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BAE scandal. "National security" or simply "commercial interests"?

BAE Systems, the giant British defense contractor that makes aircraft carriers, armoured vehicles, a superadvanced cannon and fighter jets has fiercely contested allegations that it paid hundreds of millions of pounds of bribes to win business in Saudi Arabia, Tanzania, South Africa, Romania, the Czech Republic and other countries.


September 30 2009 ~ SFO prepares to charge BAE Systems

July 31st, 2008 ~ Law lords: fraud office right to end bribery investigation in BAE case

May 18 2008 ~ Top BAE executives held in Texas

May 8 2008 ~ "what explains this sudden scramble by BAE for the moral high ground?"

May 7 ~ if a company is free of every taint, why does it require something called an "ethical audit"?

Wednesday May 7 2008 ~ Yesterday's press conference in which Lord Woolf presented his report on BAE's "ethics" was an uncomfortable affair.

July 16 2007 ~ "Britain's definition of national security might have to change under these circumstances."

July 9 ~ Treasury plans to shut arms sales department

June 16 2007 ~ ".....Tony Blair's assertion this week that people should hold him personally and entirely to blame for the BAE affair at least had the allure of novelty.

June 16 2007 ~ BAE Systems has announced the appointment, of a four-member independent committee of experts to evaluate the company's policies relating to ethics and business conduct.

June 13 2007 ~ Who exposed this colossal bribery? Why, the feral beast

June 12 2007 ~ BAE Lord Goldsmith remained silent on whether he had advised that information about the Bandar payments be concealed from the OECD - the world's anti-corruption organisation.

June 11, 2007 ~ "BAE's bid to derail the inquiry was backed up by the prime minister himself, by John Reid, the defence secretary, and Jack Straw, the foreign secretary. It was an extraordinary piece of high-level bullying.

June 11 2007 ~ "BAE Systems used a secret payments system to transfer more than£13m to a company linked to David Hart, the controversial former Conservative defence adviser, according to legal sources. He has acted as a lobbyist both for Britain's biggest arms company and also for the giant military manufacturer Boeing in the US. Mr Hart, an Old Etonian who lives in a Suffolk mansion, became notorious in the 1980s for helping the then prime minster Margaret Thatcher break the miners' strike...This is the latest allegation to emerge from corruption investigations into BAE, being conducted by prosecutors from three countries - Switzerland, Sweden, and the Serious Fraud Office in the UK...." Guardian

June 10 2007 ~ Foreign Office denies 'terror flights' cover up
Snowmail: "The Foreign Office and the Association of Chief Police Officers have today strongly defended any suggestion of a cover-up over the report into the CIA kidnap operation and flights passing through the UK. All this as we discover a CIA linked aircraft landed in Britain just last weekend.
The Foreign Office was quick to get onto us last night at the suggestion that the government might have interfered with police inquiries into whether the UK did or did not turn a blind eye to the US programme to kidnap and torture Al Qaeda suspects around the world.
Last night I put it to the Lib Dem's Vince Cable that, since the police didn't ask either the secret services or the airports about this, their inquiry was either useless or they'd been leant on by the government. He agreed, live on air.
Today both the police and Foreign Office have denied that there's been any improper pressure brought to bear. The police are now saying it wasn't an investigation - merely a 'review'. So a police review is somehow better than a police investigation? Still no interviews from either the Association of Chief Police Officers or the government on this - behaviour that hardly instils confidence in their vehement denials."
Watch last night's report and interview with Vince Cable:

June 10 2007 ~ BAE Systems does not confirm it is recruiting independent ethics panel "...... The Sunday Times and other papers said BAE plans to recruit a panel to investigate its conduct of foreign arms sales in an attempt to draw a line under allegations of corruption in its dealings with Saudi Arabia. Senior defence industry sources said BAE had already begun talks with potential candidates to chair the investigation, The Sunday Times said. It is understood to be looking for a senior political or business figure with a legal background. It is not yet clear how many people BAE will recruit or what the inquiry's remit will be, it added. BAE and the UK government have been dogged by allegations of bribery stemming from the Al-Yamamah arms deal with Saudi Arabia. BAE issued a fresh rebuttal last week after the BBC and The Guardian newspaper alleged that payments totaling more than 1 bln stg were made to Saudi prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Gulf country's former ambassador to Washington, with the full knowledge of the Ministry of Defence as part of the deal...."

June 10 2007 ~Sir Menzies Campbell wants an inquiry into the allegations surrounding the Al-Yamamah deal. BBC "He is particularly concerned about allegations that the attorney general concealed from investigators from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that payments were being made over a decade to a Saudi Prince.
"What general advice does the SFO have from the attorney general?" he asked on the BBC's Sunday AM programme. "Were there any conversations between anyone in the attorney general's office and the Serious Fraud Office and Number 10 about what was to be done in relation to the OECD?"
Lord Goldsmith has denied the allegations and BAE Systems has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing."

