31 May 2023 in Dossier The New Cold War, Espionage


When, two years ago, we started analysing the ‘chain of command’ behind the dirtiest political disinformation campaigns on the planet, we limited ourselves to describing those who, holding the pen, wrote and put their reputations at the service of blatant lies. After describing many of them, especially in Italy and France, we are now moving on to analyse the figures of the principals: serious and severe professionals, paid as political consultants, who organise, instruct and pay for the media killer campaigns against this or that party, this or that nation.

Well, lawyer Mark Somos is one of them – one of the most prominent. You do not know his name? Of course, he does everything to prevent this information from circulating freely. Because Mark Somos is a judge in important international arbitrations, he is a university professor living in Germany, and he is a Hungarian lawyer secretly working for the United Arab Emirates, as confirmed by the archive of international arbitrations, which confirms the connection in at least three international proceedings[1] , one of which concerns the long-standing dispute over the ban on Qatari civil aviation flying over other Persian Gulf countries[2] .

During that legal battle, Somos published an article denouncing what Somos considers a snub to the Saudis and a bias of the International Court of Justice in favour of Iran and its allies[3] . In the autumn of 2022, Somos filed a complaint against the Qatari royal family, accusing them of hacking into the computers of French Senator Nathalie Goulet (who has close ties to the Emirates and the head of the government Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan[4] ) and critical organisations and about the World Cup being held in their country[5] .

Obviously, for these activities, lawyer Somos received a fair fee, but this is not the only way he earns a living. For instance, he is managing director and co-owner of the London-based lobbying and diplomatic strategy consultancy firm Cornerstone Global Associates[6] , whose motto is ‘tackling the intractable’, a metaphor for the rugby-like attitude Cornerstone applies to its clients’ opponents[7] . Other shareholders of Cornerstone Global include Zionist journalist Lucian Hudson, conservative politician Ghanem Nuseibeh[8] , economist Jordan Bruce Macleod, and ecologist Mrs. Rawaa Al Saadi Milner .[9]

Ghanem Nuseibeh, who is the founder and president of Cornerstone Global, is closely associated with Hashem al Qaisseh (the one who countersigns the invoices sent by Nuseibeh to obtain payment for Cornerstone’s activities[10] and advisor to the head of the Emirati secret services, Tahnoon Bin Zayed[11] ) and other high profile figures in the United Arab Emirates[12] , and is friend and advisor to the above mentioned French Senator Nathalie Goulet[13] . Both Somos and Ghanem work closely with Matar Humaid al Neyadi – a key figure in the monarchy, an intelligence official and undersecretary in Abu Dhabi’s Ministry of Energy[14] – when drafting disinformation projects.

Dubai, 22 March 2017, FT Family Business Summit conference: from left, Financial Times moderator, EY Emirates director Ismael Hajjar, Jonathan Ivinson and Adil Al Zarooni [15]

The informal organisation created by Somos costs a lot of money, not least because it often proves to be inefficient and run by charlatans, who get caught red-handed in lying in public[16] . Some of the money comes directly from the royal family, but the bulk of it is collected by Somos’ partners, who are linked to Sunni and Wahabi businessmen all over the world. Some of the flight tickets are paid directly by Matar Al Neyadi[17] .

Among his closest collaborators in the solicitation of donations are also prominent lawyers, such as Jonathan Ivinson[18] (head of the Geneva office of the law firm Akin Gump Strauss & Hauer[19] ), with a past as an advisor to the EU troika that dismembered Greece[20] , but above all many business deals opened in Dubai, first and foremost with ADGM Abu Dhabi Global Market, which employs the English lawyer in its investments in Europe – and especially in Switzerland[21] . That is why he is also hired by other famous law firms, such as King & Spalding, to manage their Emirati clients[22] .

The two are linked to the businessman Adil Al Zarooni, whose commercial, industrial and real estate group is among the most powerful in the Middle East[23] ; Mohamed Fehmi Hannachi, board member of ABC International Bank (the foreign trade bank of the Saudi royal family’s Arab Bank Corporation group)[24] ; the French senator Nathalie Goulet[25] and, finally, the British MP Ian Paisley Junior, son of one of the epigones of the political-religious clash in Northern Ireland[26] .

