Sky Laser Sparks Hawaii Misinformation

Deadly fires in Hawaii caused by “laser beams”? This fake news has been highlighted on social networks by accounts that refute the role of climate change in certain disasters.

Posts mentioning high-energy lasers or claiming the Maui island fires that killed more than 110 people and destroyed the town of Lahaina were intentionally created to build eco-cities have received millions of hits. commitments on platforms like X (ex-Twitter).

“Only a directed energy weapon (AED) can cause this type of destruction,” said far-right radio host Stew Peters on this network.

These posts illustrate a trend observed by disinformation experts: extreme weather events are accompanied by a blossoming of conspiratorial claims aimed at denying scientific studies of the role of climate change.

“Whenever there are events like this and calls for stronger action against global warming, there is usually parallel action to discredit science, deny any link to climate change and blame someone. something else”, explains Arunima Krishna, professor at Boston University and specialist in disinformation around the climate.

“This time,” she said, “it’s the directed energy weapons.”

X and other networks are swarming with messages claiming to show photos and videos of Hawaii supposedly targeted by such systems, which use concentrated electromagnetic energy and are notably under development in the United States or France.

AFP has shown that some messages, in several languages, actually used images of a SpaceX rocket launch, flames from a refinery in Ohio, sparks from power lines in Louisiana or the explosion of a transformer in Chile.

– “Conspiracy universe” –

Other messages claim that the fact that the fire spared some trees is evidence of the use of lasers.

Expert in the field of directed energy weapons at the University of Colorado, Iain Boyd explains to AFP that this conspiracy theory is far from reality, in particular because a laser powerful enough to ignite these fires would need to be fired from a “huge” craft, naval or air, which could not go unnoticed.

The origin of the fires in Maui remains unknown but the authorities have launched an investigation.

The meteorological services had warned that the strong winds generated by a hurricane off the archipelago and the dry vegetation could create favorable conditions. American media have also put forward the hypothesis that downed power lines may have played a role.

According to Jennie King, a climate scientist at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue in London, misinformation about wildfires has evolved in recent years.

In 2018, US parliamentarian Marjorie Taylor Greene, a supporter of Donald Trump, suggested that a light beam from space may have caused the fires that raged that summer in California.

The following year, according to Ms King, the trend was to blame it on suspected arsonists. The Black Lives Matter movement has frequently been used as a scapegoat.

Lately, according to Jennie King, assertions arguing that the authorities use lasers to destroy cities in order to rebuild environmentally friendly cities instead always serve the same narrative, that of a climate change which would be insignificant.

“They are also part of a larger movement represented by proponents of QAnon and other conspiratorial universes that a planetary cabal, a new world order or elites lurking in the shadows are trying to impose their view,” says the analyst again.

For Mike Rothschild, expert on conspiracy theorist and author of the book “Jewish Space Lasers”, “it is easy to use these images (of lasers) as + proof + of what + they + do to us to advance their climate program. or control of the company”.

“People looking for answers prefer to believe in space weapons than in the reality of the climate crisis,” he notes.

This article is originally published on arabnews.fr

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