The Ultimate Weapon of Mass Destruction: “Owning the Weather” for Military Use

Global Research, January 12, 2014

Author’s Introductory Note

Environmental modification techniques
(ENMOD) for military use constitute, in the present context of global
warfare, the ultimate weapon of mass destruction.
Rarely acknowledged in the debate on
global climate change, the world’s weather can now be modified as part
of a new generation of sophisticated electromagnetic weapons. Both the
US and Russia have developed capabilities to manipulate the climate for
military use.
Environmental modification techniques
have been applied by the US military for more than half a century. US
mathematician John von Neumann, in liaison with the US Department of
Defense, started his research on weather modification in the late 1940s
at the height of the Cold War and foresaw ‘forms of climatic warfare as
yet unimagined’. During the Vietnam war, cloud-seeding techniques were
used, starting in 1967 under Project Popeye, the objective of which was
to prolong the monsoon season and block enemy supply routes along the Ho
Chi Minh Trail.
The US military has developed advanced
capabilities that enable it selectively to alter weather patterns. The
technology, which is being perfected under the High-frequency Active
Auroral Research Program (HAARP), is an appendage of the Strategic
Defense Initiative – ‘Star Wars’. From a military standpoint, HAARP is a
weapon of mass destruction, operating from the outer atmosphere and
capable of destabilising agricultural and ecological systems around the
Weather-modification, according to the US Air Force document AF 2025 Final Report,

“offers the war
fighter a wide range of possible options to defeat or coerce an
adversary’, capabilities, it says, extend to the triggering of floods,
hurricanes, droughts and earthquakes: ‘Weather modification will become a
part of domestic and international security and could be done
unilaterally… It could have offensive and defensive applications and
even be used for deterrence purposes. The ability to generate
precipitation, fog and storms on earth or to modify space weather… and
the production of artificial weather all are a part of an integrated set
of [military] technologies.”
In 1977, an international Convention
was ratified by the UN General Assembly which banned ‘military or other
hostile use of environmental modification techniques having widespread,
long-lasting or severe effects.’ It defined ‘environmental modification
techniques’ as ‘any technique for changing –through the deliberate
manipulation of natural processes – the dynamics, composition or
structure of the earth, including its biota, lithosphere, hydrosphere
and atmosphere, or of outer space.’
According to the

term “environmental modification techniques” refers to any technique for
changing – through the deliberate manipulation of natural processes –
the dynamics, composition or structure of the Earth, including its
biota, lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere, or of outer space. ( United Nations, Geneva: 18 May 1977)
While the substance of the 1977
Convention was reasserted in the UN Framework Convention on Climate
Change (UNFCCC) signed at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, debate on
weather modification for military use has become a scientific taboo.
Military analysts and scientists are
mute on the subject. Meteorologists are not investigating the matter and
environmentalists are focused on greenhouse gas emissions under the
Kyoto Protocol. Neither is the possibility of climatic or environmental
manipulations as part of a military and intelligence agenda, while
tacitly acknowledged, part of the broader debate on climate change under
UN auspices.
While discussion of the post Cold War
military applications of weather warfare is a taboo, the US Air Force
has nonetheless acknowledged the strategic importance of ENMOD
techniques in the modern battlefield of non-conventional warfare and
intel ops, including the conduct, without the enemy’s knowledge, of
“covert” weather modification operations.

At this juncture in our history, US-NATO forces are deployed worldwide.

The US and its allies are not only targeting Syria, Iran and North Korea, they are also threatening Russia and China.

The Pentagon has formulated the contours of a global military agenda, a “long war”, a war without borders.

“Weather warfare” is the
ultimate WMD with the potential of destabilizing an enemy’s ecosystem,
destroying its agriculture, disabling communications networks. In other
words, ENMOD techniques can undermine an entire national economy,
impoverish millions of people and “kill a nation” without the
deployment of troops and military hardware.
The following text, with
the exception of some small edits was first published in September 2004.
The 2004 article was a follow-up on an earlier study by the author
entitled Third World Resurgence, January 2001,
While the issue of climatic manipulation for military use has largely been ignored by Environmentalists.

