Pollution 95


I apologise for the suspension of blogging – I am still in Ghana. Despite work being a bit tough at the moment, it is as always a delightful place, though this last week it has been polluted by the presence of Tony Blair. Why he thinks that this vibrant democracy needs to be lectured on “leadership” by a war criminal, is beyond me. Blair should rather take a lesson from Ghana, which is celebrating its sixtieth year of existence and has never invaded another country. Doubtless, beneath his hypocritical witterings, he is as always sniffing around for money and trying to leverage himself into Ghana’s oil, gold or bauxite sectors. A revolting little man, who has to traipse the world looking for platforms where he will not be challenged for his crimes and the hundreds of thousands of children killed by his wars – and even in Ghana his appearances were strictly invitation only.

I cannot give any definite time when I will be back and the blog will resume. Probably about another fortnight.


95 thoughts on “Pollution

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  • Rob Royston

    A few weeks ago I was at work in the Gulf of Guinea. I complained about the heat to an inspector who had come in with some reports. He said, “This is not hot to me, I just flew over from Ghana yesterday”. Is it still the same?

    I’ve just finished reading your new book and I must tell you that I enjoyed it immensely. I had read your African book on-line previously and I am trying to buy “Murder in Samarkand” through Amazon but it’s as if they don’t have a date when they will be able to obtain copies.

  • MJ

    “Probably about another fortnight”

    Surely you have a few choice words about Nicola Sturgeon to share with us before then.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      and not at Accra…Or Togo or Sao Tome, where he has also been the last couple of days, exuding platitudes and “promising” to find funding. Not his funding, you understand. He’s obviously finding it more convenient to run his pimping-for-‘developers’ outfit as a single entity, and it avoids the risk that the Charity Commission will take an inconvenient interest now that he has somehow merged his deregistered contact-making charities with his extremely opaque personal business dealings, under a single roof (location as yet unknown)

      For his latest known whereabouts see ‘An Apology’ (rebranded ‘Blair Miles’) but please bear in mind that this is often no more than an eduucated guess, synthesising published information and his known habits and contacts.

      • Sharp Ears

        Or on a cold island in a cell with the lights on 24/7 and a tape on a loop of an Iraqi child screaming as the dressings are removed.

        How I loathe him.

  • Michael McNulty

    That’s the first time I’ve heard the war criminal Blair referred to as pollution. I like it.

      • Courtenay Barnett

        Michael,

        ” I wonder if Tony Blair is still interested in peace in
        The Middle East”

        He may say he is – but – his track record suggests that he would validate any war on the basis of serving a greater good for the inhabitants of the country attacked.He still insists that he saw no wrong in the attack on Iraq.

  • MJ

    No-one’s questioning that Holyrood has the right to decide on whether there should be a referendum, Westminster is intervening only in respect of the timing.

    • reel guid

      The same poll found that 58% in Scotland think that Westminster has no right to dictate the timing of the referendum.

  • Republicofscotland

    Blair’s probably sniffing around in Ghana, which means Warrior King, hoping to worm his way into the oil business. Oil was discovered in Ghana in 2007.

    Blair once said in a letter he’d come to Socialism, through Marxism. I wonder if like his bands namesake, that was just a Ugly Rumour?

    I recently read the black star on the Ghanaian flag, represents Marcus Garvey, Garvey inspired the Nation of Islam and the Rastifari movement.

    Garvey also founded the Black Star Shipping Line, as opposed to the White Star Shipping Line, that is well known in the West.

    Blair’s father ran for the Conservatives in 1963, but he had a stroke before the election. Later Tony Blair would claim he (his father) pushed, his political ambitions onto him, and his siblings, to succeed where he could not.

    Ghana also boasts the oldest Sub-Saharan European building Elmina castle was built in 1482, by the Portuguese.

    Elmina, means Gold Mines, the castle was also a staging post for the transference of slaves from Africa to around the globe.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      He has little interest in oil, and knows less about it. His game is leveraging development aid for the benefit of much richer associates., and placing little lobby groups, working, ultimately, for those associates, at the heart of any government which is mug enough to let him.

