An Apology 1249


I am so committed to getting my book finished I really don’t have time or energy to blog at the moment, and realise it has been very desultory the last few weeks. I am well and happy, it is just that writing a properly researched history is incredibly intensive. I realise there is much of great interest happening in the world, but I must sometimes cut myself off from it.

This is why I don’t ask for donations for the blog…


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1,249 thoughts on “An Apology

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  • Ba'al Zevul

    We’ve been remiss in not spotting a small but interesting additon to Blair Inc. This is “Windrush Ventures No.3 LP, Dega na Shqiperi”, set up as a separate concern in Albania, and acting, according to its financial statement, as an agent for Windrush Ventures No.3 LP back in Blighty. Its published accounts to the end of 2015 indicate just under £65,000 profit before tax (although the currency of the document is Albanian lek, which at one lek to the penny makes for a temporary quickening of the pulse). As noted previously, Blair reportedly finished his mysterious project in Albania earlier this year – believed to be not unconnected with his advisory role in the facilitation of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline, for which he is presumably being paid by the Azeri-led consortium building it. And. presumably, this moolah is paid via Windrush Ventures, of which WV3LP is the tax-opaque, accountant-immune underground nexus for several golden streams.

    So, WV3LP (Uk) is presumably the paymaster for Wv3LP Dega na Shqiperi’s agency services: Hence we have yet another instance of Blair wearing one hat paying Blair wearing another hat, which, less the agency cut, leaves Blair, in a fez, with around £58,000, while Blair, in a fetching Ascot number with a fascinator, pockets the rest. Before tax, we hasten to add.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      Sorry, that was confused as we attempted to work in the hat analogy. Try again. WRV Blighty is paying WRV Albania for agency services. Blair Albania keeps the whole (post Albanian tax) profit – and he’s probably stitched up the tax with old mate Edi Rama, who runs the place. However we rather doubt if WRVBlighty would pay WRVAlbania more than 10% of the value to WRVBlighty of whatever was going on. Blair Blighty would seem to have pulled in something of the order of £585000 on the Albanian end of whatever it was, alone.

      It’s a bugger doing Tony’s accounts, but you’ve got to hand it to us, we try.

      • Ba'al Zevul

        This may just be coincidental. The World Bank – which as far as we know still employs Blair, and lists him as an ‘expert’ on its website – has just loaned Albania $71 million to spend on hotels. Probably a good investment as the eastern and southern Med become tourist no-go zones.

        http://www.reuters.com/article/us-worldbank-albania-idUSKBN1422FD

        Cherie is not unknown to the World Bank’s corporate investment arm, the IFC, either. But that’s another story.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Our opinion of this should be self-evident, we think:

    http://www.pressreader.com/new-zealand/the-press/20161212/281981787221669

    In short, Blair is proposing that his charities should collect ‘data on mosques and schools in African nations under the banner of ‘countering extremism”, before making these available to such humanitarian icons in states with which Blair Inc has relations as Paul Kagame, Abdel al-Sisi, Uhuru Kenyatta, and so forth. Even his own employees are reportedly upset about this, and no wonder. Except jolly Jim Murphy, now taking the Blair £200K, whose idea it appears to have been.

    The Sinday Times (paywall) has this today, but Pressreader gives the article in full.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Is there no end to the man’s impudence? No.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4024370/Boris-Johnson-knocks-bid-Blair-funding-taxpayer-s-bill-ex-PM-hits-3MILLION-year.html

    Why should we fund his Middle East project? It’s not advancing our interests by one iota – quite the reverse. Blair thinks he can put the bite on the taxpayer because he believes he is a government agent. It’s time to tell him he isn’t. Well done, Boris! Let this be the dawn of official clarity as to Blair’s motives and intentions.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    The cosy relationship between Eurotone and Edi Rama apparently continues, despite reports that Blair Inc had finished its business in Albania. Rama is believed very recently to have been in London, talking to Blair, World at One and the Times with his take on Brexit. Very supportive, Edi, and we just loved the marker-pen office doodles you exhibited in NY last week, too.

    https://abc24.al/rama-takon-tony-blair-top-channel-albania-news-lajme/

    (Old pic, but note Blair’s puppy-awaiting-pat posture)

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/blog/live/2016/apr/26/eu-referendum-frank-field-speech-be-labour-second-longest-suicide-note-says-frank-field-politics-live

    Edi punting Blair’s TAP project also shown.

