Rainmakers In The Arizona
Desert: 1954 And Beyond
By Jim Martin <>
© 1995 Flatland Magazine
TUCSON, ARIZONA - It's a rainy spring this year for the desert southwest, where the average annual rainfall in Tucson hovers around five inches. The desert forage of ghostly saguaros and twisted mesquite has adapted itself to some of the most hot and dry conditions in the Americas. This year, the grasses along the roadsides have sprouted to a knee-high profusion, nearly obscuring the mars-like dust and rubble of the soil. Strange weather we've been having here in the West. Floods in Northern California this January washed out bridges, highways, culverts and homes, and just as everyone had gotten dried out, the March rains did it all again. Over-cuts in the forests created ideal conditions for massive landslides, and the riverbed pools topped off with silty muck. All this after a six-year drought so severe that they even had to cut back a little on the water siphoned off by the salad bowl of America, the San Joaquin Valley. If you could fly over California, you might be impressed by the massive water works projects that interlace the vast open spaces between San Francisco, Sacramento, and Los Angeles. Seen from above, it is easy to understand how water is to California, as oil is to the Middle East. It fuels our engine. Without it, "we got no go-mo'." Arizona, though less populated than California, is no less dependent on big public works to funnel the rainfall and snowpack into Tucsonians low-pressure toilets and high-ticket golfing greens. Water works is big business all over the West, with residential users and taxpayers traditionally funding the unslakeable thirst of agribusiness. Like the oil industry, the water works racket has always had to be on guard against any "crackpot" with a new invention to deliver energy or rainfall in an environmentally sound manner. Free energy, as we are told, is a pipe dream. A reactionary quest for the philosopher's stone, getting something for nothing.
Weather Control Act In 1952, Wilhelm Reich had constructed the first full-size version of a device he called the "cloudbuster", a tool for weather modification. Essentially a rack of metal tubes, grounded into running water by means of metal flex cable, the cloudbuster was mounted on a pivot and gear platform to allow the tubes to be pointed in different directions and angles. This system allowed the cloudbuster operator to "draw off" orgone energy and selectively increase or decrease the energetic potential in the atmosphere. Tom Ross, Reich's caretaker at Orgonon laboratory in Rangeley Maine, recalled designing the first functional cloudbuster. "Reich told me what he wanted, and I was to figure out the best way to do it. I said, 'you know, that reminds me of anti-aircraft artillery from World War I.' And Reich said, 'that's right, on the Italian front we noticed that when we ran out of ammunition, and left the guns pointing toward the sky, the clouds would disperse and the sun would shine." Since the Civil War, it had been conjectured that heavy artillery fire caused rain clouds. Reich conceived of the weather as a function of the pulsation of the underlying orgone energy envelope of the planet. Like an organism, this atmosphere is sensitive to insults, and when pollution in the form of smog, pesticides and ionizing radiation reach critical levels, the atmosphere reacts accordingly: the natural process of contraction-and-expansion was inhibited. On July 6th, 1953, the first successful cloudbusting operation took place in Ellsworth, Maine. Two days later, Reich reported, Air Force planes appeared over Orgonon, "trailing what appeared to be research equipment behind them." In 1953, in a closed meeting of meteorologists at the University of Arizona in Tucson, scientists and government officials discussed how to evaluate and assess weather modification techniques. "Cloud-seeding" had been tested with encouraging results, and privately operated rainmaking outfits had been offering their services to farmers for years. Israel was using the technique with such fervor that it was impossible to set a base-line for controlled experimentation there. Air Force officers were in presence because of the obvious military applications of weather modification. President Eisenhower signed the Weather Control Act into law in August, 1953 forming the President's Advisory Committee on Weather Control. He immediately appointed Lewis W. Douglas, president of the Southern Arizona Bank & Trust Co., to the blue-ribbon committee.
