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

    Malawi. Up until the end of January 2014, Tony’s AGI was ‘working’ there, inspired by the sudden realisation that the country contained oil, which has always been of interest to Tony’s kindly mentors, the UAE’s state investment fund, Mubadala. Blair was advising Joyce Banda,s government – shown the door at the elections at which Blair’s input apparently ceased. At the time, there was an ongoing corruption scandal leading to multiple arrests and sackings, and it was widely assumed that Blair had pulled out in order to preserve the good name of his philanthropic organisation, lol. But we know Blair better than that, don’t we? His explanation at the time, that AGI had originally planned to wind up its operation early in 2014 is actually more plausible. And this offers a hint as to why this might be:

    An influential watchdog that monitors Malawi’s extractive industries is demanding an explanation for a mysterious payment of $235,700 (89-million kwacha) to Malawi government by a company that landed major oil and gas exploration concessions on Lake Malawi.
    [Illustration in text:Kamal Ataya (L) and Chimwemwe Chikusa (R)- oil exploration kingpins in Malawi]

    The payment, by the state-owned UAE company RakGas to the Reserve Bank of Malawi’s account for the mines department, was made in April 2014, barely a month before the election that toppled Banda.

    It was deposited at a time when all licences were supposedly suspended because of suspected irregularities

    Suppose, just suppose, Blair’s ‘charity’ were lobbying Banda on behalf of state-owned UAE company RakGas (and its two not-too-competitive competitors for licenses). Surely not. AGI doesn’t do business in Africa, as Blair famously explained to an aide while promoting arms sales to Nigeria….

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Another inbound chicken intending to roost? First some background, in which we gather that Blair’s input to the government of Guinea’s Alpha Conde has not been restricted to promoting good governance (read “Broken Vows – Tony Blair, A Tragedy of Power”) to fully appreciate the absurdity of this) but also embraces his interest in mining (concessions):

    Noting the conflict of interest –

    And more recently – both parties still advised by Blair –

    This gets very complicated indeed, with names like Hollande, Benny Steinmetz and Soros all appearing prominently in an ongoing saga of mining deals reneged-on in order to be offered at a higher price to competitors. But it comes as no surprise to find that the FBI, who have taken an interest in Guinea for some time, and not in a good way, have just pulled in one Samuel Mebiame, central to all this.

    At this stage, no-one is suggesting that our Tony has done anything at all wrong. Obviously, since he’s a lawyer and has a lot of money and influence – even now. But even he would have to admit, if waterboarded, that there are certain parallels between his relationship with the thug Conde and that with the thug Nazarbayev:

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Returning to Malawi, an intriguing detail. A report on a forensic audit of Malawi’s major corruption scandal (here: ), by international accountants Baker Tilly. was published in early 2014.
    As usual,
    a spokesman for Mr Blair said that neither the former prime minister nor AGI had any idea of the corruption before it was made public (by the Baker Tilly report) This unlikely denial was given seeming plausibility because the BT report made no mention of then – President Joyce Banda, whom AGI had been contracted to advise. Which appears to have been contentious, or even the subject of some post facto editing by BT…:

    Tony dropped Malawi like a hot potato, Banda lost her job and wriggled free to set up A Foundation and everybody lived happily ever after, not.

    The authors of ‘Blair Inc – The Power, The Money, The Scandals’ chased up the details of the two Gibraltar firms, Windrush Ltd and Firerush Ltd (occasionally highlighted in these comments) for their – according to The Spokesman of Tony Blair, coincidental – parallelism with Tony’s corporate maze. They were formed by Baker Tilly. More coincidences gratefully received.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Tony’s latest encyclical indictates his belated doubts as to the efficacy of centrism; here used as a proxy for rewriting your principles to fulfil the needs of global markets to monetise every aspect of existence, and also known as the Third Way. No need to quote it: he’s pretended to have second thoughts before, and the underlying message has been less of regret than of an insistence that the Third Way must be imposed more forcefully, rigorously and with even less obeisance to democracy.