    Small world.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    The post-truth story that Jeremy Corbyn ‘walked out’ of a Labour shindig when the assembled Blairites began to sing ‘Things Can Only Get Better’ – the ditty whose romantic nature was fully evident by the end of the era it ushered in – was uncritically copied by UK papers. It even made a few aggregators. But neglecting hnvnews.co.uk – a newcomer to the UK media scene, run by a web design company in Ankara, Turkey – whose main sources appear to be the Express and the Guardian – foreign interest was confined to lkub.al , an Albanian aggregator, and indeksonline.net, also Albanian, whose treatment of Edi Rama is shall we say uncritical:

    http://indeksonline.net/lajmet/laburistet-ne-britani-kerkojne-rikthimin-e-tony-blair-kryetari-i-partise-largohet-nga-festa-42743/

    The story has been denied by some of those present – Corbyn left for another engagement before the hilarity began, the brave rebels shrieking their defiance only after he was out of earshot – although it will doubtless continue to be regarded as fact by those nostalgic for a former parliamentary majority based on a collection of untruths. Only the Mirror and Huffpo seem to have pursued the non-story to that conclusion.

    And that’s about all there is about Tony, today. We await his excruciating Christmas card with impatience.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    The owner of the soakaway Sun’s a liar. Who knew? Tony did.

    https://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/dec/20/meeting-notes-contradict-murdoch-claim-not-to-have-asked-pms-for-help

    Blair, the minutes show, said he was “instinctively sympathetic to what Murdoch was trying to achieve” and “offered to reflect on how best to approach the commission”. He added that he “would get our experts in Brussels to look into it and might take it up with Kohl”, according to the records written by Blair’s private secretary, Angus Lapsley.

    Blair’s chief of staff, Jonathan Powell, and communications director, Alastair Campbell, as well as the Downing Street adviser James Purnell, who went on to become secretary of state for culture, media and sport, also attended the meeting.

    Tony, of course, had invited Rupert to grab him by the balls in order to get the Murdoch media behind him the previous year. And ‘if you have them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow’, in the words of the late T. Pratchett (whom God preserve).

  • Ba'al Zevul

    This from the Iraq Enquiry Digest: an FoI request reveals that no material evidence of a breach of UN 1441 was advanced, before citing such a breach as a justification for war.

    http://www.iraqinquirydigest.org/?p=15463#more-15463

    The Report states that the evidence underpinning Blair’s unequivocal view* was never made available to the Inquiry.

    The Cabinet Office parried my freedom of information request for this evidence for a considerable time. Consequently, I modified my request to seek the official record which should have been made by Blair’s senior civil service advisors (e.g. Rycroft) to provide an audit trail necessary to hold this decision making to account. This is particularly important as, in Goldsmith’s admission, it could be brought before a court.

    * http://www.iraqinquiry.org.uk/media/244331/2003-03-15-letter-rycroft-to-brummell-iraq.pdf#search=rycroft

    The absence of any such record denies vital evidence to any investigation by a court of this particular decision making process- working to a civil or criminal prosecution.

    It would appear an unarguable example of misconduct by either Blair or his senior civil servants (or both).

    NOTE: These URL’s are genuine. At least one Google link to this story in fact goes to a phoney site. Care needed.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Sebastian Ghita, who, a reader may recall, was allegedly rewarded by Romania’s Victor Ponta with a political sinecure after Ghita had facilitated the transfer of a ridiculous amount of money to the Office of Tony Blair, in exchange for an appearance by Blair to ‘validate*’ Ponta’s candidacy in the 2014 elections….has left the country. Now read on-

    http://adevarul.ro/locale/ploiesti/surse-judiciare-sebastian-ghita-fugit-romania-fostul-deputat-aparut-ultima-data-public-19-decembrie-1_585a94fa5ab6550cb8a2fb1f/

    last activity on his account watsupp on a phone that uses it frequently was on 19 December at 23.05. Judicial sources say that there is information, since Tuesday evening that Ghita managed to flee the country.

    Citeste mai mult: adevarul.ro/locale/ploiesti/surse-judiciare-sebastian-ghita-fugit-romania-fostul-deputat-aparut-ultima-data-public-19-decembrie-1_585a94fa5ab6550cb8a2fb1f/index.html ( + Google Translate)

    So the ‘Ponta-Blair’ case, as it is being called, isn’t as over as some might wish, then.

