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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 »

The people’s climate march: exposing the environmental costs of militarism

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On September 21, hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world will take part in the People’s climate march. Organized to put pressure on world leaders attending next Tuesday’s UN climate summit in New York to make meaningful commitments on climate change, it has been billed as ‘the largest environmental march’ in history. Read more »

Fuelling profit from conflict: NATO and the arms trade

Protesters take to the streets of Newport

When NATO defence ministers dine together aboard HMS Duncan later this week, arms companies will be rubbing their hands in glee as we, the public, continue to underwrite the cost of their promotion.

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Take action: Help Maryam

The repressive Bahraini government continues to abuse human rights and crack down on democracy protests. The UK has a close relationship with Bahrain but has failed to speak out about its human rights violations – instead it has prioritised trying to secure more arms sales to this authoritarian regime. We urgently need it to speak out now.

Maryam Al Khawaja is an inspiring human rights defender, who has fought tirelessly for justice for others. Now she needs our help.

Maryam Al Khawaja

CAAT took action with Maryam in May this year, forcing Prince Andrew to withdraw from a London conference which aimed to whitewash the abuses of the Bahraini government.

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UK must stop arming Israel

Protesters occupy Elbit Systems factory in Birmingham

Protesters occupy Elbit Systems factory in Birmingham

Last month Philip Hammond, the defence secretary, pronounced on Russia’s support for separatists in Ukraine: “They have been supplying them, they have been supporting them… They cannot deny their responsibility for the acts that these people are carrying out.”

He is right, but the same could be said of the UK’s support for Israel in the bombardment of Gaza.

Since 2010 the UK government has licensed £42 million worth of military equipment to Israel, including targeting systems and drone components. Even the UK government’s own review found 12 licences for components that may well have been used in the bombardment of Gaza.

The government’s response to its own review was shocking. It said it would suspend the licences only if ‘significant’ hostilities resumed. Yet even when Israel renewed its attacks on Gaza, with a further seven days of conflict, it did not do so. Read more »

“War Starts Here”: Scottish activists target Selex

Campaign Against Arms Trade has been campaigning against Selex’s sponsorship of the Edinburgh Science Festival, and in April I took part in an awareness raising walk through the town, leafleting and singing. More recently a small group of us decided to try to get people thinking about how that company profits as part of the war machine.

Selex banner Read more »

Let’s talk about ‘legitimacy’, Science Museum

The Science Museum justified its plans to host a ‘welcome reception’ for arms dealers from Farnborough International by telling us that Farnborough International was a ‘legitimate organisation’.

So I went to Farnborough this week and saw what ‘legitimate’ looks like.

It was the most surreal and chilling day I have ever experienced. But for the arms dealers and military buyers attending, it was just business as usual.

I stood by the glossy stands of Israeli arms companies, promoting ‘battle-tested’ weaponry with slick videos of missile strikes and drone attacks, while outside, in the real world, the death toll in Gaza mounted.

Elbit stand at Farnborough 2014

Israeli drone manufacturer Elbit Systems at Farnborough 2014.

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