'With absolutely no sense of irony, Major General Alan Sharman, the head of the Defence Manufacturers' Association, said: "This was a complete bombshell. I am amazed."
25 July – Arms Trade'
'Talking of jobs that we’d be better off without, the government announced the decision to close the Defence Export Services Organisation (DESO), a department employing over 400 people and headed by an arms trade businessman. The decision proved very popular with campaigners against the arms trade who think that DESO promotes the sale of military equipment by British companies to repressive regimes and approves corrupt payments to foreign politicians and officials to secure these sales. They also believe that DESO was too close to central government to allow independent decision-making. Unsurprisingly the great whites and hammerheads of the arms industry were up in, well, um, arms. They launched an undoubtedly well-funded lobbying campaign to oppose the closure. With absolutely no sense of irony, Major General Alan Sharman, the head of the Defence Manufacturers' Association, said: "This was a complete bombshell. I am amazed." You plonker, Rodney! Derek Marshall, of the Society of British Aerospace Companies, said that DESO had helped to make British arms companies second in the world's arms trade. He said he was worried that the government was now downgrading the promotion of arms sales and that without a dedicated department, Britain would lose contracts to foreign competitors. So that’s a bad thing is it, Mr Marshall? To help in the fight against the pin-striped dealers in death, you can support the Campaign Against The Arms Trade.'
'MAJOR-GENERAL ALAN SHARMAN, director general of the Defence Manufacturers' Association, expresses his dismay at the effect of Pinochet's arrest - while here as a guest of the Ministry of Defence - on arms deals to Chile. Merely 'following orders', no doubt, a consideration of human rights does not appear to be among his duties:
Pinochet was accompanied by a full military mission who were accompanied by a DESO [Defence Export Services Organisation] officer. The Chileans came at the invitation of the Ministry of Defence. Staff within DESO are deeply concerned at what they see as the British Government's breach of faith... [The arrest of General Pinochet] was extraordinary and inconceivable... Business with Chile is on hold. There was potential for significant orders and that effort has been damaged... One company had completed delivery of 100 units of a weapon and was due to act on an option for a further 400. Within hours of the arrest, Chile's agent had contacted the company and said they could forget it.'