How about that time Russian military used a video game pic as proof of US aiding ISIS?
This week in fact
Earlier this week, the official Facebook and Twitter accounts of the Russian Ministry of Defense said it had "irrefutable evidence" the US was aiding ISIS in Syria – and revealed four grainy photos apparently backing up its claims.
The images, apparently taken last week, were captioned as showing the American forces letting defeated foot soldiers of medieval terror-bastards Daesh freely leave a battlefield. The US is simply using ISIS to further its own ends in the Middle East, and that The War Against Terror (TWAT) was clearly an attempt to justify Uncle Sam's actions around the world, the Kremlin roared.
"This is the irrefutable evidence that there is no struggle against terrorism as the whole global community believes," the Russians claimed. "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."
However, as you'd expect with Russian tweets these days, there was something fishy about the images. Eliott Higgins, a visiting research associate at Kings College London, noted that one of the images was clearly a screenshot from the 2015 video game AC-130 Gunship Simulator: Special Ops Squadron.
Meanwhile, a group of Russia watchers calling themselves the Conflict Intelligence Team looked at the other images and noted they were originally taken in 2016 by the Iraqi Air Force during a bombing campaign against the Daesh-bags near Fallujah. So, not Americans letting ISIS off the hook, then.
After the duplication was noticed and word spread online, the images were pulled down by the ministry. However, the Wayback Machine works as well as ever, and you can see the archived tweet and Facebook posting here.
In a statement to RT, the Russian state's reliable mouthpiece, Ministry of Defense officials said that the screenshot from the gunship simulator had been a mistake. It said a full inquiry has been started.
"The Russian Ministry of Defense is investigating its civilian employee who mistakenly attached photos to a statement on the US-led coalition's interaction with the Islamic State militants in the area of Abu-Kamal," it said.
The pictures "represent just one more episode of a recurrent pattern of defamation, distortion, distraction that seeks to discredit the U.S. and our successful coalition fight against ISIS in Syria," Pentagon spokesman Major Adrian Rankine-Galloway of the Marine Corps told the Washington Post.
"To date, the Syrian regime and Russian Federation have not demonstrated long-term success in ridding large pieces of terrain from ISIS influence, then establishing the conditions necessary to prevent terrorists' return." ®