Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show Protestors 'Destroying One Of The HAARP Platforms in Brazil' -- Or Anywhere

Fact Check

  • by: Uliana Malashenko
Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show Protestors 'Destroying One Of The HAARP Platforms in Brazil' -- Or Anywhere Not HAARP

Does a viral clip show protesters attacking what is described as "one of the HAARP platforms in Brazil"? No, that's not true: The footage in question portrays an unrelated local protest in Brazil. The High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) is based in Alaska, and no credible sources reported an attack on HAARP in April 2023. HAARP doesn't have any facilities in Brazil, according to a program spokesperson.

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) posted on YouTube on December 6, 2017, under the title:

Destroying one of the haarp platforms in Brazil

Here is what it looked like at the time of writing:

Screen Shot 2023-04-11 at 10.43.35 AM.png

(Source: YouTube screenshot taken on Apr 11 14:43:35 2023 UTC)

The low-quality footage showed a yelling group of unidentified people toppling what looked like electricity towers.

The same clip resurfaced on Instagram on April 9, 2023, omitting any references to the geography of the supposed event but maintaining that the video showed an attack on a HAARP facility.

HAARP is the High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program, developed by the U.S. Air Force in the early 1990s and transferred to the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks in August 2015. According to its website, the program is aimed at studying the ionosphere, and neither the program nor the institute has any facilities in Brazil.

Rod Boyce, a representative of the science communications team at the University of Alaska Geophysical Institute, told Lead Stories via email on April 11, 2023:

• There is only one HAARP site, and it is located in Gakona, Alaska.
• No attacks. HAARP is operational.
• Other ionospheric heaters in the world include EISCAT (European Incoherent Scatter Scientific Association) in Norway and the SURA Ionospheric Heating Facility in Russia.

A reverse image search shows that the footage was first published on social media on November 5, 2017, without any references to HAARP. For example, one of the earliest captions discussed an attack on a "Correntina farm, in Bahia," as translated from Portuguese by DeepL.

Correntina is a municipality in the Brazilian state of Bahia located roughly 300 miles away from the nation's capital, Brasilia.

According to the local press, the event in question was linked to a long-running conflict over water use in the Corrente River basin. Here is how Jornal Correio, covering Bahia, described it in the fall of 2017, as translated by Google:

The farm was practically destroyed last Thursday by about 500 people, mostly cattlemen and farmers, who invaded the site in protest against the new irrigation system of Igaraschi, producer of potatoes, carrots, beans, tomatoes, garlic and onions. [...]

In the demonstration, in addition to the water catchment pivots, the people destroyed trucks, harvesters, a backhoe, a patrol, a wheel loader and at least ten tractors. The entire electrical system on the farm was damaged.

The video shared on social media was also embodied in a 2018 article about the same issue published by Metropoles, another outlet covering Brazil.

As of this writing, there has been no reported attack on the HAARP facility in April 2023:

Screen Shot 2023-04-11 at 12.30.38 PM.png

(Source: Google screenshot taken on Apr 11 16:30:38 2023 UTC)

HAARP has been a long-term target of conspiracy theories. Lead Stories debunked some of those claims here and here.

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  Uliana Malashenko

Uliana Malashenko is a New York-based freelance writer and fact checker.

Read more about or contact Uliana Malashenko

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