    HuffPo published a relevant critique of this in June. It’s the only response needed, and will serve for Blair’s future attempts to reinsert himself into the political arena…which will occur, particularly if the hedge-funded and amoral Clinton camp wins in the US. It was Bill who invented the Third Way, after all.

    …Blair frets that the political center has lost its power to persuade and its essential means of connection to the people it seeks to represent.”

    But the problem isn’t the sales pitch, Mr. Blair. The problem is the product.

    The “centrists” in Tony Blair’s New Labor and Bill Clinton’s New Democrats might disagree with their electoral opponents about certain policies, but they agreed with them on some key principles: the power of free markets, the privatization of government services, and a global economic order which emphasized corporate control over trade.

    This shared ideology led to bank deregulation, weakened unions, personality-driven elections, stagnant wages, soaring inequality, and the undermining of the social contract – all executed with “bipartisan” comity.

    The public is tasting the fruit of these centrist successes now. Turns out they don’t much care for it.

  • Ba'al Zevul


    Eighteen months ago, an embattled Tony Blair was looking for a worthy distraction. With his admission that he’d become the first prime minister to be questioned by police as part of a criminal investigation, the “cash for honours” scandal had reached fever pitch.

    A few days later, on a blustery February morning, Blair’s advisers carefully staged his first public appearance after this latest storm: the opening of the new headquarters of Tanfield, a company set just outside Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

    Tanfield ticked the boxes: founded by Roy Stanley, a local entrepreneur, the London-listed company was pioneering the production of electric vehicles and attracting the attention of some of Britain’s biggest companies, equally keen to board the green bandwagon.

    Blair’s visit would also coincide with Tanfield’s announcement that Marks & Spencer planned to use Tanfield’s electric vehicles for local deliveries instead of petrol or diesel ones.
    The implication was not lost on Blair. “This unique company is a prime example of UK manufacturing innovation at its best,” he told the gathered crowd.

    But not, perhaps, financial probity:

    Another job for PWC…

    Blair’s name helped to pump the share value – intentionally or not – and 18 months later the company’s overexposure to the US housing debt catastrophe, and what can charitably be described as overoptimism by its board, brought it down. This account fails to mention the auditors. Who were they? Since 2005, Baker Tilly.

    Misconduct was suspected, and led to an FRC investigation:

    ….the complaint alleged misconduct in respect of the 2007 financial statements for Tanfield, Tanfield Engineering and SEV, in that whilst the financial statements were not materially misstated the Claimants had nevertheless failed to carry out their audit properly for a variety of reasons and in breach of the requirements of the relevant auditing and professional standards.

    The formal complaint was formally served on the Claimants on 3 June 2014 and would ordinarily be determined by a disciplinary tribunal. However, the Claimants objected and sought the Court’s intervention by way of a judicial review. They alleged that the FRC’s guidance on delivering formal complaints was unlawful; that the formal complaint was fundamentally wrong in its use of “misconduct”; and that there had been such a long delay in bringing the formal complaint that it would not be in the public interest for the formal complaint to be brought.

    Something fishy, in other words, and BT went to court to block the FRC’s investigation. Unhappily for BT, the court decidedto throw out all counts of the complaint:

    After a detailed review of the disciplinary scheme and meaning of “misconduct”, the Court dismissed every aspect of the Claimants’ judicial review application.

    Tanfield’s share price has been in continuous decline since 2012 (having recovered then to a high of 60p from its 2008 5.53 p low) and is currently around 11.50 p, down 36% for the year. Baker Tilly rebranded themselves last year and are now RSM. We wonder if they will appear (peripherally) in any more stories involving Blair.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    DIARY (Probably)

    As Mr. Blair has brought his capacity for banal commentary on complex issues he has not researched to previous meetings of YES, it’s a reasonable bet that he’ll be at the next one, Sept 15th-17th, Kyiv.

    Although the event is named for Yalta there are of course compelling reasons why it is not currently held there. Instituted by Victor Pinchuk (who has reportedly employed Blair as well as donating at least £500,000 to the Tony Blair Faith Foundation), both Bill and Shrill have been previous guests of the annual conference, which appears to be focussed on getting what’s left of Ukraine into the EU. They weren’t there last year, though, which might be seen as ungrateful, as Pinchuk allegedly bunged the Clinton Foundation $8.6 million between 2009 and 2013. As Republican commentators have discovered, with glee.

