Share |
The truths they don't want you to read....

Friday, December 15, 2006


I find myself in total agreement with Norman Lamb MP, who has criticised the ditching of the inquiry into the Al Yamamah arms deal.

It would appear that the wider "political" ramifications of this inquiry have prompted the decision. My interpretation of that is that the inquiry was getting very close to very important people in Saudi Arabia and the UK. Apparently, a prosecution 'could not be brought', which implies (a) there was corruption and (b) whoever it was won't leave Saudi Arabia to face a trial in the UK.

It's worth having a look at just who our trading partners are.

According to Transparency International, Saudi Arabia scores 3.3 (out of 10) and ranks as the 70th most corrupt country in the world, just slightly above Burkina Faso, and below Cuba, Lebanon and Columbia.

It is an absolute monarchy, with no political parties, where women aren't allowed to drive cars, and where an extreme form of Wahhabism ensures that Shia and Sunni co-religionists are considered heretics. The Government exercises tight control over the media and the public are controlled by the religious police, as well as the normal intrusive security arrangements. Public beheadings and amputations are a common occurance.

Who better to stand shoulder to shoulder with in our fight to bring democracy to the Middle East (excluding Saudi Arabia, naturally).

Whoever, the worst (best?) bit is yet to come. BAE exports are underwritten by the taxpayer through the Export Credit Guarantee Department. Included in their list of guarantees issued for 2006 is a sum of £517,316,945 for commercially confidential deals. Basically, the ECGD will reimburse the companies should the Government default, and consequently there is every incentive for BAE (and others) to sell arms here there and everywhere.

In 2004, the Government revealed that the taxpayer had had to pay perhaps £1 billion in respect of exports to Iraq. That was largely military equipment for the Iran-Iraq war, when Saddam Hussein was our friend.

As our ethical government aspires to bring peace to the world, it underwrites the exports of arms to almost any country, providing the industry with a huge subsidy, and ignoring the implications of the deal. The Hawk Trainers we sold to the Saudis were - of course - for peaceful purposes only, and consequently were guaranteed by the ECGD. The bombs that were subsequently attached to the wings and then dropped on the inhabitants of Saudi Arabia were there to help the Saudis defend their borders, and the sale was not unethical. Just who would have thought that the Saudis would attach bombs to aircraft that they promised were for peaceful purposes only?

India did. For they wanted to acquire Hawk Trainers for 'peaceful' purposes, following the example of the Saudis and Indonesia, so that they could be peacefully deployed to the Kashmir region. John Pilger wrote an excellent article about Britain's hypocrisy in this matter, and sadly it has had little effect on the behaviour of our Government.


Unknown said...

A very interesting subject the arms trade. I recently enjoyed the movie Lord Of War, starring Nicolas Cage, which casts an at times satirical eye on the subject. It is purportedly based on the experience of the real life Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, though Cage's character is named Yuri Orlov.

The opening line of the film is:

"There are over 550 million firearms in worldwide circulation. That's one firearm for every 12 people on the planet. The only question is: How do we arm the other 11?"

Anyway, the ins and outs of dealing in weaponry are revealed as the film unfolds, all leading to the climactic twist in which we find out just who Yuri Orlov has been working for, namely "the biggest arms dealer on the planet". It shouldn't be too much of a leap to figure out who that is...

Anonymous said...

"You seem to have picked up more than your fair share of saddos." ;-)

Anonymous said...

CORRUPTION - Ever heard of the pot and the kettle people who put themself's so high should expect a big fall.

Angus said...

The last anon post says more about the poster than anything else.

This is the kind of abusive shite I (and others) have had to put up with from those who cannot muster a decent argument.

Put up or shut up - and I suspect it is the latter; but learn your grammar first.

Just for the record, I've had the News of the World phoning after anonymous claims that I was an employee of Amec(!) and now MWT feel free to throw further desperate allegations about.

Again, for the record, I have no financial involvement with Amec or any associated or subsidiary companies. Nor has any such topic ever come up in the few brief conversations I have had with them in the Council chamber.

I take comfort in MWT's desperation, as it shows they are losing the debate - and they know it.

As I said in the Gazette, I take each application on its merits, and I will not make any comment about the revised LWP application until I see the full paperwork.