressed interest in the murders, and had a theory about the killer. Good enough.
Crowley has never become a mainstream suspect (that is, no Ripperologists have written books about him), but he has been mentioned by fringe conspiranoids who dabble in true crime.

8. Lewis Carroll

anagram2

In 1996, an elusive character named Richard Wallace published Jack the Ripper, Light-Hearted Friend. It consisted almost entirely of anagrams formed from passages of a preschool version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Sylvie and Bruno. These scrambled, barely coherent verses were supposed to prove that Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) was one sick bastard, and probably slaughtered prostitutes alongside his friend Thomas Vere Bayne when he wasn’t doing math. This makes for some pretty hilarious reading, as this review shows. Of course, if you rearrange words in Jack the Ripper, Light-Hearted Friend, you can probably prove that Richard Wallace is actually Donald Trump.
Sadly, this hot mess was taken halfway-seriously at the time of publication. Harper’s excerpted it, Ripperologists and anagram enthusiasts went out of their way to refute it, and Lewis Carroll fans facepalmed themselves into concussions.
This was not Wallace’s first book about Carroll. In The Agony of Lewis Carroll (1990), he exposed “hidden smut” in Carroll’s books in an attempt to prove that Carroll was gay, which rather works against the idea that he murdered female prostitutes. 

Another writer, Thomas Toughill, sussed out clues to the Ripper’s identity in Oscar Wilde’s The Portrait of Dorian Gray, concluding that portraitist Frank Miles was the killer. He published his findings as The Ripper Code in 2008 (remember, kids, adding the word “code” to your title adds credibility).
Even if the passages Toughill highlights pointed unambiguously to Miles, though, wouldn’t this merely show that Wilde thought Miles was a good suspect? He was a playwright, not freaking Inspector Maigret.

7. The Demon of the Belfry

0000001557

In April 1895, nearly seven years after the Whitechapel murders ended, two young women in San Francisco were raped and strangled inside  Emanuel Baptist Church. Blanche Lamont, 20, disappeared first. Nine days later, 21-year-old Minnie Williams vanished. On Easter Sunday, one of the church ladies opened a cabinet where teacups were usually stored and discovered Minnie’s body. Blanche’s body was soon found in the church belfry.
Because he was seen with both young women shortly before they went missing, a 23-year-old medical student named Theo Durrant was charged with the murders. He was the assistant superintendent of the church Sunday school.
At trial, Durrant’s defense attorney argued that the real killer could have been the church minister, John George Gibson. Gibson had been a pastor in Scotland until resigning from his post in 1887. Between that time and his arrival in the U.S. in December 1888, Gibson’s whereabouts are unknown.
Durrant went to the gallows in 1898, and few doubt that he was the “demon of the belfry”, as reporters dubbed him. But Robert Graysmith, author of Zodiac and Zodiac Unmasked, took note of that gap in John Gibson’s resumé. It matches up perfectly with the dates of the Whitechapel murders; Gibson left his post at least 8 months before they began, and arrived in America one month after they stopped. Coincidence?
Well, yeah, probably. First of all, the Emanuel Church murders – while certainly gruesome – were considerably less vicious than the Whitechapel murders. It would be essentially unheard-of for a serial killer to de-escalate in such dramatic fashion. Secondly, Durrant’s behaviour before and after the murders was peculiar. He offered outlandish theories about white slave trafficking to the aunt of Blanche Lamont, and was seen arguing with Minnie Williams the day she vanished. Gibson, on the other hand, isn’t known to have said or done anything unusual at the time of the murders. (McConnell, 2005)
An intriguing footnote to all this is the sensational Salome trial that occurred in London twenty years after Durrant’s execution. In the wake of the murders, Durrant’s sister, Maud, had turned to dance. Though she had no professional training, she was able to establish herself as a performer in England, specializing in “Salome dances”. In 1918, she staged Oscar Wilde’s Salome in London, and came under attack from a right-wing publication. The editor accused her of being a lesbian “honey trap” and a German spy, sent to undermine the morals of British patriots. Maud Allan sued for libel, but the unfortunate fact that her brother had raped and killed two women worked against her. She lost the suit.

6. A mad doctor

johncarradine11

Doctors came under heavy suspicion in the Whitechapel case because it was assumed, at the time, that anyone who could mutilate a body and remove organs in a short amount of time must have some degree of surgical skill. This is not the case, but that hasn’t stopped Ripperologists from implicating physicians and surgeons by the dozen. A few of the most notable:

Dr. Stanley
In the 1920s, Australian journalist and MP Leonard Matters introduced a bizarre theory: That a late physician he identified only as “Dr. Stanley” had gone on a prostitute-killing rampage because a prostitute had given his son an STD. He was searching for one prostitute (out of roughly 800 in the district), so he simply murdered each one he questioned until he found his real target – Mary Kelly. Supposedly, Matters had read the doctor’s deathbed confession in a South American newspaper, but he never produced the article.
Sadly, this lame theory was the subject of the first full-length treatment of the case, Matters’ The Mystery of Jack the Ripper (1929), and became the basis for the 1959 film Jack the Ripper.

Sir William Gull, Royal physician
Though he was elderly and partially disabled by a stroke at the time of the murders, Stephen Knight selected Dr. Gull as the central figure in his Freemason theory (see #3).

Sir John Williams, Royal gynecologist
In what has to be one of the weirdest Ripper theories of all time, Tony Williams implicated his own ancestor in his 2005 book Uncle Jack, proposing that the royal OB-GYN killed prostitutes and harvested their uteri as part of a research project aimed at curing his wife’s infertility. This had something to do with being a Freemason.
This September, an equally ridiculous book was put out by a woman who claims to be Mary Kelly’s great-great-granddaughter. Antonia Alexander claims Mary Kelly had an affair with Williams. He then killed her for some reason or other. The proof? His blurry photo is in a locket that supposedly belonged to Kelly.
You can find details of the Williams allegations in this Daily Mail article. 

Dr. Thomas Barnardo
Dr. Barnardo was not actually a doctor, but he identified himself as one throughout his life. He established a string of children’s charity homes between 1870 and his death in 1905.
Aside from pretending to be a doctor, Barnardo had a more-or-less unblemished reputation as a philanthropist right into the 1970s, when the late historian Donald McCormick suddenly decided he would make a decent Ripper suspect for his book The Identity of Jack the Ripper (though his suspect of choice remained the cross-dressing Russian assassin Pedachenko – one of the silliest Ripper hoaxes ever). Gary Rowlands, in his chapter of The Mammoth Book Of Jack The Ripper, expands on McCormick’s theoryBarnardo’s lonely childhood in Ireland, combined with religious zealotry, caused him to go on an anti-prostitute murder crusade. He only stopped killing because a swimming accident deafened him.
I don’t know about Rowlands, but McCormick was a notoriously shoddy historian; one of my favourite bloggers, Dr. Beachcombing, calls him Baron Munchausen, and accuses him of fabricating a creepy poem that “Jack” supposedly wrote.
It’s true that Barnardo worked in the slums, and claimed to have met victim Elizabeth Stride shortly before her murder. Other than this, how much evidence links Barnardo to the Whitechapel murders? None. Seriously. None.

Dr. Morgan Davies
Robert D’Onston Stephenson suspected Dr. Davies merely because Davies routinely discussed the murders with another patient at London Hospital, acting them out in some detail and opining that the killer was a sexual sadist. As a man familiar with mental illness, it wouldn’t surprise me if Davies had a better grasp of criminal behaviour than the people around him.

Francis Tumblety
Tumblety was not a real medical doctor, and in my opinion could still be a viable suspect. He also had an odd connection to the assassination of Lincoln.

5. Famous painters.

170px-Walter_Sickert_photo_by_George_Charles_Beresford_1911

Walter Sickert.

Sickert, like Crowley, is another person who apparently came under suspicion because of his interest in the case. Most people know of this from Patricia Cornwell’s 2002 book Portrait of a Killer, but Cornwell was not actually the first to suggest Sickert’s involvement. That dubious honour would go to Donald McCormick, who mentioned Sickert in his 1970 book The Identity of Jack the Ripper. Also in the 1970s, a man claiming to be Sickert’s son (Sickert had no known children) declared his dad had been chummy with the heir to the throne, Prince Alfred Victor (the Duke of Clarence, himself a Ripper suspect). According to Joseph Gorman, AKA “Hobo” Sickert, the duke knocked up a poor Catholic girl named Annie Crook around 1885. When the Queen and the Prime Minister discovered this, they were horrified, and arranged for Miss Crook to be abducted and “lobotomized” by the royal physician, Sir William Gull. Someone connected to the royal family then murdered the illegitimate child’s nanny, Mary Kelly. The illegitimate daughter of Annie and the duke, Alice, later became one of Sickert’s mistresses….and Hobo Sickert’s mother. Therefore, he could be considered an heir to the throne. All of these details proved to be false, and Joseph Gorman/Hobo Sickert admitted as such to the Sunday Times (June 18, 1978), though he continued to insist he was Sickert’s son.
The late Stephen Knight, whom we’ll meet shortly, incorporated the Annie Crooks story into his conspiracy theory about Freemasons and royals, asserting that Sickert had been part of a plot to murder prostitutes on behalf of the royal family.
In 1990, Jean Overton Fuller published Sickert and the Ripper Crimes, in which she laid out a theory that Sickert was the one and only Jack (incidentally, she was friends with Crowley associate Victor Neuberg, and was quite familiar with the D’Onston Stephenson story).
Then Patricia Cornwell took on the case. Thanks to her popularity as a crime novelist, Portrait of a Killer became a bestseller and unleashed a fresh flood of interest in Sickert-as-Ripper. In 2012, the Royal Opera House even parlayed Sickert’s fascination with Jack into a moody ballet, Sweet Violets
Cornwell’s theory rests heavily on Sickert’s supposedly deformed genitalia, alleged DNA matches between genetic material found on “Ripper” envelopes and on envelopes mailed by Sickert, and what she considers telling imagery in some of Sickert’s portraits. She points to the blurred or distorted faces of women, arguing that they represent the mutilation of the Ripper’s victims. Sickert was, unquestionably, inspired or intrigued by infamous London crimes involving prostitutes, though he didn’t begin to express this until nearly 30 years after the Whitechapel murders. In 1907 he painted Jack the Ripper’s Bedroom (below), and the following year he did a series on the Camden Town murder.

Walter Sickert Jack the Ripper's Bedroom

While it’s true that some of Sickert’s paintings are murky and vaguely disturbing, he also painted delightful street scenes and whimsical caricatures of ballet-goers. Furthermore, his Camden Town series was meant to be enigmatic, even baffling, in the style of Victorian problem pictures. And while the DNA evidence seems compelling, it should be noted that the envelopes and stamps from which DNA was extracted belonged to letters widely believed to be hoaxes (e.g., the “Openshaw letter“). There’s a good discussion of this evidence at the Casebook: Jack the Ripper site.
There is nothing in Sickert’s background to suggest that he was prone to violence. At the time of the murders, he may have been living and painting in France.

And speaking of painting in France…

Vincent Van Gogh

download

Van Gogh is a recent addition to the suspect pool. Painter and writer David Larner spent five years (2006 – 2011) compiling research for his unpublished manuscript, Vincent Alias Jack.
Larner first suspected Van Gogh while trying to recreate Irises; the face of Mary Kelly simply jumped out at him from within the folds of a flower. You can see Larner’s side-by-side comparison of the Kelly crime scene photo and the painting here (WARNING: graphic imagery). Hello, pareidolia.

sunflowers

“When you see it, you’ll shit bricks,”

But the painting isn’t the only “proof”. Apparently, Van Gogh is a good Ripper candidate because he consorted with prostitutes, hacked off part of his own ear (Catherine Eddowes’ ear was hacked off), and might have been in London at the right time. Larner also believes – with no solid evidence to back him up – that Van Gogh was responsible for the 1887-’88 Thames torso murders, which are only seldom linked to the Ripper. That’s about it.

gacy1

Besides, serial killers can’t paint.

4. Jill

A surprisingly popular theory at the time of the murders was that “Jack” was actually a woman, possibly a midwife who worked in the area, or a wife so enraged by her husband’s fondness for prostitutes that she decided to slaughter as many of them as she could. Possible “Jills” include murderess Mary Pearcy, who killed her lover’s wife and child in 1890 (the only female Ripper suspect to be named close to the time of the murders), and Lizzie Williams, wife of suspect Sir John Williams (according to this theory, she was driven insane by her infertility and began ripping the uteri out of prostitutes). Sir Arthur Conan Doyle favoured the theory that “Jack” was a lady, and his fans continue to put forward female suspects. For example, Constance Kent, who admitted (perhaps falsely) to killing her 4-year-old half-brother in 1865, has been named by E.J. Wagner in The Science of Sherlock Holmes.

3. Freemasons

grips

This theory was the brainchild of a young British writer named Stephen Knight, published in 1976 as Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution, but the elements of it were culled from a variety of sources:

  • Retired doctor Thomas E.A. Stowell‘s article “Jack the Ripper – A Solution?”. This piece, published in the November 1970 issue of The Criminologist, proposed that the Ripper was an aristocrat who stalked, killed and eviscerated Whitechapel prostitutes in much the same way the aristocracy stalked, killed, and gutted deer. This young man was suffering insanity from the latter stages of syphilis, so he might have harboured great resentment against prostitutes for giving him the disease, which ultimately killed him. Stowell  hinted that this aristocrat was none other than an heir to the throne, Prince Albert Victor (the Duke of Clarence).  Stowell claimed this information came from personal notes of Dr. Gull (Stowell knew Gull’s daughter) – but Gull died two years before the duke.
  • The tales of Joseph Gorman Sickert
  • Conspiracy theories about English Freemasons
duke

The Duke of Clarence

Knight somewhat elegantly stitched together these loose threads to create the mother of all weird Jack the Ripper narratives: The Duke of Clarence impregnated a poor Catholic girl, Annie Crooks, and entrusted the care of his illegitimate child to Mary Kelly. Kelly and four of her friends unwisely decided to blackmail the royal family, and in retaliation Queen Victoria dispatched Dr. Gull and a gang of other prominent Freemasons to silence the women. One by one, they were lured to their deaths. The men kept their pact of silence for the rest of their lives because…well, because they were Freemasons. Bros before hos, yo.
As it turned out, this was all a complete waste of everyone’s time. The duke died of influenza just four years later.
The idea that a stroke-paralyzed physician would drag himself around the East End just to shut up a handful of prostitutes who wouldn’t be believed, anyway, makes for a good comic book and very little else. Over the years, however, people have grafted more Freemasonic suspects onto the theory, including Churchill’s dad.
Walter Sickert, incidentally, gave painting lessons to Winston Churchill.

2. The author of My Secret Life

This theory is weak for several reasons, but the first and foremost one is that we don’t know who wrote the book. My Secret Life was an erotic novel released in serialized form, beginning around the same time as the Whitechapel murders (the exact date of publication isn’t known). The author was listed simply as “Walter”. Hey, maybe it was Walter Sickert!

hahaha-no-108566526694
In their 2010 book Jack the Ripper’s Secret Confession, David Monaghan and Nigel Cawthorne propose that “Walter” left clues about his identity as the Whitechapel killer throughout his book. Monaghan came up with this theory after noting the resemblance between passages of My Secret Life and the 1894 confession of Chicago serial killer Herman Mudgett (“H. H. Holmes”), particularly Walter’s description of a corpse floating in the Thames. Never mind that all of the Whitechapel victims were found on dry land.
Even if “Walter” truly had violent tendencies, there just isn’t enough here to draw a link between him and the murders. Weirdly enough, though, Holmes himself was named as a suspect by one of his descendants.

1. Hitler

I used to think this was a theory of my own invention, but it turns out some other lunatic already put the pieces together.
Bear with me, here. This is bulletproof. All you have to do is take the Stowell/Sickert/Knight theory that the Duke of Clarence had a role in the Whitechapel murders, and combine it with a fringe theory that the duke faked his death to begin a new life in Germany as one Adolph Hitler. Sure, the duke would have been considerably older than the man we know as Hitler, but didn’t Eva Braun describe Adolph as an “elderly gentleman” when she first met him?

But seriously, folks, any theory of the Whitechapel killings should take into account John Douglas’s profile of the killer. Based on victimology, the locations of the crime scenes, and especially the manner of the murders and mutilations, Douglas concludes the sole perpetrator was an asocial malcontent who might have worked for a butcher or a mortician, if he was able to hold a job at all. He lived or worked in the area. (Douglas and Olshaker, 2000, pp. 67-70)

In 2006, police affirmed that if they were looking for the suspect today, they would be knocking on doors in and around Whitechapel, rather than searching far afield for artists, dilettantes and Freemasons. They even issued a composite sketch of the Whitechapel killer.

Police_composite_of_Jack_the_Ripper

It was Freddy Mercury all along.

Sources:

Douglas, J. and Olshaker, M. The cases that haunt us. (2000). New York, NY: Scribner.

McConnell, V.A. (2005). Sympathy for the devil: The emmanuel baptist murders of old san francisco. Lincoln, NE: Bison Books.

Wednesday Weirdness Roundup: The Bogus Christian Memoir Hall of Shame

go-back-and-try-again-before-you-make-me-cry

Literary fraud is an important topic at Swallowing the Camel. Whether it’s middle-aged women pretending to be teen boys afflicted with HIV/AIDS (here and here), or James Cameron’s BFF letting himself be snowjobbed by a lying WWII vet, or fake Holocaust memoirists, no one gets a free pass when it comes to literary misdeeds. So why should Christians be any different? This week’s Weirdness Roundup covers some of the most egregious frauds involving inspirational Christian nonfiction, starting with the most recent case:

