CHICAGO – July 19th – Recent revelations made by the collective media project Pegasus Project showed that Carine Kanimba, the daughter of Hotel Rwanda humanitarian Paul Rusesabagina, was among the human rights activists, journalists, lawyers and others who have been targeted by Pegasus surveillance software sold by the Israeli spyware firm NSO group. While the Rwandan government says that they do not use Pegasus, there were several Rwandan activists targeted and Kanimba has not done other activism which would make any of the other countries associated with the Pegasus activities interested in her.
Kanimba said, “It was bad enough that they kidnapped my father, tortured him and robbed him of his legal rights. Now we find out that they have listened to my conversations with the US State Department, Belgium Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmes, and our attorneys. This adds insult to injury.”
Rusesabagina’s Washington D.C. based attorney Peter Choharis said “Countries that hold fair trials and prosecute strong cases don’t resort to tapping attorney-client conversations or seizing attorney-client documents. This shows that the Rwandan government knows that it lacks the evidence to convict Paul in a fair trial.”
He continued, “The U.S. and European governments whose conversations were tapped might reconsider donating hundreds of millions of dollars to an ally that spies on them.”
Kate Gibson, another attorney representing Rusesabagina said, “As Mr Rusesabagina’s lawyer, I spoke with his daughter Carine Kanimba daily on her Pegasus-infected phone, discussing his case and well-being. Those still calling for a fair trial for Rusesabagina should stop. And demand his release.”
More of the surveillance details are here from The Guardian article:
The American daughter of Paul Rusesabagina, the imprisoned Rwandan activist who inspired the film Hotel Rwanda, has been the victim of a near-constant surveillance campaign, according to a forensic analysis of her mobile phone that found evidence of multiple attacks using NSO Group spyware.Carine Kanimba, a US-Belgian dual citizen, has been leading her family’s effort to free her father from prison following Rusesabagina’s abduction and forced return to Kigali last year by the government of the Rwandan president, Paul Kagame.
Amnesty International’s forensic analysis found that Kanimba’s phone had been infiltrated since at least January this year.
It strongly suggests that the Kagame government – which has long been suspected of being a client of the Israeli surveillance firm NSO – has been able to monitor the 28-year-old’s private calls and discussions with US, European and British government officials. A spokesperson for the Rwandan government said the country “does not use this software system … and does not possess this technical capability in any form”.A phone infected with NSO malware, as Kanimba’s has been, not only gives users of the spyware access to phone calls and messages, but it can also turn a mobile phone into a portable tracking and listening device. In the period before she was alerted to her phone being hacked, Kanimba said she had contacts with the US special presidential envoy for hostage affairs, British MPs, and the UK high commission office in Rwanda – all of which could have been monitored. She also held talks with Baroness Helena Kennedy, a barrister and member of the House of Lords.
The State Department declined to comment.
The forensic evidence suggests the spying began in January – though it may have been earlier – and paused in May while Kanimba was in the US. It resumed again on 14 June, the day she met the Belgian foreign affairs minister, Sophie Wilmès. Sources in the minister’s office said no sensitive information was shared in the meeting.
Here are links to a few of the other articles about the Pegasus Project and the hacking of Carine’s phone:
Private Israeli spyware used to hack cell phones of journalists, activists worldwide
NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware, licensed to governments around the globe, can infect phones without a click
Israeli Spy Tech Used Against Daughter of Man Who Inspired “Hotel Rwanda” – OCCRP
Pegasus software made by Israeli firm NSO Group was used to spy on the daughter of imprisoned dissident Paul Rusesabagina, whose actions during the 1994 genocide were dramatized in a 2004 film star…
Key question for Americans overseas: Can their phones be hacked?
NSO says phones with U.S. +1 numbers can’t be hacked anywhere in the world. But Americans using foreign-based numbers outside the U.S. are vulnerable.https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2021/07/19/us-phone-numbers-nso/
La fille d’un opposant rwandais espionnée par Pegasus en Belgique
All of the stories about the Pegasus invasion are here at this index was compiled by the Rachel Maddow Show: