‘How rich is Tony Blair? What are the needs of an ex-prime minister with grown-up children, a working wife, £25m in property and bodyguards costing the state £1m a year? Blair protested yesterday that he is not worth £100m, “not half of that, a third of that, a quarter of that, a fifth of that, and I could go on.” That gets us down to below £20m. In addition, he pleaded that, “I spend two-thirds of my time on unpaid work,” such as bringing peace to the Middle East. How dare anyone suggest he was motivated by money?’
Chilcot inquiry: Blair and Straw to get warning letters ahead of publication of report into Iraq invasion
‘Sir John Chilcot, chair of the public inquiry into the 2003 invasion of Iraq, is poised to send formal letters to those whose conduct he criticises in his final report.
The then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, are among those expected to be sent what are known as “Salmon” or “Maxwellisation” letters in the coming weeks. Anyone criticised in public inquiries is entitled to see and challenge extracts related to them before publication. The letters are named after Lord Salmon, who held a public ethics inquiry in the 1970s, and the late newspaper baron Robert Maxwell, who challenged the way criticisms of his dealings were handled in a public report.’
‘Tony Blair has agreed to advise the Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who came to power in a military coup last year, as part of a programme funded by the United Arab Emirates that has promised to deliver huge “business opportunities” to those involved, the Guardian has learned. The former prime minister, now Middle East peace envoy, who supported the coup against Egypt‘s elected president Mohamed Morsi, is to give Sisi advice on “economic reform” in collaboration with a UAE-financed taskforce in Cairo – a decision criticised by one former ally.
The UAE taskforce is being run by the management consultancy Strategy&, formerly Booz and Co, now part of PricewaterhouseCoopers, to attract investment into Egypt’s crisis-ridden economy at a forthcoming Egypt donors’ conference sponsored by the oil-rich UAE, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Blair’s decision to become involved in Gulf-financed support of the Sisi regime, which is estimated to have killed more than 2,500 protesters and jailed more than 20,000 over the past year, has been attacked.’
‘Iraq’s latest bloody crisis and its links to the 2003 war brought Tony Blair back into the headlines this week, along with calls for him to step down as a Middle East peace envoy – but new evidence has emerged that his private business interests in the ever-volatile region are expanding. Aides to the former prime minister confirmed that he was actively considering opening an office in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, which is in the frontline of the struggle against political Islam. But a spokesperson denied suggestions by a leading Arab economist that he was being considered for a job advising Oman on its long-term development, after his controversial £27m consultancy project for the Kuwaiti government in recent years.
Retired diplomats and political enemies united to demand Blair be sacked as the envoy of the Quartet – the UN, US, Russia and EU – after achieving little to promote Israeli-Palestinian peace in seven years. Blair’s Middle Eastern activities cause some irritation in Whitehall, where officials say they are not always aware of what he is doing and exactly who he is representing in meetings abroad – even though he is routinely briefed by British embassies. “He moves in mysterious ways,” quipped one senior figure. “The Blair organisation is like a sort of government with different departments doing different things,” an ex-employee said. “His office is run on Downing Street lines. It’s like he’s never not been PM.”‘
- Former spin doctor Alastair Campbell meets Egyptian regime weeks after Blair gives backing
- Tony Blair’s Faith Foundation charity advisors ‘linked to Muslim Brotherhood’
- Tony Blair backs Egypt’s government and criticises Brotherhood
- Albania sets its sights on full EU membership… helped by Tony Blair
- Why has Albania hired Tony Blair as an adviser?
