Pentagon Paid British PR Firm $500mm To Create Fake Al Qaeda Propaganda Videos

Tyler Durden's picture

Per new discoveries revealed by the The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the United States government paid over $500mm to a British public relations firm, Bell Pottinger, between May 2007 and December 2011 to create fake Al Qaeda propaganda films aimed at tracking terrorist viewing locations.  According to a Bell Pottinger insider, propaganda films were categorized into three categories with “White" being accurately attributed, “Grey" being unattributed, and "Black" being falsely attributed material.  The media firm created various types of content ranging from TV commercials to news items and "fake Al Qaeda propaganda films."

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 third and most sensitive program 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.”

The "Black" propaganda videos included tracking software linked to a Google Analytics account so U.S. military officials could track the location of people watching the content around the globe.  The content was distributed by U.S. marines who would drop the videos at various locations during patrols.  The whole process was described by one Bell Pottinger employee as a "pretty standard part of the industry toolkit.

U.S. 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 U.S. military commanders.


Wells explained their intelligence value. “If one is looked at in the middle of Baghdad… you know there’s a hit there,” he said. “If one, 48 hours or a week later shows up in another part of the world, then that’s the more interesting one, and that’s what they’re looking for more, because that gives you a trail.”


Bell Pottinger’s work in Iraq was a huge media operation costing roughly $100mm per year and employing almost 300 British and Iraqi staff.  The agency’s staff worked alongside high-ranking U.S. military officers in their Baghdad Camp Victory headquarters.

The Bureau's investigation identified transactions totaling $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.  That said, the bulk of the money was used for production and distribution costs with Bell Pottinger pocketing about £15m a year in fees.

According to video editor Martin Wells, who worked on the project at Camp Victory in Iraq, the production materials from Bell Pottinger were signed off by very high-ranking U.S. military officials, including General Petraeus, and sometimes were even escalated to the White House for approval. 

Bell Pottinger’s output was signed off by the commander of coalition forces in Iraq. Wells recalled: “We’d get the two colonels in to look at the things we’d done that day, they’d be fine with it, it would then go to General Petraeus.”


Some of the projects went even higher up the chain of command. “If [Petraeus] couldn’t sign off on it, it would go on up the line to the White House, and it was signed off up there, and the answer would come back down the line.”

Seems that reality is even more interesting than any fiction that Hollywood can conjure up. 

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Mass_hysteria's picture
Mass_hysteria (not verified) Oct 3, 2016 2:05 PM

no shit you wonder why the "isis beheading videos" are in hd quality

roxyNL's picture

It's OFFICIAL guys we are in 1984 !

MsCreant's picture

It's just a jump to the left!

And a step to the riiiiiight!

Put your hands on your hips!

Pull your knees in tiiiiight.

But it's that pelvic "thruuuuust" [thrust, thrust, thrust]

That really drives you insaaaaaane!

Let's do the Timewarp agaiiiin!

ParkAveFlasher's picture

I just knew that one guy looked like Ralph Fiennes in a funny red beard.  English Patient my ass!

Joe Davola's picture

Question is:  why is this being allowed to be "leaked" now

MsCreant's picture

I ask the same thing down thread.

beemasters's picture

Whom did Bell Pottinger have to sleep with to land such a lucrative deal?

theprofromdover's picture

The Bell in Bell Pottinger was Maggie Thatcher's favourite PR man.

-and no doubt we're all tracked by Google Analytics now. Big deal Goog, do you sleep well at night.

Shitty guys like Petraeus thinking they are working to uphold the Constitution, in their shiny uniforms.

Shame on you, you sordid little pension-grabbers.


This is digusting, pretty soon all action will be black-flag, there will be nobody doing anything bad in their own name, it will all be toframe the 'other side'.

What, you say we're already there?

NotApplicable's picture

You can use NoScript to blacklist trackers and any other annoying javascript running on a page.

