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    Disinformation in the Red Sea: USS Eisenhower False Claims Debunked

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    In the dynamic theater of maritime operations, particularly in the volatile Red Sea region, the fog of war is often compounded by the haze of disinformation.

    The Houthi rebels recently claimed a successful missile strike against the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69), an American Nimitz-class supercarrier, but the United States Navy has categorically debunked these assertions.

    A cursory glance at social media over the past week might have you thinking the USS Eisenhower was damaged by a missile fired by the Houthis.

    USS Dwight D. Eisenhower conducts an ammunition transfer with USS George Washington.” by Official U.S. Navy Imagery is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Images and videos circulated online purported to validate the Houthis’ claims, depicting what appeared to be the stricken carrier engulfed in smoke or docked for repairs.

    The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), background, steams alongside the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) after arriving in the Red Sea to begin its deployment to the U.S. 5th Fleet’s area of operations Oct. 31, 2006. Eisenhower and Enterprise are on a six-month deployment in support of maritime security operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Rob Gaston) (Released)

    However, upon closer inspection, these claims unravel at the seams.

    These false claims involved a video, uploaded to the social media platform X, which gained traction among users.

    100908-D-4748B-024
    PORTSMOUTH, Va. (Sept. 8, 2010) Tugboats guide the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) on the Elizabeth River to its new berth at Norfolk Naval Shipyard. Dwight D. Eisenhower will begin a six-month Planned Incremental Availability in October to refurbish and conduct intensive maintenance on shipboard systems. Dwight D. Eisenhower recently completed a seven-month deployment to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

    The footage, allegedly showing the Eisenhower on fire, has been identified as taken from a popular video game.

    This inaccuracy is further highlighted by keen observers noting the shape of the island on the game’s flight deck is markedly different from that of the U.S. Navy’s carriers.

    Air craft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) 5” by theharv58 is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    Furthermore, images claiming to show the Eisenhower docked for repairs in Crete were swiftly discredited when it was revealed that the vessel in question was not the Eisenhower at all, but rather the Russian Navy flagship Admiral Kuznetsov, currently undergoing a refit in Murmansk.

    USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, USS Gerald R. Ford and USS George Washington sit pierside at Naval Station Norfolk.” by Official U.S. Navy Imagery is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Misinformation of this nature is not simply a matter of erroneous reporting; it might also forms a part of a disinformation campaign carefully orchestrated disinformation campaign to confuse those on social media.

    It’s essential to note the Houthi military spokesperson Yahya Saree’s repeated allegations of successful strikes against the Eisenhower and accompanying warships.

    The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), background, steams alongside the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) after arriving in the Red Sea to begin its deployment to the U.S. 5th Fleet’s area of operations Oct. 31, 2006. Eisenhower and Enterprise are on a six-month deployment in support of maritime security operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Rob Gaston) (Released)

    While such claims are readily dismissed in the United States, they pose the risk of being accepted as truth in other parts of the world.

    The great danger is that it is easier than ever to manipulate videos and photos, and in a short time, it could be quite difficult to know fact from fiction.

    “Photo-switching scams—per the Houthi attack claims—are fairly easy to disprove.

    The greater issues and dangers will come with subtler deep fake videos,” said Charles King, a technology industry analyst.

    Relevant articles:
    – Photos Purport To Show Damage To U.S. Aircraft Carrier After Houthi Missile Strike , Forbes, 06/08/2024
    – USS Eisenhower Captain Posting Old Video Sparks Questions, Newsweek, 06/07/2024
    – Disinformation campaign uses fake footage to claim attack on USS Eisenhower, CBS News, 06/05/2024
    – Fake Images and Video Spread of Drone Attack on Navy Aircraft Carrier, The National Interest Online, 06/06/2024

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