US-backed thugs in Saudi Arabia armed by Western arms firms

As Saudi Arabia crushes peaceful pro-democracy protesters, let’s not forget the Western firms doing business with the brutes:

A newly-released secret U.S. diplomatic cable has alleged that British-based defense contractor BAE Systems PLC bribed Saudi officials in return for lucrative arms deals.

The cable from the U.S. embassy in Paris, released by WikiLeaks on Friday, said Britain’s anti-fraud agency told a private OECD meeting in Paris in 2007 that they had evidence that BAE paid more than 70 million pounds ($113 million) to a Saudi prince with influence over arms deal contracts.

The SFO dropped an investigation into BAE’s overseas dealings in 2006 after Saudi objection.

BAE did not explicitly refute the cable’s content on Sunday, but said in a statement that no charges of bribery or corruption were brought up against the company.