|Bell Pottinger Private Communications Ltd|
• Tim Bell|
• Piers Pottinger
|Headquarters||London, United Kingdom|
|Subgroups||Pelham Bell Pottinger|
Bell Pottinger is a British multinational public relations and marketing company, co-founded in 1989 by Tim Bell, who advised Margaret Thatcher on media matters when she was UK Prime Minister, and Piers Pottinger. With headquarters in London, Bell Pottinger is the largest UK-based public relations consultancy measured by 2010 fee income and is described as having "the most controversial client list" in the PR industry.
Fake Al Qaeda videos
In October 2016, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported that Bell Pottinger had been paid more than $500 million by the Pentagon to make fake videos that appeared to be the work of local groups such as Al Qaeda. Martin Wells reported that he was briefed to create news stories that looked as though they were produced by Arab media outlets, and distributed them through Middle Eastern news networks. He also reports that he made VCDs which were used to try to track people.
Bell Pottinger worked in Camp Victory, the US military base in Baghdad, and the propaganda videos were personally approved by General David Petraeus – then the commander of US-led coalition forces in Iraq, who would go on to become the Director of the CIA. On some occasions, even the White House reportedly signed off on the propaganda materials.
In 2010 Pelham Public Relations, a financial public relations business, merged with Bell Pottinger Corporate and Financial. In December 2011, Bell Pottinger came under public scrutiny after managers were secretly recorded talking to fake representatives of the Uzbekistan government and violating Wikipedia rules by removing negative information and replacing it with positive spin.
In June 2012, Lord Bell of Belgravia and Bell Pottinger CEO James Henderson completed a £19.6m management buyout from Chime Communications, whose deputy chairman Piers Pottinger moved to the new company BPP Communications (BPPC). Chime retained a 25% stake and a seat on the board of BPPC, which comprises Bell Pottinger Public Relations, Pelham Bell Pottinger, Bell Pottinger Public Affairs, Bell Pottinger Sans Frontieres and Bell Pottinger Middle East.
In June 2014, BPPC acquired Centreground Political Communications, founded by Tony Blair's former Special Adviser Darren Murphy, and launched a new service aimed at the luxury sector in September that year.
- Black, Alex (28 March 2007). "THE POWER BOOK: Britain's most powerful". PR Week UK.
- "Top 150 PR consultancies". PR Week. Retrieved 11 December 2011.
- Pace, Richard, "Bell Pottinger Wins: Bail Extended for Atlaf Hussain’s Money Laundering Charges", Everything PR, 7 October 2015. Retrieved: 9 October 2015.
- Newman, Melanie; Wright, Oliver (6 December 2011). "Caught on camera: top lobbyists boasting how they influence the PM Special undercover investigation: Executives from Bell Pottinger reveal 'dark arts' they use to burnish reputations of countries accused of human rights violations". The Independent.
- "US paid PR firm $540 million to make fake Al Qaeda videos in Iraq propaganda program"
- Chime PLC. "Chime Communications PLC ("Chime" or the "Company") A Vendor Placing and Cash Placing to Facilitate the Merger of Bell Pottinger". Press release. http://chimeplc.com/announcements/chime-pelham-and-tree-acquisitions. Retrieved 2015-01-15.
- Morris, Nigel; Sherwin, Adam (8 December 2011). "Reaction: Lobbying company faces investigation by its own industry". The Independent.
- Pegg, David; Wright, Oliver (8 December 2011). "Wikipedia founder attacks Bell Pottinger for 'ethical blindness'". The Independent.
- Pegg, David; Newman, Melanie (8 December 2011). "Bell Pottinger targeted environmental campaigner on Wikipedia". The Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
- Sweney, Mark (31 May 2012). "Chime agrees £20m Bell Pottinger sell-off". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
- Nias, Simon (12 June 2014). "Bell Pottinger plots further acquisitions after Centreground deal". PR Week. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
- "Bell Pottinger launches luxury offer". Gorkana. 12 September 2014. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
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