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…

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2,256 thoughts on “An Apology

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  • Ba'al Zevul

    The Palestinians have their own Blair:

    It’s not inconceivable that Blair’s visit to Abu Dhabi last week included meetings with Dahlan, who, like Blair, is very popular with the UAE and Egyptian regimes, likes money, is anti-Muslim Brotherhood, and is cordially regarded in Israel.. Expect an internal coup in Fatah, replacing Abbas with this obvious chancer. Then expect the West Bank Pals to be sold down the river (though not the Jordan, as its banks are controlled by the IDF). This will have Blair’s full backing, as he and Dahlan are old acquaintances, with mutual friends:

    Blair is also widely believed to be advising Serbian Prime Minister Aleksander Vucic, a former advisor to Yugoslav dictator Slobodan Milosevic, in a deal paid for by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) despite having led the call for a 78-day bombing campaign of the country’s capital in 1999 while serving as Britain’s prime minister.

    The UAE has developed a close relationship with the Serbian authorities in recent years, pledging to invest billions in a waterfront project in Belgrade, while Vucic’s government has granted citizenship to Mohammed Dahlan, a high-profile Palestinian figure living in exile in Abu Dhabi after being forced to leave West Bank by his arch-rival the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, but is rumored to be hoping to make political comeback

    • Ba'al Zevul

      And Mystic Ba’al’s prediction is increasingly being echoed in the region:

      The UAE has already held talks with Israel about the strategy to install Dahlan, and the three parties will inform Saudi Arabia once they reach an agreement on its final shape.

      The key objectives of the plan are to:
      • unite and bolster Fatah for the forthcoming elections with Hamas
      • weaken Hamas by dividing it into competing factions
      • conclude a peace agreement with Israel with the backing of Arab states
      • seize control of sovereign Palestinian institutions, the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), the PLO chairmanship and leadership of Fatah
      • choreograph the return of Dahlan as the power behind the throne of Fatah and the Palestinian Authority (PA)
      One of the prime movers of the plan is Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, who made clear to Jordan that differences over Palestinian President Abbas affected bilateral relations…

      The UAE has “assigned roles” to Tony Blair, the former Middle East envoy to the Quartet, and the current UN envoy, Nicolai Mladinov. The UAE is also seeking a meeting with Rached Ghannouchi, the leader of the Tunisian Ennahda party.

      Note also that Jordan has its doubts, not least because:
      (Dahlan) is considered to be unpopular among Palestinians and is accused of corruption and links to the Israeli security services.

      But that’s his prime qualification, isn’t it?

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Here’s someone Cherie Booth QC won’t be appearing for:

    We can only hope he gets better treatment than whistleblowers in democracies get. But somehow, we doubt it. Legally required disclaimer: Cherie and Omnia Strategy are whiter than the driven snow. (And if Gasim had just kept his mouth shut, there would have been nothing to suggest that the source of their payment by the Maldives was in part criminal).

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Good news for ex-president Nasheed of the Maldives, whose decision to be represented by Amal Clooney against the Maldives government’s Omnia Strategy* selection was a pretty good idea:

    Cameron deserves a freebie fortnight on an island paradise for that, But it probably won’t be in the Maldives…


  • Ba'al Zevul

    You’ve been busted, Blair. By everyone except the BBC, the Guardian and the Independent, who from some kind of misplaced loyalty to someone who should be doing standup in a golf club, still bother to print your press releases. Reluctantly linking to another patronising attempt at justifying the unjustifiable and excusing the inexcusable:

    You didn’t underestimate them, Tony. You ignored them completely. You pretended they didn’t exist. And you unconditionally concurred in an aftermath which fostered them. Motherfucker.

    In other news, Mr. Blair, fresh from an uncritical tour of repressive regimes, culminating in the UAE, and en route being given the finger by Netanyahu, opines that ‘we’ ought to have a proper ground war in Iraq. I decline to publicise this further: Keyboard commandos like Blair will be able to find it for themselves. Onanists all.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Desperately trying to polish a turd – yet another ‘initiative’ designed to make Tony shine a little brighter before Chilcot disses him:

    The man’s delusional. Talking to his fan club at Prospect yesterday (all aggregators, everywhere, Urgent from the Office of Tony Blair) he let slip another gem. In describing the destabilising forces in Iraq which his policy allowed free range after 2003, he cited Iran as one. Tony’s (better now, he says) understanding of the Middle East does not include the observation that if it were not for Iranian-funded Shi’a militias, representing the majority Iraqi population, Daesh would probably now be occupying Baghdad.

    What’s he on?

