Plot to attack HAARP facility in Gakona stopped by Georgia police

The High-Frequency Active Auroral Research Program or HAARP facility in Gakona was the target of a planned attack by two Georgia men. The Douglas Enterprise reported that 30-year-old Michael Mancil, and 21-year-old James Kenneth Dryden, both of Douglas, GA were arrested Thursday night after loading weapons, including assault rifles, thousands of rounds of ammunition, bullet proof vests, radio communications equipment and $5,000 cash into a vehicle.

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HAARP antenna array in Gakona, AK (Photo courtesy of the US Airforce)
HAARP antenna array in Gakona, AK (Photo courtesy of U.S. Air Force)

Mancil, the mastermind behind the plot, told police the plan was to travel to Alaska, hijack guards at HAARP and blow up a machine there that was quote “trapping human souls”. Coffee County Sherriff Doyle Wooten told the Douglas Enterprise that Mancil, was already being investigated for drug dealing. Wooten said Mancil appeared to radicalize in recent weeks, after watching on line videos about HAARP.

The HAARP facility consists of a powerful radio transmitter and a field of large antennas. Built by the military for ionospheric research, it has long been the subject of conspiracy theories ranging from weather manipulation to mind control. The $300 million facility was transferred from the Air Force to the University of Alaska Fairbanks last year, and UAF Geophysical Institute public information officer Sue Mitchell says the school was notified about the threat on Monday.

”And we’ve talked to them and we are investigating the whole situation,” Mitchell said. “We have security in place at HAARP and have had so we don’t think that these guys would’ve been able to make it through the Canadian border with the weapons that they had, but of course we’re paying a lot of attention and we’re concerned.”

Mitchell says UAF is trying to dispel HAARP conspiracy theories that have proliferated since the 1990’s, when the Navy and then Air Force first constructed the facility.

”Try to explain to people what is is actually capable of which is some very interesting science. Studying the Aurora and studying ways that the ionosphere affects communication satellites and other things. So we plan to we plan to use the facility for real, good basic science.”

UAF held an open house at HAARP in August that was attended by 350 people. Mitchell said the university is negotiating with three potential contractors for grant-funded research at the HAARP facility that could begin as soon as February.

The Georgia men involved in the plot could face federal charges.

Dan Bross is a reporter at KUAC in Fairbanks.

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