Moroccan Television Show Deconstructs Manipulation Of Leaks In Pegasus Case
Rabat, January 27 (TNA) The Moroccan public television channel "2M" has tried to dissect, in an investigative program, broadcast on Wednesday January 26 and entitled "Pegasus, the underside of a case", the Pegasus affair of great manipulation, which appeared on 18 October 2021, named after the spyware, manufactured by the Israeli company NSO, which made international headlines, and in which Morocco is "involved" in the scandal.
The Pegasus affair began on July 18, after an "investigation" by the organization "Forbidden Stories" and the NGO "Amnesty International", which announced that several thousand telephone numbers of journalists and politicians were hacked by Pegasus spyware. In the accusations, Morocco was one of the countries singled out.
Without waiting, the Kingdom denied any involvement in the surveillance of public figures, strongly condemns "the misleading media campaign" and decides to bring the case before international courts. As a reminder, in the space of a month this affair almost shattered the good relations of the Kingdom with the partners.
Morocco is a friendly, stable country on which many powers of the Old Continent can count. Promoter of middle ground Islam, moderate and tolerant, protector of these borders and those of others against all forms of trafficking and illegal migration.
It is also a Strategic Partner in the fight against terrorism and transnational crime, and has always been cited as an example, by these European partners who salute the faithful ally, for its exemplary cooperation and for the path it has traveled in the space of these last two decades.
Morocco is advancing, developing, emancipating itself and gaining points and market shares on the African continent, where its investments have increased significantly over the past 20 years. But these repeated successes in the economic and diplomatic spheres are beginning to bother and annoy. Morocco is today a serious competitor, and whoever succeeds, disturbs.
The other side of the coin is that it is at the heart of hushed, sometimes violent battles, side attacks of another kind, disinformation and digital manipulation, where almost all shots are allowed, because the ultimate objective is to make him lose his footing, hurt him and destabilize him.
This virulent press campaign which has targeted the Kingdom since July 18, 2021, accuses Morocco of being a spy state, and its intelligence services of having spied on several Moroccan and French personalities, where a list of thousands of telephone numbers have been hacked.
In the same vein and without the usual precautions, several European media accuse the kingdom of having acquired Israeli software, Pegasus, to spy on journalists, activists, politicians and even heads of state. Behind these accusations, we can cite NGOs, a consortium of investigative journalists and a prestigious network of media around the world that gave rise to the Pegasus affair.
The accusations are serious and to this day, no one knows who is the issuer of this list, nor the veracity of its contents, nor even in what condition it was recovered. And the question that arises is to know who has an interest in destabilizing Morocco.
Giving more depth to the manipulation, the consortium of journalists author of this revelation replies and declares, via the French newspaper "Le Monde" (member of the consortium), that in 2019, the telephone numbers of Macron, of the former Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and 14 other French ministers "may have been monitored" by Moroccan intelligence services via the Pegasus program.
Giving the floor to journalists, researchers, strategy experts, senators..., "2M" has deconstructed the misleading manipulation that surrounds this affair. For the Pegasus affair, it is indeed manipulation, in the background, it is necessary to cut the wings of Morocco, which now calls for reshuffling the cards of geopolitics while imposing its influence in the Mediterranean, in Africa... And that is embarrassing. For some powers, Morocco becomes irreverent, it must be dealt with.
For Morocco's lawyer in the Pegasus case, Me Olivier Baratelli, "Morocco is a leader in the fight against terrorism, it has always helped to thwart terrorist attacks and that cannot displease some people. We are going to ask the French justice to clarify and see who could be behind this manipulation".
Passing the 10-day deadline, neither "Forbidden Stories" nor "Amnesty International" has provided any evidence. The case is said… However, the line of defense of the kingdom is clear: “bring evidence, we are going to court”, proclaims Me. Baratel read.
Six months after the start of this affair, nothing has changed, still no proof. Annoyed, Me Baratelli persists: "Morocco did not use the software. We made direct citations before the Paris Correctional Court, initiated criminal proceedings - with all the seriousness that entails - against "Forbidden Stories", "Amnesty International", such prestigious newspapers in France as "Le Monde", "Radio France", "France Inter"... The seriousness of what we are committing with the certainty that within the legal period of 10 days , these media would not bring a beginning of proof, nor the beginning of the accusations which they made and which brought nothing".
The other Moroccan lawyer, Me Rodolphe Bosselut, is impatient, "we still do not have the list of the famous telephones which have been infected. Better still, we are being opposed to the means of admissibility of Morocco's action".
Moreover, Pegasus is a software that would hold Morocco and more than 40 other alleged countries and yet the world press mainly indexes the Kingdom, why?
However, why was data verification, one of the sacrosanct aspects of journalism, not done beforehand? Alain Juillet, former head of Intelligence at the DGSE, French foreign intelligence services, columnist in a geopolitics program on the French branch of the Russian news channel RT, criticizes the lightness of the transmission of information.
"There is no freedom of information without control of information", according to Dominique Wolton, research director at the CNRS in communication sciences and media specialist. The information must be verified and cross-checked. This is the job of journalists. But, he warns that "direct expression has never been information". Wanting to be categorical, he believes that the expression must be "validated" by journalists, real professional journalists.
According to Alain Juillet, why in the Pegasus case do we cite someone and not the others? And this amounts to "opposing certain countries to others, in particular France and Morocco".
For Morocco, a number of 10,000 numbers would have been announced. It was in Berlin that the list of numbers was given to "Forbidden Stories" to the head of the "security lab of Amnesty International", responsible for authenticating the hacking of the devices. But in the end, very few numbers were analyzed, far from the standards of scientific analysis. Rules were not followed and hasty conclusions drawn.
In Munich, Bastian Obermayer and Frederik Obermaier, two German journalists from Süddeutsche Zeitung, one of the three largest German daily newspapers, were the first to publish the Pegasus affair with other daily newspapers like "Le Monde", on July 18, 2021. The two German journalists were also involved in the scandal of the "Panama papers...", "as if by chance, there are not certain nationalities", points out Alain Juillet, who invites us to check who financed the journalists.
Christian Cambon, French Senator from Val de Marne – Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defense and the Armed Forces, asked himself the question of who needs to tarnish the reputation of a country and poison its relations with his enemies ? The media that relay this information are on the wrong track and the 17 newspapers have poorly targeted Morocco. Morocco has never used this software, is it an error, a voluntary approach, or a destabilization enterprise...?
François Soudan, Editorial Director of "Jeune Afrique" wonders why Germany is not mentioned when it used the Pegasus software. Another observation, do we not want to reduce the growing influence of Morocco to the height of Algeria and Tunisia? Many questions remain unanswered, but facts have explicitly shown indications like the Polisario flag hanging in front of an official building in Bremen, Germany.
Long before, Berlin had decided to organize its summit on Libya by excluding Rabat, after the resounding victory of Moroccan diplomacy, which was able to win a strong consensus of the Libyan parties, during the summit of Skhirat, in Morocco. For its summit, Berlin had even decided to invite Algeria and Tunisia, as what should not be opposed to Morocco with strong competition on the international scene? The Pegasus affair will have made it possible to disentangle "the true from the false".