Hawaii and direct energy weapons have been one of the main topics in recent days. The fires on the islands were supposed to be started with lasers from the sky. This alleged conspiracy by governments would be designed to convince citizens that global warming is real. Evidence of the use of direct energy weapons are supposedly videos and photos that show this type of weapon in action. In reality, however, we are dealing with a conspiracy theory based on manipulation and falsification.
Hundreds of examples of duplication of the film and still frames from it can be found on social media, which is presented as proof that a laser was allegedly used to start a fire in the middle of the city. We can find it in English on Rumble, in Korean on Telegram, or in Turkish on X (formerly Twitter).
This conspiracy theory found its way to Poland as well. It became very popular on TikTok, where the discussed recording has been shared multiple times. The story was also spread by a youtuber known for disseminating conspiracy theories, Krzysztof “Ator” Woźniak.
Hawaii and direct energy weapons
In the video in question, you can see a beam of light that causes a blaze to appear near one of the buildings. This is supposed to be proof of the use of direct energy weapons to start a fire. Upon closer analysis, however, it turns out that the context of the recording has been manipulated. A reverse image search on Google shows that the video was already published in May 2023, a few months before the Hawaiian fires.
As confirmed by AFP Fact Check, geolocation of the recording indicates that it was created in the capital of Chile, Santiago. Chilean TV CHV Noticias dedicated a short story panel to this event. It featured an interview with Professor Humberto Verdejo, an expert in electrical engineering at the University of Santiago, who stated that the most likely cause of the flash was a tree branch that fell on power lines as a result of a strong gusts of wind. Therefore, in fact, we are not dealing with a fire, but a short-circuit, which extinguished itself after a while.
The alleged laser visible in the recordings is actually a light flare created in the camera lens. It was a result of a sudden flash caused by a short circuit. It disappeared as the brightness dimmed. Some users on social media tried to manipulate the video by adding a false description. Others used a still frame without the original context. Some others added a sound of an explosion that cannot be heard in the original video. However, regardless of the technique used, the fact remains that the video has nothing to do with the fires in Hawaii.
Hawaii, counterfeits, and direct energy weapons
Typing the phrases “Hawaii” and “energy weapons” into any search engine on social media returns thousands of posts spreading conspiracy theories. Besides the above-discussed examples, there are many other photos and videos circulating on the web, allegedly depicting the origins of the fires in Hawaii. One such example is a series of photos that have been shared in the form of a collage or separately.
One of the photos was published in 2018. As we can see in the original image, the so-called laser is in fact a light flare from a sunbeam. The photograph depicts the start of a fire in the Crater Lake National Park in Southern Oregon in the United States.
The second photo purporting to show the use of direct energy weapons also has nothing to do with the fires in Hawaii. The streak visible in the sky is the launch of a SpaceX rocket in 2018. The effect was obtained by long exposure of the photo.
Unfortunately, neither we nor other fact-checking organizations have been able to identify the origin of the fourth photo in the above collage.
Furthermore, this photo is an example of counterfeit. A reverse image search indicates that the original looks different. It has been cropped and rotated, and finally a beam of light has been added to simulate a laser from the sky. It was taken during the Hawaiian fires by Maui News photographer Matthew Thayer. However, it does not present evidence of the use of direct energy weapons, and the image circulating on social media is simply a fake.
Once again, conspiracy theorists are using the tragedy of thousands of people to support their false theses. During the fires in Hawaii, 115 people died, but the overall number of deaths is probably much higher, as about 1,000 are still missing. At the moment, it is not known what caused the fires, but very bad conditions in the form of drought, high temperatures and gusty wind significantly contributed to the spread of the fire. The hypotheses about the use of direct energy weapons are absurd and, as we have shown in the article above, have nothing to do with the current situation on the Hawaiian Islands. There are many more manipulated recordings and photos circulating on the web, but it is impossible to verify them all, because they run into dozens, and perhaps even hundreds.
AFP Fact Check: https://factcheck.afp.com/doc.afp.com.33RC9NY