HAARP
Conspiracy theorists claim HAARP is used to cause natural disastersWiki Commons/Michael Kleiman

The US Air Force has confirmed to Congress that it intends to dismantle the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program this summer.

The $300 million programme in Gakona, Alaska, was created in 1993 by the late Sen. Ted Stevens, when he wielded control over the US defence budget. It will be closed after a final research experiment in mid-June, as reported by Anchorage Daily News.

HAARP is an ionospheric research programme jointly funded by the US Air Force, the US Navy and the University of Alaska, as well as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

It's purpose is to analyse the ionosphere, a region of the upper atmosphere, while investigating the potential for developing ionospheric enhancement technology for radio communications and surveillance.

Yet HAARP is the target for conspiracy theorists, who claim that the facility is capable of modifying weather and disabling satellites. The mysterious nature of the programme and the sea of oversized antennae have led critics to speculate about the use of the technology.

Illuminati & mind control

Some suggest that HAARP is an engineered "evil machine" developed by the US Government via the hand of the Illuminati. The purpose of the programme, they claim, is to control the mind using shortwave radio communication. However, Popular Science offered a counter-argument, stating that HAARP's waves are barely strong enough to be measured, let alone control the brain. Or maybe that's HAARP talking.

Hurricane Katrina
Theorist claim HAARP caused the devastating hurricanes of 2005, including KatrinaReuters

Hurricanes

Described as a "bionic forest" by Noah Schactman of Wired, HAARP has been blamed for a series of devastating hurricanes. In 2005, Katrina, Rita and Wilma all tore through the US, as three of the six most intense Atlantic hurricanes ever recorded.

During this year, HAARP saw its funding peak at $49.3 million. Of course, this has led theorists to suggest there was a link between the two. Yet it is debatable as to why the US government would want to inflict destruction on its own citizens. The Bush administration sought $105 billion for repairs and reconstruction work in the area affected by Katrina, including New Orleans, Louisiana.

Most importantly, it is impossible to create a hurricane with short wave radio communication. 

"This is absolute hogwash," Stanford professor Umran Inan told Popular Science. "There's absolutely nothing we can do to disturb the earth's systems. Even though the power HAARP radiates is very large, it's miniscule compared with the power of a lightning flash -- and there are 50 to 100 lightning flashes every second. HAARP's intensity is very small."

Earthquakes

Conspiracy bloggers have claimed that HAARP is generating earthquakes. Eric Dubay, an American ex-pat living in Thailand, claims the 8.9-magnitude earthquake in northern Japan in 2011 was caused by the Alaskan programme.

Dubay are fellow theorists claim that waves generated by HAARP are focused on a specific part of the ionosphere.

The force of the waves make the area buckle into space, causing the ionosphere to snap back towards the ground and start an earthquake. Reportedly, this creates a target that furthers American economic and defence interests.

TWA Flight 800

One anonymous blogger claims the crash of TWA Flight 800 in 1996 was caused by HAARP. It suggests that years before HAARP opened, it and another array in Norway were working on an experiment to disturb the spacetime continuum. The aircraft was allegedly in the wrong place, at the wrong time. There is no science to back this theory.

Shuttles

Some claim HAARP took down the space shuttle Columbia. They suggest that in 2003, the programme was trying to shoot down a North Korean missile at the same time Columbia was re-entering the atmosphere - when something went wrong. However, HAARP isn't powerful enough to shoot down missiles.