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Bell Pottinger accused of orchestrating 'fake news'

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Re: Bell Pottinger accused of orchestrating 'fake news'

Post by Get'emGonçalo on 06.09.17 14:16

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/sep/05/the-guardian-view-on-bell-pottinger-bang-to-rights?CMP=share_btn_tw


If you have tears to shed, prepare yourself; if not, get out an onion now. The PR firm Bell Pottinger has been suspended from its trade association and will probably collapse as a result. Bell Pottinger has previously represented despots all around the world, from Chile’s Pinochet to Belarus’s Lukaschenko; it has burnished the image of Asma Assad, the wife of the Syrian dictator, and of BAE, the British arms company that became embroiled in a scandal for its dealings with Saudi Arabia (among other places). Its client list practically defined a global elite of the very rich and unsavoury – and all this only increased its allure to potential clients, until it was finally tripped up on a rotten little South African operation, working for a family who don’t even murder and torture their opponents. It really is the most awfully bad luck.

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In a global perspective, the punishment of Bell Pottinger does look almost unfair. For all its boasts of being prepared to represent almost anyone but Robert Mugabe, it was not, by the standards of international lobbying companies, egregiously loathsome. Other big firms will work for the same clients and will no doubt now be scrabbling to pick up what’s left of Bell Pottinger’s business. The ethical standard of the PR industry appears to be that it is all right to defend corrupt or wicked regimes providing that you do so while using only arguments that appear respectable. Alternately, you can fight dirty on behalf of a relatively clean cause – Bell Pottinger was paid nearly half a billion dollars for its work on behalf of the US army occupying Iraq, which could have been presented as a help in the struggle against Isis. Just don’t get caught using dirty tactics for a dodgy client.
It would be silly as well as wrong to gloat too much. The urge for power and especially for the power to deceive that PR offers (perhaps deceptively) to its clients was there long before the industry and will outlast it. There is a sense in which Bell Pottinger already seems to belong to a vanished world. The PR industry no longer has the slightly sinister glamour that associated it with obvious crooks or corporates. Over the last 20 or 30 years it has taken over many of the traditional unglamorous functions of journalism and many of its methods too.
In the US there are reckoned to be nine PR practitioners for every working journalist and that proportion is unlikely to change. Most were journalists before. Many of them find themselves writing news stories just as they did before, except with more time to prepare them. Some years ago, the journalist Nick Davies estimated in his book Flat Earth News that 60% of the content of the British press was more or less undigested press releases. That proportion won’t have diminished since. There would be very little in the media of any sort without press releases, and these can include hard news carefully prepared to aid understanding as well as idiocy wrapped in fluff.
The internet is indirectly responsible because it has undermined the traditional financial basis of the media industry. But it has also had direct effects, in the rise of online persuasion. In the history of propaganda and advertising techniques it has as often been politics and religion that have driven progress as much as commerce. As the American academic Tim Wu points out in his history of advertising, The Attention Merchants, it was the British government’s campaigns for conscription at the outbreak of the first world war that first showed the power of really large PR campaigns. Only later did private companies try to imitate them. We seem to be entering another such period now. There is nothing done by a PR company which compares in vicious effectiveness to Breitbart or the operations of the Russian government – or even, in Britain, to the more benevolent work of Momentum.
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Re: Bell Pottinger accused of orchestrating 'fake news'

Post by Get'emGonçalo on 06.09.17 14:18

aquila wrote:Here is a link I came across whilst reading Twitter this morning -

"The Appalling Pottingers'

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2017/09/the-appalling-pottingers/

- an interesting read indeed.

