A report by Paolo Fusi, director of IBI World London (IBI) and in partnership with Democracy Center For Transparency (DCT) revealed that both UAE and Saudi Arabia are paying for French journalists and academics for branding and whitewashing purposes. The report focused on Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot and their relation with Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. The report published recently suggested that senior French journalists received payments to circulate their agenda. It also revealed controversial links between the two journalists and individuals involved in anti-Semitism and controversial financial activities.
Middle East autocratic regimes such as Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates are known for their unending human rights violations and abuses. From spying on their citizens, eliminating free speech, committing war crimes in Yemen, to abusing Asian workers, both regimes have created an ugly image and brand for their petrodollar monarchies. For us in France and Europe, both countries are an example of draconian systems that don’t comply with our ethics and values. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and United Nations reports have all documented thousands of crimes by those monarchies.
Lobbying and Whitewashing
Despite the awful image of both monarchies, some French and European voices put themselves in embarrassing position where they function as propaganda tools and brand management journalists to make the evil looks good and make the abusers look as angels.
The report states, “His name is Abdulrahim Ali. A Controversial figure involved in espionage on political activists and part of the intelligence service in Egypt. The whole story of the book “Qatar Papers” begins and ends with him – the real sponsor and inspirer of the whole project. He is an Egyptian Member of Parliament, elected on the party lists of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, who came to power with a coup on July 2013. Ali’s career is due to foreign financiers. Those financiers, just over a year ago, convinced him to move to Paris. Here, Ali is fighting to sabotage the countries opposed to UAE and Saudi Arabia’s policies. He has gathered around him a team of journalists, most of whom are fired by their publishers – and leads a battle alongside them on the far right, against moderate Islam and inter-religious integration. Ali’s riding a book that seems based on facts and is instead a masterpiece of disinformation: a book written by French reporters Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot, masterfully produced by the Great Wahhabi propaganda Machine.”
Ali was involved in His TV show, Al Sandouq Al Aswad (The Black Box), was stopped after complaints against his behaviours of airing recorded interviews for political activists and journalists in Egypt.
“Qatar Papers Book”, paid by UAE to attack Qatar
In 2014 Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot, wrote a book titled “Qatar, les secrets du coffre-fort” dedicated to undermine the image of Qatar and its impact in various international fields. In 2016, they continued their campaign focusing on Qatar with new book titled “Nos trés cher emirs”, again, with sole focus to attack Qatar and its image by linking it to International terrorism in the Middle East. In the spring of 2019 they published “Qatar Papers”.
Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot gained notoriety in 2004, when they were kidnapped during the Occupation War in Iraq. Already on that occasion, at the time of liberation, their story of imprisonment was not credible and was however controversial. Those who claimed that the two journalists lied were prosecuted, but were later acquitted of court.
In the course of their work as authors, Chesnot and Malbrunot have gained a reputation as polemicists, not as journalists and objective researchers. Before “Qatar Papers”, their previous book, “Nos trés chers Emirs”, was brought to Court by four of the people mentioned in its pages. The Tribunals, with their judgements, have so far shown that Chesnot and Malbrunot have lied;
Even in the journalistic activity, Georges Malbrunot, aimed at defending the President of Syria, Basher Al Assad, has incurred some statements which have proved to be profoundly false and which certainly have damaged his reputation.
At the same time, Georges Malbrunot has for years started collaborating in a campaign to end the international embargo against Iran. Malbrunot operates as a lobbyist in the framework of the alliance between the association called CIE Cercle Iran Économie and the Groupe Sénatorial d’Amitié France – Iran
Malbrunot’s articles, speeches, tweets, and many of his positions are providing positive image of those repressive regimes. This can only indicate his full involvement in their propaganda machine.
A motivated Book
The book falsely and baselessly claimed that Qatar Doha government is infiltrating mainly France, but also the whole western world, in order to undermine the foundations of democracy, to support global jihad, to replace the Christian with the Muslim religion through violence.
“Qatar Papers” is neither an academic nor a journalistic book; it’s a piece of propaganda that falls within the context of anti-Qatar campaign waged by both UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and is part of their aggressive foreign policy against the country. The book is one sided and infested with propaganda and imbalanced argument all of which aims to damage the image of Qatar in France.
The book was used in France as a tool of the Fake News, disinformation, propaganda, and conspiracy theory campaign against Qatar. A limited number of right-wing elements, in association with rouge companies and NGOs and self-declared research centres. The campaign relied on these shadowy entities to misinform the French public about terrorism in the Middle East and its sponsors. The work of these entities has never spoken out about Saudi or UAE sponsored terrorism; and their sole focus was to falsely incriminate Qatar.
Qatar Papers Book and relation with Panama Papers
The Qatar Papers is sponsored by a company involved in the Panama Papers scandal.
