News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Global laughing stock US taxpayers were forced by US politicians to pay $540 million for fake Al Qaeda videos and other Iraq related propaganda from 2007 to Dec. 2011-Bureau of Investigative Journalism via Daily Beast

"The Bureau has identified transactions worth $540 million between the Pentagon...on a series of contracts issued from May 2007 to December 2011. Bell Pottinger's operations on behalf of the U.S. government stopped in 2011."...

10/1/16, "Pentagon Paid for Fake ‘Al Qaeda’ Videos," by Crofton Black and Abigail Fielding-Smith of The Bureau of Investigative Journalism

"A controversial foreign PR firm known for representing unsavory characters was paid millions by the Pentagon to create fake terrorist videos." 

The Pentagon gave a controversial UK PR firm over half a billion dollars to run a top secret propaganda program 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 U.S. military officers in their Baghdad Camp Victory headquarters.... 

Iraq was a lucrative opportunity for many communications firms. The Bureau has discovered that between 2006 and 2008 more than 40 companies were being paid for services such as TV and radio placement, video production, billboards, advertising and opinion polls. These included US companies like Lincoln Group, Leonie Industries and SOS International as well as Iraq-based firms such as Cradle of New Civilization Media, Babylon Media and Iraqi Dream.

But the largest sums the Bureau was able to trace went to Bell Pottinger. According to Glen Segell, who worked in an information operations task force in Iraq in 2006, contractors were used partly because the military didn’t have the in-house expertise, and partly because they were operating in a legal “grey area”. 

In his 2011 article Covert Intelligence Provision in Iraq, Segell notes that U.S. law prevented the government from using propaganda on the domestic population of the U.S. In a globalized media environment, the Iraq operations could theoretically have been seen back home, therefore “it was prudent legally for the military not to undertake all the…activities,” Segell wrote.

Segell maintains that information operations programs did make a difference on the ground in Iraq. Some experts question this however.... 

Bell Pottinger's operations on behalf of the U.S. government stopped in 2011 as American troops withdrew from Iraq. 

Bell Pottinger changed ownership after a management buyout in 2012 and its current structure has no connections with the unit Wells worked for, which closed in 2011. It is understood the key principals who were involved in this unit deny any involvement with tracking software as described by Wells. 

Wells left Iraq after less than two years, having had enough of the stress of working in a war zone and having to watch graphic videos of atrocities day after day....

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 £15m a year in fees."...






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