  • A year after diligent readers expressed their concerns, UK Christian publishing house Authentic Media has withdrawn a popular preacher’s autobiography from the market. Tony Anthony’s Taming the Tiger (2004) told the awesome story of how Jesus transformed him from an angry young criminal to the person he is today (I’ll let you decide if that was an improvement or not).
    Taming the Tiger describes how 4-year-old Tony learned Kung Fu from his grandfather. As the book’s cover reminds us, he ultimately became a “3 times Kung Fu World Champion”. His professional debut was in 1984. The following year, he went to work as a bodyguard for international VIPs, including the Saudi ambassador to the UK, Italy, and Cyprus. In 1988 or ’89, his world fell apart when his girlfriend of three years, Aiya, was killed in a car accident. He turned his back on everything good in his life and become an enforcer for his boss, threatening and beating and even killing people who posed the slightest danger to the ambassador. He then became a burglar to raise money for an expensive medical procedure his father needed, and started getting into confrontations with police in Cyprus, where he was then living. He landed himself in jail in Christmas 1989, and it was there that an Irish missionary introduced him to Jesus Christ.
    Upon release in 1992, Anthony returned to the UK and settled down to have a family. He considered himself a good Christian, but after he was arrested for killing a woman in a hit and run (and lying to police about it) in 2001, he realized he still needed a lot of work. His second awakening as a Christian spurred him to write the memoir, which has sold more than a million copies in 25 languages. Its success gave him the opportunity to preach all over the world, and he established an Essex-based international evangelism organization called Avanti Ministries.
    The whole thing imploded when skeptical readers decided to look into Anthony’s actual background. One of the first things they discovered was that he was born in 1971…meaning he would have been just 13 years old when he became a Kung Fu grand master, and 14 when he was supposedly protecting an ambassador. He would still have been a teenager when he ended up in Nicosia prison. Also, the Saudi ambassador to the UK from 1980-1992, Nasser Almanqour, was never sent to Italy or Cyprus.
    It wasn’t just readers who were skeptical. One director of Avanti Ministries, Mike Hancock, resigned because Anthony seemed reluctant to verify the stories in his book. Hancock joined forces with another former Avanti director and a few concerned Christian ministers to investigate Anthony’s claims. Last year, they submitted a summary of their findings to the board of Avanti, the UK’s Evangelical Alliance, and Authentic Media, resulting in Authentic’s decision to pull the book.
    Tony Anthony has issued a statement saying he “wholeheartedly” defends everything he wrote in Taming the Tiger, with the exception of some details that he claims he wasn’t aware of at the time he wrote it. He admits that some names, places, etc., were altered to protect the privacy of certain people. He also claims he recently tried to publish an updated autobiography, but was blocked from doing so by unnamed persons “intent on discrediting” his ministry. Hilariously, he seems astonished that anyone would be interested in the historical veracity of his work (which is categorized as a nonfiction martial arts book in libraries and bookstores).
    Anthony’s statement includes the announcement that Avanti Ministries will no longer be in charge of its outreach programs.
  • The story of “Lauren Stratford” is by far the weirdest, most convoluted bogus Christian memoir tale of the past several decades. In 1988, her book Satan’s Underground was published by one of the top Christian publishers in America, Harvest House. In it, Stratford described a nightmarish existence as an abused child prostitute, handed over to child pornographers and pedophile rapists by her own mother (a schoolteacher). As a teen, she became a virtual sex slave to a Satan-worshiping porno kingpin known only as “Victor”. Victor’s cult engaged in everything from infanticide to cannibalism, and Lauren was forced to participate in their hellish rites. She was the first former Satanist to claim status as a “breeder”, a woman forced to bear children for ritual sacrifice, and I doubt it’s a coincidence that within months of the release of Satan’s Underground, breeders were popping out of the woodwork to appear on Geraldo and Sally Jesse Raphael. Stratford herself was invited to appear on Oprah and Geraldo as a victim of Satanic ritual abuse. Her book became very popular with recovered memory advocates and Christian therapists, and other ritual abuse survivors credited Stratford’s book with helping them retrieve their own “repressed memories”.
    Then, in 1991, the Christian magazine Cornerstone investigated Stratford’s background. The reporters couldn’t find a shred of evidence that Laurel Wilson had ever been abused by Satanists or anyone else, but they did uncover evidence indicating that Wilson/Stratford suffered a factitious disorder.
    Toward the end of her life, Stratford re-emerged as a Holocaust survivor named “Laura Grabowski”. She said she had been one of Josef Mengele’s victims, and even had a touching reunion with a fellow child survivor of Auschwitz, Binjamin Wilkomirski. The problem was, Wilkomirski had never been in Auschwitz, either.
    You can read more about the peculiar Wilson/Stratford/Grabowski saga in Part IX of my series The Prodigal Witch.
  • In 1986, Christian pamphleteer Jack Chick published a bizarre book titled He Came to Set the Captives Free, by one “Rebecca Brown, M.D.” It told the story of a crusading Christian doctor (Brown herself) who was engaged in a life-or-death struggle against evil forces in Indiana. Satanists were dogging her every step because she had rescued a young woman named Elaine from their clutches. Elaine had been brainwashed by the Satanists from childhood, and as an adult was forced to literally marry Satan in his human form.
    Having divorced Satan and her second husband too, Elaine helped Dr. Brown foil Satanic assassins and rescue other cult victims. The duo claimed to have saved about 1000 witches from dangerous covens in the first half of the ’80s alone. Brown published a second book about her battles with darkness, Prepare for War, in 1987. That same year, she and Elaine appeared on one of Geraldo Rivera’s shows about Satanism.
    In 1989, writers G. Richard Risher, Paul R. Blizard, and M. Kurt Goedelman delved into the backgrounds of Rebecca Brown and Elaine for the Personal Freedom Outreach Newsletter. What they found was deeply disturbing. Brown was really Ruth Bailey, and she had been stripped of her medical license five years earlier, after colleagues discovered she had been giving massive (potentially fatal) doses of prescription painkillers to one of her patients, Edna Moses. Edna Moses was “Elaine”. The two women had been living together in a filthy house for years, telling neighbours they were sisters. Bailey was known for her violent, unstable, paranoid behaviour. Edna/Elaine died in 2005.
    Bailey/Brown left Edna in 1989 to marry an ex-con who claimed he was tortured by Swiss rabbis as a boy, and the couple now runs a small ministry called Harvest Warriors.
    Though many Christians recognize Brown’s books for what they are (pure batshit insanity), they remain in print and continue to captivate the more gullible members of the Christian community.  In 2010, a sixth-grade science teacher in Brooklyn was mildly reprimanded for distributing and selling copies of They Came to Set the Captives Free to some of his students.
    The full story of Ruth Bailey and Edna Moses can be read in Part VIII of my Prodigal Witch series.
  • In the early ’70s, a roly-poly young Californian named Mike Warnke took the evangelical world by storm. He was loved for his Christian stand-up comedy (yes, that’s a thing, I guess), but it was his truly sinister background that drew the most attention to him. As he detailed in his 1973 memoir The Satan Seller, Warnke had dropped out of college to lead one branch of a nationwide Satanic cult that practiced blasphemous rites, lured teenagers into their ranks with the promise of sex and drugs, and occasionally raped and dismembered innocents in the name of the Devil. You know, typical frat stuff.
    Just like Tony Anthony, Warnke founded a successful ministry on the strength of his testimony. It wasn’t until 1992, nearly 20 years after The Satan Seller was printed, that a group of Christians published an exhaustive refutation of Warnke’s claims in a Cornerstone magazine article. As writers Jon Trott and Mike Hertenstein revealed, Warnke hadn’t been a Devil-worshiping drug addict in college; he had already become a Christian by that time, and spent most of his time doing ridiculously wholesome things that other square kids did in the late ’60s: Bowling, going out for ice cream, double-dating with his devoutly Catholic girlfriend, etc.
    Confronted with his make-believe past, Warnke weakly explained that his Satanic following may have been a bit smaller than he originally stated (around a dozen people, rather than 1500). He would not back down from anything else in his book. A few years ago, though, he admitted to Jim Bakker that he had felt compelled to present a dramatic conversion testimony to impress the evangelical community, and made a joke about “evangelasticity”.
    You can read more about Warnke in
    Part II of the Prodigal Witch series.
  • The same year The Satan Seller was published, Doreen Irvine’s autobiography From Witchcraft to Christ was released in the UK. A prim-looking older lady, Irvine claimed to have been a teen prostitute who was inducted into Satanism in London around 1950. Over the next 12 years, she developed the abilities to levitate several feet off the ground, read minds, render herself invisible, manifest apports, and kill birds in midflight just by looking at them. She was crowned Queen of the Black Witches of Europe. Then she walked into a church on a whim and was instantly converted to Christianity. After a grueling exorcism removed 47 demons from her body, she traveled to churches all over the world, sharing her story of redemption.
    No one has ever extensively refuted the claims in From Witchcraft to Christ, probably because they are too absurd to take seriously in the first place. But the book, and Doreen’s preaching, had a profound and lasting impact that has left at least one young woman dead. You can read more about her influence in Part I of The Prodigal Witch.

There are a number of other Christian memoirs that definitely set off my BS alarm, but the claims made in these books are so unverifiable that there is really no way to refute them. These include:

  • A Divine Revelation of Hell (1997) and A Divine Revelation of Heaven (1998) by Mary K. Baxter. Baxter, a Pentacostal preacher from Michigan, claims she was given walking tours of both Heaven and Hell by Jesus himself, so that she could bear witness to their physical reality. She says Hell is located near the planet’s core, is shaped like a human body, and contains many homosexuals. In Heaven, angels collect the tears of everyone on Earth and store them away in jars.
  • Blood Secrets by Isaiah Oke, as told to Joe Wright (1989). Oke is a Nigerian Christian who claims he was once a ju-ju shaman, and that he witnessed a brutal human sacrifice carried out by his mentor. The person who commissioned this sacrifice is described as a powerful colonel, and it’s quite obvious that Oke wants us to think he was Idi Amin.
    Oke became a Christian while studying accounting at college. As he and Wright tell it, a young American co-ed had annoyed him one day, but Oke was unable to “hex” her even after numerous attempts. Finally, he asked her why she was resistant to his magical powers, and she told him she was a Christian. He promptly converted, and continues to talk smack about Nigerian spirituality to the present day.

The Iceman Lieth

Was Mafia assassin Richard Kuklinski full of sh**?

I’ve had Richard “Ice Man” Kuklinski’s claims on my mind for some time now, and with the FBI recently scouring Detroit for Jimmy Hoffa and a movie starring Michael Shannon as Kuklinski being released in May, this seems as good a time as any to examine what the notorious hitman had to say prior to his death in 2006.

kuklinski
Who was Richard Kuklinski? 

Born in 1935 to an alcoholic, abusive railroad brakeman and a fanatically Catholic mother who also administered beatings freely, Richard Leonard Kuklinski dropped out of the eighth grade to become a full-time hoodlum, stealing cars and robbing houses in Jersey City and Hoboken.

At 19 he became a serial killer, murdering homeless men in the alleys of New York, Newark and Hoboken. He claimed he killed at least 50 men just for the pleasure it gave him. He experimented with different killing techniques, as he would throughout his life. He was soon working as an enforcer and contract killer for New Jersey’s DeCavalcante crime family, which would later serve as the model for the fictional DiMeo crime family in The Sopranos.
At 6’4″ and 250 pounds, with a hair-trigger temper and an array of weapons, Kuklinski was an incredibly deadly force. He was such a skilled, trusted hitman by 1960 that he began doing work for the New York crime families, earning up to five figures per job. Yet he continued to live in low-income housing in Jersey City, thanks to his penchant for gambling.  (1)

He married a good Catholic girl, Barbara Pedrici, in 1962. This was his second marriage. He had two sons (the elder was Richard Jr.) with his first wife. He claims he sliced off his first wife’s nipples when he found her in bed with another man, but didn’t officially separate from her until the eve of his marriage to Barbara.  (1)

Though Barbara had three miscarriages and a difficult fourth pregnancy in 1962 and ’63, and the couple had no money, Kuklinski didn’t take a single contract during this period. He worked a series of low-paying, menial “straight” jobs. The closest he came to organized crime was bootlegging copies of cartoons and X-rated movies while working in a film lab. Then, with two other guys, he reverted to stealing truckloads of merchandise. He shot two men in a fit of road rage, killed four others when a buyer who tried to renegotiate the price of a stolen load of wristwatches, and tortured and killed two men who attempted to steal a load of stolen goods from his crew.
So far as his family knew, though, Kuklinski’s only job was copying cartoons in a Hell’s Kitchen lab. They weren’t aware that he was actually copying porn movies in a lab controlled by a member of the Gambino crime family. He worked long hours, often staying in the lab through the night. When a union representative confronted him about this, he killed the man and disguised his death as a hanging in a public park. In 1971, he murdered a bouncer at the Peppermint Lounge for showing him disrespect.
It was around this time that he quit his lab job and began distributing and financing porn. One Christmas, he killed a porn producer who refused to repay a $1500 loan, even though the man’s brother was a captain in the Gambino family.  (1)

In the early ’70s, Kuklinski got himself heavily into debt with a Gambino associate who was partners with Roy DeMeo, and DeMeo pistol-whipped him. But he ended up being so impressed by Kuklinski’s fearlessness – a quality they shared – that he began giving him jobs. Once again, he was a hitman and enforcer for the Mafia.

demeo

Roy DeMeo

DeMeo had worked his way up in the Gambino crime family. His headquarters was the Gemini Lounge, a seedy bar on Troy Avenue, Queens. DeMeo was involved in a broad range of criminal enterprises, notably stripping stolen cars, but in the ’70s he assembled a team of hitmen and made contract killings his specialty. His outfit became known as the Murder Machine. By the early ’80s, he had attracted the attention of the Organized Crime Task Force of the Queens D.A.’s office. Detectives Kenny McCabe, Joe Wendling, and John Murphy put the Gemini Lounge under unofficial surveillance, learning the faces and names of every frequent visitor to the lounge.  (2)

By 1969 the Kuklinskis had three children, two daughters and a son. In the mid-’70s Richard purchased a lovely three-bedroom split level in Dumont, New Jersey, where he and Barbara hosted neighbourhood barbecues and pool parties. They went to church every Sunday, and the kids were enrolled in private Catholic schools.
Meanwhile, Kuklinski killed one of his two partners in the porn distribution business on DeMeo’s orders. Immediately afterward, he shot a stranger in another fit of road rage.  (1)

Altogether, Kuklinski killed over 100 people in at least 18 states, including Hawaii.  (1, 3)
In the ’70s and ’80s, he was involved in some of the most infamous killings in Mafia history (more on those shortly). But it was his crew of relatively small-time cat burglars that brought him down; after killing no fewer than four of his associates between ’81 and ’83, Kuklinski finally caught the attention of New Jersey law enforcement. A sting operation resulted in his arrest in ’86, and in ’88 he was convicted of four murders (a fifth case against him was dropped for lack of evidence).

Between 1991 and his death in 2006, Kuklinski gave a series of chilling interviews to HBO. These were turned into three America Undercover documentaries. In the first, chewing gum and wearing a sweatshirt, he calmly ran down his crimes – the cyanide, the strangulation, the time he wore elevator shoes to infiltrate a disco. He showed a flicker of humanity just once, as he talked about his ex-wife and children.
In this first interview, he made no mention of his most dramatic claim – that he, along with three other men, had kidnapped and murdered Jimmy Hoffa.
In his second HBO interview, aired in 2001, he explicitly stated that he did not kill Hoffa (but knew who did).  (3, 4)
Then, just before his death in 2006, he supposedly gave a very different story to true crime writer Philip Carlo, who documented it in his book The Ice Man.

Hoffa

hoffa

The task of making Hoffa “disappear forever” had been handed to a childhood acquaintance of Kuklinski, identified only as “Tony P.” or “Tony Pro” by Philip Carlo (obviously meant to be Anthony Provenanzo, a Genovese caporegime who was also  vice president for Teamsters Local 560 in Union City, New Jersey).  (5)
Provenzano enlisted Richard and two other Jersey men to help him. Kuklinski was told only that a union guy in Detroit was making trouble for the Genovese family, and had to be killed. That was all he wanted, or needed, to know.
On the afternoon of July 30, 1975, the quartet drove to the Machus Red Fox restaurant outside Detroit, as arranged, and Tony P. conversed briefly with Hoffa in the parking lot. Then Hoffa got into the car, and Tony drove several miles before giving Kuklinski the signal to knock the mark unconscious with a “jawbreaker” and stab him to death with one powerful thrust of his hunting knife. They bundled the body into the trunk, and Kuklinski was left with the risky job of driving it back to Jersey while the other three guys caught a bus out of town.
Back in New Jersey, Kuklinski took Hoffa’s body to a Mafia-affiliated junkyard in Kearney and deposited it into a 50-gallon drum, which he then burned and buried on the property.
Kuklinski thought the man had looked familiar, but didn’t discover who he was until later.
Around 1978, one of the killers began to talk to the FBI. Kuklinski was hired to take him out. This man, according to Carlo’s book, was Salvatore Briguglio, an official in Union City’s Local 560. Prosecutors subpoenaed Briguglio and several other suspected conspirators to appear before a federal grand jury on December 4, 1975, but they could never pin Hoffa’s disappearance on them.  (1, 5)
In March 1978, Briguglio was shot to death near the Andrea Doria Social Club in New York’s Little Italy. This seemingly had nothing to do with Hoffa; Briguglio had been scheduled to appear in court with Anthony Provenzano and Harold Konigsberg for the 1961 murder of Anthony Castellito.  (5)
According to several people, including his wife, Hoffa had expected to meet with Anthony Giacalone of Detroit and Anthony Provenzano on the afternoon he vanished. But Provenzano wasn’t even in Detroit that day; he was in Union City. The car that picked up Hoffa was likely driven by a man Hoffa looked upon as a son, Charles O’Brien.  (5,6)

The following account is drawn from the work of Dan Moldea, author of The Hoffa Wars. He has pieced together what federal investigators believe is the closest we will ever get to the truth about Hoffa’s death. Some of the information came from Ralph Picardo, a former driver for Provenzano.
Hoffa had gotten on the wrong side of Provenzano and Pennsylvania crime boss Russell Bufalino. Hoffa and Provenzano even came to blows in prison. On the morning of July 30, O’Brien picked up three of Provenzano’s henchmen at a Detroit-area airport and drove them to a house where he was staying, not far from the Machus Red Fox restaurant. These three men were Sal Briguglio, his brother Gabriel, and and another New Jersey Teamster official named Thomas Andretta. All three would subsequently be named as the suspected assassins by the federal grand jury. Moldea suspects that Frank Sheeran of Teamsters Local 326 in Wilmington, Delaware, was another conspirator/witness.
In the afternoon, O’Brien picked Hoffa up at the restaurant and drove him to the house, where the men were waiting for him.  (5)
Picardo alleged that Hoffa’s killers stuffed him into a 55-gallon drum, loaded him onto a truck in Detroit, and shipped him to an unknown destination. His remains were later squashed in a car-compacting machine. This, too, was brought before the grand jury.  (6)

Kuklinski claimed that after Briguglio started talking in ’78, the barrel containing Hoffa’s scorched remains was dug up, squashed in a car-compacting machine, and shipped off to Japan as scrap metal.  (1, 4)

Though he had talked about his work at great length with the HBO crew years earlier, Kuklinski waited over 20 years to publicly confess his role in Hoffa’s disappearance. I don’t know how you feel about all this, but my response was basically

nope

The thing with Hoffa’s disappearance is that isn’t as mysterious as the average person thinks it is. As you can see from the above passage, the feds had a pretty good idea who was involved, and who was connected to those guys. Kuklinski’s name did not come up once. Former FBI agent Robert Garrity, one of the investigators of Hoffa’s disappearance said, “I’ve never heard of him, and I’ve never heard of the writer [Carlo].” Bob Buccino, the former head of the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice’s organized crime division and a member of the task force who ultimately brought Kuklinski down, was reportedly also skeptical of the claims in Carlo’s book.  (7)
In fact, you’re not going to find a single seasoned Hoffa or Mafia investigator who buys Kuklinski’s story. Yet Carlo would have us believe that this hulking maniac, who would literally murder other drivers just for looking at him funny, was so skillful and so meticulous in his work that he managed to slip past every Mafia-savvy federal agent, police officer, and investigative reporter in the nation for nearly 30 years, like Caspar on steroids.

totallylegit
Also, who would drive from Detroit to Jersey with a former Teamster boss in his trunk? They don’t have car-crushing machines in Detroit?

Now let’s look at three other infamous hits in which Kuklinski was supposedly involved: The murder of Bonanno family boss Carmine Galante; the assassination of the head of the Gambino crime family, Paul Castellano; and the death of Roy DeMeo.

Carmine “Lilo” Galante was a big-time narcotics trafficker, instrumental in the French Connection, and he took over control of the Bonanno family after Philip Rastelli went to prison in 1974. The other four New York families deeply resented Galante’s domination of the drug trade and its profits, so they began plotting to take him out.
On the afternoon of July 12, 1979, three men in ski masks burst onto the patio of Joe and Mary’s Italian-American Restaurant in Brooklyn and opened fire on Galante, his cousin, and three other members of the Bonanno family. Galante never saw it coming; the little man nicknamed for a cigar died with one clamped between his teeth. Only two of the men survived, and these two (Baldo Amato and Cesare Bonventre) were suspected of having some involvement in the hit.  (8)

galante crime scene

The Galante crime scene

Numerous men have been floated as suspects over the years, but Kuklinski has never been on the radar in relation to the murder of Carmine Galante; the only person to suggest he could have been one of the gunmen was Kuklinski himself. His version of the story is extremely detailed – right down to the restaurant decor and the “rubbery waves of heat” coming from the sidewalk that day – but it simply doesn’t match up with the event. Kuklinski’s claims are in bold, with the facts as they are told in Selwyn Raab’s Five Families following:

– He identified the owner of the restaurant as Galante’s cousin Mary. Joe and Mary’s was actually owned by Galante’s distant cousin, Giuseppe Turano, who was one of the three men killed that day.
– Galante entered the restaurant with two guys, one of whom – Bonventre – was in on the job (as DeMeo explained to Kuklinski). Galante showed up alone that day, dropped off by a nephew. Everyone who was on the patio during the shooting had joined Galante later. Clearly, Kuklinski and/or Carlo relied on popular accounts of the shooting, which indicated (erroneously) that Amato and Bonventre were acting as bodyguards for Galante that day and accompanied him into the restaurant.
– Kuklinski arrived before Galante and behaved like a regular customer until the other two gunmen appeared. Surely, Giuseppe’s son John – who was shot by one of the three men – would have noticed an unmasked gunman moving toward the patio. Everyone agrees that all three shooters entered and exited the restaurant at the same time, wearing masks.
– Kuklinski started toward the exit as soon as the other two assassins started firing, got into a car driven by DeMeo, and was gone by the time it was all over. Again, all three gunman left the restaurant together and got into the same getaway car.
– DeMeo told him that one of the guys with Galante – Bonventre – would leave the table at some point, giving the signal. Kuklinski watched him exit the restaurant. By all other accounts, Bonventre did not leave the patio. He remained there throughout the attack and exited the restaurant shortly after the shooters did. In fact, that’s what tipped people off that he could have been involved in the hit; he and and Amato were almost literally on the heels of the three assassins, yet made no effort to stop them.

