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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konputa's picture

I'd not be shocked if it was posted here:

or here:

The AK-47s and ammo for the Syrian conflict as well Fast and Furious were put up there if I recall.


It's been nice knowing you all if you never hear from me again...

GracchusBrothers's picture

The movie "Wag the Dog" didn't cost as much!! What the fuck, over.

TomGa's picture

Porn would have been much more effective and much cheaper to produce.

Jethro's picture

Is there anything that doesn't turn out to be conspiracy fact any more?

bob_bichen's picture
bob_bichen (not verified) Jethro Oct 3, 2016 2:29 PM

"It's tough being a Cynic these days.  It is so much work to keep up!"
––Lily Tomlin


["Most likely, men evolved to walk on two feet so as to free up their upper appendages for masturbation." ––Lily Tomlin]

stilletto2's picture

Nice that the Potters, the sponsors of 'The bureau of Inv Journos' are putting their millions to use in funding probes of the establishments dirt for bodies. The Potters are mathematicians who developed the world's first handheld computer back in the 1980s.

Al Huxley's picture

I think ZH needs to start putting trigger warnings on their stories.  These are disturbing my comfortable world view and reducing my feeling of security that the government is here to help me.

Boomberg's picture

So you're saying ZH needs a safe space.

GreatUncle's picture

Need to rephrase that ... we all now know our governments no longer work for us ... question is why work for them?

MsCreant's picture

What I wonder is why own that this took place at all?

Disinfoing the disinfo.

L Bean's picture

1) To give plausibly benevolent cover to their malfeasance, a la "Fast and Furious"(It's literally the same plot)


2)To make us believe it's a thing of the past

MsCreant's picture

3) To make it so that we are inured to all reports of this kind. It is "normalized" that these things have gone on.

4) To mix truth and lies so much it becomes impossible to figure out which is which, so we shrug our shoulders helplessly and give up trying.

L Bean's picture

Oh yes, #3 & #4 are on the master list of "intelligence" objectives.

MayIMommaDogFace2theBananaPatch's picture

Between information-overload and the fact that my outrage gland has exhausted itself -- I just cannot @#$%^& keep up.  Their plan is working.

Al Huxley's picture

Now you're scaring me even more!  Stop fucking with my safe space!

GreatUncle's picture

Is that your micro aggression starting? LOL

saldulilem's picture

drop an odd cd, like an aol 1000 free hours installation cd? lol, real player, really? are they using netscape 2.0?

Sudden Debt's picture

America... you lost...

When you see how far they'll go to supress American citizens with bullshit, you just know they'll win.

There are simply to many retards who will vote against the elite.

America will be led into a war against the free world and they'll get all the Allies against them.

Americans will fight a pretty big war in the next decade and what history has shown many times, in the end unified allied forces will win against the American regime.


Wahooo's picture

I wonder how many websites are simply tracking sites?

theprofromdover's picture

-how about all the links at the bottom HuffP.O.S.

SharkBit's picture

If I play the video above, will I be droned?

buzzsaw99's picture

yes, if we're not too busy we can accomodate most reasonable requests.

Two Theives and a Liar's picture

Say what you want about Alex Jones question he's hyperbolic (and unlistenable) at times...but he nailed this from day 1.

Vindicated again Mr. Jones!

Panic Mode's picture

Still, Hillary will get Noble peace prize.

hoagy goldmikel's picture
hoagy goldmikel (not verified) Oct 3, 2016 2:33 PM

horse shit

silverer's picture

But Social Security is insolvent in eight years. But don't fear, good citizens. We'll just raise your taxes, so you can pay yourselves. Suckers.

Fireman's picture

I$I$, the last putrid gasp before the co££ap$€ of the fiat filth Saudi Mercan petroscrip dollah clogging the Wall St sewer of the chosen shaman bank$ter$ of the USSAN Potemkin Village "economy" of global mass murder as the inevitable tsunami of toxic derivative puss washes over U$$A.


Onward to Armageddon and don't spare the dragon!

Dark Daze's picture
Dark Daze (not verified) Fireman Oct 3, 2016 9:18 PM

Yes, it is like that isn't it. And Star Wars episode 3. I wonder if a hero will appear?

Land Snark's picture

to create fake Al Qaeda propaganda films aimed at tracking terrorist viewing locations. Oh..... so it wasn't for recruiting more mentally ill refugees terrorists and make us believe there was a credible enemy. Ok then, I'll wait for the video series; "Jihadis Gone Wild!!!

rejected's picture

Reminds me of the giant rubbers on Air America.

Automatic Choke's picture

i'm so confused.   can we go back to a game where we can keep track of good guys vs bad guys?   cowboys & indians perhaps?

Spectre's picture

$540,000,000.  Dumfucks in Gov't as usual, it will never cease until it all blows up.

bigrooster's picture

500 million, are you fucking kidding me?  That is a major motion picture budget.  I wonder how we have 19.5 trillion in debt...oh wait shit like this.  People should fucking hang for blowing 500 million!

Dark Daze's picture
Dark Daze (not verified) bigrooster Oct 3, 2016 8:18 PM

People should fucking hang for treason. That about covers all of it.

johnnycanuck's picture

Another half a billion on your Federal debt for nothing.

It's like giving a Platinum Credit card to a Gold Digger. In the end the best you can hope for is to get screwed.

All is chosen's picture

Has anyone posted - 'You couldn't make this up' - yet?

mrvco's picture

So Bell-Pottinger is the content mill for SITE Intellegence Group?

RmcAZ's picture

Wikileaks got any emails between these two?

cart00ner's picture

Damn, lied to again... That's it, I'm taking down all my "Jihadi John" posters.


P.S. The RT story on this had a funny quote from Pottinger "Propaganda is not legal to be used on US citizens"

Iconoclast421's picture

God damn LOTR trilogy didnt cost that much.... hell you can even toss in a Transformers movie and still be under that frickin budget. These people should be imprisoned for gross incompetence.


I wonder how much of this ended up in the Clinton foundation, somehow...

Hillarys Server's picture

We gave them Toyotas, why not give them CDs?

Hillarys Server's picture

Makes me wonder if Bin Ladin is also retired somewhere on a Hollywood pension.

Maybe he's that tall guy on the Munsters.

No ... that's John Kerry.

ChaoKrungThep's picture

CIA consensus on bin Laden is that he died of renal failure in Tora Bora, Afghanistan, late 2001. The Abbottabad prank was plain silly.

Neochrome's picture

Yeah DoD won't even bother with anything with price tag bellow $500 Mil. anymore.

Money doesn't grow on trees, it's doled out by barrels by DoD...

just the tip's picture

this is why you see all those escalades on the beltway.  and you thought the HNIC was peddling fiction here in our little potemkin village.

GreatUncle's picture

As a thought snatch this guy and waterboard him to see if he sent any emails to Clinton as evidence seeing as they deleted them all!

I am sure he did.

mrtoad's picture

do we fully trust the bureau of investigative journalism? this from their about page....    Based at City University London, the Bureau works in collaboration with other groups to get its investigations published and distributed. Since its foundation the Bureau has  worked with BBC File On Four, BBC Panorama, BBC Newsnight, Channel 4 Dispatches, Channel 4 News, al Jazeera English, the Independent, the Financial Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Sunday Times, Le Monde, Mediapart, the Guardian, the Observer and the Daily Mirror.

the biggest liars on the world stage the BBC are partnered with them. i would say they put forward fake stories as well as the BBC, CNN etc. not saying Pentagon or CIA dont do this but if Pentagon's 'rebels' were fighting the CIA 'rebels' in Syria why wouldnt fake stories come out from either party.