An Apology 2121

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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2,121 thoughts on “An Apology

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  • Ba'al Zevul


    Tomorrow Mr Blair will be gesticulating and gurning at “a select group of college students” – who are presumably being punished for something – at the UN Economic Commission for Africa, in Addis Ababa, tomorrow. No doubt they will be eager to hear his views on Brexit and expressions of the popular will generally.

    Since the new president, Abiy Ahmed Ali, will be there too, the opportunity for the Great Man to meet Ethiopia’s leader is obvious. Abiy may care to bear in mind that Tony’s last visit to Ethiopia was marked by the ousting of the previous president, Hailemariam Desalegn, the day after Tony left. We are sure that a Memorandum of Understanding That Tony Gets His Feet Under The New Presidential Table will result from their meeting. Notwithstanding the ongoing conflict and human rights issues.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    While today, it’s Cote D’Ivoire, for a working visit. So the standard touching-bases exercise, without last November’s exciting mining angle. Worth noting, though, that there seems to be a general mood among African nations with (a) gold and (b) Tony suits, in favour of reviewing their mining concessions.

      • Ba'al Zevul

        The TBI Twitter feed then put up a picture of Tony holding President Bawumia’s hand. Details of their conversation not released, but ‘working with the government on their agenda to deliver ™ ‘ something or other not specified, as usual*, indicated.

        * Money, conceivably.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Fuller details on Tony’s working visit to Cote D’Ivoire here:

    ‘Creating work for young people’ is one of the objectives of the memorandum of understanding by which Tony embeds himself fiurther in the affairs of CdI. But Tony cannot believe he is young…can he?. Cashews and cotton seem to be central to this. Not mentioned in this report are two other interesting circumstances: Blair’s arrival at Abidjan was attended by the British Ambassador, and Blair also met the Minister of Mines and Industry.

    We apologise for reminding the reader that this, like the four previous six-monthly State visits by His Expremiership to West African gold-bearing countries, was facilitated by the apparently free use of an executive jet belonging to Naguib Sawiris, Egyptian oligarch with extensive involvement in gold-mining.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Sooo…on to Ethiopia, presumably.
    We are delighted to report that Andargachew Tsige (mentioned, passim) was pardoned by the new regime on the 19th, and is now a free man. Tony was requested by Tsige’s family in October 2016 to use the influence of the then AGI (embedded in the old regime) to release the human rights activist and opposition leader. We don’t know if he did, but we rather doubt it. Nothing had happened until October 2017. when Boris Johnson was wheeled into the affair. Still nothing happened until Dessalegn was forced out this February (the day after Tony had left Addis, following his regular manifestation there), having released political prisoners, as a last-ditch attempt to mute his critics.

    M-ASRI flies on…More as it happens…

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Last week’s visit to Sierra Leone drew this excellent response from one of the unconverted:

    What is the point of holding Elections and having such eminent and capable Ministers appointed if we then have to rely on Tony Blair to ensure our prosperity. He has tried in the past to get the British Government to channel their actions through him and rightly failed. What is the point of maintaining a Diplomatic Corps if we are not going to work with those proper agencies?(…)How many of his (Blair’s) staff were embedded in Government and, indeed, who are they and who vetted and approved their appointment? It is bad enough having to control the various other NGOS without being ruled by one of them.

    Excellent questions. Along with ‘who’s paying?’ and “what does he actually do?” Unlikely to be answered by the Tony Blair Institute for Tony Blair, though.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    To the huge relief of the Remain camp, Tony is currently quiescent on the UK scene, contenting himself with being interviewed about his ‘war’ on Brexit by German outlets Zeit and Stern. The content of these pontifications is sufficiently well-worn as to require no further attention. See any Blair speech on the subject, and we hope our former (and, increasingly present) enemies don’t think they were paying for original material.

