Daily archives: March 20, 2011

Dancing To The Saudi Tune

As the British government carefully looks the other way while democracy movements are bloodily crushed in the Gulf, here is some good reading for anyone who doubts the influence wielded over the British government by Saudi oil money and by the armaments industry. This wikileaks cable catalogues one of the most shameful moments in the long history of the British state. I strongly recommend that you read the whole thing. Here is a taster.

reported that SFO and MOD Police investigators had expended more
than 2 million pounds sterling on the BAE investigations. She
said on December 14, SFO Director Robert Wardle had decided to
discontinue the joint SFO/MOD Police investigation based on his
personal, independent judgment. Garlick then described four
distinct parts of the BAE/Saudi Arabia investigation:

¶4. (C) First, the relationship between BAE plc and Prince Turki
Bin Nasir: evidence indicated payments had been made by two
subcontractors to Prince Turki, who, as Deputy Commander of the
Royal Saudi Air Force during the involved period, was in a
position to exert influence on the al-Yamamah contract.
Payments fell into three time periods: before the
implementation of the U.K.’s 2001 Act (effective February 14,
2002); during a transition period; and following full
implementation of the Act. Evidence indicated that payments of
up to 70 million pounds had been made to Prince Turki prior to
implementation of 2001 Act. SFO had evidence indicating BAE had
conspired to circumvent the 2001 Act and another 3 million
pounds were paid to Turki following implementation;

¶5. (C) Second, payments made to BAE’s overseas agents:
evidence indicated that substantial payments were made by BAE
through XXXXXX XXXXXX to marketing consultants employed at
the behest of the Saudi government after implementation of the
2001 act, but no documents were produced to substantiate the
provision of any genuine services by the consultants;

¶6. (C) Third, payments made under the al-Yamamah contract to an
unnamed senior Saudi official: Garlick advised that in October
2005, the SFO had demanded BAE produce documents including
payments related to the al-Yamamah contract. The company made
representations to the AG on public interest grounds (political
and economic considerations) as to why the investigation should

be halted. The AG undertook a Shawcross Exercise and sought
representations from various British officials regarding the
case. The SFO Director wanted to continue the investigation.
On January 25, 2006, the AG agreed that there was no impediment
to continuing the investigation. The SFO sought Swiss banking
records regarding agents of BAE. The SFO found reasonable
grounds that another very senior Saudi official was the
recipient of BAE payments. The SFO was poised to travel to
Switzerland in connection with its Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA)
request when the decision to discontinue the investigation was
made; and

¶7. (C) Fourth, potential fraud against the U.K.’s Export Credit
Guarantee Department: the SFO investigated potential fraud
against the EGCD and discovered false representations by BAE to
conceal the corrupt dealings, which would constitute conspiracy
to defraud under U.K. law.

¶8. (C) Garlick noted a number of difficult legal issues
involved in the case, which put into question the sustainability
of corruption charges for payments made prior to 2002. Under
U.K. law, the informed consent of the principal to the agent’s
actions may be offered as a defense, making possible an
exception to the prohibitions on foreign bribery where the
individual receiving the bribe acts with the consent of the
principal. Evidentiary problems were also presented in a case
involving the Saudi absolute monarchy. Garlick said information
was being shared within the British government with a view to
the wholesale reform of UK law on corruption. She expressed
concern that the BAE investigation had not concluded, but said
while the Saudi Arabia case had been discontinued due to
unusual/extraordinary circumstances, other investigations
involving BAE activities in South Africa, Tanzania, Romania,
Chile, and the Czech Republic continued.

¶9. (C) Jones cited public interest as the reason for
discontinuation of the investigation, based on risks to
international and national security and to the lives of U.K.
citizens. He said the U.K. was not seeking to avoid giving
offense to another State or harming diplomatic relations with
another State, and “still less” to avoid harming British
commercial interests. Jones said U.K. authorities do not
believe the Anti-bribery Convention requires parties to pursue
cases if doing so would compromise the fight against terrorism
or the safety of citizens. He said U.K.-Saudi cooperation was
critical and that Saudi Arabia was the source of unique strains
of intelligence on al-Qaida. If Saudi Arabia were to withdraw
such cooperation, the UK would be deprived of a key source of
information. Jones also cited UK-Saudi cooperation related to
the Middle East Peace Process.

As I have said in relation to so many other such lying claims by the British government, if there were really thirty active terrorist plots by genuine determined terrorists, is it not astonishing that between them they did not manage to kill a single person? Doubtless they included the “lyrical terrorist” and the deadly poems for which she was jailed (before thankfully being freed by the Court of Appeal, a fact the mainstream media missed). As for the Saudi contribution to the so-called Middle East Peace Process as the reason not to prosecute anybody, the concept is so far beyond rational as to be unanswerable.

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