Piers currently chairs the Asian wing of Bell Pottinger, which he co-founded with Tim Bell. They were famously propagandists for Thatcher and also Tory Party donors. Until the current massive corruption scandal in South Africa led to suspension of operations, Bell Pottinger had represented an entirely respectable slate of clients including:
Dictator President Augusto Pinochet of Chile
Dictator Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus
The vicious torturing monarchy of Bahrain
Oscar Pistorius
Kate & Gerry McCann
Rolf Harris
Trafigura
Coca Cola

I could go on.
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Bell-Pottinger

Post by willowthewisp on 06.09.17 14:46

Mirage wrote:http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3818482/PR-firm-set-Margaret-Thatcher-s-spin-doctor-ran-secret-416m-propaganda-operation-Iraq-war-writing-soap-operas-tracking-al-Qaeda-terrorists-using-fake-jihad-films.html

Astonishing stuff this, hidden away in the Daily Mail last October with a paltry 18 comments. And all to track IP addresses, apparently!

There's  a lot more to come out about this outfit I should imagine. No wonder Bell looked discombobulated on Newsnight.
Hi Mirage,but doesn't this beg the question of what was Bell-Pottinger advising Mark Warner Company on?  You know the people we are talking about from within Government linked to a specialist producer of "Fine Ports",eh John with links to an arquido relatives?
In today's headlines another MP has No evidence found against them after 15 Months Investigation,the MP is now taking steps to alieviate any future spurious claims against them?
So on the recent findings of Police Investigations costing Millions of Pounds on child abuse allegations lasting between 15-24 Months,result No Evidence to proceed?
Which surely begs the question of,"What Evidence" did they have in their possession to proceed to arrest these personnel?
Does it all come down to PR to eliminate people from investigation of Criminality?

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Re: Bell Pottinger accused of orchestrating 'fake news'

Post by aquila on 06.09.17 19:27

Unless the invoices for the McCann gig are produced then Bell Pottinger is safe.

It's amazing that people have called out Tony Bennett to produce proof of payment to the Court for contempt of court - not libel you understand - and he's produced that proof with evidence of bank transfers - on the internet!!!  and yet these same people don't ask the McCanns and their limited liability company to produce invoices and proof of payment to Bell Pottinger. The Madeleine 'fund' has the transparency of minced meat.

I've said this in the past and I'll say it again. Show us the invoices and show us the payments.

ETA: to say at the Leveson Inquiry that McCanns paid £500k to keep them on the front pages of the UK press is a bold statement.

Produce the invoices and proof of payment.

ETA once again: Once proof of invoicing and proof of payment is shown the key to the cover up will unlock the mystery - but then again it's pretty obvious that the government, Operation Grange and the McCanns know this.
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Re: Bell Pottinger accused of orchestrating 'fake news'

Post by Verdi on 06.09.17 21:13

Get'emGonçalo wrote: Until the current massive corruption scandal in South Africa led to suspension of operations, Bell Pottinger had represented an entirely respectable slate of clients including:
Dictator President Augusto Pinochet of Chile
Dictator Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus
The vicious torturing monarchy of Bahrain
Oscar Pistorius
Kate & Gerry McCann
Rolf Harris
Trafigura've
Coca Cola

I could go on.
The names of Kate and Gerry McCann stick out like a sore thumb - this is what I don't understand.

Bell Pottinger are (or should that be were) essentially a public relations and reputation management agency.  As you've illustrated, representing some of the most notorious criminals and criminal syndicates in modern history but Kate and Gerry McCann?  They are nothing.

OK, it's been suggested that representatives from Bell Pottinger were in Praia da Luz at the behest of Mark Warner for some reasons - what reason?  Why would a two-bit UK tour operator require the services of such a prestigious firm of risk /reputation management specialists any more than two non-entities such as Gerry and Kate McCann?

If the McCanns amounted to anything important in the grand scheme of things, they wouldn't be holed-up in down town Rothley and relying on shills to protect their image across cyberspace - with pathetic excuses to defend their precarious position I might add.  Or for that matter, holidaying at some low-key resort on the Algarve - a popular destination for expatriates.

waiting

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Re: Bell Pottinger accused of orchestrating 'fake news'

Post by sallypelt on 07.09.17 18:24

The disgraced public relations firm Bell Pottinger is on the brink of collapsing into administration, just days after controversial work for a South African client led to its expulsion from its industry association.

http://news.sky.com/story/disgraced-pr-firm-bell-pottinger-on-brink-of-administration-11024402

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Re: Bell Pottinger accused of orchestrating 'fake news'

Post by Get'emGonçalo on 10.09.17 12:57




Belly-up Pottinger titter
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Re: Bell Pottinger accused of orchestrating 'fake news'

Post by Verdi on 10.09.17 13:18

Vermin are not that easily eradicated. 

