US: Pentagon Caught Paying A Firm $540mn To Make Fake Terrorist Videos
A PR firm in the United Kingdom was paid billions of dollars by the Pentagon to make spurious Al Qaeda Videos, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism revealed recently.
The firm, Bell Pottinger, created fabricated stories in short segments to run a classified propaganda program in Iraq. They were paid half a billion dollars by Pentagon to come up with this fake story. The TV stories were exclusively designed to mimic authentic Arabic News in order to track down the viewers of the show. Their main motto was to track down those people who would sympathise with the show depicting Al Qaeda in a negative way. Then they would report it to the National Security Council, the CIA, and the Pentagon.
Martin Wells, a former employee of Pottinger told the Bureau that he was working in Iraq as a video editor for Pottinger. He was sent to Baghdad within two days for editing the content for a confidential psychological business at Camp Victory. He said that they were instructed to create content that would look exactly like an Arab news network. Wells further added that “We need to make this style of video and we’ve got to use Al-Qaeda’s footage”, while he said that they received special instructions to create the videos.
The videos were shot in Iran, Syria and the US. The documents revealed by the Bureau showed that the Pentagon spent $540 million on the Bell Pottinger operations between 2007 and 2011. The Bureau, “identified transactions worth $540 million between the Pentagon and Bell Pottinger for information operations and psychological operations in a series of contracts issued from May 2007 to December 2011.”
The workers at Bell Pottinger also collaborated with top-ranking US officials in Baghdad. The Bureau revealed the intensity of the program by tracking the transaction report of the federal procurement, peeping into the highly classified contracts of the US Army, reports for the Department of Defense Officer of Inspector General and corporate records from the office of Bell Pottinger.
Surprisingly, almost all the political bigwigs were aware of this top secret operation. General David Petraeus, the then commander of the coalition forces in Iraq conceded to the program. Along with that, the US President and the White House were aware of these fake operations in Iraq.
Who is Bell Pottinger?
Bell Pottinger is UK’s one of the highly revered public relations executive and it is reputed for having an extensive list of clients ranging from the Saudi Government and Augusto Pinochet, the Chilean dictator’s foundation. They are credited with whetting former British PM Margaret Thatcher’s strong image and helping the Conservative Party win three consecutive elections.
Soon after the US invaded Iraq, Bell Pottinger started its operation. Their main task was to promote a democratic election for the government. They then shifted their focus to the more profitable psychological and information operations.