Gun running

Editorial note: If you have not yet read our mission statement above, please do so in order that you can put our blogs in context. 

17 July 2013

They abuse human rights. So let’s give them the wherewithal to make a good job of it.

This is the message of the vicious rightwing regime in power in London to other states around the world which routinely trample on the human rights of their citizens.

If you have the lolly, London says, we’ll give you the guns.

Human rights? We’ll just turn a blind eye to them – at least so long as the dosh is rolling in.

It may be that at international forums the UK makes a song-and-dance about its commitment to human rights. But that’s strictly for the birds. That’s just a public relations exercise. Propaganda.

What we’re really interested in is your money. That’s what counts with us Brits.

And if afterwards you use the weapons we sell you to massacre your citizens? Well, too bad. That’s your affair.

This was spelt out with crystal-clarity by the UK regime’s frontman, Dave “loadsamoney” Cameron, the British prime minister, when he led a herd of money-grubbing UK fast-buck merchants to the repressive central Asian state of Kazakhstan at the end of June 2013. On that occasion, according to press reports, he made it clear to journalists that Britain placed economic concerns above human rights.

According to an article in the London Guardian on 1 July 2013, Cameron admitted that he was there “to promote British businesses rather than challenge the authoritarian Kazakh president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, on human rights. The prime minister…said he would only raise human rights with the president as a subsidiary issue, despite a warning from Amnesty International that the former Soviet Republic has a ‘disgraceful’ record.”

So there you have it, condemned out of his own mouth! The UK does not give a toss for human rights. Filthy lucre is what we are after.

This barefaced commitment to immorality is confirmed in an article by Richard Norton-Taylor in the London Guardian today 17 July 2013.

Norton-Taylor says that, according to a cross-party committee of UK MPs, more than 3,000 current export licences for arms – as well as military equipment worth more than £12bn – have been approved by the UK for 27 countries classified by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) as being “of concern” because of their poor human rights record.

Countries for which significant sales have been approved include Israel – the destination of the bulk of the arms sales – Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, China, and Zimbabwe, according to the arms export controls committee’s annual report published today 17 July 2013.

According to the article, committee chairman Sir John Stanley, said: “The scale of the extant strategic licences to the FCO’s 27 countries of human rights concern puts into stark relief the inherent conflict between the government’s arms exports and human rights policies.”

He added: “The government should apply significantly more cautious judgments when considering arms export licence applications for goods to authoritarian regimes‚ which might be used to facilitate internal repression‚ in contravention of the government’s stated policy.”

The approval of nearly 400 arms export licences for “Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories” includes components for body armour, parts for all-wheel-drive vehicles with ballistic protection, assault rifles, pistols, military support vehicles, and small arms ammunition.

Other exports included cryptographic equipment used for decoding and encoding communications.

More than 400 current export licences to the hereditary dictatorship in Saudi Arabia – a state notorious not only for the ruthless repression of public dissent but also for its medieval punishments, including public beheadings – include vehicles, components for military communications equipment, crowd-control ammunition, hand grenades, and smoke/pyrotechnic and teargas/irritant ammunition.

In flat contradiction of the facts, the UK regime claims that it “will not issue licences where we judge there is a clear risk that the proposed export might provoke or prolong regional or internal conflicts, or which might be used to facilitate internal repression”.

However, the MPs say, “that does not appear to have been so in the case of the deployment of Saudi forces in British armoured vehicles to Bahrain…thereby enabling Bahraini security forces to end, sometimes violently, predominantly peaceful demonstrations”.

Demonstrations in Bahrain were suppressed by the hereditary  dictatorship in 2011. Despite this, British exports to Bahrain under current licences include small arms ammunition, command communications control and intelligence software, technology for command communications control and intelligence software, assault rifles, military communications equipment, pistols, weapon sights, and components for machine guns.


 You might perhaps care to view some of our earlier posts.  For instance:

1. Why? or How? That is the question (3 Jan 2012)

2. Partitocracy v. Democracy (20 July 2012)

3. The shoddiest possible goods at the highest possible prices (2 Feb 2012)

4. Capitalism in practice  (4 July 2012) 

5.Ladder  (21 June 2012)

 6. A tale of two cities (1)  (6 June 2012)

 7. A tale of two cities (2)  (7 June 2012)

 8. Where’s the beef? Ontology and tinned meat (31 Jan 2012)

Every so often we shall change this sample of previously published posts.


This entry was posted in Bahrain, China, Israel, Saudi Arabia, UK and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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