Law Lords Back Corruption 5


Here are statements from Corner House and the Campaign Against the Arms Trade on today’s deeply shocking judgement by the Law Lords:

The Law Lords have this morning upheld an appeal by the Director of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) against the High Court’s ruling that he acted unlawfully in terminating a corruption investigation into BAE Systems’ arms deals with Saudi Arabia.

The appeal followed a High Court judgment in April that the SFO, acting on government advice, had dropped the investigation following lobbying by BAE and a threat from Saudi Arabia to withdraw diplomatic and intelligence co-operation if the investigation were not dropped. This judgment was in response to a judicial review brought by the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) and The Corner House.

Nicholas Hildyard of The Corner House said:

“Now we know where we are. Under UK law, a supposedly independent prosecutor can do nothing to resist a threat made by someone abroad if the UK government claims that the threat endangers national security. The unscrupulous who have friends in high places overseas willing to make such threats now have a ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card ?” and there is nothing the public can do to hold the government to account if it abuses its national security powers. Parliament needs urgently to plug this gaping hole in the law and in the constitutional checks and balances dealing with national security. With the law as it is, a government can simply invoke ‘national security’ to drive a coach and horses through international anti-bribery legislation, as the UK government has done, to stop corruption investigations.”

Symon Hill of CAAT said:

“BAE and the government will be quickly disappointed if they think that this ruling will bring an end to public criticism. Throughout this case we have been overwhelmed with support from people in all walks of life. There has been a sharp rise in opposition to BAE’s influence in the corridors of power. Fewer people are now taken in by exaggerated claims about British jobs dependent on the arms trade. The government has been judged in the court of public opinion. The public know that Britain will be a better place when BAE is no longer calling the shots.”

CAAT and The Corner House will issue a more detailed statement following an analysis of the Lords’ judgments.


5 thoughts on “Law Lords Back Corruption

  • oulwan

    It seems to me that invoking 'national security' for any and all sort of cover-up has become the norm for the UK and US governments since the famous GWOT appeared. And with their credibility at an all-time low, would you blame me.

  • ruth

    This statement from Gerald James is very pertinent here:

    "It has also been clearly demonstrated that Parliament has no control of knowledge of events and that a vast apparatus of permanent unelected Government exists. This permanent Government consists of senior civil servants, intelligence and security officers, key figures in certain city and financial institutions (including Lloyds of London), key industrialists and directors of major monopolistic companies, senior politicians. The Lord Chancellors Office which is responsible for the appointment of Judges, Clerks of the House of Commons select Committees and approval of Chairmen of such committees and the approval of the Queen's Counsel, holds a total control of the legal administrative framework and has strong connections to the security and intelligence services.

    "We have seen from the arms to Iran, Iraq affairs, the Sandline affair and other scandals that politicians and Parliament have little or no control and are more like players in a pantomime put on for the general public and gullible public.

    "Secrecy breeds corruption, secrecy is power, information is power particularly confidential information. There is no accountability and the calibre of MP deteriorates with each Parliament. The young politician with no experience outside is naive and powerless and many now have a blind loyalty to their party. Ironically the hereditary peers of the House of Lords provided one of the last vestiges of honesty and independence now largely destroyed by self-important and self-deluding figures like Blair and Baroness Jay."

  • ruth

    This statement of Gerald James is very pertinent here:

    "It has also been clearly demonstrated that Parliament has no control of knowledge of events and that a vast apparatus of permanent unelected Government exists. This permanent Government consists of senior civil servants, intelligence and security officers, key figures in certain city and financial institutions (including Lloyds of London), key industrialists and directors of major monopolistic companies, senior politicians. The Lord Chancellors Office which is responsible for the appointment of Judges, Clerks of the House of Commons select Committees and approval of Chairmen of such committees and the approval of the Queen's Counsel, holds a total control of the legal administrative framework and has strong connections to the security and intelligence services.

    "We have seen from the arms to Iran, Iraq affairs, the Sandline affair and other scandals that politicians and Parliament have little or no control and are more like players in a pantomime put on for the general public and gullible public.

    "Secrecy breeds corruption, secrecy is power, information is power particularly confidential information. There is no accountability and the calibre of MP deteriorates with each Parliament. The young politician with no experience outside is naive and powerless and many now have a blind loyalty to their party. Ironically the hereditary peers of the House of Lords provided one of the last vestiges of honesty and independence now largely destroyed by self-important and self-deluding figures like Blair and Baroness Jay."

  • Nas

    It is obvious that this government (perhaps all governments) act in the interest of their paymasters, those who pay the parties to fight elections as the way things are organized in the Western "democracies", it is totally impossible to win elections without a lot of money and the money comes from those who run the world (the big corporations).

    The real point here is why do we call this a democracy? Not only none of the governments in this country was elected with a majority of voters, not the registered voters, but those who voted. So, at least since 1945 we have had governments that were "elected" by a minority of all those who voted. You don't believe me? Have a look at: http://www.psr.keele.ac.uk/area/uk/uktable.htm

    Tony Bliar's majority of 178 in 1997 was based on the votes of 43.2% of the votes cast. The votes cast against Labour were: 56.8%!

    On top of this our system of government is such that once a Prime Minister has been elected with a minority of votes, he is a dictator. The members of the parliament are controlled and are not allowed to vote as they feel fit, but as they are told. The height of this amazing system of government is that a PM can take the country into an illegal war just because he is the PM and members of parliament will vote for him if they want to continue in their political career. And to talk about the subject of this article, the PM can decided to stop the prosecution of a corrupt company just because he wants to and there is no one to stop him, not even the highest court in the land. But then the court, after all, consists of human beings with their prejudices and, dare I say, greeds and interests.

    How come in all these blogs and comments we never talk about the fact that we don't live in a democracy.

  • crocodyl

    I found out the US and Switzerland that are still investigating BAE Systems. Would it pressure the British government at all if these other countries proved that the allegations against BAE Systems were true?

    The Crocodyl company profile that details the history of BAE Systems plc shows many more unsavory things that this company has done, I wonder how many of these things are publicly known, or being investigated by other government agencies.

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