BAe-Blair arms corruption scandal continues

This video is called Saudi Prince Bandar Bush – Corruption? So What?!

From British daily The Morning Star:

Sacrifice to Mammon

(Thursday 14 February 2008)

THE “strictly private and confidential” documents obtained by the Campaign Against Arms Trade and The Corner House illustrate that the supposed majesty of the law was sacrificed on the altar to Mammon when the Serious Fraud Office was made to terminate its investigation of arms deals to Saudi Arabia.

Legality fell victim to a pincer movement by arms dealer BAe Systems and corrupt theocratic dictatorship Saudi Arabia.

And their collaborative efforts were never likely to fail while Britain was lumbered with a prime minister who, despite his self-proclaimed religiosity, was ruled by an unrelenting worship of private profit.

Just as his much-touted attachment to Christianity did not interfere with his record of mass murder in Iraq and Afghanistan, so his training as a lawyer did not impinge on his contempt for due process of law.

While BAe wrote to the attorney general and the Ministry of Defence suggesting that investigation of its bribery of Saudi officials over the £43 billion al-Yamamah arms deal would not be in the “public interest,” Tony Blair rejected such namby-pamby whining.

In his view, which then-attorney general Lord Goldsmith then parroted, the SFO probe threatened “national security.”

No justification was ever given for this bizarre statement, because it was plainly unjustifiable. The only thing threatened was political embarrassment.

BAe would have been embarrassed at the revelation that it bribed trading partners and the Saudi officials, members of the rancid House of Saud, would have been shown up as grasping, sticky-fingered crooks.

But, above all, the Blair government would have been exposed as covering up past venality in order to facilitate future crimes.

Six months ago, Saudi Arabia agreed to buy 72 Eurofighter Typhoon jets for about £4.4bn. Whose hands were greased for this deal or would it compromise our national security for these details to be known?

Britain’s symbiotic relationship with the Saudi autocracy ought to be unthinkable by any government that acts as though it has a divine mission to promote democracy, freedom and human rights – from the barrel of a gun – throughout the world.

In common with its US senior partner, it praises Saudi Arabia, not as a democracy – how could it? – but as a force for stability, moderation and reliability in the war against terror.

Tell that to the women of Saudi Arabia who are banned from driving cars, who cannot appear in court without a male representative and who cannot travel without a male relative’s permission.

Tell it also to Fawza Falih, who has been sentenced to death in the kingdom on the spurious charge of “witchcraft,” solely on the basis of her coerced confession.

What on Earth is our country doing selling weapons of mass destruction to this despotic monarchy, which sets its face like flint against any meaningful progress to democracy of any kind?

Far from Britain’s “constructive engagement” policy encouraging Riyadh to relax its dictatorship, our government’s Byzantine smothering of due legal process suggests a contrary flow of influence.

New Labour stands accused of subverting national democracy and the rule of law in its chosen quest of prioritising corporate profits over everything.

BAe update, March 2008: here.

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