Friday, June 15, 2007

The bigger bang

From The Economist

National security and the fight against terrorism would be imperilled if Britain's valued Middle Eastern ally were annoyed, the official version ran ... But detailed new allegations in the media have made things look even worse. Payments of more than £1 billion have allegedly been traced to Prince Bandar bin Sultan, a member of the Saudi royal family. Worse still, it seems that the British government (which under Margaret Thatcher signed the agreement) was an integral part of the payments chain ... the decision to suspend the Serious Fraud Office's investigation in December looks even more pig-headed and plain wrong now than it did then. But what of the extenuating “national interest” circumstances offered by Mr Blair—the idea that further investigation would be bad for the war on terror and bad for defence jobs? And what price is it worth paying to have a defence industry?

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