Earlier this year, we witnessed a lot of skepticism from the public regarding Julian Assange’s whereabouts. Given the extent that Wikileaks affected the last U.S. election by publishing the leaked DNC emails, there was heightened concern for his safety, and some people even thought he was dead.
Julian Assange hadn’t had any public appearances for a long time, and the only form of visible communication he had with the public was through videos. Many speculated that these videos could have been modified with computer-generated imagery, hence why some people thought they were fake videos and that he could be in danger.
Though many brushed this idea to the side, deeming it a “conspiracy theory,” the reality is that concerns like these cannot be simply blamed on increased paranoia or conspiracy theorists. I’m obviously not saying that Julian Assange is dead, but I’m suggesting that you should be wary of fake video footage and it’s understandable if you hear others expressing concern over it.
Mainstream media is no stranger to producing fake content, and this could potentially further progress the issue of “fake news” and make it more difficult for the public to decipher the truth from fiction.
First of all, the U.S. government and mainstream media have created fake terrorist videos to support an ongoing propaganda model. Second of all, technology is rapidly advancing, and we’re now at a point where computers can generate extremely realistic videos of specific people talking, so much so that you’d likely never know the difference between a real video and a fake one.
How Can CGI and AI Create Fake Videos?
Researchers from the University of Washington created a new video, titled “Synthesizing Obama,” using AI to produce a fake video of former President Barack Obama speaking. This can be done easily using footage from his past speeches, though Business Insider pointed out that the audio could easily come from anywhere to create any type of fake video.
Supasorn Suwajanakorn, a researcher who worked on “Synthesizing Obama,” agreed that it could be used to create fake content, but also believes it could create more healthy skepticism, which is a tool more people could benefit from developing.
“It could potentially be used to create fake videos when combined with technology that can generate a person-specific voice,” Suwajanakorn said. “On the other hand, if such tools are widespread and well-known, people can be more cautious about treating video as a strong evidence. People know Photoshop exists, and no one simply believes photos. This could happen with videos.”
You can watch the following fake video of Barack Obama here:
We previously wrote about a similar technology referred to as Face2Face. Borne of a collaborative effort between Germany’s University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, the Max-Planck Institute for Informatics, and Stanford University in California, it was tested on George W Bush, Donald Trump, and Vladimir Putin.
The study, titled “Face2Face: Real-time Face Capture and Reenactment of RGB Videos,” “animates the facial expressions of the target video by a source actor and re-renders the manipulated output video in a photo-realistic fashion,” according to the researchers.
You can watch the original video from that study here:
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You can read more about this particular study in our CE article here.
How Does Mainstream Media Already Create Fake News?
To be perfectly honest, this isn’t much of a stretch from our current reality when it comes to fake videos and fake news. The U.S. government has already been caught creating fake videos to manipulate the public, as the Pentagon paid a PR firm over $500 million to create fake terrorists videos.
North American mainstream media (MSM) has also been caught falsifying data and images; for example, multiple MSM news outlets reported that Russia bombed a hospital in Syria when in reality that hospital still stands. The fake ‘al Quds hospital‘ news story was reported by both CNN and PBS, stating that Russian airstrikes took down the hospital in April 2015, killing innocent civilians — none of which is true. In fact, Russia released satellite imagery proving that the hospital was still standing later in the year.
The following video features world renowned Canadian journalist Eva Bartlett discussing the White Helmets, an organization that Western media paints as “heroes” who are in reality terrorists funded by the West, and other fake MSM news reports on the Syrian war:
None of this information is very surprising if you’re well versed in the U.S. government’s history in creating and funding terrorists like al Qaeda and ISIS. The U.S. government is in the pockets of MSM as well, routinely paying many stations to create false narratives that adhere to their political agenda.
Amber Lyon is a three-time Emmy award winning journalist at CNN who went on record stating that mainstream media outlets are routinely paid by the U.S. government as well as by foreign governments to selectively report and manipulate information on specific events. She has also admitted that the U.S. government has editorial control over mainstream media content.
The CIA even designed an entire program around manipulating MSM. The CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD is the government program referring to its interest and relations with mainstream media. MOCKINGBIRD stemmed from the CIA’s forerunner, the Office for Strategic Services (OSS, 1942-47), which, during World War II, created a working relationship with journalists and psychological warfare experts operating primarily in the European theatre.
Together, MSM and the government have been painting a false picture of terrorists for a while now. A recent study found that terrorist attacks receive five times more media coverage if the “terrorist” is Muslim (read more about that in our CE article here).
The sad truth is that you can almost always guarantee that you’re not being told the full story when MSM is discussing “terrorism” because MSM is controlled by the U.S. government, and so any dialogue that comes from the media has been heavily censored by the very organization that created and funded these terrorist groups.
“Al Qaeda and the Al Qaeda affiliated organizations, including the Islamic State, are not independent organizations, they are sponsored, and they are sponsored by the United States and its allies. It is documented that prior to 2011, there was a process of recruitment of mujahideen to fight in Syria, and this was coordinated by NATO and the Turkish high command. This report is confirmed by Israeli news sources and unequivocally, we are dealing with a state-sponsorship of terrorism, the recruitment of mercenaries, the training and the financing of terrorism.”
– Dr. Michel Choissudovsky (source)
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard even proposed a bill recently in an effort to put an end to this government corruption, titled the “Stop Arming Terrorists Act,” which only received an alarming 13 supporters.
Gabbard was quoted as saying that the “CIA has also been funneling weapons and money through Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and others who provide direct and indirect support to groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda. This support has allowed al-Qaeda and their fellow terrorist organizations to establish strongholds throughout Syria, including in Aleppo.”
It’s clear that MSM isn’t often as truthful as they should be when reporting on certain subjects, particularly those relating to the U.S. government. Despite the overwhelming amount of evidence supporting this claim, many people still trust MSM. Perhaps these new CGI and AI discoveries will make people a little more wary of everything they see on the media, regardless of how “trusted” the source may seem.
A little bit of skepticism can go a long way in changing people’s perceptions and opening the minds of others. Let’s hope that, although this could be used to generate even more fake news stories, this new technology may also help awaken people to the reality of MSM!
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