- Blair’s Kazakhstan role has failed to improve human rights, activists say
- Tony Blair denies he and Cameron are forging ‘special relationship’
- Tony Blair advising David Cameron on Middle East
- Tony Blair Is Getting Millions From A New Oil Rich Client
‘When Nato eventually intervened in 1999 to stop the ethnic cleansing by Serbian forces of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, the UK prime minister Tony Blair was hailed as a hero. As refugees returned to the province, several new parents of baby boys called their sons Tony Blair. Now, fifteen years on, the Guardian’s Julian Borger returns to Kosovo to hear how their lives have turned out – and their hopes for the future of a fledgling state still struggling for full international recognition.’ (The Guardian)
Boris Johnson, the Tory Mayor of London, has this morning accused Tony Blair of being “mad” and in need of “professional psychiatric help” because of his refusal to face the fact that the 2003 invasion of Iraq has led inexorably to the Isis attacks on cities across Iraq. But is the former Labour prime minister “mad” – or is he carefully getting his defence ready for the imminent publication of the Chilcot report into the Iraq war? Is it, in short, a pre-emptive strike? The speculation has been fuelled by the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, who said this morning on Radio 4’s Today programme that he believed the Chilcot report would be “coming shortly”.’
- Tony Blair is to blame for Iraq says Christopher Meyer, Britain’s former ambassador to US
- Senior Labour figures distance themselves from from Blair after Iraq comments
- Robert Fisk: Now we see how his doctrine turns enemies into ‘allies’
- Blair unhinged, say lots of people who agreed with him at the time
- Lizards to sue David Icke over claims they might be Tony Blair
‘Tony Blair has urged western governments to recognise that they need to take an active role in the Middle East, saying the west should consider military options short of sending ground troops. The former prime minister said there was a huge range of options available, including air strikes and drones as used in Libya.
Blair was speaking on UK morning TV shows after writing a lengthy essaysetting out how to respond to the Iraq crisis, including his belief that theinvasion of Iraq in 2003 was not the cause of the country’s implosion. He said: “It is in our interests for this jihadist extremist group to be stopped in its tracks. I understand entirely why people say ‘it is nothing to do with us and I don’t want to hear about it’.” But he said the jihadis “are not simply fighting Iraqis and they are also willing to fight us and they will if we don’t stop them”.’
‘So after the grotesquerie of the Taliban and Osama bin Laden and 15 of the 19 suicide killers of 9/11, meet Saudi Arabia’s latest monstrous contribution to world history: the Islamist Sunni caliphate of Iraq and the Levant, conquerors of Mosul and Tikrit – and Raqqa in Syria – and possibly Baghdad, and the ultimate humiliators of Bush and Obama.
From Aleppo in northern Syria almost to the Iraqi-Iranian border, the jihadists of Isis and sundry other groupuscules paid by the Saudi Wahhabis – and by Kuwaiti oligarchs – now rule thousands of square miles.
Apart from Saudi Arabia’s role in this catastrophe, what other stories are to be hidden from us in the coming days and weeks?
The story of Iraq and the story of Syria are the same – politically, militarily and journalistically: two leaders, one Shia, the other Alawite, fighting for the existence of their regimes against the power of a growing Sunni Muslim international army.
While the Americans support the wretched Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his elected Shia government in Iraq, the same Americans still demand the overthrow of Bashar al-Assad of Syria and his regime, even though both leaders are now brothers-in-arms against the victors of Mosul and Tikrit.’
- Owen Jones: The Iraq invasion has led to bloody chaos
- Journalists: U.S. Failures in Iraq Helped Fuel Current Sectarian Crisis
- Home Minister: ‘Iraq chaos is Tony Blair’s legacy’
- The Second Iran-Iraq War and the American Switch
- Trail of jihadist victories in Iraq could force renewed military action from US
‘Amidst howls of “whitewash” from media commentators and interested observers of all political hues, it seems the findings of the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq war are finally to be published by the end of this year.
The Inquiry, Chaired by Sir John Chilcot, ran from autumn 2009 to February 2011. The Report is expected to run to several thousand pages with the total cost incurred from the date of the establishment of the hearings “on 15th June 2009 up to 31st March 2012 — £6,129,000.” As of 16th May this year, “On the present timetable, the Inquiry may incur further costs of some £2 million.”
From June 2013 to November 2013 the Inquiry “submitted ten requests covering some two hundred Cabinet-level discussions and twenty five Notes” from Tony Blair to President Bush “and more than one hundred and thirty records of conversations between either” Tony Blair or subsequent Prime Minister Gordon Brown and President Bush.