Paisley, convicted of several illegitimate acts committed during his parliamentary term[27] , leads many important disinformation campaigns against Qatar[28] , motivating them with his Presbyterian religious sentiments[29] . His most famous campaign, conducted together with Mark Somos, Ghanem Nuseibeh and Nathalie Goulet, is against Iran, which is (falsely) accused of attacking Arab ships crossing the Persian Gulf[30] . To earn more money, Paisley runs a company that administers offshore companies for clients seeking banking secrecy[31] . After the fake passport scandal, Paisley intensified his trips to the Emirates to collect as much documentation as possible and to acquire new, more modern spyware systems to use against Qatar[32] .

But the Emirates’ propaganda activities go much deeper, as evidenced by the fact that Matar Al Neyadi, an intelligence officer, is the leading theorist of the Nexus between water and energy[33] – a theme that wins over peoples in drought-ravaged lands such as those in Africa and the Middle East: For decades, the Emirates and Saudi Arabia have been covering most of their freshwater needs with thermal desalination (they extract water in the form of steam), but this system is obsolete and costs too much energy, so today so-called ‘reverse osmosis’ systems are preferred, which could solve the problems of drought-stricken countries and are the exclusive property of the Abu Dhabi monarchy[34] .

From left: Ghanem Nuseibeh, Mark Somos, Jonathan Ivinson

Somos, in direct connection with Neyadi, led the promotion of Nexus[35] through diplomacy and lobbying efforts[36] . In addition to this, he also worked against the technologies used by the Turks and Iranians[37] . A contrast that extends from the care of the body to the care of the soul: for some years now, the number one enemy of Mark Somos and his collaborators has been the IRW Islamic Relief Worldwide, a gigantic humanitarian organisation, which has saved hundreds of millions of lives around the world, and which professes a reading of the Koran that is open to equality between men and women, acceptance of homosexuality, and even cooperation with churches of other religions (there are already several projects underway with the Lutherans)[38] .

As if this were not enough, according to Wahabis and Zionists, IRW secretly collaborates with and finances Hamas in Palestine[39] . The campaign against this pan-Arab NGO, coordinated by Mark Somos and conducted, among others, by Mario Brero’s Swiss disinformation agency, accuses IRW of training Rohingia fleeing Indochina in acts of terrorism[40] , of supporting Iran’s plans to conquer Central Asia, of anti-Semitic dreams of destroying Israel[41] , of preparing military attacks against the West[42] , of infiltrating the Islamic Brotherhood[43] into the American economy[44] – in short, of being a terrorist organisation[45] . IRW is targeted by Somos’ European media network, e.g. using the Spanish website Okdiario, which is an online newspaper of the Spanish extreme right[46] , famous for its campaigns of disinformation and media violence against Podemos and, more generally, the Spanish left[47] . Next to the Spanish megaphone, SRF and The Times seem to be used as the main media vectors of Somos’ campaigns[48] .

The campaign has a central aim of targeting the Qatari presence in Switzerland, accusing Doha of spying on officials of international agencies[49] and the Swiss government of militarily supporting a despotic, imperialist and militarist regime like Qatar[50] . One of the most exposed politicians in this campaign, National Front MEP and French politician Nicolas Bay[51] , went so far as to obtain a Strasbourg decision to suspend his parliamentary immunity[52] .

Somos is involved in creating social media buzz against its rivals[53] . In these buzzes, the IRW is linked to the jihadist past in Bosnia and, with the support of the ‘Times’, they obtained the resignation of some members of the Muslim association, accused of being openly anti-Semitic by the British Charity Commission[54] . Not content with this result, Mark Somos unleashed a campaign against the IRW (and against the Swiss government, accused of protecting and financially supporting the Islamic Brotherhood) in the pages of the Zurich daily Tagesanzeiger[55] .