June 10 2007 ~The story of possible corruption between BAE and the Saudi government, and how the British government ignored it, is shocking. But we should not regard this episode as an aberration. Instead, it should force us to question the way foreign policy is thought about and practised in government today
Carne Ross Saturday June 9, 2007 The Guardian "The story of possible corruption between BAE and the Saudi government, and how the British government ignored it, is shocking. But we should not regard this episode as an aberration. Instead, it should force us to question the way foreign policy is thought about and practised in government today.
For decades British policy towards Saudi Arabia has been dominated by al-Yamamah, the massive BAE deal to provide aircraft and supplies. When I worked on the Middle East at the Foreign Office in the mid-90s, it was widely assumed that, along with uninterrupted oil supplies, this was what Britain's Saudi policy was "about". Any other concern, whether of human rights or the export of radical Wahhabi Islam, was by and large secondary.
This assumption was never questioned by officials or ministers. It was just the way things were. To think otherwise, that British policy - "our" policy as we called it (though it was never democratically debated, of course) - should be about human rights or Saudi Arabia's contribution to global security, would have been dismissed as naive or fanciful. ...."

June 7 2007 ~ BAE paid Prince Bandar 1 billion Independent "British arms company BAE Systems secretly paid a Saudi prince more than £1bn over a period of more than 10 years, an investigation has revealed. ...The Serious Fraud Office discovered the payments during an investigation into the Al Yamamah deal which was halted last year after a review by the attorney general, Lord Goldsmith. He said it was in Britain's national interest to drop the investigation. Prince Bandar and the MoD declined to comment on the matter, and BAE said that the company acted lawfully at all times. "

May 22 2007 ~ BAE scandal Corruption investigation seems to indicate possible links between the cash for honours and the BAE scandals - both involving Jonathan Powell.
"Police investigating alleged corruption by Britain's biggest defence company sought access to Downing Street's computer system to trawl for e-mails sent by and to Jonathan Powell, Tony Blair's chief of staff. They suspected that Lord Powell, his brother, an adviser to BAE Systems, the firm at the centre of the inquiry, was lobbying Downing Street aides to have the investigation stopped. They approached officers investigating the cash for honours scandal, which had access to Downing Street e-mails, to see if they could trace e-mails between the Powell brothers. They were looking for evidence that individuals might have tried to influence the outcome of the police investigation. " (Sunday) Times

April 27 2007 ~ BAE The Serious Fraud Office ended its investigation into a 1986 arms deal with Saudi Arabia in December 2006 saying it was"not in the public interest" to continue. The BBC reports that in January a US embassy official issued a verbal protest at the Foreign Office. The decision to end the SFO inquiry came weeks after reports that the Saudis were threatening to pull out of a deal to buy 72 Eurofighter jets from BAE.

November 27 2006 ~Shares of BAE, Europe's largest defence firm, fell 4.4 per cent today on reports it might lose a Eurofighter deal with Saudi Arabia if a fraud probe is extended to the Saudi royal family. See" "..... the Saudi government was set to tear up its Euro"ighter Typhoon agreement with Britain and give the jets contract to France if the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) opened Swiss bank accounts allegedly linked to members of the Saudi royal family as part of a long-running investigation.'

November 23 2006 ~ BAE Systems and Trident. Jack Straw says (See Guardian) 'This is about the defence of this country and its people and its future over many decades.
'Spea"ing to the parliamentary defence committee earlier this month, Mur"ay Easton, head of "he submarine division at BAE Systems, warned that a delay could have a 'catastrophic' impact on the industry.
(Some might feel that a 'catastrophic effect' on the arms industry might be preferable to the potential catastrophic effects caused by the weaponry from "hich its huge profits are derived.)

November 20 2006 ~ secret arms-deal commissions The Serious Fraud Office Guardian on secret arms-deal commissions:

In a third stage to the Al-Yamamah agreement, signed last year, Britain is now selling up to 72 more planes - called Eurofighter Typhoons - to the Saudis. The agreement, known as "the Dove" in Arabic, has, according to the Guardian for October 28 2006 "kept BAE afloat for the last 20 years". As agreements fo Typhoon sale to Saudi Arabia are being finalised, critics say that the British government refrains from criticising the Saudis' appalling human rights abuses, in order not to upset the arms sales.

November 20 2006 ~ BAE Systems makes a killing... It is the fourth largest arms company in the world. Each year it sells about £11 billion worth of arms around the globe. In 2005 BEA Systems ranked seventh in a list of companies supplying the Pentagon. See pdf link, at (new window)

November 19 2006 ~ Serious Fraud Office Tanzania deal investigation News in the Times and Reuters that the Serious Fraud Office and Ministry of Defence police are looking into allegations that BAE Systems paid backhanders to the Tanzanian Government in 2001 for a £28 million military air traffic control system has not been mentioned in the mainstream press since November 12 . It was a deal personally approved by Tony Blair who overruled Cabinet objections. There were objections too from the World Bank who said that Tanzania could, for a tenth of that price, have bought a civilian system, but our Prime Minister overruled the cabinet and forced it through the deal on behalf of BAE Systems, the UK defence contractor and partner to the Carlyle Group. Barclays Bank loaned Tanzania the money for the deal - a debt repaid from aid given to Tanzania by Britain to assist sustainable development, including primary education. The Times wrote:

( The Carlyle Group holds 33.8% ownership of QinetiQ, the UK's recently privatized defence company. One definition of the Carlyle Group on the internet:

November 17 2006 ~ They're not laughing now The BBC quotes Alex Salmond, Leader of the SNP, about the speculation that Mr Blair is to be questioned "soon" after all.

Downing Street has declined to comment on the inquiry.

November 17 2006 ~Blair overruled his own cabinet, and forced through a deal on behalf of BAE Systems, the UK defense contractor and Carlyle Group partner. has an article in which we read,
































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