DRI Responds to Area 51 Weather Stations Video
...and Campbell responds to their response

On Nov. 2, 2015, Glenn Campbell released a new video Area 51 "Weather Stations" - What Are They Really For?. (For more information, see the main page.) On the same day, the Desert Research Institute (DRI) released a statement to KLAS-TV responding to the video. The statement is reproduced below, followed by Glenn Campbell's response to each of the points raised.

Here is the video that DRI is responding to...

And here is DRI's response, as reprinted on KLAS's website (halfway down page)...

DRI is not a front for a U.S. Air Force intelligence gathering operation outside Area 51. DRI serves as the nonprofit environmental research arm of the Nevada System of Higher Education.

The four stations where cameras installed were Rachel, Goldfield, Duckwater, and Ely. The cameras are only there as a check/reference to view the large digital readout signs along the highways in communities with poor cell phone coverage. The goal of those large signs is being able to provide public weather alerts as well as emergency messages using the CEMP stations as a communication hub. The cameras help CEMP make sure the large signs are displaying correctly.

The cameras and digital signs are not in any way associated with the CEMP. They are simply co-located on the site of the CEMP station and use the same communications infrastructure as the CEMP station.

Neither the CEMP station at Rachel nor the station on Tikaboo Peak are live streaming cameras. The images from these cameras are stored at the Western Regional Climate Center in Reno, Nevada and are managed by WRCC staff.

The WRCC is one of six Regional Climate Centers. The Regional Climate Centers (RCC) deliver climate services at national, regional and state levels working with NOAA partners in the National Climatic Data Center, National Weather Service, the American Association of State Climatologists, the Regional Sciences and Assessment Program, and other NOAA Research Institutes. We also partner with the Department of Interior Climate Science Centers and Landscape Conservation Cooperatives.

WRCC manages the cameras at Rachel, Ely, and Goldfield. As stated above, they are there to monitor the associated NOAA sign that posts NOAA weather advisories and other local interest messages. As a check on weather advisories and part of a preprogrammed schedule, the camera was also set up to rotate once every 10 minutes taking images of the horizon and sky to allow monitoring of developing weather conditions, in case verification of a posted warning was desired.

The Tikaboo station is part of a Pahranagat Range monitoring project, similar to the NEVCAN project - monitoring the Sheep Mountain Range (north of Las Vegas) and Spring Mountain Range (east of Ely, near GBNP). The Tikaboo and Badger Spring Valley stations are monitoring basic watershed conditions in the Pahranagat Range in combination with a CEMP station in Alamo and a station in the Pahranagat Wildlife Refuge.

As for Tikaboo, the stationary camera is there to provide a fixed baseline of the state of the watershed and an image is taken every 10 minutes. At the time of installation, the camera was one of the best low power, wide angle, outdoor cameras available. The movable camera is there to monitor the state of the station and equipment. Communications at the site only allow the fixed camera images to be telemetered, i.e., there is not sufficient bandwidth to telemeter the imagery from the movable camera. There is even frequent disruption of the fixed camera images.

Due to the remoteness of the site, occasional, extremely low quality images of the station equipment were deemed worth the cost to provide maintenance evaluation and trip safety planning. As for why Tikaboo was selected as the site for this WX station out of all the other peaks in the Pahranagat Range, it was partially because of the site exposure and elevation as it is a compliment to the station in Badger Spring Valley (the watershed most dominantly seen in the images from the fixed camera), but mostly because there was already a foot path to this peak. WRCC could not find similar access to any of the other peaks in the Pahranagat Range. While the Tikaboo/Badger Spring stations aren't part of the NEVCAN transects of stations, WRCC saw them as a good opportunity to compliment the NEVCAN transect stations in the Sheep Mountain range (south) and the Spring Mountain (Great Basin) range (north). Much of the instrumentation is similar to the NEVCAN transect stations.

Glenn Campbell Responds

Here are Glenn Campbell's responses (in bold print), released Nov. 3...
DRI is not a front for a U.S. Air Force intelligence gathering operation outside Area 51.

Not primarily. DRI has hundreds of employees, most of whom are there because they truly care about science and the environment. I'm sure most DRI employees have no idea what is going on with these weather stations. When I refer to "DRI" in my video, I am only talking about the handful of people at DRI who have colluded with the Air Force or knowingly participated in this collusion. I think most employees would agree that this kind of special arrangement with a powerful client is inconsistent with DRI's stated principles and mission. If my allegations turn out to be true, I'm sure no one would be more appalled that the majority of DRI's employees and stakeholders.
The four stations where cameras installed were Rachel, Goldfield, Duckwater, and Ely. The cameras are only there as a check/reference to view the large digital readout signs along the highways in communities with poor cell phone coverage. The goal of those large signs is being able to provide public weather alerts as well as emergency messages using the CEMP stations as a communication hub. The cameras help CEMP make sure the large signs are displaying correctly.

