Bell Pottinger in the spotlight for creating propaganda videos for US military in Iraq

The work included creating short news segments made to look like Arabic news networks and fake insurgent videos, The Sunday Times, which worked with the Bureau on the investigation, and other news outlets reported over the weekend.

The scale of Bell Pottinger’s operation in Iraq was significant; costing, on average, more than a hundred million dollars per year, with the agency at one point employing almost 300 British and Iraqi staff.

Bell Pottinger made about £15m a year in fees from the work, agency founder Lord Bell told The Sunday Times, with the bulk of the money going on costs such as production and distribution.

The agency’s work started in Iraq in March 2004 when it was tasked with "promotion of democratic elections", but the Bureau said it has identified transactions worth $540m (£420m) between the Pentagon and Bell Pottinger relating to contracts issued from May 2007 to December 2011, with a contract worth a similar annual rate ($120m, £93m) reportedly in force in 2006 too.

Quoted widely in the media, former Bell Pottinger employee Martin Wells said his work consisted of three types of products: TV ads portraying al Qaeda in a negative light; news items made to look as if they had been "created by Arabic TV" and with the origins sometimes hidden; and the production of fake al Qaeda propaganda films.

The latter would be put on CDs and dropped into areas that were raided. The CDs had a code embedded in them that gave the location of where they had been played...


No comments:

Post a Comment