Morocco has not used the Israeli Pegasus software to spy only on journalists, politicians and activists. The list of 50,000 potential targets includes the phone number of King Mohamed VI, and those of many members of the Moroccan royal family, Radio France revealed on Tuesday. Outside the country, in your ally France, spied on President Emmanuel Macron.
The Pegasus project, led by Amnesty International and Forbidden Stories, which brings together 17 media outlets from around the world, discovered that the phone numbers of Mohamed VI and Emmanuel Macron appeared on the list of those who can be attacked by spyware Pegasus in Morocco.
Leading the list of possible targets is Salma Benanni, known as Lalla Salma, ex-wife of Mohamed VI, and mother of his two children. Since the couple’s separation became known, he has appeared on special occasions with his children or on informal visits to institutions he presides over. Despite being absent from the public scene since December 2017, months before the magazine Hello make his separation from the Alawite sovereign official, they have followed his trail through his mobile phone.
The ‘red prince’
Among the spied upon could not miss Moulay Hicham, cousin of the king nicknamed the “red prince”. He lived in exile in the United States for two decades for criticizing the Alawi monarchy and defending the democratization of the Moroccan political regime. Everyone around him has been targeted for Pegasus, his wife, his two daughters, and his younger brother, Prince Moulay Ismail. Despite his return to Morocco after the illness of the sovereign who has united the family.
Close to the Moroccan king since 2018 are the Azaitar brothers, dedicated to boxing. One of the three, Omar Azaitar, who has recently started some businesses in Morocco, appears on the Pegasus list, the German journalist warned him. Kristiana Ludwig.
He himself revealed it on social networks, criticizing the project and warning that before being German, he is Moroccan. “I have nothing to say to these people and I don’t even know what their goals are and why they called me. I tell them and those who put my name on this list without my knowing it, that I do not accept their use or my name being drawn into suspicious questions. I will not stop there, especially if I discover that a foreign person or entity is trying to use my name and that of my family to harm Morocco, my country ”.
Precisely, the Moroccan press close to the security services has been attacking ‘Gladiator’ for several months, as Mohamed VI’s close friend is known, and his two German-Moroccan brothers, for damaging the image of the country with their ostentatious behavior.
The Pegasus system includede the three telephone numbers (one Italian) of the businessman Fouad Filali, ex-brother-in-law of the king divorced from his older sister Lalla Meryem.
Espionage of relatives
Another potential target was the number of Mohamed Mediouri, Hassan II’s former personal bodyguard, later Mohamed VI’s stepfather upon marrying his mother. He stopped working at the palace in 2000, a year after Hassan II passed away. Two years ago he was attacked by armed men in Marrakech.
Among the many people spied on in the Alawite court, appears Sidi Mohamed Alaoui, current private secretary of Mohamed VI and three members of his family. Besides being a distant cousin, the king considers him a close friend.
Two other persecuted are the former head of the bodyguards, Hassan Cherat, dismissed in 2018; and General Mohamed Haramou, head of the Moroccan royal gendarmerie.
This long list shows that the Alawite royal house was spied on by the Moroccan intelligence services themselves. At the head is Abdellatif Hamouchi, who has led with an iron hand the General Directorate of National Security (DGSN) and the General Directorate of Territorial Surveillance (DST), that is, the Moroccan police and intelligence, since 2015. Precisely, he was placed in the charge by the monarch himself.
The funny thing is that Hamouchi also appears on the Pegasus list. So it could be the case that the two intelligence services of the country, the DST and the General Directorate of Studies and Documentation (DGED) spy on each other, dedicated abroad and directed by the royal adviser and personal friend of King Yassin Mansouri.
Mohamed VI security
The truth is that Mohamed VI has been sheltering in a real estate on the outskirts of Fez since the end of 2019, and that he plans his vacation in the north of the country, as usual. Not only because of the question of the best climate for your health, but because su safety is not guaranteed in Rabat and Casablanca, after the robbery suffered in the royal palace of Marrakech.
Shortly before the pandemic, in early 2020, a gang of 15 thieves, with the help of a domestic worker, he plundered the king of his most precious jewels, the collection of branded watches valued at millions of euros.
One solution that was considered to reduce Hamouchi’s powers in the police field was to offer him the address of the United Nations Office of Fight against Terrorism (UNOCT), inaugurated on June 24 in Rabat, the new African headquarters to coordinate the work of the agencies aimed at fighting against political violence in Africa.
Hamouchi has accumulated a lot of power, and also has achieved a great projection international. In Spain they have honored him twice.
In 2019, the Spanish Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, awarded him the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Civil Guard, the highest distinction of the Armed Institute.
Furthermore, in 2014, Spain decorated the three most responsible for the fight against terrorism in Morocco, including Hamouchi, with the Honorary Cross for Police Merit with a white badge.
A year later, France awarded him the medal of Officer of the Legion of Honor, despite being claimed by the French Justice in the framework of an investigation into torture that his subordinates allegedly inflicted on two Moroccans residing in the Gallic country and a Sahrawi activist imprisoned in Salé married to a French citizen. Since 2011 he had the lower rank distinction of Knight of the Legion of Honor.
Now, France discovers that President Macron himself has been a victim of Pegasus during a trip to Rabat in 2019. A spokesman for the French government declared on the news that “if it is true, it will have consequences.”
So far, the government denies including 10,000 people on the Pegasus list, as the report shows. In fact, he showed “great astonishment” at the publication on Sunday “in a recurring and coordinated manner” by foreign newspapers gathered in the Forbidden Stories coalition the Pegasus project.
A government statement described the information as “erroneous, in which the authors falsely pretend that Morocco has infiltrated the telephones of various national and foreign public figures and those responsible for international organizations through a computer program ”.
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