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Bribing for Britain

On Thursday 15th March I am giving a talk to the very active Bristol CAAT group. Do come along if you can – details are here.

The subject is very topical – corruption. The title of my talk will be “the Ministry of Defence and the bribe culture: from active participation to passive complicity”.

It is easy to think in the current climate with the focus of corruption allegations very much on BAE Systems that the root of the problem lies with them alone. But the British Government is not as clean as it likes to point out.

In 2003 the MoD attacked a Guardian article which stated that “The government’s own arms sales department [DESO] is directly implicated in bribery abroad”.

In my talk I will be showing that there is considerable archival evidence (so far unpublished) to show that the MoD has in the past been actively involved in bribery – to the extent of paying “commissions”, participating in transactions it knew to be corrupt, and actively encouraging bribery by British companies both public and private. In the mid-1970s following the Lockheed scandals around bribery which led to the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the MoD decided a strategy of passive complicity was wiser. Although knowing and suspecting bribery in deals it supports, the MoD since then has decided not to ask awkward questions. Come along and hear more.

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