Home WORLD-NEWS First Thing: Human Rights Activists, Dissidents and Journalists Targeted by Pegasus Spyware...

First Thing: Human Rights Activists, Dissidents and Journalists Targeted by Pegasus Spyware |


Good morning.

Human rights lawyers, activists and dissidents around the world were selected as possible candidates for invasive surveillance via their phones, leaked phone records suggest.

The Guardian’s Pegasus project shows that their cell phone numbers have appeared in leaked data, indicating that they had been selected ahead of possible surveillance by government clients of Israeli company NSO Group, which developed the Pegasus spyware.

The NSO has repeatedly insisted that Pegasus is only intended to spy on terrorists and serious criminals. The tool can extract messages, photos and emails, record calls and secretly activate microphones.

  • Loujain al-Hathloul, the most prominent women’s rights activist in Saudi Arabia, was among those selected for potential targets just weeks before her 2018 kidnapping in the United Arab Emirates. and forced to return to Saudi Arabia, where she was imprisoned for three years and reportedly tortured. It is believed Hathloul was selected by the UAE, a well-known client of NSO and a close ally of Saudi Arabia.

  • Check out this handy explanation about Pegasus, and what this spyware is capable of.

NSO has claimed it will shut down customers if they abuse Pegasus. Responding to the consortium, it denied that the leaked data was evidence of a target with Pegasus and said it would “continue to investigate all credible claims of abuse and take appropriate action based on the outcome of these investigations”.

A ‘horrifying’ right-wing response to Biden is rooting in Republican states

US President Joe Biden makes remarks in a speech at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US, on July 13, 2021.
US President Joe Biden made remarks in a speech last week at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo: Leah Millis/Reuters

Joe Biden may have pledged to use his presidency to “restore the soul of America” ​​and to unite the nation, defuse “anger, resentment and hatred” and lead Americans back to a world where they “can treat each other with dignity and treated with respect”.

But six months later, Biden’s assurances run the risk of appearing overly romantic. About 1,400 miles west of the White House, in Dallas, Texas, people hoping for change are witnessing an explosion of regressive, far-right laws passed by state Republicans, Ed Pilkington writes.

  • Of particular concern is the Republican bill to make voting even more difficult – in a state that already makes voting more difficult than any other country.

  • Another new law Expected to come into effect in September, seeks to effectively turn ordinary citizens into anti-abortion bounty hunters, and offers a $10,000 reward to anyone who successfully sues a fellow Texan for helping a woman seek an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.

Massive Oregon fire grows as wildfires burn in western US VS

The Bootleg fire is burning in southeastern Oregon.  The bushfire is the largest of many now burning in the West.
The Bootleg fire is burning in southeastern Oregon. The bushfire is the largest of many now burning in the west. Photo: National Wildfire Coordination G/ZUMA Wire/REX/Shutterstock

The Bootleg Fire, the largest wildfire in the US, set fire to more dry Oregon forest landscape on Sunday, one of at least 70 major fires in the west and nearby states.

The wildfire, which rages just north of the California border, expanded to more than 1,210 square miles, an area about the size of Los Angeles.

  • Erratic winds fueled the Bootleg Fire, creating dangerous conditions for firefighters and hinder their efforts.

  • Two thousand residents have been evacuated from a largely rural area with lakes and nature reserves.

  • The fire, which is 22% under control, has set fire to at least 67 houses and 100 outbuildings while thousands more are threatened.

In other news…

File photo dated 12/16/16 of Katie Hopkins fired from the upcoming season of Australia's Big Brother VIP after allegedly admitting to deliberately violating strict hotel quarantine rules.
December 2016 archive photo of Katie Hopkins, who was fired from the upcoming season of Australia’s Big Brother VIP after she allegedly admitted to deliberately violating strict hotel quarantine rules. Photo: Philip Toscano/PA
  • British far-right commentator Katie Hopkins faces threat of deportation from Australia, after her visa was revoked for bragging about violating the hotel’s quarantine rules. Hopkins, 46, broadcast a live video Saturday morning of what she believes was a hotel room in Sydney, describing Covid-19 lockdowns as “the greatest hoax in human history”.

  • An American father and son are trapped in Tokyo for helping former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn flee to Lebanon. A Tokyo court has issued its first sentences in connection with Ghosn’s arrest and escape from Japan. US Army Special Forces veteran Michael Taylor is sentenced to two years in prison and his son Peter a year and eight months.

  • Billionaire Space Race Could Be a Huge Leap Forward for Pollution, as Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson and co hope to massively increase the number of people traveling to space.

  • Spectators cheered as a stone statue of a Confederate general was lifted by a crane and removed from a pedestal where it stood for 99 years Saturday in front of a town hall in South Louisiana.

Statistic of the day: Nearly 80% of dozens of daily groceries are delivered by just a handful of companies

A joint study by the Guardian and Food and Water Watch finds that a handful of mega-corporations dominate every link of the food supply chain: from seeds and fertilizers to slaughterhouses and supermarkets to grains and beers, American consumers are almost completely at the mercy of a few large corporations in the process. buying food.

Don’t Miss: Wisconsin Workers Fight Factory Relocation to Mexico

Workers at Hufcor, a family-owned company founded 120 years ago in Janesville, Wisconsin, are fighting the factory shutdown and the relocation of operations to Monterrey, Mexico, which will wipe out the jobs of 166 employees. Their opponent? The private equity firm OpenGate Capital, which acquired the company four years ago and which, according to Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin, “has a history of closing businesses and giving workers in Wisconsin pink slips.”

Climate control

Covering the climate crisis is one of the most important things we do at The Guardian. So today we introduce Climate control, a new First Thing section to help you stay on top of the environmental stories that matter most. Today we thought to bring to your attention that the American Petroleum Institute, a powerful lobbying group in the US, is receiving millions from oil companies to help block the climate action of major oil blocs. My colleague Chris McGreal reports.

Last Thing: Is It Wrong to Steal Someone’s Tattoo?

Adele Exarchopoulos tattoo detail at the premiere and closing ceremonies of 'OSS 117: From Africa with Love' held at the 74th Cannes Film Festival in France on July 17, 2021.
Adele Exarchopoulos tattoo detail at the ‘OSS 117: From Africa with Love’ premiere and closing ceremony at the 74th Cannes Film Festival in France on Saturday. Photo: David Fisher/REX/Shutterstock

Once a symbol of individualism, many tattoos are now far from unique. What happens when you walk into a tattoo parlor and come out with someone else’s inky ornament on your arm after a quick Google of “cool tattoo guys”? James Shackell knows.

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