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Salman's Saudi Tiger Squad

by Oui Sun Nov 7th, 2021 at 07:47:01 PM EST

The Saudi death squad MBS uses to silence dissent | MEE - Oct. 23, 2018 |

Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger


US lawsuit exposes Saudi crown prince's death squad | Anatolia Agency - Aug. 11, 2020 |

The prince and the spy, MBS vs al-Jabri

The Tiger Squad

It was just after the horrendous murder of Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul that this name reached the ears of the public: The Firqat el-Nemr, or The Tiger Squad; a Saudi hit team under the guidance and supervision of this man, Mohammad bin Salman, the Saudi Crown Prince and de facto leader.

Al-Jabri's lawsuit reads, "The Tiger Squad Defendants attempted to enter Canada covertly, traveling on tourist visas and seeking to avert the detection of Canadian border security by entering through separate kiosks." 

Observers say the attack on the exiled spy and his family is part of a bigger picture to muzzle the Crown Prince's critics at home and abroad.

Al-Jabri was long an aide to Prince Mohammad bin Nayef, the former head of Saudi intelligence who later became heir to the throne before being deposed and detained by bin Salman in 2017. 

The Firqat el-Nemr, or The Tiger Squad: a Saudi hit team

Members of Saudi hit squad that killed Khashoggi were trained in US: report | France24 - July 2021 |

Four members of the Saudi hit squad that killed US-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 had received paramilitary training in the United States that had been approved by the State Department, the New York Times reported late Tuesday.

Four of those operatives, the New York Times said, had received training from a private American security group, Tier 1 Group, a move first authorized by the administration of former president Barack Obama in 2014.

It cited a document provided to the Trump administration by a top official from the parent company of Tier 1 Group, the private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, who had applied for a senior post at the Pentagon.

In his written testimony, Louis Bremer confirmed that Tier 1 Group did provide training to the Saudi agents, but insisted that the training was "protective in nature" and "unrelated to their subsequent heinous acts."

Bremer said that the four members of the kill team received the training in 2017, and that two of them had already participated in a previous course from October 2014 to January 2015.

The US State Department, contacted by AFP, said it could not comment on this information but called for the "responsible use ... of American military equipment and training".

The Private Equity Firm That Made a Killing From the Saudi Death Squad

Last month, Cerberus brought on board a new vice chairman, Brian Hook, who had joined the Trump administration in 2017 as the influential director of policy planning in the State Department. He was a survivor who rose through the department's ranks and did not flinch--let alone resign--when Trump failed to hold Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman accountable for the brazen murder of Khashoggi. A staunch Iran hawk, Hook often argued in favor of policies tantamount to regime change and advocated for the sanctions campaign known as "maximum pressure." He chastised Iran on human rights issues, but never seemed to speak out about authoritarian countries like the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, and Bahrain, with which Hook negotiated accords with Israel.

Cerberus Capital Management, L.P.

Hedge fund named for the three-headed dog that guards the gates to hell.

Owners:
Michael Steinhardt New York billionaire, leader in Jewish Philanthropy; founder of hedge fund Steinhardt Partners * major shareholder  
Donald H Rumsfeld Secretary of Defense under George W Bush and Gerald Ford; neoconservative leader; corporate CEO * Investor  
Stephen Feinberg Founder and CEO of hedge fund Cerberus Capital; Trump appointee to be Chair of the Intelligence Oversight Board * Owner  
J Ezra Merkin Money manager & financier; Associate of Bernard Madoff * Owner

He's Trump's Point Man on Iran--and Under Investigation

Brian Hook is driving an aggressive Iran policy... while he and several other officials have to deal with a far-reaching probe into allegations of political reprisal.

This should be a good time to be Brian Hook. The State Department special representative for Iran is in a commanding position over the Trump administration's aggressive approach toward a longstanding U.S. adversary. Less than a year since President Trump abandoned the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal, the State and Treasury departments have slapped sanctions on nearly 1,000 people and entities to tighten the screws on Tehran.

And while staffers typically have short shelf lives in the Trump administration, Hook has managed to become a lasting and growing presence. He's the rare member of former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's inner circle to have thrived under successor Mike Pompeo. According to two sources with direct knowledge, Hook has also cultivated ties at the White House with Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner--something that bedeviled Tillerson--and Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt. Last month he traveled with Kushner to Saudi Arabia to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

But there's a cloud over Hook. Two sources told The Daily Beast that the State Department inspector general is in the final stages of a probe into reprisals against career department personnel for their perceived disloyalty to the president. Those sources said Hook is amongst at least eight administration officials the inspector general is examining.

Trump's top Iran envoy quits as US bids to extend Tehran embargo; Neocon Elliott Abrams to take over | The Guardian - Aug. 2020 |

From my diary ...

