February 19th, 2011

Chickens looking for a roost

Posted in The Job - General by 200

Some Doh! moments around the Foreign Office this week as certain officials realise  the consequences of previous actions.

Over the last few years there have been increasing ‘partnerships’ between the British Police & various Arab nations. The National Policing Improvement Agency have arranged for various forces to have contacts in the Middle East by which officers from here & there visit each other, largely for the purposes of us passing on our expertise to them.

We’ve been involved in training the police in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Libya & Qatar. We have provided tear gas, firearms & ammunition & in a superb twist of irony, given that we do not allow our own force to use water cannon lest it upset the civil rights evangelists, we have exported vehicles equipped with water cannons to Libya.

Now we’re finding out just what all that equipment we happily sold is actually intended for as the police & military of the Middle East gun down protestors armed with no more than a loud voice.

I heard some talking head or other from the government calling for a limit on the use of this equipment & expressing mild disillusionment that it was being used. Someone will probably write a letter, or something. Now we hear calls for Britain to cease sending tear gas & related items to the Middle East.

Call me old fashioned but given that there is only one use for tear gas, one wonders what the person who signed the export licence thought they might want to actually use it for?

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  1. Ben says:

    Who would you rather trained their police? Britain or Iran and China?

    What would you rather they used? Water Cannon and Tear Gas, or Machine guns?

    Better we train them than others.

    Better they have non-lethal force as an option, given their willingness to use lethal force.

    February 20th, 2011 at 09:16

  2. shijuro says:

    I wonder how the student protester et al think of the Lib-Bah Police tactics of crowd control…

    Still think we were ‘heavy handed’…

    February 20th, 2011 at 11:38

  3. Blueknight says:

    Complicated. For whatever reason Libya and Gaddafi have been a thorn in the side of the west since the late 1970s. For whatever reason we now have the problem of Al Qaeda. Not to mention the unresolved Palestinian problem.
    The countries to which we have been supplying arms are generally those that have helped keep the lid on things. Not surprising that we have concentrated on the greater good and have not looked too closely at how they behave.
    We are in uncharted territory. No one can guess how close we might be to Iran (Shia) taking on Saudi Arabia (Sunni)….

    February 20th, 2011 at 14:08

  4. Tony F says:

    I agree with Ben, better CS and water cannon than only machine guns.

    February 20th, 2011 at 19:18

  5. 200 says:

    Ben & Tony, you’re having a laugh right?

    Looking at what’s going on out there, at the time of writing yesterday 84 dead, today upwards of 200, you’d think they were trained by the Chinese or Iranians.

    And you want to have some kind of connection between that & the UK Police?

    I think you’ll find they had & still have plenty of non-lethal options but curiously seem to have preferred to crash sleeping protesters & gun them down

    February 21st, 2011 at 00:27

  6. Ben says:

    No I am not having a laugh.

    Our police (still the best despite the best efforts of Labour) train everyone from the former Yugoslavian paramilitaries to the police states of the middle east, in everything from not taking bribes, through investigation, to anti-insurgency and how to quell a riot without using live ammunition.

    That doesn’t mean they are to blame if their former students choose to or are ordered to ignore that training.

    As for the other, they had machine guns already. We come along and say “why don’t you use these water cannon and CS instead”? They duly buy the water cannon and CS, but when the time comes they use the machine guns anyway. That’s our fault?

    February 21st, 2011 at 08:22

  7. 200 says:

    well Ben, all I can say is they’ve not done a very good job of it.

    Did you miss the bit about the export of shotguns & ammunition because where I come from, if you give someone a weapon & ammunition & they use it to kill someone else, then you are to blame.
    The only difference between John NastyPerson giving one to someone on the streets of Manchester is that it’s Ok for a government to supply another government because that’s not involvement in murder, it’s international trade.

    It’s never our fault when we prop up & arm these dictatorships, & train them, when it suits our purposes, but when it goes wrong it’s “nothing to do with me, mate”.

    February 21st, 2011 at 17:16

  8. Plodnomore says:

    As the saying goes, a week is a long time in politics. This time next week this will all be forgotten and there will be some new scandal about the ineptitude, negligence, carelessness or other of central Government. By providing British Police training to Midle eastern countries the recipients do receive an element of ethical Policing where evidence is required to prove an offence. I’ve had the opportunity of meeting Police officers from several Middle Eastern countries and found as many interested in British methods as there were those who had no interest in any form of democratic Policing. The matter of weapons and equipment is a moot point but just because they are sold to a country it doesn’t always mean that they are going to be used against the general population. In closing I understand that the firm which sells fire extinguishers to City establishments is being criticised because someone keeps throwing them off roofs!

    February 21st, 2011 at 18:06

  9. 200 says:

    except that the principle use of fire extinguishers is to save life, a little bit different from CS gas, shotguns & ammunition.

    what do the people who export them to middle eastern dictatorships really think CS gas, shotguns & ammunition will be used for, putting our fires?

    February 21st, 2011 at 18:38

  10. plodnomore says:

    I did try to give a reply which did not seem like I was supporting our cretinous Governments (not only this one) in the sale of arms to dodgy countries but failed miserably. In an ideal world no one would deal in such products with dictatorships but in politics there is no room for ethics or morals and we do not live in an ideal world. Perhaps we should also stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia, India, Pakistan – none of which are exactly bastions of liberal democracies. It is the actions of the person pulling the trigger, exploding the bomb, or throwing fire extinguishers off roofs, which kills and there is no accounting for human nature.

    February 23rd, 2011 at 16:56

  11. Mark UK says:

    I have little time for the repressive regimes in the Middle East. That being said, what would happen in the UK if mass and – above all – violent demonstrations took place in this country? Would our police simply stand by?

    We had some demos in Northern Ireland that went a bit haywire, some years ago. Do I remember incorrectly, or were rubber bullets used? Didn’t we also use tear gas?

    We were rapped over the knuckles by the European Court (even though French and German police were much more likely to use damn great lumps of wood on protestors’ heads).

    February 27th, 2011 at 22:31

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