Open Thread | Twitter Accused of Helping Saudi Arabia Commit Human Rights Abuses

From The Guardian:

Twitter accused of helping Saudi Arabia commit human rights abuses
Lawsuit says network discloses user data at request of Saudi authorities at much higher rate than for US, UK and Canada

The social media company formerly known as Twitter has been accused in a revised civil US lawsuit of helping Saudi Arabia commit grave human rights abuses against its users, including by disclosing confidential user data at the request of Saudi authorities at a much higher rate than it has for the US, UK or Canada.

The lawsuit was brought last May against X, as Twitter is now known, by Areej al-Sadhan, the sister of a Saudi aid worker who was forcibly disappeared and then later sentenced to 20 years in jail.

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It centers on the events surrounding the infiltration of the California company by three Saudi agents, two of whom were posing as Twitter employees in 2014 and 2015, which ultimately led to the arrest of al-Sadhan’s brother, Abdulrahman, and the exposure of the identity of thousands of anonymous Twitter users, some of whom were later reportedly detained and tortured as part of the government’s crackdown on dissent.

Lawyers for Al-Sadhan updated their claim last week to include new allegations about how Twitter, under the leadership of then chief executive Jack Dorsey, willfully ignored or had knowledge of the Saudi government’s campaign to ferret out critics but – because of financial considerations and efforts to keep close ties to the Saudi government, a top investor in the company – provided assistance to the kingdom.

The new lawsuit details how X had originally been seen seen as a critical vehicle for democratic movements during the Arab spring, and therefore became a source of concern for the Saudi government as early as 2013.

The new legal filing comes days after Human Rights Watch condemned a Saudi court for sentencing a man to death based solely on his Twitter and YouTube activity, which it called an “escalation” of the government’s crackdown on freedom of expression.

The convicted man, Muhammad al-Ghamdi, 54, is the brother of a Saudi scholar and government critic living in exile in the UK. Saudi court records examined by HRW showed that al-Ghamdi was accused of having two accounts, which had a total of 10 followers combined. Both accounts had fewer than 1,000 tweets combined, and contained retweets of well-known critics of the government.

The Saudi crackdown can be traced back to December 2014, as Ahmad Abouammo – who was later convicted in the US for secretly acting as a Saudi agent and lying to the FBI – began accessing and sending confidential user data to Saudi Arabian officials. In the new lawsuit, it is claimed that he sent a message to Saud al-Qahtani, a close aide to Mohammed bin Salman, via the social media company’s messaging system, saying “proactively and reactively we will delete evil, my brother”. It was a reference, the lawsuit claims, to the identification and harming of perceived Saudi dissidents who were using the platform. Al-Qahtani was later accused by the US of being a mastermind behind the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

“Twitter was either aware of this message – brazenly sent on its own platform – or was deliberately ignorant to it,” the revised lawsuit states.

You can read the rest of the article at the link.

More from this excellent Twitter thread:

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25 Responses to Open Thread | Twitter Accused of Helping Saudi Arabia Commit Human Rights Abuses

  1. rikyrah says:

    Qondi over on Twitter was like…
    ” You could really just walk up to the plane gate?”

    She didn’t believe it.
    I love the responses.

    I used to love to hang out in the airport. They had good food , that wasn’t insanely prices back then. You could people watch all day. Had an arcade to play video games. AND, you could watch the planes, and fantasize about where everyone was going.

    This is the nerd in me – they also had the best newsstands in town – getting everything and every magazine early. If you knew that a hot magazine was coming out and wanted to make sure that you got a copy, you went to the airport. They got everything on Friday, whereas the grocery stores and bookstores didn’t get their copies until Monday.

    Old Midway – you could pay $5 and you were RIGHT NEXT TO THE TERMINAL. Could sit and watch planes all day long.

