Russian Foreign Ministry Accuses America Of Supporting ISIS With Video Game Footage

from the fake-it-until-you-make-it dept

The history of governments attempting to demonstrate either their own military prowess or the dastardly actions of others -- usually America -- is long and storied. South Korea used footage from war games to show off weapons I guess it must not have, Egypt attempted to pass off game footage as Russian airstrikes against ISIL/ISIS/whatever they're supposed to be called, and North Korea attempted to show off its nuclear capability by pinching some Modern Warfare 3 footage. Even Russia has tried its hand at this, attempting to show that America was arming Ukrainian rebels with Stinger missiles with some stills from the game Battlefield 3. That any of these countries thought they would get away with these fakes is nearly as funny as their having not considered how much international egg they'd have on their faces once they were found out.

But you'd at least have thought these countries would learn their lesson. In the case of Russia, it seems not so much. The Russian Defense Ministry recently accused the American military of, get this, helping ISIS in order to promote American interests in the Middle East. While that claim is, on its face, fairly laughable, so too was the photo evidence Russia provided.


If those images look sort of familiar to you, it's probably because you've played AC-130 Gunship Simulator: Special Ops Squadron. It seems that the photographic evidence offered by the Russian Defense Ministry is just more video game stills.

In a sign of how lazy some propagandists can be, on Tuesday the official Russian-language Twitter account for the country’s defense ministry tweeted a selection of photos, claiming the images were irrefutable evidence that the U.S. was helping ISIS terrorists. However, one of the photos the Ministry of Defense tweeted (and later deleted) appears to be from the video game AC-130 Gunship Simulator: Special Ops Squadron, a clip of which is available on YouTube. The account also posted the photos along with a longer body of text on Facebook. Researchers from verification and citizen-journalism platform Bellingcat debunked the photo after someone else tweeted it, claiming a video was live drone-attack footage over Mosul, Iraq.

Whatever those other photos are from, it's clear they are not from American forces happily supporting ISIS. We've done bad things in this country, but this claim is simply off the reservation.

Russia, for its part, deleted the debunked photo, but maintained the claim that America is now helping ISIS in the Middle East. Maybe we can grab a couple of stills from The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle as evidence that Russians are committing mass genocide of all moose and squirrel.


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  • icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 16 Nov 2017 @ 3:35am

    Wow. Even the Russians are blaming video games for all the world's evils. Maybe there's something to it after all.

    Nah.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    hij (profile), 16 Nov 2017 @ 5:16am

    Forget Moose and Squirrel, send in the A team

    IF the US really wants to get to the bottom of this perhaps they should send Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase to Russa disguised as medical doctors?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Nov 2017 @ 5:23am

    i think the reason this continues to happen is the 'evidence' is convincing to some audience somewhere that will believe it. that it is laughable to much of the world seems to not matter as long as the select pigeons buy it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 16 Nov 2017 @ 5:38am

    The problem is this - even when they're obviously faked, this stuff can work. You can point out all the evidence you want showing that last week's story designed to rile up anti-Muslim rage is actually from a completely different country and context and from 7 years ago not last month, if it got people angry enough it's the evidence that's fake, not the original propaganda story.

    It's great that they ran and took their fiction with them, but I guarantee some damage was already done, because some people spend so much time in their echo chambers and can't allow their cults to see them admit mistakes.

    As an example, I've seen several obviously false stories get pushed around Facebook this week among friends (one medical related, the others inevitably designed to rile up the ignorant against immigrants and Muslims). Some got quietly deleted when counter-evidence was presented, the others turned into open arguments. In one case, the person posting the story could not accept that the October 2017 article he linked to was faked, despite the same picture and copy being present on an article from February 2011 (with only the identity of an aggressor being changed from a white American to a Syrian Muslim, for obvious reasons).

    If you can't convince people that evidence from 6 years ago can't possibly depict something that supposedly happened last month, you might also find it difficult to convince them that it doesn't even depict something from real life.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Nov 2017 @ 8:56am

      Re:

      It is easy to fool people, it always has been, and those that think they are the least easy to fool are the easiest to fool of all!

      Hubris is mankind's gateway drug to stupidity! Stupid, everyone of us!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 16 Nov 2017 @ 8:58am

        Re: Re:

        Yeah, that's right. The fact that I recognise blatantly false stories that people are still somehow falling for years after they have been debunked means I am the one being fooled! How original! How insightful!

        /rolls eyes

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John85851 (profile), 16 Nov 2017 @ 9:27am

      Re:

      This is exactly why there's still so much spam: a certain percentage of the audience will believe it, no matter how many other people say it's fake or a scam.

      The propagandists who put out videos know the smart people will figure out it's from a video game, but they also figure their audience doesn't read enough "mainstream media" to see the stories about how it's video game footage.

      And the more hard-core propagandists will simply respond with "You say you read an article about how this is video game footage? Open your eyes, sheeps! This is exactly what they want you to believe! Don't fall for their propaganda."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Altaree, 16 Nov 2017 @ 5:50am

    Give the game as a gift.

    The game company needs to very publicly gift copies of the game to either the Russian Defense Ministry or just the local Russian consulate or embassy. Talk about free marketing.

