The Hypocrisy of the Brits: Saudi arms deal puts Blair back in the spotlight

Peter Wilson, Europe correspondent /The Australian

Hat tip: Rosie

TONY Blair is already half-forgotten in Downing Street but Britain this week received one of his most contentious legacies in the form of an arms contract with Saudi Arabia, which could be worth more than $46billion.

The Saudi decision to buy 72 Eurofighter Typhoon warplanes and a barrage of related services from arms manufacturer BAE Systems followed Mr Blair’s decision in December to block a Serious Fraud Office investigation into bribes allegedly paid by BAE to members of the Saudi royal family.

The then prime minister ordered British prosecutors to drop the case on the grounds that it would be against the national interest, even though SFO officers believed they had enough evidence for a criminal conviction.

Mr Blair’s decision prompted criticism from the OECD, anti-corruption campaigners and US government investigators, who have launched their own inquiry into the bribes allegations.

It also brought claims of hypocrisy from the Kremlin, after British officials claimed they could not interfere with Britain’s “totally independent” justice system to stop British prosecutors pursuing diplomatically sensitive allegations that a former KGB agent had killed a Russian dissident in London.


When Mr Blair announced the BAE bribery investigation was being dropped, he denied it was in response to intense pressure from British industry and unions, which had worried that Saudi anger could undermine the Typhoon deal and threaten thousands of British jobs.

Government officials conceded privately the potential impact on British industry was a factor in their decision, but Mr Blair and then attorney-general Peter Goldsmith said they were stepping in for “national security” reasons because angering the Saudi Government could imperil Saudi support for the campaign against Islamic extremism.

The Saudis had threatened to cut off intelligence co-operation and that could put British lives at risk, Mr Blair said.

The British Government was quiet about the huge new arms export deal, with confirmation only coming this week from a Saudi announcement that the deal with Britain’s biggest arms-maker had been signed on September 11.

The initial contract was for pound stg. 4.43billion ($10billion) but related deals for munitions, repairs, training and other services are expected to lift it to pound stg. 20billion, making the export deal, by some accounts, Britain’s biggest.

Britain’s Conservative Party, which was in power during the initial Saudi arms deal, has offered little criticism of the stifling of the investigation, but the Liberal Democrats called the decision an outrage, a charge that party leader Menzies Campbell highlighted at his party’s annual conference yesterday.

“What kind of country is it where the Government halts a criminal investigation into corrupt arms sales to placate commercial interests?” Sir Menzies asked at the start of his keynote speech.

The US Department of Justice mounted inquiries into the matter in June, and a US law firm has launched a class action suit of BAE shareholders, claiming BAE bosses failed to carry out their duties by paying bribes to secure the original deal to sell Hawk and Tornado jets to Saudi Arabia in 1985.

The lawsuit alleges BAE gave more than $US2billion in bribes to Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, a claim the prince and the firm deny.

12 thoughts on “The Hypocrisy of the Brits: Saudi arms deal puts Blair back in the spotlight”

  1. Poor Britain, it has really lost its way. The land of my birth is in a sorry state. It is filled with corrupt politicians and big business all kowtowing to evil and more corrupt Arab trillionaires.
    Where money has become the god, the arabs are weighing in.
    Metaphorically, if not actually(yet) , the flag of islam is flying over 10 Downing street.

    I try, the best way I can, to let my British friends know of the danger in which they stand but it appears too hard and they don’t want to see.
    I think Britain as we knew it, is disappearing with not even a whimper.

    The world is changing in the face of the anti-christ……….islam. There is going to be blood running in the streets for many years before the islamic scourge can be ousted from the world.
    I am more than a little distressed about all of this.

  2. Oh God, Marilyn!
    Cheer up.

    For some joy and some realism, go to the website of the BRITISH NATIONAL PARTY !!

    Have a decent read, my dear….
    Spend a few hours of your lifetime finding out just how many millions of True Brits are winning this bloody war.

    Thank our Yankee Cousins across The Pond for launching their lawsuit.

    Try this, if you are really a Briton, you’ll enjoy what you see and read: –

  3. Dear Mother Ecclesiastica,
    Sometimes it’s hard to cheer up.
    Regarding the BNP…….not sure that getting rid of one evil by using those people who are bred from the Nazi is a tremendous idea.
    I do thank the U.S. I like the Jews and I know there are true Brits.
    Also am not your(sarcastic) dear.

  4. Marilyn LeBez

    I agree. It has been a tough week looking for something to be cheerful about.
    This about the saudis and Blair, the financial markets takeovers, Iran threatening again and trying to provoke a war with Israel, Imanutcase at the UN, Human Rights groups taken over by muslim countries,,,,,

    Bush isn’t any better, and possibly even worse than Blair.It seems to be happening rather quickly also.

