I've commented on BAE before when a contract was completed for providing an unnecessary costly defence system for Tanzania supported as I remember by New Labour under T. Blair. The persistent reports of BAE's flirting with Saudi Arabia to secure contracts by bribery are also dismissed by the government. It appears that a number of MPs think corrupt practices are acceptable.
I went to a meeting in Birmingham this week that gave some detail of what went on when BAE paid a Saudi defence chief millions and provided lavish hospitality. It was likened to Lockheed paying the British Air Chief Marshall for buying its products and asking what the outcry would be in the UK. No it is a patriotic duty for BAE to act thus after all it involves British jobs. Actually other British jobs were lost when firms who did not offer bribes consequently lost contracts. BAE can do no wrong as far as New Labour is concerned. Once again it demonstrates how far from socialism New Labour has travelled and eagerly champions aggressive capitalism.
I wanted to know about individual MPs involvement. Some whose constituencies BAE exist passionately defend while others have grave reservations. Clare Short spoke out at the time, while Khalid Mahmood appeared on TV giving hearty support to Saudi Arabia. Do any MPs conduct business in the region, if so what is the natures of their operations? The speakers at the meeting had no idea.
Just what, one wonders, has been the role of the all-party Saudi Arabian Parliamentary Group and its members, with its secretary Khalid Mahmood?
Birmingham based firm supplier of laminates to arms trade.
Posted by John Tyrrell at November 10, 2007 11:43 AM
This really is a odd beuinsss. As far as I know, you can ONLY sell to the Saudi Government via an agent. No agent, no contact and no sale. So, BAe or, anyone else who sells, ends up paying the agent’s fees. Is that corruption or just normal beuinsss practise? In the UK I suspect we would probably say yes, but in lots of countries, usually south and east of the Mediterranean, it is the normal way to do beuinsss. Of course, not anyone can be the agent, so there are ways and means to ensure that the “correct” agent is used for a particular task. Corrupt by our standards, probably yes By theirs, no, as that is the way is has always been done and will be done. So, unless Bae has corrupted a UK official to gain permission to sell some very advanced military hardware to the Saudi Government , then all that they have done so it appears, is do what everyone else has to do to carry out any dealings and sales to that Government. That is, go via an agent and pay the commission demanded so as to get the sale. The question of corruption or not, is an issue for the Saudis to resolve. Either ending the farce of the middlemen so common in that part of the world or, have sorted out the price and commission in a form more comprehendible by those who will see it from outside are both solutions that if applied to this would have ended the story. I have not read that anyone in Saudi is surprised or unaware that a commission was being paid and the choice of the aircraft was by them, not forced on them. Quite why anyone here is so surprised at the payments is a surprise to me. Perhaps a little research into other suppliers of any items for the Saudi Government or other ones in that area, would have been a wise move and put this whole affair into context.To pursue BAe would just seem to be penalising the UK for everyone else’s benefit.
Blogged by Cisel at March 22, 2012 6:01 AM