Carry on arming the Saudis (and never mind the slaughter in Yemen)

Message from the High Court:

by Stuart Littlewood

Campaigners are furious with a High Court decision in London allowing the UK Government to carry on exporting arms to Saudi Arabia for use against Yemenis.

The Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) brought the legal action against the Secretary of State for International Trade for continuing to grant export licences for arms to Saudi Arabia, arguing that this was against UK policy, which states that the government must refuse such licences if there’s a clear risk that the arms might be used to commit serious violations of International Humanitarian Law.

It is undeniable that Saudi forces have used UK-supplied weaponry to violate International Humanitarian Law in their war on Yemen. According to the United Nations, well over 10,000 people have been killed, the majority by the Saudi-led bombing campaign which has also destroyed vital infrastructure such as schools and hospitals and contributed to the cholera crisis. 3 million Yemenis have been displaced from their homes and 7 million are on the brink of dying from famine. UNICEF reports that a child is dying in Yemen every ten minutes from preventable causes including starvation and malnourishment.

A crippling naval blockade of the country by the US has been key to the cruel onslaught. The European Parliament and numerous humanitarian NGOs have condemned the Saudi air strikes as unlawful. And 18 months ago a UN Panel of Experts accused Saudi forces of “widespread and systematic” targeting of civilians.

Yet the UK has licensed £3.3 billions worth of arms such as aircraft, helicopters, drones, missiles, grenades, bombs and armoured vehicles to the Saudi regime and refused to suspend the supply of  weaponry for use in Yemen in the face of the horrors perpetrated. It is claimed that the Government has even ignored warnings by senior civil servants and its own arms control experts, and that some records of expressed concern have gone missing.

So who is the UK’s helping hand behind that vile regime’s murderous adventure in the Yemen? Why, it’s none other that senior Israel stooge Dr Liam Fox, now Secretary of State for International Trade and the lead on trade and investment in the defence and security sector. He of course oversees export licensing.  He also has ‘form’ when it comes to thinking silly thoughts and doing stupid things in the foreign affairs arena, and he’s known as a crazed flag-waver for Israel and a sworn enemy of Iran.

While Secretary of State for Defence, Fox told us: “Israel’s enemies are our enemies and this is a battle in which we all stand together or we will all fall divided.”

Fox was forced to resign as Defence Secretary in 2011 following the scandal involving him, his ‘close friend’ Adam Werritty, the UK ambassador to Israel, and Israeli intelligence figures allegedly involved in plotting sanctions against Iran.

The reason for the British government’s hostility towards Iran was spelled out by David Cameron in a speech to the Knesset in 2014: “A nuclear armed Iran is a threat to the whole world not just Israel. And with Israel and all our allies, Britain will ensure that it is never allowed to happen.” That position carries forward into the present day.

And in June 2015 Fox declared: “It is logical to assume that Iran’s intentions are to develop a nuclear weapons capability and any claims that its intentions are exclusively peaceful should not be regarded as credible… Iran’s nuclear intentions cannot be seen outside the context of its support for terror proxies, arguably the defining feature of its foreign policy. The risks are clear.”

What he omitted to say was that Iran’s intentions must also be seen in the context of Israel’s foreign policy, its refusal to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the grave threat posed by the Zionist regime’s 200 (or is it 400?) nuclear warheads. Israel hasn’t signed the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention either, and has signed but not ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty, likewise the Chemical Weapons Convention. Iran and all the other nations in the region have every right to feel nervous.

As is well known, Israel and Saudi Arabia have formed a cosy alliance. No entities deserve each other more. And Britain will do anything, it seems, to get at Iran through these repulsive ‘friends’.

Instead of dangling from a lamp-post on Tower Bridge, Fox was quickly rehabilitated and re-promoted to senior office by fellow stooges like Theresa May. Just lately prime minister May has accused Iran of working with Hezbollah, interfering in Iraq, sending fighters to Syria to help Assad, and supporting the Houthis in the conflict in Yemen. The British Government, of course, can meddle where it pleases and do dirty weapons deals with the Saudis which, Mrs May assures us, are for the sake of long-term security in the Gulf. “Gulf security is our security,” she says, arguing that the same extremists who plot terror in the Gulf states are also targeting the streets of Europe.

