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Operation Popeye

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Title: Operation Popeye  
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Operation Popeye

Operation Popeye (Project Popeye/Motorpool/Intermediary-Compatriot) was a highly classified weather modification program in Southeast Asia during 1967-1972. The cloud seeding operation during the Vietnam war ran from March 20, 1967 until July 5, 1972 in an attempt to extend the monsoon season, specifically over areas of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The operation was used to induce rain and extend the East Asian Monsoon season in support of U.S. government efforts related to the War in Southeast Asia.

The operation seeded clouds with both silver iodide and lead iodide, resulting in the targeted areas seeing an extension of the monsoon period by an average of 30 to 45 days. As the continuous rainfall slowed down the truck traffic, it was considered relatively successful.[1] However, resultant rain and subsequent flooding of the nearby Song Con River is sometimes blamed for the move of POWs from the prison camp at Son Tay and therefore, the failure of Operation Ivory Coast.[2]

The former U.S. Secretary of Defense, Robert S. McNamara, was aware that there might be objections raised by the international scientific community but said in a memo to the president that such objections had not in the past been a basis for prevention of military activities considered to be in the interests of U.S. national security.

The chemical weather modification program was conducted from Thailand over Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam and allegedly sponsored by Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and CIA without the authorization of then Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird who had categorically denied to Congress that a program for modification of the weather for use as a tactical weapon even existed.[3]

Build up

A report titled Rainmaking in SEASIA outlines use of lead iodide and silver iodide deployed by aircraft in a program that was developed in California at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake and tested in Okinawa, Guam, Philippines, Texas, and Florida in a hurricane study program called Project Stormfury.[4][5]

Project Popeye was the experiment in increased rainfall through cloud seeding leading up to Operation Popeye. The technical aspects of the experiment were verified by Dr. Donald F. Hornig, Special Assistant to the President of the United States for Science and Technology. During October 1966, Project Popeye was tested in a strip of the Laos panhandle east of the Bolovens Plateau in the Se Kong River valley. The government of Laos was not informed of the project, its methods or its goals. The test was conducted by personnel from the Naval Ordnance Test Station located at China Lake California. Fifty cloud seeding experiments were conducted with the result that 82% of the clouds produced rain within a brief period after having been seeded. It was claimed that one of the clouds drifted across the Vietnam border and dropped nine inches of rain on a US special forces camp over a four-hour period. After the successful completion of the test phase, Project Popeye transitioned from an experiment to an operational program of the U.S. Defense department.require('Module:No globals')

local p = {}

-- articles in which traditional Chinese preceeds simplified Chinese local t1st = { ["228 Incident"] = true, ["Chinese calendar"] = true, ["Lippo Centre, Hong Kong"] = true, ["Republic of China"] = true, ["Republic of China at the 1924 Summer Olympics"] = true, ["Taiwan"] = true, ["Taiwan (island)"] = true, ["Taiwan Province"] = true, ["Wei Boyang"] = true, }

-- the labels for each part local labels = { ["c"] = "Chinese", ["s"] = "simplified Chinese", ["t"] = "traditional Chinese", ["p"] = "pinyin", ["tp"] = "Tongyong Pinyin", ["w"] = "Wade–Giles", ["j"] = "Jyutping", ["cy"] = "Cantonese Yale", ["poj"] = "Pe̍h-ōe-jī", ["zhu"] = "Zhuyin Fuhao", ["l"] = "literally", }

-- article titles for wikilinks for each part local wlinks = { ["c"] = "Chinese language", ["s"] = "simplified Chinese characters", ["t"] = "traditional Chinese characters", ["p"] = "pinyin", ["tp"] = "Tongyong Pinyin", ["w"] = "Wade–Giles", ["j"] = "Jyutping", ["cy"] = "Yale romanization of Cantonese", ["poj"] = "Pe̍h-ōe-jī", ["zhu"] = "Bopomofo", }

-- for those parts which are to be treated as languages their ISO code local ISOlang = { ["c"] = "zh", ["t"] = "zh-Hant", ["s"] = "zh-Hans", ["p"] = "zh-Latn-pinyin", ["tp"] = "zh-Latn", ["w"] = "zh-Latn-wadegile", ["j"] = "yue-jyutping", ["cy"] = "yue", ["poj"] = "hak", ["zhu"] = "zh-Bopo", }

local italic = { ["p"] = true, ["tp"] = true, ["w"] = true, ["j"] = true, ["cy"] = true, ["poj"] = true, } -- Categories for different kinds of Chinese text local cats = { ["c"] = "", ["s"] = "", ["t"] = "", }

function p.Zh(frame) -- load arguments module to simplify handling of args local getArgs = require('Module:Arguments').getArgs local args = getArgs(frame) return p._Zh(args) end function p._Zh(args) local uselinks = not (args["links"] == "no") -- whether to add links local uselabels = not (args["labels"] == "no") -- whether to have labels local capfirst = args["scase"] ~= nil

        local t1 = false -- whether traditional Chinese characters go first
        local j1 = false -- whether Cantonese Romanisations go first
        local testChar
        if (args["first"]) then
                 for testChar in mw.ustring.gmatch(args["first"], "%a+") do
          if (testChar == "t") then
           t1 = true
           end
          if (testChar == "j") then
           j1 = true
           end
         end
        end
        if (t1 == false) then
         local title = mw.title.getCurrentTitle()
         t1 = t1st[title.text] == true
        end

