Putin Showed Oliver Stone Video of US Attack on Taliban in Afghanistan, Not Russian Attack on ISIS in Syria

US film director Oliver Stone and Russian President Vladimir Putin viewing a video on a smartphone. Photo: Video grab from The Putin Interviews

  • Knowingly or unknowingly, Russian President Putin has shown US director Oliver Stone a “fake” video of Russian attack against ISIS in Syria.
  • Video in fact depicts a 2009 US attack against Taliban militants in Afghanistan.
  • Fake video is featured in the third episode in Stone’s four-part documentary “The Putin Interviews”. It even appears in the episode teaser.
  • Fake video was re-dubbed in Russian apparently using a recording of Ukrainian pilots communicating during an attack against pro-Russian insurgents at Donetsk Airport in the Donbass region in Eastern Ukraine back in May 2014.
  • Putin’s spokesman has denied the revelation calling it ‘complete nonsense’.

A video shown by Russian President Vladimir Putin to American director Oliver Stone in the latter’s recent documentary series “The Putin Interviews” has turned out to show an US attack on Taliban militants in Afghanistan, not a Russian attack on ISIS militants in Syria, as Putin told Stone.

Oliver Stone’s “The Putin Interviews” is mini documentary series of four episodes, each lasting one hour. It shows interviews with Russian President Vladimir Putin conducted from 2015 until 2017.

“The Putin Interviews” was released on June 12, 2017, on its creator, Showtime Networks, among mixed reviews and criticism of Oliver Stone.

The award-winning US film director has been criticized for promoting Putin’s agenda in spite of the Russian leader’s highly controversial international and domestic record, especially as the West has been at odds with Putin’s Russia over the latter’s encroachments against Ukraine since 2014 in response to the pro-Western and pro-democracy Euromaidan Revolution in Kiev which ousted Ukraine’s pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych.

Led by President Vladimir Putin, in February-March 2014, Russia occupied and then annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in the Black Sea.

Shortly after Russia’s seizure of Crimea, a pro-Russian insurgency possibly instigated and aided by Moscow began in the Donbass region in Eastern Ukraine and has been raging ever since.

Since then, war in Ukraine has claimed some 10,000 lives, and has displaced millions of people.

The US, the EU, and other Western nations have imposed sanctions on Russia over both the annexation of the Crimea and the insurgency in Ukraine’s Donbass which the West deems to be instigated and supported by Moscow.

Another major point of conflict between Russia and the West has been Putin’s intervention in the ongoing Syrian Civil War which rescued the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from collapsing, and helped it crack down on the moderate opposition rebels, while avoiding focusing its air and missile strikes explicitly on the ISIS terror group (“Islamic State in Iraq and Syria”).

The Syrian Civil War began in March 2011 as protests against the Assad regime, which has used chemical weapons against its own population several times leading to a US missile strike as a punitive measure.

The Syrian Civil War began in March 2011 as protest demonstrations against the Assad regime. Since then it has seen massive international involvement and the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and has resulted in nearly 500,000 casualties, over 4 million refugees, and over 7 million internally displaced people.

Video grabs demonstrating that Putin showed Oliver Stone a 2009 video of a US attack in Afghanistan claiming it was a Russian attack in Syria.

Fake Video

In the third episode of Oliver Stone’s “The Putin Interviews”, the Russian President shows the US film director a video allegedly depicting a Russian helicopter attack against ISIS militants.

“That’s how our air forces are operating. These militants are running with arms, not just machine guns,” Russian President Vladimir Putin tells US film director Oliver Stone in the third episode of The Putin Interviews as he plays the video on a smartphone.

“You wouldn’t wanna join ISIS if you saw that,” Oliver Stone is heard commenting in response to the video, a comment which is even featured in the teaser for the documentary episode.

The video, however, has turned out to be fake, or at least fakely presented as it shows a 2009 US Apache helicopter attack against Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan, Russian opposition-leaning TV channel Dozhd (“Rain”) reported on Tuesday.

The fact that Putin knowingly or unknowingly misled Oliver Stone with the war video was first revealed by the Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT), a Russian investigative website which appears to be critical of the Russian government.

In a video posted on Twitter, CIT demonstrates that the video Putin showed to Oliver Stone on a smartphone of a Russian attack against ISIS is in fact footage showing a 2009 US attack against the Taliban – but with a voice recording in Russian.

Facebook user Fedir Panasenko was one of the first people to notice that something was amiss with the documentary footage, linking to what he believed was the original video from 2013.

Gizmodo, however, tracked down the original video, hosted on Military.com, which is actually from 2009.

The 2013 video on YouTube correctly labeled as Americans fighting against Taliban has been viewed over a million times.

The footage that Putin shows Stone appears to have been re-dubbed in Russian and uploaded to YouTube in March 2016. According to its YouTube description, it shows Russian Mi-28 helicopters, which are in fact US Apache helicopters.

In the original video, American pilots speak English but the “fake” video showed by Putin to Oliver Stone was re-dubbed in Russian.

According to the Noodle Remover blog, the Russian-language dubbing was derived from a YouTube video sounding conversations among Ukrainian pilots targeting pro-Russian insurgents at Donetsk Airport in the region of Donbass in Eastern Ukraine back in May 2014.

‘Complete Nonsense’

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov has denied that Putin showed US film director Oliver Stone a “fake” video of a Russian attack against ISIS in Syria.

“This is not true. Complete nonsense,” Peskov told Russian news site Meduza which contacted him over the revelation that the video actually showed a US attack against the Taliban in Afghanistan back in 2009.

Russia’s government and its state-c0ntrolled or pro-government media, including English-language ones such as Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik, are often found to be a source of fake news and outright propaganda as part of a hybrid war effort against the West.


Following is a transcript of Vladimir Putin and Oliver Stone discussing the fake video in episode 3 of The Putin Interviews as Putin plays it on a smartphone:

Putin: That’s how our air forces are operating.

Oliver Stone: Who’s on the ground?

Putin: These militants are running with arms, not just machine guns. But they have some serious weaponry at their disposal which they used to destroy army vehicles. The pilot said that he’s going to make another attempt.

Oliver Stone: They don’t have Stingers?

Putin: Certainly right now they are running some risks.

Oliver Stone: These people have fought you before in Afghanistan.

Putin: Who knows where they fought – these are international terrorists.

Oliver Stone: So they were surprised.

Putin: It’s an attempt at entering Syria from the Turkish side.

Oliver Stone: I think it would be a good… it’s an anti-recruitment poster for ISIS. You wouldn’t want to join ISIS if you saw that.

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