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Doha’s fingerprints all over false news, cybercrimes

In May of last year, the email of UAE ambassador to the US Yousef al-Otaiba was hacked by a group that dubbed itself GlobalLeaks. The group sent the hacked e-mails to a number of newspapers and news sites including to the famous Daily Beast. Qatar’s fingerprints were all over the operation as it bore Doha’s style and aims, as well as its media approach to the incident that soon followed.

The group stated that it did not hack the e-mail and - just like the well-known Qatari denial tactic - claimed that it received the e-mails from an advocacy group in Washington. This is an obvious lie because all evidence, including the use of digital cameras to take photos of the e-mails, indicated that the email was hacked.

The aims were to serve Qatar which sought to sow divisions between Abu Dhabi and Riyadh and expose Otaiba’s “scandals” by show the UAE as an anti-Islamic state. Well-known Qatari media outlets, as well as other outlets that are secretly funded by Qatar, launched a vulgar propaganda campaign about the entirely fabricated subject.

Doha’s tactics do not stop at hacking but they also include propagating fabricated information which American media outlets immediately republish because they seek any piece of news that may topple Trump

Mamdouh AlMuhaini

Foiled sabotage attempts

The end results backfired and disappointed Doha and its hired hackers. There was nothing in the hacked e-mails that could negatively affect Saudi-Emirati relations, in fact the opposite was true. Otaiba’s alleged scandals showed he was a strong man with major influence in Washington. The hacked e-mails showed that the UAE calls for moderation and is fighting extremist groups with a strong and determined will. This is a positive advertisement that plenty of money is usually spent for in PR campaigns, but this time it was paid for using Qatari money.

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Qatar failed to achieve its aims and the party ended before it even began. We never heard of GlobalLeaks after that. However, Qatar’s hacking operations continued and most recently the emails of Elliott Broidy, a top Republican fund-raiser who is one of the most prominent symbols of Trump’s presidential campaign, and his wife have been hacked. The stolen documents were leaked to media outlets including the New York Times.

Qatari fingerprints are present all over the crime scene. As usual, the Qataris placed an innocent Scandinavian face at the forefront of the crime and claimed their innocence. Broidy filed a lawsuit against Qatar and said they paid millions of dollars to mislead public opinion and smear his name, vowing to make them pay the price. The aim of Broidy’s e-mail hack was to claim that he played a significant role in influencing the Trump administration to favor supporting the quartet’s decision to boycott Doha because of its support of terrorism.

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The attempt also failed to achieve any of their aims, despite the media’s efforts to forge news and fabricate a crisis with a snowball effect. All this quickly came to an end and all that’s left now is the trial which will begin soon.

Doha continues failed tactics

Doha’s tactics do not stop at hacking but they also include propagating fabricated information which American media outlets immediately republish because they seek any piece of news that may topple Trump. This has allowed Doha to propagate dozens of weak narratives and unreliable information. Doha’s agents exploited the leftist liberal media’s obsession with hating Trump and deceived them by providing inaccurate information.

The most recent fabricated story states that Jared Kushner’s father received around $500 million from the Qatari government in April 2017 as part of a real estate deal. A media storm ensued and it later turned out the story was false. It was true that Jared’s father met with the Qataris, but he refused to take a cent as he wanted to avoid any conflict of interest that could affect Jared who is Trump’s advisor.

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The story was leaked to harm Kushner’s credibility and spread a sense of conspiracy and suspicions. Despite all these strenuous Qatari efforts and paid funds, Doha did not benefit anything from this fabricated story.

Inaccuracy of leftist US media

There have been plenty of other similar fabricated stories. For instance, the Washington Post cited intelligence officials, which it did not name, as saying that the UAE orchestrated the hacking of the Qatari news agency. It’s clear that the leaks were Qatari. The renowned news site made several professional mistakes while covering this story as it did not rely on clear sources for such big news. What happened to this story now and what are its repercussions? Has the daily confirmed it? Has it found new sources that confirm it? Has it exposed the old sources? You will never have any answers to these significant questions even if you ask the daily about them all day.

Serious accusations have also been made against Saudi Arabia due to Qatari leaks extensively promoted by Qatari media. These accusations are related to supporting terrorism and being involved in the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. Many commentators and analysts wrote about the Saudis’ “special privileges” and about the 28 confidential pages of the Congress report on the September 11, 2001 attacks claiming that they showed Saudi Arabia’s involvement.

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However, they all turned out to be false. Many of these allegations relied on suspicious intelligence reports and they all ended up with nothing. Have these accusations come to an end? Have these media outlets reported a second amended version of the story telling the truth? Of course not. They rather repeated the same accusations which relied on the same secret reports.

Despite all these fabrications, hackings and continuous cybercrimes, Doha still claims its innocence and repeatedly states that its news agency was hacked and false statements were attributed to its emir. Qatar maintains all these claims while it is the one practicing all these vices that rather suit gangs, militias and rogue states.

This article is also available in Arabic.

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Mamdouh AlMuhaini is the Editor-in-Chief of Al Arabiya News Channel’s digital platforms. He can be followed on Twitter @malmhuain.

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Last Update: Friday, 30 March 2018 KSA 20:20 - GMT 17:20
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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