Sunday, January 16

The ‘excesses’ of the Persian Gulf with the Pegasus program reach Princess Latifa


The daughter of the Emir of Dubi was intercepted in her flight through the mobiles in her environment, which were filtered and spied on by the Israeli application

A woman uses her m
A woman uses her mobile in front of the building of the Israeli group NSO, in Tel Aviv.AFP
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Something was wailing Princess Latifa. The Washington Post tells that, before escaping from her powerful father, the Emir of Dubi, the young woman left her mobile phone in the sink of a coffee machine. Then she hid in the trunk of a black Audi Q7, then in a Jeep Wrangler as her escape companions followed her from the raised city in the middle of the desert to the water dunes of the Indian Ocean. They took jet skis, from where they went on a yacht, the Nostromo, with the aim of reaching Sri Lanka.

The noblewoman, well educated and knowledgeable about the ins and outs of one of the richest and most authoritarian monarchies in the world, believes that she has everything tied up and well tied up. But his hopes of flying from the island country to the US were shattered when Sri Lankan patrol boats boarded his ship. How had they found out? Now it has been known. The filtration Tens of thousands of phones, spied on with the Israeli Pegasus billing application, includes those around Latifa bint Mohammed Al Maktoum.

One of those affected by the program manufactured by NSO Group is, according to the American newspaper, Sioned Taylor, personal friend of the princess. But Latifa is not the only person in the royal dubait house whose communications were fully monitored in real time. Haya bint Husein, one of the six widows of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum also appears on the lists. As is his stepsister, his assistants, his horse trainer, his lawyer and even his bodyguards.

Haya was more fortunate, who managed to escape together with her two children in 2019 to seek refuge in the United Kingdom. As for Latifa, 32 years old, having failed in her 2018 march, today she maintains a strange regime of apparent freedom in which, however, he fears for his mental state. It is not clear what role the numbers of the Sheikha’s closest friends could have played in her capture, through Pegasus, in the days following her escape.

“NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware program potentially helped strip Princess Latifa of her freedom; it may have given her captors the tools they needed to hack her phone and locate her. It could also have been used to go after Princess Haya and many of her associates, after she supported Princess Latifa, “concludes Rasha Abdul Rahim, director of Amnesty International Tech, in charge of investigating Pegasus infections.

Abdul Rahim has no doubt that “Pegasus is the spy program of choice for human rights violators.” A condition from which the NSO Group flee, which they consider “false and misleading” the relationship of the names on the list, among which are critical nobles, but also political dissidents and journalists critical of the Persian Gulf autocracies, with possible espionage targets. Despite the evidence that many of their phones had the application installed.

A person close to the NSO operations, who spoke to ‘The Washington Post’ on condition of anonymity, assures that the company terminated its contract with Dubi, due to human rights concerns, after learning that the princess’s cell phone had been ‘tapped ‘. But it is certain, according to ‘The Guardian’, that Israel, with the power to authorize the sales of this type of applications, gave the green light for the sale of this application to another country in the region: Saudi Arabia.

Riyadh has denied any allegation of having used Pegasus against the close associates of Jamal Khashoggi, whom he murdered at his Istanbul consulate in October 2018. However, the British newspaper reports that a year earlier, Israel explicitly authorized an agreement to allow the rival country will use Pegasus for about 55 million dollars. The gesture is related to an Israeli attempt to exert its economic and technological influence for political gain, not even a posteriori.

They were different times. Donald Trump’s son-in-law was used extensively to obtain the so-called Abraham Accords, which sought recognition of Israel, by the Arab countries of the region, in exchange for satisfying commercial and strategic interests and for confront Irn. In fact, one of his victories was the rapprochement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel. The same has not happened with Saudi Arabia, at least for the moment.

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