14 DECEMBER

COLONIAL TROOPS SLAUGHTER HUNDREDS IN NATAL

[ 14 December 1873 ]

On 14 December 1873, John Colenso, the Bishop of Natal, wrote a letter to Frederick Chesson, the secretary of the London Aborigines Protection Society. He informed him that colonial troops had killed ‘hundreds of (Hlubi) men’ and that ‘hundreds of women and children’ had been taken prisoner, adding that a proclamation had been ‘announced that these (prisoners) were all to be distributed over the colony to white people who would apply for them as servants.’1

ATTLEE MISLEADS PARLIAMENT OVER U.S. NUCLEAR BASES IN THE U.K.

[ 14 December 1950 ]

Today in 1950, Prime Minister Clement Attlee had just returned from a meeting in Washington, DC, with President Truman.

BRITAIN BLOCKS SFO INVESTIGATION INTO HUGE BRIBES PAID TO SAUDI PRINCE

Tony Blair (Remy Steinegger – World Economic Forum – CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia) and Prince Bandar bin Sultan (Photo – Office of the President of Russia – CC License)

[ 14 December 2006 ]

On 14 December 2006, the Attorney General Lord Goldsmith announced that it was not in the public interest for the Serious Fraud Office to continue its investigation into allegations of enormous bribes paid to Saudi officials and royals to secure an arms deal described in the Financial Times as ‘the biggest UK sale ever of anything to anyone.’1 Sir Richard Evans, who was until 2004 chairman of BAE Systems, the biggest British contractor involved, had even gone as far as swallowing sheep’s eyeballs to impress his Saudi guests.2

The alleged fraud was on a massive scale with BBC’S Panorama Programme claiming that one Saudi prince alone, ex Saudi ambassador to Washington Bandar bin Sultan, had received bribes which amounted to more than one billion pounds.3 Prime Minister Tony Blair defended his Attorney General’s decision repeating the mantra that the investigation was ‘against the national interest.’ In the United States, the Department of Justice, which had greater freedom from executive control and meddling, launched its own investigation into a US bank through which BAE Systems had funneled payments to Prince Bandar and the company was compelled, under a plea bargain, to pay a $400 million fine.

FOOTNOTES

  1. The Financial Times cited in Lewis Page, Lions, Donkeys and Dinosaurs: Waste and Blundering in the Military, Arrow Books, London, 2007, p. 246. See also Hansard, BAE Systems: Al Yamamah Contract: Statement by the Attorney General Lord Goldsmith, 14 December 2006, accessed online at url https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200607/ldhansrd/text/61214-0014.htm
  2. Terry Macalister, ‘Profile: Sir Dick Evans, BAE Chairman,’ The Guardian, 5 February 2010 accessed online at url https://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/feb/05/dick-evans-bae-arms-deal
  3. ‘David Leigh and Rob Evans, ‘BAE accused of secretly paying £1bn to Saudi prince,’ The Guardian, 7 June 2007, accessed at url https://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/jun/07/bae1 and ‘UK arms dealer secretly paid Saudi prince £2bn: BBC,’ CBC News, 7 June 2007, accessed online at url https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/u-k-arms-dealer-secretly-paid-saudi-prince-2b-bbc-1.639488

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