    More interesting is the persistent impression in some quarters that Tony’s extremely good mate, Paul Kagame – they tend to coincide a lot at the sort of global ™ fora and billionaire bashes to which Tony has always been attracted – that Paul may not after all be the saviour of Rwanda, and, whisper it if you are within earshot of his police, may be a genocidal dictator. Latest here:

    Q: Leaders like Bill Clinton and Tony Blair have praised Paul Kagame for what he has achieved in Rwanda since taking over. Clinton, for example, has called him one of “the greatest leaders of our time.” What do you make of their effusive praise?

    Rever: I think history will judge both of those men harshly. Bill Clinton and Tony Blair have been Kagame’s top kingmakers. They have both played key roles in constructing the myth of Kagame as a visionary leader who has resurrected Rwanda from the ashes. They have both enabled Kagame’s impunity by peddling this myth and and turning on the taps of global charity. Neither of them has been willing to address, in a substantive way, Kagame’s killings which they would have been aware of in Rwanda during and after the genocide and in the Congo. They seem to have geopolitical interests in protecting him.

    There’s been so much bloodshed and destabilization in the Great Lakes region. Frankly, its been a catastrophe. The West’s geopolitical interests are a big part of why Kagame has so much support. Part of it is economic and part of it is very much politically driven. The US and Britain want people they can do business and politics with. They want people who they agree with on certain things. Obviously part of the calculation here is the United States wanted regime change in the Congo. They wanted Mobutu Sese Seko out and Kagame was the man to do it.

    We are happy to agree.

    Paul Kagame (first ‘elected’ 2003: last year re-‘elected’ by just under 99%, seven-year terms) will be President at least until 2024, barring accidents or democratic elections.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    M-ASRI departed Luton on the 14th, and landed at Dalaman, Turkey, where it would still appear to be. Dalaman serves the section of the tourist coast which includes resorts such as Fethiye. Where the huge and ostentatious yacht ‘Lady Christine’ is currently berthed; it’s the only gin palace there. Certainly, the accommodation there is stratospherically above anything in Fethiye (which is nice but undistinguished), and would be attractive equally to Naguib Sawiris or Tony Blair. The ‘Lady Christine’ was bought last year by Saeed Bin Jabr al Suwaidi, a financial billionaire from Dubai, we believe, and renamed ‘Queen Mavia’. However, the ‘Queen Mavia’ is not berthed at Fethiye, but at Valetta, Malta. Curious. The two craft are identical, according to the photographs. We wonder which one is spoofing its ident.

    Clarification welcome.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      Clarification much needed. The ‘Lady Christina‘ is a tourist boat based at Fethiye. It was assigned a new identity thanks to the yacht tracking site’s spellcheck being on the fritz, apparently, and assigning its location to ‘Lady Christine‘. ‘Queen Mavia’, formerly but no longer ‘Lady Christine‘, is indeed at Valetta.
      But with no record of the Sawiris clan’s having interests in S. Turkey, and with its protege Tony’s generally preferring more upmarket freebies, the presence of Blair Airways in the area remains unexplained for now.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    The ever-acquisitive Cherie will be missusblairing in Liverpool on the 28th, at its 2018 Business Festival, as previously indicated. 0830-0945 as a panellist at ‘Shetrades Global ™ ‘ * and at 1200-1230, both at the Pullman Hotel, on the ‘Futures Stage’:

    This ‘in conversation’ between Jude Kelly and Cherie Blair, looks at what’s happening in 2018, asks if this is the year of equal rights and looks at how we can empower female entrepreneurs in developing and emerging economies.

    Well, one way is to link up with a telecoms firm and sell the poor cows phones and banking facilities; weld them into the global financiers’ value-added debt-fuelled economy, and grab any consultancy fees and kickbacks from the globals you can get.

    Rather than, say, addressing the overpopulation problem or the regrettable tendency of any money generated in these economies to find its way either to the local armed militia or the President’s family (though these may in fact be identical).

    *Geddit? Ugh.

  • Ba'al Zevul


    High-ranking international figures from business, politics and civil society will meet on 22 June 2018 for the founding forum of the Copenhagen Democracy Summit.

