Qatar World Cup stadium construction, without pay

This September 2013 video says about itself:

Qatar World Cup 2022: migrant workers forced to work for no pay

Qatar, one of the richest countries on the planet, will be hosting the World Cup in 2022. But much of the Gulf state’s expansion is being built by some of the poorest migrant workers in the world.

In the worst cases, employees are not being paid and work in conditions of forced labour. Each month dozens of young Nepalese migrant workers are returning home in coffins.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Stadium builders in Qatar work for seven months on World Cup stadium without salary

Stadium construction workers in Qatar worked for seven months without getting paid for it. That reports human rights organization Amnesty International.

It is said that about a hundred foreign workers are building the Al Bayt stadium in Al Khor. The World Cup will take place in Qatar in 2022. The opening match is on November 21. The final is four weeks later, on December 18.

The workers told Amnesty about the hardships they endured working for months without receiving a salary.

“They are concerned about their families”, said Steve Cockburn, head of the Economy and Social Justice Department at Amnesty International. “Their families depend on the money they send home from Qatar.”

Partly paid

The human rights organization recently raised the matter with the Qatari authorities, the world football association FIFA and the local organizing committee. Amnesty says that a number of employees have now received part of their salary, but that many salaries still need to be paid. …

“This case shows how easy it is still to exploit workers in Qatar, even when building one of the crown jewels of the upcoming FIFA World Cup,” said Cockburn. “For years we have urged Qatar to reform the system, but the change has clearly not come quickly enough.”

Cockburn thinks FIFA might have brought about those changes. “If FIFA had held its World Cup partners to account for the past decade and used its power to push Qatar to completely reform its systems, we wouldn’t hear the same stories of workers’ suffering.”

Anti-COVID-19 measures, good for Qatar birds

This 26 May 2020 video says about itself:

Qatar’s birdlife thriving amid pandemic restrictions

Global coronavirus lockdowns have allowed nature to flourish.

Every sunset, off the coast of Qatar, a little bit of magic happens as thousands of cormorants return to a small island where they spend their nights.

Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker reports.

Qatar football stadium construction workers not paid

This 2016 Amnesty International video says about itself:

Qatar: World Cup 2022 forced labour

Migrant workers building Khalifa International Stadium in Doha for the 2022 World Cup have suffered systematic abuses, in some cases forced labour, Amnesty International reveals in a new report. The report, “The ugly side of the beautiful game: Labour exploitation on a Qatar 2022 World Cup venue”, blasts FIFA’s shocking indifference to appalling treatment of migrant workers. The number of people working on World Cup sites is set to surge almost ten-fold to around 36,000 in the next two years.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Men’s Football: Qatar stadium workers have not been paid

CONTRACTOR Mercury MENA, which is involved in building the marquee stadium for Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 World Cup, did not pay its workers, leaving them stranded thousands of miles from home, according to a report released today.

The engineering and plumbing firm owes thousands in pounds of wages to workers from countries where many live on less than £1.50 a day, Amnesty International said.

Those employees helped build projects, including Qatar’s Lusail Stadium, which will host the opening and closing matches of the football tournament.

The company, whose website is now down and offices in Doha are shuttered, has not responded to requests for comment.

Qatar’s government said it was investigating, but similar complaints involving the abuse of foreign workers have been common for years in both Doha and other oil-rich nations of the Persian Gulf.

“People from all over the world cheering, laughing, touring some of the beautiful stadiums, recreational sites and hotels here … Will they ever think what are the stories behind those structures?” one worker reportedly asked Amnesty.

“I guess not … Blind eyes are common nowadays.”

Amnesty said it had examined the cases of 78 former employees of Mercury MENA, interviewing 44 and analysing documentation of another 34. Of those, 58 came from Nepal, 15 from India and five from the Philippines, Asian nations that send thousands of labourers, taxi drivers and office workers to the Gulf.

Mercury MENA worked on several projects in Qatar, including the stadium, the new Qatar National Library and a hospital and modern accommodation for labourers, Amnesty said.

