Who controls Britain’s ‘Defence Spending’
In 2014 the UK spent approximately £42billion ($60bn) on ‘defence’, which is due to rise to just under £45 billion in 2015-16.
This sum is the fifth largest spend on it’s military capability in the world behind the US ($580bn), China ($129bn), Saudi Arabia ($81bn) and Russia ($70bn).
Defence spending has been agreed by George Osborne’s commitment to spend 2 per cent of our national income, but what is ‘defence spending’ and who spends it? Obviously, we have to pay for personnel and new equipment but we are not defending ourselves and not engaged in any official war. The 2015-16 spend is much higher than it was in the midst of the wars in Afghanistan starting 2001 and Iraq starting 2003. In fact, it is up over one quarter since the height of those conflicts.
Michael Fallon, remarkably let slip in an interview just after the budget last month that it would be NATO, not the government of the UK that decides what defence spending actually covers. Therefore, it is debatable as to who is in charge of spending it.
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In the meantime, NATO will ‘name and shame’ (coerce and intimidate) countries which fail to spend the target amount on defence by publishing a league table amid concern over their obsessive interest in Russian aggression over Ukraine.
Many countries are still struggling with the continued spillover from the 2008 financial crisis, much of which was centred in the USA. However, the UK is believed to be one of just four member NATO states, which meet the required figure of two per cent of GDP.
The government, in a bid to curtail costs would like the ‘single intelligence account’ that covers the costs of GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 as defence spending, equating to £1.9billion and also hopes NATO will accept £800million of war pensions.
However, there is another fund called the “Conflict and Stability Fund” which accounts for another £1billion. Controlled by the National Security Council and various decision makers from the Foreign Office and the Department for International Development, the fund is allocated and used to ‘facilitate political reconciliation and peace processes’.
The money itself is disbursed by various Whitehall boards that considers just about the entire world but more specifically Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Europe (notably Ukraine). The money for this fund is not distributed by the MoD.
The Conflict Fund expects to receive multiple bids each year from the Iraqi government to include the promotion of social cohesion and dialogue between communities.
And when the British taxpayer hands over these huge sums money, is it used for social cohesion and dialogue – probably not. In 2013 Transparency International’s corruption perceptions index ranked Iraq 171st out of 177 countries, so the chances of this money being used for its purpose is close to nil.
And is the Iraq government trying to help it’s traumatised citizens – no. In May, Human Rights Watch reported that the Iraqi government was dropping “barrel bombs on residential neighbourhoods of Fallujah and surrounding areas” and had “repeatedly struck Fallujah General Hospital with mortar shells and other munitions.”
In the meantime “Torture is endemic” and various militias have carried out summary executions and bulldozed Sunni areas causing “a broader humanitarian crisis” with many women and children unable to access food or desalinated water.
Recently, British aircraft and unmanned drones have attacked so-called Islamic State targets in Iraq with more than 200 bombs and missiles in military. Tornados have dropped at least 87 Paveway IV bombs and fired at least 47 Brimstone missiles. Unmanned drones called Reapers have fired more than 80 Hellfire missiles.
Reaper “remotely piloted aircraft systems” as the MoD calls them, were first used by British forces in Afghanistan and are controlled via satellite many thousands of miles away in RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire.
Targets attacked by the RAF have included 20 buildings, at least two containers and 65 trucks. Groups of what the MoD calls “terrorists” have been targeted in at least 90 separate attacks.
British operations are a fraction of those carried out by the US. American aircraft have attacked more than 6,000 Isis targets as part of what the US calls Operation Inherent Resolve, according to the latest Pentagon figures.
These operations have been largely ignored by the mainstream press because Britain is not officially at war with Iraq when it withdrew it’s last combat troops in May 2009.
So while the British taxpayer continues to pay hundreds of millions in what seems an admirable attempt to resolve the untold problems caused by attacking Iraq in the first place, the MoD also spends countless millions of taxpayers money bombing the country at the same time (5), whilst Iraq carries out atrocities on it’s own people.
So, is the United Kingdom’s ‘defence spending’ budget dictated by a USA controlled NATO who demands the amount UK citizens should shoulder, irrespective of the economic climate and the needs of it’s people? It appears so. The US military has confirmed that it does not even need permission from it’s own elected representatives in congress to attack any country, anywhere in the world.
NATO, via the US military, decides what the UK provides in defence spending on and where – as evidenced by this stunned member of the American congress. (VIDEO)