This readout from this sign is not visible from the security camera on the top of the tower of Rachel station, as clearly indicated on the photo at right. (Notice the base of the tower is behind the signs.) If you view the weather station walk-around at 10:36 in my Outtakes video you will see that the readout sign (saying "Cows on Road") wraps around the weather station. In other words, the camera is useless for monitoring the functionality of the sign.

"In communities with poor cell phone coverage" doesn't apply in Rachel, where there is good cellphone coverage and most residents have reliable landline phones.

You're also forgetting the identical camera on Tikaboo Peak, where there are no digital signs. Furthermore, you can look up at the cameras in Rachel and on Tikaboo Peak and see where the lens is pointed. I have never seen either camera pointed at the weather equipment. (When I have seen these cameras they have been pointed up at the Little A'Le'Inn's entrance and at the summit on Tikaboo Peak.)

The cameras and digital signs are not in any way associated with the CEMP. They are simply co-located on the site of the CEMP station and use the same communications infrastructure as the CEMP station.

If the cameras and signs are not part of the CEMP program, what program are they are part of? Who funds them? Who decided these features should be added to this weather station in 2011? Did the Department of Defense fund this system or play any role in the choice of the new location?

I would certainly like to know about the "communications infrastructure" that the cameras and digital signs share with the CEMP station. A CEMP station only broadcasts low-bandwidth data (the equivalent speed of an old dial-up modem, apparently sent to a geosyncronous satellite). A security camera broadcasts high-bandwidth data, and if the camera is panning and tilting on demand the]an it must also have receive capabilities. Likewise, the display signs must also have receive capabilities so they know what messages to display. So I can't figure out what "communications infrastructure" the two systems would they be sharing?

I would also like to know more about the communication infrastructure supporting the camera. How does the video signal get to DRI headquarters? Is there any encryption in use? Is there any opportunites for other agencies to make use of this data stream? Can anyone other than DRI control the camera?

Neither the CEMP station at Rachel nor the station on Tikaboo Peak are live streaming cameras.

I'm not sure what is meant by "live streaming". Someone is getting a live video stream from that camera, and I don't doubt that the video is being received at DRI headquarters in Reno. My only question is whether anyone else has access to that feed and can send commands to the camera.

The images from these cameras are stored at the Western Regional Climate Center in Reno, Nevada and are managed by WRCC staff.

I would like to know about the data managment policies for this stored video. How long is this video data retained? Who has access to it? Can the output from these video camera be used in criminal cases?

As soon as you used the word "stored" regarding video data, you get into a lot of complex questions about how this data will be used, managed and distributed. Even if the cameras were intended only to monitor the weather equipment, they can still capture the activities of people, which invokes all sorts of civil liberties issues.

As a check on weather advisories and part of a preprogrammed schedule, the camera was also set up to rotate once every 10 minutes taking images of the horizon and sky to allow monitoring of developing weather conditions, in case verification of a posted warning was desired.

I have spent hours underneath the cameras at Tikaboo and Rachel and have never seen any programmed movements of the camera lens. When I have seen them, the Rachel camera has always been pointed at the front entrance of the Little A'Le'Inn and the Tikaboo camera has always been pointed at the peak. If these cameras were randomly scanning the horizon, it would seem statistically unlikely that they would always be pointed at the key locations where the Air Force would want them.

The Tikaboo station is part of a Pahranagat Range monitoring project, similar to the NEVCAN project - monitoring the Sheep Mountain Range (north of Las Vegas) and Spring Mountain Range (east of Ely, near GBNP). The Tikaboo and Badger Spring Valley stations are monitoring basic watershed conditions in the Pahranagat Range in combination with a CEMP station in Alamo and a station in the Pahranagat Wildlife Refuge.

There is an error in this paragraph. The statement says "Spring Mountain Range (east of Ely, near GBNP)", but I think they mean "Snake Range". (The Spring Mountains are just west of Las Vegas and include Mt. Charleston.)

