Did "white hats" in the U.S. military "disable an amphibious cruiser that attacked GITMO" as of January 4, 2023? No, that's not true: The aircraft carrier identified with a photo as the "aggressor" was never put into service and was sold for scrap in 1971. Also, this claim was made on a website known for publishing fabricated content.
The claim originated from an article published by Real Raw News on January 2, 2023, titled "White Hats Disable Amphibious Cruiser that Attacked GITMO | Real Raw News" (archived here). It opened:
White Hats on 1 January retaliated against the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship that staged a Christmas Day strike on Guantanamo Bay, crippling the 843-foot behemoth as it sat anchored off the coast of Venezuela and destroying the ship's compliment of helicopters and landing craft, sources in General Eric M. Smith's office told Real Raw News.
Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:
White Hats Disable Amphibious Cruiser that Attacked GITMO | Real Raw News
The article says, in part:
Generals Berger and Smith, he said, began planning a response almost immediately after a maritime patrol plane identified the aggressor as the U.S.S. Boxer, a mammoth vessel that underwent extensive modernization between June 2020 - December 2021.
A Google News search using the keywords "White Hats Disable Amphibious Cruiser that Attacked GITMO 2023" produced no results to substantiate this claim. A Google News search using the keywords "U.S.S. Boxer that underwent extensive modernization between June 2020 - December 2021" also produced no results to corroborate this claim.
The image above the article is inaccurately identified as the "U.S.S. Boxer, a mammoth vessel that underwent extensive modernization between June 2020 - December 2021."
A Naval History and Heritage Command page identified it as a Boxer V (CV-21), in commission from 1945 to 1969. The Navy site USS Boxer (CV 21) description page stated the aircraft carrier was decommissioned on December 1, 1969, and sold for scrapping on March 13, 1971.
Lead Stories reached out to the Office of the Secretary of Defense and will update this story if a response is received.
Real Raw News
Real Raw News is a website that consistently publishes made-up stories about U.S. politics. The news-style layout of the website make it look like a legitimate news source, so it often fools people into believing the stories are real. Screenshots and copies of the stories regularly turn up on other websites or on social media where they are presented as real.
It bills itself as "humor, parody and satire" on the "about" page (archived here):
Information on this website is for informational and educational and entertainment purposes. This website contains humor, parody, and satire. We have included this disclaimer for our protection, on the advice on legal counsel.
The same "about" page claims the main author is a man named Michael Baxter. In 2021 a PolitiFact article (archived here) identified the writer as a "Michael Tuffin" in Texas based on records found in a GoFundMe campaign set up to support the site.
NewsGuard, a tool that provides credibility ratings for websites, published a five-page PDF report (archived here) in 2021 describing realrawnews.com as, "An anonymously run website that has published baseless and debunked conspiracies about COVID-19 and U.S. politics." It cautioned that the website severely violates basic journalistic standards."
Lead Stories has covered claims published by Real Raw News in the past. Previous Lead Stories debunks of Real Raw News items are collected here.