Television Review: Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura, HAARP
by R.J. Carter
Published: November 24, 2009
The biggest secret Alaska harbors isn't Sarah Palin's appeal, but rather a field of radio antennas that looks like the rooftop aerial analog to the Arecibo fields. The place is HAARP -- the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program -- that aims to turn the upper ionosphere into a powerful antenna by sending 1.21 gigawatts (or something like that) straight up into the sky.
But is the Navy research facility merely a means for enhancing communication as well as a useful means of over-the-horizon radar -- or is it a weapon capable of shifting weather patterns, causing earthquakes, taking down aircraft, fending off missiles... and controlling your mind? Is it the realization of Nikola Tesla's fabled death ray?
Some think so, and one man sets out to find the answers: Jesse "The Body" Ventura, former Navy SEAL, former professional wrestler, former governor of Minnesota, and former... well, I guess he's still currently an actor. The series is Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura, one of the newest TruTV series where the "Not Reality" portion of the network's motto might be most tongue-in-cheek applied. With all the urgency of a high level TMZ bull session, Ventura meets in his "war room" with his investigators and operatives, June Sarpong, Alex Piper, and Executive Producer Michael Braverman, as they go over the show prep... er... research they've accumulated before beginning the investigation proper. Did a showing of the Northern Lights prior to a deadly tsunami indicate a test firing of the HAARP system? Can it really control people's minds via radio broadcast?
The team springs into action to find out, which takes them to various spots in the country but, specifically, to Gakona, Alaska, where Ventura has a standoff with security personnel at the double-gated HAARP facility -- a conflict which curiously results in camera malfunctions as Ventura prepares to ignore the warnings and walk through the opened gates as a second guard approaches.
HAARP Conspiracy. By a prominently dislayed warning sign, Jesse Ventura
talks with an obscured private investigator about the reluctance of Gakona
residents to speak about the Alaskan research facility nearby.
As Sarpong is given a science demonstration on how electrical impulses can be used to move cloud formations, Ventura treks through a seemingly deserted Gakona like Diogenes, finding only a cantina owner and one sole citizen willing to talk to him about the HAARP project. It's an area where people prefer to be private (or, perhaps, they're worried the government will control their minds or worse if they speak out). Ventura's search finally takes him to the door of Doctor Nick Begich -- brother to Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) -- who has written extensively of the powers at play with the HAARP project. He even gives a demonstration to Ventura of the ability to transmit radio waves directly to the brain bypassing the aural canal.
If you tune into Conspiracy Theory expecting to find answers... well, you've got to be kidding me. However, if you want to find something to mull over and have an imaginative session of "What if..." thinking, there's certainly fuel here for that. Unfortunately, the series suffers from Ventura's heavy-handed bravado, as he sounds more like he's preparing to jump into the ring again rather than actually investigate stories, often blustering and bristling with machismo that ultimately doesn't gain him anything. (Now if he'd successfully bullied his way onto the facility, then I might have been impressed.)
Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura debuts Wednesday, December 2, 10pm|9pmC.