Tag Archives: Forbidden Stories

When will people learn?

This is not the first time time that I go all out against a Guardian essay writer (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/dec/20/un-backed-investigator-into-possible-yemen-war-crimes-targeted-by-spyware) So lets take you through this track of what I regard to be stupid bumbles. The title is fine ‘UN-backed investigator into possible Yemen war crimes targeted by spyware’, it is what is reported on, but the stage quickly changes with “a panel mandated by the UN to investigate possible war crimes – was targeted in August 2019, according to an analysis of his mobile phone by experts at Amnesty International and the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto.” Why is this important? Well we are not given an iota of evidence on how that was established. More important, we have heard of the experts of Citizen Lab, but who has heard of the experts at the UN? More important, why is this shown 2 years later (aka roughly 840 days)? So then we get to be off to the races. We now get the French Fairy tale division giving us “Jendoubi’s mobile number also appears on a leaked database at the heart of the Pegasus Project, an investigation into NSO by the Guardian and other media outlets, which was coordinated by Forbidden Stories, the French non-profit media group.” This is an issue as I had shown (source: Washington Post) in my story ‘Retry or Retrial?’ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2021/07/28/retry-or-retrial/) with ““reporters were able to identify more than 1,000 people spanning more than 50 countries through research and interviews on four continents: several Arab royal family members, at least 65 business executives, 85 human rights activists, 189 journalists, and more than 600 politicians and government officials — including cabinet ministers, diplomats, and military and security officers. The numbers of several heads of state and prime ministers also appeared on the list”, no evidence mind you, merely statement and boasting. I call it boast, because we see there that the Amnesty’s Security Lab examined 67 smartphones all whilst close to 50% had an inconclusive test. If this is 67, what about the other 49,933?” In this there was another side that no one considered. The list represented $400,000,000 in revenue and the NSO Group never had that, more important, none of these essay writers EVER published a dashboard showing where the 1,000 people were, there the other 9,000 were. If there is a phone list, there is a location and a dashboard on these numbers was never released, something I would do in the first few hours. 

Then we get the other clown (at the UN) with a clear hatred of Saudi Arabia “Agnes Callamard, the secretary general of Amnesty International, who previously served as a UN special rapporteur, called the news of Jendoubi’s alleged targeting “shocking and unacceptable”” It is that much of a setting, the article goes longer into blah blah mode, but no evidence is ever given to us. And it is then that we see a pie in the face on the clowns involved. We get “It suggests further reprehensible evidence of the Saudi authorities’ utter disregard for international law, their willingness to do anything to maintain their impunity, and it demonstrates yet again a complete disrespect for the United Nations, multilateral instruments and human rights procedures.” And why do I state it like that? In the previous article we see “In this Shalev Hulio is right that he is “continuing to dispute that the list of more than 50,000 phone numbers had anything to do with NSO or Pegasus”, I would too and I found a lot of the disputable issues within an hour, I wonder how shortsighted the media was when they decided to reprint what the Washington Post gave them.” This does not mean that the NSO Group and Saudi Arabia are innocent, but it calls in question the evidence presented. The verge and the Washington Post had issues with that list and I found another issue that could have been verified, as such we see a Stephanie Kirchgaessner who in 3-4 articles reduced the Guardian to a mere level of the Daily Mail, what a lovely way to end 2021, perhaps its editor Katharine Viner might do well by internally vetting what is being published, and perhaps she is part of the setting. Let well, I never stated that Saudi Arabia was innocent, but the fact that the NSO Group cannot see WHO infected (if that was the case) the phone of Kamel Jendoubi’s mobile phone, what other matters did these essay writers ignore to get a nice little hate piece against Saudi Arabia?

When will people learn that evidence is where it is at and several sources have debated the validity and the correctness of that list, and in all those months, no. one decided to look into the list and give us all a dashboard, weird is it not? I am not stating that Shalev Hulio, or Saudi Arab ia is innocent, but there is no presented evidence that they are either, as such the Daily Mail 2 (the Guardian) has a lot of making up to do, but perhaps they are merely doing what politicians and stake holders are telling them to do.