Who Was Lew Douglas? Lew Douglas was an interesting man. Born near Bisbee, Arizona, in the rough-and-tumble days of the 1890s, to an educated family of mining metallurgists, he was the sole heir of the Phelps-Dodge copper fortune. His father, whose name is born by the town of Douglas, sent young Lew back east to attend prep school at Montclair Academy and then Amherst College. After serving in World War I (where we was injured and gassed at Argonne and awarded the Belgian Croix de Guerre), he returned to Arizona where his father expected him to work his way up in the copper mines, starting in the pits. Apparently, a taste of the wider world ill-prepared Lew for the copper mines, and he informed his father that he wanted to try his hand in politics. He had just married Peggy Zinsser (a Smith girl from Hastings-on-Hudson) in 1921, and his close Amherst buddy John J. McCloy became his brother-in-law when Lew introduced him to Peggy's sister, Ellen. Douglas was elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in 1923, and went on the U.S. Congress in 1927. In 1933, he served as FDR's Director of Budget, but soon left government service in protest over the New Deal big-spenders to become Vice-President of American Cyanamid. The New Deal will produce a recovery "as empty as a blown-out eggshell", he was reported to have said at the time. His book, The Liberal Tradition, attacked the New Deal. He was convinced that the Roosevelt administration had been infiltrated by Communists from the Harvard Law School. "Jews too were part of the conspiracy to destroy the capitalist system. More than once, Douglas spoke to friends about 'Hebraic influence' and blamed the New Deal's faults on the Jewish race: 'Most of the bad things which it [the administration] has done can be traced to it. As a race they seem to lack the quality of facing an issue squarely.'" ( Bird, K. The Chairman p. 101). When the Republicans nominated Alf Landon for President in 1935, his first choice for Vice-President was Lewis Douglas, even though Douglas was a Democrat. Douglas became an informal advisor to Landon's campaign after party regulars vetoed him in favor of a Republican. During World War Two Douglas was Deputy Administrator of the War Shipping Department, putting him at the nexus of the emerging military-industrial complex. W. Averill Harriman brought him into the Lend-Lease program. There are enough gaps in the war-time record to allow us to safely assume Lew Douglas was in the OSS. After the war, he worked with Lucius D. Clay and the German Control Council, and served another stint with Averill Harriman in London as well, setting up a nascent European federation of states. Meanwhile his brother-in-law McCloy separated the good Nazis from the bad at Nuremburg (quietly importing the good ones into the United States.)
Charmed Life Even for a guy born on third base, Lew Douglas led a charmed life, judging from his posthumous entry in Who Was Who (1971-1980). The listing for his accomplishments, government positions, and appointments to corporate directorships runs easily three times the average notable's. His directorships at one time or another included: United Bank International, Mutual Life Insurance (Pres.), Southern AZ Bank & Trust (ditto), Cyanamid, Western Bancorporation, Christiana Oil, Southwestern Research, General Motors, Newsweek, Continental Oil, and the Transamerica Corp. (which merged with Douglas' Southern Arizona Bank & Trust) and many others. He also held a major interest in the Happy Jack Uranium Mine in Utah. Douglas was also a director of the Council on Foreign Relations between 1940 and 1964. Those twenty four years rolled out the Pax Americana. (He gave a commencement address at MIT in 1953 calling for foreign investment, free trade, and other Anglo-American establishment mantra.) Along with OSS chief Allen Dulles, he served on the Budget Committee. He would have been the first head of the World Bank in 1946, but declined so that his brother-in-law, John J. McCloy could assume the post. By this time, Walter Lippmann called Douglas "the youngest of the elder statesman". You've never heard of him, have you? Lew Douglas' other "public interest" and charitable foundation activities included directorships on the Rockefeller Foundation and General Education Board (1935-1960), Resources for the Future, Inc. (to manage natural resources), the Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research (note well), the Channel Tunnel Study Group, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and he was an original member of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (among many other such trusteeships). In 1947, Douglas was appointed to represent the United States as Ambassador to the Court of St. James, arguably the most important post-war diplomatic spot. ("It might be mentioned that the existence of this Wall Street, Anglo-American axis is quite obvious once it is pointed out. It is reflected in the fact that such Wall Street luminaries as ... Lewis Douglas.. were appointed to be American ambassadors in London." - Carroll Quigley, Tragedy & Hope, p. 953) There, in England, he made quite an impression during his four year stay, especially by the way he carried on his work after hooking himself in the eye while fly fishing on the River Trent. After he began wearing an eye-patch, the black patch look became popular in American advertizing, too. His injury eventually caused him to return to the US, and save for brief periods of work with John Foster Dulles in Europe he remained in Arizona, his sunny home state.