  2. rikyrah says:

    Brynn Tannehill (@BrynnTannehill) posted at 10:38 PM on Mon, Sep 11, 2023:
    Talking with some folks tonight. It sure looks like we’re heading to the mother of all government shut downs here. Like: my over/under is 90 days. Let me give a brief summary of the dynamics I’m hearing. 1/n

    First the Freedom Caucus is demanding a vote on impeachment hearings in order to give McCarthy a vote on a “dirty” CR that is stuffed with poison pills. What might those poison pills be? 2/n

    1. Abortion bans / making it impossible for raped or dying service women to get an abortion

    2. Banning trans people from the military or getting health care from facilities receiving federal dollars

    3. Ending support for Ukraine.

    These are all DOA in the Senate and WH. 3/n

    But, they’re also all completely non-negotiable to the Freedom Caucus. McCarthy doesn’t want sham impeachment hearings, but it only takes one person from the FC to trigger new speaker elections. Given how evenly divided the house is, they could take weeks. 4/n

    While the Speaker’s Chair is vacant, there can be no vote on a CR, clean, dirty, or anything in between. Some of the saner Republicans don’t want a full shut down, but they don’t have the votes to get past the FC. 5/n

    One of the open questions is what the FC will do regarding pay for the Military. If the shutdown were to happen now, there is no NDAA. They might vote of extending pay to the military at the last minute, but yikes. 6/n

    Some Republican leaders, particularly in the Senate, are worried that the blame will fall on them in the 2024 election.

    There’s the remote possibility that this all gets untangled by a few Republicans backing Jeffries to break the deadlock. 7/n

    But, the FC has the ability for now to hold the entire system hostage to get what they want (which is all generally unpopular stuff anyways). It means no SS checks going out, full government shut down.

    They’ve shown little interest in pragmatism. 8/n

    If you look at what Sen Tuberville is doing, it sort of clues you in how far they’re willing to go to get their way: they’re more than willing to kill the hostage to advance an unpopular social agenda. They’re betting that someone will eventually cave. 9/n

    Perhaps that the blame can be pushed on democrats who stink at messaging. Or perhaps they believe that can control the system after they destroy it. Or maybe blame the economic effects on Biden. But, from where I’m sitting, the situation is worse than any previous shut down 10/n

    The previous record was 35 days. I don’t really see the FC and McCarthy finding a compromise they can live with, and CR that will get past the Senate and WH. Things are going to have to fall apart BADLY for the FC to see a breakthrough. 11/n

    Plunging poll numbers. All the blame falling on the GOP. RNC billionaire donors threatening to annihilate them all with spending on their opponents in the primaries, and no spending in the general because they’re losing money from the shut down. 12/n

    But, at the end of the day, these are ideologues. They’ll happily destroy the nation to “save” it from the menace of abortion and transgender people. We are not dealing with rational actors here, and that’s dangerous AF, and why I think this will go on for a long time. 13/n

  3. rikyrah says:

    The way this young whippersnapper stunted on this MAGA hoe😂😂😂😂

  4. rikyrah says:

    She is preaching an entire sermon.

    They fed you racism, and picked your pockets clean.👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾

  5. rikyrah says:

    Utah Sen. Mike Lee calls for defunding the U.S. military amid abortion policy debate
    Lee, without evidence, accused Pentagon officials of spreading misinformation about a U.S. senator.

    By Bryan Schott
      | Sep. 8, 2023, 3:36 p.m.
    | Updated: 5:52 p.m.

    Utah Sen. Mike Lee — who has used his personal “BasedMikeLee” X account to claim the flooding that trapped thousands of people at the Burning Man festival was “God’s judgment” and to spread conspiracy theories about COVID-related lockdowns — is now taking aim at the Department of Defense.

    In a Thursday night social media rampage, Utah’s senior senator called for cutting off funding to the U.S. military.

    Lee has vigorously defended Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s month-long blockade of hundreds of military promotions to force the Biden administration to rescind a policy to provide leave and reimburse travel expenses for service members and their families to travel to other states for abortions. Service members cannot choose where they are stationed and may be stationed in a state that does not allow abortions after the Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe v. Wade last year.