The URL of the original article is:

This essay is dedicated
to the memory of Dr. Rosalie Bertell, who, from the very outset
revealed the diabolical nature of the HAARP project, as part of an
integrated non-conventional weapons program:

“It is related to fifty years of intensive and
increasingly destructive programs to understand and control the upper
atmosphere. … HAARP is an integral part of a long history of space
research and development of a deliberate military nature. The military
implications of combining these projects is alarming. … The ability of
the HAARP / Spacelab/ rocket combination to deliver very large amounts
of energy, comparable to a nuclear bomb, anywhere on earth via laser and
particle beams, are frightening. The project is likely to be “sold” to
the public as a space shield against incoming weapons, or, for the more
gullible, a device for repairing the ozone layer.“

It is my sincere hope
that this article will renew the debate on the dangers of weather
warfare and will contribute to the broader objective of World peace
which requires the relentless “disarming” of the US- NATO military
Michel Chossudovsky, January 12, 2014

Weather Warfare

The significant expansion
in America’s weather warfare arsenal, which is a priority of the
Department of Defense is not a matter for debate or discussion. While,
environmentalists blame the Bush administration for not having signed
the Kyoto protocol, the issue of “weather warfare”, namely the
manipulation of weather patterns for military use is never mentioned.
The US Air Force has the capability of
manipulating climate either for testing purposes or for outright
military-intelligence use. These capabilities extend to the triggering
of floods, hurricanes, droughts and earthquakes. In recent years, large
amounts of money have been allocated by the US Department of Defense to
further developing and perfecting these capabilities.
Weather modification will become a part of domestic and international security and could be done unilaterally… It could have offensive and defensive applications and even be used for deterrence purposes. The
ability to generate precipitation, fog, and storms on earth or to
modify space weather, … and the production of artificial weather all are
a part of an integrated set of technologies which can provide
substantial increase in US, or degraded capability in an adversary, to
achieve global awareness, reach, and power. (US Air Force, emphasis added. Air University of the US Air Force, AF 2025 Final Report, emphasis added)
While there is no firm evidence that the US
Air Force weather warfare facilities have been deliberately applied to
modify weather patterns, one would expect that if these capabilities are
being developed for military use, they would at least be the object of
routine testing, much in the same way as the testing of new conventional
and strategic weapons systems.
Needless to say, the subject matter is a
scientific taboo. The possibility of climatic or environmental
manipulations as part of a military and intelligence agenda, while
tacitly acknowledged, is never considered as relevant. Military analysts
are mute on the subject. Meteorologists are not investigating the
matter, and environmentalists are strung on global warming and the Kyoto
Ironically, the Pentagon, while recognizing
its ability to modify the World’s climate for military use, has joined
the global warming consensus. In a major , the Pentagon has analyzed in detail the implications of various global warming scenarios. constitutes a convenient cover-up. Not a word is mentioned about its main weather warfare program: The High-Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) based in Gokona, Alaska –jointly managed by the US Air Force and the US Navy.

There are several mainstream explanations
on weather and climate change, none of which fully explains, within
their respective terms of reference, the highly unusual and erratic
weather occurrences, not to mention the human toll and devastation,
which have led to the destabilization of entire agricultural and
eco-systems. Needless to say these explanations never address the issue
of climate manipulation for military use.
Climatic Manipulation by the US Military: The HAARP Program

The High-Frequency Active Auroral Research
Program (HAARP) based in Gokona, Alaska, has been in existence since
1992. It is part of a new generation of sophisticated weaponry under the
US Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). Operated by the Air Force
Research Laboratory’s Space Vehicles Directorate, HAARP constitutes a
system of powerful antennas capable of creating “controlled local
modifications of the ionosphere” [upper layer of the atmosphere]:
“[HAARP will be used] to induce a small, localized
change in ionospheric temperature so that resulting physical reactions
can be studied by other instruments located either at or close to the
HAARP site”. (HAARP website)
Nicholas Begich –actively involved in the public campaign against HAARP– describes HAARP as:
“A super-powerful radiowave-beaming technology that lifts areas of the
ionosphere by focusing a beam and heating those areas. Electromagnetic
waves then bounce back onto earth and penetrate everything — living and
dead.” (for further details see Michel Chossudovsky, )
World renowned scientist
Dr. Rosalie Bertell depicts HAARP as “a gigantic heater that can cause
major disruptions in the ionosphere, creating not just holes, but long
incisions in the protective layer that keeps deadly radiation from
bombarding the planet.” (quoted in Chossudovsky, op cit.)
According to Richard Williams, a physicist and consultant to the David Sarnoff laboratory in Princeton HAARP constitutes “an irresponsible act of global vandalism.”

