A UK documentary examining possible connections between Muammar Gaddafi and the IRA apparently confused video game play for actual IRA footage of a helicopter being shot down.

In the documentary Exposure - Gaddafi and the IRA, aired Monday night in the U.K., a voice can be heard saying, "With Gaddafi's heavy machine guns it was possible to shoot down a helicopter as the terrorists own footage of 1988 shows."

On the screen viewers witness shaky footage of what appears to be a heavy machine gun mounted into the bed of a camouflage-painted pick-up truck. The words IRA film 1988 are displayed over the video. In the footage, viewers see a group of men in balaclavas standing around the vehicles as it fires at a distant helicopter.

"This was what the security forces feared most," the voice continues. "It may have been a lucky hit, but for the Army and crew once was enough. No one died in this attack..."

That's probably because the footage actually came from ARMA 2, a tactical shooter released for the computer by developers Bohemia Interactive Studios in 2009.

Reached for comment this afternoon, an ITV spokesman had this to say:

"The events featured in Exposure: Gaddafi and the IRA were genuine but it would appear that during the editing process the correct clip of the 1988 incident was not selected and other footage was mistakenly included in the film by producers. This was an unfortunate case of human error for which we apologise."

The spokesman added that ITV does hold the real footage and plans to replace it in the documentary.

This morning, Marek Spanel, CEO of Bohemia Interactive, said he wasn't aware of the game's use in the documentary until Kotaku contacted him.

"We were not aware of this at all," he wrote. "It is very weird to see our game used this way especially considering the journalists were simply unable to tell difference between reality and game footage and described a short film clearly made using our game Arma II with what they call real IRA footage from 1988. Our games offer a great level of freedom to our users to create all kind of things but in this particular case, it is very misleading. Plus it is surprising ITV did not seek for permission to use our game in this way."

Spanel said the publisher is in the process of gathering more information about the use of their game in the television program, but that after viewing the show he's baffled how the documentary makers could "make such obvious mistake."

"On somewhat of a more positive note," he added, "we consider this a bizarre appreciation of the level of realism incorporated into our games."

The mix up was first caught by a number of viewers, and ARMA 2 gameplayers, who pointed out the issue on the developer's website this morning. While the page for the player that lets you watch the Monday night show is still active, the video won't play for people outside of the U.K.

Updated with comment from Bohemia and ITV.

ITV fakes terrorist footage using ARMA II [Bohemia Interactive Forums, via PC Gamer]


You can contact Brian Crecente, the author of this post, at brian@kotaku.com. You can also find him on Twitter, Facebook, and lurking around our #tips page.