  5. Marilyn,
    I wasn’t being sarcastic when I addressed you as ‘dear’.
    My mistake: in my day (long ago) to address a sad person as ‘dear’ was my to be consoling not sarcasm.

    To be honest, I don’t understand your sentence in which you use the word ‘sarcasm’.
    I am not one who uses sarcasm.
    I am well aware that ‘sarc’ is very trendy on the net, tho.
    I’m too old to start adopting ‘sarc’ as a method of communication.

    In the days in which I grew up ‘sarc’ was reviled as the “lowest form of wit” and was to be avoided as proof that one’s ability to communicate clearly and courteously when somewhat impaired.


  6. Got cut off…

    I suggested you ‘have a good read’ because there is a lot of information available on the site and you would be able to make up your own mind….

    Without ‘sarc’: I take it you have already decided to let the MSM inform you.

  7. Mother Ecclesiastica…… it’s O.K. Thankyou for the consolation and apologies for my misinterpretation. I’m better now as my black moods tend to be short.

    However, I do have concerns about the BNP. and I do want the whole of the Western world to wake up to islamic jihad and I do despair at times when supposedly intelligent people in the West continue to make excuses for islam in the face of all its atrocities.
    I also become puzzled when these same people also denegrate the Jewish people also in the face of islamic atrocities.
    I seem to spend much of my time between puzzlement and amazement.

  8. Mother Ecclesiastica…..I read more than MSM, thankyou. You seem to give with one mouth and bite with the other.
    I will enter into no further tussle with you as it is obviously futile, as you say you do not practise sarcasm but do it adequately anyway.

  9. Theres no doubt Nick Griffin is an anti-semite. Maybe it’s better the devil you know, but its appalling the Brits would have to turn to the BNP to be saved from the mo’s. I wouldn’t blame anyone for voting for them, such is the state of the two major parties over there (from what I’ve seen anyway)

  10. To Marilyn LeBez
    They really are mushrooms , 90% is below ground.

    This is the moonbats version . It started 10 years earlier than they claim and made a huge contribution to to the defeat of Hitler (The last Fascist threat) and the Cold War.It is now our first line of defense against the Islamofascists. It has three other members. (CANZ)
    The British lost ships in the Falklands because the French woudn’t give us the Exocet switch off code until the British victory was certain. The country that supplies modern weaponry can disable or cripple it , so one of our gang of five has to do it if we can..

    I’m old , you sound young : Read Oriana Fallaci , a great role model , try to match her.

    Mine is Sir James Douglas who died in his 73rd battle at TEBA in 1330

    The trumpets blew, the cross-bolts flew,
    The arrows flashed like flame,
    As spur in side, and spear in rest,
    Against the foe we came.

    And many a bearded Saracen
    Went down, both horse and man;
    For through their ranks we rode like corn,
    So furiously we ran!

    But in behind our path they closed,
    Though fain to let us through,
    For they were forty thousand men,
    And we were wondrous few.

    We might not see a lance’s length,
    So dense was their array,
    But the long fell sweep of the Scottish blade
    Still held them hard at bay.

    “Make in! make in!” Lord Douglas cried,
    “Make in, my brethren dear!
    Sir William of Saint Clair is down;
    We may not leave him here!”

    But thicker, thicker, grew the swarm,
    And sharper shot the rain,
    And the horses reared amid the press,
    But they would not charge again.

    “Now Jesu help thee,” said Lord James,
    “Thou kind and true St Clair!
    An’ if I may not bring thee off,
    I’ll die beside thee there!”

    Then in his stirrups up he stood,
    So lionlike and bold,
    And held the precious heart aloft
    All in its case of gold.

    He flung it from him, far ahead,
    And never spake he more,
    But–“Pass thee first, thou dauntless heart,
    As thou wert wont of yore!”

    The roar of fight rose fiercer yet,
    And heavier still the stour,
    Till the spears of Spain came shivering in,
    And swept away the Moor.

    “Now praised be God, the day is won!
    They fly o’er flood and fell–
    Why dost thou draw the rein so hard,
    Good knight, that fought so well?”

    “Oh, ride ye on, Lord King!” he said,
    “And leave the dead to me,
    For I must keep the dreariest watch
    That ever I shall dree!

    “There lies, beside his master’s heart,
    The Douglas, stark and grim;
    And woe is me I should be here,
    Not side by side with him!

    It’s an old war we’ve been fighting since 622AD.
    We have our heros :

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