Talk about a massive waste of taxpayer dollars. The Pentagon, in an outrageous black ops-style propaganda play, spent more than $500 million to hire a public relations firm in the United Kingdom to produce and distribute television-type segments showing al Qaeda acts of violence and jihad.
As Robert Spencer in Jihad Watch posed: “There weren’t enough real ones? The Pentagon could think of no better strategy to track al-Qaeda jihadis than to produce propaganda for the enemy?”
It really is an egregious operation, conducted under the auspices of the Obama administration.
“The Pentagon gave a controversial U.K. 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 as the insurgency raged outside.
“Bell Pottinger’s former chairman Lord Tim Bell confirmed to the Sunday Times, which has worked with the Bureau on this story, that his firm had worked on a ‘covert’ military operation ‘covered by various secrecy documents.’
“Bell Pottinger reported to the Pentagon, the CIA, and the National Security Council on its work in Iraq, he said. …
“In the first media interview any Bell Pottinger employee has given about the work for the U.S. military in Iraq, video editor Martin Wells told the Bureau his time in Camp Victory was ‘shocking, eye-opening, life-changing.’
“The firm’s output was signed off by former General David Petraeus—then commander of the coalition forces in Iraq—and on occasion by the White House, he said. …
“‘We interviewed half a dozen former officials and contractors involved in information operations in Iraq.
“‘There were three types of media operations commonly used in Iraq at the time, said a military contractor familiar with Bell Pottinger’s work there.
“‘White is attributed, it says who produced it on the label,’ the contractor said. ‘Grey is unattributed, and black is falsely attributed. These types of black ops, used for tracking who is watching a certain thing, were a pretty standard part of the industry toolkit.’
“Bell Pottinger’s work in Iraq was a huge media operation which cost over a hundred million dollars a year on average. A document unearthed by the Bureau shows the company was employing almost 300 British and Iraqi staff at one point.”