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How Qatar shut down criticism and assassinate characters of rivals using mass media and cyberwarfare

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What is character assassination, how and why Qatar use it ?

Character assassination  is the deliberate destruction of an individual’s reputation and the malicious and unjustified harming of a person’s good reputation. This is a timeless phenomenon that appears in many shapes and forms in every cultural, political, and technological epoch. Various character assassination  practices such as lies, insinuations and ridicule have been effective means of persuasion and influence in power struggles for centuries.

After the world have seen world war 1 and 2 and the cold war , wars and international conflicts and tensions found a new way to fight ,destroy and manipulate: INFORMATION WARFARE !

Today ,instead of physically harming , countries and organised groups manipulate control and harm mentally, by influencing opinions and creating chains of actions and reactions suiting their personal agenda…

One of the most common efficient smear techniques for information warfare  is simply  enemy suppression using character assassination.

Various forms of character assassination have been used as part of information warfare strategy to smear, demoralize, and ultimately, to disarm opponents.

Information warfare involves information collection, transport, protection, and manipulation with the aim of gaining a competitive advantage over one’s adversary, whether in the military, intelligence, political, or business context. Other elements may include information disturbance, degradation, and denial.

One of the masters of information warfare is Qatar,  backed by other social phenomenon like populism that is widely spread in middle east north Africa and even  in the west like Europe or the us, the lack of education and information  criticism skills, the  mistrust in the traditional media that led to an idealisation of the alternative media ;  information warfare is today Qatar’s most strong and dangerous weapon .and for this Qatar uses social media like facebook or tweeter , tv channels such as AL JAZEERA that is not only a tool to promote Qatar’s foreign policy aims in the region,it also   openly support terrorist groups and spread  violence like it did during the arab spring ,

And today Qatar still uses AL-JAZEERA to  promote Muslim Brotherhood parties throughout the Arab world.

Qatar’s pro-Brotherhood policies were clearly reflected in the activities of the influential state-owned Al Jazeera television news network, as well as in Doha’s financial support for Brotherhood groups, including Hamas in Gaza. Support like this strained relations with other Gulf Cooperation Council states over the upheavals in Egypt, Libya and other Arab Spring countries.”

Qatar used Al Jazeera to intervene in combat zones, giving cover to assorted terrorists and other armed groups.” Al Jazeera uses the cover normally granted to members of the press to aid and abet terrorists in war zones.

Openly and undercover Qatar through AL-JAZEERA causes violence like in June 2017, Al Jazeera Arabic featured a presenter who called for the Houthi militias to target Saudi and Emirati airports, and was not challenged on his remarks by the station

Another strategic role of Al Jazeera has been as an agent provocateur. However, AJ has not been the only tool in the arsenal for Qatar, which funds or receives sympathetic coverage from over 40 media, think tanks, and other outlets. In many cases, senior executives and reporters , and ofcourse they don’t do it for the love of Qatar indeed many media receives open Qatari funding and   reflect extremely favorable coverage to Qatar’s government and foreign policy agenda   such as :

2- Middle East Monitor

3- Brookings

4- Al-Arabi 24

5- Al-Arabi al-jadid

6- Al-Arabi

7- Qatar Media Corporation

8- Al-Hewar

9- Al-Raya newspaper

10- Lebanon al-jadid

11- Arab newspaper of Qatar

12- Yemen youth

13- Al-ahali Yemen newspaper

14-Quds

15- Marib Press

16- Media centre of London

17- Al-watan of Qatar

18- Quds Al-Arabi newspaper

19- al-shargh

20- Asrar Arabiya

21- al-Rayed Algeria

22- Arab centre for research and studies

23- Institute of Political Thought

24- Islamic Observatory

25- Change Academy

26- Arabi21

But to sue people , destroy their good reputation, specially when the target is an important figure in a tribal society , where leaders reputation is the country reputation  itself like Saudi Arabia, Qatar use smear ways of information warfare like spreading fake news and fake evidence or even hacking people emails and personal data ,

Qatar appear to be  ready to stop at nothing to undermine Saudi Arabia, UAE, and anyone seen as a critical obstacle to Qatar’s growing influence, not even at hacking .

Like the case of Elliott Broidy and his hacked emails that has been the first time in the US that a political operative has sued a sovereign state for hacking his emails. Broidy, a Republican, has worked in conjunction with his UAE counterpart George Nader on a variety of measures to counter Qatar’s influence in the United States. His emails were hacked in 2017, and released to the public in 2018, revealing embarrassing details. Broidy sued Qatar prior to release of the emails, intended to embarrass him, following a similar case when the UAE Ambassador Youssef Otaiba’s emails were hacked and released in a similar manner. The rivalry between Qatar and its regional rivals, which manifested itself in the US through a PR/propaganda war in major news outlets and think tanks from 2017 onwards took a new level of aggression, when critics such as Broidy, and as it later turned out, some others, were hacked by entities linked to Qatar.

Discovery arising from Broidy’s lawsuit revealed Qatar’s strategy in recruiting agents of influence from other international entities, as well as apparent willingness to employ foreign and domestic hackers to maximize reputational damage at opportune moments.

In the course of the investigation into the suit, journalists discovered the existence of two list: a list of approximately 250 influencers Qatar targeted for recruitment, and a list of over 1000 critics and dissenters, who were on Qatar’s hack list. Most of the influencers were close to Trump and would have played a key role in changing U.S. policy on Qatar

Another lawsuit by Broidy alleged that Qatar helped hack the emails of these critics worldwide, in a mass smear campaign that targeted senior US government officials, European defence leaders, FIFA soccer players, and Indian movie actors. Technical evidence in the ongoing investigation into Qatar’s cyber-attacks included the digital footprint linking hacker locations to Qatari domains, and phone records obtained by Broidy’s lawyers.149 One of the Arab journalists went on record with his experiences of being hacked and intimidated.

Operations are becoming increasingly more sophisticated and complex,

Doha is likely acting in concert and actively learning from far more advanced intelligence agencies than its own, including Russia’s, Turkey’s and Iran’s,what puts Qatar at a tremendous advantage versus its regional rivals.

Qatar wants to be a power and an influence in the gulf region and the world , by funding terrorist organisations or by the unjustifiably defamation of  rivals, the way doesn’t matter much !

Written by Amina Souafi

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