An Apology 2256

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…

2,256 thoughts on “An Apology

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  • Ba'al Zevul


    There isn’t enough hot air around Abu Dhabi, so the kapo of kewl will be adding his own torrid emissions –

    March 2-3 at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. The Global (what else?) Financial Markets Forum 2016.

    13.45 on the 2nd for three-quarters of an unendurable hour In Conversation With Tony Blair*, world-renowned economic genius. No doubt there will be an opportunity to buy some of his contacts at the Gala Dinner at 2030 hrs. His Unworldliness will probably be seated below the sheeps’ eyes, though. Afternoon tea and stickies at 1600 on the 3rd is in honour of Women in Business, which would be a natural for Cherie, but she might have to veil up, and isn’t yet listed.

    *The standard guff.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    We’ve just missed a public blairing, earlier today:

    Blair and Panetta’s important sounding Commission is, in full, the “CSIS Commission on Countering Violent Extremism”, which might be grateful for the thought that the best way of countering violent extremism is not to stir it up in the first place. The CSIS is yet another think-tank/lobby group/cash cow for the politico-military-industrial elite, with the usual American supremacist agenda. Wikispooks is out of date, but still interesting on this:

    The keywords Microsoft, Clinton, Defense Secretary (Panetta isn’t the only one) and, intriguingly, Teresa May, go well with searches for CSIS.

    So who’s funding the CSIS

  • Ba'al Zevul

    …? Meant to delete that, but students of the arcane may care to Google Mark Penn, for one.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    And Cherie Blair keeps on giving…

    Until very recently, (Baroness -BZ)Scotland declared in the register of “interests” at the British House of Lords that she is a member of the Advisory Board of Omnia Strategy, the Cherie Blair firm now revealed to have accepted questionable payments.

    Additionally, Scotland was also deeply financially connected to Abdulla Yameen, the Maldives president. In 2012, she received US$108,000 in state funds “to give a legal opinion” against the same Commonwealth Secretariat she has now been elected to head, when it wanted to investigate human rights abuses by the Maldives leader.

    The 2012 Audit Report of the Maldives government revealed that she was paid another US$71,700. The auditor stated that this “bonus” payment violated Article 96 (c) of the constitution, the Public Finance Act, and public finance regulations.

    But, as pointed out by J.J. Robinson, the former editor of the only independent, English-language news service in the Maldives, “Waheed’s government was past caring”. So, presumably, was Baroness Scotland.

    Robinson’s undisputed revelations are contained in his book, The Maldives: Islamic Republic Tropical Autocracy, published in 2015 by Hurst and Company, London.

    Baroness Scotland is the newly-elected Commonwealth secretary-general. Cherie’s charidee activities make much of ’empowering women’. Whoops.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Several pronouncements from the Dear Leader’s PR team today – the smell of dead cat distracting the largely indifferent world from Cherie’s little problem with the Maldives is inescapable. No need for links, but,

    1. If the UK leaves the EU the firstborn will die of a plague (and entities like JP Morgan will be most annoyed, to say nothing of the murkier tyrants to whom Tony has hinted of EU development funding routed through TBA).

    2. Tony does not understand the appeal of Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn. If you’re having a flunkey read this to you, Tone, it’s because they’re not you, basically.

    3. Tony is supporting Shrillary for Pres. Thereby repaying years of investment by the Clintons and the Clinton Foundation, his inspiration, source of seed capital and contacts, and mentor. Of course he is. Though a good number of Shrillary fans can be expected to shift to Sanders on learning this. And millions of swing voters are even now agonising: “Does Jonathan Powell support her too? If Peter Mandelson supports her, will that be enough to swing it?” Or not.

    Expect further self-magnification between now and the (hypothetical) publication of Chilcot’s findings. Which is not the only reason Mr Blair is an extremely worried man….

  • Ba'al Zevul


    A moment’s silence, please, while we remember Geri Horner’s four-legged friend, Harry. Rescued from Battersea Dogs’ Home, Harry, after 16 years bringing happiness to all who knew him (I’m guessing, but hey) passed away yesterday.

    I will always remember him with affection, because he once took a dump on the floor of Tony Blair’s study at Chequers.

    Harry was a shihtzu….fnarrr.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    The new e-Indie has managed to expand (free!) on the Merdeoch rag’s earlier story on Tony’s latest scam:

    Noting that the 24-member commission had only 4 Muslim members…During the panel’s launch, a US State Department official said, addressing Mr Blair: “You yourself noted that this was largely a struggle within Islam … If they’re the target audience … it seems to me half the commission should be Muslim.”