        • Ba'al Zevul

          He’s got connections in everything. His tastes are catholic. It is not the product which interests him, but the middleman’s fee. Coincidentally I was just reviewing his Chinese/Arab connection, and this is a good description of what he does. Gold, construction, you name it. This is pretty detailed:

          http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/investigations/how-tony-blair-built-a-business-empire-in-china/

          He pops up with BP from time to time, sure, and he’s lobbied for them, but his concern is not linked to the local abundance of oil, but that of money.

          Incidentally, whatever happened to Jim Murphy, you may, as a good Scot, enquire. Today he was in Kenya on the Tony Blair Institute’s behalf, singing the praises of the Nairobi-Mombasa rail project, near completion. And claiming the credit:

          we learned that it isn’t just in Kenya that government projects are changing lives. In the last 18 months, Guinea has doubled the supply of electricity to its capital Conakry through the completion of the Kaleta Dam – giving its 2m residents access to power. Addis Ababa has seen the opening of Ethiopia’s first public tram network, helping ease congestion throughout a city of over 3m people. Liberia has restored a major power plant looted during the civil war, adding 64 Megawatts to the national grid. And Nigeria’s new development bank will supply critical capital to an estimated 200,000 small businesses.

          One of the other things that each of these governments have in common is that they all work with my employer, the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change. We have small teams of international staff working at the heart of governments to offer politically-savvy advice to leaders and civil servants. Some of these governments have taken the idea of a ‘Delivery Unit’, first modelled in Downing Street in the ‘90s, and adapted it for their own challenges. That’s why we took the opportunity to bring together ministers and government officials from across the continent for the inaugural Africa Delivery Exchange.

          In reality, the railway line is 90% funded by the Chinese, and built by a Chinese company. What’s Blair’s input?

          Guinea also gets a mention: Blair was there today. His transport for this trip belongs to an Egyptian business clan whose principal interests are construction and telecoms, and which supported the military coup. He just isn’t that choosy.

          • Ba'al Zevul

            Blair was also in The Gambia on Friday, appears to have just dropped in for lunch. For some reason the spam filter delays my entries in An Apology, but it will all be there eventually.

      • reel guid

        And we thought Tony Blair Scottish Waters grab was bad. This fool thinks London’s entitled to the lot.

        Minus of course the 8% for the Britons who live in Scotland!

    • Dr Awesome MD

      “Oil was discovered in Ghana in 2007.”

      That’s a matter for debate;

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_reserves_in_Ghana

      “The 100% state-owned filling station company of Ghana, Ghana Oil Company (GOIL) is the number 1 petroleum and gas filling station of Ghana; and commercial quantities of offshore oil reserves in Ghana were discovered in the 1970s.”

  • RobG

    The 2003 invasion of Iraq was called ‘Operation Iraqi Liberation’ (OIL). You couldn’t make this stuff up, yet many people still don’t want to believe it.

    For anyone interested, here’s a recent interview with George Galloway, in which he talks about the movie he made about Mr Blair…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgC0Ml4EjEE

    • Kempe

      ” You couldn’t make this stuff up ”

      Well somebody has because its real name was Operation Iraqi Freedom.

        • lysias

          Military operations used to have nonpropagandistic names like Ajax, Anvil, and Torch. Then propagandists took over. Changing the name of the Department of War to the Department of Defense was an early sign of this..

          This retired officer thinks those propagandistic names are really unmilitary.

          • Republicofscotland

            Here’s one for you Lysias.

            In the 1950’s during the Cold war, and with the fledgling space race, heating up between the US and the Soviet Union.

            America was looking to do something that would give them the appearance of superiority, over their Soviet counterparts, enter Project A119.

            The idea was to fire a nuclear missile at the moon, and hit at a point where it would be most visible to us here on earth, and especially to our Soviet friends.

