3 The U.S. Tries to Win Vietnam With Weather Manipulation
Most people, thanks largely to their crazy uncle's rambling Facebook posts, are familiar with chemtrails, the chemical-laced aircraft contrails that the secret government uses to cause cancer, obesity, and Muslims. Cloud seeding is the same deal, but the other way around: Although the technique does involve introducing chemicals into the sky, it's meant to manipulate the weather, instead of autism or impotence or whatever the chemtrail folks are on about these days. Also unlike chemtrails, cloud seeding is real: The American military and CIA first started using the technique in Vietnam in 1963, for the hilariously petty purpose of trying to summon rain on Buddhist protest marches.
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Try immolating yourselves now, monks!
But they didn't stop with literally raining on some parades: The sheer scale of the cloud-seeding operation against the Ho Chi Minh Trail was above and beyond any weather control attempt the U.S. had ever made before. Codenamed Operation Popeye, the plan was to fly modified cargo planes along the trail, releasing silver and lead iodine flares into the sky over Laos, Cambodia, and North Vietnam. This was supposed to heavily increase rainfall and lengthen the monsoon period, which would have messed up communications and supply runs for the Viet Cong.
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And ruined their already limited cookout days.
Between the operation's start in 1967 and its termination in 1972, cargo planes flew a monumental 2,606 missions, dropping over 47,000 cloud-seeding charges all over the trail, until the whole area was eventually reclaimed by the angry sea.
Or ... nothing. Nothing actually happened. At least not in the intended region, at the intended time.
That's something they never tell you about playing God: Even if you get past the moral quandaries, it's just really, really hard to pull off.
2 Britain Wants to Steal ... the Nile?
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In 1956, the British Empire was falling apart, but they weren't about to give up the Suez Canal just because Egypt had decided to run off with that wanton hussy, Independent Rule. Britain was used to exercising unofficial control over the strategically vital channel, but under the leadership of Gamal Abdel Nasser, Egypt had forced Britain to withdraw its troops from the country and nationalized Suez.
He took his frustration at not being able to grow a decent mustache out on an entire empire.
Britain needed to get the canal back, but how? The British Colonial Office thought they had the answer: crazy an-eye-for-an-eye geopolitical justice. If Egypt took a valuable body of water from them, well, they'd take one right back. That's right: They hatched a plot to steal the Nile River. We'll give you a dollar if you managed to resist reading that last sentence in your best Nicolas Cage voice.
The plot isn't as outlandish as it sounds: Britain still controlled Uganda, where the source(ish) of the Nile lay. And it just so happened that they had been building a dam there already. Why, it would be just shocking if somebody down at the dam happened to press the wrong button. The Nile might find itself reduced by seven-eighths by the time it reached Egyptian farmland.
And if that failed, the Angel of Death would simply slay every Egyptian firstborn.
The Brits took the plan all the way to the prime minister's office, where it was finally rejected because it would also deprive two other countries of most of their water, and because nobody wants "stealing a river" on their criminal record, save for Captain Planet villains. But it was a serious proposal: The colonial secretary gave a speech detailing the backhanded threat. Shockingly, Egypt remained unfazed, so Britain gave up the tactic. (To be fair, maybe the Egyptians just thought "We will shut off the Nile" had to be some sort of wacky mistranslation.)