In this campaign, Somos uses the services of Mario Brero, of his ALP Services, and those of French journalist and consultant Roland Jacquard – an extremely discredited person[56] and long known to belong to organisations financed by the United Arab Emirates[57] . Jacquard has been working for years under the orders of the Emirati intelligence officer Matar Al Neyadi in media campaigns against Qatar and Turkey[58] . Jacquard complains that Qatar and Switzerland finance the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF), a non-profit foundation based in Geneva[59] , but at the same time he warns Ankara that Ariane Bonzon is writing a book against the Turkish government[60] and organises a meeting with the Muslim Brotherhood of Belgium with the aim of provoking a reaction against Qatar[61] .

2 July 2018: Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan (third from left) offers his condolences to Matar El Nayadi (last from left) who has just lost his mother [62]

Many of the people mentioned here have handed over information on possible targets of a future disinformation campaign, such as the Imam of Luxembourg, Mustapha Turki – Somos wants to prove that he is linked to terrorism[63] . In Norway, Somos has focused on alleged links between the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas – he is preparing a campaign associating the Brotherhood with anti-Semitism among young Norwegians[64] . Among other things, Somos has written a report on libertarian organisations such as Millî Görüş or opposition intellectuals such as Hande Taner, and the Islamic Brotherhood[65] .

According to some sources, there is a report written by Somos on five years of smear campaigns in Sweden, France and Germany, and handed over to members of the Emirati government[66] . The report also describes campaigns to prove links between Hamas and public figures in France, Belgium, Norway and Luxembourg[67] . A vocation of a whole life, spent in destroying all attempts to secularise Islam – observed under a very special magnifying glass: Somos does not choose between theocracy and any other form of government (after all, Iran and Qatar are also monarchies with a deeply religious background), but between governments that, willingly or unwillingly, allow a secularisation of society, and those that, as was the case in Europe before the schism, tended towards a religiosity of science, of society, of everything[68] .

According to Somos, as he describes in his dissertation, the West is weak because it has accepted that science and philosophical doubt have taken over from faith. Islam remains the great hope after the deep degeneration of the mercantilist Christianity of Great Britain and Judaism, but only as long as it remains absolutist and bound to the infallibility of an enlightened monarchy[69] . A dangerous way of thinking, about whose right to exist in a secular and democratic society it is legitimate to question.


[1] https://jusmundi.com/en/p/mark-somos

[2] https://www.icj-cij.org/public/files/case-related/173/173-20191205-ORA-01-00-BI.pdf, page 8

[3] https://intr2dok.vifa-recht.de/receive/mir_mods_00004292


[5] https://www.archysport.com/2022/11/world-cup-qatar-allegedly-spied-on-celebrities-critical-of-the-competition/ ; https://time.news/personalities-critical-of-qatar-were-spied-on/ ; https://www.archysport.com/2022/11/qatar-has-hacked-and-spied-on-several-personalities-according-to-the-sunday-times-liberation/

[6] 2020.01.18 Cornerstone Global Associates Ltd. London

[7] http://www.cstoneglobal.com/about

[8] https://allisrael.com/writer/ghanem-nuseibeh

[9] 2020.01.18 Cornerstone Global Associates Ltd. London

[10] https://seygan-alpay.medium.com/ghanem-nuseibeh-le-roi-du-halal-tricolore-couv%C3%A9-par-une-s%C3%A9natrice-fran%C3%A7aise-844c8ac7fa4d

[11] https://www.ft.com/content/ce09911b-041d-4651-9bbb-d2a16d39ede7

[12] https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/01/sports/world-cup-2022-qatar.html ; https://www.intelligenceonline.com/corporate-intelligence/2021/06/02/influence-campaigns-in-the-gulf-diligence-faces-ghanem-nuseibeh,109670434-eve

[13] https://www.minareport.com/ghanem-neuseibeh-the-mysterious-halal-pope-in-france/ ; https://www.minareport.com/nathalie-goulet-and-ghanem-nuseibeh-a-dangerous-liasion/


[15] https://www.facebook.com/hezarventures/photos/1758300814484570/?paipv=0&eav=AfbTNic_tNrWzferVZbBoEMyittcFEE66NglGlCiV1Hy-3M0iOKG4nQ2__BGNaFfgJM&_rdr