    But this perhaps misses the point of Blair’s dog-whistle messaging, as featured on the TBFF website for years now. He’s not interested in repairing the enormous damage his decisions, as much as anyone’s, have inflicted on Western-Islamic relations. And he’s not remotely interested in the violent extremism practised by friendly states. He’s interested in the arms industry, big oil, money and mining, and in promoting a neocon agenda by force. His perceived antagonist is Islam whenever it asserts its own values, which are antithetical to his wholly materialist world-view. Violent Islamist extremism is merely a handy stick to beat the mainstream with. And the new project will strengthen his ties – its focus is America – with the rising generation of chickenhawks, and keep his abominable profile in the media spotlight.

    That said, the Indie has a point:

    The business is a finely balanced one. It is also true that conservative Muslim groups, such as Cage, exaggerate the oppressiveness of counter-extremism projects, trying to win support by claiming – spuriously – that they are fundamentally Islamophobic.

    There is, of course, a simple way for governments and think-tanks to block off such criticism. Seek out, support and hire people who have conspicuous roots in the places their projects aim to reach.

    But Blair is ‘fundamentally Islamophobic’: his actions speak louder than his spin. And his other complex operations visibly rely on placing Blair-friendly outsiders close to a rare selection of morally-bankrupt national leaders. He doesn’t do roots.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    See 23rd Feb: Mark Penn’s funding of CSIS. This gem from Salon:

    Mark Penn is a pollster and political strategist and amoral P.R. creature who is generally wrong about everything. To find out how incompetent Mark Penn is at campaign strategy and how personally toxic he is in a campaign working environment go to your local library and check out literally any book about the 2008 presidential race. For the basics, check here and here. In short, he had no clue how the primaries actually worked and constantly pushed for the campaign to go as nasty and negative as possible, and everyone hated him and he was bad at his job and eventually he was fired.

    Fired, but still well compensated. Since Clinton’s 2008 campaign ended, she has milked her donors — and Obama supporters — for millions of dollars to pay off her campaign’s debt. $5.4 million of the debt — all of it, that is — was owed to Mark Penn’s firm Penn, Schoen & Berland. Anyone donating money to Clinton since 2008 has essentially been paying off the man who did more than anyone outside the Obama campaign to prevent her from becoming president. The debt was only just paid off in full in January, just as Clinton left the State Department and shortly before the new pro-Clinton super PAC began operating.

    It all looks very incestuous.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    The Daily Mail is beginning to drop attractive morsels from Tom Bower’s new biography, published in March, which the Mail will be serialising. Looks like Blair might well look worried, and seek ever-more-futile projects to distract us from his wretched legacy. Now showing, a good bit more detail on how this soi-disant social democrat undermined UK workers’ rights and deceived the country on immigration. Not a new story, or one that’s over yet – but at least the current exploiters don’t claim to be socialists. All media everywhere, but I like this summary of how democracy has worked since Blair:


  • Ba'al Zevul

    Mr. Blair is believed to be in Bahrain today. Details are unavailable, but it is indisputable that he will be talking. Tomorrow, the Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    More extracts from Bower’s book in the Mail, including this:

    In May 2015, Mr Blair flew to Nigeria to meet the new president, Muhammadu Buhari, on a jet chartered by Evgeny Lebedev, the son of a former KGB colonel who owns the London Evening Standard newspaper.

    The next day, he visited the British High Commissioner for a comprehensive security briefing on the threat posed by the Islamic terror group Boko Haram.

    Armed with this secret information, Mr Blair then visited Mr Buhari’s offices, ostensibly for AGI to set up a so-called Delivery Unit for the president.

    But at one stage, Mr Blair told everyone in the room: ‘Could you all leave us alone now? I have a personal message for the president from David Cameron.’
    Nigerian President-elect Muhammadu Buhari (pictured left), former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Vice President-elect Yemi Osinbajo (right), talk to the media in Abuja, Nigeria, 13 May 2015

    Nigerian President-elect Muhammadu Buhari (pictured left), former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Vice President-elect Yemi Osinbajo (right), talk to the media in Abuja, Nigeria, 13 May 2015

    In fact, says Bower, he spent 20 minutes touting for business on behalf of his private company, Tony Blair Associates – offering to sell the president Israeli drones and other military equipment to help defeat Boko Haram. Mr Buhari is said to have complained: ‘Blair is just after business.’

    This is of course denied by the hard-working spokesperson/flak-catcher at the Dear Leader’s Presidential complex. Who, as quoted, ignores the allegation of flogging Israeli militaria to Nigeria, completely. She also denies the imputation that Blair had security briefings for his Nigerian venture, while at the same time confirming it.