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Tools of convenience

It is 01:39, I thought it was going to be a boring Thursday. Yet, there she is, everyones favourite tool Stephanie Kirchgaessner is making another run for it. She gives us ‘Israeli spyware company NSO Group placed on US blacklist’. The article (at https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/nov/03/nso-group-pegasus-spyware-us-blacklist) comes with all posturing, yet no evidence. She gives us “It comes three months after a consortium of journalists working with the French non-profit group Forbidden Stories, including the Guardian, revealed multiple cases of journalists and activists who were hacked by foreign governments using the spyware” yet there are a few sides to consider. This so called ‘consortium of essay writers’ working with the clowns calling themselves the ‘non-profit group Forbidden Stories’ came with insinuations and no evidence. On July 23rd 2021 I wrote ‘From horse to course’, there I gave the readers “but consider that if the media has not released a dashboard of these 50,000 numbers, I believe that my case is rather clear, I would personally consider that list is nothing more than the fabrication of a stakeholder who needs the revenue that the NSO Group currently has”, in addition to that, the BBC gives us (the link is in the same story) “Of the people whose numbers are on the list, 67 agreed to give Forbidden Stories their phones for forensic analysis. And this research, by Amnesty International Security Labs, reportedly found evidence of potential targeting by Pegasus on 37 of those”, so basically they could prove it in no more then 60% of the cases which they call ‘evidence of potential targeting’, I am not debating it, but this setting where we saw a few mentions that the NSO Group pleaded innocence, we need to have evidence, and the whatever you wanna call it pointlessly blaming people without presenting evidence constitutes in my humble opinion a person too useless to consider a valid source of information.

She goes on giving us “The Guardian and others also revealed that the mobile numbers of Emmanuel Macron, the French president, and nearly his entire cabinet were contained on a leaked list of individuals who were selected as possible targets of surveillance”, a leaked list that was opposed by the Verge and a few other sources which I dealt with again in ‘The same gramophone’ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2021/09/16/the-same-gramophone/) We see several issues with what is stated from a few articles, but the part was that the leaked number list was from 2016, and there were other considerations too, in part that 50,000 numbers represent $600,000,000 in the cheapest configuration and so far, no evidence was ever shown that the NSO Group had made THAT much money. We also get the show of a party line “NSO has said that its spyware is used by foreign government clients to target serious criminals. It has denied that any of its clients ever targeted Macron or any French government officials”, I get that. It does not make the NSO group innocent, but so far the confused tool Stephanie Kirchgaessner and whatever master she barks to are not presenting ANYONE clear evidence. I stated it 6 months ago there too. A top line of what was available and optionally evidence would have been presented and in 6 months none of them did any of that. 

Have we stopped being nations of laws? There is a second side to all this it is seen in the headline  ‘Israeli spyware company NSO Group placed on US blacklist’, we get “Decision against company at heart of Pegasus project reflects deep concern about impact of spyware on US national security interests”, OK that is fair, the US has national interests and as such they have the right to push for their national interests, I cannot and will not debate that, it is their right. I just wished the Guardian had actually done their homework and not hide behind “It comes three months after a consortium of journalists working with the French non-profit group Forbidden Stories, including the Guardian, revealed multiple cases of journalists and activists who were hacked by foreign governments using the spyware”, that and unsubstantiated mentions makes for a shoddy article, one that is debatable on too many sides and degrades the Guardian from their AAA status to a mere B-. Feel free to oppose this, you only have to get actual evidence and so far none of them presented any and several sources debated what some presented, a mess and this is the third time I personally see the name Stephanie Kirchgaessner towards something that I personally regard to be shoddy. Once happens, twice perhaps if the career is long enough, but three times? As I personally see it, the average journalism intern is better than that. 

And no matter how we slice it, Shalev Hulio, NSO’s founder has a larger issue and optionally new avenues to explore. I wonder if that was the content of the meeting that is given to us as “But in the weeks that followed the publication of the Pegasus project, Israeli officials met with counterparts in the US and France to discuss allegations of abuse of the technology.” I think the current administration is shitting bricks, they are scared. The NSO group is the first time in history that a private company had a better grasp of technology then the NSA EVER had. And the next credit ceiling conversations are a mere 7 weeks away, I reckon that the democrats are afraid that any deal towards that comes out into the open from any non-US source. It must be awful to rely on tools you owe big time, but that is merely my take on the matter.

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From horse to course

Yes, there is a horse, it is not Mr. Ed, there is no kind conversation. This one has wings, and there are a few versions, including the off-spring of Lord Poseidon. Whether we believe Hesiod or not, it does not matter. Pegasus became a part of our oldest mythological stories. Yet today, Pegasus is something else, a figment from the imaginations of the NSO group and it was made real. It has been out for some time and last week we got the media and their overemotional response that it had a connection to 50,000 people, with 0.36% of these people journalists.