Salman Offered Candidate Trump Assassination Program on Iran

Earlier in the Biden administration ...

Treasury Sanctions the Saudi Rapid Intervention Force and Former Deputy Head of Saudi Arabia's General Intelligence Presidency for Roles in the Murder of Journalist Jamal Khashoggi

Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Ahmad Hassan Mohammed al Asiri, Saudi Arabia's former Deputy Head of General Intelligence Presidency, and Saudi Arabia's Rapid Intervention Force in connection with the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. These persons are designated pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and targets perpetrators of serious human rights abuse and corruption around the world.

"Those involved in the abhorrent killing of Jamal Khashoggi must be held accountable. With this action, Treasury is sanctioning Saudi Arabia's Rapid Intervention Force and a senior Saudi official who was directly involved in Jamal Khashoggi's murder," said Secretary Janet L. Yellen. "The United States stands united with journalists and political dissidents in opposing threats of violence and intimidation. We will continue to defend the freedom of expression, which is the bedrock of a free society."


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Thousands of Saudi bots to the rescue ...

by Oui on Sun Nov 7th, 2021 at 07:48:29 PM EST
by Oui on Mon Nov 8th, 2021 at 11:56:37 AM EST

See previous diary ..

Israeli Hacking NSO Group Added to Black List

by Oui on Mon Nov 8th, 2021 at 12:01:09 PM EST
FM Yair Lapid distanced Israeli government from the NSO Group

Israel Distances Itself From Blacklisted Pegasus Spyware Maker NSO | NDTV |

The company sends its products abroad under licences from Israel's Defence Ministry, which has launched its own probe of the company's practices after the alleged software misuse emerged.

No results have been announced and Israel has given no indication so far that it was considering limiting the scope of NSO's exports.

"NSO is a private company, it is not a governmental project and therefore even if it is designated, it has nothing to do with the policies of the Israeli government," Lapid told a news conference in Jerusalem. "I don't think there is another country in the world which has such strict rules according to cyber warfare and that is imposing those rules more than Israel and we will continue to do so."

His comments are the first made publicly by a senior Israeli minister since the U.S. Commerce Department announced the blacklisting on Wednesday.

In the past, NSO Group has been accused of selling hacking tools to authoritarian regimes. NSO says it only sells its products to law enforcement and intelligence agencies and takes steps to curb abuse.

by Oui on Mon Nov 8th, 2021 at 12:03:08 PM EST

No Room for US Palestinian Mission in Jerusalem | ABC News |

Doesn't fit in policy of the Jewish State of Apartheid and ethnic cleansing ... keeping promise of G*d 4000 years ago, read the Holy Script.

by Oui on Mon Nov 8th, 2021 at 12:05:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Israel's Pegasus spyware: Tested in Palestine, Sold to the World | Al Araby - August 2021 |

NSO Group founders Omri Lavie, Shalev Hulio, and Niv Carmi are alumni of the Israel Defence Force Unit 8200 - the intelligence and cyber surveillance arm of the IDF. It comes as no coincidence that Israel is a major player in the high-tech surveillance industry.

Neve Gordon, Israeli professor and academic, told The Intercept that there are little to no legal limits on veterans "taking certain research ideas they worked on in the military and developing them". 

Prior to marketing the technology, Unit 8200 have been known to spy on Palestinians living in the West Bank following an open letter in 2014 from 43 soldiers who confessed to conducting invasive surveillance operations and subsequently refused assignment in a "moral duty to act".

They also wrote that "a large part of their work was unrelated to Israel's security or defence, but appeared designed to perpetuate the occupation by "infiltrating" and "controlling" all aspects of Palestinian life". 

Other invasive technologies are also used on Palestinians in Israel including AnyVision's biometric data collection through checkpoints, facial recognition drone technology, and excessive social media and internet monitoring.

Although it has been reported that Israel has even spied on its own citizens, Palestinians are unique in that they are not protected by basic right laws and recourse to justice, which make them prime candidates to experiment new technology on. 

Former GOP National Finance Chair, Eliott Broidy, and Convicted Mexican Billionaire, Brokered First Foreign Sale of NSO Group Malware to Mexico

by Oui on Mon Nov 8th, 2021 at 12:08:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From my diary ...

Forever Corruption and A Pardon | White House Jan. 20th, 2021 |

More on Eliot Broidy and Israeli-AbuDhabi-Saudi Arabia dealmaking ...

Seychelles Back-channel Leads to Abu Dhabi

Was George Papadopoulos an intelligence asset and patsy for Australian former PM Alexander Downer?