            Thankfully, common sense prevailed and Project A119, never left the drawing board. ?

          • Dr Awesome MD

            Nothing to do with common sense; the Yanks just didn’t have the know how, after all, those former Nazi scientists were getting pretty wrinkly by then.

      • Republicofscotland

        “The 2003 invasion of Iraq lasted from 20 March to 1 May 2003 and signalled the start of the Iraq War, which was dubbed Operation Iraqi Freedom by the United States (prior to 19 March, the mission in Iraq was called Operation Enduring Freedom.”

        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/2003_invasion_of_Iraq

        You’re half right Kempe, however if we are to be honest neither name is appropriate.

        Operation Destroy and Asset Strip Iraq, sounds about right.

        Don’t you think?

        A interesting point, on Iraq, or Saddam, to be more precise, is that both he and George W. Bush, had their hand made shoes, made by the same Italian cobbler.

        Also Saddam’s war bunker, was designed by the grandson of the woman, who designed Adolf Hitler’s Fuhrerbunker. ?

      • D-Majestic

        In that case the O.I.F. hasn’t worked out too well, has it? Or put another way-has been a complete and utter fricking disaster.

  • Ben

    Flynn seeks immunity in exchange for testimony..REJECTED !!

    Yowza. Critical mass building..

    • Why be ordinary

      Craig mentioned that Jon is a really nice guy.

      Nissan/Renault also employ a lot of people in Sunderland who like having jobs

      • Habbabkuk

        Retired people living in more affluent parts of the country cannot be expected to worry too much about whether there are jobs in the north of England, surely?

  • michael norton

    Oh dear it looks like RoS is right, Brexit is starting to cause trouble for workers owned by Germany.

    United Kingdom Bayerische Motoren Werke AG workers back strike over pensions
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-39456072
    BMW workers making engines and the Mini and Rolls-Royce motorcars plan to strike over plans to close their final salary pension scheme.

    The union says the proposal could see some UK workers lose up to £160,000 in retirement income.

    BMW said it was “disappointed”

    • michael norton

      I expect BMW will move the work to Poland or somewhere else that’s cheap.

    • Republicofscotland

      Michael.

      Regarding Rolls-Royce, Henry Royce, the co-founder of the renowned brand, said on his death-bed in 1933.

      “I wish I’d have spent more time in the office.”

      Now there’s a man with a real work commitment. ?

    • Why be ordinary

      Workers “owned” by the UK all still have final salary pensions? How many of these cars were being exported to pay for prosecco?

  • TH

    There is no real environmental party in the west anymore, heck even they support TTIP and other liberal, pro-big company stances.

  • RobG

    Macron is a puppet of Washington (as is Hollande) and they’ll try every dirty trick in the book to get Macron elected as President. He’s ‘their man’.

    The France 24 piece does not mention the mass protests that have been taking place in France since early 2016. None of the presstitutes mention it. This mass movement is headed by Melanchon, who describes it as “the pre-revolutionary phase in France”.

    I would agree with Melanchon’s assessment.

    There’s similar stuff going on in Greece, Spain and Ireland, none of which gets properly reported by the presstitutes.

    Instead we get all this total nonsense about ‘Russia hacked the US presidential election’.

    The empire is collapsing, but such is the vast propaganda machine that the lies and deceit will continue right up to the very end.

  • bevin

    A very good article, the first of a pair, on the French Election:
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/03/31/big-stakes-in-the-french-presidential-election-governance-versus-the-people/
    Diane Johnstone tells us all about Macron and what he means.
    “The first way to spot the role assigned to Macron is simply to glance at the media: the endless magazine covers, puff pieces, platitudinous interviews – and never a word of criticism (whereas his leading rivals are systematically denigrated). In January, Foreign Policy introduced its readers to Macron as “The English-Speaking, German-Loving, French Politician Europe Has Been Waiting For”.

    “His career trajectory makes it clear why Western mainstream media are hailing Macron as the Messiah…..

