red pepper blog How the UK armed Gaddafi
………Since the rapprochement with the country following their 2003 decision to no longer develop weapons of mass destruction that climaxed in Tony Blair’s 2005 visit to Gaddafi, deals worth many millions and too numerous to mention have been signed, all available for dissection at the Foreign Office website. The increase in licensing of exports following Blair’s visit is stark, from a meagre £500,000 in 2004 to a £41 million deal in 2005. Nor were these “non-violent” weapons: heavy machine guns, components for tanks, APCs and turrets were shipped to Gaddafi’s regime alongside thermal imaging equipment, gun mountings, radios and fire control systems. At the same time, Shell signed a deal worth £550 million to explore oil fields off the coast of Libya. Blair’s part of the bargain was not only arming the regime, but also deporting dissident refugees in Britain back to Libya where they faced torture and even death……….
….As Cameron said in response to Gaddafi’s declaration of a non-existent ceasefire, actions speak louder than words. His own actions when he toured the Middle East hawking weapons to corrupt and bloodthirsty autocracies reveal that he truly is the “heir to Blair”. With the UK and US now openly talking about arming the rebels, we have to seriously question whether or not those arms will go to the rag-tag guerrillas dressed in football shirts who launched the revolution from the back of pick-up trucks, or the suited and uniformed ex-Gaddafi insiders and former officers whose intentions are not clear and who will no doubt have no problem with maintaining the flow of oil and guns, in a Libya divided by and locked in civil war if needs must. Given their dedicated and lucrative support of Gaddafi as recently as six months ago, can we really trust our government’s claim to humanitarianism?
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