Sunday, 20 February 2011

Welcome to Babylon 2011 - the West's Trade in Arab Blood Continues

The British Foreign Secretary made much a couple of days ago of the Government's decision to revoke export licences for some equipment due to be exported to the Bahrain police. Yet not only was the fact that we have been selling such instruments of oppression deftly sidestepped by Mr Hague, he and much of the media and the political establishment have made no mention of the opening, today, in Abu Dhabi of the 10th IDEX arms fayre.

Just a short distance from Bahrain, across the waters of the Persian Gulf, 1,060 exhibitors from mainly western arms manufacturers have gathered to showcase their goods to the Arab rulers whose peoples are rising in protest against years of oppression. No doubt hoping for a cash bonanza as they flog their destructive wares to these anxious rulers, you could be forgiven for hoping that, maybe, just maybe this time, after years of sponsoring the arms export industry, the British Government might have for once given this event a bit of a wide berth.

No chance! Tomorrow, Gerald Howarth, MP, a Security Minister in the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition, will be at the Fayre to promote the Ocelot, a UK manufactured "light armoured Force Protection vehicle". It seems basically to be a well armoured jeep, capable of easy manoeuvring in the toughest of environments - like desert states, possibly - and ideal for armies and police forces - in desert states, possibly.

Mr Howarth is gushing about the vehicle: "The Ocelot is a testament to British design and engineering skills... I believe the Ocelot has the qualities which other Armies require to meet today's operational challenges and I'm delighted that it is being considered by Governments around the world."

IDEX - the International Defence Exhibition - boasts its largest ever turnout this year, with buyers and sellers from around the world. informs us that it is particularly prized for the contacts it offers to purchasers across the Middle East and northern Africa - precisely the areas currently in turmoil. A key feature of the show is that every day, new contracts are announced, "which brings cheer to the exhibitors winning contracts and hope to those waiting to win some."

It is nothing new really - and while large, it is only one of many arms shows around the world, events where ethics are completely absent and, behind the public relations attempts to the contrary, very nasty men are able to tool themselves up with some exceptionally nasty weaponry. That the British Government (which subsidises many arms exports) and others, the USA, France and Russia being similarly prominent, think it is acceptable to carry on as before in spite of the events sweeping the Arab world around this sordid sales show, demonstrates just how out of touch with reality they truly are, as well as how complete is the moral vacuum in which they operate.

No comments:

Post a Comment