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Bubbling quietly under is something grandly called The Centre for Religion and Geopolitics, headed by Ed Husain, under the auspices of the Tony Blaith Fath Foundation. Husain also founded the Quilliam Foundation, it will be recalled.

    It was the CRG which hosted yesterday’s ‘Prospect’ blairing. It’s a thinktank, aka a lobby group, hiding behind the TBFF’s charity facade. The donors to which are not known, as the TBFF’s relevant page is available only to site administrators.

    Husain makes a claim akin to that of the criminal who gets religion in prison, but achieved considerably more than early release by posing as a reformed jihadi, citing his former membership of Hizb-ut-Tahrir ( denied by H-u-T) Indeed, he worked as a banker later. Informed British Muslims regard him as naif, and unrepresentative of their faith, not to say a coconut. He lives in New York, and Melanie Phillips regards him favourably. Need we say more?

    I can think of no more toxic combination than religion and geopolitics, personally, unless it is religion, geopolitics, Tony Blair and his acolytes..

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Pace Alex Salmond’s and Jeremy Corbyn’s assertions – roughly agreeing that if Blair has committed war crimes he should be prosecuted for them – I’ve wondered for some time if this is even feasible. Also dubious is this summary of the present position:

    Blair is no Milosevic. He’s not a tenth the man, in fact. If he committed aggression – which the ICC cannot currently prosecute – that’s one thing. Establishing his complicity in war crimes, let alone his personal approval, may well be impossible. The rhetoric tends to run away from the reality here. Impeachment, for acting outside the limits of what is permitted to Ministers of the Crown, and lying to Parliament about doing so, looks like a more hopeful route.

    As I hope may be visible here, though, Blair’s post-parliamentary career raises some questions regarding (a) his role in the disbursement of UK aid, also its actual destination. (b) his lobbying for regimes functionally opposed to democracy and (c) the extent to which he has profited by trading classified information and contacts gained when he was PM. We might ask, too, how much diplomatic cover the UK is giving him, at what cost, and to what end.

    Lord Solomon Zevul QC (and bar) opines that Blair’s crimes against the UK and humanity are not limited to the events of 2003, and that no stone should be left unturned to bring him to justice. But it won’t be easy.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Of course, the idea of impeaching Blair isn’t new. Here’s the original case for doing so, (in 2004, when a serious attempt was made, and thwarted by Parliament. Salmond participated then, too. The SNP has many more players in the field today, and the Labour Party is showing an encouraging lack of unanimity on the subject of Blair’s rectitude today)

    We are used to evasion, to spin and to economies with the truth. But
    to allow to go unchecked misleading conduct by the most senior minister, on so many
    occasions; about a war that will influence world affairs for decades to come; is to
    abandon the cause of liberty that has been so painfully fought for, established and
    preserved down the generations.

    If his actions go unchallenged then we will have established a new constitutional
    precedent that will say that a minister can mislead the people and still govern with his
    conduct unpunished.
    Without the ability to enforce an honest account to Parliament on
    behalf of the people, there is no democracy. In this way our freedom dies.

    • lysias

      Impeachment trials in the UK take place in the House of Lords, do they not? Might make the composition of the House of Lords a pressing issue.

      • Ba'al Zevul

        Like everything else about our government, it’s complicated, Lysias. But that is certainly a good point. A lot of peers owe their comfortable circumstances to Blair, and a lot more are global entrepreneurialists of his general stamp.

        71 Under this ancient procedure, all persons, whether peers or commoners, may be
        prosecuted and tried by the two Houses for any crimes whatever. The House of
        Commons determines when an impeachment should be instituted. A member, in his
        place, first charges the accused of high treason, or of certain crimes and
        misdemeanours. After supporting his charge with proofs the member moves for
        impeachment. If the accusation is found on examination by the House to have
        sufficient grounds to justify further proceedings, the motion is put to the House. If
        agreed, a member (or members) are ordered by the House to go to the bar of the
        House of Lords. There, in the name of the House of Commons and of all the commons
        of the United Kingdom, the member impeaches the accused person. A Commons
        committee is then appointed to draw up articles of impeachment which are debated.
        When agreed they are ingrossed and delivered to the Lords. The Lords obtain written
        answers from the accused which are communicated to the Commons. The Commons
        may then communicate a reply to the Lords. If the accused is a peer, he is attached by
        order of that House. If a commoner, he is arrested by the Commons and delivered to
        Black Rod. The Lords may release the accused on bail. The Commons appoints
        ‘managers’ for the trial to prepare the evidence; but it is the Lords that summons
        witnesses. The accused may have summonses issued for the attendance of witnesses
        on his behalf, and is entitled to defence by counsel. When the case, including
        examination and re-examination, is concluded, the Lord High Steward puts to each
        peer, (beginning with the junior baron) the question on the first of the charges: then to
        each peer the question on the second charge and so on. If found guilty, judgment is
        not pronounced unless and until demanded by the Commons (which may, at this
        stage, pardon the accused). An impeachment may continue from session to session,
        or over a dissolution. Under the Act of Settlement the sovereign has no right of

