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AGITPROP MACHINE: How the US create Fake Al Qaeda and ISIS videos

Shawn Helton
21st Century Wire

Following the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the Pentagon reportedly paid PR firm Bell Pottinger $540 million to produce fake terror videos used to steer Western political interests.

If this latest report by the The Bureau of Investigative Journalism is accurate, the public is once again privy to another startling example of how deep-state social engineering impacts and propels larger geopolitical war campaigning.

This latest Pentagon public relations scandal comes after an onslaught of summertime war propaganda images were found to have been fabricated by the George Soros and US-UK government-backed pseudo NGO known as ‘The White Helmets.’

‘WAR GAMES’ – (Photo Illustration 21WIRE’s Shawn Helton)

As 21WIRE recently reported, “Like so many celebrated attributes of the lauded White Helmets, the rescue numbers are clearly exaggerated. The so-called “rebel-held” territories (in actuality, terrorist-held areas) in which the White Helmets exclusively operate, have very few civilians remaining in them. The majority of Syrian civilians have fled terrorist-held enclaves like East Aleppo into government protected areas like West Aleppo – a fact that is routinely glossed over by western media outlets because it runs counter to the storyline being pushed by the US and UK government, both of whom are funding the White Helmets.”

The creation of all of this modern day agitprop has most certainly contributed to an environment of confusion, fear and uncertainty in the War On Terror era – no doubt costing many lives in the process.

‘REPUTATION LAUNDERING’ – The controversial PR firm Bell Pottinger Group. (Image Source: mmbiztoday)

The Pentagon, Pottinger & Fake Terror

According to The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, there was a secretive operation between Bell Pottinger and those in high-level security working with the Pentagon to create al Qaeda terror videos as well as influence global media outlets through various propaganda:

“The Pentagon gave a controversial UK PR firm over half a billion dollars to run a top secret propaganda programme 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 US military officers in their Baghdad Camp Victory headquarters as the insurgency raged outside.”

Bell Pottinger’s former chairman Lord Tim Bell, confirmed the shocking story with the Sunday Times, who worked alongside with the Bureau to uncover covert operations which were “covered by various secrecy agreements,” and “The London-based PR agency was brought into Iraq soon after the US invasion. In March 2004 it was tasked by the country’s temporary administration with the “promotion of democratic elections” – a “high-profile activity” which it trumpeted in its annual report.”

Also according the former chairman Bell, “Bell Pottinger reported to the Pentagon, the CIA and the National Security Council on its work in Iraq.”

In total, over half a billion dollars was spent on the creation of various psychological operations crafted by the Pentagon and Bell Pottinger. Additionally, the Bureau tracked Pottinger’s work through “US army contracting censuses, federal procurement transaction records and reports by the Department of Defense (DoD),” interviewing “half a dozen former officials and contractors involved in information operations in Iraq.”

“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.”

According to Martin Wells, a freelance video editor who worked with Bell Pottinger to create the secretive Pentagon propaganda:

“The third and most sensitive programme described by Wells was the production of fake al Qaeda propaganda films. He told the Bureau how the videos were made. He was given precise instructions: “We need to make this style of video and we’ve got to use al Qaeda’s footage,” he was told. “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.”

“US marines would take the CDs on patrol and drop them in the chaos when they raided targets. Wells said: “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.”

“The CDs were set up to use Real Player, a popular media streaming application which connects to the internet to run. Wells explained how the team embedded a code into the CDs which linked to a Google Analytics account, giving a list of IP addresses where the CDs had been played.”

“The tracking account had a very restricted circulation list, according to Wells: the data went to him, a senior member of the Bell Pottinger management team, and one of the US military commanders.”

QUESTION: Were the CD terror video productions a new form of Cold War-style propaganda leaflet, serving to rouse the populace, or were they only for planting fabricated evidence?

Apparently, it’s both. And there’s the third function: to collect I.P. addresses of anyone who viewed the CD while connected to the internet.

The Daily Beast reported that the Pentagon acknowledged their working relationship with Pottinger:

“The Pentagon confirmed that Bell Pottinger did work for them as a contractor in Iraq under the Information Operations Task Force (IOTF), producing some material that was openly sourced to coalition forces, and some which was not. They insisted that all material put out by IOTF was “truthful.”

IOTF was not the only mission Bell Pottinger worked on however. Wells said some Bell Pottinger work was carried out under the Joint Psychological Operations Task Force (JPOTF), which a U.S. defense official confirmed.

The official said he could not comment in detail on JPOTF activities, adding “We do not discuss intelligence gathering methods for operations past and present.”

