When a joint investigation by The Sunday Times and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism is headlined “Fake News and False Flags” you know that something is so rotten in the state of Denmark (or the District of Criminals) that the stench can no longer be ignored.
Long story short:
“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.”
According to the report, based largely on the testimony of an ex-Bell Pottinger employee, the program was overseen by General David Petraeus and the White House itself and consisted of three categories of production: “white” ops, where the work is attributed; “gray” ops, where the work is unattributed; and “black” ops, where the work is falsely attributed.
The gray ops included things like piecing together low-resolution video of insurgent bombings around Iraq, putting an Arabic narration on it, and distributing it to local TV stations to air. They were made to look like they had been created by Arabic TV stations. One might note, as the Bureau does, that this is the exact type of operation that the Pentagon was exposed for running with a different PR firm in 2005 that caused national indignation and an official investigation.
The black ops that Bell Pottinger engaged in included creating fake “al-Qaeda” videos cobbled together from “actual” (?) al-Qaeda videos and burnt to CDs. These CDs were then dropped at the scene of raids of suspected insurgents. According to the Bureau investigation, the videos were encoded in Real Player format, which requires an internet connection to run. A code tying that internet access to a Google Analytics account was then used to track the IP address of whatever computer ended up playing the CD.
We are asked to believe, in other words, that the Pentagon went to the effort (and considerable outlay of resources) to create fake al-Qaeda videos for the sole purpose of tracking suspected militants. A cursory glance at just this one scenario, however (disregarding any of the other black ops that might have been taking place and are still unknown to the public), suggests at least two other uses for such CDs:
Firstly, dropped at the scene of a raid of a suspected militant they could then easily be used as justification for the raid itself. In other words, the CDs could become “evidence” to be used against anyone that US forces wanted to target as a terrorist.
And secondly, the videos could have (and presumably would have) acted as the recruitment tools that they were ostensibly intended to act as.
But without any oversight into the program and only the accounts of one main Bell Pottinger whistleblower to go on, it is impossible to know the true extent of this story. Were the al-Qaeda videos truly pieced together from “original” al-Qaeda videos, or were they created from whole cloth? What other ways were these videos used? Were they ever presented to the public at large as authentic al-Qaeda media? Are the operations ongoing? Have similar operations been waged with ISIS?
Given the Pentagon’s track record, it’s safe to assume that the answer to all of these questions is “yes.” Expect a furtively-reported, single source story about it from an MSM/NGO team in 5-10 years (after the next puppet President is installed and the Obama bird cage liner has been cleaned out).
So does all of this sound hauntingly familiar to you? It should. Every single feature of this story has happened before. Multiple times. Let’s go through the checklist.
Of course that’s nothing new. Not only was there the aforementioned Iraqi newspaper scandal, but there was the “incubator baby” story before that. You remember that one, where the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador pretended to be a nurse who had seen Iraqis throwing Kuwaiti babies out of incubators and leaving them to die on the cold hospital floor? Yeah, that was the work of Hill and Knowlton, an American PR firm.
A “news” organization airing fake videos as real news?
One doesn’t have to look very hard to see that happening all the time. Just this past summer some British journalists were busted paying some junkies to dress up as arms dealers and then filmed them wearing ski masks in the forest pretending to sell AK-47s to would-be jihadis.
A government planting fake stories in the media to drum up war hysteria?
How about in the 1970s when the CIA used their assets in the media to plant a fake story about Cuban soldiers raping Angolan women in order to justify covert action in the country? Or during the run-up to Gulf War II when the CIA made a video “purporting to show Osama bin Laden and his cronies sitting around a campfire swigging bottles of liquor and savoring their conquests with boys” as Jeff Stein revealed in the Washington Post in 2010?
A US agency creating propaganda in order to influence public opinion in a target country?
Well obviously that happens all the time. But if you want a colorful example, check out the story of how USAID (aka the CIA) attempted to co-opt the Cuban hip hop scene to start a youth protest movement against Castro. (You can even check out Uncle Sam’s employees dropping some dope lines on YouTube!)
No, this latest story of fake media in the Iraq war is neither surprising nor new. To any student of history (even the less informed ones), this should be almost expected. But still, we should never fail to use these stories, however unsurprising, to remind us of two things:
1) Always question all media reports you are seeing and hearing, especially during times of war or in the build up to war.
2) You may know all about these stories, but your friends/coworkers/neighbors don’t. These incidents make for an interesting water cooler anecdote and help to plant the seeds in others, seeds that might flower when they start finally questioning the war rhetoric in the future. (If you’ve been following the mainstream propaganda surrounding Aleppo in the last few weeks you know how serious this awareness spreading is at this time.)
The “Fake News and False Flags” report ends by quoting the whistleblower in the story appearing to justify the fake videos to himself: “if it saved one life it [was] a good thing to do.”
Well, as exposers of MSM fraud, we need to have the same mentality: If breaking the conditioning of one more TV-believing zombie can lead to one less supporter of the next illegal war of aggression, it will be a good thing to do.