Friday, February 09, 2007

The BAE Saga...

BAE, employed quite a few people in Filton, North Bristol. I don't know if you have been following the saga of BAE? Here's a brief summary; BAE, one of the largest weapons manufactures in the UK was the subject of a Serious Fraud Office investigation into bribery. There are two alleged points of bribery. One is with Saudi Arabia and the other Tanzania. The Saudi allegations relate to a contract for various military aircraft. The deal, know as 'Al Yamamah' has been described as "the biggest [U.K.] sale of anything to anyone" and has been paid for by the delivery of up to 600,000 barrels of oil per day to the UK government. Nice. The allegations are that the Al Yamamah contracts were a result of bribes to key people in the Saudi royal family and government officials ,that BAE maintained a £60 million slush fund to keep key player sweet. The weapons we are selling are destined for that bastion of democracy, Saudi Arabia. The same place that a recent dispatches program accused of funding radical wahhabi Islamic preachers and literature here in the UK. With friends like that....anyway the Saudis soon put pressure on the UK government to drop the Serious Fraud Office investigation or else they would suspend co-operation on terrorism and Bliar duly agreed and dropped it. The evening post has reported on this story somewhat, but only from the local-jobs angle prompting the Bristol Kingswood Labour MP Roger Berry to remark: "We have to be absolutely up front about this. You either support law and order or not. I do not think it is in the interests of British industry or Bristol jobs if you do not...If we're going to suspend law and order if it costs jobs, then there would be a lot of drug pushers in Bristol who'd be absolutely delighted."A local MP, While Tanzania is a poor country that can ill afford (or does not need, it has been persuasively argued) the £28 million system it purchased from BAE and that Tony 'Africa' Bliar's Government approved for export.

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