The Home Office has said it might not publish an inquiry into the funding of extremist groups because it might focus too much on Saudi Arabia; a country which the government has recently approved for £3.5bn worth of arms export licences. This makes a mockery of the Conservatives’ claims to care about security, suggesting once again that they’re much more interested in making a profit than saving lives.
Launched by David Cameron in 2015, the inquiry in question was supposed to look at how extremist groups in the UK were being funded. It was a deal with the Lib Dems in return for them supporting airstrikes in Syria. This was when Theresa May was still Home Secretary. But now, the Home Office has said the report might not be published as it contains “very sensitive” information.
Lib Dem foreign affairs spokesman Tom Brake wrote to May about the report:
It is no secret that Saudi Arabia in particular provides funding to hundreds of mosques in the UK, espousing a very hardline Wahhabist interpretation of Islam. It is often in these institutions that British extremism takes root.
But May has close links with Saudi Arabia. She defended her trip there in April 2017, claiming she would bring up human rights abuses. But those human rights abuses haven’t stopped her government allowing arms dealers to profit from billions of pounds worth of deals.
But it’s good for business
This was essentially the message that Amber Rudd gave when she stood in for Theresa May at the BBC debate on 31 May. Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas asked Rudd:
Why is Britain the second biggest arms dealer in the world? (Applause)
Read on...Support us and go ad-free
Why are we selling to 22 of the 30 countries on the government’s own human rights watch list? Why did we make ten times more in arms sales to Saudi Arabia than we gave to Yemen in aid? I genuinely wonder how you sleep at night knowing those figures.
And Rudd’s answer said it all:
We will make sure that our defence budget is well funded. We will do that by having a strong economy. And we will have to make sure that we can do that by having a strong industry.
Hiding this report away because it could damage arms sales shows just how little the Conservatives care about preventing terrorism and protecting ordinary people. May would much rather see multinational companies make huge profits from death and destruction than release a report that might shed light on where funding for extremism is coming from.
The Conservative government has made the world a more dangerous place. And we need to remember this. When we’re alone in the voting booth on 8 June, we need to think about whether we’d rather have a government that represses reports so they don’t upset human rights abusers, or a leader who wants to end arms sales to repressive regimes and believes that trying to foster peace is better than bombing other countries.
Selling arms and bombing hasn’t worked so far. How about we give the alternative a go?
– Vote on 8 June! And encourage others to do the same.
– Discuss the key policy issues with family members, colleagues and neighbours. And organise! Join (and participate in the activities of) a union, an activist group, and/or a political party.
– Support The Canary if you value the work we do.
Featured image via Flickr
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?