Philippines and other travels 1969


In 1969 Ed traveled to the Philippines by invitation of the US Navy via Dr. Pierre St. Amand of the Naval Weapons Center, China Lake, CA. This was independent from his work with DRI. Ed was the only civilian invited to participate in the Top Secret Popeye project, now declassified, where they trained B-52 pilots using C-130's to seed the kinds of clouds in the area and make big storms. After we left, they went on to wash out the Ho Chi Min trail making it impossible for the enemy to move to their destinations. The war haters in the USA argued then that it was unfair to use environmental means in warfare. The Navy denied everything until the project was declassified years later.

Pentagon Resists Giving Up Environmental Modification

While elected officials in Congress were pressing an international agreement on hostile environmental modification, the armed forces resisted renouncing this kind of weapon.  

Standing supporters of environmental warfare were to be found in the US armed forces. Prominent among them was Admiral Pier Saint-Amand of the Naval Ordinance Laboratory in China Lake, California (which conducted the research on cloud seeding to enable Operation Popeye). In 1969, while Popeye was still Top Secret, Saint-Amand testified that he endorsed weather manipulation as a weapon. The Admiral saw giving the US Navy and other forces a diverse capability to modify the environment as a mission for his Laboratory:  

"Primarily the work is aimed at giving the US Navy and the other armed forces, if they should care to use it, the capability of modifying the environment, to their own advantage, or to the disadvantage of an enemy. We regard the weather as a weapon. Anything one can use his way is a weapon and the weather is as good a one as any."

(Quoted in: US Senate, Subcommittee on Oceans and International Environment; 26 July 1972; p. 22, emphasis added).  

Five years later at a January 1974 hearing, Saint-Amand remained unprepared to give up. The Admiral reaffirmed his conviction that environmental warfare should be developed and available to the US, because "The potential exits that over the years, the application of geophysics to warfare could become a very important tool." (US Senate, Subcommittee on Oceans and International Environment; 25 January 1974, p. 47)

Saint-Amand and colleages in the Pentagon found no moral inadequacies in environmental warfare. Rainmaking, they suggested, is more humane than bombing. Moreover, they said, even if weather modification is used to increase the effectiveness of bombing by clearing the target area, it is not a problem because bombing is not prohibited.  

Invitation to Luncheon at Philsugin Building, North Avenue, Quezon City, June 18, 1969

Ed and Admiral Pier Saint-Amand at U.S. Embassy in Manila.

St. Amand was a great guy and a good pilot himself. His Ph.D. was in geology from Caltech. Pierre and Ed met in an interesting way. One year about 1965, Amand held an open house at China Lake to show what his group was doing. Many atmospheric scientists from the USA came. As one part of the event, St. Amand addressed the group outdoors to demonstrate their unique version of the "very pistol" that would shoot up about 1500 feet and explode in a burst of silver iodide crystals. He showed the pistol and asked if anyone in the group would like to fire it. There was silence until Ed volunteered to do it. He gave Ed the pistol, Ed aimed it straight up and shot it. Sure enough, it exploded at 1500 feet ... right in front of a Navy jet that was entering the landing pattern. It was a good photo op because the Base Newspaper published a picture of Ed shooting the pistol with St. Amand standing along side. About 5 minutes after the base newspaper was published, the base commander called St. Amand and asked who shot off the rocket right in front of his jet. So Ed became rather famous at China Lake.

We believe that this is Philippine Vice President Fernando Lopez speaking

Street photo of Quezon City just outside the then Clark AFB

Buiding Ed visited, possibly in Pretoria, South Africa?

Ed stayed here in St. Croix during a weather project conducted by Dr. Larry Davis. Ed went on a trip to Buck Island National Park and went snorkeling to see the fish. A big barracuda surprised him by first swimming about 20 feet off his left side matching my pace. Then he made a sharp right turn and slowly approached my path. When he got in front of him so close I could have touched him, Ed noticed his big eye and his long rows of sharp teeth. The he made a quick motion and shot away so fast he left a tube of turbulence behind him. Ed figured that this is this guys territory and he is the master. He made a decision to not panic but to swim slowly like sea turtle toward the excursion boat.