Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Maggie's Hammer: Hiding The Arms Bribes?

Just when I think I'm over-reaching. Reality smacks me out of my conspiracy theorist stupor.

Reports today are that former Tory UK Minister of Defence, Liam Fox, will not be getting the top job on the UK Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee (the body which monitors Britain's intelligence activity). In fact, British Prime Minister, David Cameron, ain't even going to appoint him to the Committee, let alone lobby for him to be its Chair. The money is on Alan Duncan to get the job.

Who bloody cares?

Where to start? When Cameron made his government appointments, after his surprise election victory in May, I wrote that it was clear that, with his promotion of certain specific individuals to a number of positions crucial to the British arms sales effort, Cameron was all set to crank up the arms kickback pipeline, now that he was free of scrutiny from his former LibDem coalition government partners.

Thing of it is, even with the LibDems gone, you still gotta do something about that pesky Parliamentary oversight. So, get some 'friends' on the Intelligence and Security Committee.

Interestingly enough, even though it is obvious that Fox was snubbed because he's not a Cameron besty, all three of the Tory names being bandied about as possible new members of the Intelligence and Security Committee have links to the dirty side of arms sales, or Beaconsfield (the home town of both me and Hugh Simmonds, CBE, the subject of my book on UK arms bribes -, or both.

Dominic Grieve is the immediate past Attorney General, in which capacity it is difficult to believe that he did not know that government arms sales are accompanied by illegal industry and political bribes. Grieve is also the Member of Parliament for Beaconsfield, which, along with being the political playground for Hugh and me, was also home to the Conservative Constituency Association of which one of the Vice Presidents (along with Hugh) was Peter Smith, at the time (1980's) a senior partner with Coopers & Lybrand, with whom he was the managing accountant responsible for the annual audit of the Conservative Party's accounts, during the period when Hugh was allegedly helping to set up up the pipeline to channel arms sales kickbacks to senior politicians within the Conservative Party. Handy, eh? Long sentence, eh?

Liam had his own connections to Beaconsfield. As all good Tory Scots with serious political ambitions, Liam fought his first parliamentary campaign in a safe Scottish Labour seat. Having thus paid his dues to a hopeless cause, he emigrated south, landing up in Beaconsfield, where he set up practice as a GP, while in his twenties - also in the 80's. And promptly became family physician to the Simmonds family. Indeed, the record shows that the GP who signed Hugh's death certificate was none other than the aforementioned later-to-be UK Minister of Defence. In which capacity, he would have overseen dicky arms deals with dicky arms kickbacks. Handy, eh?

And then we come to Alan Duncan. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Alan was Jonathan Aitken's successor as secret bagman to senior Saudi princes, managing the UK end of their receiving dollops of kickbacks from the billions of pounds in arms deals that Saudi Arabia did with the UK after the 80's and up to the present day.

With this background in mind, in 2010, and notwithstanding the presence of the LibDems in coalition government, Cameron made Duncan Minister of State in the Department for International Development, where he was nominally responsible for financially vetting foreign countries for their suitability to receive British aid largesse. What was not generally known was that the vetting process was also the template used to determine said countries' suitability to receive help under the UK Export Credit Guarantee Program, vis-a-vis said countries purchasing UK arms. As in, you get aid if you buy weapons. Good place for Alan to be. He knew about the seedy side of arms sales financials already. Knew how to keep his mouth shut. And was now ideally placed to negotiate the all-important kickback regime. Libel? Who said that?

Fast forward to nominations to the Intelligence and Security Committee. Now, since we're about to notch up the old arms kickback process a gear or two, who can we trust not to be too diligent in oversight? Oh. I know. What about that nice lawyer from Beaconsfield, who has way too many skeletons in his backyard to be yapping too much. And let's have as Chair that excellent fella we all know down the club as Mr. Kickback himself.

And so. The Merry Go Round. Keeps going around ...