Pegasus’s victims, Erik Prince, and Israel’s contempt for international law

It should come as no surprise that among the most avid customers for the Israeli NSO Group’s Pegasus smart phone tracking and surveillance system are some of the world’s most repressive regimes. These include Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Bahrain, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and the Saudi/UAE puppet regime representing the largely defunct Yemen Arab Republic. The perfidy of these Arab governments in dealing with the harshest elements of Israel’s government, namely, its military-intelligence complex, goes a long way in explaining why the Palestinian people continue to constitute one of the world’s most persecuted population.

The revelations concerning the widespread use of Pegasus also focuses on the role of Abu Dhabi, the politically-dominant emirate of the UAE, in becoming a center for the world’s surveillance and private military industry. Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed (MbZ), who is the de facto ruler of the UAE, maintained close links to senior members of the Trump administration and is a close friend and patron of international mercenary brigand and ex-Navy SEAL Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater and the brother of Trump’s former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Abu Dhabi plays host to some 600 of Prince’s Colombian mercenaries, some of whom were trained by the U.S. Special Forces and may have been involved in the recent assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse.

Saudi Arabia’s use of Pegasus enabled Saudi agents to assassinate and dismember journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul and Mexican clients of NSO Group to murder journalist Cecilio Pineda Birto in the town of Ciudad Altamirano.

There is some evidence that it was Prince and his business partner, the Israeli venture capitalist Dorian Barak, who introduced MbZ to the surveillance capabilities of Pegasus. Prince’s Reflex Responses (R2) mercenary firm and various associated partner companies and corporate fronts1 are known to act as pass-throughs for the UAE and other repressive regimes to obtain all sorts of military and intelligence services: mercenaries hailing from Colombia, El Salvador, South Africa, Syria, and Chile; surveillance software like Pegasus; social media manipulation and dirty political tricks operations like those provided by Prince’s friend, James O’Keefe of Project Veritas; private intelligence gathering from companies like Israel’s Black Cube; and election manipulation firms like Israel’s Psy-Group and the now-defunct Cambridge Analytica.

DarkMatter, which recruits intelligence analysts from the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) for cyber-operations contracts in Abu Dhabi, also has links to Prince’s operations in the emirate.

Today, Prince has become a virtual military and foreign policy adviser to the UAE government and his R2 mercenaries not only provide personal security for each of the seven emirs who govern the UAE but also provide military support for UAE military operations in Yemen, including the Indian Ocean island of Socotra, which the UAE has annexed as a virtual colony; South Sudan (Project BROOKLYN); Libya (“Operation Regain Libja”); and Somalia. Operation Regain Libja involved targeting certain Libyan officials for assassination and leaving others alive. The Prince operation denoted the latter with the initials “DNT,” which stood for “Do Not Terminate.”

Prince and R2, through Prince’s associates Barak and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, is UAE access to the vast Israeli arsenal of military and intelligence products and services, including Pegasus.

Prince has been represented by Washington attorney Victoria Toensing, who, along with her husband, former U.S. Attorney for DC Joseph diGenova, worked with the disgraced and disbarred Rudolph Giuliani, the personal attorney for Donald Trump, to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Noting the various “services” Prince has provided and continues to provide to dictators and wealthy scoundrels around the world, the U.S. House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection may want to call Erik Prince and his attorney, Toensing, as witnesses.


1 Airborne Technologies GmbH, Al Zulama Company, Apex Management Systems LLC,  ARES Holdings, Inc., AustinBridgeporth, Back-Up Training, LLC, Bridgeporth Holdings Ltd (Gibraltar), Fieldsports Malta Ltd, Frontier Services Group, Ltd (formerly known as DVN Holdings Ltd), FSG Aviation Ltd (Bermuda), Emirates Islamic Bank PJSC, Emirates NBD Bank PJSC, Federal Advocates Inc, Fulcrum Holdings Ltd, Greystone Ltd., Greystone SRL, GSD Manufacturing LLC, Guardian Flight Systems LLC, Gulf-Israel Business Council, International Golden Group, International World Air Services, Jordan Aeronautical Cargo Company, LASA Engineering LLC, Lancaster 6 Ltd, L-6 FZE, Maximus Airlines LLC, Noor Islamic Bank, Opus Capital Asset Limited FZE, Panzer Logistics (Propreitary) Ltd, Paravant LLC, Pelagian Maritime, LLC, PBM Ltd, Phoenix Aviation Ltd, Phoenix Aviation Malta Limited, Prince Group, LLC, Salamis Aviation LLC, Samarus Co. LTD, Sky AviaTrans LLC, Sovereign Charterers Ltd, Speedway Freight (Proprietary) Ltd, Starlite Aviation Group Ltd, Technical Defense, Inc.,  Terrorism Research Center, Inc., Total Intelligence Solutions LLC, TST Humanitarian Surveys LLC, Unified Global Services Group Ltd, Xe Aviation LLC, and ZetAvia LLC.

Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.

Copyright © 2021

Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist, author and nationally-distributed columnist. A member of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and the National Press Club. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).

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