-- based on setting/preference specify order local orderlist = {"c", "s", "t", "p", "tp", "w", "j", "cy", "poj", "zhu", "l"} if (t1) then orderlist[2] = "t" orderlist[3] = "s" end if (j1) then orderlist[4] = "j" orderlist[5] = "cy" orderlist[6] = "p" orderlist[7] = "tp" orderlist[8] = "w" end -- rename rules. Rules to change parameters and labels based on other parameters if args["hp"] then -- hp an alias for p ([hanyu] pinyin) args["p"] = args["hp"] end if args["tp"] then -- if also Tongyu pinyin use full name for Hanyu pinyin labels["p"] = "Hanyu Pinyin" end if (args["s"] and args["s"] == args["t"]) then -- Treat simplified + traditional as Chinese if they're the same args["c"] = args["s"] args["s"] = nil args["t"] = nil elseif (not (args["s"] and args["t"])) then -- use short label if only one of simplified and traditional labels["s"] = labels["c"] labels["t"] = labels["c"] end local body = "" -- the output string local params -- for creating HTML spans local label -- the label, i.e. the bit preceeding the supplied text local val -- the supplied text -- go through all possible fields in loop, adding them to the output for i, part in ipairs(orderlist) do if (args[part]) then -- build label label = "" if (uselabels) then label = labels[part] if (capfirst) then label = mw.language.getContentLanguage():ucfirst(

Objectives

Operation Popeye's goal was to increase rainfall in carefully selected areas to deny the Vietnamese enemy, namely military supply trucks, the use of roads by:[6]

  1. Softening road surfaces
  2. Causing landslides along roadways
  3. Washing out river crossings
  4. Maintain saturated soil conditions beyond the normal time span.

Implementation

The 54th Weather Reconnaissance Squadron carried out the operation using the slogan "make mud, not war."[7] Starting on March 20, 1967, and continuing through every rainy season (March to November) in Southeast Asia until 1972, operational cloud seeding missions were flown. Three C-130 Hercules aircraft and two F-4C Phantom aircraft based at Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base Thailand flew two sorties per day. The aircraft were officially on weather reconnaissance missions and the aircraft crews as part of their normal duty also generated weather report data. The crews, all from the 54th Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, were rotated into the operation on a regular basis from Guam. Inside the squadron, the rainmaking operations were code-named "Motorpool".[8]

The initial area of operations was the eastern half of the Laotian panhandle. On 11 July 1967, the operational area was increased northward to around the area of the 20th parallel and included portions of far western North Vietnam. In September 1967, the A Shau Valley in South Vietnam was added to the operational area. Operations over North Vietnam were eliminated on April 1, 1968, concurrent with conventional bombing restrictions being put into effect. The southern region of North Vietnam was added to the operational area on September 25, 1968, and then removed on November 1 of that year concurrent with a halt to conventional bombing of North Vietnam. In 1972, most of northeastern Cambodia was added to the operational area.

All rainmaking operations ceased on July 5, 1972.

Public revelation

Reporter Jack Anderson published a story in March 1971 concerning Operation Popeye (though in his column, it was called Intermediary-Compatriot). The name Operation Popeye (Pop Eye) entered the public space through a brief mention in the Pentagon Papers[9] and a July 3, 1972, article in the New York Times.[10] Operations in Laos ceased two days after the publication of the Times article.

The press stories led to demands from members of the U.S. Congress, led by Senator Claiborne Pell, for more information. U.S. House and Senate resolutions in favor of banning environmental warfare were passed as Senate Resolution 71 on July 11, 1973, H.R. 116 of 1974, H.R. 329 of 1974 and H.R. 28 of 1975.

Current legal status

Weather modification procedures, when performed to achieve a military end, now fall under the provenance of the Environmental Modification Convention.

See also

Sources

  • Weather Modification Hearing, United States Senate Subcommittee on Oceans and International Environment of the Committee on Foreign Relations, March 20, 1974

Published government documents

  • Keefer, Edward C. Foreign Relations of the United States 1964-1968 Volume XXVII Laos United States Government Printing Office, 1998.

References

  1. ^
  2. ^ Son Tay Raid Information
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ Archive copy at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^
  8. ^ THE AIR WEATHER RECONNAISSANCE ASSOCIATION GALLERY FOR JANUARY 2005
  9. ^
  10. ^

Related content

External links

  • Transcript of the US Senate Hearing on Weather Modification of March 20, 1974
  • Operation Motorpool Gallery
  • Dr. Edwin X Berry's 1969 trip to Philippines for Operation Popeye (Berry now at www.climatephysics.com)

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