Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Business as Usual

Of course, the British capitalist class support the demands for democracy throughout the Middle East. David Cameron was one of the first Western leaders to rush to establish contact with Egyptian military government and then on to Abu Dhabi, for the Middle East's biggest defense exhibition. He, of course, brought along experts in the democratic process to assist with advice in the transfornation from dictatorship to democracy - representatives of defence firms attempting to secure contracts in the Gulf states. Among them are: Ian King, chief executive of BAE Systems; Alastair Bisset, group international director at QinetiQ; and Rob Watson, regional director of Rolls-Royce. More than 100 UK firms are showcasing their weaponry at the International Defence Exhibition and Conference, which is aimed at governments in the Middle East and North Africa. British companies offer a range of products useful for controlling hostile crowds – two stands were selling teargas grenades, stun grenades and rubber bullets. The UK Government has approved the sale of tear gas and crowd control ammunition to Bahrain and Libya in the last year. The arms giant BAE Systems showed off a formidable armoured personnel carrier that it has sold to Dubai's police force.

Yasmin Khan, senior campaigns officer at the charity War on Want said: "It is deplorable that David Cameron is seeking to exploit the crisis by promoting sales of weapons and torture equipment to the region."

Sarah Waldron, campaigns co-ordinator at Campaign Against the Arms Trade, said: "...People in the Middle East are dying in an attempt to get democracy and yet Cameron and other ministers are still selling weapons used to oppress them."

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