According Wells, some of the clandestine projects went even higher up in Washington. If [Petraeus] couldn’t sign off on it, it would go on up the line to the White House, and it was signed off up there, and the answer would come back down the line’.”

In 2011, former US General David Petraeus served as director of the CIA from September of 20111 to November of 2012 – resigning after illegally providing classified material to his biographer Paula Broadwell, with whom he was having an affair.

While the Bureau of Investigative Journalism claims appear to confirm the fever-pitch of ‘War On Terror’ propaganda witnessed almost daily now – one should also note that the Bureau has also been awarded by Amnesty International, a military industrial complex connected so-called human rights group, in addition to working with the dubious Qatari-GCC linked media organization, Al Jazzera. The Bureau also suffered a huge reputation dent in 2012 over the BBC-Lord McAlpine affair. However, the Bureau seems to have gone through a revamp of sorts and did recently hire Meirion Jones as an Investigations Editor. Jones is best known for his investigation into the Jimmy Saville abuse scandal which was compounded by a BBC cover-up scandal.

Fake ISIS Video Used by US Media

On a comparative note, in February of 2015, terror analysis experts concluded that ISIS video footage appearing to show the executions of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians was indeed a faked.

According to Florida-based Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium, the on camera murders of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians purported to have been decapitated – were ruled to have been ‘staged’, due to the excessive anomalies seen in the dramatic 5 minute film entitled, “Signed With Blood: To The Nation Of The Cross.”

Editorial Director of the Florida-based Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium, Veryan Khan, told FOX News the following:

“The Islamic State’s manipulation of their high-production videos has become commonplace.”

“The background image shown was likely from another location, the Bay in Sirte, a part of the Mediterranean Sea on the northern coast of Libya. There are several technical mistakes in the video that show it was manipulated.”

According to Hollywood director Mary Lambert, who created the well-known horror film Pet Cemetery:

“The shot that seems really tampered with is the one with the really tall Jihadists and the dwarf Christians. The close-ups of Jihadists on the beach are most likely green screen.”

Prior to experts releasing their conclusion about the ISIS video production, here at 21WIRE, we outlined many of the film’s irregularities and inconsistencies –proving that the film was indeed heavily orchestrated for maximum effect.

‘LARGER THAN LIFE’ –  Notice the extreme height difference between the apparent ISIS members, as they dwarf the alleged Egyptian victims. (Photo link nationalpost.com)

Staging A Crime: Public Relations, SITE & Terror

In our first report regarding the Pentagon/Pottinger propaganda here at 21WIRE, some important ideas were raised. Perhaps most notably, how the public should perceive the ISIS related propaganda splashed all over Western media the past two years, and its use as a pretext for escalating US-led military involvement in Syria:

“Where this story gets really interesting is taken in context with all of the numerous staged ISIS and ‘Jihadi John’ terrorist propaganda videos which flooded the US and British press and which were the basis for the entire US-led intervention against the so-called Islamic State in Syria. In addition, the character known as ‘Jihadi John’ has direct ties to British Security Services.”

FAKE ISIS VIDEOS: This ‘Jihadi John’ video was filmed in a studio, against a green screen. Was this produced by Bell Pottinger or a similar PR firm too? FOX News has since admitted that at least one of the ISIS beheading videos was staged in a studio.

“Part of Petraeus’s deceptive operation also involved running an Arabic sector similar to US domestic propaganda efforts like Operation Mockingbird, where the Pentagon contractor would craft scripts for Arabic soap operas where characters would reject terrorism with happy consequences.

This is especially interesting when considering that this Turkish TV program seems to predate the ‘Jihadi John’ video genre, indicating that the same production team may have been employed in producing the fake green screen Jihadi John terror videos. Watch:

In 2002, Rita Katz and Josh Devon founded Search for International Terrorist Entities Institute (SITE), which eventually developed into its current incarnation, as a propaganda outlet for high-profile terror groups such as al Qaeda and ISIS.

The terror monitoring intelligence group is directly linked to both the CIA and Israeli intelligence. In 2006, the New Yorker article entitled, “Private Jihad: How Rita Katz got into the spying business,” discussed how SITE may have provided material support to would-be Jihadists via various message boards:

Katz has a testy relationship with the government, sometimes acting as a consultant and sometimes as an antagonist. About a year ago, a SITE staffer, under an alias, managed to join an exclusive jihadist message board that, among other things, served as a debarkation point for many would-be suicide bombers.

For months, the staffer pretended to be one of the jihadis, joining in chats and watching as other members posted the chilling messages known as “wills,” the final sign-offs before martyrdom. The staffer also passed along technical advice on how to keep the message board going.