Weather Control Act Douglas' name turned up in the paper when he spoke on the subject of "Our Weather" at the Arizona Cattle Grower's Association on January 24th 1954 at the Tucson Masonic Temple, and when he applied for a water permit for a real estate development he was putting in the barren environs outside Tucson. That Lew spoke on "Our Weather" was indicative that he had not relinquished his drive to take on new responsibilities, but that the new arena for mastery had shifted; from international relations and global confederations to cosmic environmental modification. Tuesday morning, January 26th, 1954, the Arizona Daily Star ran an editorial entitled "Prospecting the Atmosphere ã Why Not?" Three days before, the University of Arizona had announced it had received a $150,000 grant (the equivalent of more than $1.5 million today) from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The funds were earmarked to establish the Institute of Atmospheric Physics. "It means that here in Arizona a lot of brains are going to be organized to investigate not merely the weather, but the physics of the atmosphere, with the hope that mankind can make better use of possibly unused power to be found there." The paper thanked Lew Douglas, "who has probably spent more time organizing it on a scholarly basis, and getting that initial gift of $150,000 from the Sloan Foundation, than he has on his many other interests." The Institute of Atmospheric Physics would play host to annual gatherings of meteorologists, cloud physicists, and statisticians from around the world in an effort to study the basic properties of the atmosphere, with an eye toward rainmaking in arid lands. Solar energy would be explored. Time-lapse movie cameras were to be placed around the valley, and "radiocameras" (radar readings of cloud formations) would record cloudseeding experiments. Air Force planes and crews were assigned to the University of Arizona to assist in the study. An accompanying article mentioned that Lew Douglas had hired a cloudseeder in 1952. Perhaps he had some doubts as to whether it really worked, and wanted a full-scale study. In March of 1954, Douglas was called back to Europe for a few weeks of high-level talks with British officials as an economic advisor to John Dulles. Before he left, he warned of the need of a new water code. "There is no natural resource in the state of Arizona more vital to its people and their well-being than its water. The rate at which the underground water supply is being drawn upon makes the problem of conserving it one of the most serious..." July 24th, the IAP took its first "cloud census" using the radar and time-lapse cameras. On August 9th, scientists sponsored by the President's Commission on Weather Control met at for the first time at the University of Arizona. They warned the public against expecting "mail order" weather anytime soon, while holding out the promise of increased rainfall, defusing dangerous storms and "basic natural research". They knew their financial angel, Lewis Douglas, was a man who was used to results.
Reich's real estate broker Douglas had written to Wilhelm Reich and requested a personal meeting, according to Contact With Space. Although this meeting would never take place, Reich wrote that "his banking institution helped along during the entire expedition in a most friendly and cooperative fashion." (p. 132) Reich and his daughter Eva, then 25 years old, arrived at the Spanish Trail Motel in Tucson on October 29th, 1954. "With the help of the Southern Arizona Bank, a house with 50 acres land around, suitable for our purposes, was found and on October 31 we began establishing ourselves." The land belonged to Westbrook Pegler, a bombastic conservative columnist and supporter of Joe McCarthy. (Rush Limbaugh is nothing new.)
Marshal McLuhan on the daily tabloids: "We see also the paradox of a very big press posing as a brave little man facing giants and ogres. Every day this press would warn us or save us from big interests plotting the overthrow of the common man. And when giants are scarce, they must be invented. That is one of the functions of a Westbrook Pegler: Find them and kill them." (-from The Mechanical Bride, 1951).
Reich was on a top-secret expedition to bring rain to the Southwest. Hounded by scandal-sheet smears and the Food and Drug Administration, he had all but given up his medical practice. He considered himself a natural scientist now, working on basic research. In a desperate attempt to vindicate his work , he brought the cloudbuster to the desert. They would remain at "Little Orgonon" until March 1955. How he fell into the hands of Lew Douglas, who arranged for locating Reich's laboratory and home in the residence of Westbrook Pegler, remains a mystery. Westbrook Pegler, a close friend of J. Edgar Hoover, wrote poison-pen scandal columns for the Hearst syndicate. Hoover kept Congress in line with the fear that his files on individual elected officials might end up in one of Westbrook Pegler's or Walter Winchell's columns. When Pegler put out the call for donations to the McCarthy Club, mail sacks of money clogged their offices. Pegler was an ill-concealed racist and anti-Semite, and by 1962 his act was too extreme for the family papers of the Hearst chain. After they cut him loose, he signed on with the John Birch Society's American Opinion. There he wrote that the epithets "kike" and "sheenie" were innocent, descriptive terms. Ever since he lost a libel case in 1956 against Quentin Reynolds, he was convinced that Jewish interests had conspired against him. He called the New York Federal Courts "the Southern District of Tel Aviv." After eighteen ticklish months, Pegler succeeded in offending even long-time Birchers when he called Eleanor Roosevelt a political whore a few months after she died.
