In one of the most embarrassing political missteps I have ever seen a Government commit, the Russian Ministry of Defense was caught red-handed attempting to pass off video game footage as “irrefutable evidence” that the US military was aiding and abetting ISIS terrorists in the Middle East. Despite admitting their mistake, deleting the evidence offline and attempting to control the damage through a press release, the internet has been relentlessly trolling the Kremlin ever since.
As was originally reported by Middle East Eye earlier today on November 14th 2017, “Russia faced online ridicule on Tuesday for publishing footage from a computer game as undeniable proof that the US was providing air support for Islamic State militants in the Middle East.” Explaining that “The Twitter post, which was published today by the Russian Ministry of Defence account in Russian, English and Arabic, said that the images showed “irrefutable evidence that #US are actually covering ISIS combat units to recover their combat capabilities, redeploy, and use them to promote American interests in Middle East.”
However, despite attempting to pass off the information as legitimate evidence, “the images posted were lifted from footage from a 2015 YouTube video, which showcased the development of an AC-130 gunship simulator game for iOS and Android users” and “The other images released in the same batch were reportedly from Iraqi army air strikes dating from July 2016.” Within hours of posting the photos online, the Tweets were promptly deleted and the Russian Ministry has since come out with a public statement alleging that the agency was investigating the actions of a civilian employee, whom had mistakenly attached the photos to the Ministries official statements and Twitter account.
Original Russian Tweet:
Original Video Game Footage:
Reaction from The Internet:
— Sputnik (@Sputnik_Not) November 14, 2017
— Suppiluliumas (@_Suppiluliumas_) November 14, 2017
Shocking new photo of interior of secret Ukrainian neo-Nazi base proves Hitler is alive! pic.twitter.com/h5K8Ud96CM
— Euan MacDonald (@Euan_MacDonald) November 14, 2017
. Russian MOD shows irrefutable evidence of U.S facilitating Baghdadi's evacuation https://t.co/WEVCZApiYf
— S. Rifai (@THE_47th) November 14, 2017
As the report by Middle East Eye also eludes to, “This is not the first time that Russia has been linked to fabricating “evidence” on social media. In May of last year, the Russian embassy in the UK was ridiculed after using a screenshot from the “Command and Conquer Generals” computer game to illustrate its claim that Nusra Front militants in Syria had received truckloads of “chemical ammo.” Additionally, “In 2015, pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine produced video that suggested the Ukraine government was being supplied with Stinger air defence missiles by the US.” Explaining how “Those claims were debunked when it was shown the “weapons” used in the video had been produced from 3D models used in the Battlefield video game, and carried the same typographical errors.”
Spokes people from the US military say that Russia’s mishap today is just one more example of how the Russians use social media, fake news and fabricated evidence as a means to spread political disinformation and propaganda online. Unfortunately though, not every instance is as hilarious as today’s was, and we do not always get the chance to expose it on the same level.