Boris Alatovkrap's picture

Of course, this is same way NASA is create Lunar Landing, hire British filmmaker to create landscape of moon on large unutilized sound stage. History repeats!

BuddyEffed's picture

Was said "fake Al Qaeda propaganda films " used by the MSM in any way and did it affect American and British public opinion or American or British politicians in their activities without their knowledge?

Is this news being leaked now to us now as a way to CYA if some emails on this somehow go public?

Joe Davola's picture

I agree Buddy, they're trying to get ahead of the story.
But $500 mil, that's Heaven's Gate/Ishtar level studio bankruptcy. Haven't these guys heard of green screens.

lance-a-lot's picture
lance-a-lot (not verified) Joe Davola Oct 3, 2016 9:56 PM

NOW they're talking about FAKE videos. What about FAKE TERRORISM.

Idaho potato head's picture

Same firm that wrote the code for Obamacare, what a scam on the order of "military" spending efficiency.

creeko's picture

damn f---ing straight.  Everything is a bunch of fucked-up bullshit.  Everything we knew or held dear is just a melange of stinking lies.  Moon landing my ass.  And if they pulled that off in 1969, can you imagine what they wouldn't try later?  Think cruise missiles and tall buildings and fake victims on fake planes for starters.

Captain Chlamydia's picture

False Flags

"Black" Videos

Who was that, saying things 'bout propaganda?

“That propaganda is good which leads to success, and that is bad which fails to achieve the desired result. It is not propaganda’s task to be intelligent, its task is to lead to success.”

Joseph Goebbels

Billy the Poet's picture

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


Are we to understand that Bell Pottinger "teams"  filmed AQ bombings as they happened? How would they know where to film and when?

And do they dance?


OverTheHedge's picture

Now THAT is a question to be sent to every British MP. It won't make a difference, and might get you disappeared, but someone should do it (not me, I quite like my life as it is, thank you very much)

11b40's picture

No expense shall be spared when it comes to war!  It's for the childern, after all.

L Bean's picture

To make it seem like "ancient history" and not shit that they are actually still doing. I wonder if it has to do with the recent discovery of the fake ISIS set found in a French cave. That must've spooked the fuck out of the spooks.

PrayingMantis's picture



... God  less America ...

boattrash's picture

Hollywood should be pissed, the Pentagon should at least "Buy American".

BennyBoy's picture


I can't wait to see the PR firms TV work for Syria.

Or have we already seen it?

L Bean's picture

We have seen it, and we will surely see more.

creeko's picture

you're pretty sharp.  no sarcasm.

scaleindependent's picture

So when they get caught with their pants down making fake ISIS beheading films or videos to motivate the sheeple to attack Syria and Lybia, they will say we did them only so that we can track terrrorristas.

Oldrepublic's picture

This organization is being funded in part by the Open society foundation

GreatUncle's picture

To imply they know who the terrorists are ... is that to encourage more atrocities like best do it now before I am caught?

Freddie's picture

Rita Katz and Dreamworks Spileberg/Katzberg do the "ISIS" videos.

American Taxpayers pay $500 million to be lied to.

The_Dude's picture

I'm sure we learned this trick from the pros....

Wonder when we get the propaganda about skin covered lampshades and piles of hair...

By way of deception, thou shalt do war.

swmnguy's picture

So only idiots with computers already infested with spyware could use them.

ombudsmanrules's picture

... which in itself is interesting as RealNetworks was originally Progressive Networks - founded by Rob Glaser in the mid 90s to use the Internet to distribute progressive political content especially anti-war, anti-government stuff.

The company was a huge success and Mark Cuban basically used Real to create AudioNet which became - which set him up when sold to Yahoo for a ridiculous amount of money.

When the dot com crash happened and Microsoft tried to take back the market Real fell onto hard times and had to open source their system calling it Helix so anyone could write code.  This is back when open source was considered communist by Microsoft and the government.   

