17.12.06

Blair, learning from Bush, whores himself to the Saudi Royal Family

Cloak, dagger, bluff, blackmail, and Tony's nervous protector - Sunday Times - Times Online:

Saudi Arabia is a country which would normally be a pariah state, failing every test of human rights. It practises torture, sharia law and systematic bribery (a Saudi prince even sued Rolls-Royce for not delivering on a bribe). The country has been of no noticeable assistance in modernising or stabilising its region and financed the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Selling arms to such a country might be thought beyond Blair’s moral pale. Not so. As with the Afghan opium trade, money talks and sometimes money requests silence.

...

Last Thursday he changed his mind. Why? What or who had got at him? The truth is that SFO investigators, operating under new arrangements with the Swiss, were about to request the opening of certain Swiss bank accounts.

The Saudis went berserk. They threatened to withdraw the next stage of Al-Yamamah, for 72 Typhoon jets. Lord Bell was hired to threaten every Labour MP with defence work in his constituency. The rule of law was subjected to the full majesty of the rule of public relations. At this flick of blackmail (and probable bluff), the British government crumpled and summoned the hapless Goldsmith to clear up the mess. An inquiry that expediency would never have begun was ignominiously ended.

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