He and others fear a secret second
stage where HAARP would “beam much more energy into the ionosphere. That
could produce a severe disruption of the upper atmosphere at one
location that may produce effects that spread rapidly around the Earth
for years.” (Quoted in Scott Gilbert, Environmental Warfare and US Foreign Policy: The Ultimate Weapon of Mass Destruction, )
HAARP has been presented to public opinion
as a program of scientific and academic research. US military documents
seem to suggest, however, that HAARP’s main objective is to “exploit the
ionosphere for Department of Defense purposes.” (quoted in
Chossudovsky, op cit).
Without explicitly referring to the HAARP
program, a US Air Force study points to the use of “induced ionospheric
modifications” as a means of altering weather patterns as well as
disrupting enemy communications and radar. (Ibid)
HAARP also has the ability of triggering blackouts and disrupting the electricity power system of entire regions.

An analysis of statements emanating from
the US Air Force points to the unthinkable: the covert manipulation of
weather patterns, communications systems and electric power as a weapon
of global warfare, enabling the US to disrupt and dominate entire
regions of the World.
Weather Warfare: A Corporate Bonanza

HAARP has been operational since the early
1990s. Its system of antennas at Gakona, Alaska, was initially based on a
technology patented by Advanced Power Technologies Inc. (APTI), a
subsidiary of Atlantic Ritchfield Corporation (ARCO).
The first phase of the HAARP Ionospheric Research Instrument (IRI) was
completed by APTI. The IRI system of antennas was first installed in
1992 by a subsidiary of British Aerospace Systems (BAES) using the APTI
patent. The antennas beam into the outer-atmosphere using a set of
wireless high frequency transmitters.
In 1994, ARCO sold its APTI subsidiary,
including the patents and the second phase construction contract to
E-Systems, a secretive high tech military outfit with links to the CIA ( ).
E-Systems specializes in
the production of electronic warfare equipment, navigation and
reconnaissance machinery, including “highly sophisticated spying

“[E-Systems] is one of the biggest intelligence
contractors in the world, doing work for the CIA, defense intelligence
organizations, and others. US$1.8 billion of their annual sales are to
these organizations, with $800 million for black projects-projects so
secret that even the United States Congress isn’t told how the money is
being spent.
( )

“The company has outfitted such
military projects as the Doomsday Plan (the system that allows the
President to manage a nuclear war) and Operation Desert Storm.”
(Princeton Review, )

With the purchase of APTI, E-Systems
acquired the strategic weather warfare technology and patent rights,
including Bernard J. Eastlund’s US Patent No: 4,686,605 entitled “Method and Apparatus for Altering a Region in the Earth’s Atmosphere, Ionosphere and/or Magnetosphere”.
It is worth mentioning that the Eastlund
/APTI patents were based on the research of Yugoslav scientist Nicola
Tesla (many of whose ideas were stolen by US corporations). (See Scott Gilbert, Environmental Warfare and US Foreign Policy: The Ultimate Weapon of Mass Destruction, )
Eastlund described this deadly technology as capable of:

disruption of communications over a very large portion of the
Earth…missile or aircraft destruction, deflection or confusion… weather
modification…” ( ),
Not surprisingly, the
patent had previously been sealed under a government secrecy
order.Barely a year following the E-Systems purchase of APTI’s weather
warfare technology, E-Systems was bought out by Raytheon, the fourth
largest US military contractor. Through this money-spinning acquisition,
Raytheon became the largest “defense electronics” firm in the
World.Meanwhile, ARCO which had sold APTI to E-Systems, had itself been
acquired by the BP-AMOCO oil consortium, thereby integrating the largest
oil company in the World (BP).
Raytheon through its E-Systems subsidiary
now owns the patents used to develop the HAARP weather warfare facility
at Gakona Alaska. Raytheon is also involved in other areas of weather
research for military use, including the activities of its subsidiary in
Antarctica, Raytheon Polar Services.
“Owning the Weather”: Towards the Expanded Final Stage