This cockamamie story serves to expose other tales Kuklinski told as bogus. For instance, DeMeo and his boss Anthony “Nino” Gaggi were supposedly so impressed by his expert handling of the Galante murders that they cut him in on a huge cocaine deal, even sending him to Rio to negotiate a shipment. But if Kuklinski didn’t kill Galante, why would Gaggi reward him in this way?

Castellano

Paul Castellano

Paul Castellano

Paul Castellano was made head of the Gambino family not so much because he earned it, but because he had married Carlo Gambino’s sister. This gave him a lot of pull, but by 1985 John Gotti was plotting to take him out and replace him. Kuklinski claims he was given the contract to shoot Castellano’s right-hand man and chauffeur, Tommy Bilotti, by Sammy Gravano. Someone else would take care of Castellano, he was told.  (1)
It would not be possible to overestimate the importance of this assassination in Mafia history. Gotti, a relative unknown, shot to gangland superstardom because of this hit. Ever see that A&E show Growing Up Gotti? Yeah, well, you wouldn’t have had to suffer through that if it wasn’t for this hit. It was a seismic event, and once the dust settled, the terrain of the Gambino family was never the same.
The plan was cooked up by Gotti, Robert DiBernardo, Joseph Armone, and Gravano. Their people allegedly broached the idea with three of the five New York families, and received unofficial sanction for their hostile takeover. Frank DeCicco provided vital inside information; Castellano would be meeting with a trusted group of capos – himself included – at Sparks Steakhouse in Manhattan at 5:00 PM on December 16, 1985. Gotti chose eleven assassins for the job. Four of them would wait near the entrance to Sparks and take out Castellano and Bilotti as they approached.
The hit went off precisely as planned. The four gunmen swarmed Castellano’s Lincoln Town Car and fired a hail of bullets into the two men. All team members escaped in getaway cars.  (8)
Again, Kuklinski’s account deviates significantly from the known details of the event. His claims are in bold:

– Gravano told him straight out that Bilotti was his target. The eleven guys handpicked by Gotti were not given their targets until just hours before the hit.
– He walked to Sparks by himself, window-shopping along the way. He did not know who the other assassins were, or where they were. The assassins met in a nearby park for a “dress rehearsal” shortly before 5:00.
– He chose a spot across the street from Sparks. The gunmen had already selected their positions by the time they arrived. This would not have been left to chance; it was a tightly coordinated hit.
– He fled on foot and hailed a cab. The assassins had getaway cars waiting for them on Second Avenue. What kind of hitman hails a cab from a crime scene, anyway?

Gravano would later cut a deal and testify against Gotti, admitting to his role in the murder of Castellano. He did not mention Kuklinski. Even after Kuklinski fingered him for the murder of Peter Calabro, Gravano never explicitly stated that he knew him, though it certainly would have been to his advantage to finger Kuklinski for the Castelleno hit. “Yeah, I know that guy. I hired him to take out Bilotti.”

I will repeat that no one familiar with organized crime recognized Kuklinski after his arrest. In Selwyn Raab’s Five Families, his name is given as “Kukinski”. This might say more about Raab than it does about Kuklinski, but isn’t it curious that a journalist who followed Mafia affairs for the New York Times for a quarter of a century had never heard of the guy? Just how does a Polish hitman standing six and a half feet tall slip under the radar?

DeMeo

In Carlo’s book, Kuklinski never really respects Roy DeMeo. He’s grateful for the work DeMeo gives him, but he secretly nurses resentment over DeMeo’s bullying and plans to kill him someday.
In February 1983, he finally got his chance. DeMeo feared murder charges would soon be laid against him for the murders of “Jimmy Esposito” and his son (Nino Gaggi was already in jail for this crime). Kuklinski feared that DeMeo, desperate as he was, would roll over on him. So he shot DeMeo as they were parked in DeMeo’s car near Sheepshead Bay. He placed the body in the trunk and strolled away.
Even Carlo admits, in a postscript to his book, that Kuklinski probably wasn’t involved in DeMeo’s death. The generally held view is that Castellano ordered him killed because he couldn’t be trusted, and the hit was carried out by one or more of DeMeo’s own crew members. Again, several men have been named as strong suspects, and Kuklinski was never mentioned by anyone. Also, the motive he gives doesn’t make a lick of sense, and his details are again inconsistent with known facts. For instance, the Eppolito (not Esposito) murders had occurred four years earlier; Gaggi had already served his time, and the case was closed.

Anthony Bruno left the Castellano and DeMeo murders out of his 1994 biography of Kuklinski, The Iceman: The True Story of a Cold-Blooded Killer. He has explained that he simply couldn’t verify them.

Kuklinski also claimed he was in on the murder of John Favara, a neighbour of John Gotti. Favara accidentally struck and killed 12-year-old Frank Gotti, John’s youngest son, with his car in the spring of 1980. Kuklinski said Gotti’s brother Gene, a few other men and himself beat and tortured Favara to death. Several men have been named in relation to the case, and one of them was Gene Gotti, but Kuklinski has never been mentioned – except by himself and Carlo.  (1)

Some of Kuklinski’s other dramatic – and unprovable – claims:

  • When he was 5, his parents told him that his 10-year-old brother Florian had been struck and killed by a car, and he believed them. Years later, however, he claimed that Florian really died from one of their father’s beatings, and his parents told police Florian had tumbled down a staircase. How would he know this? It seems unlikely that either parent would ever admit to obscuring the cause of their child’s death, and Kuklinski obviously didn’t witness his brother’s demise.
  • He accidentally beat a neighbourhood bully named Charley Lane to death with a clothing rod from his closet when he was just 13 or 14 years old. He stole a car and drove the corpse two hours south to a swamp in the Pine Barrens, where he removed all the boy’s teeth and hacked off his fingers to delay identification of the body. (1)
    I can find no information on a Jersey City boy disappearing or being found dead in 1948 or 1949. There are at least two versions of the story; in Carlo’s book, young Kuklinski is already crime-savvy enough to steal a car, make a clean getaway, and dispose of a body, while in Bruno’s book he merely leaves the body in the courtyard of his apartment building. Carlo states the boy’s body was not found.
  • Between 1955 and 1960, he killed no fewer than three people after disputes in bars. His second murder was committed outside a Hoboken pool hall about 5 years after he killed Lane. A young Irish policeman who was getting on his nerves had fallen asleep in his car, so Kuklinski set it on fire. This man is known as “Doyle” in Carlo’s book. There may be at least two versions of this story, because elsewhere Kuklinski claimed he beat a man to death with a pool cue when he was 18. In 1959 he stabbed another man and beat a bouncer to death with a hammer.
  • In his late teens and early 20s, he headed a crime ring of 4 or 5 other young guys. They called themselves the Coming Up Roses. The gang was approached by a member of the DeCavalcante crime family and asked, point-blank, to “take care of” a man who was causing trouble. It was Kuklinski who walked up to the mark’s parked car outside a Hoboken bar one night and shot him in the head with a .32 revolver. Each member of the gang received $500. After that they were given many jobs, including stealing $3 million in cash and gold from an armoured-truck warehouse in North Bergen.
    This robbery would have been bigger than the Great Brink’s Robbery of 1950 (which was the nation’s largest robbery at that time), yet it didn’t even make the New Jersey papers. Huh.
    Later, under orders from the DeCavalantes, Kuklinski killed two of his own crew members. The names Philip Carlo gives for these two men are apparently pseudonyms.
    All of this supposedly occurred before Kuklinski was 19.
  • In February 1956, he killed three men who confronted him in Jersey City and dumped their bodies in a cave in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
  • He was the only hitman known to have worked for all five New York crime families (plus the two in New Jersey), according to Philip Carlo’s book.
  • One of the porn films he copied at the lab where he worked in the ’60s was Dogf**ker, starring Linda Lovelace. But that movie was made in the ’70s. This is just one of numerous examples of Kuklinski and/or Philip Carlo juicing up the narrative with BS details. Remember that bouncer he killed at the Peppermint Lounge in ’71? Well, that bar closed in 1965 and didn’t reopen until 1980.
  • In Florida, he killed a rapist (on DeMeo’s orders) by cutting off chunks of his flesh (including his penis) and setting him adrift in the ocean to be devoured by sharks. Immediately afterward, he killed three young men at a rest stop because they had taunted him on the road.
  • He blew off the head of a motorist stopped at a traffic light with a double-barreled shotgun, from a motorcycle.
  • Strictly as an experiment, he shot a random pedestrian in the head with a crossbow.
  • In Honolulu, he threw a man off the balcony at a five-star hotel.
  • After a robbery in New Jersey, he tired of the bickering of his four cohorts and decided to feed them cyanide-laced sandwiches. All four men died within minutes. He did not dispose of the bodies. The following day, he poisoned the man who had arranged the job.
    Four men being found dead in the same room would be a big deal, even in New Jersey. Yet this didn’t make the papers, either.
  • On more than one occasion, he took victims to a rat-infested cave in Pennsylvania, cocooned them with duct tape, and left them there to be devoured. These murders-by-rat were supposedly videotaped, with a motion sensor triggering a light as the rats moved in to feast, and Kuklinski says he gave the tapes to his clients to prove the “marks” had suffered.
  • He poisoned several people with cyanide in restaurants, while dining with his victims, yet managed to get out the door without being apprehended or questioned. Each and every one of these deaths, he claims, was attributed to heart attacks – meaning the EMTs and medical examiners somehow failed to detect any of the telltale signs of cyanide poisoning (cyanide rictus, the distinctive odour of almonds, etc.).
  • He poisoned more than one victim with cyanide merely by spilling it on their clothes. He would approach the mark in a bar, “accidentally” dump his cyanide-laced drink on the guy, then walk away. The cyanide, he explained, would gradually soak through the victims’ clothing and into their skin.

Then there’s the issue of the ice cream truck assassin…

Who was Robert “Mister Softee” Prongay? 

Kuklinski supposedly met Robert Prongay (spelled Pronge by Carlo) in the early ’80s, at a New Jersey hotel. He and Prongay were possibly stalking the same victim, and they quickly discovered they were fellow assassins. They enthusiastically traded techniques and war stories. Prongay claimed to be a former Special Forces member, trained in the use of explosives and poisons. Kuklinski said he was particularly impressed by Prongay’s use of a Mister Softee ice cream van as a surveillance vehicle, his ingenious use of cyanide in spray form, his remotely-controlled grenades, and his habit of freezing bodies before he dumped them to obscure the estimated time of death. Kuklinski began adopting some of Pronay’s methods in his own work. Prongay, in turn, was fascinated by Kuklinski’s use of rats.

Ice Cream Man

TV Tropes has an extensive list of killer ice cream men under the label “Bad Humor Truck”. Zero points for originality, Ice Man.

Their friendship came to an abrupt end in 1984. First, Prongay asked Kuklinski to kill his wife and young son for him. Then he told Kuklinski of his plan to poison a community reservoir just to kill members of a single family. Outraged, Kuklinski shot him.

What do we really know about Robert Prongay? Basically, nothing. We are told by Carlo that he was found shot to death in his ice cream truck in 1984, but his death didn’t make the papers. Other sources state that his body was discovered hanging in a warehouse on Tonnelle Avenue. There are no known photos of him. His background is a blank. No one in the world – other than Kuklinski – has ever talked about the guy. Carlo tells us Kuklinski pled guilty to his murder in 2004.
There are several possibilities here. One is that an ice cream assassin really was tooling the streets of North Bergen in the ’70s and ’80s, stashing bodies in his freezer. Another is that Kuklinski really did know a criminal ice cream man, and created a bullshit story around the guy, transforming him from a small-time hood into a crack military-trained assassin to obscure the unimpressive truth.

The Prongay conundrum turned out to be the tip of an iceberg. The more I delved into Kuklinski’s world, the less credible he became. Nagging doubts and unresolved issues multiplied, until I was finally faced with some deeply troubling questions.

Did Kuklinski really work for Roy DeMeo?

I began to realize that there isn’t a lot of concrete evidence actually connecting Kuklinski to DeMeo. The only person besides Kuklinski to publicly declare that Kuklinski was an associate of DeMeo is another highly questionable character by the name of Greg Bucceroni. This fellow crawled out of the woodwork a couple of years ago, telling Dr. Phil and any journalist who would listen that he was a Gambino associate at the same time as Kuklinski, that he had been a teenage prostitute for the Gambino family, that the Mafia tried to hire him to kill Mumia Abu-Jamal prior to his arrest, and that Philly businessman Ed Savitz once tried to pimp him out to disgraced Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky. Bucceroni alleges that Kuklinski often traveled between Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York on behalf of DeMeo and Robert DiBernadino, trafficking in illegal porn, working as an enforcer, and of course murdering people.
To date, there is no solid evidence that supports any of Bucceroni’s stories. Not even the Philadelphia Daily News, a glorified tabloid, really bought into him. In fact, reporter William Bender essentially called him out as a liar. The Patriot-News reporter who broke the Sandusky story, Sara Ganim, said when she first spoke to Bucceroni, he presented her with fresh allegations against the coach and other members of what he said was a vast pedophile ring, but couldn’t or wouldn’t provide any details. He said he didn’t know the surnames of his abusers. Later, however, he gave a laundry list of prominent names to other media outlets. When Ganim decided not to run with his unverifiable accusations, Bucceroni resorted to sending her harassing emails and naming her in profanity-laced tweets. Other writers who have had dealings with Bucceroni report similar experiences. Check out Kyle Scott’s posts on Bucceroni at Crossing Broad for more info.
So what we seem to have here is one conman propping up the stories of another conman. Interesting stories? Sure. Convincing evidence? Nope.
Bucceroni is the one and only person who has ever named Kuklinski as a close associate of DeMeo, though several members of DeMeo’s crew became informants.

In their 1992 book Murder Machine, Jerry Capeci and Gerry Mustain didn’t mention Kuklinski at all. Capeci does not buy his stories about Hoffa, Castellano, and DeMeo, and refers to him  as “heretofore unknown”. In other words, while intensively researching DeMeo and his crew, Capeci and Mustain didn’t hear squat about a gigantic Polish hitman.

In The Ice Man, Carlo explains that informant Freddie DiNome tipped off investigators to Kuklinski’s work for DeMeo. I can find no evidence for this. If you come across some, kindly let me know.

On the other hand, the film lab where Kuklinski copied porn was linked to the Gambino family; it was owned by Robert DiBernardi, and one of the theatres he sold stolen porn to was owned by DeMeo. And Kenny McCabe of the NYPD allegedly confirmed to author Anthony Bruno that Kuklinski’s vehicle had been parked at the Gemini Lounge in Brooklyn on several occasions in the early ’80s, when DeMeo was under surveillance. Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean he worked for DeMeo outside the film lab. 

Was he a hitman?

Six of the seven murders that can be linked to Kuklinski are those of his own associates, people who worked with him on relatively minor jobs involving theft, or people who owed money: Robert Prongay, George Malliband, Louis Masgay, Gary Smith, Paul Hoffman, and Daniel Deppner. Then there is the case of Peter Calabro, which is rather questionable. All seven murders were committed within a short timespan (198o-1984). Kuklinski was convicted of two of them in 1988, pled guilty to two others, and (according to Carlo) pled guilty to the murders of Pronge and Calabro in 2004.

The first murder that can be definitely linked to him was committed in 1981. Louis Masgay, 44, purchased a lot of stolen merchandise from Kuklinski’s buddy Phil Solimene to stock a little store he owned in Paterson, and one day Phil and Kuklinski decided to rob and kill him. Richard wrapped the body in plastic and tipped it into a cold-water well near a warehouse in North Bergen. He wanted to try freezing a body, as Mister Softee sometimes did.
George Malliband was killed in the first week of February, 1982. A small-time hustler from Pennsylvania, friendly with Kuklinski, Malliband supposedly owed DeMeo $35,000. He tried to weasel his way out of paying on time by hinting that he could harm Kuklinski’s family…and Kuklinski, though brutally abusive to his wife, was so protective of his daughters that he would actually spy on them during parties. He was instantly enraged. He shot Malliband five times, shoved his body into a barrel by removing one leg, and dumped the barrel on the grounds of a chemical plant.
The plant owner found the barrel almost immediately, and it didn’t take police long to learn that Richard Kuklinski was the last person to see Malliband alive.
Meanwhile, DeMeo had decided to switch coke suppliers, and had no intention of paying for the last shipment he received from his original suppliers, a pair of Brazilian brothers. He wanted Kuklinski to travel to Rio a second time and take out both brothers. That’s how Kuklinski became an international assassin. It would not be his last overseas job, he claimed.  (1)

One murder that has been linked to Kuklinski serves as the strongest evidence that he was, in fact, a Mafia-linked hitman. Yet this case is extremely problematic. The hit was allegedly ordered in 1980 by Gambino underboss Sammy “The Bull” Gravano, and the mark was a crooked NYPD detective by the name of Peter Calabro. The exact reasons for the hit aren’t known, but it has been alleged that Calabro’s former in-laws suspected him in the 1977 drowning death of his wife, Carmella, and turned to Gravano for “help” (in the Carlo/Kuklinski version of the story, Calabro hired DeMeo himself to kill Carmella).

Gravano

Sammy Gravano

Here’s how the murder went down, according to Kuklinski: He waited in his van near Calabro’s home in Saddle River, New Jersey, maintaining radio contact with Gravano, who was tailing Calabro. When Calabro attempted to drive around the van, Kuklinski fired the shotgun given to him by Gravano through the windshield of his Honda Civic, killing him with a single shot.  (1, 4)

The murder remained unsolved for over two decades. In 2003, Gravano was charged with soliciting Calabro’s murder. Why? Because Kuklinski took credit for the hit and told the feds it was Gravano who hired him. Beyond that, there is no evidence connecting Kuklinski to Calabro’s murder. Kuklinski had kept this murder under his hat until 2001, when he was interviewed by HBO for the second time.
He agreed to plead guilty in exchange for a life sentence (rather than a death sentence), and he also agreed to testify against Gravano. The young state police detectives who questioned Kuklinski claim he provided details that only the killer would know.  (1)  Just what those details are remains a mystery. And no one has answered  a rather obvious question: Why would Gravano, one of Mafiadom’s most prolific hitman himself, hire Kuklinski to do a job like this? He had to hire someone else for the Castellano hit because it was done on a street crawling with Christmas shoppers and steakhouse patrons who could recognize him, but he could easily have pulled off a covert nighttime hit like the Calabro shooting himself. It doesn’t make much sense. Several jailhouse informants have stated that Gravano bragged about killing Calabro himself, for whatever that’s worth.
At any rate, Kuklinski died before Gravano went to trial. The murder charges were dropped for lack of evidence.

The third and fourth murders for which Kuklinski was convicted in ’88 were those of Gary Smith and Daniel Deppner. In late 1981, Percy House, one of the members of a small burglary ring Richard ran, was arrested, and fingered Kuklinski as the boss, though he knew Kuklinski only as “Big Rich”.
Later, the ex-wife of missing crew member Danny Deppner provided state police detective Patrick Kane with Richard’s full name. This woman told Kane that Kuklinski was a hitman, and that he and Deppner had murdered crew member Gary Smith in December 1982 by giving him a poisoned hamburger, then strangling him. Sure enough, Detective Kane learned, Smith’s body had been found stuffed beneath a bed at the York Motel in North Bergen two days after Christmas in 1982. Several people had rented the room without noticing it.

