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Dubai firm commissioned Qatar-smearing film from American who made fake news for Iraq war

RT | April 28, 2018

When Gulf states cut ties with Doha in 2017 over its alleged support of terrorism, tensions were aided by a Dubai firm that hired a man to create an anti-Qatar video. That same man also led a US propaganda project in Iraq.

Charles Andreae is the owner of the firm Andreae & Associates, which was contracted in August 2017 to produce a six-part film linking Qatar with global terrorism, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has revealed. The Dubai-based strategic communications firm Lapis Communications, which is owned by an Afghan-Australian entrepreneur, gave Andreae more than $500,000 to produce the video.

The brief given to Andreae’s firm was to produce “six multimedia products focused on an investigation into the role of the state of Qatar and the state’s connection to global terrorism.” It was commissioned as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were intensifying an international campaign against Qatar over its alleged links to terrorism.

News of the contract emerged in a recently filed lobbying declaration with the US Department of Justice. American companies such as Andreae & Associates are required by law to disclose information on lobbying and PR work for foreign clients.

The film, titled ‘Qatar: A Dangerous Alliance,’ included conservative pundits discussing Qatar’s links to Islamist groups, as well as bits of news and archive footage. Copies of the video were distributed at an event at the Hudson Institute think tank in October. Among the keynote speakers at that event were US President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon, former defense secretary Leon Panetta, and former CIA director David Petraeus. So far, the documentary has been viewed more than 700,000 times on YouTube and is also available on Amazon.

In addition to Andreae’s involvement in making the film, he also registered as a lobbyist with the US Senate on Qatar-US relations on behalf of Lapis in January. But Andreae’s questionable actions didn’t begin with Qatar.

Andreae was also responsible for running the Washington end of a Pentagon propaganda contract in Iraq, which he did when he was working for the British public relations firm Bell Pottinger. Although the campaign details were known in 2016, Andreae’s involvement was only confirmed to the Bureau by Bell Pottinger co-founder Tim Bell last week.

That project, which has a $500 million contract with the Pentagon, consisted of running secret operations during the Iraq War. Bell Pottinger answered to the US commander in Iraq and created fake local news reports and smeared Iran. It also put together Al-Qaeda propaganda videos, planted them in people’s homes, and tracked who viewed them.

Neither Andreae & Associates nor Lapis Communications has responded to RT’s request for comment.

Read more:

Qatar govt. must send troops to Syria or lose US support and be toppled – Saudi FM

April 28, 2018 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Making Al-Qaeda propaganda for Pentagon: Ex-PR worker describes secret campaign to RT

RT | October 4, 2016

A former employee of the UK PR firm that was hired by the Pentagon to create fake terrorist videos in Iraq told RT that he arrived thinking he would be working with media agencies, but ended up creating materials for a secret propaganda campaign instead.

Bell Pottinger’s staff was stationed inside a highly secured US military and intelligence HQ at Camp Victory in Baghdad.

“The arrival there [in Camp Victory in Iraq] was quite a shock… very very, I guess, distressing, really… You just felt you as if you didn’t know what was going to happen,” Martin Wells, a former employee of Bell Pottinger who worked for the US military in Iraq from 2006 to 2008, told RT.

The news that the Pentagon had paid Bell Pottinger over half a billion dollars to create fake terrorist videos in Iraq hit the headlines on Sunday when it was divulged by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which had received the information from Wells.

Wells says that he was initially told that he would be working on news.

“As it transpired, it was news, but not news as I expected. I expected it to be doing stuff for news agencies such as yourselves and Reuters. And just providing footage for them,” he said.

However, the reality turned out to be quite different from what the video editor had anticipated. Wells said that when he arrived at his workplace, he was introduced to the American intelligence staff there.

“I still at that point had no idea what I was doing, but I knew as soon as I walked through that door I certainly wasn’t doing news… Then, later as I went through… and worked out what I was actually doing, it transpired that it was essentially… a form of propaganda.”

The media was set completely abuzz when it was revealed that the Pentagon had paid Bell Pottinger $540 million for contracts from 2007 to 2011, with another contract for $120 million signed in 2006. The firm ended its work with the Pentagon in 2011.

Bell Pottinger is known for serving an array of controversial clients, including the Saudi government and Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet’s foundation.

The firm reported to the CIA, the National Security Council, and the Pentagon on the project, with a mandate to portray Al-Qaeda in a negative light and track suspected sympathizers. Critics claim, however, that the videos may have actually promoted the terrorists’ agenda instead.