Finally, on May 28th, Sir John published his letter to Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood recording their “agreement on the principles that will underpin disclosure of material from Cabinet level discussions between the (former) UK Prime Minister and the President of the United States which the Inquiry has asked to use in its Report … My colleagues and I judge that this material is vital to the public understanding of the Inquiry’s conclusions.” In the letter he also recalls some of the hurdles that have been put in the Inquiry’s path by the British government, past and present.’
- Tony Blair should be prosecuted for war crimes – not just judged by history
- White House lawyers ‘unable to find’ critical Iraq letter from Tony Blair telling George Bush: ‘I’m with you whatever’
- Chilcot inquiry into Iraq war could report this year, says David Cameron
- Iraq inquiry delay very serious, says senior Tory
- Chilcot Inquiry into Iraq war will not be ‘very kind’ to Tony Blair
‘Tony Blair is a narcissist with a messiah complex who lives a tragic life, according to his former friend Robert Harris. The bestselling author, a once close confidant of the former prime minister who has since become a fierce critic, lashed out at Blair for turning his back on parliament once he quit as PM to go and “hang out with a lot of rich people in America”.
In his latest attack on the former Labour leader, he also holds up Lord Mandelson, who has been known to associate with a super-rich crowd, as a paragon of plain living and frugality compared with Blair. Harris, a former political journalist, is the author of The Ghost, a book turned into a film about a former British prime minister who faces being hauled in front of the international criminal court for alleged war crimes, which he previously described as being somewhere “between reality and fiction”.’
‘Private contractors have pocketed hundreds of millions of pounds of profits in the past four years by exploiting deals that were controversially awarded to them by the last Labour government. Companies that were awarded contracts to build and maintain state schools for 25 years have been doubling their money by “flipping”, or selling on, the Private Finance Initiative (PFIs) projects just four years after finishing them.
The chair of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, Margaret Hodge, described the huge profits as “a total scandal” and said it meant “we have all been ripped off”. The Independent’s findings shine a new light on how private companies have made fortunes in pure profit from the rising value of the schools and hospitals they have built – value which critics say could have been retained by the taxpayer.’
‘On the face of it, Albania, once the most hard line of Stalinist states and still one of the poorest countries in Europe, seems unlikely to hold much attraction for Tony Blair. But The Telegraph can disclose that the Balkan country, recently discovered to be abundant in oil and gas, appears to be providing rich pickings for a dynasty of Blairites. This newspaper has already disclosed how Mr Blair is a consultant to Albania’s Labour government. Now it has emerged that his wife Cherie picked up a lucrative legal contract with the previous government; while even the nephew of Alastair Campbell, Mr Blair’s former spin doctor, has landed himself a job advising the new Albanian prime minister.
Mrs Blair was awarded a contract worth £300,000 to advise the Albanian government after making friends with the wife of the Balkan country’s then prime minister while in Downing Street. Mrs Blair, best known in the legal world as a human rights lawyer, acted for Albania in a billion dollar oil dispute with an American energy firm. Mr Blair subsequently became an adviser to the current Albanian government. James Naish, Mr Campbell’s 25-year-old nephew, also works as an adviser in the office of Edi Rama, Albania’s prime minister.’
‘London Mayor Boris Johnson joins the long queue of politicians who say they were duped by Tony Blair in 2003 into supporting the war on Iraq. In truth, Johnson was not duped. He knew, as did the majority of the British public who opposed the war in the largest demonstrations ever seen in this country, that Tony Blair was spinning a pack of lies, not least in his claim that Saddam Hussein could launch weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in 45 minutes. Johnson now says: “The more I listened to the debate back in 2003 I started to think it probably was a load of nonsense.”