    Tuberville’s hold on promoting military leaders is now entering its eighth month.

  6. rikyrah says:

    US approves updated COVID vaccines to rev up protection this fall
    By Lauran Neergaard
    Associated Press

    Published: Sep 11, 2023 at 1:22 pm

    WASHINGTON — The U.S. approved updated COVID-19 vaccines Monday, hoping to rev up protection against the latest coronavirus strains and blunt any surge this fall and winter.

    The Food and Drug Administration decision opens the newest shots from Moderna and Pfizer and its partner BioNTech to most Americans even if they’ve never had a coronavirus vaccination. It’s part of a shift to treat fall updates of the COVID-19 vaccine much like getting a yearly flu shot.

    There’s still another step: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must sign off. A CDC advisory panel is set to issue recommendations Tuesday on who most needs the updated shots. Vaccinations could begin later this week, and both the COVID-19 and flu shot can be given at the same visit.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Kenny Akers (@KeneAkers) posted at 0:29 PM on Mon, Sep 11, 2023:
    In 1963, in Georgia, fifteen girls aged between 12 and 14 were imprisoned in a cramped stockade without running water for 45 days due to their involvement in Civil Rights Movement demonstrations; buying movie tickets at a segregated theater. Following their release, these women…

  8. rikyrah says:

    Malcolm Nance (@MalcolmNance) posted at 9:12 AM on Mon, Sep 11, 2023:
    REAL TALK, @elonmusk.
    As a career veteran of the US armed forces & intelligence, a rescuer on 9/11. a Ukrainian Army Legionnaire and a man who spent his whole life happily defending your constitutional right to openly love & embrace fascists, genocidaires, racists, antisemites,…

  9. rikyrah says:

    tell it

    Currently Stuck Inside A Victim’s Mentality! (@GullahRehabbed) posted at 1:07 PM on Mon, Sep 11, 2023:
    Dear youth activists….

    Please note that these queer HIV activists are protesting Republicans because they will not vote for legislation.

    Protesting Democrats when the opposition is Republicans doesn’t work.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Britt With An IE (@seedofsenoj) posted at 1:08 PM on Mon, Sep 11, 2023:
    Can ANYONE who is complaining about Kamala name the job description for Vice President tho? 🤔

    We didn’t see Pence that much. We didn’t see Pence that much. We didn’t see Dick Cheney that much. We didn’t see Al Gore that much. Why is the bar so high for her???

  11. rikyrah says:


    They need to stay away

    Thomas Kennedy (@tomaskenn) posted at 0:08 PM on Mon, Sep 11, 2023:
    Immigrant workers who used to help rebuild after storms fear coming to Florida over new anti-immigrant law. Politicians who voted for this bill were warned of this and they did it anyways because they feared challenging DeSantis as he ran for president.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Brent Peabody 🇺🇸🇺🇦 (@brent_peabody) posted at 1:31 PM on Mon, Sep 11, 2023:
    🚨 It was already official, but now it’s even more so—

    Alabama will get a second Black-majority House seat, and that seat will come at the expense of far-right Confederate apologist Barry Moore (R-#AL02)

    A huge win for civil rights

  13. rikyrah says:

    lips so pursed.

    James Aymann (@AymannJames) posted at 8:53 AM on Mon, Sep 11, 2023:
    Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR)

    “Men are simple creatures – it doesn’t take much to please us.

    The problem is women. – Divorce is almost always their fault.

    They refuse to be satisfied by what God has given them.

    Unless they have been victims of domestic violence – they should not be…

  14. rikyrah says:

    Fear of an Endless Line of Brown Presidencies (@Needle_of_Arya) posted at 0:40 PM on Mon, Sep 11, 2023:
    as part of our last full measure of devotion, Black Gen-X is also tasked with battling against Black Patriarchy & white adjacency within the Xer & Millennial Black generations

    I hate it here 🖕🏾😒🖕🏾

  15. rikyrah says:

    Candidly Tiff (@tify330) posted at 9:22 AM on Mon, Sep 11, 2023:
    Poll Q: feelings about Kamala Harris as Joe Biden’s presidential running mate in 2024?

