A story that is getting a lot of play in the British press is the huge bribery case between the British government and the the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia - BBC news. Saudi prince 'received arms cash'
The prince in question is Bush and Cheney family favorite Prince Bandar. Remember him? According to Bob Woodward he has always had an extraordinary personal access to the Oval Office, when the Bushes have occupied it. (wonder why?). Prince Bandar is a son of Crown Prince Sultan and was the Saudi ambassador to the United States from 1983 to 2005.
The BBC reported:
He negotiated a 40 billion British Pounds (around $80 billion US) arms deal with BAE Systems to sell more than 100 warplanes to Saudi Arabia and is alleged to have received kickbacks of hundreds of millions of pounds. Up to £120m a year was sent by British Aerospace, the predecessor of BAE, from the UK into two Saudi embassy accounts in Washington. The purpose of one of the accounts was to pay the operating expenses of the prince's private Airbus aircraft.
The payments were discovered during a 'Serious Fraud Office' (UK) investigation, an investigation that Tony Blair ordered dropped, because of that old hoary issue 'national security concerns'. Blair explained, "Our relationship with Saudi Arabia is vitally important for our country in terms of counter-terrorism, in terms of the broader Middle East, in terms of helping in respect of Israel and Palestine. That strategic interest comes first".
But as George Monbiot writes in an editorial 'Without Principle' in today's' Guardian'
Al-Qaida's primary complaint is directed against the Saudi monarchy and the western support it receives. Like the war in Iraq, like Blair's support. This makes a mockery of successive governments' claims to be supporting democracy around the world, and ensures our security is now entangled with that of the Saudi princes. Al-Qaida's primary complaint is directed against the Saudi monarchy and the western support it receives. Like the war in Iraq, like Blair's support for Israel's invasion of Lebanon and his uneven treatment of Israel and Palestine, this deal helps ensure Britain is a primary target for terrorism: not because our government acted on principle, but because it acted without it. Blair has invoked all the strategic threats from which he claims to defend us.
And George Bush, where does he stand in all of this? As you would expect, along side Blair. 'The Guardian' goes on:
As the US president, George Bush, quipped that he was glad he didn't have to answer questions on the issue, the prime minister told reporters (at the G8 summit):
"This investigation, if it had gone ahead, would have involved the most serious allegations and investigation being made of the Saudi royal family (and we can't have that) and my job is to give advice as to whether that is a sensible thing.".
George Bush and Tony Blair could hardly be a better advertisement for Osama bin Laden; that for all their lectures on democracy and third world corruption, if the theives are as rich and crooked and as rewarding as the Saudi prince, Bush and Blair will defend the venal $ystem to the hilt, even if it means, fulfilling the prophecies of militant muslims like bin Laden.
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