It’s with huge disappointment that I read Ken Silverstein’s unbalanced and vindictive article.
It is one thing to disagree with Mr Blair’s views but it is something entirely different to not reflect our side of the argument simply because the facts don’t fit the story.
I spent a considerable amount of time explaining Mr Blair’s work, the work of his charities and the fact that much of his work is done pro-bono—none of this has been reflected in the article. This is poor by any standard of journalism and unacceptable for a publication like the New Republic.
So to set the record straight again:
Around two thirds of Mr Blair’s time is spent doing pro-bono work.
His commercial interests fund his philanthropic work.
The work in Kazakhstan is entirely in line with the international community’s agenda for change, and many Western governments as well as international organizations, including the EU, OSCE and World Bank also work with Kazakhstan on this agenda.
The signs of progress in Kazakhstan, again which are not cited but which I gave to Mr Silverstein, are facts such as GDP reaching double digit growth in the last 20 years; Kazakhstan’s renouncing of its nuclear weapons (something President Obama praised in his press conference recently with President Nazerbayev), it is a majority Muslim country of religious tolerance, and one of the few to have built a synagogue in recent years and that it has played a key role in supporting the allied effort in Afghanistan.
There is not space to list everything that is wrong in this article but you should not take that as any indication of its accuracy.
Director of Communications
The Office of Tony Blair