    As Anders Fogh Rasmussen so cogently observed last year:
    “World democracy is under increasing pressure, freedom of expression and free trade are at risk.”
    “None of us should take liberty or democracy for granted, so I would like to bring together important and powerful voices for the defense of democracy to find solutions to common challenges and the defense of the democratic system that has freed us, made us more prosperous and prosperous over the last 70 years has made it safer to initiate. “

    Which may be why, (e.g.) Egypt’s el-Sisi, Rwanda’s Kagame, Kazakhstan’s Nazarbayev, Azerbaijan’s Aliyev, any Gulf leaders and anyone from China don’t seem to be attending this networking event for B-list pols polishing their CV’s. All of the above have at some time employed Tony.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      Confirming the suspicion that ‘democracy in danger’ is Tony’s current passkey to discussion of, say, ignoring the UK referendum on leaving Europe, we notice Yascha Mounk, head of the TBIfTB’s Renewing the Centre ™ squad, will be blairing/mounking at the Aspen Ideas Festival (21-30 Jun) on ‘Has Democracy Run Its Course?’, ‘Deep Dive: Trump, Brexit and a New World Order’ (.. Centre ™ = good while populism = bad) and ‘Is Democracy In Danger?’

      Tony isn’t listed at this year’s lip-service-to-troubling-issues selfcongratulothon. But his views will be heard.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Meanwhile, surfing on development cash from GSMA, a global ™ association of mobile phone network operators, Cherie’s been adding to the portfolio of telecoms corporations attached to her project for turning female small traders (aka entrepreneurs) in developing countries into empowered wimmin with mobile banking and access to debt funding. Qui bono? The telecoms corps and the banks obviously gain no benefit from this, and Cherie, socialist Cherie, is purely pro bono. Lol.

    The latest is Vietnam’s Savvycom.

    It joins Vodafone, principally in India, but more than willing to participate in Blair schemes elesewhere; Ooredoo, Qatar-based, partnering with Cherie’s charity in Myanmar; Safaricom in Kenya; Qtel: Indosat; Nokia….but, apart from some input into her website content, the connection with the Sawiris family’s Orascom in Egypt is surprisingly tenuous. In Egypt, they seem to have spotted what she’s up to, and that may be relevant:

    “The huge discrepancy that exists between men and women can’t be solved by the ownership of a mobile,” said Sahar al-Mougy, a prominent feminist and professor of literature at Cairo University.

    Even though she values any initiative that aims at empowering women, she is concerned by the fact that this program “looks terribly simplistic and commercial. It’s all good for the mobile companies that more women will possess more mobiles, it means more customers,” she added.

    According to her, one way of solving the problem would be by creating more schools and training programs especially for women and not just providing them with technology.

    The head of the Egyptian Centre for Women’s Rights, Nihad Abul Koumsan, does not seem enthusiastic about this program either, arguing that the ownership of a mobile phone is a double-edged sword for some Egyptian women.

    “Owning a telephone is positive because it gives women a space to communicate with the outside world and greater access to education. She can also get health and medical tips sent to her mobile,” said Abul Koumsan.

    “But for women in Egypt, a mobile can be compared to a dog leash: her family constantly calls her to know where she is, even if she’s in the classroom or at university. And if she is unable to answer or in an area with no network, she could find herself in a very unpleasant situation once back home,” she adds.

    She also mitigates the freedom a mobile offers a woman in Egypt because, “Her father or brother may very well monitor her mobile by looking through her SMSs and phones calls.”

    She likens mobile phones to tools to control women’s each and every move, as opposed to being a source of liberation in the same way as they are for men. Like al-Mougy, she would have preferred the millions of dollars to have been invested in the creation of schools and training programs that are, according to her, the only way to financial independence for women, which is in turn the only real passage to liberation and equality.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Very likely irrelevant, but we see Sheldon Adelson’s* blingboat, the ‘Queen Miri’ is currently berthed at Marmaris. Which is served by Dalaman airport, where it is assumed M-ASRI is still parked. Both Sawiris (construction) and Blair (Middle-East meddling) might enjoy a spell aboard.

