smhwpf: (Sandman)
A post about work

Today World Peace Foundation is making public the first major output from my work here, a Compendium of Arms Trade Corruption (also known as the Dossier of Dodgy Defense Deals), a collection of 18 cases of arms deals with which serious corruption allegations have been associated, and other examples of military corruption not directly related to major arms deals.

It is not new information, but it is collating together the latest available information on each of the cases in one place, and mostly in a standardized form. It is intended as the first installment of a larger project, whereby we hope to make a comprehensive survey of such arms deals, for which we are seeking further funding.

Some of the cases are quite eyeball-popping. Well worth a read, though I do say so myself.

smhwpf: (Dr Who Tardis)
Well, it's sufficiently official and generally known by all concerned that I can make it public.

I will be moving to Boston, Massachusetts in the autumn (or fall as I should get used to calling it), to work at the World Peace Foundation, based at Tufts University, as Project Manager for their programme on corruption in the global arms industry and trade. I start there at the beginning of October. I was in Boston earlier this week to meet with them and discuss details and ideas.

I have in fact been involved in this project for the past few years, as part of an international group of academics and civil society people convened by WPF to discuss these issues and produce various materials on the subject (there's a book coming out fairly soon, plus various internet tools). The group includes South African anti-corruption campaigner Andrew Feinstein, whose book on the arms trade, The Shadow World, has recently been made into a movie, which everyone should totally see when it hits the cinemas.

The idea of the programme has been to take a rather broad perspective on the issue of corruption, looking not only at financial corruption, but at how the global arms industry and trade, and the militarist ideologies behind it, can undermine democracy and the rule of law.

Anyway, so this project by WPF has been edging forward for the past few years, but now they are able to hire someone full time, that someone being me.

The position is for 2 years initially, potentially longer if more funds are raised; however, I am taking a 2-year leave of absence from SIPRI, so I will have the option of returning at the end of this 2-year period. I am therefore not technically leaving SIPRI at the present time, but will at any rate be gone for at least 2 years. If anyone wants to apply for my position at SIPRI working on military expenditure (again, 2 years initially), or knows someone who might be interested, the ad is here.

As to whether or not I will return in 2 years, well, a lot can happen in two years, so who knows? But it is good to have the option.

I am very excited by this. It is a really interesting project, and a really good bunch of people I'll be working with, and from all I hear (and the little I've seen so far from the meetings there of our group), Boston is a fantastic city.

I am already a US (as well as UK) citizen, but this will be the first time I have lived in the US, or indeed been there for more than a week at a time. So that too will be an interesting new experience.

I will also be sad to leave SIPRI, and will miss a lot of people there, not least my team, who are also a great bunch to work with. After the storms of 2 years ago, SIPRI is now on what seems to be moving in a very positive direction, so in some ways a strange time to be leaving; but I have been crunching the military expenditure numbers for long enough, and feeling it's been time for a change for quite a while; and this definitely feels like the right move at the right time.

(Well, except that we might have President Trump a few months after I move. But since there are no shuttles to Mars Colony any time soon, there's nowhere to escape the consequences that may bring.)
smhwpf: (Treebeard)
Really uninspired on the subject line front.

So I got invited to a workshop in Boston, organized by the World Peace Foundation, on corruption in the arms trade. That was last week, Tuesday and Wednesday. They were paying for the trip, so I took the opportunity to travel to Toronto over the weekend, thus visiting Canada for the first time, and more significantly meeting the awesome [livejournal.com profile] sabotabby for the first time! Who is, apart from some of my old read-through buddies is one of my oldest LJ friends. (Oldest as in longest-standing, not as in most aged, although both she and I recently added a year to our respective tallies).

I came to Toronto at a turbulent time in the city's modern history. Fordism )

Aaaaanyway, the saga made for plenty of entertainment over the long weekend. As did the performance of Night of the Living Dead Live we went to with a bunch of Sabs' friends on Saturday evening, which was awesome; the first half was a compressed version of the original movie, which it followed pretty closely; the second half was a succession of increasingly absurd (and increasingly brief) alternative scenarios as to what else they might have done to survive, all with the same tragic but inevitable outcome. Then there was the scenario where they all worked together and sung a musical number, and I'll leave the outcome of that unspoiled.

At least equally entertaining was an afternoon of role-playing with a different bunch of friends on Sunday. We were playing Spirit of the Century.

