Select Committee on Defence Written Evidence

Memorandum from Mr Austin Crick

  I write to submit this letter in opposition to the "UK-US Defense Trade Cooperation Treaty", published 24 September 2007, currently before the Defence Committee for Inquiry; and to explain my reasons for doing so.

  Firstly, I would like to make it clear that is I am a "private citizen"; am not representing any institution, company, lobbying organisation, or government; do not have any other interest other than the "British National Interest" in mind; and write in my capacity as a Political Scientist, one who takes a great interest in Defence and International Relations.

  It is within this context, and for these reasons, that I make the following points in opposition to the signing of this Treaty, in its present form; and urge the Committee to reject or make amendment to the Treaty.

  In summary of my objection to the Treaty, I make the following points.

  The Treaty is:

    —  A "one-way" unrestricted transfer of United Kingdom defence technology, know-how, and personnel to the US and its allies (Israel): "blanket or open authorization" (Article 8, (2)).

    —  Unequal, unfair, and totally one-sided in favour of USA interests, against those of the United Kingdom.

    —  A potential means by which UK defence technology or secrets may be stolen, or sold without UK government approval, or in violation of United Kingdom and International Law.

    —  Not in the National Interest of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

  In putting forward my objections, I submit to the Committee that in all of our nations Agreements and Treaties, with other nations, the principle of equity, fairness, and respect; and the protection of "national advantage", and the advancement and protection of the "national interest", should be the heart and basis of any such agreement: the upholding of "National Sovereignty"; "National Self-determination" and an "Independence Military"; the protection of "Intellectual Property Right"; the maintenance of "Technological and Military Superiority"; and "Sovereign Security".

  Fundamental to achieving and maintaining these things, is the principle of equity, fairness, and respect, and "National Interest", governing the establishment of every Treaty. This treaty fails to meet all of these criteria, and I will speak plainly, and briefly, with reference to the Treaty itself, as to why I make this assertion:

    1.  The Treaty is totally one-sided and absolutely not in the United Kingdom "National Interest". It contains the kind of terms and conditions, a victor nation, would give to a nation it has defeated in war; or those handed out to Third World dictatorships, and corrupt regimes. Providing for unrestricted access to their "resources", offing them little or nothing in return.

    2.  This Treaty provides for the transfer of UK defence technology, to countries where such transfers would not be in the United Kingdom National Interest. The "Approved Community" and "movement of defense articles for the end-use of the United States Government without the requirement for individual export licensing" [see Preamble] and "Re-export" and "Retransfer" [see Definitions] its speak of means Israel. Israel is notorious for selling on "restricted" USA military technology, and technology secrets, in violation of their treaty obligations, to that country. If this Treaty is passed, and UK defence technology is pass on to Israel (as is the very strong probability), the UK defence industry will soon see "knock-off" UK designed defence technology (resulting from their transfer to Israel) on the "black market" and in the hands of potential adversaries. Israel gets away with this practise, in the US, because of the Israeli Lobby. The damage done to UK armed forces (army, navy, air force) in the field, and the UK Defence Industrial base, will be devastations. This is a threat to UK National Security!

    —  3.  "This Treaty provides a comprehensive framework for Exports and Transfers, without a license or other written authorization, of Defense Articles, whether classified or not, to the extent that such Exports and Transfers are in support of the activities identified in Article 3(1)." [see Article 2] ie the purpose of the Treaty is the transfer of United Kingdom defence technology, know-how, and personnel to the US and its allies (Israel). Exports and Transfers "in support of the activities identified in Article 3(1)". Being "security and defense research, development, production, and support programs that are identified pursuant to the Implementing Arrangements" [see Article 3, (b)].

