Pro-gov't media mulls 'silicon mask' conspiracy
In a scene in Mission: Impossible II, Tom Cruise "peels off his face" to reveal Dougray Scott.Turkey’s ever-imaginative pro-government media has claimed today that the “parallel structure” within the state is set to plot a new “conspiracy against the government,” in which realistic Mission: Impossible-style masks are used to create fake videos.
The staunchly pro-government daily Star has claimed that it “unmasked the parallel structure” with its latest report. “The parallel structure has announced on social media that the current leaks of wiretapped telephone calls will soon be followed by video recordings,” it warned, 10 days before the crucial March 30 local elections.
The “parallel structure” is a vaguely defined expression that began to be used by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan after the Dec. 17, 2013 graft probe, in order to describe the sympathizers of Fethullah Gülen within state institutions. Gülen, a U.S.-based moderate Islamic scholar, used to be Erdoğan’s closest ally, especially during probes against the military and the Kemalist elite, but is now considered the arch-enemy.
In 2010, former main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal resigned after a six-minute hidden-camera video was leaked showing him in flagrante delicto with a female deputy in 2010.
Weeks before the 2011 general elections, R-rated footage recorded with hidden cameras was also leaked online, leading to the resignations of several members of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) who were allegedly captured having extramarital affairs in the tapes.
At the time, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) rejected opposition suggestions that it and the Gülen community were the possible perpetrators of the scandal.
With social media currently rife with claims that similar video leaks could soon target the AKP, the pro-government media has started reporting about how “easy” it is to fake somebody else’s identity in video recordings.
Similar to daily Star, pro-government news website haber7.com pointed to the “Mission: Impossible” action film series that featured such an occurrence.
Both outlets also recalled an episode of popular science entertainment television program MythBusters, arguing that the show revealed that realistic videos could be produced by impersonating any person with silicon masks. “You can even fool an individual who personally knows that person,” haber7.com claimed.
Both haber7.com and daily Star also referred to an experiment in a lab in Los Alamos, U.S., in which “original voices could be reproduced with sound waves.”
They also reminded that Turkish columnist Nazlı Ilıcak had warned three years ago that Erdoğan could be targeted with audio tapes conspired in this way.
These claims are being echoed today with the government’s line that the latest wiretappings are the result of “montage” and “dubbing.”