Last night I tried to post a press report detailing Bell Pottingers many tentacles that span the globe.  I can't find the report now but this gives the general gist of how they operate globally..

http://www.prweek.com/article/1444132/bell-pottinger-middle-east-arm-split-uk-parent-saying-we-rejected-oakbay-account

One door shuts - another door opens eh?

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Re: Bell Pottinger accused of orchestrating 'fake news'

Post by JimbobJones on 10.09.17 14:32

The only people to suffer as this company is dissolved will be the minions. The tea boy, the clerks and the doorman. The Board of Directors wont even skip a heartbeat and will be laughing up their sleeves.

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Re: Bell Pottinger accused of orchestrating 'fake news'

Post by MayMuse on 10.09.17 14:45

Craig Murray currently in libel suit mentioned on another post has a good article on the foundation of Bell Pottinger...makes interesting reading.
https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2017/09/the-appalling-pottingers/

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Re: Bell Pottinger accused of orchestrating 'fake news'

Post by Get'emGonçalo on 13.09.17 14:06

Old article but exposes that they were working jointly for Trafigura


https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2009/oct/13/carter-ruck-firm-trafigura-lawyers

Carter-Ruck: The firm that aims to 'nip in the bud' hostile press coverage

Para 3/4
The firm has successfully acted for victims of media unfairness, winning unprecedented damages for the McCann family, for example, when tabloids printed stories falsely implying that they were to blame for their daughter Madeleine's disappearance in Portugal.

In the case of Trafigura, the Carter-Ruck partner Adam Tudor has been co-ordinating legal moves with Neil Cameron of Bell Pottinger, the firm of lobbyists founded by Tim Bell, once Margaret Thatcher's favourite PR man. They have brought legal actions, complaints or threats against foreign media organisations, including the Dutch paper Volkskrant and the Norwegian state TV channel NRK. They also launched a libel suit against Martyn Day, the senior partner of the law firm which brought a class action for compensation on behalf of 30,000 Africans who say they have been made ill by Trafigura's toxic waste. Another libel case, which is still live, was launched against the BBC after a Newsnight programme on the toxic waste disaster in Ivory Coast in 2006.

So we have a proven liar protected by a Rottweiler
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Re: Bell Pottinger accused of orchestrating 'fake news'

Post by aquila on 13.09.17 14:25

When Tony Bennett went to court on a charge of contempt of court why were there so many of Carter Ruck's finest present? I was present at the court and sat behind Adam Tudor who said nothing whilst checking his mobile phone.

Why would Adam Tudor be so concerned that he had to turn up in person to secure the conviction of a man who had no means to defend himself, who represented himself, who had been badgered into submission for lack of finance? don't get me wrong here, I think dropping leaflets in Rothley was pretty bloody awful - not cricket - but I remember thinking at the time, looking at all the lawyers in wigs and gowns that things were unbalanced. There was no need for Adam Tudor to be present unless of course he didn't trust his own team or wished to add weight to the process.

These are observations.
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Bell Pottinger

Post by hogwash on 13.09.17 14:45

Is that what the Contempt of Court was about then aquila, the leaflets?
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Re: Bell Pottinger accused of orchestrating 'fake news'

Post by aquila on 13.09.17 14:48

hogwash wrote:Is that what the Contempt of Court was about then aquila, the leaflets?
I think you may have posted on the wrong thread. You've been on this forum for long enough to have read the reasons why Tony was taken to court.
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Re: Bell Pottinger accused of orchestrating 'fake news'

Post by hogwash on 13.09.17 15:12

aquila wrote:
hogwash wrote:Is that what the Contempt of Court was about then aquila, the leaflets?
I think you may have posted on the wrong thread. You've been on this forum for long enough to have read the reasons why Tony was taken to court.

