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    This photo taken on September 22, 2016 shows a British soldier walking by a Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jet at Royal Air Force's Akrotiri base in Cyprus, before taking off for a coalition mission over Iraq.

    Weather Weapons, Inside Jobs, Coverups: The Secret History of Britain's RAF

    © AFP 2018 / Petros Karadjias
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    A study conducted by OnePoll of UK adults has found a mere quarter of Britons are aware the Royal Air Force (RAF) celebrates its centenary in 2018 - and over half are unfamiliar with its history. Such ignorance wasn’t restricted to adults - 40 percent of under-25s didn't know World War II’s famed Battle of Britain was won by the Air Force.

    Pro-military news site Forces Network has used the findings as a springboard for the launch of a DVD — 100 Years of the RAF - ostensibly intended to "help the British public learn more about the history of the Royal Air Force" — however, it's doubtful the film will contain any references whatsoever to the many controversial, shadowy and cataclysmic incidents that have frequently blighted the RAF over the course of its century-long existence.

    Foaming at the Wings

    In 2008, an inquest ruled 10 RAF servicemen ruled were unlawfully killed when their Hercules aircraft was shot down in Iraq in 2005, with investigators concluding "serious systemic failures" had deprived victims of the "opportunity for survival".

    The failure of both the Ministry of Defense (MoD) and RAF to fit Hercules planes with explosion-suppressant foam (ESF) constituted a "serious failure" — and the lives of the men aboard 47 Squadron Special Forces flight XV179 could have been saved had their aircraft been equipped with the safety provision — coroner David Masters ruled.

    This file photo taken on August 19, 2001 shows officials (C-in green flight uniforms) questioning a refugee as other refugees (R), mostly believed to be from Iraq, wait in the shade before boarding an Australian Air Force Hercules aircraft on the Australian island territory of Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean.
    © AFP 2018 / PHIL OAKLEY
    This file photo taken on August 19, 2001 shows officials (C-in green flight uniforms) questioning a refugee as other refugees (R), mostly believed to be from Iraq, wait in the shade before boarding an Australian Air Force Hercules aircraft on the Australian island territory of Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean.
    Despite American Hercules aircraft having been fitted with ESF since the 1960s, and oft-spoken fears among British military commanders about the risk posed by British failure to follow suit, the RAF continually ignored pleas to retro-fit British Hercules planes accordingly.

    The inquest was stonewalled by both MoD and US military officials, with Masters stating the investigation had been "plagued by an inability to retrieve documents" relating to key RAF decisions prior to the tragedy — he also said the US' refusal to cooperate with the inquest was "difficult to comprehend", given US servicemen were the only Allied witnesses to the crash. US officials refused to authorise interviews with the officers, and they were not permitted to attend the inquest.

    Despite this, available documents revealed a 2002 military research document strongly advised Hercules planes be fitted with ESF, a recommendation reiterated in a 2003 Tactical Analysis Team report. Moreover, it was clear Hercules crews weren't apprised of the danger they were in, information that might have motivated them to alter their flying tactics.

    Weather Weapons

    Declassified records show from 1949 to 1955, under the auspices of ‘Operation Cumulus', the RAF released various substances — including dry ice, silver iodide and salt — into the UK's atmosphere at high altitudes in order to induce rain. Using chemicals supplied by Imperial Chemical Industries, scientists from around the world were involved in the experiments, including specialists from the RAF's meteorological research base at Farnborough.

    Part of the Royal Air Force flypast, containing three Spitfires and two Hurricanes, to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, passes over Buckingham Palace in London Friday July 10, 2015.
    © AP Photo / Stefan Rousseau
    Part of the Royal Air Force flypast, containing three Spitfires and two Hurricanes, to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, passes over Buckingham Palace in London Friday July 10, 2015.

    Minutes from a November 3 1953 air ministry meeting show why UK government were interested in increasing rain and snow by artificial means in order to "[bog] down enemy movement", "increment the water flow in rivers and streams to hinder or stop enemy crossings", and clear fog from airfields. The documents also suggest rainmaking had the potential to "explode an atomic weapon in a seeded storm system or cloud," producing "a far wider area of radioactive contamination than in a normal atomic explosion".

    These secret weather weaponization experiments persisted three years after they produced the worst recorded flood in British history — the Lynmouth disaster of 1952, in Devon, south-west England. In all, 35 were killed when a torrent of 90 million tons of water and thousands of tons of rock poured off saturated Exmoor and into the village below, destroying homes, bridges, shops and hotels.

    Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, fourth left, and from left, Sophie Countess of Wessex, Prince Edward, Prince William, her husband Prince Philip, and Prince Andrew watch a Royal Air Force flypast to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain from a balcony at Buckingham Palace, in London, Friday, July 10, 2015.
    © AP Photo / Matt Dunham
    Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, fourth left, and from left, Sophie Countess of Wessex, Prince Edward, Prince William, her husband Prince Philip, and Prince Andrew watch a Royal Air Force flypast to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain from a balcony at Buckingham Palace, in London, Friday, July 10, 2015.

