2022 Portfolios: Mossad in Bahrain and Pegasus Hacks Phones of Supporters Before Opponents

2023-12-08 - 2:14 p

Bahrain Mirror (2022 Portfolios): Since 2012, public discussions about Bahraini authorities hacking activists' phones using malicious software began, initially focusing on FinFisher software sold by Gamma Group, a German-British company.

Activists and specialized organizations continued to pursue Gamma Group, leading to lawsuits in Germany and its condemnation by the Economic Cooperation Organization in 2015 for violating local regulations and export laws.

This campaign restricted the European company's operations, forcing Bahraini authorities to turn to the Israeli entity, which disregards any weight given to human rights groups or international laws. In 2016, Bahrain Watch revealed the country's reliance on an Israeli product manufactured by "Cellebrite" to extract information from activists' phones for use in their subsequent trials and convictions.

This collaboration marked the beginning of cyber-espionage operations through the use of Israeli software, specifically Pegasus, renowned for its high efficiency, allowing the government to penetrate the phones of numerous activists.

In 2018, the Bahraini government, along with other Gulf governments (Saudi Arabia and the UAE), began employing Pegasus software to track activists. Reports from specialized organizations led to legal actions against the company, involving applications such as WhatsApp and other entities.

In late 2021, Citizen Lab, a leading laboratory in tracking malicious software globally affiliated with the University of Toronto, exposed the hacking of the phones of nine Bahraini dissidents, including Musa Abdulali and Yusuf Al-Jamri, who reside in the United Kingdom.

As 2022 began, a report from Front Line Defenders revealed the hacking of phones belonging to two Arab activists, one of whom was Bahraini activist Ebtisam Al-Saegh, using Pegasus software. The United Nations expressed its disapproval through the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Mary Lawlor.

However, international condemnation of Bahrain did not deter its plans to spy on the phones and devices of Bahraini activists. In February, Citizen Lab announced the hacking of the phones of lawyer Mohammed Al-Tajer, Dr. Sharifa Swar, and a journalist who opted to remain unnamed. The lab also published an extensive list of government figures whose phones were monitored, including members of the ruling family, ministers, and members of the Shura and Representatives Councils, alongside prominent opposition figures.

The list included former Foreign Minister Khalid Al Khalifa, Bahrain International Circuit CEO Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa, Minister of Transportation Kamal Ahmed, King's Special Envoy for Climate Affairs Mohammed bin Daina, Council of Representatives Speaker Fawzia Zainal, and 19 MPs, in addition to members of the Shura Council and other government figures.

On the opposition side, leaders in Al-Wefaq, Khalil Al-Marzouq, Sayyed Jameel Kazem and Sayyed Taher Al-Musawi, were spied on, along with leaders in Wa'ad Society, Ibrahim Sharif and Radhi Al-Musawi, and the head of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, Nedal Salman.

Simultaneously with the surveillance operations, reports emerged about the presence of Mossad agents in Bahrain. At the beginning of the year, the French security affairs website "Intelligence Online" indicated that Bahrain had begun restructuring its security apparatus to work more closely with Israel, with Mossad undertaking the task of training Bahraini officers. Palestinian writer Bassam Abu Sharif warned that this process could mean Israel gaining access to Arab and Gulf security reports.

In February, during the Munich Climate Conference, a slip of the tongue by Foreign Ministry Undersecretary, Abdullah bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, revealed the operational presence of Mossad in Bahrain, officially confirming previous media reports.

Today, Mossad, the relentless security apparatus of the Israeli entity, is present on Bahraini soil. The regime employs Israeli software to track opponents, indicating that Israel has decided to honor Bahrain's normalization by pursuing peaceful protesters using the malicious methods it has perfected for years against Palestinians in the occupied territories.


Arabic Version

 



المصدر: Bahrain Mirror
رابط الموضوع: http://www.bahrainmirror.com/en/news/63947.html