        • Ba'al Zevul

          PS. Tony created 357 peers during his period of office: still a record, although Cameron is certainly trying to emulate him. Most of those will still be active, if that is not far too strong a word.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    More blairing released to all media – why doesn’t he just start his own paper, The Daily Blair – and have done with it?
    Today he ‘has real humility’, apparently. Meaning of humility:

    …the quality of having a modest or low view of one’s importance.
    “he needs the humility to accept that their way may be better”
    synonyms: modesty, humbleness, modestness, meekness, lack of pride, lack of vanity, diffidence, unassertiveness

    I think Tony needs to get his medication changed. Tony also feels (or BELIEVES, with the usual absence of any tangible evidence) that a government led byJeremy Corbyn (his fellow Labour member) would be ‘a very dangerous experiment’. I’m not linking to this offal, since the Grauniad continues to publish tosh online and you can find it there. Nor do I need to labour the point that Blair’s premiership was not only dangerous but fatal to an awful lot of people, and its legacy continues the theme.

    The Metro points out that the deep detestation of a majority of our Bri’ish hardworkingfamilies for Blair may not be entirely due to their envy of this shining paragon’s perceived success (in what? Privatising hospitals? Ending opium production in Afghanistan? Ir*q? Eight years as Quartet representative, failing to improve the Palestinians’ lot one iota? Never mind.) Here is the definitive breakdown of why we loathe Tony:

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Blast from the past – Cherie wafted into Albania to add fragrance to Rezart Taci’s new TV station:

    More recently Taci is facing far more serious charges. He appears to have done something of a Phil Green with , with Azeri involvement adding to the excitement.

    Documents obtained by BIRN and interviews with former ministers and senior officials, shed light on how the businessman Rezart Taci embezzled hundreds of millions of dollars through “fraud, tax evasion and bad loans,” destroying the company’s crude oil refining ARMO – while the heads of state institutions and do a blind eye.

    Last Friday in Tirana hundreds of workers on the oil refinery in Ballsh challenged for a second day radhasi bad weather and protested in front of the Council of Ministers, demanding government intervention for restoring the plant and finding a solution for their salary arrears.

    Oilmen demanded that Prime Minister Edi Rama to open a channel of dialogue with the workers of the oil processing plant, accusing the head of government and members of parliament they are doing a deaf ear to their problems.

    … From 12 August 2015, workers of the plant for the deep oil Ballesh in protest against Azeri company that owns the refinery has not paid salaries.

    However, documents obtained by BIRN show that the problems of the refinery have started earlier, immediately after its privatization by businessman notorious hydrocarbon Rezart Taci, who in 2008 took control of 85% of the shares of ARMO through the company Anika Mercuria Rafinery Associated Oil, Oil AMRA, for 128 million euros. AMRA Oil was 80% owned by Anika Enterprises -a company registered by Taci in Switzerland – and 20% owned Referinery of Texas.

    Taci – which has already been arrested in Switzerland accused of fraud and falsification of documents, as well as being charged in Tirana for tax evasion, the privatized company taking a loan suspected by the International Bank of Azerbaijan – whose managers are also under arrest financial fraud in the capital of Azerbaijan, Baku.

    Those Blairs sure can pick ’em. Haven’t seen Tony in Baku for a while, come to think of it.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Did Tony favour joining the Euro?

    1/ Umm, you know…
    (April 1 1997)

    “We would not join in any fudged single currency or one not in Britain’s interests.”
    “We have already pointed out the formidable obstacles that lie in the path of joining in the first wave, if indeed that happens on schedule.”
    “To protect Britain’s interests, it is right that the option remains open that we can influence events.”

    2/ You betcha:
    (May 15 2002)

    Tony Blair told Newsnight’s Jeremy Paxman he would be happy to be remembered as the man who told the British people they should join the single currency and that a political rejection of the euro would be “crazy”.
    “I certainly believe passionately that this country and its destiny lies in Europe.
    “Should we stand apart from the alliance right on our doorstep as a country? It would be crazy to do that.
    “It is an economic union. We shouldn’t, for political reasons, stand aside. I don’t believe that would be a fulfilment of our national interest. I believe it would be a betrayal of our national interest.”

    3/ I never. I never. Stop hurting me!