    One of the Operation's many navigators, Group Captain John Hart, told the BBC many years later about how the experiments would run.

    "We flew straight through the top of the cloud, poured dry ice down. We flew down to see if any rain came out of the cloud — it did about 30 minutes later, and we all cheered," he said.

    Similar elation was evident among experiment participants after the Lynmouth operation — but when the BBC reported the scale of the damage their clandestine activities had inflicted on the town and its inhabitants, glee turned to panic — it was uncertain which government department would be charged with rebuilding the area, and compensating inhabitants. Eventually, it was decided to simply deny any external role in precipitating the incident, and indeed any British government interest in weather control.

    In 2001, the British Geological Survey examined soil sediments in and around Lynmouth to see if any silver or iodide residues remained — silver residue was discovered in the catchment waters of the river Lyn, representing a potentially significant health hazard.

    Inside Job?

    On June 2 1994, the RAF suffered its worst peacetime disaster when one of the Force's Chinook helicopter crashed on the Mull of Kintyre, Scotland — all on board, including 25 passengers and four crew, were killed. Among the former contingent were almost all the UK's senior Northern Ireland intelligence experts — 10 senior Royal Ulster Constabulary intelligence officers, nine army intelligence officers, and six MI5 officers.

    A U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter carries a cargo in Afghanistan (File)
    © AP Photo / Mikhail Metzel
    A U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter carries a cargo in Afghanistan (File)
    The next year, an RAF board of inquiry ruled it was impossible to establish the exact cause of the accident — a conclusion later overturned by two senior reviewing officers, who stated the pilots were guilty of gross negligence for flying too fast and too low in thick fog. This finding in turn proved to be controversial, and a 2001 parliamentary inquiry found accusations of gross negligence on the part of the crew to be 'unjustified'. In 2011, an independent review of the crash finally cleared the crew of any wrongdoing — but as of June 2018, ultimate responsibility for the crash is yet to be attributed to anything or anyone.

    It is perhaps this lack of official clarity that has caused many alternative theories to abound in the years since. For example, British aviation expert Walter Kennedy, who independently investigated the crash over the course of 17 years, suggests the crash may have been an ‘inside job'.

    "All official inquiries have totally misrepresented what happened. There've been so many lies, misrepresentations and obfuscations. Anyone with an avionics background who looks into this will see that the official account is seriously flawed. Do I think the Chinook was sabotaged? Absolutely," he said in 2011.

    Kennedy's investigation into the Chinook crash was based on flight data disclosed but not investigated  by official inquiries, close inspection of the crash site, interviews with locals, and sensitive information handed over by various insider sources. He concluded the Chinook was not downed by bad weather, but by "avoiding hitting a fixed, fuzzy obstacle they needed or wanted to get close to for whatever reason."

    A young girl member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) carries a flag during the movement’s parade to the Milltown Cemetery, where the IRA buries its dead, in Belfast, Northern Ireland on April 2, 1972.
    © AP Photo /
    A young girl member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) carries a flag during the movement’s parade to the Milltown Cemetery, where the IRA buries its dead, in Belfast, Northern Ireland on April 2, 1972.

    The wider political milieu of the time adds further fuel to conspiratorial speculation. In the summer of 1994, the UK government was conducting — both overtly and covertly — negotiations with Irish republican groups in an attempt to facilitate a ‘peace process', and a political settlement to the conflict in Northern Ireland that had raged for almost three decades.

    However, convincing the militant elements of the republican movement to put down arms was difficult — two prior ceasefires brokered in the 1970s had been abused by the British government, with military and intelligence operatives instead using the opportunity to battle the IRA via covert methods. Many key figures suspected another ceasefire would be similarly violated, and there was indeed strong resistance to London's proposals among top British military and intelligence officials — some of whom were on the doomed helicopter.

    The diaries of an RUC officer killed in the crash, Ian Phoenix, were published in 1996 — they made clear he believed the IRA could be militarily defeated if Whitehall let he and his colleagues "do their job". Several of the individuals on board were also involved in highly controversial, bloody episodes during the ‘Troubles', including ‘Shoot to Kill' operations in the early 80s.

    An Irish Republic Army (IRA) mural on a wall in west Belfast, Northern Ireland, Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2006.
    © AP Photo / Peter Morrison
    An Irish Republic Army (IRA) mural on a wall in west Belfast, Northern Ireland, Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2006.
    Whether intentional or not, academic Sydney Elliott has concluded the deaths of the intelligence officials on the Chinook did indeed play a pivotal role in facilitating the desired peace process.

    "The loss of such senior intelligence personalities probably ensured the political case for a peace process to go ahead despite recent successes against the Provisional IRA and loyalist paramilitaries," he said in 2000.

    Nearly three months after the crash, on August 31 1994, the IRA announced the ceasefire, calling for a "complete cessation of armed struggle" in Northern Ireland. The move would eventually pave the way for the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

     

     

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    Tags:
    weather weapons, coverup, militarism, conspiracy, Ministry of Defense (MoD), British Royal Air Force, United Kingdom, Scotland
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