It seems that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was also not spared the Israeli spying program “Pegasus”, which he used to target his opponents at home and abroad, as reports revealed that the UAE used the program against him and spying on him.
In this context, the Lebanese newspaper “Al-Akhbar” blew up a surprise, and said in a report that sparked widespread controversy that the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed, ordered the wiretapping of Mohammed bin Salman.
According to the report, Mohammed bin Zayed granted himself the right to eavesdrop on those he classifies as allies, opponents or competitors, including his first opponent, who he says is his first ally, the Saudi Crown Prince.
Mohammed bin Zayed ordered a special team to hack all phones and computers of Mohammed bin Salman
The report claimed that the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi ordered his wiretapping teams to hack all phones and computers that lead him to Ibn Salman’s private world.
His aides indicated to him that if someone was watching Ibn Salman’s personal phone to ensure that he was not being tracked or eavesdropped, the matter did not apply to those close to him.
According to the Lebanese newspaper, the matter ended with a decision to monitor the phones and computers of those close to them and work to penetrate them and access through them to what Ibn Salman wants, proposes or plans.
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Among those who were eavesdropped was Yasser Al-Rumayyan, the first advisor to the Saudi crown prince in the world of financial investments.
The hack provided abundant information to Mohammed bin Zayed about what bin Salman is doing in this world.
Al-Akhbar also reviewed the Emirates-Leaks file security document, which contains records of conversations that took place through the “WhatsApp” application between Ibn Salman and Al-Rumayyan, stressing that it will publish clips of it.
It is part of records of calls between the two men made between August 12, 2015 and January 23, 2016, and included various administrative and financial files.
“The UAE is the house of espionage.”
And last month, a hashtag titled “Emirates House of Spy” topped the list of the most popular hashtags on Twitter for four days in a row, in the wake of the scandal of the UAE and Saudi Arabia and their use of Israeli cyber technology to target and spy on opponents.
Through the hashtag, activists shed light on the scandals of the Emirati regime with the Israeli company NSO and the “Pegasus” spy program, which was used by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, the de facto ruler of the Emirates, to target his opponents.
It is noteworthy that researchers discovered the Pegasus program for the first time in August 2016 after a failed attempt to install it on the iPhone of human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor in the United Arab Emirates, through a suspicious link in a text message. exploits it.
“Pegasus” is considered one of the most dangerous and “most complex” spyware programs, and it specifically targets smart devices running the “iOS” operating system of Apple, but there is a version for Android devices that differs somewhat from the “iOS” version. .
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An investigation – conducted by 17 media organizations, and its results were published last Sunday – revealed that the “Pegasus” spy program – produced by the Israeli company “NSO” – was used to penetrate the phones of journalists, officials and activists in different parts of the world.
The investigation – which was conducted by 17 international media outlets, including the French newspapers Le Monde, the German Süddeutsche Zeitung, the British Guardian and The Washington Post is based on the investigation. Post) to a list obtained by Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International.
The list includes the numbers of at least 180 journalists, 600 politicians, 85 human rights activists and 65 businessmen, according to the analysis conducted by the group. It was confirmed that 37 phones were hacked or attempted to penetrate the Israeli group’s spyware program.
Where is the tolerance, Emirates?#pegasus https://t.co/XtPf82Bibj
— Ghada Oueiss July 24, 2021
The Emirates and a history of espionage
Place: An abandoned airport in Abu Dhabi… When: 2008.
Event: Building a large base of dozens of foreign experts led by an American expert.
Objective: To spy on some neighboring countries and a number of international officials, including the leaders of the FIFA, the Emir of Qatar and his brother, and Emirati and Saudi activists.
Under the title “Made in America”, Reuters revealed in 2019 by narrating the story of a former US intelligence official, the story of the Emirati spy den, which has become a registered trademark in the name of Zayed’s sons, as this official established an espionage unit inside the country at the request of the rulers of Abu Dhabi.
— PR Team at Reuters (@ReutersPR) December 10, 2019
This is not the first time that the largest spy den in the region has been revealed. In December 2018, Skyline International revealed that the UAE had paid huge sums of money for the purposes of spying on its citizens and hacking electronic, regional and international institutions.
Read also: David Hearst: Mohammed bin Salman began to resent being seen as a disciple of Mohammed bin Zayed
The report talked about the Emirati company’s hiring of 400 experts from outside the Emirates (their salaries reach half a million dollars) to carry out major spying operations on its citizens, and then try to penetrate the accounts of activists abroad, pointing to the close cooperation that took place between the company and American hackers for global cyber goals, Such as hitting specific targets or building global espionage systems to track certain Prime Time Zone or businesses.
