Meteorologists Baffled by 50-Mile Wide Radar Anomaly in Midwest

radar anomaly

On Dec. 10, a mysterious, 50-mile-wide radar anomaly passed from southeastern Illinois into Kentucky, eventually breaking up after lingering in the air for over 10 hours. The National Weather Service (NWS) and local meteorologists were baffled by the stream, asking the public to report on Twitter if they noticed anything visible in the skies.

The strange anomaly appeared around 3 p.m. CST as a blip on NWS doppler radar just south of Olney, IL, before continuing to expand as it moved south through Indiana and across the Kentucky border. The phenomenon was quickly given the hashtag #tristatewx, with speculation ranging from a flock of birds, to secret military operations, or an explosion of material raining down from space.

The most likely explanation though, is a military countermeasure called chaff, developed during WWII to scramble enemy radar. Doppler radar works by measuring the reflectivity of precipitation in the air, so in order to confuse radar the military realized it could release other types of material, including thin aluminum and metallic glass fibers to allow aircraft to travel undetected.

Aside from the questionable nature of chaff – regarding its environmental safety and the general lack in public knowledge of its use – it’s a common occurrence for meteorologists, who are typically forewarned by the military when it’s released.

In this case however, neither the Air Force nor any other branch took responsibility or gave notice to the National Weather Service that it would release chaff.



One of the Oldest Conspiracies Proven True: Project Echelon

space station in earth orbit

When Edward Snowden disclosed the vast conspiracy of a multinational surveillance apparatus, it was vindication for Duncan Campbell who spent decades uncovering one of the biggest facets of government overreach, Project ECHELON. And though it took nearly a lifetime to attain that justification, Campbell turned one of the oldest conspiracies into veritable fact: someone is always listening.

What is Echelon?

Shortly after WWII, five of the world’s major powers – the U.S., U.K., Australia, New Zealand, and Canada – signed onto a joint surveillance program in the aftermath of the Allies cracking the German “Enigma” and Japanese “Purple” codes. Understanding the importance of intercepting and monitoring signals intelligence, or SIGINT, these five countries, known as the Five Eyes, signed onto the UKUSA agreement, which divvied up segments of the world for each country to monitor.

Signals intelligence monitors all signals received from electronic communications, including radio, radar, telemetry, and just about any type of broadcasted signal. The advent of satellite technology in the late 50s matched with Cold War paranoia led to a rapid expansion of the program, indiscriminately monitoring all communication signals worldwide. Project P-415, nicknamed ECHELON, became the dragnet surveillance program between the five nations, though it was controlled entirely by the National Security Agency – the American intelligence branch operating under the Department of Defense. The U.K.’s intelligence agency, the Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, became the secondary arm of the ECHELON program.

GCHQ at Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

GCHQ

 

Through ECHELON, billions of satellite communications were, and continue to be, intercepted and stored in facilities around the world, before being sifted through by computer algorithms searching for keywords that raise red flags. The technology is also able to target individuals using not just phone numbers, but also voice recognition software. The program’s capabilities allow it to target almost anyone on the planet including world leaders, businesses, and private individuals. Despite this fact, it has, more often than not, failed its ostensible job of preventing major acts of terrorism.

Where was ECHELON?

Though there are a number of ECHELON satellite intercept stations around the world, there are a few key locations pointed out by Campbell and other whistleblowers. The largest operation is located at the RAF Menwith Hill station in Yorkshire, U.K.,where over 300 million emails and phone calls are monitored daily. Campbell and colleagues have pointed out that a clear indication of ECHELON-involved stations are large geodesic domes, known as radomes. Beneath these domed enclosures are satellites, hidden from eyes that may be curious of their orientation.

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