[16] Le-Lobby-Anti-Qatar-1.pdf (ibiworld.eu)

[17] Somos with evidence, page 3

[18] https://www.theguardian.com/profile/jonathan-ivinson

[19] https://www.internationaltaxreview.com/article/2a6a0pje8ii8qaoxkzif4/akin-gump-opens-geneva-office

[20] https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/officers/fAnCHgG91BnA2oiUEEf9tnItPoc/appointments

[21] https://www.zawya.com/en/press-release/abu-dhabi-global-market-launches-1st-foundations-regime-in-the-uae-n6dc028l

[22] https://www.decideurs-magazine.com/droit/37239-l-ascension-de-king-spalding-du-succes-americain-a-un-succes-francais.html

[23] https://www.gessdubai.com/dr-adil-alzarooni

[24] https://www.bank-abc.com/world/Egypt/En/Financial/Annual%20Reports/ABC%20BANK%20-%20EGYPT%20ANNUAL%20REPORT%202012_English.pdf, page 13 ; https://www.bank-abc.com/world/Algeria/En/AboutABCNew/Financial/Annual%20Reports/ABC%20Annual%20Report%202006%20-%20English.pdf, page 5

[25] https://www.rfi.fr/en/international-news/20221106-hacking-gang-targeted-qatar-world-cup-critics ; https://www.france24.com/en/middle-east/20221107-hackers-targeted-critics-of-qatar-world-cup-says-british-investigation ; https://www.archysport.com/2022/11/qatar-has-hacked-and-spied-on-several-personalities-according-to-the-sunday-times-liberation/

[26] https://time.news/personalities-critical-of-qatar-were-spied-on/ ; https://www.pressreader.com/uae/the-national-news/20201021/281543703410681

[27] https://www.glistatigenerali.com/geopolitica_questione-islamica/finte-ong-ed-agenti-marocchini-alla-guerra-di-libia/

[28] FALSE NGOS AND MOROCCAN AGENTS IN THE LIBYAN WAR | IBI World UK ; https://www.pressreader.com/uae/the-national-news/20201021/281543703410681


[30] https://www.ifmat.org/11/18/qatar-knew-advance-iranian-plans-attack/ ; https://www.thenationalnews.com/world/mena/qatar-s-silence-on-iran-s-ship-attacks-devastating-at-all-levels-1.939252

[31] https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk/officers/yWyVVaT_JJIUanY4OIU5iWJA4jg/appointments

[32] https://www.weeklyblitz.net/international/london-turns-into-global-capital-of-cybercrimes-and-hacking/

[33] https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/commentary/transcript/the-energy-water-nexus/

[34] https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/commentary/transcript/the-energy-water-nexus/

[35] Somos with evidence, pages 4-5

[36] Somos with evidence, pages 4-6

[37] Somos with evidence, pages 5-6

[38] Somos with evidence, pages 5-7

[39] https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-30443693 ; https://www.jewishnews.co.uk/exclusive-british-muslim-charity-takes-israel-to-court/

[40] https://just-access.de/the-effect-of-equal-access-to-education-on-reducing-violence-and-extremism/

[41] https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/islamic-relief-leader-quits-as-times-discovers-antisemitic-posts-5dplrw9vv

[42] Somos with evidence, pages 6-8

[43] https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2020/12/07/Germany-cuts-funding-for-Islamic-Relief-aid-group-over-ties-to-Muslim-Brotherhood ; https://www.telegraaf.nl/nieuws/1377055849/kaag-geen-nederlands-belastinggeld-voor-islamclub

[44] https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2023/04/03/the-dirty-secrets-of-a-smear-campaign

[45] https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/11267466/The-continuing-war-against-Islamic-charities.html

[46] https://digitalsevilla.com/2017/11/21/okdiario-medio-comunicacion-peor-valorado-espana/

[47] https://www.elsaltodiario.com/spanish-revolution/las-fake-news-no-solo-difunden-mentiras-tambien-miedo ; https://elpais.com/politica/2018/05/17/actualidad/1526571491_535772.html ; https://idus.us.es/handle/11441/87648