The Bell Pottinger operation, which began soon after the US invasion of Iraq, was tasked with promoting “democratic elections” for the administration before moving on to more lucrative psychological and information operations.

The firm created television ads showing Al-Qaeda in a negative light, as well as content which looked as though it had come from “Arabic TV.” The videos were created to play on Real Player, which needs an internet connection to run. The CDs were embedded with a code linked to Google Analytics that allowed the military to track the IP addresses the videos were played on.

They would also craft scripts for Arabic soap operas in which characters would reject terrorism with favorable consequences. The firm also created fake Al-Qaeda propaganda videos, which were then planted by the military in homes that they raided.

“In terms of the [fake Al-Qaeda] VCDs, I was the only one, who while I was there, cut those. Nobody else was tasked with those because I was running the department. The footage was also given to us, and it was genuine Al-Qaeda footage that they’d shot, and we then repurposed this for our footage to put on the VCDs and then went out and dropped them,” he explained.

“Most of the stuff we did went out on local news, on national news, and would be broadcast in different countries in the region. But the VCDs were targeted at Al-Qaeda themselves. That was used by marines – left of raids amongst a bunch of VCDs people had been using anyway. If you watched that when it opened up, it was on a player that was linked to an analytical site, so wherever in the world you watched it, it could be tracked. So you’d know where it was played, and the IP address would flash up, so you’d basically know who had watched it,” he said.

October 5, 2016 Posted by | Deception | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pentagon paid PR firm 540mn to make fake terrorist videos

RT | October 2, 2016

The Pentagon paid a UK PR firm half a billion dollars to create fake terrorist videos in Iraq in a secret propaganda campaign exposed by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

PR firm Bell Pottinger, known for its array of controversial clients including the Saudi government and Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet’s foundation, worked with the US military to create the propaganda in a secretive operation.

The firm reported to the CIA, the National Security Council and the Pentagon on the project with a mandate to portray Al-Qaeda in a negative light and track suspected sympathizers.

Both the White House and General David Petraeus, the former general who shared classified information with his mistress, signed off on the content produced by the agency.

The Bell Pottinger operation started soon after the US invasion of Iraq and was tasked with promoting the “democratic elections” for the administration before moving on to more lucrative psychological and information operations.

Former employee Martin Wells told the Bureau how he found himself working in Iraq after being hired as a video editor by Bell Pottinger. Within 48 hours, he was landing in Baghdad to edit content for secret “psychological operations” at Camp Victory.

The firm created television ads showing Al-Qaeda in a negative light as well as creating content to look as though it had come from “Arabic TV”. Crews were sent out to film bombings with low quality video. The firm would then edit it to make it look like news footage.

They would craft scripts for Arabic soap operas where characters would reject terrorism with happy consequences. The firm also created fake Al-Qaeda propaganda videos, which were then planted by the military in homes they raided.

Employees were given specific instructions to create the videos. “We need to make this style of video and we’ve got to use Al-Qaeda’s footage,” Wells 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.”

The videos were created to play on Real Player which needs an internet connection to run. The CDs were embedded with a code linking to Google Analytics which allowed the military to track IP addresses that the videos were played on.

According to Wells, the videos were picked up in Iran, Syria and the US.

“If one, 48 hours or a week later shows up in another part of the world, then that’s the more interesting one,” Wells explained. “And that’s what they’re looking for more, because that gives you a trail.”

The Pentagon confirmed the PR firm did work for them under the Information Operations Task Force (IOTF) creating content they say was “truthful”. The firm also worked under the Joint Psychological Operations Task Force (JPOTF). The Pentagon said it could not comment on JPOTF operations.

US law prohibits the government from using propaganda on its population, hence the use of an outside firm to create the content.

Documents show the Pentagon paid $540 million to Bell Pottinger in contracts between 2007 and 2011, with another contract for $120 million in 2006. The firm ended its work with the Pentagon in 2011.

In 2009, it was reported that the Pentagon had hired controversial PR firm, The Rendon Group, to monitor the reporting of journalists embedded with the U.S. military, to assess whether they were giving “positive” coverage to its missions.

It was also revealed in 2005 that Washington based PR company the Lincoln Group had been placing articles in newspapers in Iraq which were secretly written by the US military. A Pentagon investigation cleared the group of any wrongdoing.

 

October 2, 2016 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | 2 Comments