In another explosive story, the US Government has been caught red-handed paying over 500 million dollars to the public relations firm Bell Pottingers to create fake Al-Qaeda propaganda films between 2007 and 2011. Not only that, but the report reveals that the US government had been working on creating such propaganda with the same company since 2004:
The Pentagon gave a controversial UK PR firm over half a billion dollars to run a top secret propaganda programme in Iraq, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism can reveal.
Bell Pottinger’s output included short TV segments made in the style of Arabic news networks and fake insurgent videos which could be used to track the people who watched them, according to a former employee.
The agency’s staff worked alongside high-ranking US military officers in their Baghdad Camp Victory headquarters as the insurgency raged outside.
Bell Pottinger’s former chairman Lord Tim Bell confirmed to the Sunday Times, which worked with the Bureau on this story, that his firm had worked on a “covert” military operation “covered by various secrecy agreements.”
Bell Pottinger reported to the Pentagon, the CIA and the National Security Council on its work in Iraq, he said.
Bell Pottinger’s work in Iraq was a huge media operation which cost over a hundred million dollars a year on average. A document unearthed by the Bureau shows the company was employing almost 300 British and Iraqi staff at one point.
The London-based PR agency was brought into Iraq soon after the US invasion. In March 2004 it was tasked by the country’s temporary administration with the “promotion of democratic elections” – a “high-profile activity” which it trumpeted in its annual report.
The firm soon switched to less high-profile activities, however. The Bureau has identified transactions worth $540 million between the Pentagon and Bell Pottinger for information operations and psychological operations on a series of contracts issued from May 2007 to December 2011. A similar contract at around the same annual rate – $120 million – was in force in 2006, we have been told.
The bulk of the money was for costs such as production and distribution, Lord Bell told the Sunday Times, but the firm would have made around £15 million a year in fees. (source, source)
For those familiar with military budgets, the joke is how wasteful they are, and how minor expenses are tallied a hundreds to thousands of dollars more than what they actually would cost. This is because it really is not about the items, but about trying to cover up for the real expenses such as propaganda efforts like this.
But really, what was most disturbing was the fact that the government spent exhorbitant amounts of money solely on deceiving it own people. While Americans were running around terrified of Al-Qaeda, the reality was it was just a bunch of middle aged Anglo-American men working in essentially a corporate environment for the US military producing, editing, and perfecting these videos so they would look like they were actually from terrorists:
The work consisted of three types of products. The first was television commercials portraying al Qaeda in a negative light. The second was news items which were made to look as if they had been “created by Arabic TV”, Wells said. Bell Pottinger would send teams out to film low-definition video of al Qaeda bombings and then edit it like a piece of news footage. It would be voiced in Arabic and distributed to TV stations across the region, according to Wells.
The American origins of the news items were sometimes kept hidden. In 2005, revelations that PR contractor the Lincoln Group had helped the Pentagon place articles in Iraqi newspapers – sometimes presented as unbiased news – led to a DoD investigation.
The third and most sensitive programme described by Wells was the production of fake al Qaeda propaganda films. He told the Bureau how the videos were made. He was given precise instructions: “We need to make this style of video and we’ve got to use al Qaeda’s footage,” he was told. “We need it to be 10 minutes long, and it needs to be in this file format, and we need to encode it in this manner.”
US marines would take the CDs on patrol and drop them in the chaos when they raided targets. Wells said: “If they’re raiding a house and they’re going to make a mess of it looking for stuff anyway, they’d just drop an odd CD there.”
The CDs were set up to use Real Player, a popular media streaming application which connects to the internet to run. Wells explained how the team embedded a code into the CDs which linked to a Google Analytics account, giving a list of IP addresses where the CDs had been played.
The tracking account had a very restricted circulation list, according to Wells: the data went to him, a senior member of the Bell Pottinger management team, and one of the US military commanders.
Martin Wells, one of the chief sources for this story. He fooled millions of people into thinking that Al-Qaeda was coming to get them.
Think about all the “videos” that ISIS has produced, and how we at Shoebat.com have meticulously documented how the CIA and Saudi Arabia are not only the financial creators of ISIS, but how we have been directly involved in ISIS troop movements on the ground.
It makes you wonder- How many of those videos that we are looking at are fake? What is ISIS? Who is ISIS?
Or perhaps another question-Where is all of this going? We here at Shoebat.com have an idea…