Thursday, May 11, 2017

The War Profiteer

Roger Carr, chairman of arms manufacturer BAE Systems, repeatedly declined to say whether the company’s employees are loading bombs on to Saudi Tornado jets involved in the conflict in Yemen.

“We supply equipment and we maintain equipment, but we are not involved in any military action,” he said. BAE Systems staff in the country are “looking after the aircraft to make sure they can perform to the specification”. 

A job ad posted by BAE Systems in Saudi Arabia was for a weapons loading technician for the Tornado jets the company maintains for the Saudi air force. The Saudi air force, which has carried out the bulk of the attacks, relies substantially on technical support and maintenance provided by BAE Systems under a government-to-government contract with the UK.

Carr said all war is “terrible” and quoted Theodore Roosevelt’s maxim about diplomacy: “It’s best to speak softly but talk with a big stick,” he said. “We provide the stick, but we hope that these talks succeed and the politics resolve the crisis [in Yemen] ... war helps no one. The sooner it stops, the better.” The Saudi-led campaign is an act of self-defence against terrorism, Carr said. “This is not an aggressor: this is a defender ... They are protecting themselves.”

BAE Systems saw a £1.1bn rise in its sales last year to £19bn

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