All entries for Monday 15 January 2007
January 15, 2007
So, what’s new then?
It’s true that it’s not that revelationary to highlight corruption in the arms trade, but the Guardian has a good piece on a Tanzanian deal that is now under investigation.
The alegations are serious. Apparantly, BAE paid $12m (representing 30% of the contract value) to a middle man, whilst securing a deal that would see Tanzania, a country higly dependant on foreign aid for most basic services, buying a sophisticated radar system. Furthermore, there doesn’t seem to be any reason for them to buy this technology. Most seem to agree that a basic civilian radar system, for a fraction of the cost, would be suitable for the coutries needs.
This story comes almost immediately after the Attorney General dropped all investigation by the Serious Fraud Office into extremely dodgy looking deals made by BAE to the Saudis.
My worry is not that this allegation, if true, will go unpunished. My fear is that the investigation will proceed wholeheartedly. Either the allegations will unfounded, or BAE will be punished in some form. Either way BAE can stand up and make claims of the legitamacy of its business. Meanwhile the authorities (and the public) will continue to ignore the (more serious) allegations in regard to the Saudi deals.
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Also, for more government pandering to the Saudis, have a look at this report on Sandy Mitchell, Bill Sampson and Leslie Walker, three British expats, accused of terrorism by the Saudi authority. They were then tortured before they ‘confessed’. Posessions were confiscated and they were made destitute. No help has been provided to these British citizens by their own government in their search for justice.