Having been alerted to the threat of ‘chemtrails’ by a chance meeting one day, I took it upon myself to research this odd phenomenon.
There’s obviously screes of information online. But a lot of it seems to be based on flimsy evidence, often contradictory, most of it with no real scientific basis behind it.
So, I read what I could of local chemtrail activists’ efforts in investigating the phenomenon — Clare Swinney’s Northland New Zealand Chemtrails Watch was the starting point, and, as far as I could tell, just about the ending point for easily accessible locally-relevant information. Will Ryan’s Nelson-based site, which presumably existed at some point, has disappeared, Mysterious NZ has a dedicated chemtrails forum, but it looks pretty dead (last post at time of writing this was May of last year), there’s a few articles of (very) varying quality over at Uncensored site, but the site itself is a poor man’s Weekly World News, and seems to play host to a vigorous band of anti-science trolls, which makes me think any serious discussion might not get far, and the other two potential sources of information were locked away in member-only forums, namely the Contrail, and a facebook group: Chemtrails over NZ.
Side note: Why put all this effort into researching something, and expressing your fears about something that that you think is harmful, only to lock that information inside a site that is inaccessible to a significant proportion of internet users (and, perhaps more to the point, search engines?). Otherwise you’re just preaching to the converted, surely?
Anyway, having avoided the pull of Facebook’s allure for many a year (I’m too old for that sort of thing, and their privacy record is hardly something that would give me great confidence in protecting anything I did feel the need to post up there — email and instant messaging are sufficient for most of my online communication needs), I joined up, so I could join the Chemtrails over NZ facebook group.
Obviously, in hindsight, I shouldn’t have bothered. They seemed a (mostly civil) bunch, and they were certainly active, posting lots of pictures and commenting on each of them. It seemed the perfect place to bounce ideas around and to try and advance the understanding of any actual chemtrail threat.
The problem I instantly faced was that most of the pictures they were posting looked entirely normal to me. There were a few contrail/chemtrail photos that might have warranted further investigation, but there was also lots of other clouds that they were labelling ‘chemclouds’, that, to me, seemed perfectly natural. I vividly remember seeing sun haloes over Christchurch in the 70s, for example (and even the occasional contrail), and you’d often see whispy cirrus streaked across the Canterbury plains as a precursor to a front rolling in.
But, maybe not. Had I been blind in the past? Are these cloud types, as they were claiming, new to human eyes – caused by some nefarious spraying scheme being kept secret from the public?
So, I did some research. I presumably could’ve done this online, but I was going to the library in town anyway, so grabbed some old weather books to see if I could find pictures that resembled the ‘chemclouds’ on the Chemtrails over NZ page. (Pictures from books that predate the supposed late 1990s start of chemtrails would presumably also carry more weight than any, potentially faked online images). And, as I’d thought, they were all there. Pretty much every ‘chemcloud’ could be categorised with a ‘proper’ meteorological name, (I’ll make a post, at some point, matching them up). And contrails (categorised as such).
I took photos of the clouds from each book, and created galleries on the Chemtrails over NZ, detailing the book title, and the label given to each cloud type. From what I could tell, this was appreciated, with several complimentary comments and ‘thumbs-ups’ from my fellow members. There was a bit of back and forth with regards to the possibilities of chemtrails/geo-engineering being longer-lived than the commonly held start-point of some time in the 1990s.
Now, this doesn’t necessarily prove anything one way or another. You could still argue that the prevalence of these cloud-types might be increased through the spraying of chemtrails. I suggested as much.
So, I logged into Facebook the next day to see if there’d be any more thoughts on my cloud photos. Instead of the Chemtrails over NZ page, I was confronted with a message that said something along the lines of the page I was looking for couldn’t be found, or was inaccessible. New to facebook, I scratched my head, and logged out. I tried again later. Same thing. I messaged Clare Swinney and the person who had approved my membership of the group saying I was having problems accessing the page. No reply. I messaged some of the other members of the group with similar sentiments. Maybe the page was genuinely down? Maybe the powers-that-be had closed it down? What was happening? Anyone? The day passed with no reply. I thought nothing of it, spent a weekend doing some more (quite enlightening) research around the whole chemtrail topic. Come Monday, I logged in again, and still couldn’t get to the page. I messaged my son, asking him if he could access it.
He could, and told me that there was no sign of any of my cloud photos. No sign I’d been there at all – no photos, no comments. I’d been erased (and presumably banned) from the group!
I confirmed this myself, as my son pointed out that it was an open group, so I just needed to access it using a different account from the one that had been banned. I did so, and, yes, no sign of me at all.
Which is all very intriguing. As much as the chemtrail group members are keen on insisting there’s a lot of disinformation being pushed out into the world, I’d’ve thought my contribution was anything but. I wasn’t pushing a ‘there’s-no-chemtrails’ theory, just highlighting the fact that the clouds they were identifying as ‘chemclouds’ did, in fact, have long-standing meteorological names of their own. Really. Basic. Stuff.
So, why the banning? Why the oppression of any information that flies in the face of their beliefs? If it is disinformation they object to, then surely revealing it as such, and pointing out its flaws would be a more powerful tool in their argument, rather than just ignoring it?
Whatever. The whole episode left me with a bad taste in my mouth. It was bad enough that I had to join Facebook, but now I’ve got this crazy interest in the chemtrail phenomenon to deal with. This blog, then, is my therapeutic output. Let’s see how long it lasts…