On ‘Chemtrail’ and other irrationalities, including NORAD’s

If you’ve never heard of chemtrails, don’t feel badly.

I thought I’d heard most of the nutty notions affecting aviation, until a friend suggested running a Google search on chemtrails.

Try it. You’ll be astonished by the concept, to begin with, and the enormous number of pages devoted to it.

In sum, chemtrails enthusiasts say that what were called vapor trails when I was a kid, now known as contrails, really are a government program to deliver mind-controlling or poisonous substances to the populace by spraying from airplanes. If you try to pin the believers down with science they say you’re part of the conspiracy.

It never occurs to conspiracy buffs that when a plot is known to more than three or four people it becomes known very widely and very fast. That truism is recognized by those of us who have dealt with genuine conspiracies. That’s why the old Soviet Union operated tiny “cells” in the course of its highly successful spying operations. It’s how Al-Qaida functions. It’s how the CIA used to function, before Congress turned it into a public bogeyman. Indeed, it’s how a very shadowy British-French-U.S. operation known by the charming euphemism, “Terrorist Control,” worked – and very effectively – before that nice Gerald Ford put a stop to it. Terrorist Control was in the assassination business, killing very bad people before they killed us.

Logic, however, is not exactly a selling point to the conspiracy-minded.

That fear thrives on the Internet is a fact of life in the 21st century, and those who would spread fear are well aware of it. One Cliff Carnicom of Santa Fe, N.M., has a website (Carnicom.com) accusing NASA of “abusing its position of national and public service” by participating in the “indoctrination of the citizens, including children,” through its “aerosol operations.” I like that “including children,” always a lever for scaremongers. Carnicom’s ravings have so stirred up his fellow New Mexicans that the state’s attorney general recently called on the state’s scientists for answers to questions from constituents. Many of New Mexico’s scientists work at the Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories, of course, so you can imagine Carnicom’s response.

The WatchingYou.com website – “Especially for Kooks” – refers to chemtrails as kooktrails, a term I particularly like.

Contrails are not utterly benign, according to scientists studying the atmosphere. Heavy concentrations of them can persist for days, sometimes becoming cirrus formations. Some say they hasten global warming, which may or may not be true but gets a lot of attention from disaster-obsessed media. They do, in fact, make life harder for astronomers in regions of heavy, high-altitude flight concentration.

What contrails definitely do not do is convey biotoxins, pesticides or mind-altering drugs to those of us on the ground.

Speaking of irrationalities, I waded through the entire Congressional Research Service report titled “Securing General Aviation” which, early this year, assured Congress that general aviation is no threat to anyone. As we’ve often pointed out, the ability of GA planes to carry explosives is extremely limited, especially when compared to trucks and other ground-bound vehicles. Furthermore, the report stated, specifically, that airspace restrictions are “not particularly useful tools.”

“Terrorists are likely to care little that they are violating airspace restrictions in carrying out an attack,” the report bluntly and realistically stated.

That message cuts no ice at the Department of Homeland Security, the Transportation Security Administration, NORAD and the Secret Service. Shortly before this was written, NORAD ordered the FAA to withdraw from its website the transcript of a meeting, held in January, at which hundreds of pilots criticized the Washington, D.C., ADIZ. One of them was a Naval Aviator, Tom Bush, who routinely flies his own Mooney from Oceana, Va., to Dulles International Airport on Navy business. An F/A-18 pilot and combat veteran, Bush pointed out – before God, the TV cameras and everyone – that a pilot could comply with every ADIZ security procedure, set up a legitimate approach to Dulles International Airport, then turn abruptly and be over downtown Washington within four minutes. Administrative procedures do not ensure security, he told the gathering. “Freedom and security are polar opposites, and I am not willing to give up my freedom for the sake of terrorists,” Bush said. As one who has put his life on the line to defend freedom, his view has significant value.

Although Bush’s comment merely vocalized what literally thousands of airmen wrote in the comments they sent to the FAA before the meeting, and reflected remarks commonly heard at airports anywhere near the ADIZ, NORAD apparently thinks he gave away some dark secret.

It is disturbing to think that high-ranking officers at NORAD imagine that terrorists haven’t been aware of Bush’s scenario for years, but also – as one prominent commentator remarked – this was “an absurd waste of security resources to try to unring the bell and edit what was said in a public meeting in front of TV cameras.”

It is amusing for most of us to see the “chemtrails” buffs as kooks. It is very, very alarming to see those in charge of our national security in that light.

Thomas F. Norton is GAN’s senior editor.

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