A secretive Swiss bank landed an apparently novel censorship blow against the internet this week. Anyone who tried to call up Wikileaks.org, a global website devoted to publicising leaked documents, found themselves frustrated. The site simply wasn't there any more.
The United Kingdom is covertly trying to oust the head of the world's main anti-bribery watchdog to prevent criticism of ministers and Britain's biggest arms company, BAE, The Guardian has learned. The effort to remove Mark Pieth comes as his organisation has stepped up its investigation into the British government's decision to kill off a major inquiry into allegations that BAE paid massive bribes to land Saudi arms deals.
The United Kingdom's Serious Fraud Office is expected to launch an investigation into disclosures that the British arms company BAe secretly paid more than £1-million to the former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. The Guardian revealed how BAe had been identified in United States banking records as routing the payments through front companies between 1997 and last year.
Almost a third of the British government's arms sales machine is dedicated to selling to a single regime -- Saudi Arabia. A United Kingdom Ministry of Defence publication circulated to defence firms and obtained by The Guardian shows the extent of Saudi dependence on Britain to run its air force. No fewer than 161 of the department's 600 officials work for the ''Saudi Armed Forces Project''.
Documents obtained by The Guardian newspaper reveal how one of the world's biggest tobacco companies, British American Tobacco (BAT), put private pressure on British Prime Minister Tony Blair and a Cabinet minister who wanted to hold an inquiry into allegations that the firm was colluding with criminals. Behind Parliament's back, the head of BAT obtained access to Blair at a private breakfast.
Sir Dick Evans, the retiring chairperson of British Aerospace (BAE) who faced his final shareholders' meeting on Wednesday, has been named in allegations concerning the arms firm's Â£60-million ''slush fund'', according to documents seen by The Guardian. 'Sir Dick' is fingered by documents that detail gifts to a Saudi prince.
A former senior British diplomat on Thursday broke the traditional taboo on discussing British intelligence (MI6) operations to launch a broadside against the United Kingdom intelligence agencies' failures in the wake of the Hutton inquiry into the death of the British weapons expert Dr David Kelly.
Every day since he was secretly spirited into Iraq by the United States military, Ahmad Chalabi, the man favoured by the Pentagon to succeed Saddam Hussein, has been holding court with local dignitaries in Nassiriya. But allegations of financial impropriety linger over Chalabi, head of the Iraqi National Congress, the most important of which concern a -million banking scandal in Jordan.