    *Las Vegas brothel tycoon, GOP’s selection for Nevada, umbilically connected to Is***l.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Air Sawiris: Dalaman-Luton-Nice today. Sawiris Marine’s ‘Yalla’ is at Cannes. The excursion coincides with relative silence from Blair. Reminder: Tony is in Denmark tomorrow.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      Curiouser and…With his usual exec jet on the ground at Dalaman between the 14th and today, Naguib Sawiris has apparently been in Russia for the football since at least the 15th. So it wasn’t him, and in any case, he has no great love for Turkey. With apologies for a continued distraction from our preferred factual approach to Blair’s doings, we will keep a watching brief on this.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    With Tony due to give Chatham House a blairing on Wednesday, we have great pleasure in presenting Austin Mitchell’s take on him. Mitchell and we agree rather well, not only on the Dear Leader, but on subsequent PM’s. If there were a Mitchell Party we’d join it…

    The art of political oratory is to say nothing passionately. Tony had it. Everyone came away believing he was on their side, though all they’d really had was a sprinkle of stardust and a warm smile. I called him Britain’s Great Leader, the Kim Il-sung of Downing Street…. instead of boosting manufacturing, he focused on globalisation; instead of building houses, he reshuffled the stock; instead of rebuilding the regions damaged by industrial decline, he doled out peanuts; instead of controlling finance, he relaxed regulation; and instead of keeping the Pound competitive, he encouraged it to go up.

  • Komodo

    Do we detect a chicken coming home to roost?

    “Tony Blair has refused to answer new concerns, recently revealed by the Libyan government itself, that he agreed to exonerate Libya from compensating victims of Libya-IRA terrorism in return for trade deals with the UK,” he said.

    “This is all the more reason that the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee should use its power to compel Mr Blair to appear before it to finally answer questions about his role, after he snubbed them by refusing to appear last year. The UK victims deserve to hear the truth.”

    We might additionally wonder to whose benefit those trade deals were conducted. BP, perhaps? JP Morgan? Someone else who snapped him up when he vacated Sedgefield? Well, if the NIAC can by any chance lure Tony into a personal appearance for less than £30K, we may find out.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    The Supreme Pontificator , as is often the case, has instructed the Global Stuff team to release the text of a sermon in advance, ensuring that the Guardian has a copy:

    Which revelation leaves little point in his actually delivering the blairing to Chatham House later today. What are the indicators of a return to 1930’s politics, since we’re thinking about it? Well…

    1. Persistent global economic crisis brought about by deregulation of an inherently fraudulent economic system.
    2. Demagogues promising radical change (remember 1996, Tony)
    3. The breakdown of international consensus and the assembly of regional power blocs.

    And, in fact, we’ve been there for some time due to:
    4.Competing imperialist ambitions in the second and third world.

    With none of which, obviously, dear Tony had anything to do at all.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Seems to be getting less of a free pass on the BBC, too. Shock horror – lying liar tells another lie:

    For all the waffle and spin, the fact remains that net immigration rose drastically during the Blair years. Immigration from Eastern Europe was unchecked because, unlike Germany, and although he could have done, Blair did not impose transitional controls during the assimilation of East bloc countries. His minimal attempts to draw a line under multiculturalism and require full integration of immigrants failed dismally.

    • SA

      I would like your take on Blair and the privatisation of the NHS in light of the current celebrations of 70 years of the NHS.
      What seems to have been somewhat forgotten is that TB more successfully contributed to the privatisation of the NHS than Thatcher ever dared to. The major rise in PPI projects during that time is well known. But also TB’s Government pumped a lot of money into the NHS but a lot of it went into the structure to facilitate privatisation. There was the introduction of payment by results which entailed a huge bureaucratic exercise in costing procedures involving a lot of city consultancy firms. This was also the start of the revolving door between politicians and the NHS and as this diagram from Powerbase shows, many of the ministers from the Blair days are now key individuals in the private health sector

      Has TB also benefited personally from this?

