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Filthy lucre and the UK’s relations with Libya

There have been so many incidents that some have described as being the death blow to the current UK government that one wonders whether any single news event will finish this lot of creeps off. But for a glimpse at the sheer, wanton corruption and venality of this administration, the story of the various relationships between those involved in handing over a convicted mass murderer to Libya gives you some idea of the morality of this government. It is appropriate that the article was written by Andrew Neil, a proud Scot and Anglospherist who is justly appalled at the behaviour of both the UK and Scottish administrations.

And yet the capacity of such stories to shock, while it should not be underestimated, needs to be put into some sort of perspective. Let’s face it, governments of Left and Right, be they French, American or British, have sold weapons and munitions to often odious regimes in the past, or done commercial deals that don’t bear too much scrutiny. Remember the UK Matrix-Churchill “supergun” affair of the 1990s? Remember the 1986 Iran/Contra kerfuffle that marred the second Reagan term, or the recent issue of British defence firm BAE Systems and sales to the Saudi government? There has been a history of Western governments willing to set aside certain scruples in the name of exports.

The Libyan affair is a grubby business, to be sure. But there is, alas, nothing remotely surprising about how the various parties have behaved.

7 comments to Filthy lucre and the UK’s relations with Libya

  • RRS

    IRAN/CONTRA – really! What did Iran use those weapons for at that time? Was it not against a “power” that the U.S. ultimately had to neuter?

    Was that really to “improve exports” or for some other objectives?

  • Johnathan Pearce

    RRS, it was a situation in which cash changed hands. If you Google up names such as John Poindexter, Ed Meese and Oliver North, you will discover this. I have been recently reading the Reagan WH Diaries on the matter.

  • RRS

    HEY JP -

    When you come to the part where the cash went, post it.

    OH! And note “who” (what entity) transferred the weaponry.

    With all due respect – since you are a great part of this site, and apparently have a deep background in the financial world, which is much appreciated.

  • Paul Marks

    British (and Scottish) moral corruption and cowardice is being denounced by all sorts fo people in – NEW JERSEY.

    When the population of New Jersey think you are below their moral level (and they may well be correct), then you are in real trouble.

    “Think of the terrible trouble there might have been if he had died in prison” may well be at the base of these matters.

  • To Hayek With Yuo

    Whatever Iran/Contra was about it certainly wasn’t business. Reagan used it to fund efforts to beat back Marxists in South America and had hoped to gain an opening with “moderates” in Iran. This may have been naive at the time but it certainly wasn’t outside the realm of foreign policy. You can question how he went about it but his motivations weren’t economic ones.

    Since the Man Made Disaster in the White House is drawing down the war on terror we will see a lot more deals being made for reasons other than the advancement of liberty I am afraid.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    RRS, I raised the Iran/Contra(Link) business because it was one of the most egregious examples of an administration – the Reagan one – allowing its declared principles of not paying for the release of hostages to be undermined by the actions of some of its officials).

    As to where the money ended up, I am not sure, and I am not claiming to know. But money changed hands: fact. There was a Congressional ban on arming the Contras and the administration’s officials used underhand ways to get around this. Fact. Whether the cause of the Contras was or was not a good one was besides the point. What happened was illegal.

    One might also mention that the Reagan and subsequent US administrations, as well as the UK and others, have been happy to sell arms on a big scale to the likes of the Saudis, despite that regime’s less than stellar reputation in co-operating in stamping down on terror groups of one kind of another.

  • Laird

    Now the London Times (no less) is reporting that this was an explicit “oil for terrorists” deal. Secret letters have been produced. The fallout will be interesting to watch.