Last month in July 2021 new targets of the Israeli spyware Pegasus developed and marketed by the Israeli cyberarms company NSO groups were revealed indicating that the Indian BJP government led by Modi has been spying on their own ministers in addition to opposition leaders, election commissioners, journalists and human right activists.
The list of hacked phones also included those belonging to family members of a female employee of the Supreme Court of India who had accused the former Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi, now a government MP, of sexual harassment.
It was reported that the Indian BJP government that is strongly allied with Israel used Pegasus to spy on Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and diplomats from Iran, Afghanistan, China, Nepal and Saudi Arabia among others.
Now there has been widespread media coverage of analysis by Amnesty International that Pegasus was still being widely used against high-profile targets globally having the ability to infect all modern versions of the operating systems of mobile phones.
Although NSO claims that Pegasus is to be used against criminals and terrorists, it has not only been used by authoritarian governments to spy on critics and opponents but now it seems that it is being widely used by many democratic governments including the current regime in the largest democracy in the world, namely India.
There have also been reports earlier in the year that the Bangladeshi government had also purchased the spyware from Israel and has been using it to snoop on any one critical of the government.
Pegasus software sales are licensed by the government of Israel to foreign governments, and it has been sold for hundreds of millions of dollars to Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and the other Gulf States, for surveillance of anti-regime activists, journalists, and political leaders from rival nations, with encouragement and mediation by the Israeli government.
In December 2020, the Al Jazeera investigative show The Tip of the Iceberg, Spy partners, exclusively covered Pegasus and its penetration into the phones of media professionals and activists and its use by Israel itself to spy on both opponents and allies.
It has been reported that Pegasus has also been used by Mexican drug cartels to target and intimidate journalists and even to spy on Jamal Khashoggi, leading to his murder by the Saudi agents.
The Pegasus spyware may indeed be the tip of the iceberg where it not only brings billions of dollars of illicit income to the state of Israel, but also used by its spy agency Mossad to virtually spy on any global citizen that the rogue state considers an opposition to its interests.
Mossad’s wheeling and dealings last year, helped by Trump and his son in law that extracted recognition of Israel from some of the Arab states indicates how Israel engages in espionage as an instrument of its foreign relations with foes and friends alike.