Facebook user Phanti Na, whose pieces of disinformation have been verified by FactCheck multiple times in the past, has promoted another item of fake news. In particular, the Facebook user published a photograph which shows the image of a system on water. The description of the photograph says that it is HAARP and is deployed in Georgia. The author of the publication also draws associations between natural disasters and HAARP.

In fact, Google Image Search shows that the system featured in the photograph is a Sea-Based X-Band Radar which is part of the US missile defence. It was designed to detect and establish precise tracking information on ballistic missiles and discriminate missile warheads from decoys and debris. The radar is housed under a white dome and is considered the largest and most sophisticated phased array electro-mechanically steered X-band radar in the world which is capable of detecting small-size object at up to 2,500 miles away. The platform vessel where the radar is located has the ability to move at up to eight knots which means 15 kilometres per hour.

In regard to the radar and the station’s deployment territory, the SBX-1 was officially deployed in 2006 as part of the Ballistic Missile Defence System in the Pacific to detect and track ballistic missile threats to the US homeland and Hawaii and Alaska. At various times, the SBX travelled around the Pacific including the waters around Hawaii and Alaska. In 2009, the SBX relocated to the waters around Hawaii, after North Korea threatened the island with nuclear attack. From May 2019, the radar was moored in Pearl Harbour for maintenance work from May to September 2019. As early as on 3 March 2023, the radar was sent back to Hawaii. The SBX is currently deployed in the Pacific Ocean to monitor potential North Korean ICBM test launches.

Therefore, the claim that the photograph shows HAARP and that it is deployed in Georgia is false. The image circulating in social networks in fact shows the US BMDS radar which is deployed in the Pacific Ocean near the USA.

In addition, in the second half of the publication, the author links HAARP with natural disasters. In particular, the publication reads: “This is the source of our calamities which they call ‘natural disasters.’”

Of note is that HAARP (High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program) is one of the most frequent targets of disinformation purveyors and is very often blamed for causing different types of natural disasters. See FactCheck’s articles on this issue (1, 2, 3, 4).

In fact, HAARP is an American scientific-research programme which is aimed at studying the properties and the behaviour of the ionosphere, the Earth’s upper atmosphere. The programme has been funded by the Air Force, the Navy, the University of Alaska and the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency. In 2015, the research facility was transferred to the University of Alaska. The major part of the programme is the Ionospheric Research Instrument (IRI) which is able to emit 3.6 megawatts into the ionosphere with transmission frequencies fluctuating between the 2.7 to 10 MHz range. The radio waves cause a wave-like movement of electrons in the ionosphere, their temperature increases and the density of electrons in a specific region of the ionosphere changes. Accordingly, scientists can study how the ionosphere reacts to changing conditions.

Since HAARP affects the ionosphere, this automatically excludes the use of HAARP to affect the weather since weather does not occur in the ionosphere but in the relatively lower layers of the atmosphere - the troposphere and the stratosphere. The radio frequency waves transmitted by HAARP are not absorbed in the troposphere or stratosphere. According to HAARP researchers, the technology does not have the ability to affect the weather in any way as large-scale weather modification is impossible through artificial intervention. Therefore, HAARP cannot affect the weather - forming clouds, causing hurricanes, storms, etc.

In addition, there is only one HAARP station in the world and it is not situated in Georgia but in Gakona, Alaska (United States of America).


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