    • RobG

      Thanks for the link, bevin, which I would advise anyone interested in all things France to read.

      My only criticism is that Diane Johnstone does not mention the mass protests that have been taking place in France recently. You cannot make any real assessment of current French politics without taking these protests into account. This is a mass movement of very, very pissed-off people, people who no longer buy into the childish propaganda, people who are demonstrating against the neo-con agenda.

      You all know who my dog in the race is, so I won’t bang on about that. Things are so totally mad at the moment that it’s very difficult to predict anything. All I will say is that if they do rig the French election all they are doing is kicking the can a little bit further down the road.

      • michael norton

        Well, let’s say, that Francois Hollande, has failed, as President of France, he has spectacularly failed on
        stopping mass immigration, creating jobs, sorting out the terible mess the State owned Nuclear Industry, is in, making people safer in France.

        Macron, is a slightly younger, slightly more feminine version of Hollande, who was a banker.
        Why of why would people vote for him,
        the only possible reason would be because all the others are even more pathetic.

        • RobG

          That’s because Benoit Hamon (the only other candidate on the left) made such a hash of the tv debate last week. Before that, Hamon was being promoted by the presstitutes as ‘the French Bernie Sanders’. Laughable, it really is, a bit like the three stooges as Washington tries to put its man in place (or woman, in the case of Teresa May).

          Of the top five who have any reasonable chance of winning the French presidential election, there’s only one candidate. He’s worth a wager, but don’t bet too much because with the empire collapsing it’s tres difficile to know what the hell is going to happen.

      • TH

        Indeed, Macron is slimy and another pro-corporate, pro-war, anti-russia, pro-establishment, pro-eu, the usual stupidity that cause havoc in the western world..
        Horrible.

        • michael norton

          He looks like a fucking third rate school teacher, from the sixties, very shifty.

  • Habbabkuk

    With humble apologies for staying on topic, of course :

    “Why he thinks that this vibrant democracy needs to be lectured on “leadership” by a war criminal, is beyond me. Blair should rather take a lesson from Ghana, which is celebrating its sixtieth year of existence and has never invaded another country.”

    I have always admired the drafting skills of of FO officials and the above is a good example.

    It is true that Ghana has never invaded another country but, contrary to the impression Craig seeks to convey by his cunning drafting, Ghana has certainly not always been a “vibrant democracy”.

    In fact, for most of its history since gaining independence, Ghana has been anything but a vibrant democracy.

    A comment which applies to all African countries since their independence, with the exception of Senegal and possibly Botswana (corrections gratefully accepted as always).

      • Habbabkuk

        No, not to you, RobG. The quality of your posts disqualifies you from asking others to make an effort. Sorry!

    • J

      As ever, you present a straw man argument, “Ghana has certainly not always been a “vibrant democracy” in order to demolish something which has not, in fact, been said.

      If Craig had argued Ghana had always been a vibrant democracy you might have a point worth making, assuming you could present an argument or perhaps the evidence which formed this opinion, as it is you don’t advance an argument at all. All you present is a predigested attitude you wish to project, that “Ghana has been anything but a vibrant democracy,” and that this is “A comment which applies to all African countries” and apparently just leave it at that.

      Why? Just curious.

      • bevin

        Another interesting aspect of this critique is the insouciance with which the alleged failures of democracy in Africa are presented. It is almost as if Habbabkuk wanted to trot out the old argument that Africans are not ‘ready’ for self rule and that their failure to maintain ‘democracies’ proves it.
        The truth is that the disease of colonialism, of racism, the tearing apart of traditional societies and their incorporation into intensely exploitative imperialist economic systems is not eradicated by simply taking down the union flag and replacing it with something else: if Ghana, or any other former colony has had difficulties since independence the fault is one largely attributable to those who ruled them before independence. And, particularly, to those in the imperial metropolis who justified aggression in the first place, rationalised it as ‘progressive’ or well-intentioned and buggered off with the loot as soon as the political heat mounted.
        Kwame Nkrumah was a man of enormous historical importance. And so was WEB Dubois. Besides them Blair, who the world views as emblematic of British ‘leadership’ is an insect, odious and corrupt, a jackal sneaking into conflict zones, sniffing out carcasses to devour.