I would like to see some documentation on this "Pahranagat Range Monitoring Project". Is there are proposal or written project description we can see? Did the Department of Defense fund this entire project, or just the Tikaboo and Badger Spring stations? How did this project come about? Did DOD propose it or did DRI? What were DOD's requirements? Was there a competitive bidding process for this contract? Can we see DOD's RFP or grant proposal for this project? ... The questions go on and on.

Is the new San Spring Valley Weather Station (installed at the same time) part of this monitoring program? If not, what program is it a part of? Who funded it?

As for Tikaboo, the stationary camera is there to provide a fixed baseline of the state of the watershed and an image is taken every 10 minutes. At the time of installation, the camera was one of the best low power, wide angle, outdoor cameras available. The movable camera is there to monitor the state of the station and equipment. Communications at the site only allow the fixed camera images to be telemetered, i.e., there is not sufficient bandwidth to telemeter the imagery from the movable camera. There is even frequent disruption of the fixed camera images.

Due to the remoteness of the site, occasional, extremely low quality images of the station equipment were deemed worth the cost to provide maintenance evaluation and trip safety planning.

If the moveable camera is supposed to be monitoring the weather equipment, why is it always pointed at the peak, not at the equipment?

"There is not sufficient bandwidth to telemeter the imagery from the movable camera" - But don't you have a separate radio system for that? On the mast, there is second non-standard antenna pointing at a cluster of radio towers within line of sight. (The LOS antenna on the Tikaboo station is shown at right.) Aren't you getting fast telemetry via that link?

In this statement, DRI seems to be saying, "We installed a high-bandwidth moveable camera on Tikaboo, but we can only get 'occasional, extremely low quality images' out of it." But the high-bandwidth line-of-sight antenna disproves that. It would be absurd to install a high-bandwidth camera without a transmission circuit adequate to support it.

And I would still like to know how DRI is transmitting instructions to the Tikaboo camera (telling it where to pan and zoom). Where is the transmitter for this function? Is it out at Area 51?

As for why Tikaboo was selected as the site for this WX station out of all the other peaks in the Pahranagat Range, it was partially because of the site exposure and elevation as it is a compliment to the station in Badger Spring Valley (the watershed most dominantly seen in the images from the fixed camera), but mostly because there was already a foot path to this peak. WRCC could not find similar access to any of the other peaks in the Pahranagat Range. While the Tikaboo/Badger Spring stations aren't part of the NEVCAN transects of stations, WRCC saw them as a good opportunity to compliment the NEVCAN transect stations in the Sheep Mountain range (south) and the Spring Mountain (Great Basin) range (north). Much of the instrumentation is similar to the NEVCAN transect stations.

I am pleased that the trail that my friends and I blazed is being put to good use. Now that DRI is a "stakeholder" in our trail, I wonder if DRI could contribute to its maintenance. There's one section of the trail that needs attention, a brutally steep scree slope. It needs some switchbacks, and I wonder if DRI could help build them, since it is apparently the most regular user of the trail. It seems only fair that since DOD funded this study it should also contribute to upkeep of the trail.

The trail to Tikaboo Peak is so primitive that it isn't much better to making your own trail to any of the other peaks in the Pahranagat Range. It's more like a crudely marked path with no real improvements over simply walking up a hill. It is also important to note that the trail is useless for constructing the Tikaboo station. It would have taken an army of sherpas to haul all the hundreds of pounds of materials required.

The story about the peak being selected because there was already a trail to it certainly sounds plausible, but cover stories always do. The more important issue is how the choice actually came about. Either (a) some requirements for the project were set down on paper and Tikaboo just happened to fulfill them, or (b) Tikaboo was chosen and then some reasons were invented to justify it. If (a) is the correct anwer, then we should be able to see the original project specifications.

NEVCAN was apparently used as a model for Pahranagat Range program, but that doesn't tell us whether the Pahranagat project is authentic. Whenever an intelligence agency is inventing a cover story (i.e. "telling a lie"), it always tries to stick as close as possible to what is plausible and already generally accepted. To discover whether an explanation is real or a cover story, you have to keep asking questions. Under close inspection, truth always turns out to be connected to everything else we already know, whereas a lie will eventually disintegrate under the weight of its own inconsistencies.

. . .

Unfortunately, I've come to the end of DRI's statement, and there's nothing more to respond to, but I'm eager for more opportunities to explain my position. DRI hasn't yet replied to most of the explicit questions I asked in my video (like the "Dear DRI" questions), but at the time of their statement they hadn't had access to the video for very long. I look forward to their responses after they have thought things over.

Glenn Campbell


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