- While scientists, governments and concerned groups worry
about increased industrial emissions of greenhouse gases and its effects
on the planet, the role of the military in climate change has been
- 'When environmental crises occur, it is usually only
the civilian economy that is called upon to rectify the balance, while
military programmes are rarely taken to task,' says Dr Rosalie Bertell,
renowned scientist and nuclear activist.
- According to her, the military has got away scot-free
from responsibility for polluting the environment and ecological
- In her path-breaking book titled 'Planet Earth: The
Weapon of War' (2000), she cited examples from the Vietnam War, the Gulf
War and the NATO bombing in Kosovo.
- These wars have not only destroyed lives and property,
they have contaminated large areas of land for years to come.
- According to Dr. Bertell, the hundreds of burning oil
fires during the Gulf War was the 'worst man-made pollution event in
It led to environmental and climatic disasters worldwide.
- Scientists worldwide predicted fiercer monsoons due to
greater warming, acid rain, forceful storms and severe flooding all over
- 'In time...a huge typhoon struck Bangladesh on 1 May,
killing more than 100,000 people...Soviet scientists reported very high
levels of acid rain in Southern Russia. Satellite images showed smoke and
darkened snow in Pakistan and northern India,' she said.
- 'Astronauts [on] the space shuttle Atlantis reported
so much haze shrouding the Earth. ...Researchers from the Chinese Academy
of Sciences claimed that dense clouds from the Gulf War were also
for the disastrous floods which took place in their country,' Dr. Bertell
recalls in her book.
- Heavy storms were reported over Eastern Europe. 'There
was severe flooding from Bavaria to Czechoslovakia with several deaths,
destruction of farmlands, and bridges washed away. Rail lines throughout
Austria were submerged and the Danube River reached record heights,' she
- In both the Gulf War and in Kosovo, depleted uranium
ordnance was used by the US and NATO forces on a large scale. This has
led to contamination of land, air and water with long-term effects on human
health: just as in Vietnam, where the US military deliberately targeted
the environment and destroyed and contaminated millions of acres of land
with 'Agent Orange' and other toxic chemicals.
- But this devastation pales in comparison to the havoc
that the military is now capable of wreaking on planet earth.
- The vast experiments that the military, especially the
US, have been conducting over the decades involving experiments with the
ozone layer, manipulation of the weather and use of wave technology to
probe inside earth itself, is in preparation for wars that will be launched
in the 21st century.
- These atmospheric experiments and research 'are not just
about exciting scientific exploration. Space is the next battlefield',
meaning that the military is taking war into space. They are 'going to
fight in space,' she quotes.
- 'Because of the secrecy shielding military research,
it is not always easy for the public to understand the possible
Dr Bertell says.
- Beginning in 1946 in the Pacific, nuclear atmospheric
testing by the US and later, the Soviet Union and the UK, have seriously
damaged the environment.
- According to Dr. Bertell, 'the 300 megatons of nuclear
explosions between 1945 and 1963 had depleted the ozone layer by about
- Although the first ozone hole had begun to heal in the
1980s, in 1986, civilian scientists established the existence of a second
ozone hole in the Antarctic.
- 'Scientists have estimated that a 1% loss of ozone would
result in 1-3% more ultra-violet radiation reaching the Earth,' she writes.
'This would increase the skin cancer rate and affect all life forms,' she
- In the 1990s, US military experiments with
rockets increased and the launching of plutonium into space became a
- These nuclear-powered space missions were highly
as plutonium could be dispersed over large areas of the earth in an
- According to Dr. Bertell, the first major space accident
seriously affecting Earth took place in April 1964 when the US rocket
was aborted and the 17,000 curies of plutonium it was carrying scattered
over the globe. The plutonium is still detectable in soil and the bones
of people and animals.
- 'In 1997, there were two SNAP-9A rockets in orbit - each
carrying 17,000 curies of plutonium and each planning on [the] completion
of their mission to disperse the plutonium as the 1964 rocket had done,'
- Because of the secrecy surrounding these space plans,
the public are not aware of the dangers involved in these projects
when 'the history of the space programme is littered with
- The weapons of war in the new millennium would involve
the use of planet earth itself as a weapon, harnessing the power of natural
processes for war.
- At the Peoples' Health Assembly in December 2000 in
Bangladesh, Dr. Bertell revealed to a shocked and incredulous audience
that 'the latest weapons in the arsenal of the US military is Planet Earth
itself ... and weather will be one of the worst destructive weapons by
the year 2025'.
- Dr. Bertell was referring to how engineered earthquakes
and tornadoes could wreak havoc on populations and nations.
- According to her book, electromagnetic weapons 'have
the ability to transmit explosive and other effects such as earthquake
induction across intercontinental distances to any selected target site
on the globe with force levels equivalent to major nuclear
- For the past 40 years, the US military has conducted
experiments on the earth's atmosphere using waves and chemicals.