    Blair’s interest might be a little ambiguous, however. The last time he was in Kyiv, he flew straight from there to Putin’s economic forum in St. Petersburg…

  • Ba'al Zevul

    RIP Ken Purchase, former Wolverhampton Labour MP, who died today.

    First on the doorstep with a wreath and an onion is former Sedgefield ‘Labour’ MP, Bambi, thus: “…A kind, gracious man who even when he disagreed did so with charm and without meanness of spirit…”

    But we remember why Purchase stepped down in 2008.

    Credit to Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson, they did change the image of the party and got us back into power – but the Blairite tendency also jettisoned Labour’s core values.

    However hard John Prescott tried to say Blair’s policies were “traditional values in a modern setting”, it was intellectually bankrupt.

    Winning elections is mightily important, you can’t do anything without power – but we failed to take it to the next level of serious politics.

    We made some good decisions. Blair did a superb job in Northern Ireland, but lacked an underlying coherence.

    It seems to me that the direction of travel is still wrong and it is more of the same – more privatisation and all of that. We had John Hutton saying recently that individual achievement was more important than community. He might as well have said there is no such thing as society.

    It seems to me that we need to readdress the question that underlies the Labour Party, which is how to best represent the interests of people who sell their labour, whether they are blue or white collar.

    Pity Blair only listened to yes-men.

  • Ba'al Zevul


    Et maintenant:
    M. Blair donnera The Blairther aux nos amis across La Manche on the 1e. Sept…

    Europe 1 is privately owned, with declining audiences, just like Blair. Elkabbach was its previous CEO. He has been described as ‘pretentious and egomaniac’. Just like…

    Ne missez-le pas!

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Gabon: Victory for Bongo (again) on 99.9% turnout. National assembly building on fire, US State Department ‘deeply concerned’, calls for publication of polling station returns..

    Bongo’s ‘strategic counsel’ is provided by Omnia Strategy (prop. Cherie Blair)

    Omnia Strategy has been operating for the past year in Gabon, a francophone, oil-rich state on the west African coast, The Telegraph can disclose. It is understood that Omnia is offering “strategic counsel” to Ali Bongo Ondimba, Gabon’s president. He was elected the country’s president in 2009, having succeeded his father who ruled Gabon from 1967 until his death in 2009.

    Omnia employs a legal consultant in Libreville, Gabon’s capital. The contract, according to local media reports, involves drawing up law reforms to put in place “legal texts for better management of biodiversity and the ecosystem”. Mrs Blair agreed the deal last year in a visit to Gabon with a delegation from Omnia. The existence of the consultant is disclosed on LinkedIn, the business networking site.

    Lione Legault describes himself on the site as Omnia’s consultant and legal adviser. According to his LinkedIn entry, Mr Legault also runs a popular nightclub in Libreville called Hype Lounge.

    It is unclear what the value of the work in Gabon is worth to Mrs Blair and her team.

    ‘Biodiversity and the ecosystem?’ Sure.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    All media* have been spammed with a press release from the Orifice of Tony Blair, outlining his thoughts on Brexit, as sold to a second-string French TV channel a couple of days ago. The UK could change its mind, he opines. There is the strongest possible reason to have a second referendum ( No we really, really meant it because we are a bunch of racists who don’t understand that God wants globalism/ Yes, we didn’t really mean it, God has opened our eyes, and we’re terribly sorry, Tony)…which is that a large part of Tony’s income derives from lobbying on behalf of the UAE and marginal states like Albania to get the latter into the EU, which will be a lot harder if he’s outside the EU himself.

    *I’ve never seen anything like it. I mean, all media, everywhere. And because it’s the silly season, even crap like this is welcome.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    The Right Dishonourable will be telling an audience of globalists in an agreeable location:

    8:00 PM Keynote Interview: Is the Middle Class an Accident of World History?
    What can we learn from our past around the globe?

