An Apology 2256

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

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

2,256 thoughts on “An Apology

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  • Ba'al Zevul

    And now this:

    Naked attempt to bring Labour fully into line with global corporatism. Once again my large stock of epithets proves surprisingly inadequate. RIP Labour’s founding principles. God help the dispossessed.

    As if Labour wasn’t enough of an incoherent shambles already, note this, too –

    Mr Miliband has appointed former Deputy PM John Prescott as an adviser on climate change, while ex-spin doctor Alastair Campbell is playing an increasingly high profile role in the run-up to the election.

    Prescott on climate change must be very much like Simon Cowell on quantum mechanics…

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Blair comes out of the closet. At last…

    ….as suspected (above, somewhere), the reasons he likes autocrats are (a) that is his own natural mode and (b) because democracy has a nasty way of getting in the way of globalisation. In other news,

    The former prime minister has apparently recognised that his poor relations with senior Palestinian Authority figures and wide ranging business interests mean his frontline role is no longer viable.

    The Financial Times claimed that Mr Blair had met John Kerry, the US secretary of state, to discuss a potential job change. One senior diplomat told the newspaper: “It is long overdue. He has been ineffective in this job. He has no credibility in this part of the world.”

    Mr Blair is said to be keen to remain part of the peace process, but is being “eased out” of his current role by the Quartet, which represents the EU, the UN, the US and Russia, according to senior diplomats.

    The question of Blair’s sanity is front and centre, again.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    More confirmation of what the rest of the world had long suspected:

    Officially the Obama administration has been supportive of Mr Blair, with officials describing him on Sunday as a “valued partner in trying to bring peace to the Middle East” but in private the former officials was scathing.

    “He showed up, but was not effective,” the senior former official added. “Honestly, when the Kerry negotiations were going on, it was like he’d wait until Kerry was going to be in the region and show up at the same time and then do press releases. It was sort of unseemly.”

    “In the end the Israelis didn’t mind him, because he was heavily tilted towards them, but the Palestinians couldn’t stand him and most of the rest of the peace-making community and other groups included, just rolled their eyes.

    “Of course people met with him – he’s the former British prime minister and head of the Quartet – but beyond the media, there’s was really nothing much doing.”

    Another diplomat, speaking to the FT, said Mr Blair’s departure as Quartet envoy was “long overdue”.

    “He has been ineffective in this job. He has no credibility in this part of the world,” the source said.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Tony Blair also appears to have been here, yesterday:

    (He isn’t listed on the site, having suppressed all mention of his intended presence beforehand…this is becoming increasingly common, and he communicates mainly by post-event press releases from tOoTB. As the UEA government is one of the conference partners, it’s likely that they had something to do with paying the fee for his appearance)

    But this is a much more entertaining report…

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Oliver Miles confirms other informed opinion on the Quartet representative –

    Asked if he was saying Mr Blair should play no role in the region, Mr Miles said: “Yes I am. I think it’s a mistake. He’s the wrong man. I find it hard to believe, frankly, that the British Government would support him having a wider role.

    I am not so optimistic. Blair has on several occasions done gigs in close collaboration with, and timed to reinforce, HMG’s trade and energy offensives. HMG is very coy about its entanglement with Blair, and evades Parliamentary questions on the subject. Also, whether Blair is a born-again Zionist, as he often seems to be, or merely a useful idiot, there is certain to be Israeli pressure, via the UK Israel lobby, to continue to allow him to obstruct the peace proocess for Bibi – or Bibi’s successor.

  • YouKnowMyName

    allegedly, according to this Polish website, the Prime Minister & President of Poland were recorded discussing their involvement with one of the secret/CIA/torture/prisons/new_Disneyland_venture (take your pick)

    they were supposed to have been recorded by a couple of waiters at the restaurant who were promised jobs by a leader of the opposition, should he ever get back into government. Its nice to know that this sort of situation would never happen in Britain!,Kwasniewski-and-Miller-agreed-on-common-lie

    Mr Blair could not be contacted for comment.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Mr Blair? What could Mr Blair know about it?


    intelligence sources who spoke to The Telegraph earlier this year alleged that both Mr Blair and Mr Straw knew in detail about the CIA’s secret programme after the September 11 attacks and were kept informed “every step of the way”.

