A video featuring a group of United States war veterans returning their service medals and accusing the US of being involved in various international conflicts is circulating, misleadingly claiming that the protest occurred amid the Israel Hamas war.
BOOM found that the video captures a protest that occurred in 2012. Nearly 50 US war veterans participated in the protest during an anti-NATO rally in Chicago to oppose the US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Israel is currently at war with Hamas, a militant outfit of Palestine after a deadly attack by the group on October 7. The ongoing conflict has resulted in more than 9,000 casualties on both sides. United States President Joe Biden recently met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and condemned the sudden attack. Amid the escalating geopolitical tensions, a recent report by The New York Times quoted officials who stated that the Biden administration has conveyed messages to Iran and Hezbollah through regional allies, indicating that the US can send its military forces in response to any attacks on Israel.
The caption with the video reads, "US Veterans throwing medals! MUST Watch They have awoken to the lies. They have realized the war on terror is a farce. They know the difference between good & evil. They want peace."
Click here to view the post.
The video is also being shared with Hindi captions, making a similar misleading assertion.
Click here to view the post.
BOOM observed that the viral video featured a watermark of "Democracy Now." Following this lead, we conducted a keyword search on YouTube and discovered an official channel with the same name.
We also found that an extended version of the viral video was posted on the YouTube channel on May 21, 2022.
According to the video's description, a peace march was led by several veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars in Chicago on May 20, 2012. The veterans were also members of Afghans For Peace. During the event, Iraq war veterans conducted a ceremony in which nearly 50 of them symbolically discarded their war medals by tossing them down the street in the direction of the NATO summit.
Jason Heard, a former combat medic in the US Army, was quoted by Democracy Now, as saying, "I am giving back my global war on terror service medal in solidarity with the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. I am deeply sorry for the destruction that we have caused in these countries and around the globe."
International news agency Reuters also published an article on May 21, 2012, covering the incident.
According to the article, the veterans had aimed to hand over their medals to a NATO representative. However, the closest they managed to get was the fence encircling the McCormick Place convention center, located approximately one block away from where US President Barack Obama and other world leaders were gathered, added the report.
The report also noted that American military veterans threw their medals toward the convention center as a form of protest.