Months before the end of World War II, an American intelligence agency launched a top-secret project aimed at devising ways to trigger massive earthquakes and tsunamis that would wreak havoc among enemy civilian populations, recently uncovered documents reveal.

According to a detailed report, project planners from the Office of Strategic Services, the nation’s first intelligence agency and precursor to the CIA, concluded that the United States could use its “new atomic bomb” to trigger massive earthquakes and tsunamis, thus creating “massive destruction, death and unchecked hysteria.”

The once top-secret project, recently uncovered by historian Paul Wolf, is outlined in a 16-page document that in one section refers to itself as a “diabolical plan” capable of producing such massive destruction “that it would not take much imagination on the part of the lowliest coolie to visualize himself trapped in the bowels of the earth and doomed to being buried alive by such a manmade earthquake.”

Within hours after the Dec. 26 tsunami that killed hundreds of thousands, widespread speculation about the cause of the earthquake that triggered the massive waves began appearing worldwide. Bold headlines in print and on the Internet exclaimed that the CIA was responsible and that American military scientists had unleashed a new ultra-powerful, high-tech weapon.

Media outlets throughout Asia picked up these charges and were quick to repeat them. One newspaper in Australia charged that “U.S. military/CIA knew the tsunami was in progress … because the U.S. Navy and CIA have many sea-bottom [seismic] sensors in the Indian Ocean for detecting submarines, undersea nuclear explosions, earthquakes and tsunamis” and did not relay information about the pending catastrophe “because the info was ‘classified.'”

In other wilder claims, a well-known conspiracy theorist, whose pronouncements are widely reported on the Internet, charged that the tsunami was deliberately created by the enigmatic, yet ubiquitous, Illuminati “who seek to dominate the world.” In other parts of the world, Muslim extremist groups blamed the earthquake-caused tsunami on “America’s CIA” and its bent for “Jewish and American corruption and destruction.”

U.S. government officials quickly rebuffed these claims. Even President Bush scoffed at the charges, while at the same time a Pentagon spokesperson said it was “beyond ridiculous” to make such claims. The Pentagon may have been justified in its defense, but the 60-year-old report shows government personnel once considered just such a scenario.

In 1945, the Office of Strategic Services secretly issued a report entitled “Psychological Warfare Earthquake Plan.” OSS officials, including research and development director Stanley P. Lovell and scientific intelligence chief Dr. H. Marshall Chadwell, helped produce the report stamped SECRET following extensive consultation with some of America’s best seismological scientists, including professor P. Byerly of the University of California. The report focuses on a number of issues, not the least of which is “where to place this large explosive charge” to create a disaster large enough to produce widespread panic and destruction.

As the report’s subtitle, “Against Japanese Homeland,” clearly indicates, the island of Japan was the selected target. Queried the report, “Scientifically can heavy bombing, pinpointed on known earthquake areas, bring about an underground condition within fault sections which would step up the expectancy and possibly bring about a calamitous earthquake in a selected area?”

Answered N. H. Heck, assistant director of the U.S. Coast Geodetic Survey, “This question has been asked several times, so it should receive a serious answer. All that could be applied is trigger force, and this can only advance and set the time for an earthquake which is about to occur. It is conceivable, however, that an explosion at exactly the right time and place might have the correct effect.”

A letter cited in the report from the Seismological Laboratory of the University of California to Dr. L.H. Adams of the U.S. Geophysical Laboratory and OSS scientists reads: “… we would have to get (bomb) within less than 5 miles of that place on the fault which is destined to break within a year.”

The primary purpose for triggering an earthquake and tsunami is clearly stated in the report’s later pages.

“To create a negative flux,” reads one paragraph, “that is a condition where the people of Japan are turned into a hysterical mob, no longer believing in any leadership from above, but more interested in individual survival than even state survival.”

H.P. Albarelli Jr. is a writer and investigative reporter who resides in Florida. His novel “The Heap,” published by Peredur Publishing Ltd., is out in bookstores this month. Further information can be found at Albarelli’s website.

Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.