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Letters / Ethical Shetland

There’s nothing like an undefined promise of jobs and untold riches for any pretence of ethics by the Shetland Islands Council, our MP and MSP to go out the window.

On the 18 July 2018 Maggie Sandison (Chief executive of Shetland Islands Council) signed on behalf of everybody in Shetland a memorandum of understanding with Lockheed Martin an aerospace company and arms manufacturer that exports arms to Saudi Arabia.

Space centre signs deal with aerospace giant

On 9 August 2018 a bus load of 40 Yemeni school children, aged 6 to 11, was blown to bits by a Saudi warplane.

CNN reported after an investigation that the bomb dropped by the plane was a 227kg laser-guided bomb made by Lockheed Martin, one of many thousands sold to Saudi Arabia as part of billions of dollars of weapons exports.’

I don’t want to put SIC leaders Malcolm Bell of his Coco Pops or Steven Coutts of his jelly babies by linking here some of the horrific images of dismembered bairns from this genocidal act that are in the media.

They and their chief executive should not now be tripping over each other extending plaudits to the likes of Lockheed Martin.

As for our Lib Dem MP and MSP, they seem to have forgotten Alistair Carmichael’s statement to the UK government at Westminster in July 2020:

The situation in Yemen is horrific, with Saudi Arabia persistently violating human rights and the rule of law. Arms sales to the regime should be banned until further notice.

“Last year the Conservative government breached the Court of Appeal ruling on the licensing of arms for use in Yemen and now they are trying to make out as though Saudi Arabia’s human rights abuses are a one-off.

“The Government need to gain some humanity on this. Saudi Arabia should have been ruled out as an arms trading partner long ago. If they are serious about defending human rights – as Dominic Raab stated is the purpose of the new Magnitsky-style sanctions – then there should be no question on this.”


I guess if Lockheed Martin wished to test weapons systems in Shetland, the SIC, our MP and MSP would welcome that too.

Allen Fraser

Scottish Parliament election, 6 May 2021