Posts Tagged ‘Kazakhsthan’

Tony Blair as spin doctor for ISIS next?

August 25, 2014

Tony Blair’s venal opportunism in Kazakhstan is well established. After the massacre of 15 civilian protesters in 2011, he has had a lucrative business acting as spin doctor for President Nursultan Nazarbeyev by video interviews and personal advice and speech writing.

The GuardianIn a letter to Nursultan Nazarbeyev, Blair told the autocratic ruler that the December 2011 deaths, “tragic though they were, should not obscure the enormous progress that Kazakhstan has made”. Blair advised Nazarbeyev that when dealing with the western media, he should tackle the events in Zhanaozen, when police opened fire on protesters, including oil workers demanding higher wages, “head-on”. ……  he also suggested passages to be inserted into a speech the president was giving at the University of Cambridge aimed at counteracting any bad publicity. One read: “By all means make your points and I assure you we’re listening. But give us credit for the huge change of a positive nature we have brought about”.

The former Labour leader’s consultancy, Tony Blair Associates, set up in the capital, Astana, in October 2011, signing a multi- million pound deal to advise Kazakhstan’s leadership on good governance, just months after Nazarbeyev was controversially re-elected with 96% of the vote and weeks before the massacre.

Tony Blair is also – believe it or not – the EU’s Middle East Envoy!

While one could question the wisdom (folly?) of the EU in such a choice, there is no doubt that Blair will be able to, and will, leverage this appointment to win future consultancy contracts in the Middle East. He is gaining – based on his record – quite a reputation as being able to “spin” death and destruction to the media and to politicians as “regrettable but unavoidable and don’t forget all the good things”. He well knows how to “sex” up a dossier.

It is now reported that the gruesome and barbarous murder of James Foley by a British ISIS Jihadi also had publicity objectives.

News.comTHE beheading of American journalist, James Foley, at the hands of ISIS militants shocked the world but forensic experts have revealed the video was probably staged, with the murder happening off camera. ….. ……… an international forensic science company, which has worked for police forces across Britain, said there is no question Foley was beheaded but that camera trickery and post-production techniques look to have been used.

“I think it has been staged,” said one expert in visual forensics, after he was commissioned by The UK Times to examine the footage. “My feeling is that the execution may have happened after the camera was stopped.”

Aymenn al-Tamimi, a fellow at the Middle East Forum think-tank, said over the years ISIS militants have improved the production quality of their videos.

The analysis by experts has highlighted a number of inconsistencies that could suggest that the beheading of Foley, which was seen on the video, was not his actual death.

ISIS is not short of money. The Spanish, French and German governments have been reported to have paid large ransoms to ISIS to get their hostages released. The reports are of tens of millions of Euros paid. The demand for releasing James Foley was said to have been $132 million. But the UK and the US generally do not pay ransoms. In any event,  “ISIS has about $2 billion in its war chest”. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE and Qatar are also apparently quite generous in their funding of ISIS.

So ISIS would seem to be able to afford the best in weapons. They would even have the funds sufficient and necessary to employ Tony Blair Associates. Blair should be able to come up with some helpful and creative suggestions for ISIS on how to get more positive coverage from the world media and improve upon the scripts to be used in their video executions?

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