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. 

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Robert Trip's picture

Oscar bait.

Especially those head-chopping flicks.


PleasedToMeatYou's picture

"The CDs were set up to use Real Player

Wow.  Nobody could open them. 

Good thing they didn't use something weird, like mpeg. 

Robert Trip's picture

The ultimate favorite for me, and I'm sure you have your own too, was those 40 terrorists all dressed in orange jumpsuits wearing black hoods, marching those 40 guys and gals on "our side' down to the lake bank and then chopping their heads off.

The wife threw up.

Now, THAT'S film making

Or maybe it was the good guys all dressed in orange and the bad guys all dressed in black?


Vageling's picture

Awww. Cute! Moar shit we already knew. Remember Jihadi John? With his shiny knive? Besides these sand savage shit always had a high Hollywood level. Remember plenty of them. "While your US soldiers take their own lives we prosper. Because we have Allah!" Some white redhead beard and some black dude and sand savages with the finger up... It always looked staged to me. Hollywood crap.


Ms No's picture

My favorite is when they show western mercs in a group of ISIS with black beards that don't match and the beards look like they were purchased for five dollars or made with black alpaca pubes.  ZH just had an article that showed that recently, I think it was the "white hats."  They are just laughing at us.

PoasterToaster's picture
PoasterToaster (not verified) Oct 3, 2016 4:33 PM

One of the things that confused people about trolls and shills for a long time was that they were often "foreign" to the country they were targeting with their internet attacks.  This is because the US (NSA) and UK (GCHQ) agreed to target activities towards people in the other country for various reasons.  So in an American venue you would have high handed British type sociopaths dominating and making discussion impossible, and vice versa.

Now that Snowden the American Hero has exposed this horseshit for what it is, nobody should be surprised that the two fuckhead "governments" have shitty little douchebag divisions that contract with each other to conduct their dirty filthy propaganda campaigns. 

US Government bureaucrats, like those that infest the Pentagon who wear uniforms with lots of ribbons and stars, routinely target Americans for public shaming for daring to question the oligarchy and its minions.  They conduct their treasonous business right over our heads, sure in the knowledge they will never be held to account or worse- actually buying into their own bullshit and thinking they are doing us a favor.

Sooner or later this will bite them all in the ass.

tnuctipun's picture

Sooner, please.  What amazes me is (like the beaten wife) just HOW MUCH abuse Americans are willing to take.  You will need to actually fight back, and I mean literally fight back.  Ask that question, how long will this go on ....  Your Gubbermint cares not a whit for you.  Nothing.  Nada.  The game is not to govern the poeple, its to build a barbed wire business landscape that ejaculates money on their faces.  Really, how much will you guys put up with.  Yes, some will die under the wheels, but YOU GOT TO LEAVE THAT BURNING HOUSE.

Big Ben's picture

He's making a list
Checking it twice
Gonna find out who's naughty or nice
Santa Claus is coming to town

He sees you when you're sleeping
He knows when you're awake
He knows if you've been bad or good 
So be good for goodness sake!

And "Santa Claus" (aka USAID, aka CIA, etc.) has a big bag full of drones.

Most of the $2 trillion that the DoD cannot account for probably went into the black budget of the CIA. Ever wonder why the gov is would spend $26 for a 15 cent washer? The $25.85 goes to the CIA.

Look for youtube videos by Fletcher Prouty, who was in charge of funneling money to the CIA in the 50's and 60's. But be aware that the CIA is probably making a list of the IP addresses of the people who watch the videos.

Gadfly's picture

Just when I thought I had seen everything.  Next they’ll be telling us 9/11 was an inside job.

SmittyinLA's picture

Now all the Guantanamo detainees are gonna claim those videos inspired them and this is entrapment.

Can terrorist victims sue ad firms that inspired filmed, uploaded and promoted jihad videos?

Dark Daze's picture
Dark Daze (not verified) SmittyinLA Oct 3, 2016 9:23 PM

Well. Are they even guilty? They've never been tried, only imprisoned in direct violation of the law of habeas corpus. Every law on the books has been broken including Constitutional law, International Law and common law, as well as agreements on human rights and multile other criminal acts.

CHoward's picture

Don't tell me they couldn't have found an American company to do this kind of slime work.  Does everything have to be outsourced?!?

yellowsub's picture

Because you can't find these people in America that would purposely mislead and frightening Americans!  </sarc>

yellowsub's picture

You mean $10k for the video, $490k in other stuff to fund and arm terrorists...

It's however rather late as it's been imprinted on Americans that ISIS is as real as Al Qaeda.

Pumpkin's picture

Oh!  The MSM will be all over this!  Oh wait...

ZRizzo's picture

Kite - hit - steel - plane - must.

Then, the Pet Goat.  Another day, another sacrifice for the masonic controllers. 

sonoftx's picture

Awhile back, there was a congressman here on ZH who was giving lectures on the floor about the constitution. They were good videos. I had probably drank one too many beers that night and I called the said congressman and congratulated him on his endeavors. At the very end of the message I said " and oh yeah, stay away from nail guns". Ya, got to say fuck it every now and then.

