Khashoggi

John Bolton's book, packed with dirt on Trump, is out tomorrow

John Bolton, challenged as to why he reserved his claims about Trump's behavior for a book deal, has a grimly convincing excuse: revealing them during his former boss's impeachment trial wouldn't have made any difference because his party controls the Senate. American voters are the only jury with the power to get dispose of him.

The book, out Tuesday, is titled The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir [Amazon] and promises to be a blockbuster. It bears real dirt and was made sensational after the administration suddenly moved to block its publication. A judge ended that effort, remarking that the horse was out the barn, and it is: some of the key claims have already generated headlines and the text of the book has leaked widely.

Some key claims:

As revealed in a taster posted last week, Trump asked President Xi Jinping of China to help him win the 2020 election. "I would print Trump’s exact words," Bolton writes, "but the government’s prepublication review process has decided otherwise.”

Trump gave personal approval to China's detention of at least 1m Uighur muslims in concentration camps: “According to our interpreter,” Bolton writes, “Trump said that Xi should go ahead with building the camps, which Trump thought was exactly the right thing to do.”

Trump regularly says outrageous things to get more important stories out the news. In one example, he defended Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman's killing of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi to get Ivanka Trump's use of private email servers out of the news. Read the rest

Ticketmaster gets $500 million from Mohammad bin Salman

The Saudi sovereign wealth fund bought a $500 million stake in Ticketmaster, the much revilved ticket service with a long history of being terrible to venues, performer, and fans. On his Pluralistic blog, Cory Doctorow says the Saudi fund is controlled by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman...

That is, the Mister Bone Saw widely believed to have personally ordered the kidnapping, torture and dismemberment of journalist and regime critic Jamal Khashoggi.

So now, every time you see a gig, you directly contribute to the enrichment of a torturing, murdering dictator.

Image by John Weiss (17xx-1843) - http://mortiquarian.com/2010/09/18/mr-weiss-and-his-instrument-of-certain-death/, Public Domain, Link Read the rest

You can read the forensics report that suggests Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud hacked Jeff Bezos's phone

Motherboard has obtained and published a copy of the forensics report that suggests that Jeff Bezos's phone was hacked by Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud, possibly in a scheme to obtain kompromat that could be used as leverage to prevent the Washington Post of reporting on the death of Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered and mutilated by agents of the prince. Read the rest

'Absurd,' Saudi Arabia calls claims MBS hacked Bezos phone

“I think absurd is exactly the right word,” said Saudi Prince Faisal Read the rest

Forensics team accuses Prince Bone Saw of hacking Jeff Bezos's phone to obtain kompromat and force Washington Post silence on Khashoggi

When Jeff Bezos accused the National Enquirer of blackmailing him over personal messages he sent to his lover while married to his then-wife, many pointed the finger at his lover's brother, noted asshole Michael Sanchez, suggesting Sanchez received $200,000 from the Enquirer for stealing the data from his sister's phone -- but Bezos's own investigative team said that they suspected an unspecified government actor had played a role in the leak. Read the rest

Amnesty vs. NSO Group Israel spyware lawsuit goes behind closed doors

In Israel on Thursday, a court ordered closed-door hearings in the legal bid by Amnesty International to stop the global export of NSO Group surveillance software, which Amnesty and other human rights groups say is sold to autocratic regimes around the world to spy on journalists and dissidents, and target them more efficiently for imprisonment and assassination.