Yes I have and I thought it was because Tony had agreed not to publish allegations linking the McCanns to Madeleine's disappearance, but he then wrote to the Prime Minister and Home Office which he published on the internet.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leicestershire-21534603

Nothing to do with the leaflets. But I was just checking with you that it wasn't just a cheap shot on your part to show your moral highground, that's all.

But thanks again for your help, as always, and be sure never to accept a position as moderator.
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Re: Bell Pottinger accused of orchestrating 'fake news'

Post by aquila on 13.09.17 15:19

hogwash wrote:
aquila wrote:
hogwash wrote:Is that what the Contempt of Court was about then aquila, the leaflets?
I think you may have posted on the wrong thread. You've been on this forum for long enough to have read the reasons why Tony was taken to court.

Yes I have and I thought it was because Tony had agreed not to publish allegations linking the McCanns to Madeleine's disappearance, but he then wrote to the Prime Minister and Home Office which he published on the internet.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leicestershire-21534603

Nothing to do with the leaflets. But I was just checking with you that it wasn't just a cheap shot on your part to show your moral highground, that's all.

But thanks again for your help, as always, and be sure never to accept a position as moderator.
I don't take cheap shots and I don't take the moral high ground either.
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Re: Bell Pottinger accused of orchestrating 'fake news'

Post by aquila on 13.09.17 18:08

hogwash wrote:
aquila wrote:
hogwash wrote:Is that what the Contempt of Court was about then aquila, the leaflets?
I think you may have posted on the wrong thread. You've been on this forum for long enough to have read the reasons why Tony was taken to court.

Yes I have and I thought it was because Tony had agreed not to publish allegations linking the McCanns to Madeleine's disappearance, but he then wrote to the Prime Minister and Home Office which he published on the internet.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leicestershire-21534603

Nothing to do with the leaflets. But I was just checking with you that it wasn't just a cheap shot on your part to show your moral highground, that's all.

But thanks again for your help, as always, and be sure never to accept a position as moderator.
Hogwash, you know that it was the leaflet drop in Rothley that caused the McCanns to arm lawyers to silence Tony Bennett and he accepted the terms of shut up or be sued because he had no means. I personally think dropping leaflets in Rothley was a bad thing to do.

As for your comment 'be sure never to accept a position of moderator', I have no words as I don't understand what you are getting at.

I'm leaving the forum today - your comment gave me a lightning moment that anyone with an opinion is open to abuse - and before I go I'll make it very clear that I dislike comments such as yours. I'm not doing announce and flounce. You'll not find me on other fora or blogs so no need to bother your head.

God Bless Madeleine McCann.
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Bell-Pottinger

Post by willowthewisp on 13.09.17 18:26

Hi Aquilla,
So your packing in the Forum,seems as though an awful lot of people to have become exasperated to CMMoM recently?
Perhaps the Ten year deadline was supposed to be the Time limit on Madeleine's disappearance?
That this is the continuation of the Government to keep stone walling on the funding of the truth in this case that eventually persons will become dejected,that in this corrupt world,there is No Justice as in Madeleine McCann's case,with so many people and their"Pacts of silence" I hope you are proud of how you have conducted yourselves in the disappearance of a Three year old Girl!!

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Re: Bell Pottinger accused of orchestrating 'fake news'

Post by sharonl on 13.09.17 19:17

Please stay on Topic - here we are discussing  the decline of Bell Pottinger

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Re: Bell Pottinger accused of orchestrating 'fake news'

Post by Keitei on 13.09.17 19:35

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/09/13/bell-pottinger-executives-fight-save-disgraced-pr-firms-middle/

Bell Pottinger executives fight to save disgraced PR firm's Middle East business

Alan Tovey 
13 SEPTEMBER 2017 • 4:23PM

Bosses from Bell Pottinger’s Middle East operation have raced to London to try to save the Gulf-based business of the collapsed PR firm.