The one annoyance of the weekend was the failure of my luggage to arrive. It had presents in it. (As well as obvious things like clothes). I eventually got it back on the day of my return to Stockholm, last Thursday. Bah. but I did, as part of my emergency wardrobe restocking, buy a T-shirt with the final words of NDP leader Jack Layton from Kensington Markets.

Generally, Toronto is very awesome.

The workshop in Boston was a small group of us, brought together by Alex de Waal of WPF, who I'd previously encountered through various Sudan-related articles, with a view to getting WPF into the issue. The other organizer, and probably the number one expert on the subject, was Andrew Feinstein, who I've met a few times before, including when I wrote a chapter of the SIPRI Yearbook a couple of years ago. Former ANC MP who tried to investigate the huge corrupt South African arms deal when he was head of the Public Accounts Committee, and basically got sacked for his efforts.

So his latest book, The Shadow World looks utterly fantastic, he's basically been going round interviewing a bunch of seriously evil arms dealers and exploring all the connections between them and the big companies and governments etc. Incredible stories.

Anyway, good meeting, lots of good ideas being thrown around. Managed to see a bit of the Freedom Trail before returning to the airport.

s'all for now.

BAE guilty

Feb. 6th, 2010 12:57 pm
smhwpf: (Giles party weasel)
BAE has admitted to charges of false accounting and making false statements in relation to corrupt arms deals with Saudi Arabia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Tanzania and elsewhere.

They have essentially made plea-bargains in both the US (where BAE now make more of their revenues than in the UK), and in Britain. Technically, they have not admitted to making bribes, but to failing to declare the payments that were used to make the bribes.

However the US Depertment of Justice, as reported here by the BBC made no bones about what this means, stating that BAE "intentionally failing to put appropriate, anti-bribery preventative measures in place", and that they then "made hundreds of millions of dollars in payments to third parties, while knowing of a high probability that money would be passed on to foreign government decision-makers to favour BAE in the award of defence contracts"

Thus it is pretty much official: BAE are corrupt. Colour me stunned.

What is outrageous (and I'm pleased to see the BBC giving so much coverage to CAAT's response to this) is how ridiculously lightly BAE have got off. In the US they've at least imposed a moderately significant fine, of $400 million. Though even that will make only a modest dent in BAE's annual profits, and scarecly compares with the vast sums they made on the Saudi deal especially. But in the UK they have been fined £30 million. That's it. Some of which, in a display of epically patronising fail, is to be made as a "charity" payment to Tanzania, whom BAE bribed and defrauded into buying an expensive piece of equipment of little use for its intended purpose. Moreover, the SFO have no halted all further investigations into BAE, ensuring that the full truth of the company's corrupt deals in South Africa and elsewhere never come to light. (Blair had already called off the investigation into the Al Yamamah deals with Saudi).

I believe the term I used of the SFO (on a friend's FB update on the subject) was "lily-livered pusillanimous dung beetles", but to be fair they were almost certainly heavily leaned upon by the government to cut a generous deal. While they may not have wanted to actually halt any more investigations outright, after the pounding they got from the OECD last time (for flouting the OECD Convention on bribery the UK signed up to), the Attorney General still had the power to decide whether or not actual prosecutions should go ahead, and might well have felt in a position to say no if the SFO had turned down a deal like this.

Obviously I have no idea of the ins and outs of such dealings, but the blame for this should certainly be placed where it belongs: with the British government, who have shown an unswerving determination to protect the interests of their number one arms supplier from the outset.

But it's OK. As both BAE and the British government have been at pains to assure us, all such business is in the past, "historical allegations", and BAE have now put in place rigorous procedures to make sure this sort of thing can never happen again.

I have no doubt that this is true, and that BAE have now tightened up the way they conduct their dealings with agents and middlemen to ensure that they are much less likely to get caught.

East Bank

Jul. 31st, 2009 07:37 pm
smhwpf: (Buffy fire)
Just got back yesterday from a three-day trip to Amman, Jordan, for a seminar sponsored by the EU and organised by UNIDIR promoting discussion on a possible Arms Trade Treaty.

More on the seminar )

Although it was a very short trip, flew out on Monday and back on Thursday, I got to see a bit of Amman on Wednesday evening when one of the Jordanian delegation kindly showed a bunch of us round the city. She also assisted us in the haggling process at a gift shop! (I bought a Palestinian olive-wood shepherd with a rather curious expression).