    “The politicians took a very active interest indeed. They wanted to know everything. The Americans passed over the legal opinions saying that this was now ‘legal’, and our politicians were aware of what was going on at the highest possible level.

    “The politicians knew in detail about everything – the torture and the rendition. They could have said [to M16] ‘stop it, do not get involved’, but at no time did they,” said the source with direct and detailed knowledge of the transatlantic relations during that period.

    The source’s claims echoed those made publicly by Sir Richard Dearlove, the head of MI6 from 1999 to 2004, who said in a speech in 2012 that MI6’s cooperation with the CIA’s rendition programme was a “political” decision.

    (Dec 2014)

    TY, YKMN…

  • LeSEO

    The book is important Craig. If politicians read more good history books they might not keep repeating the same mistakes

  • Ba'al Zevul

    While the world’s media are now announcing that Blair will step down as Quartet Representative, all reports are based on a single, unattributable item in the Financial Times, which speculated that his latest discussion with Kerry, at Sharm-el-Sheikh, concerned a possible recasting of his role. No more than that. Options including being permitted to continue meddling in the Palestinian struggle, with an altered job description (his mandate never formally included a commitment to work for peace, incidentally), are still open.

    Blair’s record is one of letting down those who were given to think he was working for their betterment: the UK electorate from 1998 on, Afghans, Iraqis, Col. Gaddafi, you name it. He is reliable only where his own interests are concerned, and any rejoicing over his tragically long-postponed departure from the peace process is probably premature.

    In any case, as far as Israel is concerned, the peace process is dead; the necessary facts on the ground have been established, the international community, encouraged and ‘advised’ by Blair, has sat on its collective hands. It will take more than his reprogramming to achieve a just settlement now. It may actually be impossible.

    I’m not cheering, yet.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    It’s now being spun that Blair is ‘stepping back’ from the job, and that ‘Washington’ is the arbiter of what he will do next. Aren’t we forgetting the UN, the EU and Russia? The US may love Tony to bits, but the other three Quartet members are neutral-to-unenamoured of him. This development seems to hint at the EU view:

    Mogherini may have shifted her ground from her prior support of Blair. If so, good.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    This summarises Blair’s influence on the Palestinian peace process. Completely:

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyhau said Monday that if he were to be reelected, a Palestinian state would not be created, in a definite disavowal of his 2009 speech, in which he had voiced support for the principle of two states for two peoples.

    Bitter irony (forgive repeated link, please):

    Given Blair’s intense relationship with Israel, it’s inconceivable that at some time in the last five years, he has not become aware that the peace process was, for Israel, a timewasting feint while settlement was pushed beyond the point of no possible return. Add to incompetence, accessory to fraud.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Netanyahu is back in the driving seat of APC Israel. He has declared that there will be no state for the Palestinians, and the illegal settlement of the occupied West Bank will proceed unchecked. Will he eject the remaining non-Jewish population, or will he take responsibility for its welfare? In either case there is no requirement for an envoy whose sole interest is to monetise the present Palestinian plight; Palestinians will either be refugees or a disenfranchised minority, investment in which yields no returns. And there is no requirement for a peace envoy, as peace will be unattainable.

    While it has taken till now for Netanyahu to state his preferred option as policy, it has hardly been a secret, for years. How much of this could have been prevented by an impartial Quartet envoy, prepared to kick the Israeli behind instead of licking it, using the status(and practical means) he was awarded to do the job, instead of using it as a springboard for his personal ambition, is an interesting what-if, and now nothing more.

    Perhaps it appears in no legal definition of the crime, but this is yet another de facto crime against humanity to add to Blair’s charge sheet.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Writing on his website last month after visiting the Gaza Strip still ravaged by the 50-day war last year with Israel, Blair said: “The present state of Gaza is a rebuke: to those of us in the international community who over the years have made so many promises unfulfilled; to those who have offered leadership and failed to provide it.”

    I think the clear reference to his own failure and collusion with the occupier is unintended… and that new role? Richard III, perhaps – “Thou elvish-mark’d, abortive, rooting hog!”

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Nice try, Norman. But sadly no cigar:


    Blair has been selling things which do not belong to him – the status and the authority of the premiership and the special knowledge and contacts it gave to him. His activities have diminished our greatest political office. He has contributed to a new and noxious culture, in which government and public service are merely a waiting room for the gravy train….