Archie Berens and Tim Falconer, managing directors of the Dubai and Abu Dhabi practice, arrived in the UK on Wednesday for meetings with administrators and potential backers.

Bell Pottinger’s British parent went into administration on Tuesday night as it collapsed under the pressure of the divisive campaign it ran in South Africa.

Clients deserted the firm after it was thrown out of the industry body after taking on the controversial contract which was accused of stirring up racial tensions, a move which led to chief executive James Henderson quitting.

Mr Berens and Mr Falconer are set to meet with administrator BDO to try to negotiate a deal to separate the Middle East practice (BPME) from the UK business.

It is understood they will also hold talks with potential investors willing to back a deal, with a management buyout being one option on the table.

“Tim and I are talking to a number of of parties including BDO, with a view as to how we can take something of value from this wreckage,” said veteran PR man Mr Berens, referring to the London-based practice’s collapse.

He described the Middle East operation’s client base as “rock solid”, with accounts including Aldar Properties, a listed developer which is Abu Dhabi’s largest real estate business.

However, there is growing speculation as to how long BPME can remain viable without it being legally separated from its disgraced parent.

It is understood that executives are aiming to do a deal within weeks, although they are keen not to put a deadline on a transaction.

Announcing the administration on Tuesday, BDO said the UK business had been “heavily financially impacted by the well-publicised issues resulting in losses of clients, partners and staff and culminating in the expulsion from the Public Relations and Communications Association.

"The level of those losses, compounded by the inability of the business to win new clients, was such that remaining management were left with no option but to commence the process to place all UK Bell Pottinger entities into administration.”

About half of the 100 staff at the London base were laid off on Tuesday, with a “roll call” in front of the whole office being used to identify those who were being made redundant.  

BDO pointed out that Bell Pottinger’s subsidiaries outside the UK continued to trade under their own management teams.

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Re: Bell Pottinger accused of orchestrating 'fake news'

Post by Verdi on 14.09.17 15:32


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Re: Bell Pottinger accused of orchestrating 'fake news'

Post by Verdi on 14.09.17 15:40

'Reputation laundering' is lucrative business for London PR firms

Oppressive foreign regimes are often such valuable accounts that they are considered worth the risk of a backlash

5th September 2017

From foreign governments of dubious repute and dictators looking for an image overhaul to propaganda videos and fake Wikipedia entries – if there is a PR brief of dubious ethical nature that needs a fix then more often than not it is one of London’s big-name agencies that gets the call.

Bell Pottinger’s public vilification and expulsion from its own trade body for running a social media campaign to stir up racial tension in South Africa for the wealthy Gupta family has lifted the lid on the secretive and highly lucrative business of representing controversial clients.

Over more than three decades in the business Tim Bell, Margaret Thatcher’s favourite PR man, who left Bell Pottinger last summer, has amassed something of a who’s who of what could charitably be called sensitive clients.

These have included the Pinochet Foundation and the governments of Bahrain and Egypt, and there was a $500m (£384m) contract to make fake al-Qaida videos in Iraq for the US government.

“You say words like Pinochet and ‘oh my god that is bad news’, but I don’t accept that,” Lord Bell said. “There are two sides to every story and you have to handle it so your side is prevalent. I don’t know why they are [considered] risky clients. They are only risky if what you are trying to promote an idea that isn’t sound.”

He cited Alexander Lukashenko, the Belarusian president who has been called Europe’s last dictator, as an example of when taking on such clients went wrong. “There are lots of people I regret having got involved with. Lukashenko went well for six months then changed his mind [about the strategy], behaved differently and I resigned the account.”

Foreign governments with oppressive regimes are often such valuable accounts that they are considered worth the risk of a potential PR backlash.