    "In thanks for the recognition of the care we put into the realism of our game, we present you with this pile of swag."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 16 Nov 2017 @ 5:52am

    Intended for a local audience

    I can't help but think that these videos, of game footage, are mostly propaganda intended for the citizens of that country, who mostly, might not know any better.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      McGyver (profile), 16 Nov 2017 @ 10:34am

      Re: Intended for a local audience

      Yes, it was mostly... But the beauty of the Internet and social media is that eventually some fool outside Russia will come across it somehow and help spread it as further proof of whatever they want to prove.
      If it even in the tiniest way helps to sow division and promote chaos in the U.S., then it has done its job.
      Too many people have complete lack of objectivity and look for stuff like this to support their views.
      Just like you can't help a person who doesn't want help and is determined to f--k their life up, you can't convince people who want lies to be true that what they are seeing and hearing is total bullshit...
      They have decided this is what they want to believe and no amount of facts or proof will change this...
      Deep inside they can see it's all bullshit, but if they doubt it for even a second, it'll all fall apart and they'll have to admit to themselves their world is built on lies... So they desperately cling to any "proof" no matter how fake and ridiculous it is...
      You could show them clips from Super Mario Brothers as proof ISIS is colluding with turtles, and they'll just accept it, to shore up the foundations of their sandcastle dreams...
      It's useless to even bother trying to convince people like that they are being hoodwinked... They already know, and they are fine with it, they are addicted to bullshit the way junkies are to drugs.
      Stuff like this is designed for those people... Both is Russia and anywhere it finds a receptive audience.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Nov 2017 @ 6:37am

    I don't understand. How could video game footage even help ISIS? Don't they have video games too?

    j/k but the article's title doesn't parse

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Nov 2017 @ 7:19am

    This from site that echoed FAKE Trump-Russia lies for months?

    Then just forgot it?

    And you forget another minion's recent panic that "[Russians are] pumping the internet full of toxic disinformation 24 hours a day"?

    Yeah, you kids can spot fakes -- so long as confirms your bias.

    >>> So, yes, this MAY be fake, but SO WAS YOUR TRUMP-RUSSIA allegations that ran for months. And since that's never been admitted here, proves YOU gullible partisans at best.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Nov 2017 @ 7:27am

      Re: This from site that echoed FAKE Trump-Russia lies for months?

      Aww, did your MAGA onesie give you a wedgie last night? It's ok, we understand.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 16 Nov 2017 @ 7:43am

      Re: This from site that echoed FAKE Trump-Russia lies for months?

      You know, if you want to whine, you might as well do it both coherently and with evidence for the claims you seem to be trying to make yourself.

      At the moment it comes off like you're saying that this proof of Russian propaganda is an admission that claims of other Russian propaganda were wrong. Which seems very strange, to sane literate human beings, at least.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      orbitalinsertion (profile), 16 Nov 2017 @ 8:52am

      Re: This from site that echoed FAKE Trump-Russia lies for months?

      It did, did it? I have mysteriously missed every occasion of that.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Nov 2017 @ 10:23am

      Re: This from site that echoed FAKE Trump-Russia lies for months?

      But if we didn't want you to have fake news, you wouldn't have fake news.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Nov 2017 @ 1:17pm

      Re: This from site that echoed FAKE Trump-Russia lies for months?

      Well at least your deflector shields are still at full power.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Vic, 16 Nov 2017 @ 7:37am

    That is Ministry of Defense, not the Foreign Ministry. Two different entities. (And Russians usually do not consider anybody related to military as the smartest ones.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Nov 2017 @ 7:44am

    Yeah - hahaha look at the fools

    However, the allegation has not been refuted.

    In fact, isn't this a typical ploy intended to cause laughter and finger pointing all as a ruse intended to divert attention away from some item? Haven't we seen this before?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      orbitalinsertion (profile), 16 Nov 2017 @ 8:54am

      Re:

      If it is a ruse and a ploy, then those who made the accusation with fake evidence (and zero other evidence) would be the ones behind the diversion, yeah?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 16 Nov 2017 @ 8:57am

      Re:

      I can't help but notice that you haven't, for example, pointed to other sources to show that what was claimed has actually happened and it was only the screenshots that were incorrect. You only "ask questions" while mocking the original who did their homework.

      So, yes, we've seen this before. When you are posting.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Nov 2017 @ 9:01am

      Re:

      A claim was made presented with picture evidence. The picture evidence was manufactured and misrepresented to be something there's not. Therefore a claim was made presented with no evidence. So it gets Hitchen's Razored.

      This is also known as the burden of proof. That is, unless you insist on having it your way. Then I'm going to have to ask you to prove you're not a Russian plant who is paid to sow discord across the internet. I mean, the allegation has been made so I guess it's true until you prove otherwise, right?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Nov 2017 @ 11:12am

        Re: Re:

        I simply pointed to the silliness used to make the story go away.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 17 Nov 2017 @ 9:12am

          It's 'silly' to dismiss a claim when the one making it has been caught attempting to use fraudulent evidence to support their claim? Truly, your standards as to what qualifies as 'silly' are novel indeed.

          If they had actual evidence they would have used it, that they presented fraudulent 'evidence' instead completely undermines their assertions, such that the default assumption is that they were lying through their teeth when they made their accusations.

          If they didn't want their claims to be dismissed then they shouldn't have backed them up with lies.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Nov 2017 @ 1:19pm

      Re:

      What time is it in Saint Petersburg?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Nov 2017 @ 12:54pm

    Could they have been duped into retweeting fake news? http://s.mil.ru forwards to Bitley.com

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ThaumaTechnician (profile), 16 Nov 2017 @ 1:19pm

    You'd think that the IR view of the bullets...

    ..would give it away, but no!

    How about the fact that the bullets seemed to be traveling at 10KPH?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Aaron Walkhouse (profile), 16 Nov 2017 @ 5:19pm

      Bullets shine brightly in IR.

      Traveling at Mach 3-5 will heat small things up quickly.

      Also, they would seem to be traveling slowly when moving
      directly away as you move offline, such as when flying.

      The game's realism is reasonably good in that respect but
      bodies always falling in exactly the same way gives it away. ‌ ‌ ;]

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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