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Russian MOD releases 'irrefutable' evidence that the US is helping ISIS…that turns out to be screen grabs from a VIDEO GAME

  • Russia claimed it had solid proof that the US was supporting ISIS in Middle East
  • But its evidence was based on photographs from a mobile phone video game
  • Images now been removed after the crass attempt at deception was spotted
  • Comes after PM May warned Russia the West is aware of its fake news campaign

The Russian ministry of defence today claimed it had 'irrefutable evidence' the US is helping ISIS in the Middle East – and backed up its claim by posting pictures from a computer game. 

Russia claimed the pictures showed that the US-led coalition was working together with ISIS troops 'to promote American interests' in the Middle East.

But they are actually scenes from AC-130 Gunship Simulator, a mobile video game produced by Byte Conveyor Studios and uploaded to YouTube in March 2015.  

A now-deleted Facebook statement went further, claiming the footage was captured by Russian drones on November 9.

 

Propaganda: The Russian ministry of defence today claimed it had 'irrefutable evidence' the US is helping ISIS in the Middle East - and backed up its claim by posting pictures from a computer game. But they are actually scenes from AC-130 Gunship Simulator, a mobile video game produced by Byte Conveyor Studios and uploaded to YouTube in March 2015

Propaganda: The Russian ministry of defence today claimed it had 'irrefutable evidence' the US is helping ISIS in the Middle East – and backed up its claim by posting pictures from a computer game. But they are actually scenes from AC-130 Gunship Simulator, a mobile video game produced by Byte Conveyor Studios and uploaded to YouTube in March 2015

Computer game: A scene from the video game, which is set during the Vietnam War

Computer game: A scene from the video game, which is set during the Vietnam War

The most glaring inclusion showed what appeared to be a military convoy, filmed from above in black and white (pictured middle inset above). Pictured: The Russian MOD's official Twitter page caught in the act of disseminating lies about the United States 

The most glaring inclusion showed what appeared to be a military convoy, filmed from above in black and white (pictured middle inset above). Pictured: The Russian MOD's official Twitter page caught in the act of disseminating lies about the United States 

However, all of the images can be traced to material posted online before 2017.

In the Facebook post, the Russian government claimed: 'Last week, the £SyrianArabArmy supported by the Russian Aerospace Forces has liberated £AbuKamal.

'The operation ascertained facts of direct co-operation and support provided by the US-led coalition to the Isis terrorists.'

Yet online sleuths quickly tracked the images to a series of different videos from the past two years.

The most glaring inclusion showed what appeared to be a military convoy, filmed from above in black and white.

Yet a reverse image search of the picture, which checks it against images stored in online databases, shows it was first uploaded as part of a promotional video for the computer game, which is set during the Vietnam War.

'The @mod-russia uses images from a computer game as evidence the US is working with ISIS,' wrote Eliot Higgins, a visiting research associate at King's College London and online investigations expert for the Bellingcat website.

'It's worth noting the Russians have literally and falsely accused the US of using fakes from video games, and now they've actually gone and done it themselves,' he said.

'The @mod-russia uses images from a computer game as evidence the US is working with ISIS,' wrote Eliot Higgins, a visiting research associate at King's College London and online investigations expert for the Bellingcat website. He also said the blunder represents 'the best evidence' that the Russian MOD are 'shameless liars'

'The @mod-russia uses images from a computer game as evidence the US is working with ISIS,' wrote Eliot Higgins, a visiting research associate at King's College London and online investigations expert for the Bellingcat website. He also said the blunder represents 'the best evidence' that the Russian MOD are 'shameless liars'

Reverse image searches of the other pictures traced two to a video published to the Military.com website in July 2016, alleging to show Iraqi Army Aviation helicopters attacking IS convoys outside Fallujah
Pictured: The reverse image search led to the website Military.com

Reverse image searches of the other pictures traced two to a video published to the Military.com website in July 2016, alleging to show Iraqi Army Aviation helicopters attacking IS convoys outside Fallujah

'I see about a million people in my timeline have noticed the same thing.'

Reverse image searches of the other pictures traced two to a video published to the Military.com website in July 2016, alleging to show Iraqi Army Aviation helicopters attacking IS convoys outside Fallujah.

Another picture was traced to a separate video claiming to show the same operation published on YouTube in June 2016 by RT, the Kremlin propaganda tool previously known as Russia Today.

A related propaganda website, Sputnik, uploaded a story explaining that the Russian ministry of defence had deleted the photographs – but made no mention of the crass deception attempted by the Kremlin. 

The posts come as Russia's role in spreading disinformation around the world is put under increasing scrutiny in the UK and US.

Representatives from Facebook, Twitter and Google recently presented evidence to a US Senate hearing about Russian intervention in the 2016 US election and on Monday Prime Minister Theresa May used her speech at the Lord Mayor's Banquet in London to accuse Russia of 'meddling' in elections to 'sow discord in the West'.

Twitter users were quick to mock the crass attempt at deceiving the world into thinking the US was supporting ISIS, a sadistic Islamist death cult that two successive presidents have sworn to destroy

Twitter users were quick to mock the crass attempt at deceiving the world into thinking the US was supporting ISIS, a sadistic Islamist death cult that two successive presidents have sworn to destroy

'[Russia] is seeking to weaponise information,' she said.

'Deploying its state-run media organisations to plant fake stories and Photoshopped images in an attempt to sow discord in the West and undermine our institutions.

'So I have a very simple message for Russia.

'We know what you are doing. And you will not succeed.'

Twitter users did not take long to see the funny side of the old pictures from the Russian ministry of defence, responding with clips from famous computer games as 'evidence of CIA mind control' or commending the Russians on their 'nice trolling'.

The Russian ministry of defence has not responded to multiple requests for comment. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR celebrityrave

Journalist, writer and broadcaster, based in London and Paris, her latest book is Touché: A French Woman's Take on the English. Read more articles from Agnes.

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