    Enthusiastic or Satisfied:

    Under 30 – 62%
    2020 Biden voter – 77%
    Democrats – 84%
    Black Respondents – 70%
    Hispanics – 52%

    Dissatisfied or Angry:
    White – 60%
    Indep.- 65%
    Rep. – 87%

  16. rikyrah says:

    Portia ♍️ 🐳McGonagal portiamcgonagal1619 on Insta (@PortiaMcGonagal) posted at 11:49 AM on Mon, Sep 11, 2023:
    “Tuberville’s spox responded, in essence, that Tommy Tuberville’s decisions are not Tommy Tuberville’s fault, but rather somebody else’s fault, in case you needed more evidence we were dealing with a mediocre white conservative man.”

  17. rikyrah says:

    Uju Anya (@UjuAnya) posted at 5:11 PM on Sun, Sep 10, 2023:
    Not helping HBO advertise that documentary by quoting their tweet. Just wanna inform y’all Renee Bach is a serial killer who murdered 100s of children in Uganda pretending to be a medical professional. And she got away with it, because she’s a white woman who killed Africans.

    Uju Anya (@UjuAnya) posted at 6:23 AM on Mon, Sep 11, 2023:
    If you’d like to learn how Renee Bach killed Ugandan children pretending to be a doctor giving medical treatment with no training or license and blogging about it, read stories from Ugandan journalists:

    Rosebell Kagumire @RosebellK wrote about her in 2019

  18. rikyrah says:

    Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) posted at 0:00 PM on Mon, Sep 11, 2023:
    Today is a day of reflection and most of all, remembrance, for those we lost on September 11. May we never forget to tell their stories and honor their legacies.

  19. rikyrah says:

    Candidly Tiff (@tify330) posted at 11:20 AM on Mon, Sep 11, 2023:
    Last week Sen. Feinstein introduced, Euni Lee, Biden’s nominee for the North District of California. DiFi is old but she is still working and looks much healthier than she did in May.

    Stop disrespecting her acting like she is dead or unable to function. That’s not okay.

  20. rikyrah says:


    Mike Sington (@MikeSington) posted at 4:45 AM on Mon, Sep 11, 2023:
    Mean girls. The entire cheerleading program at Londonderry High School in New Hampshire was suspended by the school board after allegations of a “toxic and pervasive culture of bullying, harassment, and discrimination”.

  21. rikyrah says:

    Thomas Kennedy (@tomaskenn) posted at 10:12 AM on Mon, Sep 11, 2023:
    Survey shows faculty are refusing to come to Florida due to hostile new laws.

    “More than 65% would not recommend their state as a desirable place to work for colleagues, while over 30% are actively considering interviewing elsewhere in the coming year.”

  22. rikyrah says:

    Democracy Docket (@DemocracyDocket) posted at 11:19 AM on Mon, Sep 11, 2023:
    NEW: California Legislature passes a bill to change how counties can revise voting system plans after deep red Shasta County voted to end its voting machines contract and hand count ballots instead. The bill now heads to Gov. Gavin Newsom (D).

  23. rikyrah says:

    Ragnarok Lobster (@eclecticbrotha) posted at 10:52 PM on Sat, Sep 09, 2023:
    A reminder of who really bankrolls the anti-democratic fckery of Gums and Roses

  24. rikyrah says:

    This clown. He’s still mad about 2016 and 2020.

    Take his Republican azz and STFU

    Cenk Uygur (@cenkuygur) posted at 0:29 AM on Mon, Sep 11, 2023:
    Has Biden proposed a single policy for his next term? If he’s barely going to try, maybe he should just get out of the race. #DropOut

  25. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone😊😊😊

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