Tag Archives: al yamamah

“BAE guilty plea a damning indictment of the Government”

So says Norman Lamb, who has campaigned for corruption charges to be brought against BAE since 2001, in response to the news that BAE admits guilt over corrupt arms deals … firm pays out £300m:

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Conservative Party faces investigation over controversial donations from Said family

The Electoral Commission is investigating tens of thousands of pounds the Conservative Party has received from the Said family, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Wafic Said was a key figure in the highly controversial Al-Yamamah arms deal between Saudi Arabia and the UK. Allegations of corruption surrounding the deal were being investigated by staff at Britain’s Serious Fraud Office – until they were ordered to drop the investigation because it was supposedly against the national interest. Tough on crime? Only when it suits.

Although the Liberal Democrats – and Norman Lamb in particular – have been vocal in their criticisms of …

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Labour and Tories: united in blocking corruption investigations

This week’s High Court ruling that the Government acted unlawfully in dropping the probe into corruption allegations around the Al Yamamah arms deal was deeply embarrassing for this supposedly ‘purer than pure’ Labour Government. As the judges ruled:

We fear for the reputation of the administration of justice if it can be perverted by a threat … No one, whether within this country or outside, is entitled to interfere with the course of our justice. The rule of law is nothing if it fails to constrain overweening power.”

But Labour don’t have to worry too much about any political repercussions – because …

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High Court rules against Government over Al Yamamah

Breaking news: the High Court has just ruledthat the Serious Fraud Office acted unlawfully in dropping the probe into corruption allegations around the Al Yamamah arms deal. The Court has criticised the SFO for failing to stand up to Government pressure and has said that the SFO broke the law as a result.

As the Government pressure came direct from the then Prime Minister and Attorney General (Blair and Goldsmith), this ruling is a major rebuff to Labour.

It leaves a big question for Gordon Brown: is he going to respect the courts and now give full Government backing to the …

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A triple dose of Nick Clegg in the media (updated)

Let’s hope Nick Clegg got all his Christmas shopping finished before he was elected leader, because he looks just a mite busy getting lots of media coverage at the moment.

This morning, he was on Radio 4′ s Today in the coveted 8:10am slot (listen again here for up to seven days or read about it here), whilst The Voice hears that there are interviews set to appear in the Sunday Times (on … Sunday) and then Monday’s Daily Telegraph.

UPDATE: Make that a quadruple dose: he is also in the news over the latest Al Yamamah revelations.

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Top of the Blogs: The Golden Dozen #38

Welcome to the 38th of our weekly round-ups from the Lib Dem blogosphere, featuring the seven most popular stories according to click-throughs from the Aggregator (4th – 10th November), together with a hand-picked quintet you might otherwise have missed.

It’s no surprise that the Clegg-Huhne leadership race is dominating the blogs. It’s perhaps also not surprising that those postings which focus on the more negative aspects of the campaign are the ones garnering the most attention. And so it is this week:

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Cable welcomes court victory for Al Yamamah campaigners

Commenting on the decision today to grant a judicial review of the dropping of the Serious Fraud Office investigation into the Al-Yamamah arms deal, Liberal Democrat Acting Leader, Vince Cable MP said:

“I am delighted that this is going to get a full hearing in the High Court.

“It is in the public interest to fully investigate the circumstances surrounding the dropping of this important investigation.

“It appears that the judiciary is more open than the British Government.”

This is the party’s official news release.

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OPINION: Corruption is Corruption is Corruption

Imagine you’ve been burgled and (by a small miracle!) someone is up in court, charged with the burglary. How impressed would you be if the accused said, “OK, I did do it – but you have to understand. I’m a poor student at the local university and all the French and US students there steal things too, so it wouldn’t be fair if I was left out and had to make do without the proceeds of crime too?” Not very I think! But that’s pretty much the excuse so often rolled out to brush away corruption around international arms deals – everyone else gives out bribes you know, and it would be so unfair and unforgivable if we didn’t too.

So – despite the allegations involving huge sums of money and numerous senior people – both Labour and the Conservatives have been happy for the corruption investigation around the Al Yamamah arms deal with Saudi Arabia to be dropped. And it’s the only area of crime (other than graffiti!) where – when campaigning against it – I’ve encountered a handful of people saying, “but it’s ok”.

Well – I beg to differ on several counts!

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How far will Brown go to protect BAE from corruption charges?

The Labour Government could soon be faced with a stark choice: to co-operate with the US department of justice’s investigations into the BAE bribery allegations, or risk reciprocal co-operation and intelligence-sharing with the US.

Those who’ve been following the biggest scandal of Labour’s time in office – and, if you haven’t, why not visit the Lib Dem’s Corruption is a Crime website – will know that the US authorities began an inquiry last year into the £2bn payments made by BAE to the Saudi royal family and its agents in the 1980s (with the complicit approval of …

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“We must take risks,” says Ming

In a wide-ranging speech to Lib Dem staff today – reported on the BBC website here – Ming Campbell has pledged the party must be “prepared to take risks”. He also promised to make his age (66) a campaigning issue: “Politics would benefit from more people with experience.”