    The invincibly middleclass man who would do Iraq again will be telling an audience of globalists in an agreeable location:

    Tony Blair, former Prime Minister, Great Britain & Northern Ireland
    Jeff Greene, Interviewer

    Monday Dec 7th, Tideline Ocean Resort and Spa, Florida.

    Niall Ferguson and sundry US opinionators will allso be present.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      This will be the second year Blair has blaired at this gathering. Jeff Greene, his host, is celebrated among fat cats as being the guy who stole the idea of the asset-backed credit default swap and applied it to his own gain, and the loss of much of the world economy. He only has one yacht, but has three private jets, and most of the trappings necessary to attract Blair. Irony was detected in the vicinity of the 2015 Closing The Gap conference:

      According to its own website, the event…

      ,,, will bring together leading thinkers and thinking leaders* to explore strategies to re-start the American Dream**.

      That dream has been disrupted. Our economy is being reshaped by the exponential growth of technology and the global equalization of wages, and upward economic mobility is rapidly becoming a thing of the past.

      The growing income gap in our economy is challenging enough for the average hard-working American. But the rapid automation of many human tasks is already overwhelming our ability to adapt, and robots and software could continue to affect an increasing percentage of our workforce.

      This lack of opportunity is the most critical challenge that our economy is facing today. We need to gain an understanding about what is happening in our economy, and come up with big ideas to help re-start the American Dream….

      *Blair’s presence there would seem to be anomalous on all levels, then..

      ** For which it will be necessary to put America back to sleep.

      • Ba'al Zevul

        While we’re in Romania, we may as well note that Ponta and Albania’s Rama (visited by Tony very recently – see above) are good buddies. Blair’s latest contract with Romania was reportedly worth $1.1M, and funded by the World Bank – it expired last December. And as the Guardian today rather unusually headlines Blair’s innocent (allegedly) acceptance of what may well turn out to be dirty Romanian money in 2012, we find an interesting snippet in its report:

        Blair’s office said it was contacted by the Multimedia Foundation for Local Democracy to make the speech, and that the contact came via an American thinktank, the Centre for American Progress.

        The message being that the CAP is who you contact if your leader wants a good blairing.

        The Center for American Progress is the creation of Clinton-associate John Podesta, and is not unassociated with the Podesta Group, a lobbying firm run by his brother. A question remains unanswered, as it has done for years: to what extent is it permissible for a former UK minister or civil servant to share the knowledge and expertise gained during his period in office with foreign governments and agencies?

  • Ba'al Zevul

    As even the Sun picks up on the colossal sum of someone’s cash Blair was paid for a manifestation in Bucharest – with allegations of money laundering circling ever closer to the man himself – Mr Blair is currently touting for custom in Liberia:

    Sirleaf: My country’s fucked
    Blair: Never mind. It’s got lots of minerals, and JP Morgan/Mubadala/ the World Bank will come running if I get a cut. Make the cheque to AGI, WHICH IS A CHARITY, as I need not remind you, and if it should wind up somewhere else, who’ll know?

  • Ba'al Zevul

    The question of laundered criminal money was raised earlier (see above) with respect to the fat fee paid to Cherie’s Omnia Strategy by President Yameen’s gofers in the Maldives, after some dithering on Omnia’s part, as it worked out which side was paying more. (Reminder: )

    With ghastly synchronicity, it is a Liberian journalist working for al-Jazeera who examines further the effortless access to cash enjoyed by Yameen…and hence his lawyers…

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Well, you’re in very good company, Craig:

    The visa denials—or in this case, the refusal to allow Murray to enter with a visa-waiver—all occur for similar reasons. The person is critical of U.S. policy and so they become candidates for denied entry. It is essentially “blacklisting.” Graham Greene, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Dario Fo, Pablo Neruda, Carlos Fuentes, Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, and former NATO Deputy Supreme Commander Nino Pasti were all at one point excluded for their writing, plays, or outspokenness against U.S. government policies.

