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A robust relationship

Martin Rosenbaum | 12:17 UK time, Monday, 22 January 2007

What went on between the Americans and the British over the starting up of a Serious Fraud Office investigation into BAE Systems, which was controversially abandoned last month?

And what do freedom of information releases from both sides of the Atlantic tell us about this?

According to a recent article in the Independent on Sunday, the US 'pressured Blair into arms bribery inquiry'. The article stated that 'documents released under US freedom of information laws reveal how the probe followed arm-twisting by the Bush administration'.

These documents relate to a meeting in July 2002 between Anthony Wayne, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs, and Sir Kevin Tebbit, the permament secretary at the Ministry of Defence. They indicate that Wayne complained to Tebbit that the British government was being slow to take action over corruption allegations.

So what is the British account of this meeting?

According to information obtained by the BBC through FOI, Tebbit 'replied robustly', complaining that the Americans failed to provide 'specific evidence' they had promised. Later Tebbit reported back to a meeting attended by BAE's legal advisor, referring to 'the fact that US allegations were unsupported and to their admission of a lack of evidence'.

Tebbit also described 'the tenor of the meeting', but the MoD has refused to provide further details because to do so could damage Britain's relations with the US. So we just have to make do with that adverb 'robustly'.

Comments   Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 05:45 PM on 22 Jan 2007,
  • Paul Dockree wrote:

Welcome back Martin,

Don't we just love this Government who tell us nothing but expect nothing to be done that interferes with whatever they are doing.

The odd sight of the last few days of unofficial and official Government spokespersons rushing to criticise an official sanctioned police investigation just because it got close again to Number 10. Instant assessments of Ms Ruth Turner's innocence ("Ms Turner's veracity? My life onnit" quoth "Chariots of Ire", Lord Puttnam). Hasn't he enough to worry about with Channel 4's current woes?

Is this enquiry (Cash For Peerages) to be abandoned too along the lines of the Serous Fraud Office one into BAE Systems? Citing possible interference with The War Against Terrorism (or TWAT).

That behaviour last week looked suspiciously like controlled panic from the Labour government - possible embarrassment for someone?

Has Gordon Brown got a problem too or a big smile on his face I wonder?

  • 2.
  • At 08:23 AM on 25 Jan 2007,
  • Paul Dockree wrote:

Continuing my theme of connectivity, Martin; being at home at the moment, I am able to I read everything on the doings of politicians in my newspaper and listen to the BBC of course.

An article from Lance Price saying roughly "it is the coverup that gets you in the end". Then the name of an particular former Treasury Minister arose in an Independent newspaper article, reportedly criticising the police's behaviour towards Ruth Turner.

I thought "I know that name"(the MP) and went from goggling at the name to Googling it, together with my MP's name (that is how I think of Mr Fienburgh, now my mum is no longer with us).

I got the following link up and remembering reading it first nearly a year ago.;jsessionid=GbyGnGvgQd4nRvzQ6jrJg0BRJSJGzTYLy6hXwn21kf5Rx25L7B23%21398753115%21302125460?a=o&d=5001105442

This old Paul Routledge article mentions someone, whom I presume is the same critical MP and also uses the word "mysterious" when mentioning the car accident Mr Fienburh was involved in. A lazy use of the word "mysterious" maybe? But if anybody is going to misunderstand the inference of that word, I suggest it may be me. "No Love For Johnnie" also gets a name check.

I didn't misunderstand it by the way. I think I was just unlucky. However I will not pay to read the whole Paul Routledge article - I am not that interested.

Common combinations of first and surnames are difficult when using the Google Search Engine but a more suspicious man may have suggested they had found another "connection" with my maternal family search.

The latter link (bottom of the page) just proves that if giving nothing else to work with (Greenwich Council are you listening?) everything can be viewed with suspicion.

Here endeth the lesson.

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