The Portland agency, founded by Tony Blair’s former adviser Tim Allan, has previously advised Vladimir Putin and worked with Kazakhstan, Jordan and Morocco.

A contract with Qatar, which has been heavily criticised for its record on human rights, is focused on building a government affairs function. Portland declined to comment but Allan has previously said such work is about “openness and engagement” and that opening up secretive nations is “not an affront to democracy”.

Late last year the PR guru Matthew Freud picked up a hugely valuable brief from Saudi Arabia, which has executed more than 150 people in each of the last two years.

The account, led by deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was pitched to a number of corporate PR firms in London. The PR agency Freuds declined to comment but at the time of winning the business said it was focused on a “programme of economic, educational and cultural modernisation to help diversify the economy and create a sustainable and prosperous future for Saudi’s young people.”

A senior PR executive said: “Tyrants, dictatorships and governments that may not be democratic, or are sliding into one-party states, tend to come to places like London, New York and Washington effectively for reputation laundering. If you are cynical about it, that is what it is.”

A number of senior PR executives agree that Bell Pottinger working for the Gupta family, which has been accused of benefiting financially from its close links to the South African president, Jacob Zuma, is not in itself a PR crime.

But stoking racial tension in a country that has struggled to achieve balance in a post-apartheid era is a particularly egregious strategy to have pursued, and not one that is rife among the dark arts employed by UK agencies.

“I think that Bell Pottinger’s work is an outlier,” said Danny Rogers, editor-in-chief of PR Week. “They are accused of creating fake news and blogs, a serious transgression. It is not typical of what the British PR industry does. Work varies from what you would consider to be institution-building and opening communications by governments to the extreme end of the sort of work Bell Pottinger was doing for the Guptas.”

Francis Ingham, director general of the trade body PRCA for the last decade, said the UK industry was “overwhelmingly ethical and professional”.

“There is always the occasional rogue element and our role is to punish them,” he said.

Ever the risk-taker, Lord Bell, after leaving the agency he co-founded, immediately looked for more of the same, setting up Sans Frontières, the same name as the arm of Bell Pottinger that handled sometimes controversial geo-political work.

Bell, who has also represented clients including the News UK chief Rebekah Brooks and the entertainer Rolf Harris, said the Bell Pottinger scandal would prompt the industry to take cover for a while but then it would be business as usual.

“There will be a lull for a while, then people will forget the controversy and people will come back,” he said.

Yet, even the hard-bitten Bell admitted there were some clients beyond the pale even for him. He turned down representing Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe, as well as the Labour party (“I wouldn’t have done a good job”).

“I wish we hadn’t taken the Guptas,” he said. “And I would like to have worked for BP, to have handled the Deepwater Horizon incident. As long as there is controversy about things there will be controversial characters. You can’t spend your life regretting what you do.”

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/sep/05/reputation-laundering-is-lucrative-business-for-london-pr-firms

Seriously - what hope is there?

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Re: Bell Pottinger accused of orchestrating 'fake news'

Post by worriedmum on 14.09.17 18:04

''You can’t spend your life regretting what you do.”


What's done is done? (where have I heard that before....)
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Re: Bell Pottinger accused of orchestrating 'fake news'

Post by Verdi on 14.09.17 23:44

worriedmum wrote:''You can’t spend your life regretting what you do.”


What's done is done? (where have I heard that before....)
It's PR speak for 'can we change the subject and move on...' - or if you prefer "I'm not going to comment on that" smilie !

____________________
The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made" - Groucho Marx
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Verdi
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Re: Bell Pottinger accused of orchestrating 'fake news'

Post by BlueBag on 15.09.17 6:43

Verdi wrote:Seriously - what hope is there?
I remember when "conspiracy theorists" were scoffed at for suggesting that people were paid to post stuff on the internet to oppose the truth.

Well....

Of course it's much deeper than Bell Pottinger.

The hope is that more more people are understanding the information game.

Information is one of the levers of power.
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BlueBag

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