Rus­sia ‘faked im­age’ to ac­cuse US

The Daily Telegraph - - World news - By Alec Luhn in Moscow

THE Rus­sian de­fence min­istry has been ac­cused of cre­at­ing fake news by as­sert­ing that the US was co­op­er­at­ing with the Is­lamic State of Iraq and the Le­vant (Isil) in Syria.

It at­tempted to pass off an im­age from a video game as “ir­refutable ev­i­dence” of a Us-isil link with a Face­book post and tweet yes­ter­day that showed a pic­ture of an “Isis au­to­mo­bile con­voy” flee­ing Abu Ka­mal, Syria, un­der US pro­tec­tion on Nov 9. In fact, it was taken from a 2015 pro­mo­tional video show­ing AC-130 Gun­ship Sim­u­la­tor: Special Ops Squadron, a mo­bile game in which play­ers fire at ground tar­gets from a US war­plane.

The dis­cov­ery was made by Eliot Hig­gins, founder of Belling­cat, an in­ves­tiga­tive web­site, who no­ticed a large red “fire” but­ton in the corner had been cropped out of the pic­ture.

An­other im­age pur­port­ing to show the same con­voy in Syria was ac­tu­ally taken from a 2016 video pub­lished by Iraq’s de­fence min­istry, of an Isil con­voy flee­ing Fal­lu­jah, in­ves­ti­ga­tors found. The Rus­sian min­istry post with the fake images claimed: “This is the ir­refutable ev­i­dence that there is no strug­gle against ter­ror­ism as the whole global com­mu­nity be­lieves. The US are ac­tu­ally cov­er­ing the ISIS com­bat units to re­cover their com­bat ca­pa­bil­i­ties, re­de­ploy, and use them to pro­mote the Amer­i­can in­ter­ests in the Mid­dle East.”

The de­fence min­istry later re­moved the images. But Rus­sian state me­dia was al­ready re­pub­lish­ing the fake pic­tures and re­port­ing the claims as fact.

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