    ““We were never in favour of Britain joining the Euro because in the end the economics didn’t stack up,” Mr Blair said.

    He added that it was important for political reasons not to reject the idea of a single currency out of hand but said never supported adopting the Euro during his tenure.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      Gordon Brown has just published his memoirs. Now we see who was and wasn’t in favour of joining the Euro – until persuaded that the economics didn’t stsck up, that is:

      The book also includes a vivid description of the moment when he was chancellor and told Tony Blair the Treasury’s assessment had concluded Britain should not join the euro.

      Brown writes: “‘We can’t join the euro? Is that what you said?’ Tony Blair said to me in 2003.
      “‘We can’t join the euro,’ I said.
      “‘We can’t join the euro? Is that what you said?’ Tony repeated.
      “‘Yes, I said we can’t join the euro,’ I told him.
      “‘You can’t say that,’ he replied. ‘But the evidence is clear,’ I argued, ‘it just won’t work for us.’”

      My emphasis – BZ

      “We were never in favour of Britain joining the Euro because in the end the economics didn’t stack up,” (Blair, above)
      What do you mean ‘we’, white man?

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Intriguingly, Blair is reported as saying that he has not seen the Chilcot report. We may draw the usual conclusions from the fact that his lips were moving at the time. Point of trivial detail: as the Chilcot report has not yet been published, no-one has yet seen it as such. But the Maxwellisation process ensured that Blair must have had full (and editorial) access to all material relevant to his inclusion – and he’s certainly included, big-time. The lie indirect, again.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    I spend 80 per cent of my time on unpaid work, I’ve just literally spent weeks in the Middle East on the Middle East peace process there.

    ‘I have two foundations, I employ around about 200 people, I have to raise the money and make the money for all of them.

    ‘What we actually do is very good and exciting work around the world, but you won’t read a bit of it here. So if you want to know what I do go and read the facts.’

    But where do we go for these facts? The drearily self-congratulatory and unspecific Blair websites? Companies House? Blair, Inc. has been set up specifically for facts about Blair’s remuneration to be unavailable. He has at least one, and possibly three, offshore subsidiaries (above, repeatedly) Where he has to produce accounts, they are legalistic evasions, and meaningless. Still, I’d recommend* a read of this thread, starting in February 2015, to inform the debate. And the fact remains that Blair is extremely rich, extremely ambitious, and operates, literally and metaphorically, in the stratosphere, far removed from reality.

    *in all humility, natch.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    I’m posting this as a waypoint, and a hopefully coherent list of Tony Blair’s discoverable business and commercial activities, to which reference may in future be made.

    Tony Blair Faith Foundation. Limited company, and charity. Company number 06198959. Business: 85320 – Technical and vocational secondary education. Charity no. 1123243.

    Tony Blair Faith Foundation -US. 501(c)(3) tax-exempt public charity in the USA. Registered office: 409 Prospect Street, New Haven, CT 06511, U.S.A. EIN: 26-2102301. Office also listed in Washington. Originally formed in Arizona.

    Tony Blair Governance Initiative. Limited company. Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative (UK) operates under this roof. (Company number 06779669. Business -82990 – Other business support service activities not elsewhere classified. Charity no. 1132422.)

    Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative -US. Domestic not-for-profit (USA) USNY3752591 Registered NYC.

    Tony Blair Sports Foundation. Limited company, and charity. Charity number 1132599, company number 6982233 . Business -82990 – Other business support service activities not elsewhere classified

    Companies (non-charitable)

    Tony Blair Sports Foundation Trading Company. Private limited company, number 07371443. Currently (and apparently since its foundation in 2010) 99999 – Dormant Company

    Windrush Ventures Ltd
    Windrush Ventures No.1 Ltd
    Windrush Ventures No.2 LLP
    Windrush Ventures No.3 LP (2)
    BDBCO No.819 (partner in WRV3LP)
    BDBCO No. 822 (shareholder of partner in WRV3 LP)

    Firerush Ventures Ltd
    Firerush Ventures No.1 Ltd
    Firerush Ventures No.2 LLP
    Firerush Ventures No. 3 LP “is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCAregistration number 505178) to arrange deals in investments.” (2,3,4)
    BDBCO No. 850 (partner in FRV3LP)
    BDBCO No. 853 (shareholder of partner in FRV3LP)

    All the Windrush and Firerush companies, and their BDBCO partners, were set up in conjunction with Bircham Dyson Bell/ Broadway Directors/Broadway Secretaries, and registered at 50 Broadway, London, SW1H 0BL. Any company lookup will find them.