Both of Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot were involved in “rouge” and dubious, and dodgy involvement with controversial parties which entirely undermine their credibility. For example, the English version of “Qatar Papers” 2020 is under the sponsorship of Global Watch Analysis which is administered and run by Countries Reports Publishing LTD (CRP) which is a UK based company. CRP is also responsible for editing and translation of the book. After, profound search, we found that CRP is not a publishing, nor a translation nor a proofreading or editing company. It has no offices in London and registered in a house in the far north slums of London. The company is directed by mysterious and controversial person named Thomas Edmund Ashman. We found out that Mr. Ashman is heavily involved in the Panama Papers and is also managing more than 26 companies. There are noticeably clear signs as shown below, which suggest that Ashman is working for Saudi and Emirati and he is just a cover for their rogue activities.
Money from Saudi Arabia and Iran?
According to the report Malbrount seems to also make money from speaking engagements in Saudi Arabia and also from working as lobbyist for Iran.
So, with the time, and the lack of political and commercial success of “Qatar Papers” and the propaganda project connected to it, while Chesnot has become very out of the way, Malbrunot becomes more and more present and assertive, to the point of going to speak at the Saudi Media Forum in Riyadh and argue that the Western press is exaggerating when it talks about Islamic terrorism as well as thanking Saudi Arabia and its journalists for the progress made towards democracy, pluralism and professionalism – all things that certainly do not support Malbrunot’s reputation.
Malbrount is also involved in a mysterious company tourism company where he was listed as speaker in Cruise Ships to Dubai which seems to be cover for obtaining money.
A report by DCT suggested revealed unclear links between Qatar Papers’ Malbrount and Tourism company in France. able to conclusively document where the huge sums needed to pay for the parallel production of the book and the film “Qatar Papers” came from, but highlights the fact that the company of Lionel Rabiet, Croisières d ‘Exception Sarl Paris, has deposited financial statements for over 10 million Euros per year without being able to demonstrate some entrepreneurial activity, which suggests that that company has received the necessary money from foreigner political sponsors, perhaps even those of Malbrunot’s many participation in conferences in the Middle East. The book “Qatar Papers”, in itself, has so far obtained negligible sales figures, both in France and in the United Kingdom, in the United States and in Italy;
Georges Malbrunot has strange links that with Croisières d’Exception Sarl, a company claim to work in organisations sea trips around the world including UAE. We have found little evidence about such Trips. We also noted an irregular jump in their income between 2017 to 2020 that doesn’t fit with their company activity. Malbrunot maybe has the questions about his relation with this company and the trips to UAE in 2019? Where there any trips to Dubai? Did he speak onboard of these trips? How much he was paid for that trip? How much was entirely paid by Croisières d’Exception between 2017 to 2020?
Involvement with anti-Semites
The writers choose to work with controversial Global Watch Analysis (GWA) which is headed by antisemitic director, Atmane Tazaghart who once was fired from France 24 News. Tazaghart, former editor in chief of the Arab section of France 24, was suspended from his duties following the discovery of comments he had made during an interview on a Lebanese pro-Hezbollah channel Al Mayadeen, funded by Iran in 2013. The video of the interview was published on April 22 by the electronic newspaper “All4syria”, and the information was spotted by the Jewish Tribune.
Our doubts became deeper when we discovered that Malbrunot was involved in promoting Tourism in UAE and other business projects in Saudi Arabia. We also found out that Malbrunot was listed as a speaker in a Paris based cruise company in Trips to UAE. Yet, we found no advance of his involvement in these trips. We noted that the Cruise company had large amounts of money going into its account in a short period of time. Our analysis suggest that Cruise company could be involved directly or indirectly in the businesses of Malbrunot and his clients!
Ian Hamel, a freelance who has been writing for decades only in small local Swiss newspapers, who has published a biography of one of the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, Tariq Ramadan – a book, which is under criminal investigation by the Swiss judicial authorities for falsifying documents, defamation and other related crimes.
Not to forget that Malbrunot is also working with Abdelrahim Ali, a man known for helping Egyptian regimes crackdown in free speech including the use of violence.
Who promoted the Book?
A report by Democracy Centre For Transparency (DCT) found out that the book has been immediately and exclusively promoted by Saudi/UAE/Egyptian media outlets, known for either their bias for these States or being part of the States’ owned media – in addition of apparent links with intelligence services in the Middle East. This includes Al Arabiya TV, Skynews Arabia, Alkhaleej Newspaper, the Arab Weekly, Al Bayan Newspapers, the Arab News and El Ain, as well as dozen other outlets.
The promotion of the Book was also made by individuals and bodies funded by Saudi Arabia and UAE.
Meanwhile, CEMO, the Saudi paid Studies Center of Abdelraheem Ali, has launched its own NGO, Global Watch Analysis (GWA), based in Paris, coordinated by Abdelraheem Ali, Atmane Tazaghart and Ian Hamel, and which has started a feverish propaganda action against Qatar, focused on the thesis on existence of a structural alliance between the government of Qatar.