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Stop Elbit: Kent activists rooftop occupation of an Israeli drone factory

On 17 February 2015, members of East Kent Campaign Against Arms Trade were among several groups who staged a rooftop occupation of a local arms factory. The action was hugely successful, receiving widespread media coverage and extensive local support. You can see a video report of the day here. Here, group member Ellie gives her account of the day.

For 13 hours last Tuesday, we occupied the rooftop of a factory owned by the Israeli army’s drone supplier, Elbit Systems. We hung enormous banners advertising Elbit’s role in Israel’s war crimes, took phone calls from the press and pitched a tent against the cold.Protesters on the roof at a Kent arms company site

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A New Vision of Security

The UK sells arms to over 100 countries across the globe, including many abusive regimes, or those in conflict, even selling arms to both sides

The UK sells arms to over 100 countries across the globe, including many
abusive regimes, or those in conflict, even selling arms to both sides

The official justification for the Government’s unquestioning support for the arms trade is that it is vital to safeguard “national security”. CAAT’s Arms to Renewables campaign argues that we must shift priorities to tackle the root causes of insecurity.

What is security?

For individuals in the UK and all over the world, security means having basic needs met and feeling safe in our homes and communities.

In contrast, the Government views security almost exclusively through a military lens. Its National Security Strategy is based on military force and the projection of power. Read more »

An uninvited guest at the arms dealers banquet

Last week, we were there to challenge arms dealers gathered in London for a £246/head ‘networking’ dinner, where they were wining and dining 40 MPs and 60 senior civil servants, with the BBC’s Jeremy Vine to entertain them with an after dinner speech.

After making their way past protesters at the door, the guests probably thought they could sit down and get on with the business of keeping military spending high and public subsidies for arms companies flowing. But there were a few surprises when the first speaker took the stage.
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East Kent CAAT target Barclays

Canterbury activists from the new East Kent CAAT group have been targeting Barclays over their shares in Israeli Arms company Elbit systems,.

Barclays have been hit by a string of protests from activists across the country over their shares in Israeli arms manufacturer Elbit Systems. Elbit make 85% of the drones used by the Israeli military, and it’s armed drones are used by the Israeli army in daily surveillance and attacks in Gaza.

10404923_947009095318238_6906227602453814054_n (1) Read more »

Dictators shopping in Twickenham?

Twickenham residents don’t expect to see armoured vehicles – complete with gun turrets – on the streets of their town. But people in some countries are not so fortunate. For one week in January 2015, the Twickenham Rugby stadium has been playing host to an international conference on armoured vehicles. But protesters are asking the stadium chief executive not to hold arms trade events there in future.Twickenham campaigners protest at the Rugby stadium Read more »

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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