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Faux Image – Pilots Protesting Chemtrails

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline

Image circulating via social media and email depicts uniformed pilots marching with picture placards supposedly showing chemtrails. 

Brief Analysis

The image has been digitally altered. The original photograph shows airline pilots marching in a September 2011 Occupy Wall Street protest. The signs held by the pilots have been changed in the fake picture to show “chemtrails” rather than the original protest messages about pilot pay and working conditions.

Example

Fake Image - Pilots with Chemtrail Signs

 

Detailed Analysis

This image depicts a large group of airline pilots marching in full uniform at an unidentified street protest. Each pilot in the picture is holding a placard that features a photograph apparently meant to illustrate “chemtrails” in the sky. The scene depicted in the image implies that the pilots are protesting against these supposed “chemtrails”.

The picture shows a real protest along with real marching pilots. However, they are certainly not protesting “chemtrails” nor in any way endorsing the absurd conspiracy theories surrounding the supposed existence and causes of such chemtrails. In fact, as the following source image illustrates, the pilots were protesting much more down-to-earth issues such as pilot pay and working conditions.

Pilot ProtestA September 29, 2011 Forbes article about the protest notes:

Hundreds of uniformed pilots, standing in stark contrast to the youthful Occupy Wall Street protesters, staged their own protest outside of Wall Street over the past couple of days, holding signs with the picture of the Hudson river crash asking “What’s a Pilot Worth” and others declaring “Management is Destroying Our Airline.” This comes after pilots at United asked a federal judge to halt the merger with Continental, arguing that the whole thing is proceeding too quickly.

The original picture can be seen in a 28 September 2011 Daily Mail article along with the following caption

United: Over 700 Continental and United pilots, joined by additional pilots from other Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) carriers, demonstrate in front of Wall Street on Tuesday

The altered picture apparently originated from image website Dees Illustration Studio, which features a Political Satire section that hosts a number of similarly altered images, including other chemtrail pictures. It is unclear how or by whose hand the image escaped from this original context and began circulating online. 
Some readers might be wondering what the supposed “chemtrails” shown on the fake placards actually are. According to various paranoid conspiracy theorists, chemtrails are visible evidence that governments or big companies are secretly and deliberately dumping poisons into the earth’s atmosphere for their own nefarious purposes. Some theorists claim the poisons are dumped to make sure that citizens are chronically ill and therefore more easily controlled by governments or more likely to have need of expensive pharmaceutical products. Other suggest that the chem dumping is a clandestine operation to delay global warming. Several other, equally wacky, conspiracy theories have been suggested as possible causes of the trails.

In reality, the supposed chemtrails are just contrails. Contrails are condensation trails that form behind jet aircraft when they burn fuel in the upper troposphere. An in-depth discussion of chemtrail conspiracy theories is available on the Skeptic’s Dictionary website.



Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer