Blog archive: All

  • 22nd October 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The shadowy figures behind the London Centre for Public Affairs – an apparently bogus PR firm with Qatari connections – have now set up a second organisation. This time it's a mysterious NGO which purports to be monitoring the activities of the United Nations. The new body, known as Independent...
  • 17th October 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Khalid al-Hail, a 29-year-old Qatari living in exile in London, is a man with grand ideas. People address him as "Sheikh Khalid", though on Facebook he prefers to call himself "His Excellency". Variously described as a businessman, philanthropist and reformist, al-Hail is best known as the...
  • 4th October 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    When the sight of a few people waving rainbow flags at a pop concert becomes an act of "moral terrorism", when it plunges a country into hysteria and the government responds by arresting dozens of people on suspicion of being gay and orders the media to show them no sympathy, it's time to ask why...
  • 3rd October 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    When Mashrou' Leila, a Lebanese band whose lead singer is openly gay, performed in Cairo on September 22 several members of the audience waved rainbow flags. Religious leaders, politicians and sections of the Egyptian media were horrified and demanded swift government action. The authorities...
  • 2nd October 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    In an uncharacteristically magnanimous decision, a Saudi court has cleared 13 people of blame for the disaster that struck Mecca two years ago when a crane toppled on to the Grand Mosque, killing more than 100 people. The crane had been operated by the Saudi Binladin company (founded by...
  • 2nd October 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The moral panic over homosexuality in Egypt, which began when several fans at a music concert waved rainbow flags, took a new turn at the weekend when the authorities ordered local media not to show any sympathy for LGBT rights. On Saturday the Supreme Council for Media Regulation – whose...
  • 1st October 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    At least 11 allegedly gay men have now been arrested in the backlash against last month's Mashrou' Leila concert in Egypt, human rights groups say. Mashrou' Leila, a Lebanese band whose lead singer is openly gay, performed at the Music Park Festival in Cairo on September 22 and photos...
  • 29th September 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Following last week's music festival in Cairo where some of the fans waved rainbow flags, the Coptic church has plans to "combat homosexuality and offer ways of treatment", according to local media. St Mark’s Cathedral – the seat of the Coptic Pope – is to hold a conference under the...
  • 28th September 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The war in Yemen is one where western media coverage scarcely excels – as the Russian propaganda channel, RT, is quick to point out. But can RT do any better? To "clarify" the picture, RT called on Caleb Maupin, its "international correspondent", who gave what is surely the weirdest...
  • 26th September 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Seven people who waved rainbow flags during a music festival in Egypt have been arrested for “promoting sexual deviancy”. The flags appeared during a performance by the popular Lebanese band, Mashrou' Leila, at the Music Park Festival in Cairo last Friday. Mashrou' Leila is...
  • 25th September 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    American journalist Seymour Hersh – author of several error-strewn articles about chemical attacks in Syria – has accepted a controversial award for "truth-telling" even though the previously-announced presentation ceremony was cancelled. Hersh received the award at a "festive dinner" on...
  • 22nd September 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Viewed from outside, the war in Yemen is mainly a two-sided conflict between the "legitimate" government of President Hadi and the Houthi rebels backed by ex-President Saleh. But this fails to recognise the extent of Yemen's fragmentation since the outbreak of war, a former government minister...

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