    OTOH, majority owned and controlled by Firerush Ventures No. 3 LP , is:

    AGP LLC CRD#167190, SEC#9-69247. Securities broker. Directly owned by Firerush Ventures No.3 LP (>75%) and controlled by them. Registered broker (<5% interest) Jason Gettenberg, compliance officer Esther Goodman (no apparent stake). Registered at 1100 Main Street, Suite 2100, Kansas City MO 64105, USA – looks like a brass plate, incidentally.

    Relevance as yet unknown: Gibraltar companies, formed September, 2010.

    Windrush Ltd
    Firerush Ltd

    Just found these pay-to-download details. Watch this space.
    Other, non-incorporated structures.

    The Office of Tony Blair. General PR outlet for Blair’s activities. Also promulgates under its banner:

    ‘Breaking the Climate Deadlock’ – an initiative dating from 2005, when climate was a cool issue, in conjunction with The Climate Group. Inactive since 2011. Global warming.
    Office of the Quartet Representative. Inactive, since Blair ceased to be QR, but website remains in memory of Blair’s undying efforts on behalf of ethnic cleansing in Israel.
    Tony Blair Associates. …” is the trading name for Windrush Ventures Limited, Windrush Ventures No.3 LP, Firerush Ventures Ltd and Firerush Ventures No.3 LP.” (1)
    (1) Office of Tony Blair website:
    (2) How TBA combines services provided by Windrush and Firerush – PetroSaudi contract:
    (3) 04/04/2016 dated SEC document detailing $302 M securities sales with commission of $30M, one recipient of which was FRV3LP. This is believed to have funded a takeover pool.
    (4) FRV3LP is a provider of cross-border investment services

    • Ba'al Zevul

      ERRATUM: For: AGP LLC CRD#167190, SEC#9-69247, read ABG LLC

      ‘Anthony Blair Group’ more than likely…shouldn’t have got that wrong.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      Gibraltar companies: set up by Baker Tilly, with shareholders BT (Baker Tilly) Nominees and BT (Baker Tilly) Corporate Services Ltd. Those are Gibraltar- licensed entities set up to facilitate Baker Tilly’s business there. Corporate services is usually a euphemism for tax avoidance, and nominees are anyone you like.

      According to Beckett, Hencke and Kochan, Tony Blair’s office says that this has nothing to do with him. Not that anyone can prove any different:Windrush and Firerush Ltd are blatantly brassplate firms, and whoever they’re for, obviously a cutout.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      Additionally to the above, an interest-in possession trust was reported in April this year to have been set up by Blair, under conditions of extreme secrecy. While furiously denying that this was intended to secure a tax advantage, Blair had nevertheless discussed its formation with the then head of Revenue and Customs, Dave Hartnett. IIP trusts give a nominated beneficiary such as a family member, an immediate legal right to the income from the trust fund, though not to the fund itself. They do provide a tax advantage to the beneficiary, however. Questions were asked, and unsurprisingly remain unanswered, one of which was whether the 20% tax entry charge for such trusts, which Blair himself had introduced in 2006, apply to this one, formed in 2007? Who are the trustees? And who was the beneficiary? It looks like a wonderful way to conceal an income stream.

      We do not have any further information beyond what was published at the time:

  • Ba'al Zevul

    This one seems to be in focus now:

    Two points brightly illuminated here:
    1. Blair (says) he did not have “any recollection at all” of the Belhaj rendition.
    2. the former head of MI5 was incensed when she discovered the role played by MI6 in abductions that led to suspected extremists being tortured.
    Lady Eliza Manningham-Buller was so angry that she threw out a number of her sister agency’s staff and banned them from working at MI5’s headquarters at Thames House in London.
    She wrote to Tony Blair, then the prime minister, to complain about the conduct of MI6 officers, saying their actions had threatened Britain’s intelligence gathering and may have compromised the security and safety of MI5 officers and their informants.

    So, on the kindest possible reading, in Blair’s mind, the rendition policy, and concerns raised about it, were unmemorable. On the kindest possible reading, he forgot all about it.

    Lest we, too, forget:

  • Ba'al Zevul

    We probably won’t know till it’s all over, but it would be strange if the Great Peacemaker didn’t shed the light of his presence on the initial meeting to establish French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault’s new Palestine-Israel peace initiative.

    Although, it has to be said, Netanyahu is spitting feathers over this one, and much prefers the latest Blair-mediated stitch-up which means that first, the Gulf and Saudi sweetly acknowledge Israel’s right to do exactly as it pleases (the Saudis, to their credit, are already demurring on this) in exchange for which Israel will condescend to have one-on-one talks with the Palestinians, and tell them where to get off….eventually, after some more settlements go up, oh, and East Jerusalem isn’t on the table. It’s safe to say Bibi won’t be in Paris tomorrow, but Tony? He has to be seen as engaged with the problem, even though he’s in several Emirati pockets.