About two weeks later I had this guy show up to see me. He was talking all bout how he was military intelligence and how he had access to secret information, and he knew what was going to happen before it happened. I acted interested, and he was good.

After the visit, I thought " That was a strange visit, it wasn't real". I wondered if the guy would show back up for his f/u. He did. I pretty much just "Yeah, uh-huh" his efforts and got on with the visit.

He did have to have a digital rectal exam. I knew he would never come back and he did not.

I do not have many talents. One of the few I have is if I meet you in person I know you pretty quick. This was a fake plant of some kind from the word go. And, he was pretty good. He also knew when to back off.

JailBanksters's picture

why am I NOT surprised

Tax Payers dollars used to sell a Fake War to build more Military Machines to create more Tax Dollars to fight more Fake Wars.

It'sa War Ponzi Scheme, where the old wars are being paid for by the sale of new wars coming onto the market.

pipes's picture

No, no, no...those were REEAAALLL beheadings though...I'm super super serial, guys!

Ms No's picture

I remember when we used to laugh about these fake videos and beheadings and then trolls would come out of the woodwork and accuse people of being idiots and crazy.  I wonder where all of those dumb motherfuckers are now...

The worst I ever saw it was when that female journalist was supposedly shot on live TV.  That was the most obvious fake thing I have ever seen in my life.  My favorite part was how her camera man stopped filming the interview she was doing and just started filming the grass right as as the alleged shooter approached to kill them both.  They were no bullets, no casings, no damage it was the dumbest fricken thing I have ever seen.  They took it off UTube shortly afterwards.  A hundred trolls came out of nowhere that day and just hammered anybody who questioned it.  We will probably find out later that was Rita Kats or one of these other clowns that made that video.  Fuq people are stupid!

ZRizzo's picture

what next? You're gonna tell me Sandy Hook was staged, too?

onmail1's picture

<-- The greatest terrorist

The mother of all terrorism


It is possible that 

All the ISIS videos were made by satan USA


bjax's picture

And people wonder where the 6 trillion lost dollars went in military budget. Fake be-headings anyone?

Infield_Fly's picture
Infield_Fly (not verified) Oct 4, 2016 12:54 AM

They're just protecting us from MANBEARPIG.

tarabel's picture



I don't know, guys. It sounds like a pretty smart phishing scheme to me.

You can dislike the motives behind it if you like but, tactically speaking, I'll bet it yielded a lot of actionable information.

Just like the outrage at tricking a bunch of jihadist dupes into self-deporting themselves to Syria and fighting to overthrow the enemy of the Great Satan rather than bombing subways in Europe. 

Truly might be the greatest intelligence operation of all time, no matter what you think of the people running the game. In terms of art, my hat remains off to them in admiration. Simply brilliant.

So...'s picture

Not very intelligent to let our secrets out!

Elco the Constitutionalist's picture
Elco the Constitutionalist (not verified) Oct 4, 2016 2:34 AM

The fucking sick part is that this is a disinformation propaganda article. They are keeping it so outrageous it defies sanity.

CatsPaw's picture

So thats the company that crated harlem shake? You know.. con los terroristas.

salman's picture

how much was paid for the Sep 11 videos???

onmail1's picture

u can make nice videos for a couple of thousand $

so where have all those millions gone 

(ans : could with Killary)

EddieLomax's picture

If they created fake videos with tracking information (as long as this all was not an elaborate conspiracy itself to get Islamists to distrust their own propoganda), then it has to be for the purpose of tracking down Islamists.  

It does however make people wonder about the whole ISIS thing, as one way to destroy Al-Quida would be to create your own Islamic group that was even more extreme.  Perhaps that was the strategy all along, Al-quida was a near impossible organisation to destroy since its command was so distributed, so why no big up a rival organisation that was clearly doomed and easy to attack with conventional forces whenever we pleased (tied to a patch of desert between Syria and Iraq, I've always believed that if we wanted to crush them we could at any time).

Now ISIS is much bigger than Al-quida and almost all Islamic resources are diverted to supporting this rival organisation, if ISIS ever then became a serious threat to us (in the west) we could utterly destroy it quickly whenever we wanted, Russia almost has with just a handful of planes and no ground troups - clearly not part of the plan!  

There were attacks in Europe, but I think they really only happened because of lax immigration controls (hence the US barely had anything despite being the same sized target), and if ISIS were being "bigged up" then it was done from the US/UK, not EU (which is really just a bureaucratic clown show run for the benefit of government employees).

Anyway, that's my conspiracy theory for the day, it makes sense and explains why we are so annoyed with the Russians bombing the crap out of ISIS, and how come our own year long air campaign was so ineffective.

NuYawkFrankie's picture

If you want the very best of Bwitish  propaganda, just tune into Propaganda Central - aka The BBC - the Bwitish Bullshit Corporation