A bunch of foreign news outlets, including Russian Television, is claiming the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has blown off the roof of a secret scandal perpetuated by the Pentagon. Allegedly, the Pentagon paid controversial UK PR firm Bell Pottinger around half a billion dollars to create fake terrorist videos in Iraq. The move was to incite a fear mongering propaganda campaign.
The CIA, the National Security Council, the U.S. Military and the Pentagon worked closely with the firm, known for their shady clients like the Saudi Arabian government and Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet’s foundation. A key individual involved in the operation was former General David Petraeus, who spearheaded the agenda.
The project began shortly after the invasion of Iraq, and the mandate was to portray Al-Qaeda in a negative light and track suspected sympathizers. Former Bell Pottinger employee Martin Wells edited content in Baghdad for secret “psychological operations” at Camp Victory, according to the Bureau report. Television ads showing Al-Qaeda in a negative light were constructed by camera crews. They would purposely film on low quality video to give the effect of reality, as if were streamed by Arabic television.
“We need to make this style of video and we’ve got to use Al-Qaeda’s footage,” Wells told the Bureau regarding their instructions. “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 Pentagon has confirmed the PR firm did work for them under the Information Operations Task Force (IOTF), but has denied they were in any way altering “truthful” content.
— The Bureau (@TBIJ) October 2, 2016