- Attempts to gain control of the weather, through
engineering with experiments involving laser and chemicals to ascertain
whether they could damage the ozone layer over an enemy; cause damage to
crops and human health through exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays,
have been carried out by the military.
- Chemicals like barium and lithium have been released
above the ozone layer creating spectacular light displays and glowing
clouds, which were seen in North America during the 1980s and early
- These compounds are most destructive of the 'ozone layer'
and cause further chemical changes to the earth's atmosphere.
- According to Dr. Bertell, 'changes in the earth's
bring about corresponding changes in the Earth's weather and
- Another method is the use of very low frequency
waves in weather modification experiments. These waves can pass through
solid earth and oceans and have been used by the military to probe the
upper atmosphere and the inner structure of the earth.
- These pulsed, extremely low frequency (ELF) waves, for
instance, can be used to convey mechanical effects and vibrations at great
distances through the Earth. They can manipulate the weather, creating
storms and torrential rains over an area.
- These waves have the potential to generate earth
'It has the capability to cause disturbance of volcanoes and tectonic
which in turn, have an effect on the weather,' she states.
- For example, earthquakes are known to interact with the
ionosphere (the atmosphere 50-373 miles above the earth's surface). In
fact, many of the earthquakes that occurred in recent years were preceded
by certain unexplained phenomena, says Dr. Bertell.
- Some of the examples in her book include the Tang Shan
earthquake in China, which occurred on 28 July 1976, and left 650,000
dead. The catastrophic event was preceded by an airglow, said to have been
caused by Soviet ELF wave experiments to heat the ionosphere.
- The other was the San Francisco earthquake. According
to Dr. Bertell, unusual ultra low frequency waves were detected in
on 12 September 1989. These waves grew in intensity and finally subsided
on 5 October. On 17 October, they appeared again with signals so strong
that they went off the scale. Three hours later, the earthquake took
- In fact, a Washington Times report in March 1992 said,
satellites and ground sensors detected mysterious radio waves or related
electrical and magnetic activity before major earthquakes in Southern
Armenia, Japan and Northern California between 1986 and 1989.
- The earthquake that hit Los Angeles on 17 January 1994
was also preceded by unusual radio waves and two sonic booms.
- 'These strange coincidences have never been explained
... it seems highly probable that some of these earthquakes have been a
result of human activity, not natural forces,' said Dr. Bertell.
- Tellingly, the US Secretary of Defence, in 1997,
on new threats posed by terrorist organizations 'engaging in eco-type
whereby they can alter the climate, set off earthquakes, and volcanoes
remotely through the use of electromagnetic waves'.
- 'The military has a habit of accusing others of having
capabilities they already hold,' said Dr. Bertell in response.
- These experiments by the military on the earth's
have seen an increase in freak weather throughout the globe, says Dr.
- 'Between the 1960s and the 1990s, major natural disaster
rates have increased by a factor of 10,' she adds.
- According to her, the EL Nino in 1997-98, which was
for abnormal weather conditions worldwide, was actually preceded by violent
disruptions and climatic destabilisation a year earlier.
- In 1996, Dr. Bertell described the severe flooding that
occurred in the Indian subcontinent affecting Nepal, India and Bangladesh
in which millions were left homeless. In China, floods killed hundreds
while tens of thousands had their homes and property destroyed.
- At the same time, Canada was hit by torrential rains,
flooding, tornadoes, hail and thunderstorms - all very abnormal climatic
conditions destroying property, livestock and lives.
- Heavy snowfall, not seen in decades, appeared in South
Africa, cutting off food supplies and taking lives due to the extreme
- During the week ending 19th July, earthquakes rocked
the French Alps, Austria, Southern Italy, Northeast India, Japan,
the Kamchatka peninsular, and Southern Mexico. In New Zealand, a volcano
- Tremors were reported in Kenya, Germany, the Greek
Turkey, northern Sumatra, Bali, the central Philippines, New Zealand's
North Island, eastern Japan, central Chile, El Salvador and the Alentian
Islands, all within the week ending 26 July, she reported.
- According to her, 'While some of the events of 1996 may
have been 'acts of God', certainly, the overall volume and ferocity was
anything but normal'.
- 'Because of the intimate connection between the Earth's
atmosphere and its weather, it is not surprising to find that military
activities have had an impact on local and regional weather patterns,'
- The fact that military activities can cause freak weather
by accident as well as deliberately as part of geophysical warfare, is
indeed a frightening prospect for the planet.
- More so, when we know so little about 'the natural cycles
of Earth and the impact of human activities on it to make good predictions
of what will happen when human activities interfere with them,' she
- 'Moreover, such predictions are based on the natural
history of our planet and are meaningless in the face of random
on major Earth systems in the upper atmosphere and the bowels of the
- Clearly, 'the military is also contributing to some of
the most intractable survival problems of the twenty-first century,' she