The HAARP antenna array and transmitters were slated to be built in several distinct phases

[*]Developmental Prototype (DP) (See )[/*]Filled DP (FDP),Limited IRI (LIRI)[*]Full size or final IRI (FIRI).See[/*][/list]
During the Clinton administration, the
“Filled Developmental Prototype” (FDP), namely a system composed of an
array of 48 active antenna elements with connected wireless
transmitters, was installed and completed at the HAARP facility in 1994.
(See Figure 1 below) Under the initial Developmental Prototype (DP),
only 18 of the 48 transmitters were connected.
Bernard Eastlund in a 1997 interview described this antenna array in its Filled DP stage as the “the largest ionospheric heater ever built”.

This system of 48 antennas, however, while
fully operational, was not according to Eastlund, powerful enough (in
1997) “to bring the ideas in his patents to fruition”:.
“But they’re getting up there”, he said. “This is a very powerful device. Especially if they go to the expanded stage.” (quoted in Scott Gilbert, op cit, see also )

This ‘final expanded stage’ envisioned by
Eastlund, which will provide maximum capability to manipulate the
World’s weather patterns, has now been reached.Under the Bush
administration, the main partner of Raytheon (which owns the patents) in
the construction and development stage of the HAARP antenna array, is
British Aerospace Systems (BAES), which had been involved in the initial
installation of the antenna array in the early 1990s.The multimillion
dollar contract was granted by The Office of Naval Research to BAES in
2003, through its US subsidiary BAE Systems Advanced Technologies Inc.
The contract was signed barely two months before the Anglo-American
invasion of Iraq.
Using Raytheon’s technology, BAES was to develop the HAARP Ionospheric Research Instrument (IRI) to its maximum capabilities of “Full size or final IRI (FIRI)”.

In April 2003, BAE Systems Advanced Technologies outsourced the production and installation of the antennas to Phazar Corp (
), a company specializing in advanced wireless antennas for military
use. (Phazar owns Antenna Products Corporation of Mineral Wells, Texas ). Phazar was entrusted with producing and installing 132 crossed dipole antennas items for the HAARP facility. ( )
A year later, in April 2004, the final
phase in the expansion of the HAARP facility was launched. (Dept of
Defense, 19 April 2004). This phase consisted in equipping all the 180
antennas with high frequency transmitters. BAE Systems was awarded
another lucrative contract, this time for $35 million.
In July 2004, Phazar had delivered and
installed the 132 crossed dipole antennas including the antenna support
structures and ground screen items at the HAARP facility, bringing the
number of antennas from 48 under the FDP stage to 180. (see Table 2).
Meanwhile, BAE Systems had contracted with Jersey based defense electronics firm
in an $11.5 million outsourcing arrangement, the production and
installation of the high-frequency (HF) radio transmitters for the HAARP
antenna array. (See;amp;preview=1
and Business Wire, 15 June 2004). DRS specializes in a variety of
leading edge products for the U.S. military and intelligence agencies.( ).
Under its contract with BAE Systems
Information and Electronic Warfare Systems in Washington, D.C., DRS is
to manufacture and install “more than 60 Model D616G 10-Kilowatt Dual
Transmitters” to be used with the HAARP system of antennas. (It is
unclear from the company statements whether all the 180 antennas will be
equipped with a transmitter, bringing the system up to full IRI
Deliveries and installation are to be completed by July
2006. While HAARP is described as a “research project”, the production
of the transmitters was entrusted to DRS’ C41 “Command, Control,
Communications, Computers and Intelligence (C4I) Group”

The diagram and images below describe the HAARP Alaska Facility in 1997.