Workers told Amnesty that the firm owed them on average between £1,039 to £1,873, a huge sum for their families back home. It said one worker was owed nearly £18,959 after over a decade of work.

Some workers found themselves stuck in Qatar without money and unable to leave the country as local laws require workers to get an exit permit supported by their employer before they leave.

Earlier this month, Qatar partially ended that requirement, part of its internationally criticised “kafala” system that ties expatriate workers to a single employer.

However, Amnesty refutes that claim.

“The exit permit is just one key of Qatar’s notorious ‘kafala’ sponsorship system. This system has fuelled widespread abuse and exploitation of migrant workers, including forced labour,” Amnesty said.

“Although today most workers no longer need their employers’ permission to leave the country, they still need a ‘non-objection certificate’ from their employer to change jobs in Qatar. Many employers refuse to provide such certificates and workers are forced to stay until their contracts finish, which can be up to five years.

“Workers who leave their jobs without employer permission can be reported for ‘absconding’, attracting a criminal charge that could lead to arrest and deportation. This is in contravention of international labour laws and standards.”

Amnesty said Mercury MENA’s chief executive told them in 2017 that his firm “had been the victim of unscrupulous business partners resulting in ‘cashflow problems’ and a number of disputes over payments with contractors and clients.”

Football world championships, 2018, 2022, 2026

This 2019 video is called 2018 FIFA World Cup™ – The Official Film Trailer.

An 8 June 2018 video used to say about itself:

2018 FIFA World Cup Group A, B, C & D Preview | FIFA World Cup Russia Group stage Analysis | ESPN FC


The trainer of the Spanish team, by the way, has been sacked just before the start of the tournament.

This 12 June 2018 video is called WORLD CUP 2018 Group E & F Preview.

Group E are Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia.

Group F are Germany, Mexico, Sweden and South Korea.

This video from Britain is called FIFA World Cup 2018™: ‘Group G’ Tactical Preview.

Group G are Belgium, Panama, Tunisia and England.

This video from Britain is called FIFA World Cup 2018™: ‘Group H’ Tactical Preview.

Group H are Poland, Senegal, Colombia and Japan.

The first match will be tomorrow, Russia against Saudi Arabia.

I hope Saudi Arabia will not become world champion. Not because I have anything against Saudi footballers; I have not. Like with all other participants, I wish them good and sporting matches. But because it would be abused as propaganda by the Saudi absolute monarchy. A regime killing its own people, killing immigrant workers, killing Bahraini civilians and massively killing Yemeni civilians. A regime threatening to behead women activists for fighting for the right of women to drive cars, possibly giving them the death penalty as revenge for their victory in that struggle.

I hope the team of some small country with not that much money will become world champion. Maybe Iceland, Costa Rica, Panama or Tunisia? That will be a very uphill struggle for those teams against favourite teams with much more money. Yet, maybe, as the saying goes, a football is round and can go in any direction …

In 2022, the championship will be in Qatar. One should hope that not yet more construction workers will join the thousands of workers who died under Qatar’s horrible labour situation. And that the present cold war between the Qatari and Saudi monarchies will not become a shooting war.

And still four years later:

WORLD CUP WIN FIFA members have voted to award the 2026 World Cup jointly to the United States, Mexico and Canada. The U.S. last hosted the men’s tournament in 1994.

British anarchist’s victory against Qatar royals

Ian Bone and supporters

By Sam Tobin in London, England:

Friday, February 9, 2018

Courts Anarchist hails ‘victory for free speech’ in Qatar fight

Sam Tobin reports from the High Court

CLASS WAR activist Ian Bone hailed a “victory for free speech” today after the owners of London’s Shard skyscraper dropped an attempt to block a protest against empty luxury flats.

Mr Bone, 70, posted on Facebook last week announcing “weekly actions” outside the Shard, which is ultimately owned by the Qatari royal family.

He added that “the aim is to occupy the empty apartments” and to “start a mass squatting movement.”

All 10 of the apartments on the Shard’s top floor, worth as much as £50 million each, remain unsold five years after the building was opened.