Here’s the filleted version…

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The ConHome verdict on Tories’ BAE bribes silence

It isn’t only Liberal Review and the Lib Dems’ Corruption is a Crime website which have noted how quiet the Tories have been about BAE’s Al Yamamah deal, and the Labour Government’s decision to squash the Serious Fraud Office’s investigation of advance commissions cash bribes.

Surely this should be the ideal opportunity for David Cameron to take the attack to Labour on precisely the same ground – dodgy foreign arms dealing – that so damaged the Tories in the 1990s?

Yet as the Conservative Home website notes:

The Conservatives, unlike the LibDems, have been as quiet on the

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BAE, corruption and more silence from the Conservatives

Time to dust off some of my previous blog postings about the Al Yamamah arms deal, because BAE and corruption allegations are back in the news – and once again it’s Ming Campbell and Vince Cable making all the political running, whilst the Conservatives stay silent. A touch of embarrassment over their own Saudi links by any chance?

With a bit of luck, we’ll even get another choice Tony Blair excuse as to why Labour’s changed its mind on Al Yamamah.

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Another day, another BAe corruption debate

And once again the so-called “Official Opposition” leave it to the Liberal Democrats to do all the running in taking Labour to task for being soft on crime when it suits. (The Conservatives, of course, have a rather dodgy link to the BAE corruption allegations themselves).

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How to explain away any crime, Labour-style

In today’s Politics Show interview with Tony Blair, Blair came up with a pretty comprehensive excuse for not investigating a crime:

This was all to do with historical events in the past

(The Saudi Arabian arms deal corruption investigation being the cause of the quesiton, unsurprisingly.) 

So that’s ok, as long as your crime was in the past, it’s not worth investigating. That should help cut the prison population at a stroke as people start using that defence in court, “It’s ok m’lud; I did commit the crime but it was in the past.”

And your starter for ten for any pedantic chronologists

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Al Yamamah: Conservatives silent, yet again

PMQs today – Ming Campbell questioned Blair about the blocking of prosecutions for corruption over the Al Yamamah arms deal with Saudi Arabia, and as for the Tories – silent yet again on the issue.

It’s clearly a very sore point for Blair (you can tell how rattled he is by how rude he is in response) yet once again the so-called “Official Opposition” have run a mile from the issue. Could it be because they have rather more connections with Saudi arms deals and money than they would rather we knew … ?

Note: the Liberal Democrats have a blog …

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David Cameron and Saudi corruption

Guido has now picked up on the curious silence of David Cameron on the Saudi arms corruption investigation.

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Al Yamamah: More Labour hypocrisy

A brief recap: after the then Conservative Government signed the Al Yamamah arms deal with Saudi Arabia, Labour politicians were very keen for there to be proper investigations into corruption allegations.

Another example found in the archives: in the early 1990s a National Audit Office investigation was given only a very narrow remit and then surpressed. The then response of Labour MP and defence spokesman Martin O’Neill? You guessed it – he promised that Labour would reopen the inquiry.

Again though, this enthusiasm seems to have waned rather…

(Hat tip: CAAT again).

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Al Yamamah: Conservatives silent, again

Another burst of stories in the media about the Al Yamamah Saudi Arabian arms deal and Labour’s axing of investigations into corruption (about which you can sign a petition here).

As a Lib Dem it’s gratifying to see the frequent coverage of the party’s views on the issue (yet again), but (yet again) there is nothing from Her Majesty’s Official Opposition (as in this BBC report). Silence from David Cameron and co seems to be the order of the day.

Is it too cynical to ask if all this could be because the arms …

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Al Yamamah: Labour hypocrisy

Back in the 1980s, Allan Roberts was MP for Bootle and a Labour defence spokesperson. When the Al Yamamah defence sales deal was arranged by the Conservative government with Saudi Arabia and there were allegations of corruption in the air, this was his – and his party’s view:

a. He was “quite confident” that commissions (ie bribes) had been paid, and
b. He demanded an official investigation.

(Hat tip: CAAT)

How times change … and I wonder if the fact that most electronic databases of news stories don’t stretch back to the mid-1980s has anything to do with the lack of stories in …

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Lib Dems up the pressure on Saudi deal

Liberal Democrat MPs are planning to up the pressure in Parliament over the Government’s controversial decision to drop corruption investigations around the Al Yamamah arms deal with Saudi Arabia.

(As an aside – perhaps action in Parliament will flush out rather more comment from the Conservatives on this issue, who overall have stayed very, very quiet…).

UPDATE: Simon Hughes has called for action following this case, whilst you can read the views of Norman Lamb (a long time campaigner on this case) here

UPDATE 2: The Liberal Democrat petition calling for an inquiry into the dropping of the Continue reading »

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