    4.  Although the Treaty contains the provision that "(4) This Treaty shall not prevent the issuance of a defense export license or other authorization should an entity eligible to Export or Transfer Defense Articles under this Treaty seek to obtain an individual defense export license or other authorization for a particular transaction, in which case the terms of any such license or authorization granted shall apply instead of the terms of this Treaty." [see Article 3, (4)]; and the provision that "(1) All Re-transfers or Re-exports of Defense Articles shall require authorization by Her Majesty's Government. In reviewing requests for such authorization, Her Majesty's Government shall, with certain exceptions that shall be mutually agreed and identified in the Implementing Arrangements (such as the operational use of a Defense Article in direct support of deployed United Kingdom Armed Forces), require supporting documentation that includes United States Government approval of the proposed Re-transfer or Re export. The procedures for obtaining United States Government approval and Her Majesty's Government authorization shall be identified in the Implementing Arrangements." [see Article 9, (1)]. All of this is negated by Article 8 (2): "(2) All Defense Articles Exported pursuant to this Treaty to be Transferred in accordance with Her Majesty's Government's blanket or open authorizations." [see Article 8, (2)]. In effect allowing the USA to transfer or sell United Kingdom defence technology to whomever they like (ie Israel).

    5.  Article 4 United Kingdom Community (ie UK Defence Community) provides for full USA open access to UK facilities (secret research facilities, and military bases), personnel (army, navy, air force, security services), non-governmental entities and facilities (universities, and research institutes), and employees of UK defence industries [see Article 4]. In reciprocation Article 5 United States Community (ie USA Defence Community) only provides for limited UK access to USA government departments and agencies, and their personnel (USA Civil Servants), and non-governmental entities and facilities (universities, and research institutes), including their employees [Article 5]. No UK access to USA facilities (secret research facilities, and military bases), personnel (army, navy, air force, security services). A completely one-sided arrangement that provides the USA with completely open access to the UK Defence Industrial base; and only "limited" and highly "restricted" access to the USA Defence Industrial base, by the UK.

    6.  To emphasise the inequality of the "Imperial relationship", the United Kingdom must deal with the USA though the Department of State (their Foreign Office), not the Department of Defence (DoD), as a colonial dependency would with its Imperial master. The USA on the other hand can deal with the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence, without restriction. This arrangement has the advantage for the USA that, if, or most likely when, they breach these unequal terms, a forest of bureaucracy can be placed in the way of the UK government, before they have to do anything to resolve it (close the gate after the horse—ie UK defence technology secrets—have bolted over the hills and far away!) [see Article 15, (a) and (b)].

    7.  Article 8 "Dispute Resolution" ensures that the UK government has absolutely no legal redress whatsoever if UK defence technology or secrets are stolen or sold without UK government approval: "Any disputes between the Parties arising out of or in connection with this Treaty shall be resolved through consultations between the Parties and shall not be referred to any court, tribunal, or third party." [see Article 18].

    8.  Unusual for a treaty, this Treaty, has no time limitation on its duration, or any prescribed period of review: "(1) This Treaty shall, subject to paragraph (2), be of unlimited duration." [see Article 21, (1)]. Further any withdrawal by the UK from the Treaty due to National Security or "extraordinary events" will still allow the USA full and open access to UK defence technology, secrets, facilities, and personnel for a period of six months (after they have been notified of such a withdrawal from the Treaty): "The Parties shall commence consultation within 30 days of the provision of the notice of intention to withdraw with the aim of allowing the continuation of this Treaty. If, after such consultation, the notifying Party does not agree to the continuation of this Treaty, the withdrawal of the notifying Party shall take effect upon the expiry of six months from the provision of the notice of intention to withdraw". [see Article 21, (2)]. In a "worst case scenario", this would be more than enough time to continue abuses, if UK defence technology or secrets are stolen or sold without UK government approval; with the UK government impotent, during that six month period.

  Obviously the whole document was written by the United States of America, in and for their "national interest"; none of it is in the UK "National Interest"; the interest of UK Defence Industries; or the British people.

  The British people have little enough belief in the United Kingdom Parliament to defend, protect, and further, the British "National Interest" against the abuse of our sovereignty, dignity, material resources, and armed forces. If this Treaty is allowed to pass the Defence Committee, in its present form, without rejection or without fundamental amendment: the consequence for United Kingdom Defence; the UK Defence Industries; United Kingdom "Independence and Sovereignty"; and the confidence and trust of the British people, in the Defence Committee, Parliament, and politics in general, will be harmful if not dire.

  I strongly urge the Defence Committee to reject the "UK-US Defense Trade Cooperation Treaty", for these reasons.

14 November 2007

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