Amman )

had a red-eye flight at 3.30am on Thursday morning to Istanbul where I had an 8-hour stopover. Long enough, I decided, to get a visa and go into the city.

Istanbul )

Today, possibly due to yesterday's 20-hour journey, I am ill with an upset stomach. Went into work but had to come home. No respitory symptoms though, so I don't think it can be swine flu. I am taking stuff and am considerably improved this evening.

As I say, photos of Amman will hopefully follow.
smhwpf: (Head broken)
Some exquisitely grotesque head-'splodiness, courtesy of one of the Arms Transfer boys at SIPRI:

An Israeli arms company's Bollywood video sales pitch.

Produced by the company Rafael for the Aero India 2009 arms fair.
smhwpf: (Dr Who Tardis)
Been a while since a proper update - been a little crazy busy of late, and I have a carbon footprint like the Yeti's. (So, those of you who know about these things, is there any point in offseting, and if so who's the best provider in terms of stuff that actually works? I know I've had this discussion before on LJ, and looked into it a bit myself, but still not come out with any clear conclusion.)

Coventry )

New York )

family history )

Uh, so that brings me up to a week and a half ago... think that'll do for now!

*Waves to all my colleagues with a Google alert on 'SIPRI'.
smhwpf: (Sandman)
So I was talking about the putative Arms Trade Treaty yesterday.

When the idea of an ATT was first raised by organizations like Oxfam and Amnesty, we at CAAT were decidedly sceptical, though not actually opposed. Of course, CAAT seeks to abolish rather than control the arms trade[1], but that wasn't the problem - we were always supportive of steps to reduce/control the arms trade along the way. Rather it was that in practice an ATT would be used to legitimise rather than control the arms trade. However, it seemed to have quite a lot of potential as a campaigning vehicle, a way of drawing attention to the arms trade.

The basic problem )
A specific American problem )

So to cut a long story short, there are two major problems - one that it will be difficult to impossible to get some of the major players to sign up, two that it is likely to be rather toothless anyway, allowing states to continue as they wish to while claiming to be observing an international standard.

So is there any point to this ATT thing? )

So no, an ATT will not in and of itself change the world, but yes, it could nonetheless be a valuable instrument in enabling campaigners, NGOs, concerned Parliamentarians, etc., to seek to influence their governments towards tighter restrictions on the arms trade. It needs strong and continuing pressure from public and NGOs not just to make it happen, but to ensure that it has proper reporting and monitoring measures attached. Organizations like Oxfam also need to be careful not to allow themselves to be 'bought off' by their governments' support for the ATT, continuing to hold them to account for what they're doing now, rather than in the never-never when an ATT is finally signed. And to be fair, I think they're largely doing this and avoiding such traps, although naturally when such groups get the government listening to them and friendlying up to them, there's some tendency to want to keep them onside.

So in conclusion, a cautious 'yay' for the ATT idea.

footnotes )
smhwpf: (Buffy Faith)
Finally getting round to writing up this trip...

So, I had to start out from my home horribly early on the Sunday morning (the 31st August), round about 2.30am - well, at any rate I did to get to the airport by public transport on my monthly travelcard. I might have mentioned somewhere that it irks me to get taxis unnecessarily, even when it's not me paying. And well as this is hardly the most thrilling part of the story, let's just say it was a long and tiring but fairly smooth journey, getting to my hotel in Nairobi around 9.30 pm. Ooh, except I saw... can't even remember what film it was on the plane. It was a really big one though. Really memorable. Obviously. It'll come back to me.

The conference didn't start till Tuesday, so Monday I had a couple of meetings for the other thing, of which I cannot speak in detail just right now. But I have already spoken of this.

The conference was on "The Arms Trade Treaty, International Arms Transfers and Development".

Arms Trade Treaty Primer )
The conference )

So all in all an interesting and hopefully useful affair. Met a good bunch of folks there too, and nice to finally meet the Oxfam people I've been exchanging emails and phone calls with all this time.

Started to write up my thoughts on the whole ATT concept - but it is getting late and my brain is failing, so I will finish that tomorrow.

BAE Pwned?

Apr. 10th, 2008 11:26 am
smhwpf: (Giles party weasel)
The UK High Court has ruled that the Serious Fraud Office acted unlawfully in calling off its investigation into BAE Systems arms sales to Saudi Arabia. The case was brought by Campaign Against Arms Trade and The Cornerhouse.

