The Bureau of Investigative Journalism is reporting that the Pentagon paid a United Kingdom PR firm to produce and disseminate fake Al-Qaeda videos. While the story came out in October 2016, conspiracists on Reddit have recently upvoted the story, discussing if the same thing is happening with Islamic State propaganda.
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism report claims that the Pentagon paid the PR firm Bell Pottinger half a billion dollars to create “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.” Bell Pottinger created these videos alongside top U.S. military officials at Camp Victory in Baghdad during the height of the Iraq War.
The entire program was signed off by former General David Petraeus and the White House.
The Independent adds that along with Bell Pottinger, a “Washington-based PR firm Lincoln Group was revealed to have produced print news stories and placed them in Iraqi newspapers… [that] were intended to tout the US-led efforts in Iraq and denounce insurgent groups.”
While discussing it, conspiracist Redditors likened the story to Operation Fast and Furious, where “the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Phoenix Field Division, along with other partners, allowed illegal gun sales, believed to be destined for Mexican drug cartels, in order to track the sellers and purchasers,” writes CNN.
It also led some conspiracists to discuss if the same method is being employed to create Islamic State propaganda, which led to the following video to be shared.
The above footage is of an alleged fake Islamic State video in production has been passed around by conspiracists for some time. Many conspiracists claim it shows the the staged execution of James Foley, an American journalist that had been held captive since 2012 by terrorists and was filmed being executed by ISIS in April 2015. The video also featured ISIS executioner Jihadi John, later revealed to be Mohammed Emwazi, a Kuwaiti-born British man from West London, United Kingdom. Emwazi was successfully killed by a drone strike in November 2015 in Raqqa, Syria.
However, none of this can be confirmed and can all be filed under “conspiracy.”