11 Feb 2018 - 16:36
Saudi established anti-Qatar online platforms through US firm
The Peninsula Online
Doha: It has come to light that US lobbying firm Podesta Group and Saudi American Public Relation Affairs Committee (SAPRAC) were behind an anti-Qatar website and twitter handle, which has been publishing fake and malicious news against Doha.
Al Jazeera Arabic reporter Wjad Waqfi reported on her Twitter account that an official document sent to the US Department of Justice stated that Podesta Group had established an anti-Qatar website and a Twitter account during the Gulf crisis for Saudi American Public Relation Affairs Committee (SAPRAC) and the same was managed by Salman Al-Ansari.
The website theqatarinsider and twitter account @theqatarinsider have been established by Podesta Group for SAPRAC to publish fake news and spread malicious stories about Qatar.
It is a known fact that Saudi and UAE have been paying lobbying firms in US to promote fake campaigns against Qatar. Even the media in the blockading countries have been spreading lies about the crisis and have been called out many times.
Earlier a US data firm had admitted that it was paid money by the UAE to spread negative information about Qatar. NBC News reported that the parent company of Cambridge Analytica, SCL Social Limited, filed documents with the US Justice Department's Foreign Agents Registration Unit disclosing $333,000 in payments by the UAE for a 2017 social media campaign linking Qatar to terrorism.
From the beginning of Gulf crisis in June 2017, SAPRAC had launched television advertisement campaign against Qatar, contracts reviewed by Al Jazeera show, with $138,000 spent on seven, 30-second TV spots.
The Podesta Group helped produce the ads, which urged the White House to cut ties with Qatar. But the ads only mention SAPRAC, making no link to Podesta, a practice which may have skirted US lobbying laws, according to an old report by US news website The Daily Beast.