Yesterday, I began a challenge to Irregular Times readers who believe in the reality of the chemtrails conspiracy theory. Chemtrails are said, by the people who believe in them, to be giant clouds of toxic material purposefully spread behind airplanes at high altitudes across the USA by the government, with the intention of poisoning the American people. My challenge: If the chemtrails conspiracy exists, prove it. Provide the data that demonstrates that chemtrails are real.
Already, a few attempts have been made to meet the challenge. Mostly, these attempts consist of nothing more than links to websites that repeat the conspiracy theory without providing any concrete evidence to back it up. One document, however, seemed more specific than the rest: A photograph of the front page of a document from the Air Force Academy, dated October, 1990, with the title Chemtrails.
At first, this document seems damning. Here, after all, is the Air Force itself using the term “chemtrails”. If the Air Force is talking about chemtrails, then chemtrails must be real, right?
After a small amount of consideration, however, the evidence seems like much less than initially meets the eye. The document turns out to a syllabus for a chemistry class for first-year cadets. The course number itself, Chemistry 131, indicates that it’s an introductory class, in which the basic ideas of chemistry will be explored. It doesn’t seem likely that first-year cadets would be instructed in the operations of a top secret program to poison the American people in an introductory science class.
MetaBunk has done an excellent job scrutinizing this document, and has found its table of contents. As the photocopy below shows, the subjects covered in this class cover a broad survey of general chemistry: The scientific method, an acid rain simulation, the chemistry of photography, and so on. The laboratory assignments don’t include any mention of attempts to use airplanes to poison large numbers of Americans.
If the Chemistry 131 course at the 1990 Air Force Academy was so innocent, and wasn’t an instruction manual for the chemtrail conspiracy, though, how come the document is entitled “Chemtrail”? Readers at Metabunk point out that the Air Force Academy already had a popular publication called Contrail. The academy was intended to train airplane pilots, after all, and contrails are one symbol of aviation. The title Chemtrail, it is suggested, is just a play on words by a chemistry professor, melding the subject of chemistry with the aviation term contrail.
Perhaps that’s not what the syllabus title Chemtrail was really all about. Perhaps there was something else going on in that class – something not so nice. The military is not an organization known for niceness, after all.
The point is that there is a plausible explanation for the 1990 Chemtrail title page that doesn’t involve plans for poisonous clouds across America. The document is not proof that chemtrails exist.