Interview with Natasha Blatsiou from vice.com
Natasha Blatsiou: When I was given the task of writing about whether we are being sprayed I felt a pang of boredom. I was going to have to watch television programs, stone cold. I was going to be required to read screeds of commentary on social networks fulminating against our “conspiracy theorist” fellow-citizens (30% of the population: they are not few in number!), to analyse the speech of politicians attributing the limitation of modern Greece’s revolution against the crisis to the dimensions of an armchair……… to the spraying! I was going to have read dozens of similar views from a variety of specialists – psychologists, sociologists not to mention celebrated physical scientists all trying (in vain) to counter the collective derangement triggered by the white lines from aircraft which for hours soil the clarity of our skies.
Is it possible that an expression that will shortly be included as modern Greek slang: “psekasmenoi” (the sprayed) conceals within it a tiny dose of seriousness? I decided to talk with a person who was among the first to bring to Greece the discussion on the spraying and who, although an old anti-nuclear activist, has remained independent from the mass movements. The reference is to the Australian Wayne Hall, who is probably more of a Greek, because he has spent the greater part of his life in Greece. Today he lives in Aegina.
In the interview he gave me I don’t know if I was persuaded that they have already started to spray us. But it did start me wondering whether in Greece, where the environment has been consigned to among the last of priorities for the state and society, it will be possible for many people to get past the quaint bipolarity of they are spraying us/they are not spraying us and start to take part in the global debate under way between scientists, with an extensive literature in the most reputable American periodicals, over whether one should be, on a theoretical basis, for or against the spraying. On what scientific grounds should one be for or against technological intervention on the planet, such as through global spaying, that might make possible the reversal of climate change?
VICE: What made you believe suddenly that the white lines from aircraft contain some chemical substance that isn’t just water vapour?
Wayne Hall: The time that I first noticed the spraying my questions about the unexplained phenomenon were resolved through the research of the Canadian journalist William Thomas, who started using the term chemtrails in 1999. His film “Chemtrails – mysterious lines in the sky” was indeed screened in Aegina in 2003.
What response did the film get?
Even before the screening of the film, the first European attempt to take legal measures had started. The then municipal council Nektarios Koukoulis had presented the subject to the municipal council and the then and now (at the time of publication of this article in Greek) mayor Dimitris Mourtzis decided to attempt prosecution of unknown parties. But the lawyer to whom he had assigned the case was not able proceed because, she said, of lack of evidence.
How do you believe that the spraying is conducted?
The spraying is conducted secretly using both commercial and military aircraft.
By whom is it conducted?
It started with state agencies in the US but unregulated private initiative plays an ever larger role.
Can you explain in simple words why “we are being sprayed”?
What is projected, though not specifically admitted, is that these are programs of implementation of geoengineering, i.e. climatic interventions with a view to dealing with climate change. Remember that in 2010 in Nagoya, Japan, the 193 states supporting the U.N. agreement on biodiversity imposed a moratorium on all private or public experimentation aimed at manipulating the temperature of the planet.
How difficult is it for a group of activists, such as yourselves and others, to prove that the white trails from aircraft are not just clouds?
The question you ask is not the right approach. I don’t have any obligation as a citizen to prove anything. The scientists who promote geoengineering have an obligation to show that what they say themselves, i.e. that the aerial spraying is not taking place, is true.
Is your assumption that the discussion over “them spraying us” is wrong because it is not proven?
Let’s start from something more basic. The discussion about whether “we are being sprayed” does not have to do just with Greece and this is not the only country where the discussion has been diverted with a view, of course, to making it incomprehensible to the general public. In reputable scientific journals there is a discussion of the scientific potential of what is called geoengineering (specifically “solar radiation management”). The position of activists is that this kind of “geoengineering” is already being implemented. What I say is that it is a mistake simply to look the sky. One must also discuss geoengineering as a proposition. And then see how permissible it is to manipulate the climate in this way, and indeed secretly. This is the discussion to be held.
What was the participation of activists against the spraying in global climate mobilzations?
In Melbourne of the 30,000 climate activists only three were activists against the spraying. In Athens there were none. That doesn’t mean that there are so few activists against the spraying. It is just that few activists against the spraying think that there is a point to participating in climate mobilizations.
Perhaps the movement has gone into a downturn?
The fact that ordinary people are not participating does not mean that the phenomenon is not real or that the solution for action against geoengineering is to take to the streets. Today there is a situation of generalized confusion. The scientific world is dominated by lobbies, each with an agenda. The European Union believes that commercial aviation contributes to global warming. The exponents of geoengineering argue that aircraft can be used to cool the planet. For me the solution is to create a second chamber of the European Parliament, a chamber of active citizens capable of raising these issues without them being distorted by filtration through malicious media.
Are ecologists divided over geoengineering?
The only ecologists who recognize that geoengineering is not a theory but a planetary reality are the Greens of Cyprus.
In all these years of activism what have you achieved?
The petitions facility of European Parliament judged that the demand of the Skyguards group which sought recognition that the spraying is a reality and should be banned was legitimate. That such recognitions can be reversed is also a fact, as is the reality that reversals can be reversed.
Has it occurred to you that economic crisis can provoke something like collective irrationality?
No activist, even those with little formal education, links the economic crisis to the spraying in the sense that “they are spraying us so that we don’t react to what they are doing to us”. That approach is a fabrication of the media or of some politicians who want to derive advantages from ridiculing the discussion. What there can be differences of opinion about are the objectives behind the spraying. That is to say how much the motives have to do with dealing with climate change and how much the motives are “military” or profit-driven. Of course these are not mutually exclusive explanations. Climate modification for military purposes is nothing new. The American Project Popeye in Vietnam is one of the best known examples.
So couldn’t the spraying be just another conspiracy theory?
The conspiracy theory idea is a post-Cold War construct that can be explained through the eclipse of ideological conflict. The only charge I accept as in any way justified is that quite a few so-called “conspiracy theorists” are superstitious people with little belief in the potentialities of citizens.
So there is no way that they could be “spraying us”?
I have already said that I am not going to discuss whether they are “spraying us” or not. Let’s just leave it that what is being called “geoengineering” is something that is already happening…
Published in Greek: 28-10-2014