York Motel

Worst housekeeping ever.

In May 1983, Deppner’s body was found near a reservoir in West Milford. He had been poisoned with cyanide, then shot. It would later emerge that he had been killed in the apartment of Richie Peterson, boyfriend of Kuklinski’s elder daughter, Merrick. Peterson had even helped Richard dispose of the body. Kuklinski told young Richie that Deppner had died of a drug overdose, and Richie believed him.
Then came the discovery that gave Kuklinski his nickname, the Ice Man. In August 1983, Louis Masgay’s partially defrosted corpse was found in Rockland County, New York (by other accounts, he was found in Palisades Interstate Park near Orangeburg, New Jersey). Though the corpse appeared fresh, an autopsy revealed shards of ice in his chest cavity, indicating he could have died much earlier.
It was Percy House who broke the case open, finally admitting to Detective Kane that he knew “Big Rich” had killed Masgay, Smith, and Paul Hoffman. Then Kane learned that a fourth guy, George Malliband, had an appointment with Kuklinski on the day he ended up in a barrel. Kukinski’s attorney would try to pin everything on House.
The Masgay case contains a mystery: How did Kuklinski freeze the body? Carlo claims it was kept in an ice-cold well, while the authorities seem to believe it was kept in an industrial freezer. So far as we, though, Kuklinski didn’t have access to a freezer large enough to hold a man’s body. 

Pat Kane worked obsessively on the Kuklinski cases for over four years. Initially, his bosses didn’t think there was anything to them because the MOs were so different in each murder: Strangulation, shooting, poisoning. How could they possibly be the work of one individual, a family man? Kuklinski was a “film distributor” on paper, and had a clean record (with just two complaints for road rage incidents).
Nonetheless, Kane was certain he was on to something. And he kept hearing rumours that Kuklinski was not only a killer, but  a hitman with Mafia ties. Given the body count, that wasn’t hard for Kane to believe. So he cooked up a plan to lure Kuklinski with a decoy client, an undercover cop. The man selected for this job was an enthusiastic ATF agent, Dominick Polifrone. In early 1985, Phil Solimene agreed to introduce him to Kuklinski as a weapons dealer.
It wasn’t until September 1986 that Polifrone finally met Kuklinski face-to-face. Kuklinski asked him to acquire some cyanide, and Polifrone asked for some firearms. Unaware that their phone conversation was being recorded, Kuklinski presented one of his associates (identified as “John Spasudo” in Carlo’s book) as an arms dealer who could get Dominick some “metal” for an IRA client. The two men then chatted about cyanide and all the interesting ways there are to kill people. Kuklinski was admitting, for the record, that he had murdered people.
They arranged to meet at a rest stop on October 2 so Kuklinski could hand over a “hit kit” consisting of a gun and silencer. As they hovered over the trunk of Kuklinski’s car, Dominick floated the idea of poisoning a wealthy young client by cutting his cocaine with cyanide. Kuklinski took the bait, telling Polifrone it could be done. Again, the conversation was recorded.
On Halloween, they arranged to meet up at the rest stop for a third time. This time, Dominick would bring the young coke buyer he supposedly wanted Richard to kill. Detective Paul Smith posed as the buyer. Kuklinski didn’t show. He was too busy conducting business in South Carolina and Zurich, according to Carlo’s book. The team waited tensely until another meeting was set up for December 6. This was a key meeting, because Kuklinski finally named two of the people he had killed: Deppner and Smith. During and after a fourth meeting, on December 12, he and Polifrone made arrangements to meet up again five days later and poison the coke buyer with a cyanide-laced sandwich; Dominick said he could supply the cyanide and the sandwich, which seemed to suit Kuklinski just fine.
On December 17, Polifrone handed Kuklinski a bagful of egg salad sandwiches and a tiny vial of white powder that looked like cyanide. He would pick up their mark and bring him back to the rest stop in about half an hour, he said. Kuklinski said he would swap his car for a van (a safe place to poison the buyer) and return to the rest stop in twenty minutes.
It didn’t take him long to realize the cyanide was fake. He pulled his car over and tested some of it on a stray dog – to absolutely no effect.  (1)

State police detectives were staking out his house in Dumont. They watched him return home around 10:00 AM with a load of groceries. Deputy Chief Bob Buccino gave the order for Kuklinski to be arrested there, and fifteen police vehicles rapidly converged on the scene. Oblivious, Kuklinski bundled a sick Barbara into the car, planning to take her out for breakfast, and drove directly into a solid line of cop cars. It took several men to subdue Richard once he was out of the car.

busted by a sammich

Busted by a sammich.

It seems clear, in hindsight, that Kuklinski at this point in his life was like a scared animal, frantically defending his small amount of turf by recklessly killing anyone who could conceivably pose a threat to it. But his own account of these last years of freedom paint a much different picture, of course; in his own mind, and in Carlo’s book, he was a jet-setting mastermind with his fingers in firearms, foreign currency, and Swiss bank fraud. He committed scores of contract murders, killed a few more people in fits of road rage, freed a dozen trafficked children from the dungeon of a pot dealer in New Jersey, and took down an Arab blackmailer in Zurich with a quick spray of cyanide.

In addition to the murders of Masgay, Malliband, Smith, and Deppner, Kuklinski was charged with the April 1982 murder of Paul Hoffman, a crooked pharmacist who supposedly supplied him with cyanide for many years. This was another profit-motivated killing; Hoffman was willing to pay a large sum of cash for a stolen load of Tagamet, and Kuklinski again conspired with his good buddy Solimene to simply bump him off and take the money. He shot and bludgeoned the man to death, stuffed his body into a 55-gallon drum, and brazenly deposited the drum near a Hackensack diner he frequented, Harry’s Luncheonette. He claimed that even though the barrel was in plain sight, no one discovered what was in it. One day when he dropped by for lunch, the barrel was gone.  (1, 3)
Hoffman’s body has never been found.
There is very little doubt that Kuklinski committed this murder, but the charges were ultimately dropped for lack of evidence.

In his second HBO interview, it is stated that Kuklinski became a hitman only after meeting Roy DeMeo. Prior to that time, he had never killed for money, and told DeMeo he thought he could do it. This story changed later, when Carlo interviewed Kuklinski. Suddenly, Kuklinski had been a teenage hitman, so proficient in the art of contract killing that he was already in demand at the age of 19. No one except Carlo accepts this. Even the makers of the movie The Iceman rejected it completely.

How accurate is the movie The Iceman?

The film makes no mention of Kuklinski’s more outrageous claims (Hoffa, DeMeo, etc.). This is because the script was based on Anthony Bruno’s book, rather than Carlo’s book. Even so, it relies on Kuklinski’s own accounts of his crimes, so it is probably not even remotely accurate. This is one of those films in which “inspired by a true story” is stretched to the outermost limits.

Son Dwight is left out of the picture. Barbara is “Deborah”. Murders of non-Mafia associates are transferred to powerful Mafia-linked figures. For instance, the Christmastime murder of Kuklinski’s associate “Bruno Latini” becomes the murder of a character based on Anthony Gaggi and Paul Castellano, Roy DeMeo’s bosses in the Gambino family. In reality, as we have seen, Kuklinski played no role in the assassination of Castellano.
The names of DeMeo’s closest associates are altered, and the name of “Mr. Freezy” (Mister Softee) isn’t given at all.
In The Iceman, Kuklinski is drawn into the Mafia through his work in the film lab, and Roy DeMeo essentially forces him to become a hitman. Kuklinski claimed just the opposite; he was an expert contract killer by the age of 19, and his stint at the labs was just a way to make ends meet. It was not DeMeo who introduced him to the Mafia.

The bizarre sneezing-in-the-disco scene in Iceman was actually even weirder in real life, according to Kuklinski. He had decided to kill a Bonanno family lieutenant inside a popular New York disco – a spectacularly risky move that doesn’t seem at all like his usual style. He had recently learned about poisons and acquired some cyanide from Paul Hoffman, and one night he showed up at the mark’s favourite disco in an absurd “gay” getup: elevator shoes (remember, he was 6’4″), a red hat, wildly coloured clothes. Instead of spraying cyanide on his mark, Kuklinski jabbed him with a syringe as he scooted past him on the dance floor.  The man was dead before Kuklinski left the club.
Kuklinski didn’t start using cyanide in spray form until the 1980s, after he befriended ex-military assassin Robert Prongay (Mr. Softee).  (3)

Kuklinski did not save a teenage girl from a sexual predator. That story, it seems, was created out of whole cloth just for the film.

In the film, Kuklinski is just as he described himself; a Jekyll and Hyde. But the dividing line between the upright family man and the raging sociopath was not clearly demarcated between his work and his home life, as it is in the movie. Michael Shannon’s Kuklinski controls his temper around his wife and daughters, for the most part. In reality, Kuklinski was physically abusive to Barbara, and so controlling with his three children that one daughter, Chris, claims she lost her virginity to a stranger at age 12 just to feel she finally had control over something – her own body. Kuklinski blackened Barbara’s eyes, caused her to miscarry, shattered furniture, destroyed mementos. He told his daughter Merrick that he would have to murder the entire family if he accidentally killed her mother, so she and her sister carefully packed a bag and worked out a plan to run for their lives, just in case.

Why I don’t believe Kuklinski, in a nutshell

1. He was a prolific liar. Even people who believe most of his story, like Bruno, acknowledge that not all of his stories are true.
2. There is simply no concrete evidence that he was a hitman.

Here’s what I think happened: Kuklinski was a minor-league criminal running a B&E gang, bootlegging porn, selling stolen merchandise, etc. In the early ’80s he lost control of his crew, and some members starting getting into trouble, so he began picking them off one by one, just like Jesse James did in the twilight of his criminal career.
He had long been telling people he was a hitman, and after his arrest he decided to pass himself off as a world-class Mafia hitman. An avid – but not very careful – reader of true crime lit since boyhood, he used famous crime scene photos and twice-told gangster tales to piece together an impressive life story, inserting himself into some of the Mafia’s most notorious murders. Many people bought it.

I do believe that Kuklinski and his siblings were severely abused as children, because the Kuklinski clan spawned two remorseless killers. His younger brother, Joseph, served 33 years in Trenton State for the rape and murder of a 12-year-old neighbour.
I believe that he did work, in some capacity, for DeMeo (perhaps merely as a porn supplier).
I believe that he killed at least six of his associates. The fact that he was busted for nearly all of them indicates he was not a professional killer.
I believe that he was a career criminal. He had very few legit jobs in his lifetime, yet his income was steady and he was able to maintain a comfortable lifestyle.
In my opinion, the rest is bullshit.

How did Kuklinski pull off one of the biggest hoaxes in criminal history?

First of all, he chose the right profession. Hitmen often work alone, are crazy paranoid about surveillance, and kill people to whom they can’t be connected – usually without even knowing their names. If a Mafia hitman tells you he killed 100-200 people over three decades in two countries and at least 18 states, that’s a tough thing to refute. I cannot conclusively say that Kuklinski never worked as a contract killer. I can only cast doubt on his claims by pointing to the lack of corroborating evidence for them.
Kuklinski was a serial killer. There’s no question about that. His real killing experiences may have enabled him to spin plausible-sounding tales about contract murders.

Secondly, Kuklinski was a sociopath. He was a convincing liar, and a reasonably intelligent man. He knew how to fill the credibility gaps in some of his stories. He was smart enough to know that DeMeo’s Gemini Lounge was under surveillance, and to make up the story about always meeting DeMeo near the Tappan Zee Bridge. As DeMeo’s “secret weapon”, he supposedly didn’t have to rub elbows with the other killers in DeMeo’s crew very often. This would explain why he wasn’t known as a Gemini Lounge regular.
He was also smart enough to come up with an excuse for living in a nice, but hardly extravagant, 3-bedroom house in New Jersey when he was pulling in millions every year: Gambling. Sure, he could send his kids to private schools and buy lovely furniture for his wife, but he pissed away several grand on a regular basis in poker games and casinos. This lie unraveled when the man who prosecuted him, New Jersey Deputy Attorney General Bob Carroll, said to HBO, “He doesn’t drink, he doesn’t gamble.”  (3)

Thirdly, he stuck to a principle that liars and hoaxers throughout history have found extremely useful: Go big or go home. By seeding his stories with some of the biggest names in modern Mafia history, Kuklinski effectively armored himself against accusations of trickery. Who would pretend to kill people for Roy DeMeo, or finger Sammy Gravano for a murder, unless he was legit? No one would be so bold. No one would be so foolish.
Paradoxically, it was this name-dropping that made me start questioning Kuklinski in the first place. Like most everyone who watched the HBO interviews, I was mesmerized and appalled by Kuklinski, and had little reason to doubt he was a hardcore contract killer. Then his Hoffa story hit the news, and I suddenly realized that not all of his stories were necessarily true. This ultimately led me to what I believe today – that Kuklinski was not a contract killer and did not work for the Mafia outside of the porn-bootlegging business.

Maybe Iceman is the perfect name for him – he pulled off an amazing snowjob. In fact, he wins the second posthumous Pants Afire Award. Irony.

pantsafireaward1

Postscript

It’s nearly impossible to dig into any subject without bumping into conspiracy theories these days. Here’s one about Kuklinski, courtesy of Ed Chiarini (the Texan who believes John Stossel is Freddy Mercury, Winston Churchill was also Lionel Barrymore, etc.): Richard Kuklinski did not die in prison in 2006, but became the chief medical examiner of the state of Connecticut, Dr. H. Wayne Carver. In Chiarini’s view, Kuklinski/Carver was a key player in the Sandy Hook massacre hoax.
Chiarini is losing his touch. Sure, I could believe that Robert Blake was the Pope, but the resemblance between Kuklinski and Carver is extremely slight (they’re both large and bald, basically).

Sources: 

1. The Ice Man: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer by Philip Carlo (St. Martin’s Press, 2006)
2. Roy DeMeo episode of Mobsters (originally aired on the Biography Channel October 24, 2008)
3. The Iceman Tapes: Conversations with a Killer (1992)
4. The Iceman Confesses: Secrets of a Mafia Hitman (2001)
5. The Hoffa Wars by Dan E. Moldea (Paddington Press, 1978)
6.My Afternoon With Jimmy Hoffa’s Alleged Killer” (1999) by Dan E. Moldea, Moldea.com
7.Man’s claim that he killed Hoffa is dismissed as a hoax“. Detroit Free Press. April 18, 2006.
8. Five Families: The Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of America’s Most Powerful Mafia Empires by Selwyn Raab (Thomas Dunne Books, 2005)

Wednesday Weirdness Roundup: The Iceman Returneth

Bigfoot in a Suit

It’s been a big week for Bigfoot and/or Neanderthal Man.

  • As you may know, The Altoona Bigfoot murder I mentioned in a previous Roundup (here) turned out to be merely Bigfoot tracks (see here) discovered by a Mr. John Winesickle. And the Winesickle tracks have turned out to be bear tracks.
  • Meanwhile, in Utah, amateur fossil-hunter Todd May is very excited about the stupid rock fossilized Bigfoot head he found in Ogden Canyon sometime in May. The Standard-Examiner‘s Mark Saal actually reported  the find, and is now quite flattered that Weekly World News stole his big scoop.
    If you squint and tilt your head a certain way, Mr. May’s 70-lb. rock vaguely resembles a squashy human face. May believes you can even make out the Bigfoot’s tongue, and a hand resting against the skull. He also  admits that, like most people who find Bigfoot-related stuff, he has long been searching for evidence of Bigfoot. Recently, he spotted two of the critters in the canyon.

  • After 43 years, the infamous sideshow attraction known as the Minnesota Iceman has reportedly turned up in Austin, Texas. As a hoax, the Iceman is so iconic that he’s even featured on the front page of my old, frozen blog. (Get it? Frozen? GET IT?)
    The saga of the Iceman may be old hat to many of you, but here’s a recap:
    In 1967, a Minnesota man named Frank Hansen began exhibiting a frozen caveman at various carnivals and livestock fairs around the U.S. Encased in a rectangular block of ice, the Iceman was 6′ tall, covered with long dark hair, and definitely not human. He wasn’t a pretty sight. He had the broad, flat nose of an ape and the face of a Neanderthal. One of his remarkably long arms appeared to be broken, and one eye was missing. Hansen advertised him as a missing link fished out of the Bering Strait, and said he was displaying the body on behalf of its owner, an “eccentric California millionaire” who preferred to remain nameless. This dodgy backstory alone should have kept scientists miles away from the thing, but a handful of curious biologists decided to investigate. They couldn’t actually take samples from the Iceman, though, because Hansen wouldn’t allow the ice to be thawed. This made the Iceman’s features blurry and distorted, difficult to discern (the crystal-clear “photo” commonly associated with the Iceman is actually an artist’s rendition of what his face might look like, first published in the May 1969 issue of Argosy magazine).
    Nonetheless, credulous Belgian zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans designated the Iceman a previously undiscovered species of human. In February 1969, he published an article in the Bulletin of the Royal Institute of Natural Sciences of Belgium suggesting it was closely related to the Neanderthal. He called it Homo pongoides, and theorized the Iceman was most likely a certain cryptid shot and killed during Vietnam.

    Bigfoot Frozen

    This happens all the time in Vietnam.

    Heuvelmans and world-famous biologist Ivan Sanderson had examined the creature up close earlier in the year, and both deemed it to be a real specimen that had been dead for no more than 5 years. (1)
    Like Heuvelmans, Sanderson was the sort of scientist easily sucked in by peculiar notions and trickery. Two decades before the Iceman surfaced, he declared that a series of 14″ long, three-toed footprints found on a beach in Clearwater, Florida, had been left by a giant penguin that somehow wandered too far north. In 1973, Al Williams admitted he and a buddy created the tracks with a pair of iron “dinosaur” shoes they designed, as a practical joke. (2)

    giant penguin

Sanderson and Heuvelmans were impressed not only by the Iceman’s appearance, but by his stench. They claimed the block of ice gave off the odour of putrefied flesh. They tried to interest the Smithsonian in studying the Iceman. This apparently made Hansen very nervous, because he soon announced he was withdrawing the Iceman from public exhibition on the millionaire’s orders, and replacing it with an impressively realistic latex replica. However, primatologist John Napier, working with the Smithsonian, looked into the matter and learned that Hansen had commissioned the creation of a rubber caveman from a West Coast artist named Pete Corrall in the spring of 1967 – the very same year he began touring with the Iceman. Napier concluded that Hansen had merely thawed his rubber Iceman, repositioned it a little, and refrozen it to make it look slightly different. (It must be noted, here, that Napier was not exactly a skeptic when it came to Sasquatch. He believed the so-called “Cripplefoot” tracks found in Bossburg, Washington, in 1969 were genuine, though most other Bigfoot enthusiasts considered the prints a hoax likely perpetrated by the peculiar Ivan Marks.)
Heuvelmans and Sanderson insisted the “new” Iceman was not the same one they examined in 1968, but very few people were still convinced. As interest in the Iceman melted away (hur hur), Hansen suddenly changed his entire story. Pointing to the “original” creature’s bulging eyeball, he claimed he himself had shot the creature in the head, somewhere in the woods of Minnesota. Then, in the spring of 1970, he abruptly stopped touring with the Iceman, explaining that the millionaire had decided to stow it in some secret location for no obvious reason. It was not seen in public again.
Now, Steve Busti, the owner/curator of Austin’s Museum of the Weird, claims to have the Iceman in his possession. According to a HuffPo article, he bought it from Frank Hansen’s family in Minnesota. Hansen, who died about 10 years ago, had stashed the thing in a freezer on his property.
The Museum will be holding a Grand Opening event for its new exhibit on July 13th, in collaboration with Cryptomundo, the website of Loren Coleman (perhaps the world’s best-known Bigfoot researcher and cryptozoologist). The MoW seems to be more or less a big sideshow, so maybe the Iceman has found a permanent home at last.

  • P.S. If you looked at the title of this post and are now a little disappointed that Richard Kuklinski wasn’t mentioned, stick around. That will be an upcoming post.


