Mohammed VI Behind Targeting Of Algeria In Pegasus Spyware Scandal
An article published by Middle East Eye on Tuesday indicated that Moroccan intelligence services did not act without the royal palace’s approval in the mysterious Pegasus spyware case and that the resulting “international crisis” had just begun.
In an opinion article entitled: “Pegasus and Morocco: Mohammed VI was aware of this;” Moroccan writer and journalist Ali Lamrabet asserted to this effect that it was “impossible” for the head of the Moroccan General Directorate of National Security, Abdellatif Hammouchi, to decide on his own to eavesdrop on a legion of personalities of all stripes and nationalities using the spyware program “Pegasus” manufactured by the Zionist company “NSO”.
According to the writer, spying on Moroccan or foreign journalists, human rights activists, and Moroccan politicians “does not require any acquiescence” from the king, but an attempt to target the cell phone of French President Emmanuel Macron, his prime minister, and nearly fifteen members of his government “is something that Hammouchi cannot be behind alone,” without referring to the thousands of victims of Algerian personalities due to the sensitivity of the issue.
He explained that “Hammouchi, who obtains his arbitrary powers directly from his master, the King of Morocco, and who through one of his advisors, Fouad Ali El Himma, maintains absolute control over the secret services, as he does not have the political ambition that makes him a free electron”.
In the article, the journalist noted that, in order to exonerate the royal palace and even the vast espionage network system, Morocco had resorted to a counterattack by filing a defamation complaint in France against the two NGOs (“Amnesty International and Forbidden Stories”) that first addressed the case, as well as against the media organizations “Le Monde”, “Mediapart” and “Radio France”, which devoted extensive coverage to this burning issue.
Some took advantage of the fact that one of King Mohammed VI’s phones was included in the list of phones that had been tapped by Moroccan intelligence, but it is very likely, according to the author of the article, that “Al-Hamouchi was seeking to monitor the king’s footsteps in order to preserve his image, from which urgent and dirty rumors have been severely affected”.
It is also possible that “choosing” (which does not necessarily mean spying), Mohammed VI’s phone was intentionally done in order to distance the king from suspicions about his possible involvement in the event that Morocco was discovered to be using the Pegasus spyware, which is currently the case.
In his article, Lamrabet asked whether the King would ditch Hammouchi in the event that a French or Spanish judge issues an international arrest warrant against him, especially since Hammouchi has problems with the French justice notably in the Moumni case.
Moreover, the French newspaper “Le Monde” confirmed last Saturday that an investigation by the French authorities had proven that Morocco had indeed spied on the phones of a number of people in France, after the “Pegasus” scandal, in which the Makhzen system was implicated by its eavesdropping on the phones of thousands of political and media figures around the world, was revealed using a program developed by the Israeli company “NSO”, according to the French newspaper “Le Monde”.
This is the first time that the French official authorities have come independently to confirm the technical analysis carried out by Amnesty International in the framework of “Project Pegasus” and the information provided by the pool of international media organizations involved in this in- depth investigation.