originally published May 7, 2013
The typical hierarchy of a conspiracy theory is that there are the people with the facts and those who are in on the conspiracy. Those with the facts are eager – some may say ravenously eager – to share them, to bring more of the public “into the know”. Conspiracy theories generally require the dismissal of a considerable amount of evidence to support their cause. I read so much about the 9/11 conspiracy – for and against – that I finally had to shake my head free of the yellow dust and declare that I simply don’t care anymore – it was a tragedy, end of story.
I’m still on the fence about the whole JFK thing though.
Today I’m venturing into the murky chemical mire known as chemtrails. You’ve seen these before; they’re the “deadly” “poisonous” “gases” that spew from the back of commercial airliners as they rocket above our nation, blanketing us all in some government-orchestrated set-up of some kind.
(According to Jim)
The first rumblings of this overhead danger emerged in the mid-90’s, when the US Air Force was forced to issue an official statement, claiming the matter was a hoax. In August of 1996, a handful of officers drafted a paper for the Air Force’s Air University, one which posits a number of sci-fi situations in which the United States could control and manipulate the weather in order to achieve atmospheric dominance over their enemies. This includes creating storms over enemy territory, jamming their communication systems, and signing a non-aggression pact with the evil cloud jellyfish.
The paper got out there, or more accurately, just enough of the paper got out there in order to fuel a grotesque misinterpretation of the paper’s intent, which was little more than fictional hypothesizing. The conspiracy-lovers took it as evidence that the government was engaging in top-secret weather control maneuvers, and from there it was just a teensy stretch to believe that those puffy trails coming out of every jet in the sky was all part of the Air Force conspiracy.
The chemtrails conspiracy spread to the UK, where the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs had to point out that chemtrails was not technically a scientifically recognized concept. Canadians, ever seeking to be polite, took up a friendly petition to demand – sorry, request that the government look into this atrocity. Once again, the higher-ups tried to remind us that chemtrails are not a thing.
Who are they trying to kid? I can see the damn things.
Well for starters, there’s the word. Chemtrails, short for ‘chemical trails’, is a made-up portmanteau that effectively spreads the conspiracy theory in two simple syllables. Contrails, which is an actual shorthand of ‘condensation trails’, is a real thing. Exhaust emissions coming out the ass-end of aircraft can leave contrails that might last a few hours. Vapor trails require certain weather conditions, but they are still relatively harmless plane-spew.
In short, unless you’re standing under a cropdusting plane, a firefighting plane, or a jet that needs to jettison its fuel because of an impending crash, the stuff coming out of the back of the plane over your head is not going to kill you.
But maybe the intent was never to kill. Maybe the government is running some kind of experiment on the populace, and they’ve colluded with every major commercial airline to ensure maximum dispersal. It could be all about mind control. Darrin McBreen, a chemtrails advocate, saw his Youtube video of contrails over Abilene go viral in 2008. He believes the trails have been linked to spikes in aluminum and barium in local drinking water, suggesting a nefarious weather experiment.
People have told him they can taste the aluminum in the water from the chemtrails. Sure, that aluminum could have come from something else, but let’s try not to think about that. If it’s not about mind control or weather manipulation, could the US government simply be looking to damage our health? To keep us reliant on pharmaceuticals and too weak to rebel? These are important questions being asked by conspiracy believers.
Of course, this would mean that every other government is secretly doing the same thing, since contrails can be seen all over the world. But that’s possible, right? That all world governments have successfully kept this one secret from the public?
Proponents of the conspiracy point out that not only do the chemtrails stick around for longer than they should, but they also spread out in a sheet-like pattern, or occasionally criss-cross, forming a “Latticework Of Doom” (my phrase, but feel free to run with it). Occasionally these patterns will blend to form a large cloud.
The US Air Force explained this all with reference to ice crystals in the sky, wind shear, and a bunch of other hooey that I’m sure they made up. Okay yes, this is also how cirrus uncinus clouds are formed, but that’s totally different. Or is it? Maybe every cloud in the sky is part of some conspiracy?
In 2001, Congressman Dennis Kucinich dropped a bill that proposed a complete ban on weapons in space. Part of the bill included a reference to banning chemtrails, among other fanciful dangers like extraterrestrial weapons, space-launched missiles, and “energies” to control mood management. The conspiracy believers wasted no time in pointing out that chemtrails appearing as an actual thing in a government bill is tantamount to the government admitting that they are a real issue.
Kucinich tried to replace the most controversial oddities in the bill when he was forced to re-write it after it died in committee. But the damage was done, and the Space Preservation Act was never meant to be.
I suppose the reason I’m particularly skeptical about the chemtrails conspiracy is because science screams in the face of its logic, and no one has yet confirmed it. Secrets don’t stay secret for very long these days – someone with inside knowledge inevitably spills the beans. Also, planes tend to fly right overtop places like Washington DC and New York, suggesting that even valuable assets and high-ranking officials would be exposed to the noxious mind-control freakery that these things supposedly leave in their wake.
I love a good conspiracy, a muck-sloshing quandary to tweak one’s paranoia ever so delicately into the red. But I’m giving a thumbs-down to Chemtrailgate. Nothing to this one but a bunch of misty air.