So the circle is complete.  The government used the "communist" version of Real Player to create software to spy on enemies and present it as disinformation. Sweet.


swmnguy's picture

That's some rich, rich irony there.  Thanks for the background!

Quasi's picture

So the military distributed RealPlayer on unsuspecting civilians? Now there's a war-crime if I've ever heard of one. Mustard Gas would have been more humane.

Sanity Bear's picture

I seem to remember that format... in the same way a PTSD victim remembers the night of the incident.

Squid Viscous's picture

who made the original monkey bars "Al CIA-duh" one that they've been showing incessantly on the Joob Tube since 9-11? those guys are good!

blue51's picture

I still laugh at the  Talmudvision  quip , by someone on here . fuuuuny.

Dubaibanker's picture

I always wondered of all the 250 countries in the world, why in hell did Osama bin Laden sent videos to US only?

Or why do ISIS videos show up only on the doors of Rita Katz?


We should start a US Film Festival wiht the best of Al Qaeda and ISIS! :)

medium giraffe's picture

Dirkadirkafest 2017, Langley

adanata's picture


Good point; moreover this is another kind of incitement/entrapment. These 'hits' are guys watching the propaganda and probably being influenced by it. Similar to when the FBI set up the Liberty City goofballs who supposedly planned to blow up the Sears Tower. So, are they trying to fire up these guys? Creating 'terrorism' is big business for the MIC.

TheMeatTrapper's picture

I recently met a guy who did 10 years in federal prison for attempting to purchase naughty things that go boom. The BATF infiltrated a militia group and identified him early. He was young, unemployed, angry and not the sharpest tool in the shed. He was perfect for their needs. Their undercover man befriended him and kept him fired up about "doing something for real". The undercover agent took him out in the woods and showed him all his own pipe bombs and suppressors. The BATF agent detonated several of them to show how well they worked, and then offered to put him in touch

with a guy so he could get his own. 

When the guy showed up to buy the explosives, a SWAT team descended on him. The cuffed him and he never saw the light of day for ten years. No bond, no bail - nothing. The government flat out lied at his trial. His own lawyer didn't give a crap about him and filed documents that had words misspelled in them. 

Several ATF agents received promotions for breaking up this dangerous ring of domestic terrorists. 

If they had just left the guy alone, he'd have grown up, straightened up and eventually gotten a job. Instead, .GOV justified their existence and prison industries got 10 years of free labor. Now he can't vote, he can't own a gun and can't get a decent job. 

mkkby's picture

Good.  Someone that stupid deserves it.  Personal responsibility fuck tard.

If they had just left the guy alone... blah, blah, blah.  You read minds?

TheMeatTrapper's picture

No and neither do you. But I have met the man and and spent hours talking with him. You, of course have not. he clearly admits his guilt and he does not blame others for his decisions. I simply pointed out the fact that the government went out of their way to encourage and facilitate criminal activity. 

That is not the job of government. 

Of course, you are too stupid to understand that and that is why you deserve the government you have. 

11b40's picture

Yep, and mkkby is too dense to understand that entrapment is illegal.  Not exactly the sharpest tool in the box himself.

FixItAgainTony's picture

If the mark had shown more intelligence they could have forced him into being an informant and/or agent provocateur to discredit and disrupt the patriot movement.  But the fedcoats don't care when they railroad a concerned citizen, its all laughs and high-fives on your grand-kids Federal Reserve credit card for them.

general ambivalent's picture

Entrapment isn't illegal anymore. In fact, the people cheer it on every night on CIATV.

Master Toms Dog's picture

BATF tried a fast scaled-down version of that on me -- but I wouldn't help them with their ... request.  I would call it entrapment-fishing at a target-rich environment (for them).  The agent did not seem overly concerned whether I actually had any pre-existing criminal behavior or similar future tendencies.  In their minds anyone who gets snared deserves it PERIOD -- regardless if the circumstances they create are ones you would never see otherwise.