Thursday, 29 October 2015

Finland : Thinking of human rights and laws and arms regulations but forgetting it when oil money arrives

A NGO raps Finland for arms exports to Arab countries…
Finland needs to revisit its policy of exporting arms to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, says a group of security researchers. On Monday, the peace and security NGO Safer Globe released its 2014 review of Finnish arms exports, which found that the arms trade is being conducted with countries known to engage in human rights abuses.

According to Safer Globe’s latest report, the majority of Finland’s arms exports in 2014 went to Sweden. 

However the next biggest buyers on the list were Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The independent research network questioned Finnish arms sales to countries in the Arabian Peninsula, pointing out that weapons such as mortars had been exported to the region.

Finnish researcher Johannes Lehtinen asks:
"Has there been sufficient consideration given to which regions weapons are being sent to?
Has there been adequate risk analysis about whether or not arms are being traded onwards and whether those destinations are conflict-prone,"?

The report pointed out that weapons exports always have the tacit consent of the buyer nations, adding that it is likely that the trade with Arab countries will continue.
This is just anther comment where the author hopes he is smarter than the reader...

It actually tells you that the buyer has done his legal share...but it doesn't hinder weapons
being bought up by Saudis and Emirates as their moral is long known not to match that of any western nation. Their moral and objectives are hardly reflecting that of western defence interests either.  In other words Finnish arms exports should reflect the Governmental policies held at home! 

Finland is a nation where start guns and some stronger air rifles even are under strict control and a licence is needed for all arms with high requirements regarding belonging to a shooting club or being a schooled hunter which also is a licence.

SDR asks why would the Finnish citizen have all these requirements if any Oil Rich Arab can walk in and but a shipload of munitioned grenade launcher without any what ever control on who the end user is. 
This mocks the spirit of Finnish arms laws, and common sense tells us Helsinki Think Tank which is concerned about the Governmental micro management of Finnish citizens while leaving Finnish Industry to live according to own laws and morale.
Dualistic moral and law making has no place in a developed transparent western society Mike Hulden the current Chair of Helsinki Think Tank tells us.

Finland needs to ask for a end user certificate or stop any export to nations supporting waring parties in conflict zone.

So the following comment doesn't come as a surprise:
"It could well be that exports to the Middle East, especially to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will continue, because of the strong trading ties," Lehtinen remarked.

Armoured personnel carriers and mortars account for the bulk of products exported by Finland’s defence industry. Finland has many high quality arms producers and arms related tech producers where larger amount might not be seen.
Finland’s munitions exports, alone were valued at 223 million euros in 2014, roughly the same as in the previous year writes YLE. 

Finland's shady side not that has been tried to cover up to the fact that the Finnish state partly owns Patria is a saga worth telling and which can easily be served as sale reference on honest trade.

2015 Patria executives found guilty of bribing Croatian officials

A Finnish court has sentenced two former directors of the arms manufacturer to a conditional sentence of one year eight months' imprisonment, and ordered the company to pay a fine of almost 300,000 euros. 

The judgement is the latest in a line of corruption convictions involving executives at the defence contractor, which is majority owned by the Finnish state.
Finns them self repeat the comment that Finns are not corrupt should be seen as a urban legend or a former past image.  Finland enjoyed such an image back during the cold war president Kekkonen era tells Helsinki Think Tank chairman Mike Hulden. Non corruption its hardly a noble title that can be "passed on from generation to generation"  but a title that needs to be earned. Reality in Finland today has hardly any resemblance with the past, and thats not a compliment.

A Finnish court has found a subsidiary of the Finnish arms company Patria, as well as two of its former directors, guilty on charges of corruption in a case involving military supplies to Croatia.

The judgement is the latest in a long-running string of bribery convictions related to the defence contractor, which is majority owned by the Finnish state. 

Previous cases have involved prosecutors in Slovenia, Austria and Egypt as well as Finland.

A District Court handed down a sentence of one year eight months’ conditional discharge to the former vice president of Patria Vehicles, Heikki Hulkkonen, and the company’s ex-head of sales. The pair were found guilty of aggravated giving of bribes in connection with a 2007 deal with the Croatian military for AMV armoured vehicles.

The actual bribery of Croatian officials took place between 2005 and 2008, the court ruled.

A third defendant, the company’s sales and marketing director, was acquitted of all charges. He will be reimbursed around 125,000 euros’ worth of court costs..

In addition the company itself, which has since been renamed as Patria Land Services Oy, was ordered to pay a fine of 297,000 euros, because one of the defendants was a member of the management.

Most likely having the Government as a partner helped the accused 
The prosecutor had demanded a fine of half a million euros, and the charge of aggravated giving of bribes carries a maximum sentence of four years’ imprisonment. 

However, the chief judge said in a statement that the sentences and fine had been reduced as a result of delays to the case. The defendants received notice of the charges against them approximately six and a half years ago.

Last year a Finnish court ruled that there was insufficient proof that a number of former Patria executives had made bribe payments to Slovenian officials during the sale of 135 AMV vehicles to Slovenia in 2006.
The court found, however, that a reasonable doubt remained that the defendants were guilty. The case will begin an appeal hearing at Finnish City of Turku Court of Appeal on February 24 next year.

The big stink of Corruption convictions has a long tradition reaching very high!
In 2013, a number of senior officials were convicted in Slovenia of accepting bribes,including the country’s former Prime Minister Janez Janša.
He was fined and sentenced to nearly two years in prison by a lower court. 
Janša, who has appealed the ruling, served as defence minister in the 1990s and as premier in 2004-08 and 2012-13.

An Austrian consultant involved in the case has also been convicted of corruption by a lower court in his country and sentenced to prison. 
An appeal of this judgement is also pending.

Last  month Janša also lost a long-running libel case against the Finnish national broadcaster Yle, in which the former prime minister attempted to claim 1.5 million euros’ damages through the Slovenian courts, after Yle broadcast bribery claims back in 2008.

Can there be more you ask your self just as the arms sales touches the Gulf states and the Middle east we should not forget that: Patria executives have previously been convicted of bribery in Egypt!

At last but not least, Helsinki Think Tank tells us that past trade morale references reflects reality today and indicates worrying tendencies. 
Especially and foremost when the sales of arms could and most likely would, end up in conflict zones.