By Ben Anderson alaskadispatch.com
A former UCLA professor contracted by the Department of Interior for work at the High Power Auroral Stimulation (HIPAS) research facility outside of Fairbanks, Alaska will plead guilty to defrauding the government out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in the mid-2000s. Alfred Wong, 75, who holds a doctorate in plasma physics from Princeton University, will have to pay the government nearly $1.7 million as part of his punishment for fraud related to two government contracts, including one for work at HIPAS estimated at $25 million.
HAARP conspiracies: Guide to most far-out theories behind government research in Alaska
Wong’s HIPAS contract began in 2003 and lasted until 2007. HIPAS was officially shut down in 2009, after conducting research on the ionosphere. UCLA had leased the University of Alaska Fairbanks facility since 1986. The work at the observatory often entailed heating the earth’s ionosphere with a large radio wave transmitter, while other researchers watched the effects at the nearby Poker Flat Research Range.
Powerful HAARP steps in
HIPAS eventually gave way to the controversial High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) facility in Gakona, Alaska.
“HAARP was essentially based on what HIPAS was doing,” said Charles Deehr, professor emeritus of physics at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. “It was essentially a smaller version of HAARP ... an earlier version, much less powerful.”
HAARP has been subject of much speculation, thanks to its funding provided in part by the U.S. military and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Conpiracy theories have raged about everything from earthquakes to mind control to worldwide weather manipulation stemming from the vast antenna array in remote Alaska.
But Deehr said the effects of HAARP are entirely benign.
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