(See here and here for some of my previous posts on the subject.)

Not sure yet whether this means they'll have to re-open it (of course it wasn't the SFO's decision, except in the technical sense, it was Blair's), but still very good news, and many congratulations to Ann and Nick and all the others at CAAT who have put a monumental amount of work into this. Having been involved myself on the Steering Committee in CAAT's decision-making around this (and in particular on the BAE spying subplot), very pleased on a personal level too.

Update: Aha, surprisingly enough Yahoo News comes through before the Beeb or the Grauniad. Judges to make further ruling on what happens next. Most likely that SFO will have to reconsider the decision. Nick G. also replied to my querying text with: "Nature of court intervention still argue but fantastic win nevertheless!" Indeed!

More on BAE

Jun. 7th, 2007 12:36 am
smhwpf: (Dr Who shell shock)
This is truly astonishing. I mean, we knew this sort of thing was going on, but... wow.

No further comment needed.

OMG SPIES!

Apr. 22nd, 2007 12:20 am
smhwpf: (Wesley)
Following various legal proceedings, Campaign Against Arms Trade is now able to say what we know so far on how arms company BAE Systems got hold of a confidential and privileged email from our lawyers to the CAAT Steering Committee, relating to the forthcoming judicial review we are seeking into the calling off of the SFO investigation into BAE's deals with Saudi Arabia.

As the first link says, back in February we won an injunction requiring BAE to tell us how they got the email. In a sworn affadavit, they said they received it from one Paul Mercer, who works for a company called LigneDeux Associates, which BAE acknowledge they pay £2,500 a month to monitor the activities of CAAT and other campaigning groups. The contract between BAE and LigneDeux states that non-public documents are not required by BAE.

We then got an injunction against Paul Mercer, requiring him to tell us how he got the email, which he did, but until Wednesday we were not able to disclose this. He says he received it in a CD ROM from (he says) an unknown sender, and then forwarded the email to Mike McGinty, BAE's Director of Security. McGinty sent it to BAE's lawyers, who sent it to ours (as they had to). However, they removed all routing information from the email, which is why we had to get the injunction. McGinty also tipped off Mercer that he was naming him in BAE's affadavit.

The latest info has made the papers - turns out Mercer is a friend of a prominent Tory MP, though I don't think that's particularly significant.

The matter has now been referred to the police.

The mystery remains as to who was the anonymous person who sent the CD-ROM to Paul Mercer. It does seem strange that someone completely unknown to Mr Mercer, and apparently unconnected to BAE, should send him it, but there we go. Also unknown is whether the original source of the leak is a spy or a hacker. We may never find out. There have been spies in CAAT before, working for a company allegedly supplying information to BAE, most notably our former National Campaigns Co-ordinator Martin Hogbin.

CAAT's news release on the matter is here.

At any rate we, along with Cornerhouse, are pursuing the Judicial Review. We think we have an excellent case, but we shall see.
smhwpf: (Wesley)
Campaign Against Arms Trade have won an injunction against BAE Systems, requiring them to reveal how they obtained a confidential and privileged email from our lawyers to us, relating to the judicial review we are seeking against the Government over their cancellation of the Serious Fraud Office investigation into bribery allegations against BAE. Under the Norwich Pharmacal order, BAE will now be required to retrieve and provide the email with all routing information, and to provide an affadavit stating how they came into possession of the email. The judge, Mr Justice King, however, declined CAAT's application for BAE to be required to provide any other confidential information from CAAT they had receieved over the past few years. (BAE have, we have strong reasons to believe, infiltrated CAAT in the past). It appears that BAE do not intend to appeal.

Well, I imagine that Wolfram & Hart (UK) plc will do their best to avoid giving us any actually useful information, but you never know. But anyway, definitely one for the good guys.
smhwpf: (Jayne)
I have posted a fair bit recently on the allegations of corruption surrounding the gigantic Al Yamamah arms sales to Saudi Arabia by Wolfram & Hart (UK) plc BAE Systems, and how the UK Government called off the Serious Fraud Office investigation into the deals, which appeared to have been getting quite close to the bone.

Well, Campaign Against Arms Trade have not been content to leave it at that, but along with the Cornerhouse Foundation, a small but incredibly active anti-corruption charity, are seeking a judicial review of the decision, on the grounds that it is (in our opinion) flagrantly contrary to the OECD Convention on Bribery to which Britain is a signatory.