Israeli businessman shoots down spy claims by Papadopoulos in Trump-Russia probe | Times of Israel - Nov. 25, 2018 |

by Oui on Mon Nov 8th, 2021 at 12:10:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Oui on Mon Nov 8th, 2021 at 01:12:21 PM EST
The solution to cyber-spying, ransomware, & etc. is for countries to throw away their by-design insecure American computer systems.  Simply separating data and program space would eliminate ~90% of vulnerabilities.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Mon Nov 8th, 2021 at 04:18:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia John Abizaid, former adviser Joint Chiefs of Staff, Pentagon and CentCom Commander ... a witness to many conflicts, atrocities and true patriot of America.

John Abizaid - Iran's nuclear program

In remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies reported on September 17, 2007, Abizaid stated, "We need to press the international community as hard as we possibly can, and the Iranians, to cease and desist on the development of a nuclear weapon and we should not preclude any option that we may have to deal with it." He also said, "I believe that we have the power to deter Iran, should it become nuclear."

"There are ways to live with a nuclear Iran. Let's face it, we lived with a nuclear Soviet Union, we've lived with a nuclear China, and we're living with (other) nuclear powers as well."

by Oui on Mon Nov 8th, 2021 at 06:35:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Twitter suspends Saudi royal adviser Qahtani, fake Gulf accounts | Reuters - Sept. 20, 2019 |

Twitter suspended the account of former Saudi royal court adviser Saud al-Qahtani, nearly a year after he was sacked over his suspected role in the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The social network also separately removed accounts linked to Saudi Arabia's "state-run media apparatus" and others in the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, all of them amplifying pro-Saudi messages, according to a company blogpost.

Qahtani, a close confidante of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, ran the royal court's media center as well as an electronic army tasked with protecting the kingdom's image and attacking its perceived enemies online.

He dictated Saudi Arabia's official line on issues including a diplomatic dispute with Qatar and security and human rights.

by Oui on Mon Nov 8th, 2021 at 06:28:49 PM EST
How Middle Eastern Rivalries Use Social Media Proxies | Morocco News - OpEd |

Egypt's Arab Spring "Facebook Revolution" in 2011 popularized a modern era mobilization tactic. Social media expanded from a casual networking tool to a means for mass mobilization against oppressive regimes. Online platforms still play a central role for protesters, from Sudan to Venezuela to South Africa. 

Masses possess a powerful tool to mobilize. At the same time, governments possess a powerful tool to manipulate public opinion. State-backed influence operations are on the rise, often marked by propaganda posts masquerading as news, and the use of bots to spam social media with retweets and Facebook likes.  

Twitter suspended or removed thousands of accounts linked to Middle-Eastern governments, the company reported in a blog post September 20. 

Six of these accounts were directly linked to Saudi Arabia's state-run media. The accounts masqueraded pas "independent journalistic outlets while tweeting narratives favourable to the Saudi government," according to Twitter. 

Twitter also permanently suspended the account of Saud Al-Qahtani for violations of Twitter's platform manipulation policies, in a "separate" move. The former Saudi royal adviser was fired last year after suspected involvement in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, though sources say Al-Qahtani was not among those arrested and continued to advise Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after his dismissal. 

Al-Qahtani ran the royal media center and reportedly strategized a state-run troll farm in Riyadh, which employed hundreds to spam social media with pro-Saudi messages, as well as attacks on rivals such as Qatar and Iran. The adviser initiated a blacklist on Twitter during the Persian Gulf crisis in 2017 that named, shamed, and endangered alleged Qatari sympathizers.

Twitter's account suspensions are little more than a symbolic move, according to Marc Owen Jones, an assistant professor in Middle East studies and digital humanities at Doha's Hamad bin Khalifa University. "Like a game of whack-a-mole, suspended fake accounts will be replaced by more sophisticated efforts at deception," Owen Jones explained.

Cyberactivism in the Middle East: Six potentials and six limitations of new media technologies in democratization | Arab Center - Sept. 30, 2015 |

by Oui on Mon Nov 8th, 2021 at 06:31:27 PM EST
Norm Coleman: Former U.S. Senator Now Lobbyist and Agent for the Saudi Government | DawnMena - Oct. 22, 2021 |

Coleman uses his government contacts and leverages his experience serving on the Senate Foreign Relations and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committees to bolster the Saudi Arabian government's interests with Congress. In one especially disingenuous act, Coleman distributed to numerous Senators a Saudi government fact sheet  extolling its record despite its egregious human rights abuses and war crimes. Among other falsehoods and misleading statements, this publication trumpets the Saudi government's contributions to women's rights and justice, notwithstanding the ongoing torture and imprisonment of women's rights activists and political activists in sham judicial proceedings relying on laws that criminalize criticizing the royal family.

by Oui on Mon Nov 8th, 2021 at 06:33:00 PM EST


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