The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Israel at War—Deep Fakes

It should come as no surprise that Hamas and its hundreds of thousands (millions?) of palestinian supporters are really good at four things:

  1. committing and celebrating human atrocities and then acting the victim when those who have been attacked retaliate with violence;
  2. distorting irrefutable facts and proven history to such an extent that they have no resemblance whatsoever to reality;
  3. lying shamelessly as they roll out propaganda that grossly overstates their own casualties while at the same time creating fake images and video to depict their "plight" under conditions of war.
  4. playing the perpetual victim (80 years and counting) so that they receive billions in humanitarian aid from Western governments and additional billions from charitable groups who are often duped into donating funds that flow directly to terror groups.

The AP (certainly no friend of Israel) reports on the palestinians efforts to enhance item #3 (above) with their latest high-tech efforts at propaganda:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Among images of the bombed out homes and ravaged streets of Gaza, some stood out for the utter horror: Bloodied, abandoned infants.

Viewed millions of times online since the war began, these images are deepfakes created using artificial intelligence. If you look closely you can see clues: fingers that curl oddly, or eyes that shimmer with an unnatural light — all telltale signs of digital deception.

The outrage the images were created to provoke, however, is all too real.

Pictures from the Israel-Hamas war have vividly and painfully illustrated AI’s potential as a propaganda tool, used to create lifelike images of carnage. Since the war began last month, digitally altered ones spread on social media have been used to make false claims about responsibility for casualties or to deceive people about atrocities that never happened.

While most of the false claims circulating online about the war didn’t require AI to create and came from more conventional sources, technological advances are coming with increasing frequency and little oversight. That’s made the potential of AI to become another form of weapon starkly apparent, and offered a glimpse of what’s to come during future conflicts, elections and other big events.

You'll note something interesting. Not once in their report does the AP mention that these deep fakes have been produced by the palestinians, NOT Israel. After all, the propaganda media (AP is a ranking member) promote the narrative that the palestinians are the innocent, aggrieved party and that the wrenching images (many are likely faked) produced are "evidence" of "human rights abuses" by Israel. 

Then again, if you distort history, make wildly false claims of victimhood, and lie shamelessly about ... well ... almost everything, it's a small step indeed toward A.I. deep fakes.

The well-worn phrase, "Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?" might have to be revised. If the palestinians ask that question, the appropriate answer is NEITHER.


Item # 4 in the body of this post is the profit center for the palestinians. In an extremely detailed report (the whole thing is worth a read), Sam Westrop states:

Recent analysis published by Israeli analysts place Hamas’s annual budget in Gaza at between $2 and $3 billion. At least an estimated $500 million of this is provided by the “Hamas Charity Coalition” and various investment entities. New sanctions imposed by U.S. Department of the Treasury are based on similar conclusions, and target a range of charities and companies.

One named entity in the U.S. government document is the “Gaza-based and [Palestinian Islamic Jihad]-affiliated Al-Ansar Charity Association (Al-Ansar),” which “provides millions of dollars … for the families of terrorists affiliated with Hamas and PIJ. Al-Ansar claims to provide funds to families affiliated with these terrorist groups as an extension of Iranian support to the Palestinian people, but the funding ultimately serves as a recruiting tool for terrorist activities.”

Indeed, radical movements have long used charitable programs and promises of social welfare to build a base of support and help with recruitment. Crucially, as the U.S. government realizes, charities do not have to fund Hamas’s terrorist operations directly to benefit the terrorist organization financially or ideologically.

Across the Islamist world, in fact, Hamas, the Muslim BrotherhoodKhomeinists,   WahhabisISIS, and al-Qaeda and, indeed, Islamist groups all around the world, have made use of charitable programs to expand and consolidate control over Muslim communities. Hamas and other terror groups refer to this approach as da’wa. The term is usually employed to mean a proselytizing call to Islam, but in the case of Islamist movements and its terror offshoots such as Hamas, it serves as a call to Islamism – and thus a vehicle to impose Islamist rule. Counter-terrorism experts and an increasing number of governments note that the use of da’wah through charity facilitates an influx of largely-unchecked foreign funds, helps to recruit to new members, frees up money for violent operations, and serves to sanitize the reputation of terror movements.

The Islamic world often looks the other way as da'wa funds are used in a way that allows Islamist terror groups to fund weapons purchases and other terror-related activities. Islam is complicit in this and needs to be called out. But no one goes there because ... Islamophobia.