  • Komodo

    We’ve had a very pleasant holiday from Blair, in the sun, but now it is time to return from the Radisson Blu our back garden and see what the aging fraud is up to again:

    Intriguing news from N.Korea, where Blair’s associate and former spad Jonathan Powell pressed the flesh with Ri Su Yong, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK,. Powell, Blair’s senior advisor throughout the Blair regime, is still a contributor to the TBIfTB.

    (This site may not be safe)

    The People’s Princess is currently trashing May’s Brexit plans for all he’s worth, and Mandelson has emerged from the swamp to assist. This will be worth pure gold to May, in fact, as Blair is arguably the one politician less credible or popular than she. And Mandelson runs her close. All media, everywhere.

    Those who never tire of trite platitudes and rehearsed spontaneity need only book their place at Faulkner University’s Benefit Dinner (aka fundraiser) in Montgomery, Alabama, on October 4th. We are pleased to supply the price list:

    Those who may imagine that Faulkner is not quite the equal of Harvard, Yale or Princeton are entirely correct. It’s a private Christian university, affiliated to the mildly eccentric Churches of Christ (no musical instruments, if it isn’t in the Bible, they don’t do it…to some extent…), but imagine if this model of education, education, education were adopted throughout UK HE, and the limitless opportunities for sold-out politicians to address all those fundraisers!

  • Ba'al Zevul

    On Wednesday, the Rt. Hon. AC Blair, former Prime Minister of the notionally independent United Kingdom, will be treating with the enemy: Frans Timmermans, Vice- President of the European Commission, and assisting him in stalling, obfuscating and eventually making completely impossible the process of leaving the EU. (scroll down to 18th July)

  • Ba'al Zevul

    We also missed Blair maintaining the Clinton connection at an obscure business networking event in Canada on the 9th:

    Blair’s sentiments were unrecorded but we doubt anything detailed or original was offered: Like Clinton, we assume that he “really likes the resort, he likes the venue, he likes the stimulation.” Although Huddle tactfully neglects to mention the fee.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Little weirdnesses often creep into reportage of the Dear Pontificator’s activities. Compare and contrast:

    1. Dec 25, 2017:
    2. Today:
    He hasn’t aged a bit…
    For his part, Blair expressed confidence that Egypt moves on the right track. Must be right. Tony BELIEVES it. O ye of little faith.

    Egypt 2017/2018

    Egypt’s human rights crisis continued unabated. The authorities used torture and other ill-treatment and enforced disappearance against hundreds of people, and dozens were extrajudicially executed with impunity. The crackdown on civil society escalated with NGO staff being subjected to additional interrogations, travel bans and asset freezes. Arbitrary arrests and detentions followed by grossly unfair trials of government critics, peaceful protesters, journalists and human rights defenders were routine. Mass unfair trials continued before civilian and military courts, with dozens sentenced to death. Women continued to be subjected to sexual and gender-based violence and were discriminated against in law and practice. The authorities brought criminal charges for defamation of religion and “habitual debauchery” on the basis of people’s real or perceived sexual orientation.

    Hurry up, Tony. Time to get your entourage aboard your celebrity class flight to Brussels…

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Aha. M-ASRI’s on the move again, and this is often the time of year when Tony, having done as much damage as possible to the interests of the UK in – or out of – the EU, buggers off to patronise some Africans again. Sawiris One landed at Luton this morning, from Dalaman, where it has been for some time, and Sawiris Two (M-USIK) flew to Dalaman yesterday to replace it. Strange goings-on indeed. Sawiris’ sudden interest in Turkey, despite his loathing of its government, remains unexplained for now.

