On the morning of 20 March 1995 sarin nerve gas was released into the crowded Tokyo subway system killing 12 innocent commuters, seriously injuring 54 and leaving up to 5,000 sick. The chemical attack was carried out by a Japanese doomsday cult, Aum Shinrikyo, led by the charismatic yet crazed guru, Shoko Asahara. Just two years earlier, the cult had purchased a sheep station in the Western Australian desert, using the remote location to quietly develop the deadly nerve agents that would later be released in Tokyo…and perhaps also to test a powerful doomsday device with the potential to cause death and destruction on a massive scale.
In April 1993 the cashed up Aum Shinrikyo cult purchased Banjawarn Station, a 500,000 (yes, half a million) acre sheep property situated on the edge of the Great Victoria Desert around 800 km north east of Perth, WA.
Exactly what a Japanese cult supposedly dedicated to yoga, the teachings of Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism, and the prophecies of Nostradamus wanted with a flock of sheep and a block of land larger than Greater London in the remote Western Australian desert wasn’t questioned at the time, but would become all too apparent just two years later.
Chemicals, gas masks and mining equipment
Shortly after purchasing the sheep station, cult members arrived with chemicals, gas masks and respirators, mining equipment and a ditch digger. Soon, Asahara’s followers had established an advanced “research facility” where the cult’s chemists perfected their deadly sarin and VX nerve gas concoctions. So, that explains the need for gas masks and respirators, but what about the mining equipment and ditch digger?
Apart from being home to a lot of sheep that would make useful test subjects, the property was also blessed with vast uranium deposits. And with two ex-Soviet nuclear scientists on the payroll, it was clear the cult leader’s dreams of spreading destruction were far more ambitious than the mere gassing of a few thousand people on a crowded Tokyo train.
Huge blast shakes desert, lights night sky
On the night of 28 May 1993, a “huge red coloured flare” shot vertically skyward into the dark night sky. Immediately afterwards the ground shook, so violently apparently, that some of the few witnesses in the remote area reported being knocked to the ground while standing around a campfire. A loud explosive blast was then heard over a massive 250 km x 150 km area and some “minor quake damage” was reported as far as 150 km south east of what would later be pinpointed as “ground zero” – an area within or adjacent to Banjawarn Station!
One witness to the strange seismic event, a mining engineer and Gulf War veteran with experience in missiles and supersonic aircraft, believed that the blast wasn’t the result of a sonic boom but “definitely a major explosive concussion wave blast similar to, but much bigger than, a normal open pit mine blast”.
And he was right. According to the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) based in Arlington, Virginia, a US federal agency with more than 100 seismometers on all continents, this unprecedented seismic event was calculated as being “170 times larger than the largest mining explosion ever recorded in the Australian region”. It was also shown to have had “the force of a small nuclear explosion, perhaps equal to up to 2,000 tons of high explosives”.
To put the magnitude of the explosion into perspective, the blast that levelled Hiroshima had the power of about 15,000 tons of high explosives while the largest known conventional weapon, the Russian bomb nicknamed FOAB or “Father of All Bombs” has just 7.8 tons of high explosive.
Atomic bomb blast or meteorite strike?
So, was Aum Shinrikyo the first and only non-government agency to ever build and detonate a nuclear device?
After the cult’s chemical attack in Tokyo, both the Australian and US governments became very interested to learn what had caused the massive blast on or near Banjawarn Station two years earlier. IRIS believed the “signature of the disturbance seemed more that of an earthquake or a meteorite strike than a nuclear explosion”. At least that was their public response anyway.
Using computer simulations IRIS calculated that “an iron meteorite striking the earth at an oblique angle could have created the seismic upset”. There was one major flaw with this conclusion however.
A meteorite of even five or six feet wide would have dug a 300-foot diameter crater into the barren ground. But after an extensive aerial search of the area around ground zero, no impact crater was ever found.
It appears the Australian government was also keen to sweep the possible man-made nature of the seismic event under the proverbial rug, with a Senate investigation concluding that the blast was likely “natural in origin”. Their reasoning for this conclusion, however, seems rather specious.
”Eventually, we got information that led us to believe the group was out of the country at the time of the blast,” said subcommittee senior counsel John Sopko. ”That pretty much eliminated the possibility of a weapons test.”
Really? A massive unexplained blast occurs on or adjacent to a remote property purchased just a month earlier by a doomsday cult employing two ex-Soviet nuclear scientists and whose followers later perpetrated a chemical attack on innocent commuters in a Tokyo subway, but because the group was apparently out of the country at the time, the blast must have therefore been “natural in origin”.
The Australian geologist who first brought the unexplained blast to the attention of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) after the Tokyo chemical attack, Harry Mason, remained unconvinced that the blast was “natural in origin”.
After interviewing some of the few witnesses to the event, he found that a second smaller blast had occurred exactly one hour after the initial blast and that witnesses reported seeing a second much smaller fireball “more blue-green-white in colour, which appeared to rise from ground level from behind distant trees well south of the station perimeter”, and which then “flew to the north in a high mortar-shell type arc before coming down to ground level, behind distant bush”.
Mason later interviewed three truck drivers who witnessed a “moon-sized fireball” in May or June of 1993. They reported seeing the fireball fly “from south to north at low level [approximately 1,000 metres] with a high-speed jet plane velocity. It was yellow-orange-red in colour and had a very small blue-white tail, and lit up the early morning dark sky in an intense blue-white light flash … as it headed immediately west for Banjawarn station.”
This doesn’t exactly sound like what one would expect from a meteorite hitting the earth “at an oblique angle”. Nor is it what would be expected from the detonation of an atomic weapon, however.
So, if the blast wasn’t caused by the detonation of an atomic bomb or a natural occurrence such as a meteorite strike, what was the mystery explosion in the remote Western Australian desert?
A Tesla electromagnetic seismic weapon?
In mid-1995, Mason claims he was informed by the chief council of the US Senate inquiry into Aum Shinrikyo of the doomsday cult’s keen interest in the work of Nikola Tesla and, in particular, his electromagnetic earthquake-inducing weapons technology. Could the cult have been testing electromagnetic weapons at Banjawarn station?
The New York Times reported on the cult’s interest in the work of Tesla in an article published in January 1997. “The cult apparently sent a party of its members to the former Yugoslavia to study the work of Nikola Tesla, the discoverer of alternating current who toyed with the theory of seismic weapons before he died in 1943. At the Tesla Museum in Belgrade, the members seem to have reviewed Tesla’s thesis and other research papers concerning such [electromagnetic] weapons.”
The paper went on to state that while “many geophysicists view seismic warfare as a fantasy that is highly unlikely to ever materialize … the subject has been quietly studied for decades by governments worldwide, including the Soviet Union and the United States during the cold war”.
Was the Japanese doomsday cult also studying the subject … a little less quietly perhaps than the US and Russia? And what destruction could such a doomsday device cause if detonated in a crowded city such as Tokyo, London, New York or Sydney?
The New York Times: Seismic Mystery in Australia: Quake, Meteor or Nuclear Blast? http://www.nytimes.com/1997/01/21/science/seismic-mystery-in-australia-quake-meteor-or-nuclear-blast.html?src=pm
Bright Skies by Harry Mason http://www.cheniere.org/misc/brightskies1.htm