After the events of September 11, 2001, the American street was covered in a phobia of terrorism, which prompted the national institutions there to discuss confrontation strategies, and among those at the forefront of the scene at the time was the former American anti-terrorist Czar Richard Clark, who warned Congress that the country needs more expanded espionage powers. To prevent another catastrophe.
But it seems that the idea was not accepted by the American Parliament, although it still dominated the imagination and thought of the Tsar, and after nearly five years of leaving the government, the man took advantage of his strong relationship with the rulers of Abu Dhabi to begin to transfer his idea from his country to the Emirates, where the expected huge funding and the expected results according to his plan placed.
In 2008 Clark began his journey to implement his project, where he went to work as a consultant in the Emirates, which was seeking at this time to impose a greater intelligence cordon on its opponents, organizations and Prime Time Zone, and here the goals of the Gulf state met with the ambitions of the American expert, and then a secret espionage unit was established called “DREAD” .
Clark, who served as one of the most prominent counterterrorism hawks in the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, succeeded in expanding his secret unit to later include former National Security Agency agents and other American veterans from the American intelligence, although “Reuters” did not address their true number, but sources Others indicate that the number is close to 400 experts of different nationalities in the field of combating cyber terrorism.
Clark was one of the most prominent names that helped in the emergence of Mohammed bin Zayed to the limelight and enhance his influence
In an interview with him in Washington, Clark said that after recommending that the UAE establish an electronic monitoring agency, his company, Good Harbor Consulting, was appointed to help the country build it, explaining that the idea was to create a unit capable of tracking terrorists, and the plan was approved by the US State Department and the National Security Agency, and that Good Harbor followed US law.
Reuters investigation: The Dread spyware program, launched in 2008, was an arm of the Emirati Crown Prince’s Court and was supervised by his son, Khalid bin Mohammed bin Zayed. pic.twitter.com/ct9dL8SVaK
— ZaidBenjamin (@ZaidBenjamin5) December 10, 2019
According to a Reuters investigation, at least five White House veterans work for Clark in the UAE, both on DREAD and on other projects, while Good Harbor ceded DREAD in 2010 to other US contractors, just as the operation began to successfully penetrate targets.
The declared objectives, at the beginning of the inauguration of this unit, centered around combating terrorism and combating armed organizations, and developed after the Arab Spring in 2011 to strengthen its influence in a way that prevents the arrival of popular protests to the country, but soon developed to cross red lines, as it set out to pursue opponents and human rights groups. and a number of international officials.
The English agency based its investigation on examining more than 10,000 DREAD documents, and interviewed more than a dozen contractors, intelligence agents and former government insiders with direct knowledge of the program. Project logistics, operational plans and objectives.
Clarke was perhaps one of the most prominent names that helped Mohammed bin Zayed emerge into the limelight and enhance his influence. In the months leading up to the US invasion of Iraq in 1991, the American expert, originally a senior diplomat, was sent to the Gulf to seek help from regional allies, and then the name MBZ emerged.
Bin Zayed found in the American diplomat a great door to present himself to the Americans, and the offering was then 4 billion dollars that the Emirates paid for the American war effort, which Clark revealed when Congress asked whether Washington should allow the sale of weapons worth 682 million dollars to the Emirates.
There, the American expert commented, “They transferred $4 billion to the US Treasury to support the war effort. Is this the kind of nation we should abandon by depriving them of 20 attack helicopters? I don’t think so.” Indeed, the UAE got the helicopters at the time.
Long sold in espionage
The UAE has a long history of spying on its neighbors, and it was not just Qatar, Iran, or even the Saudi ally. Last May, the Omani security services were able to obtain information about an Emirati spy network that is active against the Sultanate. It revealed the intervention of the ruler of Dubai, Mohammed bin Rashid, personally in The network file, which caused a state of tension in the relations between the two countries, continued until now, even if it was under the ashes.
At about the same time, Somali security forces arrested another Emirati spy network working for the agenda of the sons of Zayed in Somalia in particular and in the Horn of Africa in general, in light of the struggle for influence in this strategic region of the African continent, an incident that had repercussions later.
In January 2018, the “Arab Secrets” website revealed that it had documents proving Abu Dhabi’s involvement in creating a “giant” spy network in Tunisia, run by the UAE State Security Service, in an attempt to influence the country’s political life.
The website said that the documents and correspondence it obtained and leaked from the UAE revealed the involvement of senior figures in Tunisia, including the second man in the Nidaa Tounes party, Mohsen Marzouk, noting that the network spied on Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi and the Nidaa Tounes movement he leads. To the Ennahda movement and members of Parliament.
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