Jon de Vos – Who’ll stop the rain? |

Jon de Vos – Who’ll stop the rain?

Jon De Vos / The Friday ReportWinter Park, Colorado

It was March of 1971 when Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Jack Anderson first informed readers of The Washington Post that for the previous four years, the CIA under Operation Popeye had secretly conducted thousands of cloud-seeding operations over Southeast Asia. The sorties were initially intended to produce rain to break up crowds led by Buddhist monks, protesting U.S. involvement. Later efforts were designed to “reduce trafficability” along the Ho Chi Minh Trail, producing mud and swollen rivers that would hinder the North Vietnamese Army heading south from Hanoi to join the fight for … well, whatever it was we were fighting for back then.In September of that same year the U.S. Senate formally requested information on Operation Popeye. The Defense Department waited four months before politely telling the Senate that they couldn’t be trusted with information that would compromise national security. In April 1972, Nixon’s Secretary of Defense, Melvin Laird, said, “We have never engaged in that type of activity over Northern Vietnam.” Then the rain hit the fan when Seymour Hersh of The New York Times splashed the headline news that the CIA had been rainmaking in South Vietnam since 1963. His story even had a side note: The CIA had been heavily cloud seeding in Cuba, trying to destroy the sugarcane crops. The White House denied everything but these facts were confirmed a few weeks later by the leaking of the Pentagon Papers. Melvin Laird moved from Defense Secretary to special advisor to President Nixon. In 1974, he sent a letter to the Senate, saying that he had since learned that his former testimony was false, there had indeed been massive cloud-seeding efforts throughout Southeast Asia and several other parts of the world, but his staff forgot to tell him about it. It has been subsequently confirmed that operating out of Udorn Air Base in Thailand, without the knowledge of the Thai government, but with the enthusiastic support of President Richard M. Nixon, the CIA flew more than 2,600 cloud seeding missions, expending nearly 50,000 rainmaking silver iodide flares over a five year period ending in 1972.Think back, if you can, about the political climate in 1971. What one thing terrified then President Richard Nixon? What one issue kept him pacing nervously in an oval path around the White House? If you guessed Russia and the Cold War, you’d be wrong. If you guessed unwashed Hippies and the threat of airborne patchouli oil, you’d be correct. The nerve of them! Bogging down the Beltway traffic, marching and shouting, “One, Two, Three, Four, we don’t want your (expletive deleted) war!”So when Nixon heard about Woodstock, billed as “An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music,” he had a mindset and a readymade weapon up his sleeve. Remember how it rained all through Woodstock? OK, maybe you don’t, but the point is, it did. Several concert-goers claimed to have seen airplanes flying over the clouds, spewing smoke as they went. Of course, several concert goers also claimed to have seen purple dragons chasing the planes. Some claim the rain was the result of cloud-seeding ordered by the President to thwart the fun and the music and other anti-government activities. While that may have been just the paranoia talking, Operation Popeye was a fact, credited with successfully washing out roads and river crossings and closing the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Was the rain caused by the cloud-seeding? Aha, that’s the question. Who’s to say it wouldn’t have rained anyway?- Jon de Vos’ pet rat, Willard, is the author of the conspiracy theory that Rush Limbaugh has liberal dreams. Share your paranoia with him at