Figure 1: The Array of 48 Antenna Elements with the Transmitter Shelters (FDP stage)

The 48 antenna array is supported by
transmitter shelters, each of which contains 6 transmitter cabinets.
(See image of shelter below)
Each cabinet contains two transmitters. (image of cabinet below)

The newly installed 132 dipole antennas
supplied by Phazar vastly increase the size of the HAARP Alaska
facility; the new transmitters are supplied and installed by DRS

Image 1: Aerial Photo of the HAARP Alaska Site


Transmitter Shelter containing Six Transmitter Cabinets. Each Cabinet contains two transmitters

Testing of HAARP Equipment (2003- 2004)

It is worth noting that the expansion of
the antenna array (e.g. during 2003-2004) required, as part of the
contracts reached with BAE Systems and its various subcontractors, the
routine testing of the installed weather warfare equipment. An
intermediate stage Limited IRI (LIRI), could be in operation by 2004,
following the completion of the 180 antenna array under the Phazar
contract and pending the final delivery of the remaining HF radio
In this regard, a report published by the
Russian parliament (Duma) in 2002, suggests that the US Military had
plans to test its weather modification techniques at its Alaska
facility, as well as at two other sites:
“The committees reported that the USA is planning to
test three facilities of this kind. One of them is located on the
military testing ground in Alaska and its full-scale tests are to begin
in early 2003. The second one is in Greenland and the third one in
“When these facilities are launched
into space from Norway, Alaska and Greenland, a closed contour will be
created with a truly fantastic integral potential for influencing the
near-Earth medium,” the State Duma said.

The USA plans to carry out large-scale
scientific experiments under the HAARP program, and not controlled by
the global community, will create weapons capable of breaking
radio communication lines and equipment installed on spaceships and
rockets, provoke serious accidents in electricity networks and in oil
and gas pipelines and have a negative impact on the mental health of
people populating entire regions, the deputies said. (Interfax News Agency, original Russian, BBC Monitoring, 8 August 2002, emphasis added)

Whether this report by the Russian Duma on
testing “starting in early 2003″ is correct or not, the US
administration must be confronted nationally and internationally, at the
political and diplomatic levels, at the UN and the US Congress, by the
international scientific community, by environmentalists and the antiwar
movement. The future of humanity is threatened by the use of weather
modification techniques.
Moreover, to wage an effective campaign, it
is essential that corroborating scientific investigation of the unusual
weather occurrences observed in recent years (and particularly since
early 2003) be undertaken. This investigation should be far-reaching,
collecting relevant data, correlating specific weather occurrences to
recorded antenna activity at the Alaska site as well as at the two other
sites, etc.
The Full Size Ionospheric Research
Instrument FIRI stage, described as “a maximum size of 180 antenna
elements, arranged in 15 columns by 12 rows” is scheduled to be
completed by mid-2006 (assuming the installation of the remaining dual
transmitters), at which time the HAARP program will have reached its
maximum FIRI capacity, meaning the ability to selectively modify, for
military use, weather patterns anywhere in the World.

“The IRI is currently [June 2004]
composed of 48 antenna elements and has a power capacity of 960,000
watts. When installed, the additional 132 transmitters will give HAARP a
3.6 mega-watt capacity [see Table 2 below]. The HAARP build-out is
jointly funded by the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Navy and the Defense
Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). (Business Wire, 10 June 2004)


This advanced stage of full capacity (FIRI) corresponds to what the US Air Force has called “Owning the Weather”:

US aerospace forces [will] ‘own the
weather’ by capitalizing on emerging technologies and focusing
development of those technologies to war-fighting applications… From
enhancing friendly operations or disrupting those of the enemy via
small-scale tailoring of natural weather patterns to complete dominance
of global communications and counterspace control, weather-modification offers the war fighter a wide-range of possible options to defeat or coerce an adversary…
In the United States, weather-modification will likely become a part of
national security policy with both domestic and international
applications. Our government will pursue such a policy, depending on its
interests, at various levels.(US Air Force, emphasis added. Air
University of the US Air Force, AF 2025 Final Report, )
Weather Warfare against “Rogue States”

The unusual climatic occurrences in the US and Western Europe have been extensively documented.