    Bit of an own goal for the septics, I’d say. The Russians are loving it…

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Re. “The Killing$ of Tony Blair”, Rod Liddle reviews the film here:

    Liddle’s, let face it, a bit of a Tory. But not an heir-to-Blair one by any means. His (justifiable) digs at Galloway do not interfere with a terse and quotable excoriation of Blair. Oh, yes, and mine host gets an approving mention, too:

    I think Galloway overlooks another of Blair’s faults in his monomaniacal insistence upon greed*: utter stupidity. The invasion of Iraq was based on a calamitous misreading of the Muslim world, the arrogant and plainly wrong assumption that they want the same as the rest of us, the same hankering for liberal democracy, the same aspirations. An idiocy Blair took with him to his new, post-PM role as — so hilarious it defies satire — Middle East peace envoy.

    But it is Iraq for which we will remember Blair; for the million dead, for the chaos that ensued, for the chemical weapons we used (white phosphorus and depleted uranium). As the former UK ambassador Craig Murray puts it in this film: ‘If Tony Blair isn’t a war criminal, then who is?’

    *IMO it will be easier to destroy Blair on the basis of his greed, however, given sufficient determination in questioning the opacity of his affairs.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    A fair bet that having dropped in to approve an eco-catastrophe in Liberia, Tony would want to have a little meddle next door, in Sierra Leone. And so it transpires:

    Self-congratulatory crap from the AGI website is repeated here:

    For years, Blair’s charity the Tony Blair African Governance Initiative has assisted the Sierra Leonean government with healthcare, roads, electricity and more, according to its website. It also assisted the country during the Ebola outbreak.

    Yes, but how? Whose money really funded the improvements, to say nothing of the well-paid suits doing wholly unproductive consultancy and advisory ‘work’? Would the money have been available without Blair’s involvement? Did AGI actually put its own workers on the ground at its own expense (it is, after all, a charity)? How much international aid reached its target via AGI’s information black hole, and what other recipients benefited? No-one knows. No-one is intended to know.

    Still, we’re glad it was pissing down during the blairing. Hope his makeup ran.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      I think it’s important to point out that Blair’s involvement in the Sierra Leone civil war has come under critical scrutiny: notably the presentation of the intervention as ‘good guys’ vs. ‘bad guys’. An alternative view is that the rebellion was of the ‘have nots’ against the corrupt ‘haves’:

      For Tony Blair, the Sierra Leone crisis posed an opportunity to test his new ethical foreign policy, based on global responsibilities (as demonstrated in the crisis in the former Yugoslavia). These interventions it seems fit in elegantly within the foreign policy structure that produced interventions in Bosnia, later in Iraq and Afghanistan, as the Prime Minister declared that whatever the situation, in the end Britain was backing ‘the good guys against the bad ones’…..What is clear from analysing the aetiology of this bloody conflict, is that contrary to a widely held view, the strike at the Sierra Leone state by these young people was not premised on greed as broadcast by some commentators, a point which no doubt together with the humanitarian disaster influenced external intervention in the country. It is clear in the analysis of all serious scholars of this small West African country that the youth who rose up against 30 years of economic and political decadence had a genuine grievance against those corrupt gerontocrats that had made life miserable for them, as they saw no future for themselves under those conditions. Another related myth by the ‘greed not grievance’ brigade is that diamonds were the cause of the war. Indeed, it was only towards the end of the war that the mining of diamonds became a serious issue. For example, Lance Gberie has pointed out that the nature of this reading of the war was designed, ‘with an eye to influencing Western policy towards the largely neglected crisis in Sierra Leone’

      This view is finding more general acceptance as the propaganda fades. Though it is one of the few places on the planet where Tony can still find love.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    The Romanian cash-for-kudos affair rumbles on. Here’s the emerging contact trail:

    “In this context, I was sent very clear that Mr. Tony Blair will not charge a fee, but encourages hosts to support a charitable activity indicated by him. With no legitimacy and legal status to get involved in matters of a financial nature have sent Foundation organizing in Romania message team guest from the UK, to continue direct dialogue, my contribution stopping here. All aspects of logistical the visit were provided by the team appointed by the Foundation host in Romania, including the final format of the debate and corresponding list guests. I regret the fact that an event beneficial for Romania’s image has taken such a turn, but I consider it appropriate that the competent institutions to shed light, as confusion and anathematization are more harmful. (Google translation)

    Not mentioned…quite… is the nature of the charity to which £180,000 was to find its way. Hands up anyone who thinks it didn’t operate behind a web of opaque companies set up, to provide management services to each other, by Bircham Dyson Bell?