Sources:

1.The Missing Link?” by Ivan Sanderson. Argosy, May 1969, pp. 23-31.
2. Borderlands: The Ultimate Exploration of the Unknown by Mike Dash (Dell, 1997), pp. 273-277

Wednesday Weirdness Roundup: The Top 10 Conspiracy Theories About Popes and/or the Vatican

popemark

The retirement of Benedict XVI has unleashed a shit-tonne of conspiracy theories. In a March 1 interview with Howard Stern, Alex Jones declared Benedict stepped down because of “transvestite orgies”. Others insist pedophilia must be involved, though there is scant evidence to support that. There’s also talk of a secret dossier about clerical misdeeds, last year’s “Vatileaks” scandal, and Vatican money laundering. What the conspiranoids aren’t talking about is Benedict’s advanced age, or the fact that he attempted to retire three times before being elected pope.

Conspiracy theories about the pope and the Vatican are so easy to believe, in large part, because the Vatican of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries has been visited by more than its share of conspiracies, cover-ups, and scandals:

  • The very establishment of Vatican City as an independent state may have been based on a forgery, the Donation of Constantine.
  • During WWII, several high-ranking Nazis were able to flee Europe with Vatican passports, thanks to a sympathetic bishop.
  • In the early ’70s, a minor investigation by the New York City district attorney’s racketeering squad led to the discovery that organized crime figures had trafficked millions in dollars worth of stolen and forged stocks all over the world…and roughly $1 billion of those bogus stocks resided in Vatican Bank vaults (see Richard Hammer’s The Vatican Connection).
  • A decade later, powerful Vatican officials were found to be part of a vast banking scheme that involved fictitious financial institutions, controlled from behind the scenes by the sinister Licio Gelli and members of his faux Masonic lodge, Propaganda Due (P2).
  • Recently, it has come to light that the cover-up of child molestation within the Catholic Church went all the way up to the Vatican.
  • Then there is the abduction of 15-year-old Emanuela Orlandi from the Vatican in 1983, which was badly mishandled by Vatican authorities, likely leading to the girl’s murder.
  • Then we have the tragic worldwide legacy of residential/industrial schools, magdalenes, and Catholic-run orphanages. From 1950 until the early ’70s, Irish nuns sold infants on a first-come, first-served basis (see Mike Milotte’s Banished Babies: The Secret History of Ireland’s Baby Export Business).

Add to this a couple of Dan Brown novels, anti-Catholic frauds like the Taxil hoax and The Awful Disclosures of Maria Monk, and a parade of memorable Catholic villains in film and literature, and it’s no wonder so many non-Catholics are willing to believe the worst.

Leaving aside the more outré conspiracy theories, like Leo Zagami‘s Illuminati/Satanism nonsense about the Jesuits and the Pope being able to summon demons (aliens) from other dimensions and Ed Chiarini’s belief that Benedict is actually Robert Blake, here are the Top 10 Conspiracy Theories About the Pope and/or the Vatican:

10. There was a female pope. The fable that one pope was actually a woman in disguise first surfaced in a thirteenth-century chronicle written by the Dominican historian Jean Mailly. Mailly recorded that in 1099, a pope went into labour whilst mounting “his” horse, and was subsequently dragged and stoned to death by the outraged citizens of Rome. Accounts written later in the same century can’t agree on a date for “Pope Joan‘s” or “Pope Joanna’s” rule, and today most historians realize that the recorded popes were the only popes. There simply isn’t a mysterious two-year gap in which Joan/Joanna could have served.
The legend of a lady pope spawned another legend that still persists, though: That each new pope must submit to a gender test in which an examiner feels his privates to ensure he has well-formed testicles. This test even appears in the very first episode of The Borgias, when Rodrigo Borgia/Alexander VI (Jeremy Irons) resignedly sits on a toilet-like chair so a papal lackey can thrust a hand beneath his gown and declare “Habet duos testiculos et bene pendentes (he has two well-hung testicles)!”. However, there is no evidence that gender exams have ever been conducted on popes.
9. The Soviet Union and/or the CIA was behind the attempted assassination of John Paul II in 1981. Even though would-be assassin Ali Agca was Turkish, Soviet involvement was something John Paul himself reportedly suspected at one time, as Russia was certainly not pleased with his support of the Solidarity labour movement in Poland. The problem with this theory is that not even the so-called “Bulgarian connection” initially described by Agca has been confirmed, much less a KGB plot.
8. The Third Secret of Fatima was suppressed for years, and/or the publicly revealed Third Secret was fabricated because the real Secret is too explosive. The three child seers of Fatima were entrusted with three secrets by the Virgin Mary, but it was not until WWII erupted that the only surviving seer, Lucia Santos, revealed the contents of the first two secrets and wrote down the third. Pope Pius XII expressed no interest in the Third Secret until 1957, and even then merely squirreled it away in a safe without reading it. It wasn’t until 1980 that John Paul II told a small audience in Germany that the Third Secret involved an epic disaster that would kill millions – possibly a nuclear holocaust. Yet he waited a full 20 years to have the Third Secret published, after revealing it had foretold his own attempted assassination.
Some Catholics still weren’t satisfied. They decried the published Third Secret as a fake, insisting the real secret was too politically sensitive and/or damaging to the Church to be revealed. Others pointed out that Lucia wanted the secret to be published before 1960, meaning the Church had suppressed it for over 40 years.
7. The “black pope” of the Jesuit order is the true ruler of the Vatican and/or the world. Jesuits have long been the favourite target of anti-Catholic crusaders, and conspiracy theories about their shady doings abound. In some conspiranoid circles, it is believed the general of the Jesuit order is secretly revered as the “black pope”, and that it is he – rather than the dude in the hat – who controls the Vatican. Here is just one of many recent examples of this theory.
6. The Knights of Malta, headquartered in the Vatican, control the world, and Opus Dei is a cult-like organization that is trying to extend its tentacles into every major government on the planet. Robert Anton Wilson was perhaps the foremost modern proponent of the idea that the Knights of Malta exert a massively disproportionate influence on world events, and were behind everything from Nazi infiltration of the CIA to the Vatican bank scandals of the ’70s and ’80s (see his article in a 1989 issue of Spin, for example). David Icke has speculated that Benedict was “fired” by the Knights of Malta. Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, with its Opus Dei villains and ancient conspiracies, gave expression to concerns about the cult-like devotion and prominence of Opus Dei members.
It’s true that Opus Dei and the KoM contain many powerful, highly-placed members, but Catholic “secret societies” don’t seem to be any more dangerous than other fraternal organizations.
5. Pope Pius XII was complicit in the Holocaust. Catholic writer John Cornwell has even gone so far as to dub him “Hitler’s Pope” in his 1999 book of the same name. However, many commentators have discredited Cornwell’s claims, pointing out that Pius XII spoke out against the persecution of German Jews and was not sympathetic to the Nazi cause. Even Cornwell has conceded that Pius’s “scope of action” was very limited in regard to Hitler.
4. “The EU is a means of undoing the Reformation and extending Vatican sovereignty over Britain”. So reads the title of an opinion piece by Adrian Hilton published in the 30 August 2003 issue of The Spectator. Hilton (along with a few like-minded critics of the European Union) contends that the establishment of the EU fell perfectly in line with the Church’s aim for a one-world religion, or at least a pan-European one. But Catholic hegemony has not materialized in Europe over the past decade, and is incredibly unlikely to do so in the foreseeable future.
3. Islam was invented by the Catholic Church as a means of controlling Middle Eastern peoples. This bit of WTFery comes from Alberto Rivera via Christian pamphleteer Jack Chick, the same guy who brought us John Todd and Edna “I Married Satan” Moses.
Rivera was a Spanish Christian who in the ’70s began claiming that, during his time as a Jesuit priest, he learned from his superiors that Muhammad had been conned by priests and nuns into believing he was the prophet of a new religion. Their aim was to destroy the Jews and non-Catholic Christians of the world, paving the way for Catholicism as the one-world religion (see Chick’s comic-book tract The Prophet).
He also alleged the Church faked the Fatima apparitions, created Nazism, and killed JFK (among other things).
When Rivera realized the Church was also behind Freemasonry, he left the priesthood and denounced Catholicism. As payback, the Jesuits abducted and tortured him.
Chick was so taken with Rivera’s tale of Catholic treachery that he turned it into a fawning biography and several comic-book tracts. Other, more diligent, Christians subsequently discovered that Rivera had never even been a priest.
2. John Paul I was murdered. In his 1984 book In God’s Name, David Yallop contends that the “smiling pope”, who died just 33 days after taking office, was killed, probably because he was planning to dismiss and/or excommunicate high-ranking officials who were also Freemasons, investigate the massively corrupt Vatican Bank, replace Chicago cardinal John Cody, and permit Catholic women to use artificial birth control.
The Vatican tried to counter Yallop’s claims by commissioning Catholic author John Cornwell to write his own book on John Paul I’s death. Cornwell disappointed them by publishing A Thief in the Night, which argues that although John Paul may have died from a pulmonary embolism, people close to John Paul I tampered with his body after discovering it.
1. The pope is not the pope. The pope is a powerful guy, so it shouldn’t be any surprise that there are dozens of pretenders to the hat, known as “antipopes” or “conclavists”. These faux popes often lead small, cultish sects. The French-Canadian Apostles of Infinite Love were led by two popes, one of whom was under investigation for an array of alleged extortion and sex-abuse offenses for 34 years. The Palmarian Church in Spain has had three popes since 1978, and also declared its own saints and martyrs (including, inexplicably, Pope Paul VI). Until their last pope died in 2011, he had some competition from another Spaniard named Joaquín Llorens, who made himself Pope Alexander IX in 2005. There’s even a pope in Kansas – David Bawden. Bawden claims there hasn’t been a legitimate Roman pope since Pius XII, and in 1990 (at the relatively tender age of 30) was “elected” pope by a conclave of laypeople that included himself and his parents, Kennett and Tickie Bawden (owners of a thrift store called The Question Mark). Bawden calls himself Pope Michael I. His Apostolic Palace is a rundown farmhouse he shares with his mom.
The creepiest of these pretenders is the Australian cult leader William Kamm, a thrice-convicted sex offender who says he is Benedict’s rightful successor. He also seems to think John Paul II will be bodily resurrected at some point.

Thanks to Schwarherz for venturing into the wacky world of antipopes.

Following the Chemtrails III.5: Aerial Spraying Operations, Past and Present

Now that we’ve covered anti-radar chaff, let’s look at other military and civilian operations that involve aerial spraying. Parallels have been drawn between every one of these practices and chemtrails.

 

Biological and chemical warfare

Cold War era U.S. and British experiments that involved aerial spraying of “surrogate biological agents” are discussed below (“Biowarfare Simulation Tests”). Here, we’ll look only at instances of actual chemical and biological warfare agents being sprayed from aircraft over enemy nations.

WWI

This was, of course, the first air war. Blimps were used to a limited degree in this and earlier conflicts, mostly for reconnaissance and bombing, but now every nation involved was equipped with powerful planes that could reach astonishing new heights (you may recall that the very first contrail sighting was made during this war).
Surprisingly, although chemical warfare was employed by several nations (the French started it off), there was no aerial spraying of chemical weapons during WWI. Chemical weapon tanks and spray systems suitable for mounting on planes had not been developed yet, so more complicated methods of delivery were employed. The blistering agent sulfur mustard (mustard gas), for instance, was deployed mostly via canisters and artillery shells. Mustard gas wasn’t dropped from planes (in bombs) until 1924.

By the way, here’s an interesting fact: Mustard gas was originally named LOST, after the first four letters of the surnames of the German scientists who devised a large-scale production method in 1916, Wilhelm Lommell and Wilhelm Steinkopf.

In Germany, chemist Fritz Haber was the man behind the chemical curtain. He led the teams that developed chlorine gas and other deadly poisons, as well as innovative gas masks with absorbent filters to protect German troops.
Unlike the average chemical warfare engineer, who is divorced from the terrible fruits of his labours, Haber didn’t hide away in his lab. He took a very active role in chemical attacks, even personally supervising the first successful deployment of chlorine gas at the Second Battle of Ypres on April 22, 1915. Some of the French and Canadian soldiers huddled in the trenches could only stare in fascination as the greenish-white cloud of gas drifted closer and closer, until it hit them. Then their lungs burned and they had to gasp for every breath. Some died within minutes, while others fled in terror. Haber was pleased with his work; the attack had been far more successful than anyone anticipated.
Some have attributed the suicide of his wife Clara, one week later, to this success.
 
The year after the war ended, Haber received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on the  Haber-Bosch process, which revolutionized the production of nitrogen-based explosives and fertilizers.
In fact, a whole Rappaccini’s garden of useful-yet-poisonous chemical compounds bloomed in the years after WWI, thanks to wartime chemical warfare research.

The French introduced the deadly gas phosgene in 1916. The Germans responded with chloropicrin, an insecticide. Generally, though, there was a reluctance on all sides to open up the Pandora’s box of chemical agents, partly because the Hague Convention of 1899 forbade the use of poisonous gases in combat. This reluctance is evidenced by the British use of “balloon dope”, a strong-smelling sealant, in fake chemical warfare releases known as “stinks”. The idea was to disorient, preoccupy and intimidate the enemy without actually gassing them to death. To the same end, the Germans cultivated sneezing and vomiting agents like “Blue Cross” (diphenylchlorarsine).

Biological weapons were not as advanced as the chemical agents at this time. Then as now, they were deemed a risky, last-resort kind of weapon because they could have unintended results. You can’t control a germ the same way you aim a bomb or a bullet, and trench diseases were enough of a problem already. When germs are weaponized for combat, the goal is often to debilitate the enemy rather than kill them. War injuries are more bothersome than fatalities, tying up more resources for longer periods of time. But even nonlethal germ warfare has its risks, particularly retaliation with more dangerous agents. No biological agents were deployed against troops in WWI.
The Germans allegedly did, however, spread a disease called Glanders among enemy horses and pack animals.

Research After WWI 

Between world wars, in 1921, the French War Ministry established the world’s first large-scale, peacetime biological and chemical weapons program, and Stalin began what would someday become the world’s most extensive and secretive bio-chem program. Its vast, terrifying scope would not be fully known until the mid-1990s.

In Canada, bioweapon and biodefense research secretly began in the late ’30s. Prior to WWII, a team of military defense researchers led by Frederick Banting (another Nobel Prize winner) conducted a series of experiments to test the efficacy of aerial germ warfare. In October 1940 they sprayed sawdust from a low-flying plane to see how it would disperse, and were soon given the go-ahead to mass produce germ weapons, including anthrax, on Quebec’s Grosse Ile. In 1941, joint Canadian-British open-air testing of bio-chem weapons began in Suffield, a sparsely populated stretch of prairie near Medicine Hat, Alberta. The Brits were delighted to have so much open space for experimentation. They began with metallic cadmium mixed with the strongest explosive available, RDX, producing toxic fumes capable of causing fibrosis of the lungs.

In 1943, Porton Down, the UK’s bio-chem research facility, became the first to claim an effective bioweapon. Over the previous year, researchers had conducted a series of successful anthrax-bombing experiments at Scotland’s Gruinard Island (where bomb tests were also conducted), using sheep as test subjects. The tiny island became so toxic, it had to be vacated for the next forty years.
The U.S. got a slower start, but soon caught up. In 1943, a bio-chem weapons research and development facility called Camp Detrick (later renamed Fort Detrick) was established in Maryland, with businessman George Merck as its first director.

WWII

The poison gas attacks of WWI were horrific enough to scare WWII combatants away from aerial chemical warfare. And although the head of the U.S.’s new biowarfare division, Theodore Rosebury, decided airplanes would be the “most useful means for the dissemination of infective agents,” they were far from knowing precisely how to produce weaponized germs on a huge scale and disperse them without compromising their potency (the Gruinard tests, though successful, were considered too small-scale).  (1, 29)
As in WWI, fear of retaliation in kind was a strong deterrent against first use of bioweaponry. The anthrax bombs were ready to go – Camp Detrick produced the first 5000 of them in May of 1944 – but no one wanted to unleash them.
As far as gases went, all combatants stockpiled the old standbys from WWI (phosgene, mustard gas, etc.) along with the blistering agent Lewisite. The only new poison gas (and the first completely odorless one) to be developed was Compound Z or Compound 1120, accidentally discovered by Canadian researchers. While heralded behind closed doors as a remarkable advance, Z was not deployed at all.  (3)

The fear of chemical warfare was strong, and the hazards really hit home in the Bari raid of 1943, when 81 officers were killed by a release of their own mustard gas.
The poster below, issued around 1943, used cartoons and goofy rhymes to familiarize soldiers and civilians with the tell-tale odors and symptoms of the major weaponized gases. (source)

The fear didn’t prevent all sides from dropping and spraying toxic things from the air during WWII, however.
The Allies used toxic pesticides – notably DDT – to de-louse their own soldiers and kill off mosquitoes (see “Crop Dusting”, below).
Japan’s infamous biological and chemical warfare unit allegedly dropped packages of plague-infested fleas over Chinese cities and sprayed germs (plague, typhus, smallpox) over Chinese reservoirs.
The only other known acts of biowarfare in WWII were Germany’s sabotage of the drainage systems in Rome (they first confiscated all the anti-malarial medications in the region, knowing the mosquito population would skyrocket) and the OSS‘s non-fatal food poisoning of Hjalmar Schacht, Hitler’s pre-war financial wizard. Schacht turned out to be a very poor choice of target. Not only had he been shunted aside by the Nazis before the war even began, but he was part of Operation Valkyrie, the secret Nazi plot to kill Hitler. (4)

Zyklon B

In 1919, Nobel laureate Fritz Haber became the head of a new chemical-company consortium, the German Limited Company for Pest Control, or Degesch.
In the early ’20s, a group of Degesch chemists modified a cyanide-based pesticide called Zyklon A (“Cyclone A”), first synthesized by Ferdinand Flury, to create the more potent Zyklon B. This team was made up ofWalter Heerdt, Bruno Tesch, and Gerhard Peters. For two decades, Zyklon A and B were used mainly to fumigate grain, though they could also be used as de-lousing agents and rat poison. In the U.S., Zyklon B was used as a de-lousing agent on Mexican immigrants.

Unfortunately, some of the developers of Zyklon A and B later became dedicated Nazis. Flury was elevated to the position of Surgeon General during the Third Reich. And when Nazi scientists decided to use Zyklon B in the gas chambers of the death camps, it was supplied first by Degesch, then by Stabenow & Tesch, the pest control company established by Bruno Tesch in 1924.
In 1946, Tesch and a fellow executive were put to death by the British for their role in the Holocaust. Three years later, Degesch exec Gerhard Peters was sentenced to five years in prison by a Frankfurt court for his role. The only scientist in this group who had any damn sense at all was the inventor of record, Walter Heerdt; he fled Germany in the early ’30s, returning later to testify against former colleagues at Nuremberg.

Zyklon B  is still used as a pesticide in the Czech Republic, which is rather disturbing – the Nazis first tested it on Roma children from Brno.

The study of Zyklon B, DDT, Agent Orange, and other pesticides that turned out to be extremely toxic for humans can tell us much about chemtrail theories, especially the depopulation theory. Note that when Zyklon B became a tool of mass murder, it was not simply dumped from airplanes over the camps.

After WWII

From the end of WWII straight through Vietnam, several nations (including the U.S. and Canada) simulated chemical and biological attacks by spraying “surrogate biological agents” from boats, planes and vans, trying to figure out how far and fast a disease like anthrax could spread. These experiments are covered below (“Biowarfare Simulation Tests”).

The weaponization and stockpiling of germs and chemicals moved at frantic pace throughout the Cold War, with the USSR and the U.S. amassing astonishing amounts of the organophosphorus nerve agents like VX, bacteria, toxins and viruses. Canada, Britain, and the U.S. were signatories of the Geneva Protocol of 1925, which barred the use of bio-chem weapons, but it wasn’t actually ratified in the U.S. until the ’70s. And there was no prohibition against defense research.