    Evens on an appearance, 5/1 on a public blairing; and I see a familiar pair of wings left Farnborough earlier today. Via Le Bourget.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    And what of Euan Blair, rising Prince of Patter, amassing property portfolios with Mum, CEO of an Australian private vulture at the corpse of British state employment policy…meet The Whitehat Group, formed in February, whose directors are young Euan and a Valery Kisilevsky – noted educational privatiser and head honcho of the London School of Business and Finance – see:

    The Whitehat Group’s £100 share value is divided between the CEO, Euan, who has £10, and something called Global University Systems BV, of Schiphol, Netherlands, who hold the rest. Better known as GUS, it’s been suggested by the cynical that it is, er, tax-efficient, and that tuition fees are its main income stream. It is definitely for-profit*. Its CEO is the Russian-born Aaron Etingen.

    Whitehat sells online courses packaged as apprenticeships. Presumably these too will mop up any money the government cares to throw at our skills shortage, having closed or restructured the state further education system.

    It’s global. It’s education. It costs fuck-all to run, and the taxpayers supply its raison-d’etre.

    Chip off the old block, ain’t he?


  • Ba'al Zevul

    Oh, I forgot. That Arab League meeting on the 28th May. It wasn’t in Bahrain, it doesn’t look as if Tony was there, and support for his peacemaking input was equivocal to say the least:

    Israel “has truly become today the last bastion of fascism, colonialism and racial discrimination in the world,” Arab League chief Nabil el-Araby said following a meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo on Saturday.

    Doesn’t sound like they’re falling over themselves to normalise their relationship with Israel as much as Tony claims they are.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    For those with an interest in Chilcot, and what, if anything, it leads to, this page provides updates and commentary, lately with particular reference to Blair’s wriggling, evasion and spin regarding his role in the runup to Iraq:

    Chris Ames also helped Peter Oborne with ‘Not The Chilcot Report’, now out:

    -and reviewed here:

  • Ba'al Zevul

    As Blair continues to bluster, in advance of Chilcot’s publication, that wrecking Iraq from end to end was in some way unconnected with the chaos that ensued, a new narrative emerges, attached to the old one – ‘Saddam bad mans, kill bad mans’. In this vision, the aftermath of destroying the governmental apparatus and failing to fill the power vacuum with anything credible and effective, is all the fault of Iran and al-Qaeda. That’s Iran, to which the majority Shi’a of Iraq look for their cultural centre, and that’s the Shi’a who were going to welcome Tommy with flowers, it will be recalled. And al-Qaeda, a force which was vigorously suppressed by Saddam and effectively absent from Iraq before the invasion, though tangibly waiting in the wings.

    And the dead cat defence will also be advanced: while Chilcot will report on the devious (at least) means by which Blair committed us to a poorly-conceived, poorly-equipped and ultimately disastrous MidEast adventure, Blair will blair at the top of his voice that he did it for the best possible motives, and that Saddam’s removal (unlike that of Sisi, Nazarbayev, Aliyev, Kagame and other dictators whith whom he has commercial relationships) justified the whole bloody mess that ensued.

    We can see what’s going on here (Jun 7th), as well as a further layer of obfuscation covering a can of worms (June 6th):

    In other news, coming soon:

    Tony’s attendance at this is not expected to be publicly known, but Mandelson’s a regular.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      Blair, Mandelson and Osborne are this year absent from the official Bilderberg list of attendees (though this may well not exclude their presence*). The sole representative of a UK party is, most intriguingly, Helen Goodman, whose political career to date has been unexceptional. Her husband works for the New Economics Foundation, which on the face of it is opposed to everything Bilderberg stands for.

      *In 2014, while Mandelson and Osborne were invited to Copenhagen, Blair wasn’t. However, he was in Malmo, just across the bridge, blairing at an obscure chamber of commerce, at exactly the right time:

  • Ba'al Zevul


    It will be recalled that one of Blair’s income streams is or was Zurich Insurance*. Whose ex-CEO has just topped himself (link =9/11 fruitcake mix, but not without interest).

    Tony’s influence on behalf of the country which spawned him was invisible here, btw –

    And M-ASRI’s just this minute down from a quick round trip to Zurich, which may or may not be relevant.

    *Tony was hired in 2008 to advise them on climate change, but his interest in that topic seems to have died in 2011, and whether there is still a corner in their hearts for him is currrently unknown.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Blair is currently blairing in Northern Ireland, with John Major. He is, self-evidently, touting for Remain, while putting in a rare appearance in the one place in the UK where he is not universally regarded as a comedic pain in the arse.