    * Really not sure if that’s the right word at all.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Probably worth a wider audience:

    http://www.welfareweekly.com/tony-blair-destroyed-britains-faith-benefits-system-claim-researchers/

    In 1991, 26% agreed that if benefits were less generous people would ‘stand on their own two feet’. By 2007 this figure had doubled to 52% and now stands at 54%.

    Only three-in-ten now believe that benefits are too low and should be increased, compared to three-quarters in 1998 – just one year before ‘New Deal’.

    Incidentally, and worth repeating every time the Daily Mail aims a kick at the downed –

    Public understanding about benefits if often far from the reality. A poll by Ipsos Mori in 2013 revealed that 29% of the British public believed that the UK spends more on Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) than pensions. In reality we spend 15 times more on pensions than JSA.

    The public also believe that £24 out of every £100 spent on benefits is claimed fraudulently, compared with official estimates of £0.70 per £100.

  • Ba\'al Zevul

    Apologies for the hiatus to anyone who might be following this sordid saga. Most unusually, Blair neither went anywhere nor did anything over Christmas/New Year. Or at least, he wasn’t putting out press releases or annoying foreigners. As his successor Dave jets out to Bahrain to see if he too can attract some Arab gold, Tony’s Firerush Ventures (which he keeps telling us has been shut down, but it hasn’t according to Companies House – https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/06901376 ) seems to have been enjoying some creative accounting:

    http://uk.businessinsider.com/tony-blairs-firerush-ventures-gets-2-million-bailout-from-windrush-ventures-2017-1

    In which Tony seems to have sold shares in Firerush Ventures, aka himself, to himself, aka Windrush Ventures, watched their value evaporate, dispersed only Tony will know where, been unable to reimburse Windrush and forgiven himself the £2M as it was undoubtedly someone else’s fault as usual.. Should have been a banker – which is exactly what Firerush aspired to be.

    Yet another unignorable hint that Blair Inc’s empire is not the straightest of concerns, we think.

  • Ba\'al Zevul

    Meanwhile, in Romania:

    http://www.intellinews.com/deputy-head-of-romanian-intelligence-services-suspended-as-political-scandal-unfolds-113692/

    And in Malaysia the 1MDB matter continues to create headlines. It will be recalled that Blair advised PetroSaudi, a sortofoilcompany headed by a Saudi prince, which was bankrolled by the Malaysian investment fund – Blair was also advising Malaysia or liked it to be thought he was. PetroSaudi’s been attracting legal attention:

    http://daily-news.gq/petrosaudis-tarek-obaid-is-under-investigation-by-the-swiss-authorities—1mdb-officials-named

    Following the money seems a sound strategy, in bringing Blair to book.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    More is emerging about Blair’s intentions and methodology in the Israel-Palestine conflict:

    https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/david-cronin/was-blairs-sweatshops-palestine-agenda-shaped-labour-donor

    Was de Boer headhunted by Blair based on Cohen’s advice? If so, is this a case of jobs for the boys? Is there a conflict of interests?

    I contacted de Boer, enquiring if Cohen had introduced him to Blair. I also enquired if he was aware that Cohen had helped bankroll Labour when Blair was in Downing Street.

    De Boer sent me a convoluted reply, which did not answer those questions directly. He did, however, confirm that Blair had been aware of his work for Cohen.

    He confirmed, too, that Blair had “steered” Kerry to McKinsey when the secretary of state wished to have a blueprint for the Palestinian economy drawn up. “I also led that work,” he stated.

    Neither Blair nor Cohen replied to requests for comment. (Though I think we’d guessed that.)

    Subsequently….

    Blair stepped down as the Quartet’s representative in 2015. But the operation he led in Jerusalem is still in place.

    When Blair resigned, de Boer took over as head of the office. Because Blair has not been replaced, that means de Boer is now running the show, although he told me: “I am not the [Quartet] representative because I am not a politician.”

    Time to ask who’s paying for this office. If there’s no Quartet representative – and no apparent plans for there to be one – why is there a Quartet office? Regardless of Trump’s mediaeval and partisan approach to the ongoing Israel disaster, he should take a critical look at this cosy refuge for globalising beancounters.

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