Teighmore Ltd, which owns the leasehold on the Shard, and LBQ Fielden Limited, the owner of proposed development Shard Place, initially applied for an injunction to stop Mr Bone and “persons unknown” from protesting.

David Forsdick QC, for the companies, said Mr Bone’s statements had “generated some wider interest” which meant there was a “clear risk of trespass” by others.

But Mr Forsdick told the court that the two companies had incorrectly drawn the boundaries of the land and only wanted to prevent occupation of the flats.

He added: “This is not about a right to protest … this simply stops him coming on to our land [and] doing stuff he’s not supposed to do.”

Ian Brownhill, for Mr Bone, said his client’s “principal concern [is] lawfully exercising his right to protest.”

Mr Bone himself insisted that he would not seek to enter the property or “incite in any way” others to do so, an assurance that the court accepted.

Leigh-Ann Mulcahy QC, sitting as a High Court judge, said she would grant an injunction in relation to persons unknown given the “risk of trespass.”

Speaking outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Mr Bone said: “This is a great victory for free speech and class politics.”

He then quoted from an intelligence report on Class War, which said the group “vocally supports, and engages in, civil disobedience, violence and anarchy as acceptable methods of pursuing their objectives.”

Meanwhile, a campaigner lost a High Court bid today to block a widely opposed £2 billion housing scheme in north London.

Gordon Peters challenged the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV), a private-public partnership to develop housing that would involve a 50-50 split between the council and private developer Lendlease, but Mr Justice Ouseley dismissed his case entirely.

Zionist Organisation of America needs to come clean about Qatari cash: here.

UAE hacking of Qatari government Internet sites

This video says about itself:

U.S. Believes UAE Orchestrated Hacking That Sparked Gulf Crisis

16 July 2017

The U.S. intelligence community believes that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) orchestrated the hacking incident that sparked the diplomatic crisis between Qatar and Gulf countries, the Washington Post reported on Sunday. James Valles reports. (BNO News)

From the Washington Post in the USA:

UAE orchestrated hacking of Qatari government sites, sparking regional upheaval, according to U.S. intelligence officials

By Karen DeYoung and Ellen Nakashima

July 16 at 6:25 PM

The United Arab Emirates orchestrated the hacking of Qatari government news and social media sites in order to post incendiary false quotes attributed to Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani, in late May that sparked the ongoing upheaval between Qatar and its neighbors, according to U.S. intelligence officials.

Officials became aware last week that newly analyzed information gathered by U.S. intelligence agencies confirmed that on May 23, senior members of the UAE government discussed the plan and its implementation. The officials said it remains unclear whether the UAE carried out the hacks itself or contracted to have them done. The false reports said that the emir, among other things, had called Iran an “Islamic power” and praised Hamas.

The hacks and posting took place on May 24, shortly after President Trump completed a lengthy counterterrorism meeting with Persian Gulf leaders in neighboring Saudi Arabia and declared them unified.

Citing the emir’s reported comments, the Saudis, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt immediately banned all Qatari media. They then broke relations with Qatar and declared a trade and diplomatic boycott, sending the region into a political and diplomatic tailspin that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has warned could undermine U.S. counterterrorism efforts against the Islamic State [ISIS].

In a statement released in Washington by its ambassador, Yousef al-Otaiba, the UAE said the Post article was “false.”

“The UAE had no role whatsoever in the alleged hacking described in the article,” the statement said. “What is true is Qatar’s behavior. Funding, supporting, and enabling extremists from the Taliban to Hamas and Qadafi.

Even if these UAE accusations would happen to be true, then it is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. As the UAE used to be one of only three countries (including also Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, not including Qatar) to recognize the Taliban regime in Kabul, Afghanistan; and as Qatar’s armed forces played a prominent role in the NATO regime change war in Libya, which caused the murder of Qadafi and the present bloodbath after bloodbath.

Inciting violence, encouraging radicalization, and undermining the stability of its neighbors.”

The revelations come as emails purportedly hacked from Otaiba’s private account have circulated to journalists over the past several months. That hack has been claimed by an apparently pro-Qatari organization calling itself GlobalLeaks. Many of the emails highlight the UAE’s determination over the years to rally Washington thinkers and policymakers to its side on the issues at the center of its dispute with Qatar.

