Published on : 02/16/2023 – 17:05Modified : 02/16/2023 – 17:07
According to the Forbidden Stories consortium of investigative journalists, behind the Pegasus spyware scandal, an Israeli company orchestrated a campaign in 2020 against the International Committee of the Red Cross in Burkina Faso.
In 2020, this Israeli company orchestrated a campaign against the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Burkina Faso, spreading the thesis that the NGO had links with the jihadists, according to the consortium of investigative journalists Forbidden Stories.
It is an “elaborate manipulation operation designed, designed and operated by the Israeli company Percepto, with the help of Burkinabe security services, aimed at damaging the image of an international NGO perceived as a little too critical ” in Ouagadougou, according to the newspaper Le Monde, one of the partners of the collective.
Social media operations
Concealing their function, journalists from this group pose as potential clients of companies including Percepto, which offer to carry out disinformation, manipulation and interference operations on social networks.
They claim that Percepto organized the amplification, on social networks, of an op-ed published on August 3, 2020 in the French weekly Values Currents – this one criticized the action of the ICRC in Burkina Faso by implying that he was negotiating with jihadist groups.
“It was during one of these meetings that Percepto detailed the course of the campaign targeting the ICRC, presenting it as a ‘textbook case’ of its actions”, according to Le Monde.
The forum in question pointed to a common practice of NGOs in conflict zones – negotiating safe conduct with the belligerents to be able to carry out their actions – but criticized the fact that the ICRC negotiates with the jihadist groups which are ravaging the country.
It was written by geopolitical analyst and consultant Emmanuel Dupuy, an established personality in the French media landscape, where he is regularly quoted in the media.
Questioned by AFP, Emmanuel Dupuy claims to have no connection with Percepto, of which he was unaware of the existence, and explains that the theme of the forum, which did not give rise to remuneration, was suggested to him by an adviser. of the then Burkinabé president Roch Marc-Christian Kaboré, the Israeli Samuel Sellem. “It’s all true in the gallery, I won’t take a comma out,” he said.
“We maintain dialogues (with armed groups) not to please or to confer any legitimacy whatsoever on armed groups or on a government. We do this out of necessity, for a humanitarian need”, had justified for his part ICRC President Peter Maurer, quoted in an AFP dispatch, denouncing the “innuendo” of the platform.
The collective says that the AFP dispatch, devoted to the reaction of Peter Maurer, “amplified” the news and therefore ultimately contributed to the success of the Percepto campaign.
“AFP reported in a dispatch of September 14, 2020 on the ICRC President’s press conference in Ouagadougou in a factual manner, in accordance with the journalistic practices of one of the largest international news agencies. “Agence France-Presse had not reported on the content of the column of Valeurs Actuelles”, explains the director of information of Agence France-Presse, Phil Chetwynd.
Percepto presented this operation to journalists as a success, explaining in a document reproduced by the consortium that it had “amplified the article by all means on social networks”, forcing Peter Maurer to come to Burkina to explain himself.
The consortium recalls, however, that at the time, Percepto did not exist as such and that one of its managers, Royi Burstien, a former Israeli military intelligence officer, was running another company in this activity. According to Forbidden Stories, Samuel Sellem’s StoryTling company did not respond to his questions.
Source: France 24