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On Monday, 6 February 2023, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Turkey and Syria. As of writing this piece, more than 15,000 people have been killed and tens of thousands injured. Thousands of buildings collapsed and aid agencies are more worried than ever before about the humanitarian crisis that is unfolding. To further endanger survivors and complicate rescue efforts, freezing weather conditions are persisting in what is the depth of winter in that part of the world.

Since Monday to now, the acronym HAARP has been trending on Twitter and being described by some as the cause of the earthquake. Of course, this is enough to get me thinking; is there any reason to believe that this is true? First, I would ask the question whether or not earthquakes are common in Turkey, and secondly, what exactly is HAARP?

Turkey sits on one of the most seismic areas in the entire world and has been hit by a number of powerful earthquakes in the past. The country sits on the Anatolian plate, which is situated between the Eurasian and African plates. The Anatolian plate is formed from the North Anatolian fault and the East Anatolian fault. In terms of the geology of the region, nothing would suggest anything sinister about the earthquake or why it took place. It is a tragedy, to be sure, but there is nothing to suggest any dark motive or reason behind why it took place.

So, about HAARP. The High-frequency Active Auroral Research Programme (HAARP) was initiated as an ionospheric research programme jointly funded by the US Air Force, the U.S. Navy, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). It was designed and built by BAE Advanced Technologies. Its original purpose was to analyse the ionosphere and investigate the potential for developing ionospheric enhancements technology for radio communications and surveillance.

This seems innocuous enough, so why have all the guys in their tinfoil hats come out to play? HAARP is the subject of a number of conspiracy theories. Michel Chossudovsky stated in a book published by the committee on monetary and economic reform that "recent scientific evidence suggests that HAARP is fully operational and has the capability of triggering floods, hurricanes, droughts and earthquakes."

Is there any reason for anyone to believe that this project can do what Mr Chossudovsky claims? What exactly does the project do? Readily available literature says that the project directs a 3.6 megawatts signal, in the 2.8 – 10 megahertz region of the high-frequency band, into the ionosphere. The signal may be pulsed or continuous. Effects of transmission and any recovery period can be examined using associated instrumentation, including VHF and UHF radars, HF receivers, and optical cameras. According to the HAARP team, this will advance the study of basic natural processes that occur in the hours spare under the natural but much stronger influence of solar interaction. HAARP also enables studies of how the natural ionosphere affects radio signals.

Some of the main capabilities of HAARP include:

  1. Generating very low frequency (VLF) radio waves by modulated heating of the auroral electrojet, useful because generating VLF waves ordinarily requires gigantic antennas

  2. Generating artificial Airglow, which is typically subvisual but routinely detectable. Under certain geophysical conditions and transmitter configurations, it can be bright enough to observe with the unaided eye.

  3. Generating extremely low frequency (ELF) waves in the 0.1 Hz range. These are next to impossible to produce any other way, because the length of an antenna is dictated by the wavelength of the signal it emits or receives.

  4. Generating whistler-mode VLF signals that enter the magnetosphere and propagate to the other hemisphere, interacting with Van Allen radiation belt particles along the way

  5. VLF remote sensing of the heated ionosphere

Up to now, what I've noted is readily available for public consumption. HAARP's innate abilities and what these have been tasked with doing, according to their own publications, is certainly not a cause for concern. The question however remains; could these abilities be tasked to do things that could, in fact, weaponise naturally occurring events such as earthquakes or other kinds of severe weather? The answer is, yes – It is very possible.

From July 1976 to December 1989 a strange noise could be heard on shortwave radios all around the globe. The signal was extremely powerful and was immediately noticed by both amateur and professional radio operators alike. Even commercial industries and devices in people’s homes were affected by the sound. The noise was a repetitive tapping that many believed sounded like a woodpecker or a helicopter. Although it was heard around the world and despised by many, the actual source of the noise was not confirmed until after the Soviet Union had fallen.

Although the source would not be publicly confirmed for years, those in the radio community had already concluded that the noise was produced by an over-the-horizon radar. The source was the Duga radar, a critical part of the Soviet Union’s early warning system to detect incoming missiles. The antenna of the Duga radar was huge; 700 meters long and 150 meters high. Despite the size, the Soviets built two, one near the now-abandoned town of Chernobyl, which was called DUGA-1, and another in Siberia, called DUGA-2.

The radars were protected by their own air-defense systems to ensure their survival during a conflict.