In the ’50s, the U.S. biological warfare lab at Fort Detrick diligently built up a germ warfare arsenal. Led by a very young microbiologist named William Patrick, researchers cultured and tested and weaponized a range of bacteria, viruses, toxins and rickettsia that could be used to incapacitate, if not kill, large numbers of men. Anthrax, botulinum toxin, Q Fever and tularemia (“rabbit fever”) were considered the best options. They were non-contagious and not necessarily deadly (if treated right away), yet they could take soldiers out of commission for weeks or months. At the same time, however, the researchers worked on such lethal, highly contagious viruses as smallpox and plague.
In addition to extensive animal testing, Ft. Detrick conducted live-virus experiments on Seventh-Day Adventists (conscientious objectors), infecting them with Q Fever, then treating them with antibiotics when symptoms appeared. In addition to Q Fever, about 50 varieties of virus and rickettsia were deemed suitable for biowarfare. Thereafter, gallons of Q Fever and a few other viruses were produced at the Pine Bluff Arsenal.

At least one live-virus test of aerially sprayed Q Fever was conducted over Utah’s Dugway Proving Ground in the ’50s. A spray tank with nozzles was affixed to an F-100 Super Sabre , the fastest jet in the world at that time, and a slurry containing the virus was sprayed over the desert. No human subjects were used in this test, but three soldiers manning roadways during the experiment contracted Q Fever, and so did the pilot, proving the virus was still effective when sprayed from the air. In fact, it traveled over 50 miles to infect the soldiers.

The Korean War and Cuba

China and Korea alleged the U.S. used biowarfare against them during the Korean conflict, and an international team assembled by the World Peace Council, led by British biochemist Joseph Needham, concluded that biological agents had been deployed dozens of times in North Korea by the U.S. military. The U.S. vehemently denied, and still denies, that this occurred even once, and the Air Force’s dismissive and even hostile attitude toward bioweapons during this period seems to indicate that they were still considered unreliable. They were thought to be untested, tricky to use, and ethically questionable. There were also concerns that germ warfare agents couldn’t be contained, and would backfire on any force that employed them. Yet the conclusions of the Needham report stuck like glue.
Ephemeral, hard-to-prove allegations of biowarfare would surface again in the ’80s, against the Soviet Union.

In the early ’60s, Pentagon officials collaborated with Ft. Detrick on a secret plan to douse Cuba with biological agents in the event of conflict, cheekily referred to as “the Marshall Plan”. The germs would not be fatal to most Cubans, but were expected to kill many of the elderly and sick.
Around the same time, General Mills developed the line-source disseminator, an aerial spray device that could continuously disperse chemical/biological agents from planes (if you’re surprised that a company known for its breakfast cereals was elbow-deep in defense projects, check out Project Pigeon). The preferred method of germ dispersal, however, was packing hundreds of tiny “bomblets” full of viruses or bacteria into missiles, then dropping the missiles from the highest altitude possible to spread the bomblets over a broad area.
The “Marshall Plan” was never put into action, and despite years of dreaming up outlandish ways to kill or humiliate Castro, the U.S. never deployed bio-chem agents against Cuba.

Vietnam 

If WWII was largely a war against disease-carrying bugs, Vietnam was largely a war against plants. The thick jungle foliage of North Vietnam provided perfect cover for the Viet Cong, enabling invisible troop movements and sneak attacks. This led to the introduction of one of the most notorious chemical warfare agents of our times, Agent Orange.
Technically, Agent Orange was not a weapon intended to kill people. But its side effects were horrific. For six years (1965-1971), this potent mixture of defoliants (among many others) was sprayed in massive quantities over Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia as part of the U.S. military Operations Trail Dust and Ranch Hand. This was not the first large-scale use of herbicide in war (in the the ’50s, the British Army sprayed herbicides in Malaysia to kill off the crops of Communist rebels), but it would be the deadliest.
“Agent Orange” has become shorthand for any toxic substance, and some chemtrail researchers aren’t afraid to draw a parallel between it and whatever they believe is contained in today’s jet contrails.

Should you and I be concerned? Yes, very concerned as the long term effects of chemtrails are no different than crop dusting…and Agent Orange.” – presscore.ca

Experimental spraying of some of the “rainbow herbicides” (not including Agent Orange, which was introduced in 1965) began in 1959. The goals were to kill off food crops, driving rural dwellers into the cities of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam), and to destroy vegetation that provided cover for the Viet Cong. The plan was highly successful on both fronts. Roughly 500 million acres of forest were heavily damaged or destroyed, and the population of South Vietnam swelled from 2.8 million people in 1958 to 8 million in 1971.
To disperse the herbicides, C-123 planes were outfitted with specially designed spray tanks that could hold up to 1,000 gallons of liquid. In under 5 minutes, each plane could spray a swath of land 80 meters wide and 10 miles long, and the average spraying sortie consisted of 3-5 planes. (6)
Nearly 20 million gallons of “rainbow herbicides” were sprayed over the course of at least 6,542 missions. Helicopters were also used in spray operations. (7)

The South Vietnamese had been told of the spraying in advance, and were assured the herbicides were not harmful to humans, animals or the soil.  (8)
But the defoliants had disastrous effects that outlasted the war. The average concentration of the herbicides was 13 times higher than the USDA-recommended application rate for domestic use. And a very dangerous compound lurked within one of those rainbow herbicides.

Why was Agent Orange so toxic? 

Agent Orange was made up of equal parts 2,4,5-Trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T) and 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D).
2,4,5-T had been widely used as an agricultural defoliant since the ’40s. At first, producers and consumers were blissfully unaware that the manufacturing process contaminated 2,4,5-T with an extraordinarily toxic byproduct, 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD). TCDD is usually referred to as dioxin (technically, though, it’s one of several dioxin-like compounds). It is one of the most dangerous chemicals ever synthesized, capable of causing all the same adverse effects as dioxin.
If produced with rigorous temperature control, 2,4,5-T can contain only about .005 parts per million (ppm) of TCDD. But in the early days of 2,4,5-T production, before anyone grasped how toxic TCDD was and how much of it was being created, quality control was uneven. As much as 60 ppm of TCDD.could end up in a single batch. (9)

Two industrial accidents served as a dark warning that something in 2,4,5-T was extremely dangerous. The first occurred in 1949, at a factory in Nitro, West Virginia. An explosion caused dozens of workers to break out in pustules, a condition characteristic of dioxin poisoning now known as chloracne. Former Ukrainian president Viktor Yushenko bears the scars of chloracne after his 2004 TCDD poisoning.
But at the time of the Nitro explosion, no one knew precisely what caused the skin condition, and no one was curious enough to get to the bottom of it. One physician, Raymond Suskind, did monitor the affected men for the next several years, and reported an array of physical ailments that turned out to be common effects of TCDD. In the ’80s, this same doctor falsified a series of 2,4,5-T studies at the behest of Monsanto, which was facing lawsuits from Vietnam vets and other people exposed to dioxin-contaminated Monsanto products. (8)
The second serious 2,4,5-T accident happened in 1953, in a Germany factory. A leak exposed numerous factory workers to pesticide fumes, and most of them broke out in pustules and suffered serious health problems. Researcher Karl-Heinz Schulz identified the toxic agent as TCDD, and published his results in 1957. This laid the groundwork for an understanding of chloracne and the other health effects of TCDD. Unfortunately, chemical manufacturers ignored Schulz’s findings. Production of 2,4,5-T continued without a hitch.

Did they know how dangerous Agent Orange was? 

From approximately 1951 to 1974, prisoners at Pennsylvania’s Holmesburg State Prison were used as guinea pigs in research experiments commissioned by the Army, Dow Chemical Company, and Johnson & Johnson. The prisoners were volunteers, but they were not apprised of all the risks associated with the chemical agents that were being tested on their skin.
In studies conducted in the early ’60s, Dr. Albert Kligman injected TCDD into 70 of the prisoners on behalf of Dow. Dow was one of the seven companies producing Agent Orange, and wanted to know why some factory workers were developing chloracne. All 70 of the prisoners developed severe chloracne lesions, which were left untreated for seven months.

Dr. James Clary, who helped develop the special spray tanks for Agent Orange dispersal, claims he and other scientists working on the project were aware that Agent Orange contained elevated levels of dioxin. Because the military required such high volumes of the stuff for Agent Orange, 2,4,5-T was being produced at breakneck pace, with slapdash temperature control – hence, more TCDD. Seven companies had military contracts to produce Agent Orange, and there is evidence that at least some of the executives knew it contained TCDD.  (8)
But the end users were not necessarily aware of this. Not even the commander of naval forces, Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, knew what was in Agent Orange. When he found out, following the death of his son, he became a strident advocate for full disclosure and aid to vets affected by TCDD.

As in Reservoir Dogs, the naming of the rainbow herbicides was arbitrary and gave no indication of what they were capable of doing. Agent Pink (which I’m sure no one wanted to use) also contained TCDD, and the Army began spraying it a full three years before Agent Orange was added to the rainbow (in 1965). So Pink is certainly responsible for some of the havoc attributed to Orange.
Up to 3 million Vietnamese citizens (not including unborn children, many of them stillborn) and thousands of military servicemen were affected by Agent Orange alone. The TCDD in Agents Orange and Pink caused a range of severe birth defects, cancers and skin diseases. (6)

To the credit of the international community, opposition to the use of Agent Orange in Vietnam was swift and strong when the State Department revealed the existence of the spraying program in March of 1966. Resolutions were immediately introduced to the UN, charging that the U.S. military was violating the Geneva Protocol. In 1969, Nixon declared the U.S. would never use chem-bio agents offensively. And this was before a 1970 paper put an end to the use of 2,4,5-T in the U.S.  By the mid-’70s, 2,4,5-T had been banned in most parts of the world.
In 1975, President Ford declared the U.S. would never again engage in herbicidal warfare (defoliants are now prohibited in combat under the Chemical Weapons Convention).
Numerous studies on the effects of TCDD and Agent Orange have since been conducted. You’d think this would have put an end to TCDD contamination, but sloppy production continued in chemical plants all over the world, and more accidents occurred. There was the Seveso catastrophe in Italy in 1976, the Yu-cheng accident in Taiwan in 1979, the Sturgeon (Missouri) chlorophenol spill of 1979, and the dioxin chicken scare in Belgium in 1999.

One of the places where 2,4,5-T was produced for Agent Orange was a facility in Verona, Missouri, owned by a subsidiary of the Northeastern Pharmaceutical and Chemical Company. Wastewater and contaminated clay in the vicinity contained levels of TCDD some 2,000 times higher than the dioxin content in Agent Orange. (8)
In the early ’70s, a company called ICP (no, seriously) was hired to remove this toxic sludge.* ICP, in turn, contracted with waste hauler Russell Bliss in the small community of Times Beach, Missouri, to actually get rid of the stuff. Unaware of just how toxic the waste was, Bliss blended it with oil and mud and sprayed it on roads and barn floors to keep down dust. He even sprayed the mixture on his own property.
So many residents and horses were sickened that a decade later, after an EPA investigation, the government purchased the entire town of Times Beach and destroyed it.

sign posted near Times Beach after it was doused with TCDD-contaminated waste for 10 years

 

Other aerial spraying in Vietnam

The U.S. attempted to flood parts of the Ho Chi Minh Trail via cloud-seeding, a program called Operation Popeye. It was largely unsuccessful. We’ll examine this and other weather modification efforts in another post.
The Pentagon had floated the idea of spraying anthrax over the trail, but decided against the use of germ warfare. There were fears that the disease would spread along the trail, possibly sickening and killing people and livestock in three countries.
In 1968, over 1000 sheep were killed in Skull Valley, Utah, when a plane from Dugway Proving Ground accidentally released a large amount of the nerve agent VX. VX was not used during Vietnam (or any other war), but in the early ’90s it fell into the hands of a murderous Japanese cult.

Since Vietnam: No aerial spraying, and no biowarfare

Since Vietnam, the only documented, large-scale deployment of chemical weapons has been Iraq’s use of mustard gas against Iranian troops and Kurdish people during the Iran-Iraq war (1981–1988), and this didn’t involve direct aerial spraying. In the Halabja massacre of March 16, 1988 (now classified as an act of genocide), more than 10,000 Kurds were affected or killed by mustard gas deployed by bombs dropped from Iraqi Mirage and MiG planes.
The only other notable use of a chemical agent occurred during the 2002 Nord-Ost hostage crisis in Moscow, when Russian Spetsnaz forces pumped an unknown gas into the ventilation system of the theatre in an attempt to knock out the Chechen terrorists and extricate the hostages. To this day, we don’t know what they used (fentanyl is the likeliest suspect). Hostages and captors alike died from overdoses of the gas.

In the ’80s, the Soviet Union was accused of using mycotoxins in support of Communist armies in Cambodia and Laos, and later using them against Afghanistan. Several people in remote villages reported being sickened or burned by a “yellow rain” that came from helicopters. However, the allegations were never confirmed. Two researchers identified yellow dust collected by soldiers as ordinary bee pollen, while others reported finding no mycotoxins in plant samples.

BZ

At the end of the Adrian Lyne film Jacob’s Ladder, a postscript tells us that BZ, a powerful glycolate agent that can produce hallucinatory effects and extreme confusion, was tested on U.S. soldiers during Vietnam. While I wouldn’t recommend believing everything you read in a movie, this is actually true. BZ was administered to an unknown number of soldier guinea pigs during the Edgewood Arsenal experiments.
Also, a Pentagon study known as Project Tall Timber was designed to test the effectiveness of the M138 bomblet filled with BZ in a tropical forest environment similar to Vietnam (Hawaii’s Waiakea Forest Reserve). In the spring and summer of 1966, the bomblets were statically ignited (not sprayed from aircraft).

The only suspected uses of glycolate agents in combat occurred in Mozambique in 1992, when government forces accused South African troops of using BZ on them, in 1995 when the Serbs used BZ or a similar agent in the Srebrenica massacre, and in 1998, when there were allegations that members of the Bosnian Army used BZ and/or other incapacitating agents against two Sarajevo suburbs, Ilidza and Nedarici.
None of these alleged incidents have been confirmed.

Bioterrorism

If the Soviet mycotoxin allegations are false, then biological weapons have not been used in wartime since the Japanese attacks of WWII. But as we have seen, research and massive stockpiling were conducted throughout the Cold War and beyond. South Africa’s Project Coast is a particularly chilling example. Though none of its horrific schemes were ever put into action, at least one of its alleged participants, Dr. Larry C. Ford, poisoned two women and collected over 200 vials of dangerous bacteria and toxins (including salmonella, cholera and botulinum toxin) in his California home, for some unknown purpose. He committed suicide in 2000, while under investigation for the attempted murder of his business partner (he opted for a bullet instead of poison, the coward).

State-sponsored programs may have refrained from biowarfare since WWI and chemical assaults since the Iran-Iraq war, but an array of germs have been stockpiled and used as weapons by terrorists and religious cultists throughout that time.

– In 1946, members of a group known as Dahm Y’Israel Nokeam (“Avenging Israel’s Blood”) infiltrated the bakery that supplied bread to the Stalag 13 prison camp near Nuremberg, where several thousand SS troops were imprisoned, and coated 3000 loaves of bread with an arsenic mixture that sickened at least 1900 prisoners.
– In 1972, two teenage white supremacists in Chicago were arrested for plotting to poison the city’s water supply with Salmonella typhi, which causes typhoid fever. (11)
– The Rajneeshees poisoned food with salmonella in at least ten restaurants in Oregon in the early ’80s, in an attempt to complete their takeover of a municipal government. Investigators discovered a fairly sophisticated bio lab hidden on the Rajneeshees’ ranch, where nurse Diane Onang experimented with several pathogens, including ones that cause dysentery, tularemia and typhus. She even attempted to weaponize AIDS.  (4)
– Aum Shinrikyo is known for its sarin gas attacks on the Tokyo subway, but scientists belonging to the cult also weaponized anthrax and botulinum toxin. Fortunately, the several biological attacks they launched in Tokyo failed. The only known attack with the nerve agent VX was committed against Ryuho Ohkawa, an Aum opponenet, in 1994 (he survived).
– In December 1999, during the Russian assault on Grozny, Chechen rebels blew up two chlorine tanks in the city. No Russian soldiers were affected
– It’s interesting that the largest intentional mass poisoning in history, employing potassium chloral hydrate, potassium chloride and cyanide to kill over 900 people, was also carried out by a religious cult – the People’s Temple of Jonestown. The camp “doctor” (actually a former intern), Larry Schacht, initially experimented with culturing botulinum toxin, staphylococci, and a fungus that could mimic meningitis symptoms as a means of killing everyone, but the work proved too challenging for him. He settled on cyanide, and ordered an amount capable of killing 1800 people from a chemical company in California.  (12)

Chem-Bio Warfare and Chemtrails

One of the most popular theories about chemtrails is that they are part of a vast depopulation scheme (in fact, as we’ll see in the next post, chemtrails started as a depopulation theory). By peppering us with chemicals or metal oxides and/or obscuring sunlight for long periods of time, this theory goes, someone out there hopes to sicken and kill us in order to have all the world’s resources to themselves.

A subtheory that could be called the biowarfare theory of chemtrails surfaced in 2003, with the claims of chemtrail researcher Clifford Carnicom. Carnicom claimed he received the news from another researcher, who heard it from a military source. Carnicom’s unnamed source said the polymer fibers supposedly present in jet contrails have freeze-dried bacteria or viruses attached to them, along with metals (barium, aluminum) to absorb sunlight. The heated metals keep the pathogens alive during dispersal.
Spraying germ-dusted polymers from 40,000 feet in the air would be an unnecessarily complicated, highly inefficient way to spread germs. Any of the other methods examined in this post would make more sense – yet there’s no evidence that any of them are currently being used for biological attack.
As we’ll see in another post, this is only one of many reports and theories about chemtrails that Carnicom has put forward.

A handful of tests conducted at the request of private citizens by small, independent labs indicate that various pathogens, medicines and chemicals have been found in ground and water samples, but there is insufficient proof that any of the material came from contrails. Ground-based pollution, poor sample collection techniques, sample contamination, and lab contamination are likelier explanations.
The depopulation theory of chemtrails will be examined more closely in a later post.

Since WWI, our fears of large-scale chemical or biological attack have led us down some very dark paths. The damage wrought by our own paranoia has perhaps outstripped anything a mere germ or nerve agent could ever do.

Fuel dumping 

Fuel dumping is occasionally mistaken for chemtrail spraying, as any large amount of liquid coming out of a plane can appear suspicious. Photos of fuel dumps have been presented as “smoking gun” chemtrail evidence, and some chemtrail-watchers maintain (without any evidence) that fake fuel dumping masks chemtrail-spraying operations.

Pilots dump excess jet fuel in order to meet the weight requirements for safe landing. Fuel is usually dumped at high altitude so it will dissipate in the air, exiting from special ports on the wings.  One useful way to distinguish fuel dumping from wingtip contrails is to note the distance between the plume and the plane. Remember, contrails appear a short distance behind the plane, because it takes some time for the ice crystals to form. Dumped fuel, on the other hand, comes directly from the fuel-dumping ports. There will be no distance between the plume and the plane. Online, you’re going to find a lot of confusing information about this. The fuel-dumping Navy E-6A TACAMO in the photo above, for instance, is often identified as a chemtrail plane, and emails posted on a Rense.com page convincingly insist this particular plane has no room for extra fuel nor a fuel dumping system. Those plumes must be chemtrails! You have to scroll nearly halfway down the page before you reach a comment from a former TACAMO pilot who sets the matter straight: There are fuel dump chutes on the E-6A, and they are located exactly where you see them in the photo. Even if the E-6A was a chemtrail plane, it should be noted there are only about 16 of them in existence.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements for fuel dumping stipulate that fuel must be dumped at a minimum altitude of 2,000 feet, and that a dumping aircraft must be at least five miles away from other aircraft. 
Air traffic controllers are instructed to direct planes dumping fuel away from populated areas and large bodies of water as often as possible. The same guidelines apply to military aircraft, and most air bases  permit fuel dumping only in designated areas.
Obviously, fuel dumps contain more chemicals than jet exhaust or contrails do (the ingredients of jet fuel and jet exhaust are laid out in the first post of this series), and some of the fuel undoubtedly reaches water, vegetation and soil. The good news is that because fuel dump systems are costly and the newer jets don’t actually require them, many aircraft are not equipped with them.