  • Republicofscotland

    According to Sky news, Spain can veto any deal over Brexit, if it doesn’t have a bigger say over Gibraltar.

    • MJ

      Any of the EU nations can veto it, for any reason they want. In the end we may just have to leave and put the keys back through the letterbox.

      • Republicofscotland

        The Spainish have a grievance with Britain over Gibraltar. Gibralter was captured from Spain in 1704, and was ceded in perpetuity to the British crown in 1713.

        Spain has tried once or twice to recapture Gibralter but without success. So I’d imagine its a very sore point, and is bound to crop up during the negotiations.

        • Dr Awesome MD

          Spain has had a grievance with England ever since Henry VIII divorced Catherine of Aragon. So what? Each and every time they try their luck they get it wrong.

          • Republicofscotland

            Well they must have been friendly at one time, afterall Philip II of Spain ruled England jointly with Mary I.

            A Spanish king on the throne of England, who’d have thought it. ?

    • Dr Awesome MD

      The Tories are the nasty party – is that actually news? We’ve all known that since we were kids, but then again, what is the record of the Lib-Dems, who stabbed all their supporters in the back once they’d former a coalition with the nasty party?

      And then again, we get the Labour Party, under those two Scotsmen Blair and Brown; “Operation Iraqi Destruction” wasn’t it called?

      • michael norton

        The First New Labour War – Serbia-Yugoslavia – bomb the shit out their (equivalent) BBC
        Iraq – bomb the shit out of it
        Afghanistan – bomb the shit out of it
        Libya make friends with Colonel Ghadafi ( fingers crossed behind your back)
        – bomb them later.

  • Habbabkuk

    The mention of Gibraltar reminds one that Spain is the only European country still to own territory on the African continent.

    The territory consists of the two enclaves in Morocco called Ceuta and Melilla.

    It is a mystery to many why the Spain seems so reluctant to give up those two mini-colonies, which are of no strategic or economic advantage to it.

    • Barrel Bomber

      Does this mean “butcher” assad who has been King David Hoteling 100s of terrorist infested high-rises with his home made “bearal bomb”weapons will now get to buy modern US made JDAMS? Will habba no longer be sanctioned by the UN for supplying barrel bullets to the butcher too? Or will his yiddish narrative remain the same?

  • michael norton

    We’re gonna teach them Ruskies a lesson

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-england-bristol-39433543?ns_mchannel=social&ns_source=twitter&ns_campaign=bbc_live&ns_linkname=58dcaccee4b0377a1393ac89%26British%20armoured%20vehicles%20sent%20to%20Estonia%26&ns_fee=0#post_58dcaccee4b0377a1393ac89

    Fifty Warrior fighting vehicles, belonging to 5th Battalion the Rifles which is based at Tidworth, will be loaded onto a ship at Southampton.

    Earlier this month more than 100 soldiers from the 5 Rifles, based at Bulford Camp, arrived to bolster Nato Defences.

    • D-Majestic

      They’ll probably send some new F-35’s when delivered. Oh-and when they can fly for more than ten minutes consecutively. Lol.

  • Njegos

    What a pity Craig didn’t have an opportunity to run Blair over in a Land Rover but alas, Blair was never likely to venture far beyond his air-conditioned 5-star accommodation.

    Craig – when you get back, please give us your take on the Transatlantic Fruitcake, alias Louise Mensch.

  • Dave

    Blair is chronically insecure and thinks making money will give him status, but the more money he makes, the further his status falls.

  • michael norton

    Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said: “The SCOTTISH government is delivering the most ambitious programme of rail investment ever seen in Scotland, committing over £5bn across the current funding period.

    Glasgow station’s £100m upgrade gets green light

    Ministry of Truth

    where the fuck do these jesters get the money from?