Continuing, the New Yorker outlined the serious nature of SITE’s involvement with terror related entities from a legal perspective:

“Katz called officials in Washington, and was met with institutional resistance: “They said, ‘Oh, Rita, I’m not sure you should even be communicating with them—you might be providing material support!”

So, how exactly has SITE avoided any potential charges related to their organization, given that they’ve admitted to providing advice to those potentially plotting attacks?

Perhaps there’s a better explanation…

Here’s another look at a CNN interview with SITE founder and Israeli operative, Rita Katz, who admits, “we had that video beforehand and were able to beat them with the release”. Notice how the intelligence group founder Katz, conveniently and calmly discusses acquiring the ISIS videos by claiming that the terror group needs a place to disseminate its exploits:

In 2007, SITE came under fire for obtaining an alleged Bin Laden video a month prior to its release. In a sense, SITE was really functioning as a type of PR agent for the well-known terror avatar:

“Her [Rita Katz] firm provides intelligence about terrorist groups to a wide range of paying clients, including private firms and military and intelligence agencies from the United States and several other countries.”


“Katz said she decided to offer an advance copy of the bin Laden video to the White House without charge so officials there could prepare for its release.”

Many notable researchers and analysts have long believed that the now legendary ‘Bin Laden Raid’ which took place in May 2011, was not only fabricated – but a propaganda ploy, with President Obama being the chief beneficiary by looking ‘tough on terror’ during his re-election run against Mitt Romney. Even today, Hillary Clinton is also using the event as major part of her presidential campaign to covey her ‘national security’ credentials. Based on our past research and reporting at 21WIRE, we’ve also believed this to be case, making note of the obvious stagecraft some time ago:

“One thing which becomes clearer by the day about the fabled ‘Bin Laden Raid’ which took place in Abbotabad, Pakistan, is that the US government has intentionally deceived the public about what happened. In other words, what President Obama described when he addressed the American people following “the raid” – was a work of pure fiction.”

In addition, the bizarre and still relatively unexplained deaths of many SEAL Team 6 members taking place immediately after the alleged Bin Laden Raid has been be more cause for suspicion.

The Bin Laden Raid was perhaps the largest ever theatrical man-hunt for a fugitive in the modern era – an event which failed to produce any credible forensic evidence. Many members of the medical field, have long suspected Bin Laden was dead. This supposition has also been supported by many high-ranking officials – including former Pakistani PM Benazir Bhutto, just prior to her assassination.

A Guardian report from October 2001 outlined Bin Laden’s apparent serious health problems:

“Bin Laden has often been reported to be in poor health. Some accounts claim that he is suffering from Hepatitis C, and can expect to live for only two more years.”

According to Le Figaro, last year he ordered a mobile dialysis machine to be delivered to his base at Kandahar in Afghanistan.”

Additionally, a bevy of intelligence insiders, along with other mainstream media reports, have stated that the former CIA-linked asset Bin Laden, died somewhere between 2001 and 2002.

On an interesting note, Memory Hole editor James F. Tracy discussed how Katz’s SITE has suspiciously procured various terror plots ahead of all major US intelligence agencies:

“As noted, news outlets seldom see fit to closely analyze SITE or Katz concerning their research and function as conduits for terrorist propaganda. A LexisNexis search for SITE Intelligence in the article content of US newspapers and major world publications over the past two years produces 317 items—an admittedly low figure given the prominence of SITE’s recent disclosures. Yet a similar search for “Steven Sotloff” alone yields over 1,000 newspaper stories and 600 broadcast transcripts, suggesting the sensationalistic usage and effect of SITE’s data and how neither SITE nor Katz are called upon to explain their specific methods and findings.”

“Indeed, a similar search for “SITE Intelligence” and “Rita Katz” yields only 26 entries over a two year period. Of these, 14 appear in theWashington Post, a publication with well-established links to US intelligence. Four New York Times articles feature the combined entities.”

“In a CNN interview on the heels of the Sotloff beheading, Katz explains how again SITE curiously surpassed the combined capacities of the entire US intelligence community in securing the Sotloff footage.”

‘PSYOP PLAYGROUND?’ – Bell Pottinger played a role in a psychological operations task force setup in Baghdad. (Image Source: psyopsinsignia)

Shades of Propaganda 

The US Special Operations Center of Excellence, describes a historical context with which to view the type of “gray ops” disinformation campaign discussed above between the Pentagon and Pottinger:

“The documented history of PSYOP begins with the World War I activities of its antecedent, propaganda. In World War I, PSYOP “came into its own as a formal activity,” said retired Colonel Frank Goldstein. During that period, the three shades of propaganda — white, gray and black — appeared in a variety of unclassified and classified government programs aimed at motivating popular support for the war and demoralizing the enemy. It is important to understand that as propaganda moves from shades of white to black, the source of the propaganda becomes less obvious, until, in black propaganda, the source is unknown.”