…So why did Johnson and all the politicians who ignored the views of the vast majority of their constituents, vote for a war they knew to be based on lies and illegal? Johnson now says: “I just could not believe it as things unfolded in the way that they did. I feel guilty because I voted for the wretched thing … I would like to understand more deeply on what basis a prime minister who, at that time, commanded so much trust was able to persuade parliament and the country and me to go for war in Iraq with absolutely catastrophic consequences.” Johnson is of course wrong: the country did not trust the prime minister and was not persuaded to go to war. And however ‘guilty’ Johnson now feels about the ‘catastrophic consequences’, it’s not much help to around one million Iraqis who died as a result of the Blair-Bush war and occupation.’
Yesterday morning, Tony Blair – former Prime Minister and current Middle East envoy for the UN, US, EU and Russia – delivered one of the most Orwellian speeches of his career at Bloomberg London HQ, on the subject of ‘Why the Middle East matters':
“When we consider the defining challenges of our time, surely this one should be up there along with the challenge of the environment or economic instability.”
Blair is talking about what he sees as “a radicalised and politicised view of Islam” that “distorts and warps Islam’s true message,” an ideology which is “spreading across the world,” “destabilising communities and even nations,” and “undermining the possibility of peaceful co-existence in an era of globalisation.”
Spearheaded largely from the Middle East, the expansion of Islamist ideology “still represents the biggest threat to global security of the early 21st century.”
Lord Morris, Tony Blair’s former Attorney General says it’s time to stop hiding the truth about why we went to war in Iraq
It’s been almost four and a half years since the inquiry was launched into why we went to war in Iraq. And it has been two years since Sir John Chilcot was due to deliver the results. But so far we’ve heard nothing from this £7.5 million investigation.
Just last week Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister of the Coalition government hinted that former Prime Minister Tony Blair had been delaying its publication. Lord Morris, the former Labour MP and Attorney General who served in the Blair’s Government from 1997-1999, is calling for its immediate publication.
Tony Blair will call on Britain today to back “revolution” against anti-Western interests in the Middle East and beyond to combat the growing threat of radical Islam. In a significant and controversial intervention, the former Prime Minister will suggest that, as a result of failures in Iraq and Afghanistan, governments in Europe and America have become “curiously reluctant to acknowledge” Islamic extremism. This unwillingness to confront Islamism risks the 21st century being characterised by “conflict between people of different cultures”, he will warn.
Mr Blair will also call for Europe and America to put aside their differences with Russia and China and “co-operate” to fight what he describes as the “radicalised and politicised view of Islam” that is threatening their collective interests. Mr Blair is due to make his remarks in a speech in London. But despite carrying significance because of his role as Middle East peace envoy they are unlikely to be well received in Downing Street or Washington.
There must be something in the water at No 10 Downing Street, currently inhabited by Prime Minister David Cameron.
When Tony Blair was in residence, according to the diaries of his former communications director, Alastair Campbell, before the illegal invasion of Iraq, for which Blair’s Downing Street offices produced fantasy, fictional, false justifications, the then Prime Minister was guided by his faith and regularly spoke to “his Maker.” Blair may have “spoken” – but, as ever, he clearly didn’t listen.
Proverbs (6:16-19) rules on six personality traits his “Maker” abhors and seven that are an abomination to Him: “Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord …” Blair ticks every box, shattering any claim to his trumpeted Christian principles.
False witness is also slammed by King Solomon and in Matthew (15:18-20) Jesus condemns false testimony as defiling to any person.
No, this is not a treatise on religion, but a reminder of the most false of believers.
The world will face terrible consequences over many years to come for failing to intervene in Syria, Tony Blair has said. The former prime minister, who serves as the envoy for the Middle East quartet of the UN, US, EU and Russia, said the failure to confront President Bashar al-Assad would have ramifications far beyond the region.
Speaking on the Today programme on Radio 4 on Monday, he said: “We have not intervened in Syria. The consequences are, in my view, terrible and will be a huge problem not just for the Middle East region, but for us in the years to come.”
Blair advocated military action against the Assad regime after a sarin gas attack on the Ghouta district, near Damascus, last August killed between 350 and 1,400 people. His stance placed him on the same side as David Cameron, who wanted to join the US in launching an attack on the Assad regime, but highlighted differences with Ed Miliband, who was highly sceptical about military intervention.
