The sky darkens. The air surrounding the skin presses closer. An electrical scent cloys inside the nose. Above, we see rolling and ominous cumulo-nimbulus clouds lowering themselves toward our bodies and our consciousnesses. The warning signs of the gathering storm hurries us into action. Take cover! Wear a raincoat! Carry an umbrella! Those of us who were asleep as the storm gathered must wake up in the midst of it.
The chemtrail controversy gathered it’s muster while we many of us slept. We ignored the ideologues gathering muster in the Midwest. We slept while the adherents to a racist ideology created the maelstrom of words that was to become the chemtrail conspiracy theory.
After deciding to find out what a chemtrail is and where this neologism began, I began my research. Employing reporting skills I learned long ago, I double and triple checked my facts, added a healthy dose of skepticism, looked to conventionally trained and recognized authorities for information or found direct quotes to explore this subject. My work led me to a surprising discovery.
The two men who crafted the origin of the “chemtrail conspiracy theory” held shocking disparate beliefs from most of my friends. Chemtrail conspiracy theory originated in Ohio in 1995, growing out of what can only be described as an unholy alliance between two characters displaying extremely questionable values. Those two friends were Larry Wayne Harris and Richard Lew Finke.
Back in the nineteen-eighties, Larry Harris of Lancaster, Ohio was questioned about his involvement with the racist organization, Aryan Nations, by the Secret Service in advance of an Ohio visit by then President, George Bush the first.
In 1995, Larry Harris, was working as a septic tank and water well inspector at Superior Laboratories, of Columbus. According to court records, he used letterhead paper from his employer and ordered some bubonic plague bacteria from American Type Culture Collection. ATCC supplies certified lines of bacteria for scientists. Suspicious company representatives notified federal authorities who found little vials of inert bubonic plague in Harris’ glove compartment. At the time of his arrest it was not illegal to possess bubonic plague. Harris was convicted on two counts of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud for misrepresenting information on the purchase request. He received probation. Later, Harris' actions convinced Congress to pass laws making it harder to obtain deadly pathogens like bubonic plague.
Also in 1995, Harris published an book online, Bacteriological Warfare: A Major Threat to North America. The book is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center called a bio-terrorist's how-to manual. Harris is at the top of the list of SPLC’s “Forty False Patriot” list.
In 1998 Harris was again arrested, this time on charges of developing and stockpiling a biological agent, suspected of being deadly anthrax, and conspiring to use it as a weapon. According to an affidavit filed with his arrest warrant, Harris told a group the year before of a 1995 plan to "place a 'globe' of bubonic plague toxins in a New York City subway station, where it would be broken by a passing subway train, causing hundreds of thousands of deaths." Harris claimed that he was a licensed microbiologist and that he was employed by the CIA, neither claim has been verified nor is very likely.
Harris has since published another online book, Encyclopedia of Bioterrorism Defense. The editor and condenser of the first book is Richard L. Finke who, not so coincidentally, published the first known description of the chemtrail conspiracy theory.
Both Finke and Harris were members of the Patriot Movement and the Ayran Brotherhood in 1995. Together they formed a “defensive biowar and disaster recovery” consulting firm called LWH Consulting and peppered the internet with warnings about an imminent biological attack from Iraq. Critics maintain that the deluge of warnings did not hurt sales of the online books.
Richard Finke described himself as a “righteous dude” and was the station manager of Right-wing Christian radio station, WLRY. The station schedule reflects a continuous line-up of radio pastors and Christian music designed to “take back Rock ‘n Roll”. Links from the radio station website reveal a disturbing rightwing platform. It links to sites with names like, Be a Voice - For Life, American Center of Law and Justice, and World Watch Daily, many of which linked directly to CNN news programs. One, such link, called Black Genocide, led to a site defining black genocide, not as the systematic and planned extermination of an entire national, racial, political, or ethnic group, but as the results of actions of the African-American girls and women who have abortions. This quote is on the home page: “The most dangerous place for an African American to be is in the womb of their African American mother.”