 

Toxic relationship with Saudi Arabia exposed

So how did Fox manage to defeat the campaigners in court? After all, as Rosa Curling of Leigh Day (acting for CAAT) said, “The law is clear: where there is a clear risk that UK arms might be used in the commission of serious violations of international law, arm sales cannot go ahead.

“Nothing in the open evidence presented by the UK government to the court suggests this risk does not exist in relation to arms to Saudi Arabia. Indeed, all the evidence we have seen from Yemen suggests the opposite: the risk is very real…. Our government should not be allowing itself to be complicit in the grave violations of law taking place by the Saudi coalition in Yemen.”

Andrew Smith of CAAT said: “If this verdict is upheld then it will be seen as a green light for government to continue arming and supporting brutal dictatorships and human rights abusers like Saudi Arabia that have shown a blatant disregard for international humanitarian law….

“This case has seen an increased scrutiny of the government’s toxic relationship with Saudi Arabia. It is a relationship that more than ever needs to be examined and exposed. For decades the UK has been complicit in the oppression of Saudi people, and now it is complicit in the destruction of Yemen.”

Rachel Sylvester in The Times noted that the judges concluded there was “a substantial body of evidence suggesting that the [Saudi-led] coalition committed serious breaches of international humanitarian law in the course of its engagement in the Yemen conflict”, but the ruling was based on a narrow legal point about whether ministers had followed proper procedures and acted rationally in assessing the risks.

“Whatever the result of the legal process,” she wrote, “it’s time for the government to reconsider Britain’s poisonous relationship with Saudi Arabia, starting with the suspension of arms sales to a country that stands accused of appalling human rights abuses within its own borders as well as the funding of extremism abroad. What is UK foreign policy for if not the promotion of this country’s values around the world?”

And, as she points out, last year the UK committed £85 million to the aid effort in Yemen, making the Department for International Development the fourth largest donor to the crisis.

So, just as we pour £millions of aid into the Palestinian Territories to subsidise the illegal Israeli occupation while at the same time supplying the regime in Tel Aviv with arms to sustain its occupation, we are spending all this taxpayers’ money in Yemen to clean up the mess we’re helping the Saudis to make.

 

Secret evidence favours the evil

Fox succeeded thanks to ‘closed sessions’. This meant that CAAT and their legal team weren’t allowed to see much of what was presented by the Government, which could only be examined by a security-cleared “special advocate”.

The secret evidence is said to have included Saudi Arabia’s “fast-jet operational reporting data”, “high-resolution MoD-sourced imagery” and “UK defence intelligence reports and battle damage assessments”. The MoD and Foreign Office analysis had “all the hallmarks of a rigorous and robust, multi-layered process of analysis” while the evidence presented by the campaigners was “only part of the picture”. The Court said the secret evidence could not be referred to in open court for reasons of “national security”.

But what has all the MoD’s high-faluting technical tosh to do with justice? Or the basic concept of right and wrong? An especially International Humanitarian Law?

And our national security? Yeah, yeah, yeah. So the slaughter must go on in that distant land…

Labour’s shadow international trade secretary Barry Gardenier suggested in the House of Commons that the “secret” evidence should be made available to MPs for scrutiny “on privy council terms” or handed to the Intelligence and Security Select Committee. Sounds reasonable enough.

But Fox is reported saying: “This idea that somehow, if we have closed sessions, that makes the judgment less valid, I simply don’t accept. Because I don’t accept this idea that we simply can’t have closed sessions that protect our national security or the personnel involved in our national security. Our sources need to be protected.”

Yeah, and so do Yemeni civilians…. from us.

He admitted that “Yemen is indeed a humanitarian disaster” but said it was right to keep selling arms to Saudi Arabia. He may have won the legal point – for now. But he has clearly lost his moral compass, if he ever had one.