Tony Blair is celebrating another multi-million pound contract after his charity secured a key deal with the US government. This time, the former prime minister’s Africa Governance Initiative (AGI) has won a £3.3 million contract to play a key role in Barack Obama’s flagship African aid programme.
The three-year deal – with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) – gives Mr Blair’s charity an important role in the initiative, called Power Africa. The money represents more than AGI’s combined total income in 2012, the most recent set of accounts available.
Yesterday was the 11th anniversary of the 2003 Iraq War – yet to this day, few media reflections on the conflict accurately explore the extent to which opening up Persian Gulf energy resources to the world economy was a prime driver behind the Anglo-American invasion. The overwhelming narrative has been one of incompetence and failure in an otherwise noble, if ill-conceived and badly managed endeavour to free Iraqis from tyranny. To be sure, the conduct of the war was indeed replete with incompetence at a colossal scale – but this doesn’t erase the very real mendacity of the cold, strategic logic that motivated the war’s US and British planners in the first place.
According to the infamous Project for a New American Century (PNAC) document endorsed by senior Bush administration officials as far back as 1997, “While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification” for the US “to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security,” “the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.” So Saddam’s WMD was not really the issue – and neither was Saddam himself.
Tony Blair advised Rebekah Brooks to launch a “Hutton style” inquiry into phone hacking at the News of the World at the height of the scandal over the issue, according to an email that has emerged at the Old Bailey trial. The revelation emerged in an email that was read to the jury in the hacking trial on Wednesday, and followed what Brooks said was an hour-long phone call.
According to the email, sent the day after the News of the World’s final issue and six days before Brooks was arrested, Blair also told her he was “available” to her and Rupert and James Murdoch as an “unofficial adviser” on a “between us” basis. The advice was said to have been given on 11 July 2011 and contained in an email she sent at 4.20pm to James Murdoch, the then executive chairman of News International.
According to Brooks’s note, Blair advised her to set up an “independent” inquiry, suggesting it could have “outside counsel, Ken Macdonald [the former director of public prosecutions], a great and good type”. He said the inquiry would be “Hutton style” – a reference to Lord Hutton’s inquiry into the death of David Kelly – and would “clear” her, but warned that “shortcomings” would have to be accepted as a result of the report.
Tony Blair could face legal action amid claims he “connived” with Colonel Gaddafi to block a multi-million pound compensation claim by IRA victims. An email is said to show the former prime minister intervened in a long-running legal action from victims of Libyan-sponsored terrorism.
The email suggests Mr Blair helped to broker an agreement between Gaddafi and US President George W Bush, which saw Libya pay a one-off £1bn in compensation to US victims of terrorism to settle all actions. A spokesman for Mr Blair branded the claims “malicious”.
The Libyan regime supplied Semtex for IRA attacks, said to include the 1987 Enniskillen bomb which killed 11 people. Lawyers said the disclosure of the email, reported in the Sunday Telegraph, could form the basis for legal action in the UK.
Tony Blair has reignited debate about the west’s response to terrorism with a call on governments to recognise that religious extremism has become the biggest source of conflict around the world.
Referring to wars and violent confrontations from Syria to Nigeria and the Philippines, Blair, writing in the Observer, argues that “there is one thing self-evidently in common: the acts of terrorism are perpetrated by people motivated by an abuse of religion. It is a perversion of faith.”
Identifying religious extremism as an ever more dangerous phenomenon, the spread of which is easier in an online age, he says: “The battles of this century are less likely to be the product of extreme political ideology, like those of the 20th century – but they could easily be fought around the questions of cultural or religious difference.”
The former prime minister, who led the country into the Iraq conflict in 2003, appears to acknowledge that previous aspirations to export liberal democracy focused too much on political objectives.
A barman tried to put Tony Blair under a citizen’s arrest while the former Prime Minister was out having dinner.
Blair was eating at Tramshed in east London when Twiggy Garcia approached him.