However, what the news media
has failed to underscore is that a number of unusual and dramatic
climatic changes have occurred in recent years in countries which are
identified as possible targets under the US Administration’s pre-emptive
war doctrine.
Weather patterns in North
Korea, for instance, have been marked since the mid-1990s by a
succession of droughts, followed by floods. The result has been the
destruction of an entire agricultural system. In Cuba, the pattern is
very similar to that observed in North Korea. (see Table 3)
In Iraq, Iran and Syria, a
devastating drought occurred in 1999. In Afghanistan, four years of
drought in the years preceding the US led invasion in 2001, have led to
the destruction of the peasant economy, leading to widespread famine.
While there is no proof that
these weather occurrences are the result of climatic warfare, Phillips
Geophysics Lab, which is a partner in the HAARP project provides a
course for military personnel at the Hanscom Air Force Base in Maryland,
on “Weather Modification Techniques”. The course outline explicitly
contemplates the triggering of storms, hurricanes, etc. for military
use. (See his slide show at open PowerPoint presentation at )
Weather manipulation is the
pre-emptive weapon par excellence. It can be directed against enemy
countries or even “friendly nations”, without their knowledge. Weather
warfare constitutes a covert form of pre-emptive war. The manipulation
of climate can be used to destabilize an enemy’s economy, ecosystem and
agriculture (e.g. North Korea or Cuba). Needless to say it can trigger
havoc in financial and commodity markets and can potentially be used as
an instrument of “insider trade” for financial gain. It has the ability
of destabilizing a country’s institutions. Concurrently, the disruption
in agriculture creates a greater dependency on food aid and imported
grain staples from the US and other Western countries.
The Bush administration has
stated that it reserves the right to attack these countries
preemptively, with a view to ensuring the security of the American
Washington –as part of its
nuclear posture review– has threatened several countries including China
and Russia with pre-emptive nuclear strikes. One would assume that the
same targeting of rogue states exists with regard to the use of weather
modification techniques”.
While there is no evidence of
the use of weather warfare against rogue states, the policy guidelines
on “weather intervention techniques” have already been established and
the technology is fully operational.

Table 3: Unusual Weather Occurrences: North Korea, Cuba, Afghanistan and Iraq

North Korea

Recurrent flooding and drought
often in the same year has hit North Korea since 1995, 220,000 people
died in the ensuing famine, according to Pyongyang’s own figures. U.S.
figures place the number of deaths resulting from famine at 2 million.
The first major flooding occurred in 1995.

There were floods and drought
in 1999. The serious water shortage resulting from the 1999 drought was
conducive to the destruction of crops.
“The temperature of water in rice
fields goes beyond 40 degrees and the tall rice plants fresh from the
rice seedling beds are withering. In particular, nearly all after-crop
maize seedlings and seeds are perishing,” it added.
In 2001, in June there was an
extensive drought with rainfall just 10% of normal levels, which served
to undermine agricultural crops. And then a few months later, in
October, there were extensive floodings leading to the further
destruction of rice harvests and a crisis situation in food
“Officials in Kangwon
province – an area which already suffers food shortages – say the impact
of the torrential rain and flooding has been devastating. The normal
recorded rainfall for October should be around 20mm. But in the
worst-affected areas 400mm (18 inches) of rain fell in just 12 hours.
“It was the worst flooding we’ve had since records began in 1910,” said
Kim Song Hwan, head of the government’s Flood Damage Rehabilitation
Committee for the region. (BBC, 23 Oct 2001, )

For several years Cuba has been affected by
recurrent droughts. In 1998, rainfall in Eastern Cuba was at its lowest
level since 1941.
A United Nations team estimated 539,000
people, 280,000 of them farmers, were directly affected by reduced
availability of food or reduced income through production losses. Some
reported effects are: hunger in areas; a loss of up to 14% of the sugar
cane crop planted last year and a reduction in this spring’s planted
crops, since rains were not sufficient for some seeds to germinate
(which will reduce next year’s crop); as much as 42% losses in food
staples such as root vegetables, beans, bananas, and rice in the five
eastern provinces; and livestock, poultry, and egg production losses
(UN Relief, )

In 2003, a devastating drought hit the Western part of Cuba

In 2004 May-June, the country is hit by the worst drought in its history:

”A severe drought enveloping eastern
Cuba has eroded 40 percent of the farmland, starved thousands of heads
of cattle and has close to 4 million people counting every drop of water
they consume.” The drought is described as the worst in 40 years.
“The drought has robbed underground
water levels of some 10 feet over the past 10 years, leaving over 5,000
wells across the province dry,” said Leandro Bermudez, a geologist and
the second man at Cuba’s National Institute of Hydraulic Resources. (MSNBC, 21 June 2004
The cities are running out of water. According to the Independent, “Drought is bringing Cuba to its knees