    Ms Birchall (no relation) is quite right to plead for the kind of transparency which would put everyone’s mind at rest. For Tony Blair Associates, that would be a new and original outcome.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Not much to report today. You kow how it is – you wait weeks for a new Blair outrage and then three come along together. Still, over 3000 lobotomised citizens of Albania have just put in a petition to erect a statue of the man for picking the *right* side in an ethnic war which was none of his business. Fair play to them. I doubt their media is any better than ours, and dissent with the idea is not wholly absent there, either. Wonder if this was mentioned at his recent meet with Rama, though.

    But his little helper, McTernan, has fallen on his NuLabour feet. Reasons for being hired by yet another PR outfit in the business of sidestepping democracy for its clients:

    “[McTernan] has an amazing resume with high-level strategic positions in the U.K., Australia, and elsewhere,” Freet said. “His experience will continue to attract high-level candidates and campaigns we’ve traditionally been a part of around the world.”

    McTernan worked for Blair for two years as director of political operations. Following that, he ran the Scottish Labour Party’s parliamentary election campaign and the Australian Labor Party’s federal election campaign, both in 2007. In 2011, he was communications director for Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

    Reasons not to: the Scottish Independence Labour No campaign, and the wiping out of Labour in Scotland thanks to the memory of that?

    The fundamentals of campaigns are remarkably similar around the world,” McTernan said. “A lot of the issues are the same. The most successful campaigns in the end are about getting something to dream and hope for.”

    Lovely. The Blair philosophy in a nutshell. Or, as you might say more succinctly, sell the sizzle and fuck the sausage.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Meanwhile (as she prepares to represent buy-to-let landlords such as herself in a dispute about a proposed property tax), Cherie demonstrates her socialist credentials by lining up with Norman Tebbitt, the well known Marxist,to oppose an enquiry into Orgreave.
    Conservative Home have just a little more than the original Times article lets the unwaged and impoverished see –

    Cherie Blair and Lord Tebbit: unlikely allies, but they both slam Orgreave inquiry

    “While campaigners welcomed news that Amber Rudd, the home secretary, is preparing to agree to their request for an investigation into the most bitter clash of the 1984 miners’ strike, others urged her to reconsider. Lord Tebbit said that an official inquiry into the policing of the strike would “give credence” to “Arthur Scargill and his thugs”. Mrs Blair, wife of the former Labour prime minister, said that it would be a “waste of time and money”. “Longrunning inquiries are expensive, ineffective and rarely satisfy anybody, a bit like long-running strike action,” she said in a post on her LinkedIn page.” – The Times (£)

    Oh, you mean like Chilcot? We’re sure a legal brain like yours could have ensured its effectiveness, Cherie, had it had the slightest desire to do so. But. sadly, it wasn’t permitted to investigate war crimes…

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Bubbling under in Rwanda, despite the solicitous attention of AGI and Mr Blair In Person to propping up its very shady leader (see above, repeatedly) –

    To what extent Paul Kagame represents any kind of advance on a stereotypical African thug …ok, maybe his suits are sharper than Idi Amin’s…may be seen here:

    This expands the picture:

    One of Tony’s usual functions when performing for despots is to suppress and massage reports on this kind of thing. But the truth will usually out eventually.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Thursday 22nd -045 ET: the usual guff to be blaired at the Council on Foreign Relations. For a fee payable by the Leffingwell Foundation. The CFR’s HQ is at The Harold Pratt House. 58 East 68th Street, NYNY, but it’s anyone’s guess where this particular waste of time will be taking place, and that does not feature on the CFR’s website. Almost certainly invitation-only, too.