    … First, Acoba needs new rules and powers. It should discard the presumption that ex-ministers in business are a jolly good thing. Its over-riding purpose should be the preservation of high standards and public confidence in the governance of our country, and in particular to remove the potential for outside interests to profit from the inside knowledge of people who have been in government. Its recommendations should become enforceable at law.

    Second, former prime ministers should face lifelong public scrutiny of their financial activities. Their influence and authority last much longer than two years. Like all privy counsellors, they have a lifelong obligation to their sovereign. They also have a lifelong moral obligation to the British people, who made them what they were, to preserve the reputation of our highest political office.

    Third, former prime ministers should not work for foreign governments, even democratic ones in alliance with our country (Tony Blair has collected several which satisfy neither of these criteria). Whether in or out of office, a prime minister’s power belongs only to the British people. For the same reason, I believe that if he or she works for any business concern after leaving office it should be a British one which pays full British taxes.

    …When you get the chance, ask your local candidate what they intend to do about Tony Blair’s money.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    As infallibly predicted by Mystic Ba’al, the (ex?) Quartet Representative for Making Deals in the Middle East attended the Cisco Leadership Council 2015 on South Carolina’s exclusive Kiawah Island yesterday. There as a “special” guest, he gave a speech. For what he said it is probably not necessary to fire up the crystal ball: it’s pretty well the same speech wherever he goes. That was last night at 1845 local time. Cisco evidently have money to burn: tonight it’s Shimon Peres. We can deduce that Cisco has its eye on an Israeli opportunity.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Talking of Israel, and following the money, here’s what the Dear Leader’s been up to in Egypt:

    & refers)

    The Quartet document contradicts Tony Blair’s denial last summer of reports that he is advising Egypt’s President Sisi on a comprehensive economic plan for the country. It shows that Egypt’s energy relationship with Israel and Gaza features heavily in Blair’s vision for the region, and for Egypt’s ability to solve its economic crisis.

    Blair’s Egyptian consultancy arrangement was, according to sources familiar with it, part of a taskforce financed by the UAE, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Leaks of recordings of conversations between senior Egyptian government officials appear to corroborate accusations that Blair is working deep inside Sisi’s regime, on condition that his involvement be characterised as “unofficial.”

    The plan is not designed to benefit Palestinians. As journalist David Cronin reports, Blair’s overall blueprint for the economic modernisation of Palestine actually entails the “corporate capture” of the territories by transnational firms like Goldman Sachs, Coca Cola and Microsoft, working in cahoots with a corrupt pro-Israel Palestinian business elite. The arrangement would establish “special economic zones” permitting the “ruthless exploitation” of Palestinian labour in sweatshop-style conditions, and the “theft of agricultural land.”

    Blair’s vision of “peace” in the Middle East is premised on subjugation: the consolidation of Israel’s control of Palestine by converting the territories into a colony by capitalist proxy.

    Well, if distressingly, put.

    Also relevant:

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Nick Kochan (co-author of the above) has dug deeply in the Blair manure heap. Here he examines Blair’s new Serbian connection:

    And his old Kazakh one, too…

    Blair has five operatives on the ground in Astana, occupying offices in the building of Karim Massimov, the prime minister. Local sources say Massimov has used Blair to persuade Nazarbayev to push through plans to build up Islamic banking in the country. Blair has known Nazarbayev since 2000 and Blair’s writ runs in his office. Blair also introduced Sir Dick Evans, the former head of British Aerospace, to the Kazakh president to run the national airline. Evans has been on the board of Samruk-Kazyna, the Kazakh sovereign wealth fund, since 2006. Kazakhstan pays Tony Blair Associates £8mn a year for his services.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    I was delighted to see that the authors of Blair Inc: The Man Behind The Mask (out today) managed to include a reference to the two mysterious companies, Windrush Ltd and Firerush Ltd, set up simultaneously in the corporate heaven of Gibraltar in 2010. Their research got a little further than mine*, and revealed that the companies were spawned by Baker Tilly, a very large corporate tax manipulator, which has no very obvious connection to Blair. (Blair’s UK Windrush and Firerush complexes are run by Bircham Dyson Bell.) Baker Tilly is, however, Lord Levy’s accountant. And Lord Levy was Blair’s and New Labour’s go-to money man during the Blair premiership – indeed he was ennobled for that reason.

    Pure coincidence, no doubt.

