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Post  Admin on Thu 06 Oct 2016, 4:49 pm

The Pentagon made fake jihadi propaganda videos and monitored them to track support for extremist groups during its time occupying Iraq.  Wed, October 5, 2016
The Pentagon spent over $500 million on hiring a public relations firm to create anti-extremist and fake extremist propaganda during the American military’s campaign in Iraq, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism as reported by The Daily Beast.
Pentagon Paid for Fake ‘Al Qaeda’ Videos

British firm Bell Pottinger created their materials at the U.S. military base of Camp Victory. 
At one point, they were employing some 300 British and Iraqi staff at the cost of over $100 million per year.

Bell Pottinger was hired in 2004 to produce material for the “promotion of democratic elections” in Iraq. These materials aimed to convince the Iraqi population of the benefits of democracy and inform them about the new legal structures in place following regime change.

The use of Pentagon funds to promote local media outlets and get across the U.S. government’s strategic message to populations in Iraq and Afghanistan has been extensively chronicled elsewhere. Bell Pottinger’s work in Iraq was different.

The firm was also contracted to create news-style broadcasts in Arabic covering Al-Qaeda terrorist attacks and other events, which would then get placed with Arabic media outlets without saying who made the clips.

Other firms such as the Lincoln Group created articles that were inserted into Arabic media outlets, sometimes represented as unbiased news.

But the most clandestine of Bell Pottinger’s operations was the creation of fake Al-Qaeda propaganda videos. These were produced in the exact style, length and format as genuine Al-Qaeda videos. They were loaded onto CDs that were dropped off by U.S. soldiers while carrying out raids against Al-Qaeda targets.

“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,” former video editor for Bell Pottinger Martin Wells told the Bureau.   

The team added a code which enabled them to track the CDs and monitor the IP addresses of where it was played. Some of the CDs ended up in Iran or even in America.

From 2007 to 201,1 the Pentagon spent at least $540 million paying Bell Pottinger for “information operations” and “psychological operations,” according to the Bureau.

The Pentagon confirmed that Bell Pottinger had been hired to carry out work under the Information Operations Task Force and would only say that the information was “truthful.”

“We do not discuss intelligence gathering methods for operations past and present,” a U.S. military official said concerning Bell Pottinger’s work as part of the Joint Psychological Operations Task Force.

“We did a lot to help resolve the situation,” Lord Tim Bell, the former chairman of Bell Pottinger told The Sunday Times. “Not enough. We did not stop the mess which emerged, but it was part of the American propaganda machinery.”

The U.S. Department of Defense spent $159.1 million in 2016 on its “Information Operations” budget, down from $580 million in 2009, according to the Global Investigative Journalism Network.

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