    The CFR is regarded among conspiracist circles as a plot to enforce world rule by the elite, but in fact it’s simply a very large Washington political thinktank composed of US globalists, politicians, corporates, military, who, er, wouldn’t mind ruling the world along American lines. And have the collective clout to do so.

    Counterpunch points out that Bill ‘n Hill are affiliated to this, and Kissinger is one of its alumni, so it’ll be like coming home for Tone.

    OTOH, Richard Haass, the chairman of CFR, is on record as thinking the invasion of Iraq was ill-advised…

  • Ba'al Zevul

    When in doubt, bugger off back to the US where your masters are, eh, Tone?

    And Harold bloody Evans is Reuters’ Editor-at-Large. Who knew? It’s a longstanding friendship, though:

    Expect no awkward questions, then.

    Interestingly, there is no mention of Tony’s presence at the final Clinton Global Initiative bash, also in NY this week. Tony was a welcome woffler at the first one, in 2005. Either one party (which?) feels the other is now too tainted to touch, or Blair’s paranoia has escalated to the point where even cuddling Bill has to be done in secret.

    • Rose

      Forgive me for not keeping up with all the jot and tittle of your admirable pursuit for justice, but I have just heard the news about the “decision” to devote more of the ineffable energy to world peace and reconciliation and less to making moolah.

      Really looking forward to your take on this. How much pop-corn should I order? xx

      • Ba'al Zevul

        I’ll believe it when I see it. Also, ‘pro bono’ for Tony (and Clinton) has always consisted of encouraging shady leaders to welcome investors with ulterior motives. IOW it’s all spin. It usually is. Most likely someone’s started sniffing round Tony Blair Associates. In which case the cash will henceforth be handled under the table via third parties.

        But wouldn’t it be wondeful if he’s turned over a new leaf? LOL.

        • Ba'al Zevul

          PS, I’m guessing that the amount turned over to ‘not-for-profit’ work, being the reported book value of the small visible portion of Blair, Inc, will be rather smaller than the actual value of his holdings. And it will be interesting to see where all those pricey TBA execs will wind up, too. Tony’s rather good at embedding the help.

          • Rose

            Ok B – so joy to be confined for the moment then. I did wonder whether he was beginning to feel the hot breath on his arse, but perhaps not enough just yet.

            Had to laugh at the requirement of the new law about to come into force that directors of companies have to be “natural humans”. Wonder where they’ll find those entities in the alien corporate world.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    The MSM is currently wetting its knickers over the prospect of Blair, in their collective words (ie probably a TBA press release) ‘shutting down his business empire’ Some are even imagining His Return to politics in the UK. Jonathan Freedland hopes He will rematerialise in the Labour Party and dispel the satanic manifestation of socialism in its midst, returning it to the fold of predatory global capitalism with the help of His billionaire financier friends.

    Fortunately, this is to misread the situation. As Blair’s own account says, what he’s proposing is what he’s been ‘de facto’ doing for the last two years. 75% of that period may be accessed in this thread: it doesn’t look much as if he’s been cutting back on the income here.
    And he’s closing some, not all, of his commercial operations. This could mean absolutely anything. Will his Kansas City securities brokerage, ABG, go? The MSM are completely unaware of its existence, so probably not. Windrush Ventures? The MSM think so, but as this acts as the funding channel for his charities, and these will continue, he will at least have to have a bank account to deal with that, and we can assume total obscurity to continue on that front. In the interests of his privacy,

    Firerush Ventures deals with the finance and payments-from-dictators branch. Perhaps this is what he means to dismantle. If Blair continues to advise foreign governments – loyal patriot that he is – he implies that he will be doing so pro-bono*. But the staff he retains during his consolidation of Blair Inc will still want to be paid, and charter jets don’t come cheap, either. Earnings or overheads? Hard one. Firerush also (allegedly) embodies something like an investment bank. Probably this hasn’t worked as well as Tony hoped, and that part, which has no formal separate existence from Firerush, may well disappear.

    As mentioned earlier, too, the Windrush and Firerush structures may become illegal shortly, in which case they cannot continue and the restructuring of these was inevitable.

