United Nations experts demand probe of Saudi crown prince

Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Prince Mohammed bin Salman

The FBI said on Thursday that has not been provided guidance and can not comment as to whether the agency will undertake an investigation into allegations that Washington Post owner and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' telephone was hacked by Saudi Arabia.

"Bezos tweeted "#Jamal" accompanied by a photo of himself at a memorial to Khashoggi, who was assassinated in October 2018 by Saudi agents at the Kingdom's consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

Khashoggi, a journalist heavily critical of Riyadh's dictatorial schemes, worked with The Washington Post, that Bezos owns.

'The alleged hacking of Mr Bezos's phone, and those of others, demands immediate investigation by USA and other relevant authorities, including investigation of the continuous, multi-year, direct and personal involvement of the crown prince in efforts to target perceived opponents'.

"The alleged hacking of Mr Bezos's phone, and those of others, demands immediate investigation by U.S. and other relevant authorities", UN Special Rapporteurs Agnes Callamard and David Kaye said in a statement in Geneva.

They recalled that the iPhone infiltration occurred from May to June in 2018, when the phones of Jamal Khashoggi's associates, Yahya Assiri and Omar Abdulaziz, were also hacked, allegedly using malware called Pegasus. "It's not about trying to compromise a businessman for business purposes", he said.

The newspaper subsequently began covering extensively the disappearance and murder investigation and expanded its reporting on a number of related aspects of the Crown Prince's rule in Saudi Arabia.

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"There was no information in there that's relevant". The findings were made by the cybersecurity company Bezos hired to investigate his phone after the incident.

9to5mac has the full rundown of the events, but in short, Bezos received a video on WhatsApp, sent from an account belonging to the crown prince.

It also deleted what it said were six accounts that presented themselves as independent journalistic outlets but were in fact part of the Saudi state media apparatus and focused on pushing out pro-government propaganda. A judge sentenced five people to death and sentenced three others to a combined 24 years in prison in December for Khashoggi's slaying.

"Saud al-Qahtani was able to get more retweets than that on his own when he led the Twitter campaign against Qatar in 2017".

Mendelsohn is mostly correct, given WhatsApp's end-to-end encryption.

Saudi Arabia has already been accused of spying in America in a case involving Twitter.

"During the same period, Mr. Bezos was widely targeted in Saudi social media as an alleged adversary of the Kingdom".

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"We have no comment or guidance to provide at this time", Federal Bureau of Investigation spokesperson said.

Again, it not known if Bezos replied.

The billionaire had been looking for a site in the Middle East to expand Amazon's cloud services.

Citizen Lab concluded with a "high degree of confidence" that Saudi Arabia was the ultimate party behind the hack.

It said: 'There is nothing against you or Amazon from me or Saudi Arabia'.

Bezos went public last February after allegedly being shaken down by the National Enquirer, which he said threatened to expose a "below-the-belt" selfie he'd taken and other private messages and pictures he'd exchanged with a woman he was dating while he was still married. Both of them were having a friendly chat when the latter sent Bezos the malicious file. In a piece for The Daily Beast he outlined in detail what he said was the crown prince's close relationship with David Pecker, the chairman of AMI, which is the parent company of the National Enquirer.

The analysis also assessed that the intrusion was likely undertaken through a prominent spyware that was identified in other Saudi surveillance cases, the experts said.

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Almasarir is a human rights activist and satirist who regularly pokes fun at the Saudi royal family and, in particular, the crown prince. Forensic artifacts show that in the six (6) months prior to receiving the WhatsApp video, Bezos' phone had an average of 430KB of egress per day, fairly typical of an iPhone. Later, Bezos's security chief said the Saudi government had gained access to his boss's phone.

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