The part-time producer said he put his hand on his shoulder and said ‘Mr Blair, this is a citizen’s arrest for a crime against peace, namely your decision to launch an unprovoked war against Iraq.’
Mr Garcia told Vice magazine how Blair then attempted to engage in a debate before one of his son’s went to get security. The worker then left the restaurant to avoid any trouble.
Mr Blair’s office said today there ‘was nothing to report’ about the incident.
Mr Garcia was inspired to approach the former Prime Minister after reading website arrestblair.org.
This site encourages people to try and arrest Blair for ‘crimes against peace.’
Two businesses owned by Tony Blair have amassed a cash pile of more than £13m after a key part of his empire enjoyed a jump in profits.
New accounts filed with Companies House reveal that one venture in the former prime minister’s complex network of financial legal entities saw profits jump almost 50% to just below £2m.
Since stepping down from politics in 2007, Blair has received millions of pounds from a mix of business interests that include advising governments, consultancy work for US investment bank JP Morgan and the lucrative international speaking circuit.
He has insisted he does not want to be “super-rich”, and has said his income pays for philanthropic projects, including development work in Africa and an inter-faith charity. But after rapidly becoming one of the highest paid public speakers in the world and flying around by private jet he has faced some criticism for his lifestyle.
He rarely misses a chance to make new friends or to nurture his already extensive network of contacts.
So it should come as no surprise that even at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela, Tony Blair introduced a prospective client to President Barack Obama.
Mr Blair facilitated a three-way conversation between himself, Mr Obama and Victor Ponta, Romania’s prime minister, in the stands of Soweto’s FNB stadium.
The discussion lasted 15 minutes, according to a post on Mr Ponta’s Facebook page, although he said nothing official was discussed.
Mr Blair, who runs the Government Advisory Practice which works with several regimes, has travelled at least twice to Bucharest this year to meet Mr Ponta.
Mbeki alleged that the former British prime minister pressured him to join a “regime change scheme” as Zimbabwe plunged into a political and economic crisis in the early 2000s. But the claim was strongly denied by Blair’s office.
Both the UK as its former colonial power, and South Africa, its most powerful neighbour, have long played an intimate role in Zimbabwean affairs. But their leaders were divided on how to act when it descended into chaos following the violent seizures of white-owned farms. Blair, who had made a triumphant military intervention in Sierra Leone, was determined that Mugabe should step down whereas Mbeki was ready to accommodate him.
Tony Blair took his earning power to astonishing new heights yesterday when he pocketed £150,000 for just an hour’s work.
The former Prime Minister, who is said to have amassed a £50 million fortune since leaving office, was paid the staggering sum for conducting two 30-minute events in Dubai.
His fee for talking about global affairs in the fabulously wealthy Gulf state worked out at £2,602 per minute.
His work as a Middle East ‘peace envoy’ is unpaid but his latest trip to the region was as guest of honour of Arabian Business magazine, which is presided over by its chairman, journalist and BBC broadcaster Andrew Neil.
Tony Blair’s multi-million-pound deal to boost ‘good governance’ in Kazakhstan has resulted in civil rights and freedom of the Press getting worse, it was claimed yesterday.
The former prime minister was accused of helping to preside over heavy reversals in human rights as he advised the Kazakh regime led by dictator Nursultan Nazarbayev. The two-year contract has come to an end but could still be renewed.
Hugh Williamson, of Human Rights Watch, said Mr Blair’s main achievement had been ‘positive spin’ for the oil-rich regime.
He added: ‘Blair says human rights issues are critical to his work but he has downplayed new limits on basic freedoms and widespread concerns on the rule of law and torture, in favour of focusing on economic and geopolitical achievements.
‘From what we know, he has been indifferent to those suffering abuses and has given a veneer of respectability to the authorities during a severe crackdown on human rights. Rights campaigners take issue with this positive spin.’ There had been curbs on peaceful public assembly and religious freedoms, the human rights group warned.
There had also been the prosecution of journalists who dared to ‘insult’ officials, and torture in detention was common.