    In which Levy’s probity re. UK tax was severely tested. Possibly that’s why he now lives in Israel.

    * and at least got printed, something I failed to achieve – see CM comments passim.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Wherever the Dear Leader is this week, he isn’t shouting about it. So, news from his flagship African governance project, for which so much has been claimed. To say nothing of his personal battle with Ebola there, or flying visit for publicity purposes, your choice. Ebola is still out of control in Sierra Leone, unlike its neighbours. As expected….

    …poor governance and defective regulatory and administrative frameworks, coupled with the massive corruption and fraud which permeate through every organ and agency of government, ensured that the companies which were granted licences or permits were less than financially robust.

    It appears that Mr. Blair has not earned his fees in Sierra Leone, as the so-called investment advisory board, failed the long suffering people of Sierra Leone as much as – or perhaps more than any of the so-called foreign investors, who have raped and pillaged the country.

    It has been alleged that the president and his family – particularly his brothers, preside over a mafia which masquerades as government procurement contractors and agents.

    Hello? Tony?

  • Ba'al Zevul

    “Massive fraud”, corruption and nepotism scupper Sierra Leone’s economy, prevent measures to contain Ebola.
    That’s the Tony Blair flagship African ‘governance’ project for ya.

    …poor governance and defective regulatory and administrative frameworks, coupled with the massive corruption and fraud which permeate through every organ and agency of government, ensured that the companies which were granted licences or permits were less than financially robust.

    President-Koroma-and-African Minerals Frank-TimisIt appears that Mr. Blair has not earned his fees in Sierra Leone, as the so-called investment advisory board, failed the long suffering people of Sierra Leone as much as – or perhaps more than any of the so-called foreign investors, who have raped and pillaged the country.

    It has been alleged that the president and his family – particularly his brothers, preside over a mafia which masquerades as government procurement contractors and agents.

    They go way back:

    Where two* are gathered together in the name of globalisation there is Clinton also….

    *Or three. Cherie’s never far away from a nice pile of steaming governance.

    *MODS* Post repeated with embellishment as original went phut. I prefer this one. Thanks.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    11 Mar,10.28 am, above:

    Julia Yun Hulme, Omnia’s managing director, refused to say what the latest legal contract was worth to the company, reports The Telegraph.

    But the truth will out.

    The government’s decision is dated March 11, 2015 and was published today in the Official Gazette. Only that the decision was not published in the official government website published where all other decisions taken at the government meeting March 11.

    The decision means that the reserve fund of the government, the Ministry of Finance to use an amount of 495 thousand euros “for payment of attorneys’ fees in the case of international arbitration IC no. 20,447 / MHM S2 Albania Sh.p.k. and Rapiscan Systems Inc. Against the Republic of Albania “.

    [Google Translate]

    Cherie (on well-trodden road to bank): Bwahahahahaha!

  • Ba'al Zevul

    I think this is worth including too. From the above report:

    BIRN reported earlier that the law firm of Mrs. Blair, Omnia phones, is employed by the government of Albania for legal advice and representation in a trade dispute with the US company Rapiscan and its bashkëpronaren Albanian Albania S2 company.

    Learned that the Omnia phones is employed through a process known as “invitation to negotiate” developed by the State Attorney. State Bar’s decision to select the Omnia likely that is contrary to their own rules set forth in the invitation for negotiations, which sanctioned the participating companies should be at least five years old, provided that the Omnia not met…..

    ….Consequently, Rapiscan addressed arbitration seeking a total compensation of 359 million dollars.

    So, not only does Cherie’s little earner appear to be illegally awarded, it’s to fight an action which can be settled for ($359M =) E327M – E32M less than the cost of bringing the action!

    The words ‘undue influence’ spring to mind, but are of course dismissed as absurd….wonder how the Albanian taxpayer feels about this instance of exemplary governance?

  • Ba'al Zevul

    La cucuracha is in Mexico today.

    Great Spanish practice (you know exactly what he’ll be saying in English) here:


    Tony Blair said, to the leaders of developing countries he “would advise people subject to underdevelopment to change in order not to be left behind” and that the case of Mexico, “which has faced changes with structural reforms, though it still has to change some elements of democracy, in order to increase their potential” exemplifies this.

    Dollars please. None of your foreign muck. Thank you

    [Google + Ba’al + a little license]

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