    Points to ponder:
    Major, not Blair, initiated the peace process.
    Mandelson and Mowlem, not Blair, carried it through.
    Blair has yet to comply with the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee’s request to illuminate it on the subject of why compensation was not paid to the victims of Libyan-supplied IRA atrocities.

    And Kate Hoey, who is from that airt, says – in the interests of balance -:

    While Northern Ireland receives a net contribution from the EU of only £100 per person per year, the contribution from the UK is £5,000 per person year and pays for around half of all public spending in Northern Ireland.

    This will not change, and everyone knows that, except apparently Major and Blair.

    Next stop on the popularity trail* is, presumably, Albania. Which has a large, unemployed and cheap workforce ready to benefit from unrestricted EU movement. Memory lane –

    *Not that Tony is without critics in NI…

    • Ba'al Zevul

      Carefully noting that the advocates of both sides – or those you have heard of – routinely make their public observations in vast warehouses in which the owners’ workforce has been induced to gather, and that the ensuing bollocks then appears in all media with identical wording, we can take it that audiences are thin on the ground for this sort of thing. Hence for Blair and Major, blairing at some schoolchildren in Londonderry, to be subsequently given the first five minutes of Radio 4’s national news at 6, with extensive quotes and only passing reference to any dissenting opinion, makes perfect sense.

      Questions arise, though.
      1. Both Blair and Major have found public speechifying to be lucrative. Were they paid for this shameless performance? It would be exceptional if Blair (or Windrush Ventures No. 3 LP) had done this for free.
      2. Aside from that, the trip cost something. Who funded it?

      As a footnote, John Major does not consider himself to be elite, but prefers to define his current status by his childhood conditions:

      “I’m working class, I come from Brixton, I lived that at a time of mass immigration. My family lived in two rooms in a multi occupied and from time to time multiracial house. I’m not part of any elite.

      Well, if this is to be believed, he’s been even better at escaping his origins (via St.John’s College, Oxford) than Blair:

      And, hmmm…

      But I digress.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    There is no truth in the rumour that Blair and Major are shortly to be married – we’d like to see we can only imagine Cherie’s face – but they do seem to be going out together. Here they are, leeching free publicity courtesy of HM’s spontaneous public rejoicing:

    Other royals and politicians at the event included Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie, David Attenborough, former Prime Ministers John Major and Tony Blair.

    Not sure if Attenborough’s sins qualify him to be included in that lot. Maybe he was wearing a fascinator?

    • Ba'al's Sterilised Bargepole

      Round about this date, Blair is alleged to have been meeting Hamas officials in Europe, as part of ongoing contacts:

      Which would account for his invisibility otherwise. By December 2015, both Fatah and Hamas had indicated that they didn’t trust Blair to be anything other than a stooge for Israel. If talks are current with Hamas, they probably involve stiffing Fatah and Abbas, with, as elsewhere indicated, the return of Dahlan to the scene. This would take place over Abbas’ dead body – perhaps literally.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Tony got a mention in the Lords, at the second reading of Asset Freezing (Compensation) Bill [HL] last Thursday:

    [Lord Rogan:]
    Concerns have also been raised that our former Prime Minister, Mr Tony Blair, helped broker this deal between the USA and Libya. One must therefore ask how strongly did Tony Blair, who was then a Middle East peace envoy, represent the interests of his fellow British citizens. It has become hard to get an answer to that question because Mr Blair has not had the time in his diary to attend the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee to address some of these vital points. Seemingly, he has not had too much time either to spend responding to written questions, as the committee has described his evidence as “superficial”.

    Which is about as harsh and specific as the Lords’ tradition of civil understatement ever gets. There were also comparisons with Hillsborough, regarding the length of time it has taken to move on the issue of compensation to victims of Libyan-supplied IRA violence. A process initiated by Blair. Or not.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    While we are waiting for Blair to pop up again in some random corner of the world and favour us with yet more easy flannel on governance/education/climate change/Brexit/Syria/religion/Corbyn/his innocence re Iraq/etc/etc, here’s a useful article on the growth of corporate involvement in questionable aid projects, funded by taxpayers and implemented in such a way as to prioritise profits:

    The result of the corporate takeover of aid is this image: the CEO of a major multinational on stage with the UN secretary-general. Last year, the company received a multimillion dollar loan from the World Bank’s private sector arm. The CEO winks to a man in the audience from USAID — another partner. NGOs who would otherwise be expected to campaign against the company for environmental destruction are also its “partners” and their increasingly professionalized staff give the CEO a hearty round of applause.