All of the Persian Gulf nations are members of the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State. More than 10,000 U.S. troops are based at Qatar’s al-Udeid Air Base, the U.S. Central Command’s regional headquarters, and Bahrain is the home of the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet. All are purchasers of U.S. defense equipment and tied to U.S. foreign policy priorities in numerous ways.

The conflict has also exposed sharp differences between Trump — who has clearly taken the Saudi and UAE side in a series of tweets and statements — and Tillerson, who has urged compromise and spent most of last week in shuttle diplomacy among the regional capitals that has been unsuccessful so far. …

U.S. intelligence and other officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive matter. …

In what the [US Donald Trump] administration hailed as a high point of the visit, the Saudis agreed to purchase $110 billion in U.S. arms and signed letters of intent to invest hundreds of billions in deals with U.S. companies.

He had told the Saudis in advance, Trump said in an interview Wednesday with the Christian Broadcasting Network, that the agreements and purchases were a prerequisite for his presence. “I said, you have to do that, otherwise I’m not going,” Trump recounted. …

The day after the boycott was announced, Trump indirectly took credit for it. “So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with King and 50 countries already paying off,” he tweeted. “They said they would take a hard line on funding extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar.” …

Qatar rejected the demands. Tillerson appeared to agree that they were draconian. But when he called for the boycott to be eased, saying it was causing both security and humanitarian hardship, Trump said the measure was harsh “but necessary.” …

Asked about Trump’s tweets and other comments, he [Tillerson] noted that being secretary of state “is a lot different than being CEO of Exxon,” his previous job, “because I was the ultimate decision-maker.”

This report is contrary to earlier accusations by CNN that Russia was behind the hacking.

Inside the alleged financial plot by the United Arab Emirates to steal the World Cup from Qatar.

U.S. HACKERS HELPED UAE SPY ON AL JAZEERA CHAIRMAN A group of American hackers who once worked for U.S. intelligence agencies helped the United Arab Emirates spy on a BBC host, the chairman of Al Jazeera and other prominent Arab media figures during a tense 2017 confrontation pitting the UAE and its allies against the Gulf state of Qatar. The American operatives worked for Project Raven, a secret Emirati intelligence program that spied on dissidents, militants and political opponents of the UAE monarchy. [Reuters]

Twitter users blast UAE over Emirates ban on Tunisian women: here.

UAE: human rights defender Obaid Al-Zaabi released over three years after being found innocent: here.

The UK government is being accused of fanning the flames of the Gulf crisis after it included both sides of the dispute in a newly published list of countries identified by officials as “priority markets” for the UK’s £12bn defence industry, Middle East Eye can reveal. Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain are listed alongside regional rival Qatar on a list of 46 nations highlighted by Whitehall officials as potentially lucrative markets for weapons.

Trump sells lots of weapons to ‘terrorist’ Qatar

This video from the USA says about itself:

Trump Accuses Qatar Of Terrorism, IMMEDIATELY Sells Them Weapons

25 June 2017

If a nation is sponsoring terrorism, maybe you shouldn’t sell them billions in military hardware. John Iadarola, Michael Shure, and Mark Thompson, hosts of The Young Turks, discuss.

“The tiny Persian Gulf nation of Qatar is embroiled in a massive diplomatic crisis with Saudi Arabia and other close US allies. The Trump administration openly accuses it of sponsoring terrorism. So why did Washington just finalize a $12 billion arms deal that could give Qatar some of the most powerful military fighter jets on the planet?

The deal was in the works for a while — it’s actually part of a larger $21 billion agreement made back in November 2016, in the waning weeks of the Obama administration. This portion of the pact, a $12 billion deal for 36 F-15 planes, was signed by Defense Secretary James Mattis on Wednesday so contracting actions could begin.

The move is particularly striking because it comes while the Trump administration publicly struggles to figure out how to handle the wealthy nation, which houses one of the largest American military bases in the Middle East … .”

Read more here.

