British arms exports used for internal repression: former defence minister Sir John Stanley suggests a government apology

dr david lowryBritish ministers should recognise that promoting the interests of international arms dealers over regional security is counter-productive.

So said Dr David Lowry, whose words were quoted in a Guardian article by Mark Townsend and Daniel Boffey yesterday.

Thanks to a link from a reader, we are able to send a few points made. Those who want more detail can follow the link above.

sir john stanleyFormer defence minister Sir John Stanley, who chairs the Commons committees on arms export controls, has served the general public well – in this instance – by saying, in a recent parliamentary debate, that government failed to acknowledge a “significant change in policy” that makes it easier to export arms to countries with a poor human rights record. He added that ministers “should consider most carefully whether they should now offer an apology to the committees”.

Townsend & Boffey continue:

“The government used to reject arms export licences where there was concern they might be used for “internal repression”, but now a licence will be refused only if there is a “clear risk” that military equipment might be used in violation of international law. Data from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills reveals that in the first six months of 2014 the UK granted licences worth £63.2m of arms sales to 18 of the 28 states on its official blacklist, countries about which the Foreign Office has the “most serious wide-ranging human rights concerns”. Israel, Saudi Arabia, the Central African Republic, Sri Lanka and Russia were among the countries allowed to import military equipment from Britain . . .”

 Examples include:

tear gas hong kongBritish-made teargas recently used in Hong Kong against pro-democracy protesters, the 12 licences issued for ordnance that was likely to have been used in the bombing of Gaza and military equipment for Israel worth £7m, approved by Cable’s department in the first half of the year, including and surface-to-air missiles.

One comment summarises government ethics: “If we don’t do it, someone else will”

When foreign secretary Philip Hammond was asked about British arms being used in Hong Kong, he said: “CS gas is available from large numbers of sources around the world. I think that is a rather immaterial point. They could buy CS gas from the US.”

In the 80s, when lobbying my Conservative MP John Taylor about such arms exports, he also said, word for word: “If we don’t do it, someone else will”. Meaning if we don’t help other countries to attack their citizens, others will. How low can we sink!

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Posted on November 9, 2014, in Corporate political nexus, Democracy undermined, Economy, Finance, Government, Health, Military matters, Parliamentary failure, Planning, Secret State, Taxpayers' money, Vested interests and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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