The Chernobyl antenna was pointed north towards the United States, who they believed was the most likely to launch intercontinental-ballistic-missiles at them. Meanwhile, DUGA-2 in Siberia guarded against missiles coming from the east. China and Japan were growing economies at the time, and their military capabilities were growing too, which was a cause for concern for the USSR. DUGA-2 could also detect US missiles coming from the Pacific Ocean.

The sound heard on shortwave radios was a distinctive tapping noise, earning it the name “Russian Woodpecker.”

Each site had a transmitter and receiver, located about 40 miles apart. As a conventional radar can only see as far as the horizon, the Duga radar circumvented this problem by bouncing its signal off the ionosphere, enabling it to see over the horizon. To do this, an enormously powerful transmitter is required. The Duga system was able to transmit at 10 MW of power.

The goal of the system was to detect an attack within the first two or three minutes after a missile had been launched.

The Soviets had been experimenting with early warning radars for a while before the Duga system was put into action. The first prototype system was named Duga, meaning “arc,” a name that would be carried over to the later completed radars.

This earlier system was located in Southern Ukraine, and was reportedly able to detect rocket launches at the Baikonur Cosmodrome 1,600 miles away. A second prototype was able to detect missile launches from as far away as the Pacific Ocean.

Naturally, the Duga systems were an extremely closely guarded secret. After the transmissions began, both amateur radio enthusiasts and NATO were able to triangulate the position of the radars inside the Soviet Union. Many countries complained to the USSR about the short-wave tapping sound, but they denied its existence. Even Soviet maps listed the location as a children’s camp.

In a 2011 paper, published by Earthquake Science, titled "The Ultra-low-frequency Magnetic Disturbances Associated with Earthquakes", the introduction read as follows ...

Different electromagnetic phenomena are reported to take place in a wide frequency range prior to an earthquake, and these precursory seismoelectromagnetic effects are expected to be useful for the earthquake prediction and the associated mitigation of earthquake hazards. Basically there are two principal methods for observing earthquake signatures.
The first is the direct observation of electromagnetic emissions (natural emissions) emitted from the lithosphere and the second is to detect indirect seismic effects appearing in the atmosphere and ionosphere. The former method is based on the idea that natural emissions are radiated from the earthquake hypocenter due to the generation of electric currents by some tectonic effect during the preparation phase, and one of the typical examples belonging to this category, is the ultra-low-frequency (ULF, frequency less than 10 Hz) electromagnetic emission.
The second is based on the concept that there appear the anomalies in the atmosphere and ionosphere due to the seismicity, leading to the abnormal propagation of the pre-existing transmitter signals (detected as anomalies in the received amplitude and phase). This review deals with the ULF magnetic field variation as the direct consequence of precursory lithospheric effect. Even though the radio emissions are generated as a pulse in the earthquake hypocenter, higher frequency components cannot propagate over long distances in the lithosphere due to severe attenuation, but only ULF waves can propagate up to an observation point near the Earth’s surface with small attenuation. This is the most important advantage of seismogenic ULF emissions.

We know that over-the-horizon radar technology exists. We also know that ULF electromagnetic emissions are a tell-tale sign of impending earthquakes. However, what if these ULF emissions are not only a product of an earthquake about to occur, but rather, something of a more causal nature? If that were the case, one could bounce transmissions of a certain wavelength off the ionosphere from various points of origin to a pinpointed location along a fault line, setting off a shift in that fault line resulting in an earthquake that could cause widespread devastation.

Of course, no government on earth will ever admit to doing this or even having the capability, so this is pure speculation on my part at this point. But, rather than naming me the newest man in a tinfoil hat or conspiracy hack for suggesting it, I now posit that this eventuality is not entirely beyond the realms of possibility and therefore merits further investigation. One might ask, what would be the motive for anyone to set off an earthquake in Turkey? I do not believe that any government on earth would do so purely because they can. Could it be that this is a result of Turkey blocking Sweden's application to join NATO? Could it be that this is punishment for Turkey doing business with Russia in contravention to recently imposed sanctions? If so, then the degree of hostility on display here is certainly unprecedented. I would hate to think that the United States or, by extension, NATO would have such little regard for the lives of Turkish civilians. As history has shown us on numerous occasions, nothing is beyond the realm of possibility and truth is certainly stranger than fiction.

I, for one, will be watching closely at what happens next.

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