    Lastly the MSM authoritatively cite Tony Blair Associates as being one of the cull beasts. But TBA again has no independent existence, being simply the trading name for any or all of two Windrush and two Firerush companies, with very flexible associations with AGI and the TBFF. It’s a name. This is a rebrand, not a restructure.

    Note also that the cash balance Blair claims will be transferred to the Blair charities is around the same order of what appears on the books of those Windrush/Firerush entities not protected from disclosure by being limited partnerships. There is an LP embedded in each. Is this the whole story?

    With Blair, was anything ever the whole story?

    *Often enough the appearance of pro-bono-tude fostered by Blair and his grateful clients is eventually seen to be financed by Mubadala…

  • Ba'al Zevul

    As the final Clinton Global Initiative shindig dies quietly on its feet, (with restrictions inspired by Nursultan Nazarbayev placed on the Press pack), we have a sighting of Cherie in New York doing her thing for putting global women in global suits, mentoring same to achieve, inspire, sell phone time, etc…

    We imagine Mrs Blair will not be abstaining from for-profit activities, then. Tomorrow Tony’s at the Council on Foreign Relations, also in NYC, as indicated already. Finally NYC also hosted Climate Week NYC 2016 this week; despite Tony’s passionate rhetoric at the Gleneagles G8 summit in 2005*, and his initiation of the optimistically titled Breaking The Climate Deadlock, er, website? PR campaign? under the Orifice of Tony Blair ukase, we have heard absolutely nothing from him on this global challenge since 2011. So he probably wasn’t there either.

    * Reminder of what this amounted to:

  • Ba'al Zevul

    What’s really unsettling is the unanimity with which all media presented with Blair’s rebranding, accept it at face value. This is a man who has never told the whole truth in public, let us remember. Awkward questions, like “What is it that you will actually be doing…pro bono…?”, “Can we expect any transparency regarding your ongoing ‘charitable’ work?”, and “Will you continue to advise despots on massaging their PR / broke countries on EU entry / Kagame?”, aren’t being asked. Instead, the Orifice of Tony fires ever more astounding pronouncements into the intellectual vacuum unhindered. Such as, today, the notion that Corbyn’s leadership will bring about a one-party state. This from the market-crazed manipulator who did more than any other to make his party indistinguishable from its opposition and render free elections a wholly meaningless process.

    Happily, the MSM is not the sole source of information and comment. Allow us to commend this piece, which pretty well nails Blair, albeit presenting a different theory to our own:

    • Ba'al Zevul

      One strongman who will be dispensing with Blair’s services, at any rate, is Albania’s Edi Rama, who hosted Tony briefly earlier this year – whether to boost his own or Blair’s credibility is unclear.

      Blair’s involvement is believed to have been in order to lubricate Albania’s accession to the EU, but the Trans Adriatic (gas) Pipeline cuts through a swathe of Albania, and the status of Blair’s advisory post to the consortium building this following his transfiguration is as yet unknown. In this he appears to have been tasked with managing the objections of Puglians to the pipeline, and this may have figured in his apparently cosy relationship with Rama (see above). Another possibility is that the UAE, reportedly funding Blair’s presence in Albania, are no longer interested in his welfare.

      It will be interesting to see if consultancies for which A Spokesperson claims Blair is not being paid a penny by the government concerned (ie, the bill goes to, eg, the UAE) are the ones to be ditched. Serbia, another EU supplicant, may be next.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    While announcing that he would be downsizing his commercial activities from his previously-claimed 33% to 20% of his very valuable time, Tony Blair also indicated that he would be seeking new premises. This cannot be unconnected with the fact that the lease on 9, Grosvenor Square, TBA’s current front office, runs out next year. Tony signed for ten years, at £550,000 pa, and three months free, in 2007…any West End bailiff firms needing help?

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Slightly clearer article on the continuing problems of former Blair advisee Victor Ponta in Romania:

    This may be read in conjunction with this tantalising account of the fraudulent misuse of EU funds in Romania:

    The European Investment Bank? Hmmm. That’s where we went for all that PFI capitalisation in the UK. I’m sure Tony knows it well.

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