The first known description of the “chemtrail conspiracy theory” appeared in a 1997 post to a now-defunct internet newsgroup called BIOWAR-L. Moderator, Wes Thomas of Forestville, Ohio, was concerned about the similarities in symptoms soldiers developed after the Persian Gulf War. By creating the USENET group, Thomas presented veterans with a new venue for gathering and comparing information and organizing their actions. Veterans eventually forced the US Government to acknowledge the syndrome which was later named after the Gulf War.
A description of the chemtrail theory by Ric Finke, was posted as a warning on Sept 18, 1997 about “lethal contrails overhead”. Liberally scattering exclamation points throughout the lengthy post, Finke announced that he possessed the results of a laboratory test of fuel and water samples in Maryland and Pennsylvania finding a toxin called ethylene dibromide (EDB) related to “lines in the sky.”
“The lines filling our skies are not contrails. The lines are dispersed and may linger for hours, slowly filtering down…(C)rops are dying. EDB is just one more avenue for the NWO (New World Order) folks to starve us to death and make us ill by weakening our already compromised immune systems…. the chemical may also cause sterility. Doesn't that fit into their plan for population control? …
“We now have proof that our goverment is using chemical agents on populated areas they are adding it to military jet fuel. Have you ever looked up at a vapor trail behind military aircraft flying so high a symbol of Americas power. Look again!!
“When you look up ... you see the military aircraft making patterens across the sky with their vapor trails. The smoke is thick and does not go away. When it comes in contact with the sunlight it turns to a purple color, then despots into a over cast Purple Haze.
“(T)his whole thing stinks of a Goverment DePopulation Program.” [typos intentionally left in]
This one writing contains most of the unique elements of later chemtrail discussions:
I wanted to contact Finke for a copy of the lab results but discovered, alas! that he had died on May 5, 2011. However, self-described journalist, Jay Reynolds, did receive a response to a query to Finke who wrote that he would not be able to produce a copy of the lab results. “I vouch for the veracity of the report's scientific info but must remain silent concerning the lab itself...there were about seven men who died nastily getting this information out.”
- The condensation lingers - for hours and hours.
- A sinister group is deliberately killing ordinary citizens. The trails are being used as a means of population control.
- It is part of chemical and biological warfare. Chemical agents are being added to jet fuel
- Aircraft produce patterns across the sky.
- Weather control, geo-engineering, reduction of ozone damage. (this added at a later date)
Larry Harris was also active in the contrail controversy online, writing about his theories of bioterrorism and describing various "fuel sample results". As with Finke, not one of the original laboratory documents has ever been made public.
The actual word “chemtrails” made it’s first appearance on January 8, 1999, in the article, “Contrails --- Poison From the Sky”, written by William Thomas. It was used by Thomas in follow-up radio appearances with a demonstrably worried host, Art Bell. Immediately following the interview, Bell observed the chemtrails over his Nevada home and soon became ill.
Will Thomas, another online book author and seller, has been speaking and writing about chemtrails since 1997. His writings are often self-contradictory. One critic writes, “For the very few who actually believe that chemtrails exist, having a spokesman who has lied time and time again about the existence of chemtrails can only present a hindrance ... it shows dramatic evidence of a man promoting a scam...for profit...and not a concerned individual interested in the welfare of the average citizen.”
The mainstream press hasn’t completely ignored the topic. The New York Times published chemtrail articles in 2002 and 2006 as well as a movie review in 2005 containing these ironic words: “this remarkable phenomenon completely ignored by the mainstream press.” The topic occupies a huge bandwith on the internet with a plethora of internet blogs and homemade websites.
Recently, the Pacific Sun published a well researched article which provides a fairly neutral description of the elements of the chemtrail conspiracy theory.
I am proud of my fighting Irish heritage, my young years spent protesting for Civil Rights and against the Viet Nam War, my three daughters and three grandsons, and of my two award winning television shows for Cable Access Television in Petaluma and Marin. Several of my previous articles have appeared in the West Marin Citizen newspaper. Oh, and I made a living as an emergency room nurse.