The most memorable and successful World War I white-propaganda themes communicated that the war was necessary to “keep the world safe for democracy” and that it would be “the war to end all wars.”

For maximum impact, a PSYOP must be rooted in partial reality, followed by various phases of propaganda which parrot each other without contradiction. The scope of these specific types of operations are vast, “They include counterterrorism operations, peace operations, noncombatant evacuation, enforcement of sanctions and maritime interception operations, strikes and raids, etc.”

NGO Weaponization

The far reach of NGO propaganda is becoming more transparent and is still being propped up by military arms such as NATO.

Here’s a passage from Patrick Henningsen’s seminal article entitled “AN INTRODUCTION: Smart Power & The Human Rights Industrial Complex,” that intricately dissects the role of NGO’s as they relate to the military industrial apparatus:

“Upon more rigorous inspection, however, a number of uncomfortable realities emerge regarding the 21st century international human rights concern. Though many human rights charities still market themselves as ‘neutral’ and ‘nonpartisan’, the reality is something very different. Below, we will detail a number of high-profile cases where these organisations are being used as public relations organs to further western foreign policy objectives. With public skepticism of the charity sector already at an all-time high, the danger is clear: if conflicts of interest are not addressed in a serious way, they threaten to undermine the credibility of the entire non-governmental organization (NGO) sector internationally.”

‘MASS PROPAGANDA’ – The Save Aleppo campaign acts out images of war. (Image 21WIRE via (Photo: Land Destroyer)

In a recent report from 21WIRE Special Contributor Vanessa Beeley, we see how many Western supported NGO narratives work symbiotically with the international body NATO:

“Amid the terrorist attacks and the daily massacres of Syrian civilians by [so-called] Western-backed “moderate rebels,” the children maimed and mutilated by these attacks are almost invisible to the mainstream media. The mainstream media does, however, showcase stories like that of Omran Daqneesh–stories which serve and propel the NATO narrative despite the dubious sources from which they emanate.”

Akin to many mass casualty drills playing out simultaneously with America’s Daily Shooter events, staged scenes with dust and fake blood are coming out of the ‘Save Aleppo’ protests in Europe that seems to mimic elements of the Soros backed (al Qaeda linked) White Helmets in Syria. The impetus for such fakery, appears to be focused on getting the general public to push for deeper conflict in Syria.

Interestingly, while NGO’s are busy dialing into the heartstrings of the public with staged imagery, there are also recent designer social engineering studies backed by the Pentagon that are focused on mass civil unrest. All of this, as Soros pledges $500 million for the so-called migrant crisis in Europe.

The scale of such US-sponsored social engineering projects are breathtaking. In June of 2014, in an article entitled, “Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown,” by Nafeez Ahmed, published at the UK’s Guardian, we learned that:

A new “research programme is funding universities to model the dynamics, risks and tipping points for large-scale civil unrest across the world, under the supervision of various US military agencies.”

The program was brought to fruition during the height of the banking crisis in 2008, as Ahmed points out, suggesting it was already in the works for some time – and time was of the essence. The social science study may have been as big or bigger then the Snowden documents on NSA bulk collection, where not only are Americans being tracked but their behavior is being categorized, labeled and scrutinized, prompting those who value civl rights and privacy to question the ethics and morals of such a US government program. The Guardian article also outlined the type of militarized language used to describe civil movements promoting political change, ironically they used the NGO/US State Department engineered uprising in Egypt as a model for one social science study:

“Among the projects awarded for the period 2014-2017 is a Cornell University-led study managed by the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research which aims to develop an empirical model “of the dynamics of social movement mobilisation and contagions.” The project will determine “the critical mass (tipping point)” of social contagians by studying their “digital traces” in the cases of “the 2011 Egyptian revolution, the 2011 Russian Duma elections, the 2012 Nigerian fuel subsidy crisis and the 2013 Gazi park protests in Turkey.”

Essentially, this is computer modelling of ‘color revolutions’ over sees – an expensive digital tool in the Pentagon and the CIA’s ‘regime change’ operations.

Americans should be reminded that these programs are all taxpayer funded. The total bill is well into the billions by now.

What’s next in a world with designed outcomes, false narratives and staged crises?

READ MORE ISIS NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire ISIS Files

READ MORE ‘WAR ON TERROR’ NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire W.O.T Files

READ MORE PROPAGANDA NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Propaganda Files

READ MORE PENTAGON NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Pentagon Files

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