This is not to say that the FAA regulations are always followed, or that fuel dumps haven’t caused serious problems, especially in residential areas close to large airports. For example, in 1998, a World Airways flight dumped 13,000 gallons of jet fuel over Glen Burnie, Maryland, prior to an emergency landing at Baltimore/Washington International Airport, dousing a mother and son in fumes that reportedly caused skin irritation and headaches. The incident spurred state representatives to sponsor legislation that would have required Baltimore/Washington International to monitor and disclose all fuel dumping incidents. The airport opposed the bill as “unworkable”, and it was ultimately shot down. 
In Canada, there have been 577 recorded instances of fuel dumping since 1993.

 

Cloud seeding and hail mitigation

We’ll be getting into a lot more detail about cloud seeding in a post about weather modification, but it’s important to mention it here because it is a somewhat controversial (yet very common) use of aerial spraying that is frequently mentioned among chemtrail-watchers.

Cloud seeding doesn’t create new clouds. When successful, it turns existing clouds into rainclouds using silver iodide, dry ice, or liquid propane. Silver iodide is the most commonly used substance. Put very simply, cloud seeding is the introduction of particles that can serve as nuclei for ice crystal formation. Under the right conditions, the cloud will precipitate (rain or snow).
For clouds to be successfully “seeded” with silver iodide, they must contain supercooled liquid water (below 0 Celsius). Under the right conditions, the silver iodide’s crystalline, ice-like structure will trigger the nucleation of ice crystals.
Dry ice or propane, on the other hand, cool the air so that ice crystals can nucleate from vapour, even without any existing droplets or particles.

The same basic method is used for hail mitigation, which aims to reduce the size of hailstones that form in a cloud (as its name makes clear, the process can rarely eliminate hail entirely). This is done primarily to prevent crop damage.

Cloud seeding can be done with ground-based generators or projectiles (rockets, anti-aircraft guns, etc.), but the cloud seeding done over drought-ridden areas is almost always accomplished with silver iodide flares dropped from small, low-flying planes.

There is conflicting evidence as to just how effective cloud seeding can be. The American Meteorological Society is only vaguely supportive of the practice, noting the many drawbacks and uncertainties of weather modification and encouraging further research. An eight-year experiment in Oklahoma and Texas, conducted over a 5,000-square-mile area, showed that cloud seeding increased rainfall, the length of storms and the area in which rain fell. But in 2003, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences declared research had not yet produced evidence that weather modification can create “verifiable, repeatable changes in rainfall, hail fall, and snowfall”. A 2010 Israeli study offered disappointing results.
Those who deem cloud seeding effective worry that forcing precipitation in one area may deprive another area of rainfall. Cloud seeding operations have even been accused of causing droughts, and numerous lawsuits have been filed against cloud-seeders by outraged farmers over the years.

In spite of the doubts, there are state-funded cloud seeding programs in 11 drought-prone U.S. states and one Canadian province (Alberta). Typically, private companies are contracted to do the work.  (13)
A few countries, like Niger and Russia, have sporadic national programs carried out by their air forces (the Russian one has been almost comically unsuccessful). The Inter State Committee Against Drought in the Sahel sponsors cloud seeding in several West African nations. China, which has extensive cloud-seeding programs, famously boasted that scientists in Beijing’s Weather Modification Office staved off rain during the 2008 summer Olympics by strategically launching 1,104 rockets containing silver iodide from 21 sites in the city. It seemed to work, but the results of their cloud-seeding programs are still being debated.
Because it’s an expensive process with no guarantee of success, few individual business operations hire cloud seeders. The notable exceptions are large ski resorts, which have paid cloud seeders to increase snowfall on their slopes.

A widely-circulated video (below) features a secretly recorded “chemtrail pilot” describing “silver iodide weather manipulation”. The tone of the video makes it all sound very sinister, but the pilot is openly discussing methods that have been in use since the ’50s. Note that the cameraman presents zero evidence that anything other than ordinary cloud seeding or hail mitigation is being conducted by the company.

Cloud seeding to increase precipitation, hail mitigation and fog suppression are the only weather modification services that can be offered at present, because that’s all we know how to do. Contrary to bizarre stories about HAARP-created hurricanes, and an overly enthusiastic military “study” released in 1996, we don’t possess the means of artificially controlling entire weather systems, steering thunderstorms and whipping up tornadoes and whatnot.

Part of the problem with cloud seeding is that we literally don’t know clouds at all. Precisely how and why clouds form and behave is still a matter of intensive study, with cloud physicists still conducting research into why lightning develops in some stormclouds but not others and how cosmic rays may affect cloud nucleation (just last year, CERN published results from a study called Cosmics Leaving Outdoor Droplets, or CLOUD).

Firefighting

Aerial firefighting drills and even actual firefighting are sometimes mistaken for chemtrail spraying, despite the extremely low altitudes of the planes.

The first firefighting planes were modified WWII bombers, and most firefighting planes still use the same gravity drop system; tanks are fitted with doors that open to discharge their contents. This type of system requires aircraft to fly at extremely low altitudes (around 200 feet), which takes highly skilled pilots.

Since the early ’70s, The U.S. Forest Service has used military aircraft from the Air Force Reserve and the Air National Guard (in addition to aircraft owned by private companies under contract) to help fight wildfires. For this, a small number of C-130H planes have been modified to carry tanks known as Modular Airborne FireFighting Systems (MAFFS).
Aerial firefighting uses different combinations of water and the following flame retardant chemicals:

  • Ammonium-based retardants with water-thickening agents added (either clay or a guar gum derivative).
  • Fire-retardant gels. These are thick slurries made up of superabsorbent polymers that absorb hundreds of times their weight in water, creating millions of tiny water droplets surrounded by  a polymer shell. These “bubblets” form a thermal shield over surfaces.
  • Firefighting foam (similar to fire-retardant gels, except the bubbles contain air instead of water)

Fire retardants typically contain preservatives, wetting agents, and rust inhibitors, and are often coloured with red ferric oxide to mark where they have been dispersed.

Aside from the ferric oxide, metals are not used in firefighting, so this would not account for elevated amounts of aluminum or other metal oxides supposedly being found in environmental samples.

Everblue: The Great Evergreen Conspiracy

The photo above (original source unknown), and a lot of photos and videos just like it, regularly appear online as a “chemtrail plane in action”:

You may notice that in a lot of these photos and videos, “Evergreen” is emblazoned on the side of the plane. So what are these sinister Evergreen planes that spray plumes of poison upon us from such low altitudes?
Actually, it’s just one plane. It’s the Boeing 747-100 Supertanker, modified by Evergreen Aviation specifically to fight fires. Evergreen has been contracted to aerially fight fires for 60 years, so it stands to reason they would want to develop bigger, better firefighting aircraft. Their other firefighting aircraft are mostly helicopters.
The Evergreen Supertanker is the largest firefighting aircraft in the world. It can hold over 20,000 gallons of flame retardant, and can fly slightly higher than the average firefighting aircraft – up to 600 feet. It was used for the first time in 2009, fighting fires in Spain and California

Currently, the U.S. Forest Service is not employing the Evergreen Supertanker for its firefighting efforts, as discussed in an Evergreen Aviation statement issued last month.  Forest Service regulations limit the agency to tankers that hold a maximum of 500 gallons. The expense of maintaining the Supertanker and keeping it on standby can’t be met with call-when-needed contracts like those offered by the Forest Service, so Evergreen takes only exclusive-use contracts. The Supertanker is not a military aircraft, and Evergreen is a private corporation that has both military and civilian contracts.

Among many chemtrail researchers, Evergreen Aviation is something very different. It’s a a CIA front, and instead of having one Supertanker, it has an entire secret fleet of them – a cleverly disguised death squadron. Here are some examples:

A post at Aircrap.org declares that Evergreen Air is a CIA front company for U.S. chemtrail operations, based out of Pinal Airpark (formerly Marana Army Airfield) near Tucson and McMinville, Oregon. The entire article is cut and pasted from a 2011 “article” by one Joan Biakov, “Evergreen Aviation Admits to Chemtrail Contracts with USAF”. The title is massively misleading, because the article itself says nada about USAF-Evergreen contracts.  Zero evidence to support the CIA claim is provided. Biakov thinks tornadoes, earthquakes, and hurricanes can be artificially created and controlled with ground- and space-based lasers, making me wonder why she’s concerned about airplanes in the first place. Why am I starting to get the feeling this Evergreen conspiracy theory is a little thin on facts?
When I spoke to the woman who filmed the “chemtrail planes” video, she explained that she became suspicious of Evergreen because the company denies its presence at Pinal Airpark, posts armed guards, and will not allow private planes to land at Pinal (a public facility). These would all be excellent grounds for suspicion and concern. But I learned that Evergreen Aviation does not deny its presence at Pinal (in fact, they have a website devoted entirely to their operation), and that routine military training exercises are sometimes conducted there (which could account for temporary closures and extra security).

Let’s see what Intel Hub has to say. Here’s a 2011 article titled “Former Secret Chemtrail Facility Revealed, Evergreen Air“. Also a misleading title; the only facilities mentioned are the two openly occupied by Evergreen.
But wait, they have a chemtrail whistleblower! Back in  2010, Intel Hub reporter Shepard Ambellas interviewed a man who said he had worked at Evergreen’s Arizona installation in the early ’90s. He helped outfit 727 and 747-C planes with liquid discharge tanks and aerosol spray devices. He also spotted mysterious triangular aircraft and fully-functional WWII bombers in the hangars.

— sarcasm break —-

I’m sure this guy is legit. He showed Ambellas some documentation to back up his claims (Ambellas doesn’t provide any of it to us, but that’s OK. I don’t need to see it to know it’s authentic). He won’t reveal his name or even give a pseudonym, so you know he’s a real whistleblower. Every good whistleblower realizes that when you possess sensitive information that could get you killed, the safest and wisest thing to do is to keep your identity a secret while exposing that information. The bad guys won’t dare go after you if you expose them anonymously! I mean, your death would look way too suspicious! The cops and reporters would be all over that!

Also, I think it makes a lot of sense that the Supertanker was unveiled with massive amounts of publicity and continues to be heavily promoted, while the nearly identical tankers developed 30 years ago were deployed without a peep. When you have a unique, costly product with lots of overhead expenses, it’s always a good idea to keep it hidden from 99% of your potential customers for a few decades.

— end of sarcasm break —

Okay, so let me see if I can get this conspiracy theory straight. Evergreen planes, including the Supertanker and possibly a hidden fleet of Supertankers, are engaged in a secret chemtrail-spraying program that somehow involves agencies of the government. Let’s say the CIA is one those agencies. The whole “firefighting” thing is just a cover for Evergreen’s real raison d’etre: Spraying metallic and/or chemical stuff on us from ridiculously low altitudes, for some nefarious purpose(s).

But the U.S. Forestry Service, a powerful federal agency, refuses to employ the Supertanker for its ostensible purpose, which would help make the firefighting cover story look believable? And the CIA can’t find a way to override that decision? How does this make sense? 

There’s only one part of the Evergreen conspiracy theory that’s solid. Evergreen does (or at least did) have CIA ties. According to a series of articles published in the Oregonian in 1988, Evergreen’s founder, Delford Smith, admitted to “one agreement under which his companies provide occasional jobs and cover to foreign nationals the CIA wants taken out of other countries or brought into the United States.”
Other evidence cited in support of a CIA-Evergreen link is weak. A would-be terrorist by the name of Russell Defreitas told authorities he wanted to blow up the fuel tanks at JFK International Airport because he had seen missiles destined for shipment to Israel via Evergreen International when he worked there, years earlier.
Also, Pinal Airpark was the base of operations for known CIA front companies (Intermountain Aviation, Air America) during Vietnam, and as previously noted, some military training still goes on there.

The Supertanker probably came under suspicion for two other reasons: It sprays stuff, and Evergreen states on its own website that it’s looking into non-firefighting applications such as oil spill containment (spraying oil dispersants), chemical decontamination and weather modification

What they mean by weather modification is, of course, cloud seeding and hail mitigation. Those are the only types of airplane-related weather modification we have. But as we’ve already seen in the ridiculous “chemtrail pilot” video above, chemtrail-watchers assume there could be some other, secret form of weather modification happening. 

What all of the Evergreen conspiracy people fail to grasp is that there is one Evergreen Supertanker. ONE. It can’t be spraying an entire state, much less the entire Western world. And judging by last month’s plea to the public, Evergreen isn’t making enough money from one Supertanker to justify the creation of any more. There isn’t a Supertanker fleet, and there isn’t going to be one anytime soon.

 

Non-Agricultural Pesticide Spraying (Vector Control)

A pesticide is any substance intended to kill pests: small animals, insects, weeds, bacteria, fungi, etc. When pesticide is used on a large scale to destroy disease vectors like rats, mosquitoes or lice, the process is known as vector control.

Military forces have long sprayed pesticides in theatres of operation where disease-carrying insects pose a threat to ground troops. This began in WWII, with the use of DDT to kill off typhus-bearing lice and Anopheles mosquitoes (the 450 species that transmit Plasmodium, the micro-organism that causes malaria). The spraying was only part of the Allies’ anti-malaria campaign, though. Soldiers were also encouraged to keep their bodies well-covered at all times and sleep beneath mosquito-proof netting.

 Dr. Seuss created Ann, the killer mosquito, as part of the army’s anti-malaria campaign.

 

Domestically, air forces often spray over hurricane-affected areas to reduce the mosquito population and prevent the spread of disease.
USAF pesticide spraying is usually carried out by the 910th Airlift Wing. The unit has six Modular Aerial Spray Systems (MASS), with four aircraft modified to carry them. Each MASS can hold 2,000 gallons of liquid and can spray 232 gallons per minute, dispensing 3-15 gallons per acre. It’s one of the only units equipped for the task (the 757th Airlift Squadron hasfour C-130H2 aircraft modified to accept MASS units, which were used for pesticide spraying in the wake of Katrina, but these planes aren’t available for aerial spraying on a full-time basis).

On the municipal level, many cities have pest control programs to prevent the spread of West Nile virus, combat local tree pests, or lessen the nuisance factor of certain bugs. The work is sometimes contracted out to the lowest bidder, and/or conducted jointly with area universities.
For example, the city of Winnipeg’s Insect Control program sprays insecticide (“fogs”) in many public areas during years when the mosquito population is expected to be high, in addition to larviciding operations focused on the region’s primary vector species, Culex tarsalis and Culex restuans. They currently use permethrin and malathion for fogging, which is done not by aircraft, but by truck-mounted aerosol sprayers. They also have spraying programs aimed at three elm-destroying pests, the Spiny Elm caterpillar, cankerworms and Elm Bark Beetles.
The program provides 8-hour advance warning of all fogging operations to the public via their website, and gives the names of all pesticides used.

Aerial insecticide spraying has fallen out of favour when it comes to vector control, because it can kill off non-targeted bugs and annoy the hell out of granola-eaters like myself. It must be done at very low altitudes (about 100 feet) to be effective, requiring skilled pilots and considerable expense. Largely for these reasons, public health workers that are fighting malaria in Africa, where the disease kills an estimated 3000 children every day, prefer the time-honored method of spraying the interiors of individual homes. This practice faces harsh resistance from organic cotton farmers who worry their product will be decertified if tainted by the slightest amount of insecticide, however, so NGOs dedicated to ending malaria in Africa (Roll Back Malaria, Malaria No More, etc.) tout mosquito netting treated with chrysanthemum-derived pyrethroid insecticides as the most effective method of stopping the disease. Unfortunately, a 2003 study found that an average of 55% of African households given treated bed nets actually used them over sleeping children. This amounts to roughly 20 million children – an impressive number, but far from enough to make an impact.  (14)

The major problem with any long-term spraying or netting program is that insects will eventually develop resistance to the insecticides. This is what happened during the World Health Organization’s mosquito eradication campaign in the ’60s, as discussed in the DDT section below.

Crop dusting

Crop dusting is the aerial spraying of insecticides and herbicides over crops for the purpose of killing off certain insects and weeds. Fertilizers and seed can also be aerially sprayed, a practice sometimes referred to as “topdressing”. Crop dusting has been done regularly all over the world since the 1920s.
The first aerial pesticide spraying experiment was conducted over an Ohio field on August 3, 1921 – interestingly, by the same Lt. Macready whose La Pere plane left the first known persistent contrail over Ohio’s McCook Field that same year. The USAF was exploring a broad range of uses for aircraft in those days, and pesticide spraying had potential military applications. Disease had ravaged the trenches of WWI.

DDT

During WWII, a synthetic pesticide known as DDT was used to de-louse soldiers (lice carry typhus), and as vector control against malaria-spreading mosquitoes. This was the first use of airplane-mounted spray devices during wartime.
The chemical had been sitting on the shelf, so to speak, for over a century before a Swiss researcher discovered its powerful insecticidal properties. Allied planes were rigged with specially designed tanks to spray the “new” pesticide in mosquito-infested regions.

DDT proved so effective against pests that it was introduced as an agricultural and household insecticide back home after the war. It was hailed by many as the answer to malaria, one of the world’s oldest and most stubborn diseases. Beginning in 1946, 250 tons of DDT were sprayed on Sardinia, reducing its malaria rates from 75,000 to 9 in just 5 years.  (14)
The fledgling World Health Organization launched a global mosquito eradication campaign with DDT a few years later (excluding Africa, where malaria was – and is – most difficult to defeat). This effort consisted of spraying the interiors of individual dwellings twice a year, using 2 grams per square foot of DDT. Malaria rates plummeted. The campaign was so successful that in the early ’50s the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine published a series of lectures with the triumphant title Man’s Mastery of Malaria.
Then problems developed. Chicken deaths and ephemeral suspicions turned rural villagers against DDT spraying, Ghandi voiced opposition the program on religious grounds (the intentional killing of living creatures), and – worst of all – mosquitoes and other pests were developing resistance to DDT. By 1962, the London School of Hygiene was fretting about this. At the same time, concerns about the toxicity of DDT were growing.

the cover of a 1947 DDT handbook issued by the USDA

Even in the early ’50s, some scientists considered DDT too toxic for general use. There was little federal regulation of pesticide production at that time, so chemicals could be put on the market with minimal testing and very little quality control. The problems with DDT are manifold. The big problem is, it’s a persistent organic pollutant that bioaccumulates, remaining in the food chain until animals near the top (mostly birds) sicken and die. Concerns about its effects spawned one of the most influential and enduring works of environmental literature, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962). The book was not just about DDT, but all the synthetic chemical pesticides.
At the time Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring, there were two classes of insecticides in wide use: Chlorinated hydrocarbons (DDT, chlordane, endrin, etc.) and organic phosphates (parathion, malathion, etc.). Surprisingly, Carson identified endrin as the deadliest of all. It seems DDT became the focus of public concern not because it was the most toxic insecticide, but because it was the most popular one. By this time, over 30,000 tonnes were being sprayed annually. Entire nations relied on it as a vector control to halt the spread of malaria, typhus and dengue fever. Many African countries and large parts of India still use it to prevent malaria, coating the interiors of homes and businesses.
Nonetheless, WHO halted its mosquito eradication program in 1969, and no comparable effort has been undertaken since.

In 1971 and ’72, in response to public pressure, the EPA held DDT review hearings that lasted for seven months, resulting in the insecticide being banned for most uses.

Why was DDT being used in Africa and India even as Westerners campaigned fiercely against it? Because it worked. When DDT was sprayed, malaria went away. When the spraying stopped, malaria swept through the land like a scythe.

It is seen as the lesser of two evils. Would you rather die of malaria now, or live a much longer life that may end by DDT-related health defects?
This devil’s bargain is still hotly debated among scientists, public health officials, and think tanks, with barbed comments flying in every direction. Roger Bate of the American Enterprise Institute and Africa Fighting Malaria promotes DDT use. So does the Hudson Institute.  (14)
WHO plans to phase out DDT use within the next decade.

Believers in the depopulation conspiracy theory have a divided opinion of DDT, too. Some view it as part of a flat-out chemical assault on humanity, banned only because a few brave souls fought doggedly against the establishment. Others think DDT is a boon to mankind, and was banned by those who want us to die from malaria or bubonic plague. Marjorie Mazel Hecht, in a 1997 edition of the LaRouche organizations’s Executive Intelligence Review, declared, “DDT is the ‘mother’ of environmental hoaxes.” In Hecht’s opinion, the EPA had already proven it to be safe after seven months of hearings, then administrator William Ruckelshaus banned it solely because it had saved millions of lives.

