British ministers wined and dined by merchants of death

This video says about itself:

Yemen: Footage shows aftermath of bombed MSF [Doctors Without Borders] hospital

30 October 2015

MSF blames Saudi-led coalition for devastating strikes on Heedan hospital.

From daily The Independent in Britain today:

Ministers wined and dined by arms trade hours after MPs demand ban on selling weapons to Saudi Arabia

Tickets to the arms trade banquet cost as much as £450 a head

Jon Stone

Ministers met leading figures from the arms trade at a £450-a-head banquet on Tuesday night – just hours after MPs called for a halt to weapons sales to the Saudi Arabia regime that has been accused of widespread human rights abuses in Yemen.

On Tuesday, Parliament’s International Development Committee said the UK should suspend all arms sales to Saudi Arabia, which has been accused by the UN of targeting civilians and contributing to a “humanitarian disaster” in Yemen.

The same day, MPs released their report calling for action against Saudi, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon and other ministers attended the ADS trade association dinner at the Hilton.

The ADS Group, a trade body for the defence industry, said in a statement posted on social media that Mr Fallon had provided “tremendous support” for its operations at the dinner.

Despite calls from the UN, aid groups, and now Parliament, ministers have insisted that selling bombs to the petro-state is not problematic. David Cameron has also personally endorsed the presence of UK military advisers working alongside the dictatorship’s military.

The British arms trade has cashed in on Saudi Arabia’s ongoing military operation in Yemen, with sales of bombs surging from £9 million to over £1 billion in just three months last year.

Members of ADS include BAE Systems, which builds the Eurofighter and the Tornado, both of which are being used in Saudi Arabia’s bombing campaign.

Raytheon UK, another member, makes the Paveway guided bombs which are being used in the assault, while MBDA makes Brimstone missiles, which Saudi Arabia also has stockpiles of.

Civilian targets hit by Saudi Arabia include two

no, three

international hospitals operated by Médecins Sans Frontières, a wedding,

more than one wedding

and at leave five schools. Saudi Arabia says it does not target civilians.

Good relations with ministers are valuable for the arms industry because ministers ultimately sign off all arms export licences required by law to send defence equipment abroad. Ministers are currently resisting pressure to add Saudi Arabia to the blacklist of countries.

Last year the banquet was attended by over 40 MPs; the full numbers in attendance this year are still not known.

Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade said: “The humanitarian crisis in Yemen is getting worse. 14 million Yemeni people are facing food insecurity and 1.4 million children are acutely malnourished,” he said.

“At the same time, arms dealers that are profiting from the devastation will be swilling champagne and sitting down to dinner with many of the politicians that support them.

“The fact that over 40 MPs attended as guests of arms companies and arms trade lobby groups last year is a disgrace and shows the extent of the arms trade’s connections and political lobbying.”

The Aerospace, Defence and Security (ADS) trade association event cost £252 for members and £462 for non members, according to a booking form of the event.

‘Many of these companies have profited from the destruction of Yemen, Gaza, Syria & beyond’: here.

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