Qatar diplomatic crisis: what are Trump’s financial links to the region? Here.

The 10-day ultimatum delivered last week by Saudi Arabia and its allies—Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain—to Qatar has dramatically escalated their confrontation with the tiny Persian Gulf state, raising the prospect of military conflict: here.

Gulf confrontation worsens as deadline looms for Saudi ultimatum to Qatar: here.

Just days before the G20 summit in Hamburg, and in the midst of the Qatar crisis, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel traveled to the Arabian Peninsula: here.

Gulf crisis poised to escalate as Saudi-led Qatar ultimatum expires: here.

Middle East: Top Trump fundraiser received cash from UAE adviser ‘to push anti-Qatar laws through Congress’: here.

‘Qatar, close Al Jazeera, your money or your life’, Saudi Arabia demands

This video says about itself:

20 June 2017

Gulf crisis: Camels become casualties of Qatar blockade

More than a 1,000 camels have been caught up in the dispute between Qatar and neighbouring Gulf countries.

Saudi Arabia shut its border with Qatar on June 5 and travellers between the two countries, including camels, found themselves stranded.

Saudi authorities expelled more than 12,000 camels and 5,000 sheep and their Qatari herders from its territory.

Al Jazeera’s Tony Birtley reports.

From Associated Press today:

Qatar’s neighbors issue steep list of demands to end crisis


WASHINGTON — Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries that have cut ties to Qatar issued a steep list of demands Thursday to end the crisis, insisting that their Persian Gulf neighbor shutter Al-Jazeera, cut back diplomatic ties to Iran and sever all ties with the Muslim Brotherhood.

In a 13-point list — presented to the Qataris by Kuwait, which is helping mediate the crisis — the countries also demand an end to Turkey’s military presence in Qatar. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the list in Arabic from one of the countries involved in the dispute.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain broke ties with Qatar this month over allegations the Persian Gulf country funds terrorism

If the Saudi etc. governments would be serious about that, then they would have to break ties with themselves as well.

— an accusation that President Donald Trump has echoed. Those countries have now given Qatar 10 days to comply with all of the demands, which include paying an unspecified sum in compensation.

Qatari officials in Doha did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the AP. But the list included conditions that the gas-rich nation had already insisted would never be met, including shutting down Al-Jazeera. Qatar’s government has said it won’t negotiate until Arab nations lift their blockade. The demands were also likely to elicit Qatari objections that its neighbors are trying to dictate its sovereign affairs by imposing such far-reaching requirements.

Only a day earlier, [United States] Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had warned the demands must be “reasonable and actionable.” The U.S. issued that litmus test amid frustration at how long it was taking Saudi Arabia and others to formalize a list of demands, complicating U.S. efforts to bring about a resolution to the worst Gulf diplomatic crisis in years.

According to the list, Qatar must refuse to naturalize citizens from the four countries and expel those currently in Qatar, in what the countries describe as an effort to keep Qatar from meddling in their internal affairs.

They are also demanding that Qatar hand over all individuals who are wanted by those four countries for terrorism;

Governments like of Saudi Arabia or Bahrain call any person critical of dictatorship or pro-human rights a ‘terrorist’.

stop funding any extremist entities that are designated as terrorist groups by the U.S.; and provide detailed information about opposition figures that Qatar has funded, ostensibly in Saudi Arabia and the other nations. …

Cutting ties to Iran would prove incredibly difficult. Qatar shares a massive offshore natural gas field with Iran which supplies the small nation that will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup its wealth.

Not only must Qatar shut down the Doha-based satellite broadcaster, the list says, but also all of its affiliates. That presumably would mean Qatar would have to close down Al-Jazeera’s English-language sister network.

Supported by Qatar’s government, Al-Jazeera is one of the most widely watched Arabic channels, but it has long drawn the ire of Mideast governments for airing alternative viewpoints. …

and the ire of United States president George W Bush, who wanted to bomb it for criticism of his Iraq war

The list also demands that Qatar stop funding a host of other news outlets including Arabi21 and Middle East Eye.

