The simple view denied

It happens, and sometimes it is for a very decent reason, but in this case I have questions. It started months ago on March 7th, when I became aware of Ghada Oueiss via the Milli Chronicle, the article had issues, bu for now lets use another source, the source (at https://cpj.org/2021/02/ghada-oueiss-hacking-harassment-jamal-khashoggi/) gives us ‘Al-Jazeera’s Ghada Oueiss on hacking, harassment, and Jamal Khashoggi, the first thing I notice is “Lebanese Al-Jazeera broadcast journalist Ghada Oueiss described hackers stealing private photos and videos from her phone and posting them online”, the word ‘described’ in red, linking to a Washington Post article. The article laden with emotion and set on emotional markers, yet forensic evidence is missing. So when we consider “stealing private photos and videos from her phone and posting them online”, so was the phone the only source with these pictures? From her phone means that they are selfies, the descriptions give me more than that, so was it the only place they were? I am not stating that this is a must, but it raises questions. You see, the original article (at https://millichronicle.com/2021/03/opinion-ghada-oueiss-lies-about-saudi-and-american-spies/) gives a lot more. There we see a ling to https://www.courthousenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/1-20cv25022-002.pdf. It gives us a complaint of the Al Jazeera journalist versus Mohammed Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, DarkMatter, Faisal al Bannai, Saudi 24 TV, a broadcast television station owned by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Al Arabiya, a broadcast television station owned by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Abdulaziz Foundation d/b/a MiSK Foundation, Saud Al Qahtani, Bader Al-Asaker, Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission, Tarek Abou Zeinab, Turki Al-Owerde, Faisal Al Menaia, Awwad Al Otaibi, Sharon Collins, Christanne Schey, Hussam Al-Jundi, Annette Smith, John Does 1-20. Yes a whole mouthful. And it continues as we see the start “This is a civil action arising out of the targeted unlawful hacking of Plaintiff, Ghada Oueiss, an international journalist who has a significant presence in the U.S. and abroad, both as a journalist for Al Jazeera Media Network (“Al Jazeera”) and as a frequent contributor to U.S. news agencies, such as The Washington Post. This unlawful hack and leak operation against Ms. Oueiss (the “Conspiracy”) was spearheaded by the crown princes of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (“UAE”) and their co-conspirators in the U.S. and elsewhere

This leads me to:
1. How was it proven who did the hack, or how it was done.

For me it is more than funny, you see the plaintiff uses an article by the Verge on footnote 9 is something I debated before, and a few other mentions. There is no debate that Jeff Bezos was hacked, but the evidence on who was laughable, there is too much settings that were never answered, but for the lawyers of Ghada Oueiss it was enough, a plaintiff weight to coin a phrase. There are all kinds of mentions, but there is no real evidence.

2. At [97] we see “Upon information and belief, Defendant Zeinab began his employment with Defendant Saudi 24 TV in 2018. He has since used his Twitter accounts to personally attack and defame Ms. Oueiss in response to Ms. Oueiss’ criticism of the Saudi regime:” We see a personal opposition via Twitter, not hidden, not threatening, merely a tweet, well over a year before what they consider being the ‘event’.

3. At [100] we get “This brazen admission is significant evidence”, a response to a google translated Tweet, I cannot tell it is correct, I cannot tell there is misinterpretation and I cannot tell whether this has anything to do with Ghada Oueiss.

The list goes on and on and at no point, do we see clear evidence of hacking and any evidence that this is linked in any way to any Saudi or UAE party. 

Then we see “At the beginning of 2020, I started reading private stories about me on Twitter – saying I had an apartment in Beirut, my brother’s name. I don’t post anything about my family.” I am not dismissing the fact that she was hacked, I am merely questioning the setting who did it. There is no evidence proving any of that. In the case of Bezos, his consultant did a piss poor job in documenting evidence, even worse than the CIA did (if that was even possible). 

The issue is not whether people are hacked, the issue is the evidence and the way places like the Washington Post go about it, does not help, they make matter worse whilst decreasing their own credibility. I got news yesterday that the USA Defendants allegedly have just filed a rousing motion to dismiss, it seems that this might have been a ploy to keep pressure on alleged matters (the journalists no one cares about that is missing). 

I remain in the fence. On one side the press should never become the story, yet I accept that Ghada Oueiss is entitled to defence, but I also see the need for evidence against the claim. I accept that she was optionally hacked, but like Jeff Bezos, there is no evidence linking either the Saudi Government, or the government of the UAE and its governing members to this. I accept that finding evidence is hard, really hard, but evidence still matters, not unfounded accusations lacking evidence. That is the actual ballgame and in all this we see a large lacking. 

The Washington Post is also the view of clarity, as we see “In this case, the trolls were attacking Ola and I not only as journalists but as women who dared to be critical”, you see trolls imply people with high level IT skills, I personally speculate that the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia is lacking these skills. It means someone else did this, and if that is so, there needs to be evidence that he ordered it, not some flimsy CIA report with ‘we think it is very likely’, thinking and very likely do not make the evidence grade. Consider this and well over a dozen other articles negatively speaking on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its members and wonder who would attack on a lack of evidence, governments or the greed driven stakeholders they cater to?

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Filed under IT, Law, Media, Politics

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