    Let’s see if Mystic Ba’al’s got it right this time.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Well, possums, Tony’s been adding to the cash flow of the TBIfTB, hasn’t he? £9M and counting,with £7.6M already banked – to help promote Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2010 with his “institute for global change,”

    The money comes through Media Investment (MIL), a Guernsey-registered firm that is a subsidiary of the Saudi Research and Marketing Group. This appears to be principally concerned with publishing and other media, although the original source of the cash may well be further up the State-controlled chain: the previous CEO was one of the princes. Intriguingly, its third-quarter 2017 accounts were signed off by Baker Tilly MKM & Co, although Wikipedia states that its auditors are Price Waterhouse Cooper. Baker Tilly, it may be distantly recalled, set up the enigmatic Gibraltar brassplates Windrush Ltd and Firerush Ltd within days of the incorporation of Blair’s now-defunct Firerush Ventures complex. Coincidence? Probably, but we bear it in mind.

    As usual, Tony has accepted some (much-needed) operating funds for the expensive operation he now calls the TBIfTB without a penny of it going to his own coffers. He says, and Tony is an honourable man (Shakespeare). However, we have little doubt that the Institute pays his expenses, including much of his hectic travel itinerary, though by law it cannot pay him a salary. And, given the way business is done in Saudi, there is no reason at all why the deal should not be personally profitable, even involving brown envelopes, indeed.

    One of the major projects of the TBIfTB, and Tony makes no secret at all of this, is the frustration of Brexit. While controversy rages about the role of Russia in Trump’s election, and interference in a country’s politics by foreign State actors, we’d like to point out that Saudi’s subsidising Blair’s activities falls into rather the same category. If Blair were running a formal political campaign, such as Leave, he would be required to declare donations to this. And Middle Eastern money would set all sorts of alarm bells ringing. But he isn’t. He’s running a shady thinktank which is accountable to no-one but himself, and which is not required to reveal the sources of its funding. Clever boy!

  • Ba'al Zevul

    DIARY: March 4th, 2019 will be marked by a keynote speech by the People’s Heart Specialist at CRT2019, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington DC. Heart specialist? WTF? Really? Oh, yes. Who else would be invited and doubtless paid to inspire CRT, one of the world’s leading interventional cardiology conferences,? We are experiencing atrial fibrillation at the very thought of it.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Tony’s new Saudi backers aren’t too keen on Qatar, and lots of spontaneous twittering was tweeted in protest against the Emir’s visit on Friday. Some of it might have been spontaneous, anyway:

    So Tony and Cherie might be expected not to have been too visible during the visit in case they were snapped with the bad mans, who is as we all know the only person in the ME to sponsor terrorism, And they weren’t. Difficult call for them both, though:

    And what of Tony and Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani?–1m-hour-mediator-lives-opulent-country-estate.html

    (Scroll down for historical details involving Glencore, Xstrata, a failed hotel deal, Tony and the sheikh)

    And who will forget Cherie’s attempted introduction of Qatar’s Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani to the Hillary Clinton circle?

    In case you did:

    Heartwarming to see that the KSA and Qatar can at least agree on employing Blair. If nothing else:

    All things to all men with money, is Tone.

  • Komodo

    Oh dear. Someone’s questioning the probity of our moral beacon…

    Critics of the Saudi regime insist the reforms are cosmetic, and are merely aimed at boosting the PR of the kingdom following after growing criticism regarding the regime’s links with hard-line Wahhabi clerics, human rights abuses and an increasingly bloody war in Yemen. Meanwhile, critics similarly suggest the connection of the Tony Blair name to the project adds it legitimacy in the eyes of the West, making it a controversy whether or not the former heavyweight politician’s institute profited from it directly or not.

    Though as far as we can see the questioning has not yet been done by the Fraud Squad or the FSA, so that’s all right. As a matter of detail, Tony’s not-for-profit employs at least 200 staff, many of them excellently rewarded, despite former carping about unpaid interns, and the poor man has to pay for them somehow. And the flashy website, to say nothing of the social media influencers.

    Much more to the point might be some serious questioning of the relation of the Saudi bonanza to that very integral component of the TBIfTB, the anti-Brexit, anti-Corbyn politicking division., please copy.

    • Komodo

      Mod – Thanks, your help always appreciated. Think I’ll return to ‘Komodo’ if that’s ok. ‘Ba’al’ was a jest which is now long past its expiry date.

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