    The journalists in the front row write for a newspaper that is also heavily dependent on money from the company, through advertising and increasingly direct “sponsorship” of content. Everyone in the room is happy, but a critical analysis of corporate power is the last thing on anyone’s mind. The company has won a carte blanche pass from the institutions that used to be a check on their operations to go forth and make their profits.

    This is the myth of corporate-led global development: that companies have “seen the light” and become more progressive, and therefore should be embraced as partners. While they may sing hymns about their development “impact” and “sustainable” operations, many of these same companies continue to avoid taxes and fight against regulation.

    The fact that this embrace of corporations in aid and development has happened in the wake of the global financial crisis, and amid increasingly mainstream questioning of deregulated capitalism, is astonishing.

    It is a grand accession of power, good for profits, but delivering questionable short-term benefits for the poor and worrying long-term impacts for the world. It is a many-sided hall of mirrors that is meant to blind good-willed people and the aid agencies they work with to the reality of unchecked corporate power.

    Save The Children gets a mention, too: of interest since its former CEO, Justin Forsyth, was previously an advisor to Blair, and more recently gave Blair its ‘global legacy’ award And, though he isn’t directly fingered here, it’s fairly clear that Blair Inc’s highly-paid staff would be in much less comfortable circumstances if it did not act as an intermediary between government aid and corporate interests.

    Don’t get me wrong: there can be no possible objection to real investment of part of their own profits by corporations in solid and sustainable development projects. But there must be transparency and accountability, and above all, cash intended by governments and individuals for worthy ends should not be diverted, whether towards wholly different enterprises, corrupt local governments or the CEO’s salary.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Whoops, nearly missed him. On Monday, The People’s Great Educator had oiled off to China again, it would seem:

    From we extract as much of the text as we need via Google Translate.

    Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair Tony Blair to “international talent development and economic transition” as the theme of the speech was held in Shanghai Lingang area. Alumni of the University of Liverpool and Laureate Online degree programs University Consortium many students come here, the scene is very enthusiastic response. Mr. Blair said in his speech, geographical and cultural education needs to break the shackles, etc, usw, (continues at length)

    Check the Laureate online for-profit educashun involvement. Blair’s tie-in with this lot is one of the few consistent features of his career. Payment is presumably involved.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      Blair’s economic debt to Bill Clinton is, or should be, well-known. It must be pure coincidence that Laureate features in both their CV’s. And Laureate’s education, education, educational standards have on occasion been criticised, despite their being a sucker at the teat of international aid budgets paragon of the *global* education business philosophy:

      Oh, yes.

      • Ba'al Zevul

        The Wall Street Journal reported that Laureate was able to “skirt” regulations on reporting “gainful employment” due to its large number of schools and students outside of the country who do not receive federal aid. The Journal noted “[o]nly 31% of students who enroll at another Laureate school, Santa Fe University of Art and Design, graduate. After 10 years, a mere 58% earn more than Americans with a high school diploma.”

        Clinton resigned from his post just before his wife declared her candidacy but praised the company for producing high quality education. Yet, MarketWatch reported “five out of its six U.S. campuses are on a list of 544 schools the Department of Education is monitoring over concerns about shaky finances or regulatory compliance.”

        (preceding link)

    • Ba'al Zevul

      And here’s the FCO giving Tony Blair every possible assistance prior to a previous visit to China, in tandem with diplomatic efforts to increase Chinese investment in the UK and promote ‘sustainable urbanisation’, whatever that is.. So much for the EU, Tony?

      It’s doubtful that every detail of his current visit will be discoverable on the internet, we feel. Is he being paid for this? No-one knows, as usual.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      Something in the Shanghai blairing was of significance. Getting one of his wider areas of ignorance out of the way –

      Mr. Blair noted that he had been in many African countries, the government is very rich, but people is very poor. This is because the state does not pay attention to infrastructure.

      No, Tony, it’s because their largely undemocratic leaders, some of whom have used your services in attracting aid funding, are deeply corrupt. On we go …

      …Mr. Blair appreciates China’s policy (on infrastructure – BZ), and that this is an innovative approach to development. A lot of money compared to the previous direct assistance along the way to plan and AIIB can help enhance the country along the road infrastructure and level of education, more sustainable. (Via Google Translate).

      Who AIIB? Something HMG loves deeply, and the US doesn’t. This article is not easily summarisable, but it reconciles a rabid EU Remainer, massive infrastructure construction opportunities to be funded with minimal reference to the World Bank (for which Tony currently works, but that can change) and the realignment of the Far East around China. Well worth a read:

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