Last month, Tony Blair pulled the plug on a Serious Fraud Office inquiry into corruption by Britain's biggest arms exporter, BAE, on spurious grounds of "national security". Now the SFO has BAE in its sights again, this time over payments made as part of an arms deal with Tanzania. Again, the charges are very serious, and could see BAE executives in jail. So, how long do you think it will take for Blair to kill this investigation into his buddies in the arms industry as well?
Meanwhile, it turns out that the Attorney-General, Lord Goldsmith, lied to the House of Lords when justifying the decision to terminate the earlier investigation:
The attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, told parliament before Christmas that the intelligence agencies "agreed with the assessment" of Tony Blair that national security was in jeopardy because the Saudis intended to pull out of intelligence cooperation with Britain. But John Scarlett, the head of MI6, has now refused to sign up to a government dossier which says MI6 endorses this view.
Whitehall sources have told the Guardian that the statement to the Lords was incorrect. MI6 and MI5 possessed no intelligence that the Saudis intended to sever security links. The intelligence agencies had been merely asked whether it would be damaging to UK national security if such a breach did happen. They replied that naturally it would.
This was a clear attempt to blame the intelligence agencies for a political decision made in Downing Street - and I'm glad that they're refusing to carry the can. If politicians want to support corrupt practices in the name of "protecting British jobs" in an industry we would all be better off without, they should do so openly so they can be judged on it by the electorate, rather than seekign to pass the buck onto others.