Edwin Phillips reads yet another Press Release to the mainstream media in Wales from officials at controversial Cardiff Airport endorsing the decision not to mention that the country it has linked up with in a new service, stands accused of supporting terrorism, congratulating journalists for ignoring reports in UK newspapers that the desert Emirate was paid millions of pounds days before being controversially awarded the 2022 football World Cup, and how a major investigation has revealed that a bank the state controls is linked to Islamists.
TAKE OFF TIME: IMMEDIATE
From: Cardiff Regional Airport Press (CRAP)
To: All Regional Staff Editorial (ARSE)
At Cardiff Airport we again applaud your journalists for only reporting the positive aspects of our link up with the state airline Qatar Airways, even after more so-called ‘disturbing’ revelations in The Times.
You have continued to ignore scurrilous so-called ‘news’ about Qatar.
It has been left to that little read sister paper of The Times, the Sunday Times to ‘report’ that the country’s overlords offered £400 million to FIFA.
Unfortunately the timing has been seized on by these gutter journalists as regrettably this was 21 days before the excellent decision to hold the 2022 football World Cup in the small desert Emirate.
Absurdly the paper said: “The contract included an unprecedented success fee of $100m that would be paid into a designated Fifa account only if Qatar was successful in the World Cup ballot in 2010”.
This supposed information has been repeated by The Guardian, The BBC and Business Day Media.
Unhappily another investigation, this time by The Times, has disclosed that a British bank also controlled by the Qatari state, Al Rayan, is providing financial services to multiple British organisations linked to Islamists.
In Wales, though, matters have been different and the only media outlet to ‘report’ this has been the troublemaking website The Eye.
We congratulate you for disregarding this misinformation.
Qatar is a fine upstanding member of the international community and The Western Mail, South Wales Echo, Media Wales and BBC Wales have faultlessly published the benefits to Wales of our tie up with Qatar Airways, while everything else has rightly been pushed aside.
You have all scorned the regrettable fact that in July 2017 Qatar was cut off by some of its powerful Arab neighbours over its alleged terrorist support.
Qatar duly refused to comply with an initial list of 13 preposterous demands, saying, accurately, it would not agree to any measures that threatened its sovereignty or violated international law.
The Emirate was unwelcomely told by its neighbours that they wanted it to accept six broad principles on combating extremism and terrorism.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, extraordinarily severed relations with Qatar on June 5 2017 amid those nonsensical allegations.
Qatar of course denies them, yet it does acknowledge that it has provided assistance to some groups which have been accused of being extremist, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, but we stress that officials at the state say it does NOT aid militant groups linked to al-Qaeda or so-called Islamic State (IS).
You have also correctly paid no attention to the fact that Qatar helps another regime accused of being autocratic – Turkey.
As Turkey’s currency collapsed, Qatar stepped in with support, as only a friend can.
The Turkish lira lost 40 per cent of its value at one point following a ridiculous row with the USA over a pastor being in jail, but it rallied slightly after the initial announcement of the financial backing by Qatar.
It is wholly irrelevant, and has not been reported by you, that Turkey is led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who has overseen what human rights campaigners call astonishingly a “suffocating” crackdown on free speech.
After an absurd and failed coup in 2016 more than 120,000 people in the police, military, academia, media and civil service have been detained or dismissed from their jobs over their links to Fethullah Gülen, an exiled preacher based in the US whose supporters Ankara rightly blames for the coup.
Your reporting has been entirely accurate in choosing to ignore the pathetic advice to tourists from the UK Government that Qatar could be a target for terrorist attacks.
You knew only too well that it is nonsense for officials to state on the website: “Terrorists are likely to try to carry out attacks in Qatar“.
You were completely accurate in announcing in glowing terms earlier this year that Cardiff Airport has proudly unveiled the direct flights to Qatar’s capital Doha with Qatar Airways, and the fact that it has received a big endorsement from esteemed politicians in Wales.
As even The Eye have reported, the Welsh First Minister at the time, Carwyn Jones, tweeted that he ‘welcomed’ the first Qatar Airways flight into Cardiff Airport and said it represented a “huge boost” for Wales.
The Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns informed us: “The new flight from Cardiff to Doha plugs our entrepreneurs straight into one of the most dynamic economies in the Middle East, and an airport which offers a further 150 global destinations”.
You and our own senior management were not far behind in the praise.
The new flight to Qatar’s Hamed International Airport was described in the South Wales Echo as providing “capacity for 150,000 passengers a year, as well as significant freight capacity for Welsh exporters at around 10 tonnes a flight”.
In April 2017 BBC Wales’s Economics Correspondent Sarah Dickins said approvingly: “The new direct route from Cardiff to Doha is a reminder not just that the economy of Qatar is growing significantly but also that trade between Wales, the Arab world and beyond is increasing”.
When the first flight from Doha was due, WalesOnline reported the important words of our Chairman at the time, Roger Lewis: “This is a pivotal moment for Cardiff Airport, for Wales and the South West of England.
“The far reaching consequences of this service for passengers and businesses will be transformational”.
Your reporting too will prove to be transformational.
As long as you concentrate on celebs, the weather, rugby and lists…
Tomorrow – more alarming revelations on The Eye about the controversial link up between Cardiff Airport and Qatar.
Our Editor Phil Parry’s memories of his extraordinary 35-year award-winning career in journalism as he was gripped by the incurable disabling condition Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP), have been released in a major new book ‘A GOOD STORY’. Order the book now! The picture doubles as a cut-and-paste poster!