Monday, May 21, 2007

Government Weapons Exports

Government breached own guidelines on arms exports, says report | Special Reports | Guardian Unlimited Politics

Nothing much new here but good to see some coverage at least.

A few key points:

In the three years up to 2006, arms exports were approved to 19 of 20 states identified as "countries of concern", including Colombia and Israel.

open export licences - where there is no limit on arms sales - were approved to a number of countries with poor human rights records, including Egypt, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, and Turkey.

The report points out that Britain is the world's second largest exporter of arms, with the Blair government approving sales of £45bn worth of military equipment and services.

It says that when BAE Systems sold cockpit displays for US F-16 aircraft exported to Israel, Jack Straw, the then-foreign secretary, defended the deal on the grounds of "the importance of maintaining a strong and dynamic defence relationship with the US".

"We support human rights apart from when America ask us to do something and then we blindly follow their requests because it's important to keep our "dynamic relationship" regardless of worldwide human suffering, blah blah etc"

Today's report also estimates that arms exports are subsidised to the tune of at least £450m a year through government promotion, research and development.
So each year every UK citizen has £7.50 of their tax money spent on arming Israel and other terrorist states. (If you assume terrorism to be "a resort to violence against civilians for political means", then yes Israel is a terrorist state).

Britain has agreed to sell Saudi Arabia 72 Eurofighter aircraft in a deal worth an estimated £10bn

British Scorpion tanks were used in demonstrations in which protestors were killed in Indonesia in 1998. The following year, the Indonesian air force flew British Hawk jets to intimidate the population of East Timor, which has since gained independence

The Labour government has licensed more than £110m worth of military equipment to Israel

I really don't understand why this is allowed to go's baffling.

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