  • Sharp Ears

    Should this have been dated April 1st?

    EXCLUSIVE The day Prince Charles tried to halt a war: How the future king phoned the US ambassador to ask for a delay on the Afghan invasion… because he wanted to ‘honour’ Ramadan
    •EXCLUSIVE: The request happened a month into the Afghanistan offensive
    •The shocked US envoy William Farish responded: ‘Sir, are you really serious?’
    •Prince Charles then allegedly protested: ‘But Americans can do anything!’
    •Critics have described the prince’s meddling as ‘grossly irresponsible’

    31 March 2017

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4369730/The-day-Prince-Charles-tried-halt-war.html#

    • Dr Awesome MD

      “Glasgow station’s £100m upgrade gets green light”

      I would honestly advise you to shop around; green lights can be found for,,,well,,,ten a penny.

  • Jayne Venables

    I visualise Tony Blair as a vagrant anti-Christ in the wilderness. He skulks from one to another obscure stuttering engagement — always completely disengaged — in desperate search of something to fill the space where conscience should abide.

    He thwarts my capacity for compassion.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (Mark 8:36)

      It may not be entirely voluntary, though. He may never have had one. It happens.

    • Sharp Ears

      I notice that the Ghanaian press is very reverent in its reporting of the royals judging from a few links I looked at.

      Let’s hope P Anne is not promulgating GM on her visits to Ghana and Sierra Leone.

      Princess Anne backs GM crops and livestock – unlike Prince Charles
      Anne says she would farm GM food and GM livestock a ‘bonus’, while Charles says GM crops will cause ‘biggest disaster environmentally of all time’
      https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/mar/22/princess-anne-backs-gm-crops-livestock-unlike-prince-charles

    • Ba'al Zevul

      Just a reminder that Blair has visited five African countries in the last few days – possibly six, with a short stopover in Cairo – aboard two aircraft owned by a foreign national, which appear to be available to him on demand, to sell the (alleged) expertise he gained during his period as UK PM to foreign governments without much examination of their probity. He is accompanied by a security detail provided by the UK police and diplomatic protection organisations, and further police guard one or more of his several properties.

      On the face of it, he has no official status whatever. Should his activities continue to be heavily protected at UK taxpayer expense, particularly as the majority of UK taxpayers (a) do not receive any benefit from Blair’s activities, and (b) have no, or less, interest in his continued health? A petition will if nothing else keep the issue live:

      https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/186047

  • Sharp Ears

    The troughers at Westminster packed up on Thursday 30th March and do not return until Tuesday 18th April, ie the day after Easter Monday.

    How many of the 99% get an 18 day Easter break?

    • Sharp Ears

      From HoC proceedings 30th March 2017

      Robert Jenrick (Newark) (Con)
      Can we have a debate, or at least will my right hon. Friend raise the matter urgently with the Prime Minister and the Chancellor, on the developing situation with Falkland Islands Holdings Ltd? The alternative investment market-listed company holds the majority of land, transport and retail on the Falkland Islands and is facing a hostile takeover by a politically motivated Argentine billionaire, a matter on which the Prime Minister or the Chancellor would have to step in under the takeover code to protect the interests of the Falkland Islands people.

      Mr Lidington
      My hon. Friend raised that matter earlier in the week, and the question is the subject of a full review by the Falklands Islands Government. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is giving support to the Falkland Islands Administration in that task.

      https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2017-03-30/debates/BB8761F8-2C74-42C6-9D75-518505C226BD/BusinessOfTheHouse

    • D-Majestic

      And 10% very recently plus another 1.4% any time now. Should come in very useful to our M.P.’s with inflation running at 2.5%. But take heart, everyone-‘We’re all in it together’. Apparently.

  • someone

    RE: Tony Blair
    BOW DOWN BEFORE THE ONE YOU SERVE, YOU’RE GOING TO GET WHAT YOU DESERVE
    (Apologies to Trent Reznor)

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