Brian Whitaker, Reporting for Qatar.
Posted by Adam L. Conner
We in the more developed world, support freedom of speech & freedom of the press, but disregard the ethics of journalism. One is obliged to question the sources and objective of articles in order to produce sound journalistic work. The British phone hacking scandal is an example of when unethical journalism can evade privacy and pursue illegal activity. The News of the World was shut down and the Government ordered the Leveson Inquiry in order to learn from the mistakes of the past. The report concluded that there was illegal surveillance of people in a clear violation of journalistic ethical principles and human decency.
As I was working on an investigative report on illegal journalist practices, I stumbled across a very mysterious figure. He has an untarnished public image, in the Middle East and Europe, which is very hard to find. Both societies have different ideas on internal policy, religious discrimination and LGBT rights.
Brian Whitaker, or as his friends call him “whitty,” has been a journalist for the British newspaper, The Guardian since 1987 and was its Middle East editor from 2000 to 2007. He studied Arabic studies at the University of Westminster and Latin at the University of Birmingham. He has championed himself as a defender of LGBTs and Atheism in the Middle East, which is why he received the Lambda Literary Award for LGBT Nonfiction. Brian’s CV is spotless, but the truth is very different and frightfully worrying.
At first, I tried to understand Brian’s perspective on LGBTs rights in the Middle East, where he wrote damming reports on Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Arab world in general. He went as far as writing a book called the ‘Forbidden Love,’ which analyzed the lives of the gay communities in the Middle East, especially the Gulf. I was really impressed till I stumbled upon an article on his website, Al-Bab, “Royal charity fights homosexuality in Qatar” which praises the Qatari’s undemocratic, discriminatory and anti-homosexual regime. In fact, people who were once close to him kept bringing this propaganda article as a clear sign of his hypocrisy.
According to Qatar’s laws: Article 201 of the Penal Code punishes sodomy between men with up to five years in prison. Article 296 of the Penal code explicitly bans gay, bisexual or extramarital relationships.
The article propagated the positive efforts of the royal family of a country that prohibits LGBT activists or organizations. The article had a clear intention of glamourizing the Qatari royal family, especially the mother of the current Emir, Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned (the second of his father’s three wives), who owns over $270 million worth of assets in the United Kingdom and the orchestrator of the coup in Qatar (1995). The image polishing work is hypocritical and unrealistic: firstly, as a journalist and self-proclaimed writer who happens to be a homosexual and defender of LGBTs, he is defending the government who prosecutes people of his sexual orientation. Secondly, Mozah and her son, Sheikh Tamim Al Thani, the Emir, are the highest officials and hold the sovereignty of the country in their hands. Therefore, to insinuate that they work for a cause against laws regarding LGBTs of which they have passed is contradictory and absurd.
A colleague of Brian (who requested anonymity), from the British-Yemeni Society, revealed that this r.particular article on LGBTs was actually paid for by one of the intelligence officials in Qatar after being introduced to him by a dear friend, Rori Donaghy. Rory worked for Anas Al Tikriti, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, and heads many Muslim Brotherhood affiliated organizations such as the Cordoba Foundation. For Rori’s efforts in assisting Al Tikriti and the Qataris in making a close-knit network, as well as to camouflage a Qatari attack on UAE, Rori was appointed Director of the Emirates Centre for Human Rights in 2011.
In 2007, Brian was made redundant from The Guardian because of his bias articles that favoured Qatar’s position on issues in the Middle East. Brian is not alone, many journalists and media personnel are made into parrots and a mouthpiece for other countries around the world.
Brian can just about go on trial for treason. To the Westerners, he camouflages himself as an LGBT activist in the Middle East but writes journalistic work in favour of Qatar’s position on political matters. Whereas, in the Middle East, he paints himself as a defender of Arab causes or Islam.
I have analysed over 450 articles that he has ever wrote, plus his books since 2008 and there are no articles criticising Qatar or the royal family. On Al-Bab.com, a website under his ownership, run and paid for by Qatar, there are no negative press on Qatar.