Well, the latest twist (as we have just press released) is that BAE Systems recently received confidential and legally privileged material belonging to CAAT relating to the proposed challenge. The material has been returned to CAAT voluntarily, but BAE has refused to state how it came into possession of the material. CAAT is therefore seeking an injunction next Friday (2nd Feb) compelling BAE to assist in identifying the source of the leak.

I'm afraid I can't say much more about this at the moment, given that as a member of CAAT Steering Committee I am a party to these proceedings.

Though I think I might call to mind some of the interesting (flocked unfortunately) history on this kind of matter.
smhwpf: (Six words)
Well, had the interview on Al Jazeera English. Think it went pretty well - had about 3 minutes, and I got pretty much all the main points I wanted to across - it was, it must be said a pretty friendly interview, in the context of a very friendly piece. And well, in terms of arguing how badly wrong the government is on this one is pretty much an open goal. Still, I think I was reasonably punchy. What I'm less sure of is how I was visually, although the person at the BBC Bristol studio from where the IV was conducted says I was fine. I've only done one TV slot before, so not very used to it. Also, not being able to see the interviewer at the other end. Constantly tempted to look down at the monitor, which is bad because I was never looking good in the monitor, which is because I'm not supposed to be looking at the monitor, but straight at the camera, even though the camera isn't showing me anything back.

I was hoping to catch a repeat on a later bulletin, but it seems to have been bumped from the news cycle. But I've been told I can get a DVD.

This all relates to the government's decision to call off the Serious Fraud Office investigation into alleged bribes by BAE systems to the Saudi government to secure major arms contracts. There's been some more developments - today it transpired that MI6 have disputed government claims that continuing the investigation would have led to the Saudis halting intelligence co-operation, pulling away one of the government's few remaining legs to stand on. In any case, as I said on AJ, the OECD convention on bribery to which Britain is a signatory actually doesn't allow a prosecution to not be pursued on the grounds of either economic interest or relations with another country. In fact, Britain is to be asked to explain the decision to an OECD meeting, although no action is expected to follow from this.

The other juicy little titbit that's just come out is the secret $12m payment to a Swiss bank account by BAE to a Tanzanian middleman in connection with a 2002 sale of a $40m military air traffic control system to Tanzania. That deal was heavily criticised at the time as being overly expensive and far in excess of Tanzania's actual civil aviation needs. Then International Development Secretary Clare Short unsuccessfully opposed the deal. At the time it looked like the Tanzanian government had been duped into buying an unnecessarily fancy system. Now it appears that they were in fact bribed, with the full connivance of the UK government.

Yep, BAE appear to have bribed the rulers of one of the poorest countries on earth to spend $40m of their people's money on something they didn't need, while Tony Blair, even while seeking the moral high ground on debt relief etc., looked on with approval.

I expect I will have more to say about Wolfram & Hart (UK) in the coming days, but that'll do for now.
smhwpf: (Dr Who shell shock)
This is almost beyond belief. Actually, nothing is beyond belief. Just that it should be done so brazenly.

I posted a couple of weeks ago about the Serious Fraud Office investigation into bribes paid by BAE Systems in relation to arms deals with Saudi Arabia, leading to the Saudis threatening to cancel a new £6bn contract for 72 Eurofighters. Well now the British government has stepped in, with the Attorney General Lord Goldsmith calling a halt to the investigation.

Lord Goldsmith's statement said "It has been necessary to balance the need to maintain the rule of law against the wider public interest." he spoke of damage to diplomatic and security relationships with Saudi Arabia if the investigation continued. This is astounding. Politicians have intervened in a judicial process, have suspended the rule of law, at the behest of one of the most corrupt and tyrannical regimes on the face of the planet. BAE are effectively told that they are allowed to carry on bribing to their hearts content. There are no words. There really are no words.

But the hand controlling the puppet here is not principally the Saudi government, it is BAE Systems, of whom the late Robin Cook said that he had never known Tony Blair to take a decision that discommoded them. We have known for a long time that the government essentially belonged to BAE in matters of arms exports; now it seems that the entire legal system of this country is theirs to play with where it affects their vital interest.

Tony Blair still plays the Christian card. Talks, like butter wouldn't melt, about how we mustn't 'betray' the people of Iraq. About the virtues of democracy. About how African governments must crack down on corruption. "You may disagree with me," he seems to say, "but I have followed my conscience. I have acted for what I believe to be right." For anyone paying attention, that lie ought already to be palpable; but if it wasn't then, it is now.