Spraying Today

There continue to be major concerns about the toxicity of the chemicals used in crop dusting. For instance, the safety of Roundup, the world’s most popular brand of herbicide, has been called into question (8), and the neonicotinoid pesticides are strong suspects in mass bee deaths (colony collapse disorder). But there is really no way that crop dusting could be honestly mistaken for “chemtrail spraying”. It involves small planes rather than jets, and is done at extremely low altitudes by skilled pilots (we’ve all seen North by Northwest, right?). No metals are involved (metal-based insecticides were phased out years ago). If you tried to alter the weather or cool the climate or kill vast numbers of people by spraying selected crops with pesticides at low altitude, you would fail.

Oil Dispersal 

When you spill a lot of crude oil (I mean a lot of oil), there a limited number of ways in which you can clean it up. That’s why every time there’s a massive oil spill or leak, crackpots leap out of their basement labs to share their ideas about staunching the flow with giant vacuum cleaners or giant mattress pads.

One of the slightly saner methods of dealing with marine oil disasters is the use of chemical oil dispersants, which are commonly sprayed from low-flying aircraft. As mentioned earlier, the 910th Airlift Wing of the USAF Reserve has an Aerial Spray Squadron equipped with six Modular Aerial Spray Systems (MASS) and four C-130H planes modified to use them. Each MASS has a 2,000 gallon capacity and can spray up to 232 gallons of liquid per minute. We’ll be seeing the MASS again in a post about chemtrail whistleblowers.

The use of dispersants is controversial, and there are serious concerns about the health effects of the dispersant Corexit, used after both the Exxon Valdez and Gulf oil spills. But as with firefighting and crop dusting, aerial oil dispersal just doesn’t fit neatly into any possible chemtrail scenario. We’re talking about low-flying, easily recognizable aircraft performing a highly specific task. This can’t account for “strange” contrails, barium in the water, or anything else connected to the chemtrail phenomenon.

Ionospheric experiments using aerosols

Ionospheric research plays a huge role in chemtrail theories, and we’ll be getting into a lot more detail about it in later posts dealing with HAARP and weather modification. For now, we’ll just lightly touch on the subject, even though the experiments mentioned here don’t involve airplanes.

The ionosphere is the multi-layered zone of electrons and electrically charged atoms and molecules (ions) that surrounds our planet. If the atmosphere was a parfait (everybody likes parfait), the ionsphere would be like the whipped cream topping, mixing with both the chocolate shavings (the exosphere) and the top layer (the thermosphere), where the air is so thin that free electrons can bounce around for short periods of time before being captured by positive ions. The negative free electrons and the positive ions are attracted to each other by the electromagnetic energy from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation, but are too energetic to remain in an electrically neutral molecule, creating a plasma. The plasma in these ionized portions of the atmosphere is the ionosphere, which extends from a height of about 30 miles above the earth’s surface to more than 360 miles. This is where auroras are made.

Northern Lights over Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

 (source)

The ionosphere has mirror-like effects, making it an excellent reflector of radio waves. Countless military and civilian operations rely on it for their communications systems, groups as diverse as the U.S. Navy and the BBC. Much of the ionospheric research mentioned here is done, in large part, because of concerns that such communications will be disrupted or even shut down entirely by solar activity or “enemy” technology, but scientists are deeply interested in the chemical composition and behaviour of the ionosphere.

Studying the ionosphere is problematic. Its lower levels are below the orbital altitudes needed for satellites, yet far too high up for balloons or aircraft. Nonetheless, ground-based tests utilizing sounding equipment (ionosondes) and satellites began in the early ’60s.
Then, in the mid-’60s, scientists hit upon the idea of using rockets to shoot barium into the ionosphere, creating “clouds” of barium particles that would be ionized by the sun’s ultraviolet light, then become trapped by Earth’s magnetic field, making magnetic field lines briefly visible to ground- or air-based observers. These “clouds” are essentially artificial auroras.
In later experiments, barium clouds were released from satellites. Lithium and aluminum have also been  used. These aerosol (particle) injections have been observed to stimulate a number of changes in the plasma of the ionosphere, contributing greatly to our knowledge of how the upper atmosphere works and responds.

Not all the post-’60s ionospheric experiments have involved particle injection, though. Radio research – much of it “passive”, in scientific parlance – is now the primary source of information about the ionosphere. The Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico, made famous by the movie Contact, was originally set up to study the ionosphere. Now it’s one of many incoherent scatter radars used in ionosphere research, along with coherent scatter radars like the Super Dual Auroral Radar Network.
HAARP, the shadowy behemoth at the heart of so many chemtrail theories, uses high-frequency radio waves (up to 3.6 megawatts, roughly three times more than a typical broadcast radio transmitter) to accelerate the electrons in the ionosphere, creating artificial auroras and even bullseye patterns.

But we’re only dealing with aerosol tests at the moment, so here are some of the ionospheric plasma injection experiments that involved barium or other substances:

  • In June 1976, a barium plasma injection experiment was performed at the ERDA test facility on Kauai (ERDA was absorbed into the U.S. Department of Energy the following year, so that’s probably why you’ve never heard of it).
  • In 1989, barium injection experiments were conducted with the CRIT-II rocket to investigate the critical ionization velocity theory first proposed in the ’40s.
  • The Active Plasma Experiment (APEX), conducted throughout the ’90s, was a joint project involving several countries. The APEX and MAGION-3 satellites were launched into orbit in 1991. In January 1999, U.S. researchers launched a sounding rocket from the Poker Flats Research Range into the ionosphere. Aluminum was used in this experiment.
  • In the Combined Release and Radiation Effects satellite (CRRES) experiments of 1991, NASA and Air Force researchers released barium and lithium vapours from the satellite over Brazil, creating balls of blue-green light in the sky. The CRRES satellite was launched in 1990. The project was intended to provide information about the magnetosphere and magnetic disturbances in space (which can affect power transmission and satellite communications).
  • The Coqui experiments: In the spring and summer of 1992 and again in early 1998, NASA (in conjunction with the Arecibo Observatory) launched Nike-Tomahawk, Black Brant, IX and VC sounding rockets into the ionosphere from Puerto Rico to create artificial disturbances in the ionosphere, studying its reactions. Instead of barium, the project used trimethylaluminium (TMA). The Coqui launches were declared a success by NASA, although the chemical payloads of the rockets were never recovered and there was strident opposition to the experiments from locals who worried about the environmental and health effects of TMA.

Today, many chemtrail researchers perusing research papers on these barium experiments see the words “barium” and “cloud” and  conclude that contrails and/or some of the clouds we see in the sky could actually be man-made barium clouds. I have found excerpts from this 1980 paper on numerous chemtrail websites. But barium particles released into the lower levels of the atmosphere (the troposphere or stratosphere) are not going to behave the same way as particles released into the ionosphere.

Confusion is understandable. The plasma physicists who deeply understand this stuff could probably fit into a shower stall.

Biowarfare Simulation Tests

In the ’50s, fears of Soviet biological and chemical warfare ran high in the West, and several nations decided to conduct simulated biological/chemical “attacks” to find out just how far a pathogen released into the open air or water could spread. Canada, the UK, the U.S., and several Scandinavian countries conducted such tests. In the U.S., these experiments included:

– The release of pathogens into the Ft. Detrick ventilation system
Project 112 (1962-1973), officially denied until CBS News exposed it in 2000
Project SHAD (a 112 subproject)

What we’re going to examine here are the aerial spraying tests. Zinc cadmium sulfide was chosen for the trials because it fluoresces under light, making it easy for researchers to track its dispersal. Also, the particles used were similar in size to inhalable anthrax, considered to be the Soviet biowarfare agent of choice.
In 1953, in Fort Detrick’s Project Saint Jo, cadmium was released over Winnipeg, St. Louis, Minneapolis, the Monocacy River Valley, and Leesburg. Testing continued over Minnesota, Texas and Florida throughout the ’50s. The first three cities were selected because they were close in size to Moscow, Kiev and Leningrad, respectively.  (4)
The Army’s Operation LAC, conducted in ’57 and ’58, was the largest-scale testing ever undertaken by the Chemical Corps, extending across much of the nation east of the Rockies. LAC used a modified  C-119 “Flying Boxcar” borrowed from the Air Force to release zinc cadmium sulfide particles. A typical flight would cover 400 miles and release about 5,000 pounds of particles, which were found up to 12,000 miles away from the flight line. One of these spraying operations occurred directly over my hometown.

That same year, joint military/CIA tests involving airborne S. marcescens and B. globigii bacteria were conducted in New York City and San Francisco (sprayed from ships and vans). Stanford University doctors were baffled by a sudden outbreak of S. Marcescens, which resulted in one death.  (4)

Britain’s secret biological warfare experiments, conducted by Porton Down scientists from 1940-1979, were nearly identical. Most of the experiments used germ-like substitutes. In the aerial spraying tests conducted between 1953 and 1964, only four personnel were directly involved in dispersing the zinc cadmium sulfide particles, using a  Venturi aerosol generator mounted on a Valetta plane. Salisbury was the first test site. Cadmium was sprayed 40 miles away from the city, continuing for 100 miles with a pound of suspension sprayed per mile.  (15)
In 1963, trials off the coast of Dorset sprayed E. coli and B. globigii from a ship called the Icewhale, using agricultural sprayers. After the Icewhale experiments, air experiments were conducted using a modified cameral bomber to hold up to 1000 gallons of bacteria suspension. In 1967, E. coli and B. globigii were sprayed over RAF Tarant in Dorset. In ’68 and ’71, several joint USAF/Ministry of Defense. Detection Demonstration trials were conducted over Lyme and Weymouth Bay. These seem to have been the final tests involving aerial spraying; the subsequent Dice trails (conducted 1971-1975) employed a modified Land Rover to spray S. marcescens, an anthrax simulant and phenol. (16)
Fluorescent particles were also sprayed from modified vans in Cardington, Bedfordshire and in Norwich, Norfolk.

The “Fluorescent Particle Trials” raised tremendous public outcry when they came to light in the ’90s. There is concern about the long-term health effects of cadmium exposure. Residents in sprayed areas had not been informed of what was going on, and no toxicological tests had been run immediately after the trials. Cadmium is a toxic metal known to cause respiratory problems. All the workers involved with the spraying wore full protective gear.  (15)
In 1997, the U.S. National Research Council’s Subcommittee on Zinc Cadmium Sulfide published a Toxicological Assessment of the Army’s ZCS Dispersion Tests. The conclusion was that no adverse health effects had occurred.
Two years later, in the UK, a National Academy of Medical Sciences inquiry led by Dr. Peter Lachmann concluded the tests were not harmful, as industrial emissions release far more cadmium into the air than the vans and planes did. Though the Ministry of Defense cooperated with this official inquiry, Lachmann was not even told about the Dice trials.  (15)
A 2006 Imperial College study originally found that throat cancer rates were unusually high in Norfolk, but the study was later readjusted. The conclusion is now that cancer rates were not unusually high. This is disputed by some Norfolk families in which esophageal cancer.is frighteningly common, (16)
Another review of the trials, conducted by Brian Spratt, found possible health risks only to severely ill people, but Spratt was concerned that Porton Down used four batches of bacterial suspension that had “substantial levels” of contamination. He concluded that the use of zinc cadmium sulfide was “not very sensible”. (15)

The Washington Windshield Pitting “Epidemic”

This incident apparently didn’t involve any aerial spraying, but I’d like to briefly examine it here to note the strong parallels between chemtrails and the odd rumours and theories that mushroomed out of the “windshield pitting” panic of 1954.

In late March of that year, car owners in the town of Bellingham, Washington, reported an unusually high number of pits, scratches and cracks in their windshields.
Kids with BB guns became the first suspects, but as reports of windshield damage began to spring up in Mount Vernon, Sedro Woolley, and even Fidalgo Island over the following days, more exotic theories developed. Many suspected some airborne chemical, like a corrosive emission from industry (there were reports of a black, sooty residue in connection with pitted windshields, widely believed to be carbon). Others thought a passing meteor had blasted their cars with space-pebbles. Some thought that a million watt radio transmitter installed by the Navy at Jim Creek was causing oscillations in glass. The Navy Commander in charge of Jim Creek, George Warren, pointed out that a windshield would have to be several miles wide to match the frequency of the transmitter, and that no pitting was being found at Jim Creek. Many feared  the damage came from radioactive fallout from either Soviet or U.S. military tests. Many thought sand flea eggs embedded in the glass were responsible. Others blamed cosmic rays or a shift in the earth’s magnetic field.
The BB theory was dismissed by most Washingtonians after Marines at the Whidbey Island Naval Station noticed damage to windshields at the high-security facility. Whidbey Island Sheriff Tom Clark speculated that radioactivity from recent H-bomb tests in the South Pacific was responsible, so Geiger counters were run over windshields and people who had touched the pit marks. None were radioactive. Still, Sheriff Clark was convinced that “no human agency” could have created the dimples in the glass.  (18)

This was not a small-town phenomenon. On March 23, 1954, reports of the Bellingham mystery had appeared in Seattle newspapers, and over the next 21 days, reports of damaged windshields crept steadily closer to Seattle. Spokane, Tacoma, Olympia and Seattle suburbs soon had rashes of reports. Motorists began stopping police cars to report damage. Auto dealerships and parking garages complained of massive pitting.
Then the reports spread even farther afield, with thousands of pitted windshields spotted throughout Stark County, Ohio, in the first half of April. Police officers there tried to simulate the damage by peppering glass with various projectiles, but never got to the bottom of the mystery.
The Automobile Club of Washington offered a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any windshield-damaging culprits.

Washington Governor Arthur B. Langlie called for a scientific investigation, so a committee of University of Washington scientists was formed to examine the problem. It was headed by chemist John Manley, and included professors from the physics and meteorology departments, in addition to Dr. Ross Kusian, head of the university’s Environmental Research Lab. Kusion’s lab set up an electrostatic precipitator on a campus rooftop. The device bombarded glass with particles drawn out of the air to determine if airborne pollutants could be causing all the pitting. Pellets collected by a resident of the Leavenhurst district of Seattle were analyzed by Dr. G.E. Goodspeed, and found to be neither radioactive nor meteoric. Rather, they were of glasslike tecktite composition. The scientists even examined cars parked on campus, noting that older cars seemed more prone to windshield damage. (Duh.)
Carbon was quickly eliminated as a suspect, because particles large enough to ding windshield glass would also have an effect on many other, softer materials, including automotive paint and human flesh – yet no such damage was being reported.  Aside from a few isolated reports of damage to house windows, this was strictly a windshield-related phenomenon.
Enterprising residents conducted their own tests. Robert H. Scott of Mountlake Terrace placed sheets of glass on his lawn overnight to see if they developed the same kind of pits as his windshield. He reported that they did, but didn’t render his glass samples for scientific analysis. Similar anecdotal results popped up in news stories, without corroboration. Meanwhile, the paper and fabric covers that people were placing over their cars sustained no damage or mysterious marks.

On April 14, the pits struck Seattle. This was not unheard-of; in 1952, there had been a spate of reports about vehicles on the city’s Harbor Island having chipped paint and windshields. This earlier cluster of windshield damage was dissimilar to the windshield-pitting, though, and the scale was far larger this time.
The epidemic peaked dramatically the following day. Throughout April 15, Seattle law enforcement offices were inundated with complaints of windshield pitting. City police fielded 242 phone calls from residents, reporting pitting in over 3,000 windshields, according to a 1958 study by Nahum Medalia of the Georgia Institute of Technology and Otto Larsen of the University of Washington. One police survey of 1600 cars in a Seattle parking lot revealed that 653 of them had windshield damage.  (19)
Seattle Mayor Allan Pomeroy promptly fired off a telegraph to the White House, requesting that Eisenhower launch a federal scientific investigation into Washington’s dinged windshields.
This was the same day that 30 police officers in the western part of Washington convened and issued a declaration that the pitting was being caused by “some form of ash”. Just how they reached this conclusion was entirely unclear, as ash would certainly not account for the “bubbling” that Olympia Police Chief Roy Kelly claimed to have witnessed happening on his own windshield. Two Seattle sheriff’s deputies also claimed to have watched pits form in the windshield of a pie truck right before their eyes that afternoon.

Sergeant Max Allison of the Seattle police crime lab took this opportunity to declare the “epidemic” to be 5% windshield damage caused by vandals, and 95% public hysteria. He pointed out that while windshield damage was certainly common, it was not new or different. The survey of 1600 Seattle cars had indicated that 97% of the vehicle owners with damaged windshields knew precisely how they had been damaged, and the causes were not in any way unusual or mysterious.  (18)
This may have put an end to the panic. The number of reports plummeted overnight, and by the end of the month the epidemic was at an end. The scientific investigations, having found little more than normal windshield damage and some coal dust, were quietly wrapped up. But the incident would provide rich fodder for further scientific research, particularly among sociologists interested in outbreaks of mass delusion.

Newspaper stories undoubtedly caused “pitting” sightings to increase and the panic to spread, just as local TV news segments and Internet videos are alerting people to “chemtrails” today. Although windshield pitting is incredibly common – take your new car out on the freeway and tell me it isn’t – it was only when the media called attention to it that people actually scrutinized their windshields and noticed minor damage they had previously overlooked or ignored.
Military technology, little-understood by the general population, was blamed, just as the baffling HAARP project is linked to chemtrails today. Nowadays we realize that a radio transmitter cannot ding your windshield, but at the time it seemed as likely a possibility to some Seattleites as sand fleas or graphite pellets.
Cosmic rays, too, were little-understood at the time, hence made a handy scapegoat. As journalist Jim Faber later commented, ““I’m pretty sure that the general schmos, that is, the more pitiful public, was ready to explain the windshield pits as thousands of tiny UFOs dropped from high altitudes by communists to dishearten us.”

An article at Hooniverse.com asks of the Great Seattle Windshield Pitting Epidemic, “Could it happen again?”
Sorry, car guys. It’s already happening again.

“Arrest that flea.”

* And that’s where Faygo comes from.

Sources:

1. Biological Weapons by Jeanne Guillemin (Columbia University Press, 2005)
2. Historical Dictionary of Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Warfare by Benjamin C. Garrett and John Hart (Scarecrow Press, 2007)
3. Deadly Allies: Canada’s Secret War by John Bryden (McClelland & Stewart, 1989)
4. Germs by Judith Miller, Stephen Engelberg, William Broad (Simon & Schuster, 2001).  
Note: This book should be approached with caution, as Judith Miller is not exactly known for her journalistic acumen. But it does contain some solid historical information corroborated by other sources.
5. Hitler’s Scientists by John Cornwell (Viking, 2003)
6. Wikipedia entry for Agent Orange. Accessed July 23, 2012.
7. Wikipedia entry for Operation Ranch Hand.  Accessed July 23, 2012.
8. The World According to Monsanto by Marie-Monique Robin  (New Press, 2010)
9. Wikipedia entry for 2,4,5-T. Retrieved July 25, 2012.
10.  The Last Gasp: The 14.Rise and Fall of the American Gas Chamber by Scott Christianson (University of California Press, 2010)
11. Bioterrorism and Biocrimes: The Illicit Use of Biological Agents Since 1900 by W. Seth Carus (Fredonia Books, 2002)
12. A Thousand Lives by Julia Scheeres (Free Press, 2011)
13. Wikipedia entry for Cloud Seeding. Accessed July 29, 2012.
14. The Fever: How Malaria Has Ruled Humankind for 500,000 Years by Sonia Shah (Pidador, 2011)
15. ITV West program Top Secrets Revealed (originally broadcast in 2004)
16. BBC TV program Inside Out, “Clouds of Secrecy” (originally broadcast November 6, 2006)
17.Millions Were in Germ Tests” by Antony Barnett. The Guardian, April 21, 2002.
18.Windshild pitting incidents in Washington reach fever pitch on April 15, 1954” @ History Link
19. Windshield Pitting Epidemic articles posted @ Classified Humanity