We've written a lot previously about NSO Group here on Boing Boing.. Read the rest

From Enron to Saudi Arabia, from Rikers Island to ICE's gulag, how McKinsey serves as "Capitalism's Consigliere"

On this week's Intercepted podcast (MP3) (previously), host Jeremy Scahill (previously) takes a long, deep look at the history of McKinsey and Company, whose consultants are the architects of ICE's gulags, a failed, high-cost initiative to curb violence at Rikers Island that used falsified data to secure ongoing funding -- a company whose internal documents compare management consultants to "the Marine Corps, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Jesuits" and whose government contracts bill out freshly hired, inexperienced junior consultants at $3m/year. Read the rest

NSO Group employees kicked off Facebook for spying for brutal dictators are suing Facebook for violating their privacy

The NSO Group (previously) is an Israeli spyware company that sells tools to autocratic states that are used to spy on democratic opposition movements, journalists, and so on (the company's tools were used by the Saudi government to spy on Jamal Khashoggi in the runup to his kidnap and grisly murder). Read the rest

Uber CEO on Saudi murder of journalist: "We've made mistakes too"

Uber is significantly backed by Saudi investments and the country's sovereign wealth fund controls a seat on its board. In this video, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is asked by Axios's Dan Primack about the Saudi regime's murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a U.S.-based journalist and dissident.

"It's a serious mistake," Khosrowshahi said. "We've made mistakes too, right? With self-driving, and we're recovering from that mistake ... So I think that people make mistakes. It doesn't mean that they can never be forgiven. I think they've taking is seriously."

Primack challenged his comparison of a political assassination, as described in a CIA report, to the presumptively accidental killing of a pedestrian by a self-driving car.

"I didn't read that part of the CIA report," Khosrowshahi said. "You're obviously deeper in it."

Khosrowshahi, however, is now very deep in something else.

Khosrowshahi later backtracked, telling Axios after the interview had ended that he had misspoken. “I said something in the moment that I do not believe,” said the CEO in a statement. “When it comes to Jamal Khashoggi, his murder was reprehensible and should not be forgotten or excused.”

Read the rest

DOJ charges former Twitter staff with spying for Saudi Arabia, digging into MBS critics' accounts

Twitter has some very serious security explaining to do. Read the rest

Facebook sues notorious spyware company NSO Group for 1,400 attacks on diplomats, journalists, dissidents, and government officials

[Addendum 2/20/2020: Following a legal complaint, the Guardian removed its article of 14 June 2019 and apologised to Mrs Peel. We are happy to clarify that Yana Peel is not, and was not, personally involved in the operation or decisions of the regulated Novalpina Capital investment fund, which is managed by her husband Stephen Peel, and others. Mrs Peel was not involved in any decision-making relating to the fund’s acquisition of NSO. Mrs Peel only has a small, indirect and passive interest in the fund. She does not own, whether directly or indirectly, any Novalpina Capital entity or any stake in NSO Group.] The NSO Group is one of the world's most notorious cyber-arms dealers, selling hacking tools to some of the world's most oppressive regimes that are used to identify targets for arrest, torture and even murder. The Israeli company went through a series of buyouts and buybacks, ending up in the hands of the European private equity fund Novalpina. Novalpina has pledged to rehabilitate the NSO Group's reputation by reforming its practices and limiting the sale of its spying tools to legitimate actors (whomever they may be). But research from the world-leading Citizen Lab (previously) revealed that NSO was behind a string of attacks on Whatsapp users last may, which was used to target human rights campaigners, journalists, and political dissidents. Facebook has filed a lawsuit against the NSO Group, accusing the company of being behind Whatsapp attacks in 20 countries (Whatsapp is a division of Facebook); Facebook claims that the attacks swept up at least 100 members of civil society groups. The suit seeks an injunction against future NSO Group attacks on Whatsapp and unspecified monetary damages. NSO is also being sued in Israel for allegedly helping to entrap the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was kidnapped, murdered and dismembered at the direction of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. Facebook's suit presents a mixed bag of legal theories: they accuse NSO Group of violating California contract and property law, but also of violating the tremendously flawed Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a 1986 federal anti-hacking law that Facebook drastically expanded when it sued a competitor called Power Ventures in 2008 (the CFAA was also the law used to hound Aaron Swartz to death). Read the rest

Davos in the Desert is back, and banks and hedge fund managers are flocking to Mister Bone-Saw's side

"Davos in the Desert" is Saudi Arabia's charm offensive aimed at global financial elites, but its launch last year was marred by its close proximity to the gruesome murder and dismemberment of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, carried out at the personal behest of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who styles himself a progressive reformer. Read the rest

Mini documentary about how Jamal Khashoggi was murdered

Washington Post columnist and Saudi Arabian dissident Jamal Khashoggi was murdered and dismembered by agents of the Saudi royal family at the country's embassy in Turkey. This video reconstruction by Al Jazeera shows the last minutes of his life and the first minutes of his death. It's based on transcripts and timestamps from surveillance recordings, as released by the Turkish government and published by Daily Sabah.