    But we’ve seen that the FCO did brief Blair on a Chinese trip last year, so the allegation is far from absurd.

    Lying bastard. What’s new?

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Mention is also made of Blair brokering the management of Nigeria’s sovereign wealth fund by his employer, JPMorgan. This is inded the cae. Perhaps the UK would have been in better shape today if Blair had thought to arrange something similar when he was PM. But we digress – The Nigerian fund is doing very nicely, thank you:

    But is it what it seems? The fund doesn’t seem to be available for Buhari’s infrastructure scheme:

    and someone unfamiliar with the essentially philanthropic intentions of global finance might well assume that whoever’s getting the profit, it probably isn’t the Nigerian in the street.

    If it’s there at all. Reproducing this from Nairaland, because Oshiomole’s assertion has been taken down from several sites. Seems the Nigerian Government’s commitment to free speech wavered for a minute:

    (dead link cited -BZ)

    Edo State Governor and Chairman of the National Economic Council (NEC) Ad-hoc Committee on the management of the Excess Crude Account (ECA) and related federation accounts issues, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, has said that the Managers of the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) cannot account for $700 million out of the $1billion contributed for the fund.

    Oshiomhole who spoke to State House Correspondents at the Presidential Villa after a meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday night claimed that records made available to his committee showed that only $300 million was left in the fund.

    This is contrary to the claims made by the Managing Director and Chief Executive of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), Uche Orji, that the $1 billion seed fund had been invested and generated a profit of N15.7m into government coffers.

    Oshiomhole however disclosed that the report submitted to his committee only reflected $300 million with the explanation that the money had been invested in the Second Niger Bridge and Abuja-Kaduna rail.

    He however pointed out that the former Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, had earlier told the world that the Abuja-Kaduna rail was financed by a Chinese loan.

    He said “I reported to the media that the Sovereign Wealth people in their report to us, which I have in black and white, showed clearly that they have only $300 million left in the Sovereign Wealth Fund account.

    “We have it in black and white and I can publish it if anybody wants to deny that because it was not submitted to me secretly. It was submitted at plenary of the committee.

    “And then we asked, because I knew that the fund was $1 billion, what was done with $700 million. And they said they have made some investments.

    “We asked them what they invested in and they said the Second Niger Bridge and partially in Kaduna-Abuja rail. That is what they said and I was not alone there.”

    Good governance, Tony? Deliverfuckingology, Tony?

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Incidentally, any financial expert is invited to tell me how why a *$1.5 billion* fund is reported as showing annual profit of *N 5.17 billion* in the same sentence. It can’t be anything as transparent as trying to impress, surely? That’s $30M (and falling, with the naira)…2%. A cash ISA would have been nearly as good…

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Blair in Abu Dhabi tomorrow will answer a series of questions on key international challenges affecting the region and the world. and drum up any suckers still happy to pay him for what they can read in any good paper.

    Dunno where he is today. Maybe peripheral to this, in Bahrain, where he was last fingered –

    Wonder why they’re not doing it in Riyadh. Bahrain’s HR record isn’t substantially better than Saudi’s. Maybe they were trying to lessen the irony a bit.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    More lulz from the Prince of Peace, blairing in Bahrain:

    However, he might have been uneasy at this (obligatory, handwringing, probably insincere, but nevertheless uttered) idea;

    Moderated by IPI-MENA director Nejib Frigi, the discussions affirmed the central importance of the Palestinian cause in the Middle East, stressing the need to achieve comprehensive, just and lasting peace and renouncing sectarianism.

    Renouncing sectarianism will be something of a challenge for both Bahrain and Saudi:

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Bubbling under the revelations from Tom Bower’s new biography of Blair, to be published on Thursday following extensive selections in the Mail, is the ongoing frustration of the Northern Ireland Committee in its attempts to get any sense out of Blair on compensation for the victims of Libyan sponsored – and supplied – IRA violence:

    As Robinson says, Blair should be compelled to answer the committee’s questions or give very good and substantiated reasons why he can’t. He’s not too important to be called to account for his actions when in office.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Tony Blair is frightened…

    To Donald, that’s as good as an endorsement.

    On Wednesday, Blair, who governed the U.K. between 1997 and 2007, expressed bemusement and dismay at the popularity of Trump and other polarizing politicians in the U.S. and Britain.

    “Sometimes I look at politics today and wonder if I still understand it,” Blair said in a conference interview at the Global Financial Markets Forum in Abu Dhabi.