So what gives?
It is important to look at a few sources. The first is the BBC (at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-57922543) who gives us ‘Princess Latifa and Princess Haya numbers ‘among leaks’’, perhaps yes, perhaps no, who cares? We do get “The discovery of the princesses’ phone numbers on the list – and those of some acquaintances – has raised questions about whether they could have been the possible target of a government client of the group.” And here the questions start and the BBC is not asking them. Just like it is steering clear of alleged man-slaughterer Martin Bashir. So when we see ‘could have been the possible target of a government client of the group’ could is here the operative word. You see, no one is doubting that list, no one has given us a clear rundown of the names, a dashboard if you like, with the option to drill per nation and per class of person. This could all be a ruse of anti-Israeli groups, optionally the ruse of a competitor. And when we see “NSO has denied any wrongdoing. It says the software is intended for use against criminals and terrorists, and is made available only to military, law enforcement and intelligence agencies with good human rights records”, so which government leaked the list and how did THAT government leak what is implied to be a complete list? Then we get to the option that the leak came from within the NSO Group, which might be the most ludicrous thought, but I tend to look at all angles, so it is an angle that is most unlikely, but the chance is not zero. The article is all about Princess Latifa, not much about the NSO Group, it is an emotional lamentation to steer clear of massive screw ups like Jimmy Savile, Lord McAlpine, Sir Cliff Richard, and Lady Diana Spencer. As some say, the credibility of the BBC has never been lower. 

The second article is also from the BBC (at https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-57922664) less than a day ago gives us ‘Pegasus spyware seller: Blame our customers, not us, for hacking’. Here we are given “Investigations have begun as the list, of 50,000 phone numbers, contained a small number of hacked phones”, silly me for thinking that when we see ‘Investigations have begun’, we also get ‘a small number of hacked phones’, as such there is a much larger stage, and the BBC gives us “Pegasus infects iPhones and Android devices, allowing operators to extract messages, photos and emails, record calls and secretly activate microphones and cameras”, so if there are only a small number of hacked phones, how does that part matter? And when we get “a consortium of news organisations, led by French media outlet Forbidden Stories, has published dozens of stories based around the list, including allegations French President Emmanuel Macron’s number was on it and may have been targeted.” We get the real deal, a consortium of news organisations, led by Forbidden Stories hide behind ‘allegations’ and ‘may have been targeted’. Is anyone catching on? The media want to create emotional waves, yet does not want to be held accountable for their actions. The stakeholders are key here. A ‘consortium’ implies shareholders and stakeholders. It implies also that their issue is not that the NSO Group might do something outside of governments, it might show that the media does a lot more to anger the audience it desperately needs. 

And then the media does one more jab towards a currently missing journalist no one cares about with “including those close to murdered Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi”, this is the emotional stage handed to us. It is “67 agreed to give Forbidden Stories their phones for forensic analysis. And this research, by Amnesty International Security Labs, reportedly found evidence of potential targeting by Pegasus on 37 of those”, so out of 50,000 we see that 67 are investigated and potentially we see 37 are targets, but there is no evidence that the NSO Group did this, these 37 might have been targets of the NSA or even the DGSE. 

And at this point there is one interesting flaw. If it was me, the first think I did was set up a dashboard that allows us to see where these 50,000 names are part of, where they are and how they were hacked. They have had a week and the stretch of media that gives us emotion after emotion is a much larger stage of stakeholders that need a negative view to be pushed onto the NSO Group. I admit that my view is equally speculative, but is it a wrong view? 

Finally there is the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/news/2021/jul/22/israel-examine-spyware-export-rules-should-be-tightened-nso-group-pegasus) where we see ‘Israel to examine whether spyware export rules should be tightened’. Here we are treated to “An Israeli commission reviewing allegations that NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware was misused by its customers to target journalists and human rights activists will examine whether rules on Israel’s export of cyber weapons such as Pegasus should be tightened”, I can accept that view, but that also means that governments are largely to blame for this mess, if the list is real that is. There is every chance that this was a ruse to make the NSO Group less large, less of a challenge to a competitor and this is exactly what stakeholders tend to do, and using the media as their bitch is not out of the question.

My view is reinforced by “NSO has said Macron was not a “target” of any of its customers, meaning the company denies he was selected for surveillance using its spyware, saying in multiple statements that it requires its government clients to use its powerful spying tools only for legitimate investigations into terrorism or crime”, so as Macron was never a target, the BBC articles are less than accurate and that leaves the media open to all kinds of attacks. Yes, I will admit that it is a he said she said setting (she being the media), but that also means and implies that the NSO Group is not out of the woods at present. And let’s be honest, who needs a tool like this to keep track of the Dalai Lama? The man is out there in nowhere land and when he is travelling we see 50-150 reporters surrounding him, all ways to keep track, no NSO Group required.

As we see the horse Pegasus go on a course towards the government destinations, I see less of an issue with the NSO Group and a hell of a lot more with the Stakeholders who do not have the ideas, the innovations, but they really like the money attached to it. Do you still think I am on the wrong horse track?

There is always the time will tell part, but consider that if the media has not released a dashboard of these 50,000 numbers, I believe that my case is rather clear, I would personally consider that list is nothing more than the fabrication of a stakeholder who needs the revenue that the NSO Group currently has.

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