The video appears to skip over stuff, though, implying that he was suffocated with a hood when there is apparently some debate over whether he was dead or merely drugged before the dismembering began. More details in print.

Audio recordings of the horrifying conversations between the 15-man Saudi hit squad and their victim, journalist Jamal Khashoggi, has been revealed to the public for the first time by the Turkish daily Sabah.....

Mutreb: Is it possible to put the body in a bag?

Al-Tubaigy: No. Too heavy, very tall too. Actually, I've always worked on cadavers. I know how to cut very well. I have never worked on a warm body though, but I'll also manage that easily. I normally put on my earphones and listen to music when I cut cadavers. In the meantime, I sip on my coffee and smoke. After I dismember it, you will wrap the parts into plastic bags, put them in suitcases and take them out (of the building).

Read the rest

Triple Chaser: a short documentary that uses machine learning to document tear gas use against civilians, calling out "philanthropist" Warren Kanders for his company's war-crimes

Laura Poitras (previously) is the Academy Award-winning director of Citizenfour; she teamed up with the activist group Forensic Archicture (previously), whose incredible combination of data-visualization and documentary filmmaking have made them a potent force for holding war criminals and authoritarians to account: together, they created Triple Chaser, a short documentary that uses novel machine-learning techniques to document the ways in which tear gas and bullets made by companies belonging to "philanthropist" Warren Kanders have been used against civilians to suppress anti-authoritarian movements, and even to murder innocents, including children. Read the rest

Watch Trump suck up to Saudi Crown Prince MBS at G-20

The shame just keeps on coming, America. Read the rest

'Credible evidence' Saudi crown prince MBS directed Jamal Khashoggi killing, UN expert says

The assassins referred to Jamal Khashoggi as a “sacrificial animal" on the audio tape of the journalist's murder. Read the rest

CEO of London's Serpentine Gallery resigns after Guardian report

[Addendum 2/20/2020: Following a legal complaint, the Guardian removed its article of 14 June 2019 and apologised to Mrs Peel. We are happy to clarify that Yana Peel is not, and was not, personally involved in the operation or decisions of the regulated Novalpina Capital investment fund, which is managed by her husband Stephen Peel, and others. Mrs Peel was not involved in any decision-making relating to the fund’s acquisition of NSO. Mrs Peel only has a small, indirect and passive interest in the fund. She does not own, whether directly or indirectly, any Novalpina Capital entity or any stake in NSO Group.] The NSO Group (previously) is one of the world's most notorious cyber-arms dealers, linked to horrific human rights abuses, extrajudicial killing of human rights activists, and the dirtiest of dirty trick campaigns against its critics (and their lawyers) -- they're also accused of helping with the Saudi government's murder and dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The company has changed hands several times, and its ownership structure is predictably obscure. It's well understood, however, that a regulated investment fund, managed by a private equity firm called Novalpina, owns a controlling interest in the company; Novalpina's co-founder is Stephen Peel. On Friday, The Guardian published an article revealing the NSO Group’s ownership structure. Peel has no involvement in the operations or decisions of Novalpina, which is managed by her husband, Stephen Peel, and his partners. The report set off a firestorm in the art and human rights world over the weekend, and by Monday, Peel had resigned as CEO, while issuing a statement condemning her critics, characterising their concerns as "a concerted lobbying campaign against my husband’s recent investment." Read the rest

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