Military marketers target Isil with anti-radicalisation campaign

Sven Hughes, founder of Verbalisation, a former British Army psyops reservist, who served in Afghanistan, said the script had been written by the company’s team of psychologists “to take the fight to Isil in verbal space”.

The company is also understood to count former MI6 officers and members of the special forces among its staff.

Mr Hughes said: “The moment you have psyops mentioned in the background there are all sorts of connotations that are not justified. But I don’t see anything sinister in it.”

“We have just been looking at the way Isil uses language and how we can better intervene. This is much more advanced than NLP or anything like that but its not as spooky as it might seem. It is marketing.”

Jonathan Russell, political liaison officer at Quilliam, said the film was part of the foundation’s recent effort to be more directly involved in counter-radicalisation. Previously it focused on advising the Government.

He highlighted the fact that although most of the Isil material seen in the mainstream in the West is designed to terrorise, the majority of what it produces is meant to entice muslims with “a sense of belonging and creating a utopian so-called caliphate”.

Mr Russell said: “We want to promote the idea that a strong counter-narrative to that is a way to go.”

The film, now posted to YouTube, was paid for by donations. Verbalisation is aiming to spread its brand of psyops into more commercial spheres, arguing that « nobody is focused on the verbal side of things ».

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