If Qatar agrees to comply, the list asserts that it will be audited once a month for the first year, and then once per quarter in the second year after it takes effect. For the following 10 years, Qatar would be monitored annually for compliance.

The Qatari absolute monarchy already censors Al-Jazeera; including censorship of news which the Bahraini royal dictatorship dislikes. Now the absolute monarchies Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, and the military dictatorship Egypt, demand that all its ‘alternative viewpoints’ are killed, leaving only propaganda for absolute monarchies or military dictatorships in media.

Saudi Arabia and its allies have issued an extraordinary ultimatum to Qatar that sets the stage for a dramatic escalation of the confrontation that began with the imposition of a diplomatic and economic blockade in early June. Qatar has been given 10 days to agree to a sweeping list of 13 demands or face unspecified consequences. Acquiescence would transform the tiny, energy-rich Gulf state into a political vassal of Riyadh: here.

Barclays bank charged with fraud

This 20 June 2017 Financial Times video from Britain says about itself:

Barclays, its former chief executive and three other ex-senior executives have been charged with fraud by UK authorities over side-deals struck with Qatar during emergency cash calls to stave off a government bailout during the 2008 financial crisis.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Barclays charged with fraud over crash

Wednesday 21st June 2017

BARCLAYS and four of its former top bankers have been charged with fraud, the first criminal charges to be brought in Britain against a bank over financial crisis deals.

The Serious Fraud Office announced yesterday that it had brought charges of conspiracy to commit fraud against the bank itself and Roger Jenkins, Thomas Kalaris, Richard Boath and ex-chief executive John Varley.

It follows a five-year probe into the bank’s emergency fundraising from Qatari investors in 2008 as the group sought to avoid a government bailout during the banking crisis.

Qatari investors — the state-backed Qatar Holding and Challenger Universal — pumped £6.1 billion into Barclays in two fundraisings in 2008.

In November that year, Barclays agreed to issue a £2.4bn loan made available to the State of Qatar.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) slapped a £50 million penalty on the bank in 2013 after finding it had failed to disclose arrangements and fees it paid to the Qatari investors.

The defendants and a bank representative will appear at Westminster magistrates’ court on July 3.

Will the Barclays fat cats be jailed; or will they just get a slap on the wrist, being ‘too big too jail‘?

Barclays Bank charged by Serious Fraud Office over Qatar loan. The SFO last year brought the same charges against parent company Barclays PLC: here. And here.

Pentagon-Qatar naval exercises begin

This video says about itself:

USA agrees deal to sell F-15 jets to Qatar

15 June 2017

Qatar‘s Ministry of Defense said on Wednesday the country signed a deal to buy F-15 fighter jets from the United States for $12 billion.

The deal was completed despite the Gulf country being criticised recently by US President Donald Trump for supporting terrorism.

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and representatives from Qatar were set to meet Wednesday to seal the agreement. Bloomberg News reported the deal was for 36 jets.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

US and Qatari warships start exercises after $12bn fighter sale

Friday 16th June 2017

QATARI and US warships began naval exercises yesterday, shortly after the two countries agreed a $12 billion (£9.5bn) deal for US fighter jets.

The sale underscores the US military’s close ties to Qatar, where it has its largest air base in the region, at which Britain also stations forces.

There has been some confusion over the US position in tensions between Gulf states, with Donald Trump appearing to back Qatar’s neighbours after they effectively blockaded it, on the very rich grounds that Doha supports Islamist extremists.

‘Very rich’ as the Saudi and allied absolute monarchies also support jihadists.

It is speculated that the motivation is a mix of Doha’s backing of the Muslim Brotherhood, relationship with Iran, and succession wrangling among Saudi Arabia’s royals.

Meanwhile, authorities in Bahrain are interrogating someone on suspicion of voicing support for Qatar — an offence that carries a five-year jail term since Bahrain cut off ties.

The Trump administration has sold Qatar $12 billion worth of weapons days after the president said the country was funding terrorism.

US ambassador to Qatar steps down after posting critical tweets about Donald Trump: here.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar: Tribal feud with regional and global implications: here. And here.