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Tony Does Tirana

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair willfully and gleefully disseminated and embellished the lies of President Bush to propagandize the public and pave way for the invasion of Iraq and the overthrow of its secular dictator, Saddam Hussein. In the process Blair invented plenty of lies of his own. The ongoing UK Chilcot Inquiry investigation of the dodgy events leading up to the attack on Iraq continues to produce damning information about Blair, including that he most surely knew at the time that he was spreading lies about Iraq's WMD.

Because of Bush and Blair's lies, hundreds of thousands have died.

But feeding the war machine is always profitable for those who deal in death, and Blair is no exception. In fact, not only is Blair not ashamed of the carnage that his lies produced, he has actually directly personally profited to the tune of tens of millions of dollars from his miserable deeds. According to the above link:
"The former Prime Minister of the UK is earning an estimated 5 million (British Pounds) per year from private business ventures connected to his role in the illegal wars in the Middle East -- particularly the invasion and conquest of Iraq and Afghanistan."

Now we hear that in the poorest country in Europe, Albania, the successor party to that of communist dictator Enver Hoxha, the Socialist Party of Albania, has hired Tony Blair to tell some more lies to Europe about how suited it is to govern Albania and bring it into the European Union. The Albanian Socialists are expected to pay Blair several million British pounds as a "consultant."

The Albanian Socialist Party was responsible for a violent coup against the democratically-elected government of Sali Berisha in 1996 which left thousands dead, including leading politicians of Berisha's party. The party is now headed by Edi Rama, a politician with deep familial ties to the communist nomenklatura, who was investigated for misappropriation of funds while serving as mayor of Albania's capitol city, Tirana.

In a glowing profile in the New Yorker magazine in 2005, Rama is praised for shutting down the small businessmen who sprang up spontaneously when communism fell, to provide goods and services where before there had been -- literally -- nothing to buy. He is also praised for attracting all manner of foreign funding to assist him in wiping out the nascent domestic capitalist entrepreneur to make way for the big European and US corporations to snap up at "special" prices everything left in the wake. The New Yorker writes disdainfully of the "post-communist freedom feeding frenzy" and approvingly of Rama's West-funded move against it:
"Within a few years, Rama had managed to clear the choked, riverine city center of two thousand illegal kiosks and bars and cafes and shops and whorehouses and sleeping barracks and traffickers' storeroom 'motels' -- the detritus of a decade of post-Communist freedom frenzy on city property...He cajoled the money for this transformation out of the World Bank and the European Union and the United Nations Development Program and George Soros and the scores of foundations and aid agencies and N.G.O.s that had set up shop in Albania in the nineties. And he cajoled the work out of local contractors: anybody who wanted to build anything in the capital had to 'contribute.'"

This is, sadly, quite often the story of the post-communist pseudo-capitalist development. A collusion between the best connected of the former communist elite and their offspring with government-connected Western large corporations. In many cases the small businessman was a former victim of the profoundly anti-market communist state and was bewildered when the privileged offspring of the former elites transformed their prior status to new, unheard of levels of prosperity by teaming up with eager Western partners. This is the world from which sprang the Edi Ramas of the former East. The other political parties in Albania have unfortunately seen the benefit of such arrangements and made their own deals.

So where does Rama's current opposition party in the poorest country in Europe -- where the average gross salary is $332 per month -- come up with the millions of dollars with which it will pay Tony Blair for his consulting work? We likely know the answer. There are still many beautiful beaches on Albania's Mediterranean coast to be developed by the right companies...
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