Blair Is Right

This unusual title for a DU post concerns Blair’s stopping an investigation into Saudi corruption.

The SFO was investigating the £150 million Al Yamamah arms contract with BAE systems following allegations that middlemen had been paid millions of pounds.

The Saudis threatened to cancel a £10 billion order for Typhoon fighters unless the investigation was halted, threatening thousands of defence industry jobs.

The importance of good diplomatic relations with the Arab country were cited as the main reason for abandoning the investigation

The Blair bashers argue:

Britain is a signatory to the 1999 OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, which stresses that investigations should not be “influenced by considerations of national economic interest, the potential effect upon relations with another State or the identity of the natural or legal persons involved.”

Blair can reply that yes, the Brits did investigate – which is a damn site more than any of their OECD “partners” have done for similar offenses alleged on their turf.

And all of the oil states (barring Iraq) are corrupt dictatorships, but that doesn’t stop the West buying its oil from them under unusual commercial arrangements.

And the UN and EU are riddled with corruption, but the Brits pay folks there in cash or kind to advance Brit national interests. For example the entire Security Council turned a blind eye to the biggest fraud in history – the UN Oil For Food scam.

Finally, it’s a vital Brit national interest to keep the BAE Filton plant busy. We likely to need a lot more of its Typhoons and F-35 Lightings to face an aggressive Russia, a vindictive Europe, or a holocaust-repeating Iran. Or all of the above.

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