Unnoticed by the world, the longest dry
period for decades has brought much of Cuba to its knees. Could this be
the crisis that finally destroys Fidel’s revolution?
“All across central and eastern Cuba, farmers, ranchers,
city dwellers and government officials are scrambling to deal with a
punishing drought that began a decade ago and intensified in the last
two years.
Although traditionally arid, the provinces of Holguin, Camaguey and
Las Tunas hold some of Cuba’s finest pasture and farmland and have long
been crucial to this communist nation’s dairy, beef and agricultural
More than 12,500 cattle have died in Holguin alone in 2004 and milk
production has fallen 20 percent. The price of beans, plantains, sweet
potatoes and other staples has soared in private markets.
The drought has caused millions of dollars in losses and officials
are spending millions more digging wells, building a water pipeline and
taking other measures to try to ease the crisis – huge sums in an
impoverished nation struggling through tough economic times and a battle
with the United States.
Officials also have moved thousands of cattle to more fertile areas
and are working furiously to finish a 32-mile pipeline that will draw
water to Holguin city from Cuba’s largest river, the Cauto. The $5
million pipeline could be completed next month. (Chicago Tribune, July
29, 2004, )
The above report date to September 2004, it
was published before, the hurricanes hit the Cuban coastline followed
by torrential rains.
Afghanistan and The former Soviet Republics of Central Asia

The worst drought in
Afghanistan history occurred in the three consecutive years prior to the
onslaught of the US led invasion, from 1999 to 2001. The agricultural
recovery of the 1990s, in the wake of the Soviet-Afghan war was brought
to a standstill.
In the wake of the US led 2001
invasion, the United States supplied Afghanistan with genetically
modified wheat and appropriate types of fertilizer to be used with the
GM wheat, which was said to be high yield drought resistant. The
donation of GM wheat, however, also led to destabilizing the small
peasant economy because the GM wheat varieties could not reproduced
locally. In 2002, famines which were barely reported by the media, swept
the country.
Similar although less severe
conditions prevailed in the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan,
Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

Like Afghanistan, Tajikistan has had
its infrastructure ruined by prolonged civil war with Muslim
fundamentalists. Since then, the worst regional drought in 74 years has
destroyed food crops over a large part of the nation, rendering almost
half of the 6.2 million people in the country vulnerable to the threat
of famine and disease, up from 3 million last year. About the only
portion of the economy that has been unaffected is the drug trade.
Tajikistan is the transit route for 65 to 85 percent of heroin smuggled
out of Afghanistan, the world’s largest producer. ( ]

Triggered by the lowest rainfall (2001)
in living memory, vast tracts of Iran, Uzbekistan, Pakistan and
Tajikistan are being reduced to desert as the water table sinks,
long-established wells dry up and herds of livestock perish.
The crisis appears to fulfill alarming
climate change predictions suggesting that states along the old Silk
Road will experience steeper rises in temperature than any other region
on earth. By the end of the century it will be 5C hotter in an area
which regularly sees the thermometer soar above 40C.
The study, published last year by the
Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East
Anglia, predicted that Asian countries from Kazakhstan to Saudi Arabia
will warm up more than twice as much as others. “Several states,” the
report added, “including Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Iran,
[are facing] famine.”
In Tajikistan, the United Nations
appealed for aid to avert disaster. “Substantial foreign aid is needed
or else there will be a large-scale famine,” said Matthew Kahane, the
UN’s humanitarian aid coordinator, speaking from the capital, Dushanbe.

“The country has had its lowest
rainfall for 75 years. Families who survived last year by selling their
cows and chickens now have no other means of coping. Some households
have sold the glass out of their windows and the wooden beams from their
roofs to raise money for food.”
(The Guardian, 0ct 30, 2001,,12128,736902,00.html )


In 1999, Iraq suffered its
worst drought of the century, with the effect of triggering an even
greater dependence on imported grain under the oil for food program.
There was a drop of up to 70 percent in domestic yields of wheat,
barley and other cereals, which served to further weaken the country’s
economy, crippled by economic sanctions and the routine bombing by
allied aircraft in the no-fly zones.
A similar (although less serious) situation prevailed in Syria and Iran, marked by significant declines in agricultural output.