Planetary Valley Forge On October 10th, 1954, just before he left for Arizona, Wilhelm Reich disabled two UFOs with his Space Gun, a cloudbuster used in conjunction with de-natured radium used in the Oranur Experiment. He sent Bill MoÔse, Eva's husband, on ahead to report to the Air Technical Intelligence Command (ATIC) headquarters in Dayton, Ohio. Reich had been in contact with the Air Force since January, when he was asked to fill out a long questionnaire about his early UFO sightings. In March, Reich sent a ten page "Survey on Ea" to the Air Force in Portland, Maine, including gravitational equations worked out ten years before in experimentation with pendulum swings. He believed that the propulsion systems of the UFOs could be understood only in terms of orgonomic science. On the face of things, it's easy to understand why Reich has been dismissed out of hand on the basis of his fantastic claims. This article makes no attempt to "prove" or even adequately explain Reich's ideas, only to shed light on the government's peculiar posture toward him. When MoÔse called ATIC at Dayton, he was given an appointment on October 14th to meet with General Watson, ATIC's commanding officer on the base. When MoÔse arrived in Dayton, on his way out to Tucson, he was informed that Watson was unavailable, having been called away to a meeting with CIA officers. Watson called MoÔse at his hotel, apologizing, and asked if MoÔse could meet with his deputy. MoÔse agreed met the next day with Deputy Commander Col. Wertenbaker, Capt. D. M. Hill, USAF and "Mr. Harry Haberer, civilian, working with the Air Force in regard to the history of UFOs." In all likelihood, Haberer was one of the CIA officers who had just flown in from Washington. MoÔse described Reich's interactions with the UFOs, while Werternbaker listened with serious intent. After the meeting, Wertenbaker promised to accept orgonometric equations for safekeeping. MoÔse travelled on to Tucson, where Reich met him on October 29th. The University of Arizona's weather modification study was well underway, and Air Force jets crisscrossed the sky, leaving contrails at various levels of the sky in conjunction with the time-lapse photography. Reich reported Air Force jets appearing during his cloudbusting operations on the way out west, and had been using the contrails in his own atmospheric studies in Tucson. "Whether the Air Force had actually such problems in mind, I cannot tell." As the 16-mm films of the IAP's experiments show, these problems were definitely in the Air Force's mind. Color films of wafting checkerboard jet contrails are still sitting in a half-forgotten file in the Physics and Atmospheric Science Building at the University of Arizona.
(to be continued; part two will describe the Desert OROP Ea experiments in and around Tucson, and the subsequent government weather control experiments. Anyone with information about the government's involvement, first-hand knowledge, clippings, in weather modification is encouraged to contact me- Jim Martin)
Thoughts of Import (1953)
Thoughts of import
Are built like cathedrals,
Reaching high into the sky
As if to fly.
Onward they urge
From the depth of the brine
Pregnant with surge
Over ever greater design.
Let's burst open the sky
Let's reach the stars
Let's ring out the cry
Transcending all bars.
"What Do They Want for Proof?" There is no proof. There are no authorities whatever. No President, Academy, Court of Law, Congress or Senate on this earth has the knowledge or power to decide what will be the knowledge of tomorrow... Quest for knowledge is Supreme Human Activity. - WR April 1956.
"Does the Planet Earth Harbor Spacemen? On March 20, 1956, 10 p.m., a thought of a very remote possibility entered my mind, which, I fear, will never leave me again: Am I a Spaceman? Do I belong to a new race on earth, bred by men from outer space in embraces with earth women? Are my children offspring of the first interplanetary race? Has this melting-pot of interplanetary society already been created on our planet, as the melting pot of all earth nations was established in the USA 190 years ago? Or does this thought relate to things to come in the future? I request my right and privilege to have such thoughts and ask such questions without being threatened to be jailed by any administrative agency of society." ãWilhelm Reich, Contact With Space, p. 1.
Foster, A. & Epstein, B. Danger on the Right. Random House 1964.
Quigley, C. Tragedy & Hope Mcmillan 1966.
The Arizona Daily Star 1952-1964
Reich, W. Contact With Space
Eden, J. Scavengers from Space
Bird, K. The Chairman
Shoup, L., Minter, W. The Imperial Brain Trust
Reid, The Green Felt Jungle
Volkman, Secret Intelligence
"Shortly after the white man adapted explosives to evil purposes, it was remarked that 'it always rained after a battle.' This led to serious proposals after the Napoleonic Wars and again after our Civil War to carry out rainmaking experiments by shooting explosives into clouds or detonating them at the ground. Some inconclusive experiments were tried. The idea of explosives for rain production has cropped up recurrently up to the present day. A project in New Zealand in 1906-1907 attracted widespread attention; in 1932 Professor Kleinschmidt of Stuttgart felt compelled to write a painstaking article to point out the nonsense in the vociferous proposals for hail "shooting" by some of his countrymen. Today the shooting is bigger and the urging voices seem louder, but it must be said in behalf of the proponents that at least in the H-Bomb we are approaching meteorological scales of energy." -Horace R. Byers, University of Chicago at the Conference on the Scientific Basis of Weather Modification, Tucson 1956.
January 16th, 1954 (Arizona Daily Star): "Arizona rivers show sharp flow decrease." The US Weather bureau predicted a decrease of one-half to one-quarter the normal volume for the first five months of 1954. The article was followed by this bit of filler: "Only about four per cent of the world's land surface is arable land." ____________
-Jim Martin <
POB 2420, Ft. Bragg, CA 95437
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