One day the House of Saud, that presides over a regime of brutal execution, torture, total suppression of free speech and suppression of women (another of Blair's favourite causes when it suits him) almost unrivalled in the world, will fall. Then we will see how much it was in our "national interest" to support them so absolutely and unconditionally, to bribe them billions to buy our arms, and now even to prostitute our entire legal system to their wishes.
smhwpf: (Angel)
Just because the one thing the world really needs at the moment is more and better weapons, Spearhead Exhibitions (owned by Reed Elsevier) in association with the UK MOD have organised the Defence Systems Equipment International arms fair (DSEi), from 13th-16th September, at the ExCel Centre in London's Docklands.

The exhibition, heavily subsidised by the UK taxpayer, claims to be the world's largest arms fair. It brings together the major buyers and sellers of arms, and is a crucial meeting place where deals are made or set in motion. Exhibitors at DSEi 2005 include most of the world's major arms companies, including Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Northropp Grumann from the US, Britain's BAE Systems, France's Thales, and the Franco/German/Spanish company EADS. The guest list of buyers has not yet been made public, but in the past invitees have included numerous countries involved in conflict and/or responsible for serious human rights abuses and/or violations of international law, including Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Colombia, India and Pakistan. (And of course the US, who pretty much come under all three categories). More (biased and partisan) information about DSEi can be found here. The full Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) briefing on DSEi can be downloaded here.

A week of action against the arms fair is being co-ordinated by Disarm DSEi, along with CAAT. The main demo is on Tuesday 13th September, to coincide with the opening of the arms fair. The full list of events is:

list of events )

Disarm DSEi have a Call to Action that can be downloaded from their website, printed and distributed. However because the site uses frames I can't link to it directly.

In addition, or if you can't make any of these events, you could write to Reed Elsevier to call upon them to stop organising arms fairs such as these. And of course, writing to your MP is always an option. CAAT are making a specific call to close down the Defence Export Services Organisation, a branch of the MOD dedicated to promoting UK arms exports at the taxpayer's expense, and which is heavily involved in organising DSEi.

ETA: Naturally, forward at will.
smhwpf: (Me)
It is most gratifying to read that BAE Systems are being investigated for corruption involving massive 'slush funds' for bribes to Saudi Princes and the like to win arms contracts. The investigation now seems to be involving the BAE Chairman himself.

BAE's corrupt relationship with the brutally repressive Saudi government, the UK's biggest overseas arms customer has been overlooked for far too long. As far back as the early 1990s, a National Audit Office report into alleged 'commissions' paid by BAE to the Saudis to win the £20 billion Al Yamamah arms deal, commissions possibly amounting to as much as 15% of the deal, was suppressed - the only NAO report never to be made public. And, aside from the corruption, it gives me great pleasure to see BAE in trouble - a company that has for so long sold arms to some of the world's nastiest regimes, and which - on a more personal note - paid to have Campaign Against Arms Trade, for whom I volunteered for many a year, inflitrated at the highest level.

However, whether this actually leads to anything, or whether the investigation gets quietly dropped, is another matter. BAE have an exceptionally close relationship with the British Government, which has protected them in all sorts of ways in the past. In fact, I wonder whether this investigation happening now may be a negotiating ploy on behalf of the government. The relationship between the company and the MoD has turned sour recently, due to cost overruns. BAE has meanwhile tried to play the card of being Britain's 'national champion' arms supplier to twist the government's arm into giving them contracts. Most recently, in the contract to build Britain's 2 new aircraft carrier, where the Government has decided that BAE should share the work with Thales of France, based on Thales' design, BAE have threatened to pull out altogether if they are not made the prime contractor.

So maybe the government is, unusually, allowing this corruption investigation to take place as a way of coercing BAE to play ball, and that if and when BAE knuckle under, they will step in to have the investigation halted, or at least endure that no serious charges are brought except possibly against low-ranking officials.

Or maybe I'm just being too much of a conspiracy theorist here.

At any event, I'm sure the CAAT campaigners protesting at the BAE AGM today and asking questions in the meeting as shareholders will be having a field day. (I couldn't be there myself due to teaching committments). It will be rather nice, as it will be the first time in several years that BAE, hopefully, will not have known the questions they were going to be asked in advance, supplied by the traitor bastard who was organising the protest! Of course, they may have someone else in there by now, though I doubt at such a high level.

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