Islamists Forge Document to Falsely Accuse Drake & Scull of Building Statue in Benghazi for Field Marshal Haftar – Al Marsad

Muslim Brotherhood activists are behind yet another fake news scam, this time trying to counterfeit a letter to claim that Drake & Scull has been commissioned to build a statue of Haftar in the heart of Benghazi. The only problem is that the counterfeit was the work of no perfectionist.

[Libya, 2 August 2019] – Over the last three days, the name of the Dubai-based Drake & Scull, a global engineering giant, has been circulating in Libya; this time thanks to forged documents by Islamists trying to link it to a fictitious project in a Benghazi downtown neighborhood that was devastated by terrorists before their defeat by the Libyan National Army (LNA).

Drake & Scull is a global industry leader that delivers state-of-the-art projects and solutions across development sectors in Europe, Asia, GCC, and the United Kingdom with a registered capital, in the Dubai Financial Market, of more than AED 1 billion.

Building a Statue?

Several Muslim Brotherhood activists have been recently circulating a fabricated letter on their social media pages purporting to be from Drake & Scull. The forged letter, sealed with the signature of one of its managing directors, was republished this week claiming that Drake & Scull has been awarded an alleged bid to build a statue for the Field Marshal of the Libyan National Army, Khalifa Haftar, in Benghazi’s destroyed downtown, specifically in al-Sabri district. Al-Sabri is the area in Benghazi that witnessed, over the past few years, ferocious fighting between the Libyan National Army (LNA) and a coalition of extremist militant organizations led by the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council, ISIS, and al-Qaeda, as has been detailed by the UN Sanctions Committee.

The UN document above is a report related to the classification of the United Nations Security Council of Ansar al-Sharia as a terrorist group allied with the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council which is in turn aligned with the Islamic State. (2016 Report)

Fake Letter

Al Marsad’s investigative team reviewed the alleged Drake & Skull letter came to the conclusion that poor image editing techniques were deployed by Islamists to produce the manipulated copy. Building statues is clearly not in line with the areas of specialization of Drake & Scull, a company recognised as a world-class specialist in six the following key sectors: engineering, construction, railways, oil and gas, water treatment and sewerage. Statue building is clearly not one of them.

The alleged falsified letter on the construction of a statue of Khalifa Haftar in central Benghazi

Al Marsad questioned the appropriate Libyan authorities on the validity and authenticity of the aforementioned letter in the absence of any public tenders, instructions, or notifications announced by the Benghazi Municipality concerning building any monument in the city, let alone a statue in commemoration of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar. It is customary practice, in most countries of the world, that building statues to commemorate their public figures and national leaders is usually done after their demise and not while they are still alive.

It is evident that those behind the forged letter, and those responsible for circulating it this week, are trying in vain to give the impression of hero worship atmosphere among people in Benghazi, instead of worshipping God, implying that the affection of the Libyan people for the Field Marshal is an act of blasphemy. This is undoubtedly a part of a systematic smear propaganda campaign targeting the national symbols and role models in the country—orchestrated and waged by Islamists.

Libya’s pro-Muslim Brotherhood website promoting the fake letter

Al Marsad began its investigation on the authenticity of the letter after Libya Al-Khabar, one of the media arms of the Muslim Brotherhood, in addition to social media pages and bloggers affiliated Islamists and to the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), and some combatants and commanders of various GNA armed groups, posted widely the forged letter on the internet.

The original letter above was manipulated and edited by Islamists

Islamists with Poor Photoshop Skills

It has become clear that the media platforms of the Muslim Brotherhood and some of the GNA departments in Tripoli have not yet succeeded in recruiting qualified Photoshop experts. Which is why their propaganda media outlets come out on a daily basis with easily detectable false and fabricated documents attempting to deceive ordinary citizens to sway public opinion. Libyan citizens are already burdened with worries of difficult social and economic living conditions and presence of extremist fighters, and many fall victim to such baseless allegations.

The electronic website of Drake & Scull regularly publishes the awarded tenders and concluded contracts as well as the regulatory rules and procedures organizing the works of the company. The company confirms, on its official website, that it adheres to rigid standards and policies of transparency and the need to disclose its projects, their locations, and value, regardless of the nature and scope of such projects. It turns out that the company does not have any ongoing project of any sort in Libya, including building statues.

Differences and mistakes between the original and the counterfeit letters

When producing this counterfeit letter, Islamist image editing professionals committed the following errors:

– Removing its reference number to cover up the forgery that Al Marsad easily detected, as shown in the circle marked 1;

– Changing the date format, based on the forged document in a style that differs from the original letters issued by the company.

– Keeping the drawn line below the address and the subject of the letter in a style that matches other letters issued by the company.

– Poor replication of the drafting style used by the company in such letters.

– The photo editor also missed the recipient entity’s name, to whom this forged letter was allegedly to be addressed, and for which the alleged project in Benghazi was to be executed, as it is impossible for any administration in any company, or any other entity, in the world to implement any project without referring it to the recipient for whom the letter is intended. See circle marked 2;

– The photo editor kept the letter with the same stamp and signature of Ms. Zeina al-Tabari, although the dates were manipulated and altered from 2015 to 2018;

– The photo editor also forgot to conclude the letter with a phrase of compliment as an accustomed practice adopted by private and public institutions in different parts of the world. See circle marked 3;

– Finally, the forger missed out that Ms. Zeina al-Tabari, whom he used her name and signature, is no longer in this position in the company since 2018.

To view the original copy of the press release at Drake & Scull’s website on March 16, 2015 click here.

Beware of Fake News

Libyan citizens and the international community need to be careful not to fall prey to fake news from Islamist and GNA-affiliated sources. As the war intensifies the manufacturing of fake news to spread false information and accusations against the Libyan National Army (LNA) by the electronic foot soldiers of the Muslim Brotherhood from their centres in Tripoli and Istanbul is proliferating and it is expected to escalate even further as the war turns against them on the ground. We at Al Marsad take the existence and spread of fake news very seriously and we will continue to pursue accurate analysis and expose false information about Libya and the current political, economic, and social developments.

© Al Marsad English. 2019.