[48] Somos with evidence, pages 6-8; https://www.thejc.com/news/uk/muslim-charity-leader-quits-after-times-uncovers-antisemitic-posts-1.501928 ; https://combatantisemitism.org/cam-news/trustee-of-uks-largest-muslim-charity-resigns-after-anti-semitic-views-come-to-light/

[49] https://www.srf.ch/news/schweiz/projekt-gnadenlos-wie-katar-in-der-schweiz-die-fussballwelt-ausspionierte ; https://www.aargauerzeitung.ch/schweiz/wm-katar-serie-teil-1-von-3-spionageverdacht-in-zuerich-hat-ein-ex-cia-mann-im-auftrag-der-scheichs-die-fifa-bespitzelt-ld.2354706?reduced=true

[50] https://www.blick.ch/politik/ruestungsdeal-trotz-menschenrechtsverletzungen-schweizer-kanonen-schuetzen-wm-stadien-in-katar-id16570268.html

[51] https://www.lefigaro.fr/elections/legislatives/2017/06/06/38001-20170606ARTFIG00278-le-fn-prone-la-rupture-avec-le-qatar.php ; https://rmx.news/european-union/exclusive-being-corrupted-by-qatar-the-nerve-center-of-the-muslim-brotherhood-is-high-treason-says-french-mep-nicolas-bay/ ; https://www.lopinion.fr/a-front-renverse/ne-pas-confondre-nicolas-bay-et-nicolas-bays

[52] https://www.agensir.it/quotidiano/2023/2/2/parlamento-ue-qatar-gate-revoca-immunita-dei-deputati-cozzolino-e-tarabella-in-seguito-alle-richieste-delle-autorita-belghe/

[53] Somos with evidence, pages 13-16

[54] https://www.islamic-relief.org.uk/islamic-relief-worldwides-response-to-the-conclusion-of-charity-commissions-compliance-case/

[55] https://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/bund-waescht-umstrittene-islamische-hilfsorganisation-rein-937100107810 ; https://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/steuermillionen-fuer-antisemiten-die-deza-chefin-relativiert-711949623985 ; https://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/die-deza-im-bett-mit-islamisten-202319854766

[56] https://www.arretsurimages.net/articles/letrange-document-terroriste-de-lexpert-jacquard-f5?id=8790 ; https://lmsi.net/L-antiterrorisme-et-ses-experts

[57] Le-Lobby-Anti-Qatar-1.pdf (ibiworld.eu) ; LIFE AND MIRACLES OF A MERCENARY IN THE MEDIA WAR | IBI World UK

[58] https://www.laweekly.com/uaes-alliance-with-france-stands-on-extensive-emirati-lobbying-efforts/

[59] https://www.eda.admin.ch/eda/fr/dfae/dfae/aktuell/news.html/content/eda/fr/meta/news/2015/5/26/57373 ; https://www.letemps.ch/monde/geneve-accueille-un-fonds-lutte-contre-lextremisme ; https://www.qna.org.qa/fr-FR/News-Area/News/2022-09/21/le-qatar-fait-un-don-suppl%C3%A9mentaire-de-5

[60] Ariane Bonzon, ‘Turquie, l’heure de verité’, Tharaux, Paris 2019 ; https://global-watch-analysis.com/site/uploads/newsletter/newsletter-n1-fr.pdf

[61] Somos with evidence, pages 13-16

[62] https://gulfnews.com/uae/government/mohammad-offers-condolences-to-al-neyadi-family-1.2245493

[63] Somos with evidence, pages 13-16

[64] Somos with evidence, pages 13-16

[65] https://www2.memri.org/espanol/antisemitismo-y-el-movimiento-islamista-turco-milli-gorus-sionistasjudios-bacterias-enfermedad/1887

[66] Somos with evidence, pages 13-16

[67] Somos with evidence, pages 13-16

[68] https://reviews.history.ac.uk/review/1288

[69] https://brill.com/edcollbook/title/21446

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