The drone video purporting to show an ISIL member in a carnal action with a donkey that went viral earlier this week probably has nothing to do with ISIL or drones. The jury is still out regarding “carnal action” and “donkeys,” however.
The mysterious infrared recording was found by not by the Agence-France Presse, or Reuters, or the Associated Press; no, it’s sources were far more reliable: the Sunday World tabloid and the Deccan Chronicle. It even comes with a headline: “Coalition drone catches ISIS member in a compromising position with a donkey.”
The video certainly appears to show a guy doing sexual things to a donkey, and a number of regional commentators got excited over the discovery, taking to twitter to bask in the delightful hypocrisy of radical Islamic puritans caught indulging in some carnal desires with a farm animal.
Except, a close examination of the video notes there’s no weaponry or evidence of terrorism, and that the people behind the video didn’t seem particularly intent on attacking or capturing the fellow in the video. Furthermore, there’s the timestamp just barely visible in the upper left-hand corner of the frame, noting that it appears to have been shot on June 7, 2011, around 8:21 p.m. local time — local time labeled as “UTC +4.5,” or four and a half hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time.
UTC +4.5 puts this video in the same time zone for Kabul, Afghanistan.
Also note how the camera is stationary, and as one military drone and manned-aircraft expert noted, “aircraft generally don’t hover.” The expert, speaking to Fortress America, guessed that it wasn’t a footage from a drone, but from a JLENS, or “dirigible device tethered to the ground and constantly searching for threats to coalition forces, especially at night”
All this taken together means that the video is probably from 2011, not from a drone, and may be of an Afghan fellow, not ISIL member, entertaining himself with a donkey. So why did it go viral, like countless other before it? As Adam Weinstein over at Fortress America noted, it’s propaganda:
Propaganda that dehumanizes your adversary as bestial, it turns out, is highly shareable on social media. Here’s a patriotic American hawking a video, apparently from 2010, of “Afghans defiling a goat.” Here is the exact same video, posted last year, by an apparent friend of the Syrian Assad regime, warning that “the following clip may contain GRAPHIC and DISGUSTING material if you are a normal human being, otherwise you might like it and support the NATO-backed Syrian ‘Revolution.'”
You can watch the (perhaps NSFW) video below:
h/t Fortress America