As Rachel Sylvester remarks, “So craven is the Whitehall establishment that the government has refused to publish a report on the foreign funding of terrorism, for fear of annoying its Saudi friends.”

 

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Posted by on July 13, 2017, With 862 Reads Filed under Europe, Middle East, World. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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8 Responses to "Carry on arming the Saudis (and never mind the slaughter in Yemen)"

  1. joetv  July 14, 2017 at 7:55 am

    Now it is …”well over 10,000 people have been killed”. This number 10,000 has been the base number used at least since early reports 2 years ago. Why does it never change?

  2. JohnZ  July 14, 2017 at 5:04 am

    All governments are criminal. As they are made of men and men are easily corrupted, they become criminal and evil. We are coming to a stage where the idea of government, especially centralized government is readily clear is becoming irrelevant and dangerous. The longer centralized government exists, the more evil and dangerous it becomes. Governments become not only dangerous to the outside world but to the people it attempts to rule within its own borders. The government in Washington is no exception.It has become dangerously corrupted, tyrannical and evil. The government of Britain is no different. even worse it has the so called “Royal Family” that has infected that nation much as any disease infects the body.
    Both governments have been corrupted and made evil by jewish zionism but they would not have succeeded if those within the government weren’t as easily corrupted or corrupt to begin with.

  3. wjabbe  July 14, 2017 at 3:45 am

    Let’s face it: The only real purpose of secrecy in any government, is to cover up unethical, embarrassing or criminal misconduct. All this national security BS is nothing but horse manure from the lying lawyers who love and promote government secrecy to hide their constant unethical and or criminal behavior behind closed doors. “Following is a quote from the book ‘Utopia’ by Sir Thomas Moore: “They have no lawyers among them, for they consider them as a sort of people whose profession it is to disguise matters.” Sir Thomas Moore wrote this book in the year 1516.” Quoted from page 330, “IBM and the Corruption of Justice in America” by Earl Carey, 1992. Also from page 331 a quotation from John Keats: “I think we may class the lawyer in the natural history of monsters.”

    • wjabbe  July 14, 2017 at 4:01 am

      How many millions of dollars do you suppose these lying lawyer judges received under the table to come to this totally obviously corrupt legal decision in secret protecting the money flow to England from the backward thugs and murderers in Saudi Arabia? Who knows, fortunately for them everything is secret protected by the full military armed force of their totally corrupt government. This is why lying lawyers love secrecy to hide their criminal deeds behind closed doors. While lying lawyers distrust everyone else. we are duped into “trusting” them. By the way our recently elected president killed a bunch of children and civilians in Yemen within months of taking office; this was just “another day at the plant” for him. This decision in tyrannical England was “just another day at the plant” there too. Both corrupt tyrannical countries are now under Israeli control. This is all a shameful disgrace.

    • wjabbe  July 14, 2017 at 4:12 am

      Let’s stop glorifying what is at bottom the oldest most corrupt, most despicable, most vile, most evil, most hypocritical., most inconsistent,…”profession” of whores and prostitutes on planet earth; lying cheating lawyers operating in secret behind closed doors under the guise of “national security” while laughing all the way to their banks to deposit their bribe money all received under the table in secret. People are the biggest saps and fools and dupes on planet earth and never learn anything. Lawyers are masters a screwing people who are so stupid they don’t even know they were had! One can easily find the red light district of London or any city in the world: Just find the address of where lying lawyer judges do their corrupt activities of lying and cheating the duped public.

    • JohnZ  July 14, 2017 at 5:10 am

      When those who attempt to expose government corruption and criminality are jailed, tortured and even murdered by the government then what? The answer is we no longer owe any allegiance to that government nor any support for those within it but instead the greatest of contempt and disrespect. We are not to be obedient, compliant and silent.

    • Eduardo  July 14, 2017 at 3:02 pm

      Carry on Stuart Littlewood! Great work!

    • Eduardo  July 14, 2017 at 3:09 pm

      How about a revolution?? As past actions provided us on several occasions – a revolution sponsored by the same who are to be disposed off is always effective. Carry on US, UK and its commonwealth colonies!

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