Does this video of a gas station attacked with a red laser beam show an example of a Directed Energy Weapon (DEW)? No, that's not true: This video has been edited. The original eyewitness video does not feature a laser beam. Filmed in the Russian city of Makhachkala on August 8, 2014, it shows a situation developing at a Exson gas station for more than one minute before the explosion happens. The edited video in a social media post begins with a computer-generated imagery (CGI) laser beam from above instantaneously causing an explosion. DEW is a real developing technology, but this edited video is not an example of it.
The day after the incident at an Exson Gas Station in Makhachkala, in Dagestan, Russia, an eyewitness video of the explosion was shared on YouTube by the Republican Information Agency (RIA) of Dagestan. An edited clip from this video was posted on Instagram on August 4, 2023, by @antoniotheleo and reuploaded on August 14, 2023, by @goodliontv with the caption:
This is how it looks to see DEWs in action
The text on the video reads:
RED LASER BEAM ATTACK?
LASER BEAM WEAPON
This is how the post appeared at the time of writing:
(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Tue Aug 15 16:06:30 2023 UTC)
The Lead Stories composite image below shows the moment when the red laser appears in the edited Instagram video. Lead Stories matched this to the frame at the 1:15 mark into the original 2014 eyewitness video where there is no red laser beam. The edited video also has some CGI editing done to the initial sparking fire, Lead Stories isolated the moment by comparing the passing traffic in both videos (circled in blue below): The three cars stopped at the light on the left side of the frame, and the roof of the white car is about to vanish from view on the right side of the frame.
(Source: Lead Stories composite image with Instagram and YouTube screenshots taken on Tue Aug 15 17:31:35 2023 UTC)
An article published by RIA Dagestan on August 9, 2014, (translated by Google) states:
According to eyewitnesses, a tank truck designed to transport gas fuel exploded. The first explosion led to another series of explosions.
The eyewitness video begins one minute 15 seconds before the explosion. There is a large amount of white smoke or vapor coming from behind the white wall on the right side of the station and from the area near an adjacent fuel island. This vapor sinks to the pavement and spreads across the ground. The eyewitness video also records a bystander in a red shirt who runs into traffic. The RIA article credits bystanders who held traffic back with preventing many injuries.
While this video does not show DEW because the video is fake, directed energy weapons are a real technology under development. The U.S. Government Accountability Office has a fact sheet about DEW that describes them this way:
Directed energy weapons (DEW) use concentrated electromagnetic energy to combat enemy forces and assets. These weapons include high energy lasers and other high power electromagnetics--such as millimeter wave and high power microwave weapons.
Unrelated to this 2014 incident, there was another gas station explosion in Makhachkala on August 15, 2023, that is reported to have killed at least 35 and injured over 100 people.
Lead Stories has recently debunked a claim that the Hawaii wildfires were caused by DEW by showing that the evidence offered was unrelated to Maui and was a frequently recycled and mislabeled image showing a refinery fire in Canton, Ohio. Lead Stories debunked another video of an explosion which was not caused by a DEW but featured a video artifact called a rolling shutter effect.