The Serious Fraud Office's decision to close its probe led to charges that Britain was attempting to shore up its negotiations to sell a $20-billion new fleet of Eurofighter Typhoon jets to the desert kingdom....riiiight. The Saudi's, awash in dollars we poured into the gas tanks of our SUVs, hardly need a few more billions. Arms dealers plying them with money seems suspect. The Saudi royals can already afford a huge dole to the Wahhabists to buy political stability...and in turn the Wahhabists can fund their fundamentalism world wide. That is not to equate Wahhabism with Islamic terrorists in the overstated manner of a report such as this in a web zine for the arms trade . But it would be naive to say there is no relation between making Saudi royals rich and fomenting extremism. The money defense contractors have to plow into such "marketing" programs ultimately must come from governments and thus from taxes we insignificant blog readers pay. The money we spend filling the skies with hawks in search a dove to eat would be better spent defusing the petrodollar time bomb and the festering sore that is Palestine/Israel. Shortsighted ideas of defense, built on fear rather than on understanding, are breeding grounds for misdirected monies and corruption.
But British officials said their real fear was losing Saudi Arabia's cooperation in the war on terrorism. Atty. Gen. Peter Goldsmith told Parliament the heads of Britain's security and intelligence agencies, as well as the nation's ambassador in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, had warned that the investigation could seriously damage relations.
BTW, don't tell Gonzo about this Britishism, "Serious Fraud Office". Until we stop the unethical and probably illegal flow of influence between Cheney, Rove and the DoJ, we can't be sure they won't try to bury any real investigation of unseemly political influence in civil service with a new "Run-out-the-clock Fraud Office". [Really now! Do you suppose they have a "Frivolous Fraud Office" or a "Comical Fraud Office" in the UK that creates a need for the semantic distinction of a Serious Fraud Office? One begins to understand Monty Python as a perfectly sane response to a daffy strain of Brit bureaucracy.] Here, let Josh Marshall spell out exactly how eager DoJ is to not answer questions and yet, how serious the questions are.