A documentary film that aired last night in Britain claimed to show Irish Republican Army (IRA) fighters shooting down a helicopter in 1988. Problem is, the video shown was not actual footage: it was taken directly from a video game.
The mistake is a huge embarrassment for the creators of "Exposure - Gaddafi and the IRA," a film that aimed to explore possible connections between the deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and a band of Irish terrorists.
Instead of footage allegedly showing IRA fighters using some of Gaddafi's weaponry to shoot down a helicopter, the documentary displayed footage from the 2009 PC game "ARMA II," a tactical military simulator by developer Bohemia Interactive.
"It is very weird to see our game used this way especially considering the journalists were simply unable to tell difference between reality and game footage and described a short film clearly made using our game Arma II with what they call real IRA footage from 1988," Bohemia CEO Marek Spanel told gaming blog Kotaku. "Our games offer a great level of freedom to our users to create all kind of things but in this particular case, it is very misleading."
Upon notification of the mistake, the hour-long film was removed from the British ITV website. An ITV spokesman would later tell The Telegraph, "The events featured in Exposure: Gaddafi and the IRA were genuine but it would appear that during the editing process the correct clip of the 1988 incident was not selected and other footage was mistakenly included in the film by producers."
The film was expected to be re-posted to the ITV website once the footage has been corrected. It is still unclear whether the events described actually happened.
The game ARMA II was recently re-released as a free-to-play title, and is available online.
The video below is from ITV's "Exposure - Gaddafi and the IRA," edited to show the documentary's mistake, contrasted with the video game footage as it was originally uploaded to YouTube.
Image credit: ARMA II, by Bohemia Interactive.