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Working for the Arms Trade

A worker for a company that produces arms in the South West of England shares his views  about his experience and the potential of renewable energies.

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A BAE apprentice at the Farnborough Arms Fair.

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Protesters arrested and charged after breaching security at UK drone base

Anti drone protesters at RAF Waddington

This blog comes from Chris Cole of Drone Wars UK, who was among four protesters that were arrested at RAF Waddington for protesting against drone warfare.

Four protesters (including myself) were arrested at RAF Waddington for protesting the normalisation of drone warfare.   In a statement released at the time of the protest, the four said:

“War we are told is no longer the hell it once was. Thanks to the marketing of drone war as ‘risk free’, ‘precise’ and above all ‘humanitarian’, war has been rehabilitated and accepted as virtually normal by those who see little or nothing of the impact on the ground thousands of miles away. Remote wars mean most no longer hear, see or smell the impact of bombs and missiles. With just a little effort we can almost believe that war is not happening at all. But behind the rebranding, war is as brutal and deadly as it has always been with civilians killed, communities destroyed, and the next generation traumatized.” (See full statement below)

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Addressing some misconceptions about the Arms Trade Treaty

Deception in High Places by Nicholas Gilby

Deception in High Places by Nicholas Gilby

In this blog anti arms trade writer and campaigner Nicholas Gilby, author of Deception in High Places – A History of Bribery In Britain’s Arms Trade, analyses misconceptions about the arms trade treaty.

The Arms Trade Treaty came into force on 24 December 2014.  At the time of writing the Treaty has been signed by 131 states and ratified by 61.  I want to try and clear up some misconceptions about the Treaty that have been aired in the commentaries surrounding its the entry into force.

Will the Arms Trade Treaty prohibit the sale of arms which might be used to violate human rights?

The short answer is no.

The Arms Trade Treaty sets out criteria for when arms exports should be prohibited (Article 6) and the criteria which should be used when deciding whether other arms exports should be permitted (Article 7).

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The arms trade on your doorstep: Coventry activists target Lockheed Martin

Coventry-based activists shares their story of arms trade investments, cluster bombs, and challenging the world’s largest arms dealers with Blu-Tack.

If you’ve got something right under your nose, it gives you the opportunity to confront the reality of the arms trade in a way that cannot be dismissed as ‘none of our business’. It also means that you don’t have the problem of slogging half way across the country to put up banners for a couple of hours. I have discovered that drawing attention to your local arms company office can be as simple as sticking a sign up- and can make a significant campaign impact.

Activist with a T-shirt reading "Arms Dealer" and an arrow pointing sideways stands next to an arms fair delegate

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UK drone exports – a peek behind the curtain

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This guest post comes from Chris Cole of Drone Wars UK and focuses on the UK drone industry. You can find out more at www.dronewars.net

Drones, or as the industry prefers to call them unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are the latest ‘must have’ weapon system and many countries are seeking to acquire or develop various types of military drones. While Israeli and US companies dominate the drone export market(and are also involved in lobbying efforts to ‘relax’ the international controls on their export), drones are increasingly been seen by the UK arms industry as a growth area and already a number of smaller niche companies have been swallowed up by the big guns.

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A distinguished address? Arms dealers speech targeted by activists

Activists in Bristol have been busy, and this October succeeded in chasing an chasing an arms fair out of their town. But it seems one arms event just wasn’t enough for Bristol’s arms dealers. The day after the protest at the arms fair in Cardiff, the CEO of QinetiQ was in Bristol speaking to students as part of the University of West England’s “Distinguished Address Series”. Luckily, Bristol Against Arms Trade were waiting, and activist Aly Vernon explains what happened next.IMG_1495

QinetiQ work mainly on military technology – they make weapons, guidance systems, military aircraft- but also branch out into surveillance & security technologies (including technologies considered for ID cards) and ‘energetic materials’ (i.e. explosives). QinetiQ make a mint supplying arms to the beheading-regime in Saudi Arabia and run the UK Drones test centre in Aberporth, West Wales, where they test the Israeli-developed drones that have killed hundreds in Gaza. Read more »

Arms export controls are broken

From Israel to Hong Kong, the arms export controls system is broken.

The UK’s arms export policy rarely comes under as much scrutiny as it did this summer. As Israel launched its devastating attacks on Gaza which were to leave more than 2,000 dead, over 500 of them children, the UK’s arms sales and military collaboration with Israel were challenged from all sides.

Protesters occupied the roof of Israeli drones manufacturer Elbit Systems, shutting it down for two days.

Protesters occupied the roof of Israeli drones manufacturer Elbit Systems, shutting it down for two days.

 

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Bristol activists chase arms dealers out of town

Underneath it’s nondescript acronym, the DPRTE – or Defence Procurement, Research, Technology and Exportability exhibition – claims to be one of ‘the UK’s leading’ arms fairs. The event brings together a whole host of companies looking to find out what’s new in the world of warfare. In its own words, it ‘provides a unique promotional, educational and engagement platform’.

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Last year the DPRTE arms fair took place at the University of West of England (UWE) in Bristol. Bristol Against the Arms Trade and students from UWE were of course there to greet them. Major entrances to the campus and the conference building were picketed, traffic chaos across the north Bristol fringe ensued, exhibitors and visitors to the event were delayed, and lectures at the University were cancelled. Read more »

David’s Great North Run

This summer one of our supporters, David Watson, pounded the pavements to raise some funds for a grateful CAAT , this is his story.

David finishes his run!

David finishes his run!

This time last year, I had never run more than 5 kilometres at my local park, so it’s fair to say that when I put my name in the ballot for the Great North Run (21 km), I was aiming to stretch my levels of endurance further than ever before. Despite having dodgy knees, I had to believe I could do it.

When I secured my place, I knew I had an ideal opportunity to raise funds for CAAT, but after only a fortnight I was within £150 of my £500 target, so I doubled it to £1000.

The Great North Run is hard because so much of it is uphill, so I decided to do a couple of easier half marathons as part of my training, starting with the Southend Half Marathon in June. A sweltering hot day saw me complete my first halfer with my knees intact in just under two hours. Read more »

Italian campaign against F35s purchase reaches Parliament

NO F35

You may have heard that the troubled Lockhead Martin F-35 Lightning II, Britain’s newest fighter jet, failed to turn up at this summer’s Farnborough Air Show after an engine fire occurred in one of its production models. This incident once again brought to the fore long-standing concerns about the poor reliability and exorbitant cost of the jets; which sell for the ‘modest’ price of $100m-a-unit. Unfortunately the UK has already bought 14 F-35Bs and is committed to buying 48 in total. Read more »