Cordula Bieri describes how a CAAT protest took on a comic theme to highlight the absurdity of an arms company boss speaking on ethics.
On a cold and wet Thursday evening, 12 November 2009, supporters of Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) gathered outside Savoy Place in central London to have a good laugh. What happened?
The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) invited BAE Systems’ Chairman, Dick Olver, to give its annual Mountbatten Memorial Lecture on ethics. The head of a company which is being investigated in several countries for alleged corruption and bribery and yet still denies any wrongdoing. So, naturally, we were really interested in what he had to tell us about ethics.
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Clarion's ideal of "The Spirit of Christmas"
Dan Viesnik explains why CAAT supporters dress up for the Spirit of Christmas and the message they are bringing to visitors. Photo by Ian MacKinnon.
Members of London Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT), East London Against the Arms Fair (ELAAF), the London Catholic Worker and Trident Ploughshares met vistors outside the Spirit of Christmas Fair at London’s Olympia, on 7 November 2009.
This was the second year running they had descended upon this area of west London. Why? Was it to spread Christmas cheer among prospective visitors?
Hardly. Rather, they were there to alert visitors to the fact that the organisers, Clarion Events, are the owners of five international arms and security fairs, including one of the world’s biggest, the euphemistically titled Defence Systems and Equipment International (DSEI), held biennially in London’s Docklands. DSEI 2009 took place in September, attracting both hordes of arms dealers and much publicity.
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