The Justice Department has charged two former twitter employees with spying for Saudi Arabia. A "beloved" US ally who buys billions in weapons, spying on America, say it ain't so!
The Washington Post raised concerns about how Silicon Valley is failing to protect private information of dissidents from repressive governments. But what about dissidents of their own US government?
America is failing to uphold it's foundations of freedom and justice, as whistleblowers are being charged with crimes for choosing to stand for what's right instead of being obedient tools for the oppressive state powers. Mainstream media often fails to look at the mirror while focusing on other governments.
Saudi Arabia is certainly a state with much authoritarianism. They recruited employees at Twitter to look up thousands of Twitter accounts, including a popular journalist and other government critics. These 2 recent charges come a day after one of them spied on 3 accounts for the Saudi government. The other is accused of accessing personal information for over 6,000 account sin 2015.
One of the accounts being spied on was for Omar Abdulaziz, a dissident closely connected to Jamal Khashoggi and later murdered by Saudi Arabia in 2018.
This is the first time federal prosecutors have accused Saudi Arabia with spying in the US. Another connection goes directly to Mohammed bin Salman and a charity he owns. Bader Al Asaker manages the charity MiSK, and began recruiting Twitter employees in 2014. The aim was to get access to information the Saudi's themselves could not get.
The charges allege Asaker was "working for and at the direction of" MbS.
Abouammo, who was arrested in Seattle, worked for Twitter as a media partnerships manager. He met Asaker in London in late 2014. Within a week, he began illicitly accessing data for the Saudis. One of his targets was referred to in the complaint as “Twitter User 1,” a “prominent critic” of the Saudi kingdom and royal family with more than 1 million followers. The description matches the account of @Mujtahidd, the Twitter handle for an anonymous individual whose disclosures about corruption in the Saudi leadership have angered officials there. The identity of the targeted account was confirmed by the person familiar with the case.
Abouammo was paid $300,000 for his spying. When interviewed by the FBI in 2015, he showed them a fabricated false receipt to disguise the payments of a $20,000 watch he also received from Asaker for his spying work. U.S. Attorney David L. Anderson said:
"The criminal complaint unsealed today alleges that Saudi agents mined Twitter’s internal systems for personal information about known Saudi critics and thousands of other Twitter users. We will not allow U.S. companies or U.S. technology to become tools of foreign repression in violation of U.S. law."
Critics of Saudi Arabia were criminalized by the state. The same happens in China, as journalists are arrested if they go to far in criticizing the state. The same happens in the West, even with proof of crimes, like is the case with Snowden or Assange. There is a strong blind-patriot mentality among many people where you have to be loyal to the government, even when they do wrong. Some are so brainwashed and willingly blind as to deny any wrong doing has taken place.