    The second sentence is pretty well what he said about Sanders and Corbyn in February. Why can’t they all be like me? Global leaders, beholden to banks and hedge funds, with impenetrable organisations to seamlessly blend charitable income, useless ‘advice’ and huge PR operations with subterranean business deals? Wait. There’s still Hillary Clinton.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Not surprisingly, the latest Blair disclosures have been picked up not only in Nigeria but Kenya – another subject of earlier, speculative posts here. A little clarity appears:

    Blair is here alleged to have actively smeared opposition leaders in an attempt to distract attention from what happened to the eurobond cash. This, of course, is absurd. Blair doesn’t do business in Africa, as he is reported to have assured one of his AGI employees in Nigeria…

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Blairing all done in Abu Dhabi – he’s back with his despotic mates in Cairo:

    Might have something to do with this:

    Two related questions seem to me to be in order.

    The first is – Why, really, does Sisi want Dahlan to be the next president of the PA?

    The short answer is – Because that’s what Israel’s leaders want.

    The second question is – Why, really, do Israel’s leaders want Dahlan to be Abbas’s successor?

    The short answer is that they hope and perhaps even believe that he would be prepared to use force to compel the Palestinians to accept crumbs from Zionism’s table – isolated Bantustans on 30-40 percent of the West Bank which they could call a state.

    My speculation is that even if Sisi-led Arab plotting and bribery did result in Dahlan replacing Abbas as president of the PA, he would almost certainly be assassinated if he tried to impose Zionism’s surrender terms on the Palestinians.

    It would make sense to have Blair as a dishonest broker somewhere in that picture.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Why won’t Tony just pop along to that nice Northern Ireland Committee and just answer their bloody questions?

    If there was nothing there to worry about, he’d do it, and bask in the publicity.

    However, he sorta, you know, guys, answers the specific questions the NIC sent him.

    The story is that he was not in government at the time of the settlement (of the claims of US victims, presumably). However he was fully aware that the UK victims existed and had a claim before this. He was also aware that they were not eligible under the CICS. ‘The matter was not raised with me’ is legalese for ‘I raised the matter with someone’, if I know Tony.

    Keywords, hauteur, arrogance, guilty secret.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    After noting that both in Kenya and Nigeria, large sums of money have been raised by the government, two thirds of which have allegedly disappeared, Rwanda’s financial activities are also of interest (arf). It’s been issuing bonds hand over fist since 2013. Which possibly has nothing to do with Kagame’s affection for Tony, or Tony’s financial advice. Possibly. Anyway, here’s your chance for 12%, but do enquire as to its destination:

  • Ba'al Zevul

    With Tony in Cairo (not seeing Sisi, who is in Korea), comes this:

    Said Shahat/Associated Press

    CAIRO — Egypt’s Parliament on Wednesday expelled a well-known television personality turned lawmaker over a dinner he had with the Israeli ambassador — a vote that exposed a raw nerve in the mostly tranquil relationship between the two countries.

    The lawmaker, Tawfik Okasha, had already been attacked with a shoe by a fellow lawmaker three days earlier over the same episode, which highlighted Egyptian sensitivity toward Israel, 37 years after the two countries signed a peace treaty.

    Although Egypt and Israel enjoy close security cooperation, particularly in the struggle against Islamist extremists in Sinai, many Egyptians view Israel with hostility over its policies toward the Palestinians, and public interactions with Israeli officials are considered taboo. (snip)

    Tony’s a lot closer to Israel than the odd ambassadorial dinner. I’m surprised they still let him in.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    RIP Allele Investments, the private equity fund set up jointly by Cherie Blair and Gail Lese in the Caymans with the intention of setting up private healthcare outlets in existing retail premises. Cherie’s own part of this was Mee Healthcare: the Mee Healthcare outlets have been closed, and Allele’s in receivership.

    …Mee Healthcare failed to properly take off. Mrs Blair launched it with much fanfare in 2012, promising to open 100 clinics within five years. In the first three years it managed to open just 11. An investigation by The Sunday Telegraph a year ago reported how Mee Healthcare had not opened a single new clinic in 15 months and that an umbrella company, Worldwide Health and Wellness Centres Limited, was showing a £7.7 million loss on its accounts.

    Looks more like a money laundry than a serious enterprise to me, but what do I know? There’s more;

    Prescient. Though why, apart from being a Romney protegee, Lese is so disliked, is unclear. Strange, though, that two momths or so before Mee folded, Allele was taking on new management and promising to extend Mee stateside-

    And Lese’s Lese Investments (We Will Serve You With Integrity In All We Do) is probably still in existence, as is the Cherie Blair Foundation for Whatever. Though this is not explicitly stated on the website.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Worldwide Health and Wellness became insolvent and was compulsorily wound up last August, the petitioner for winding-up having been a ‘creditor’ of the company (otherwise its sole director, Gail Lese.)

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