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Looking back with CAAT

At the start of 2010, Kaye Stearman looks back on events of the past year and what was achieved.

8 November 2008 – CAAT’s National Gathering at Conway Hall in central London sees the launch of the new “Armed & Dangerous” campaign to focus on the support given to arms exports by United Kingdom Trade & Investment Defence & Security Organisation (UKTI DSO).

Kingsgate House Demo, 24 November

Kingsgate House Demo, 24 November

24 November  – CAAT holds its first demonstration outside UKTI DSO headquarters at Kingsgate House, Victoria Street, Westminster. Is it right for civil servants to act as arms dealers?

27 December onwards – Israel launches an armed attack on Gaza which continues for three weeks. CAAT highlights how British weapons and components are deployed and calls for a complete ban on British arms exports to Israel.

11 February 2009 – CAAT’s Universities Day of Action sees student protests in many UK universities. British weapons sales to Israel are a major focus, in addition to campus recruitment efforts by UK arms companies, including BAE.

30 March – CAAT returns to the still wintery streets outside UKTI DSO’s London offices. Our giant cuckoo helps to conveyour message: “Kick the DSO cuckoo out of the UKTI nest”.  Our spoof UKTI DSO report instantly becomes a hit with many UKTI staff.

25 April – Supporters assemble in Birmingham for a day of “Speaker’s training”. Spreading the CAAT message through personal contact and meetings is vital and we want our supporters have all the factsand figures at their fingertips, together with tips on how best to get the message across.

 

BAEAGM 6 May 2009

6 May CAAT supporters once again attend the BAE AGM in central London. We have to protest outside but many of us also attend the meeting as shareholders.Inside there is a lively exchange of views, as BAE Chairman Dick Olver attempts to defend BAE’s tarnished reputation.

14-21 June – Stop Week gives groups and individuals a great opportunity to bring the CAAT message to their local communities. Activities include a “Merchants of Death” walk in London, stalls at gatherings and festivals, and meetings and prayer services. This year’s theme is “A farewell to arms fairs” and is great preparation for the London arms fair (DSEI) in September.

 

Die-in, Trafalagar Square,7 September 2009

7 September –  Trafalgar Square is noted for its military connotations, so it is fitting that an anti-arms protestor has decided to use her slot in the “One & Other” human art work to protest against DSEI.  While Quinie from Leeds demonstrates on the Fourth Plinth, CAAT supporters stage a”die-in” in Trafalgar Square.

8 September – As DSEI opens at the Excel centre, dedicated CAAT supporters demonstrate at a distance – we are not allowed too close to the arms dealers who are converging on the event. We board our decorated Routemaster buses and head off to UKTI, on the way getting a guided tour of landmarks in London’s arms trade. At Victoria Street we disembark outside UKTI and hold a colourful “anti-arms trade fayre” to have some “armless fun”.

1 October – CAAT welcomes the announcement by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) that it intends to prosecute BAE Systems for alleged corruption and false accounting in its arms deals in four countries – the Czech Republic, Romania, South Africa and Tanzania. Will it be bye bye BAE in 2010?

 

31 October – CAAT holds its 2009 National Gathering at Toynbee Studios  Participants are enthused by the speakers, especially principal speaker Andrew Feinstein, and the many workshops on offer. We aim to translate that enthusiasm into all our work over the coming year.

12 November – Strong wind and driving rain don’t stop CAAT supporters from protesting outside the Institute of Engineering and Technology as Dick Olver, BAE Chairman, delives a lecture on ethics. Some things are beyond laughter.

What did CAAT achieve over the year?  CAAT: 

  • Sent over 7,000 postcards to UKTI calling for the closure of DSO and an end to arms export subsidies
  • Organised demonstrations at UKTI and DSEI
  • Reseached and published information on the arms trade
  • Formed new CAAT groups in Manchester, Oxford and Reading
  • Festured in over 175 media stories
  • Raised over £243,000, including £17,000 in new standing orders.

A big thank you to all CAAT supporters for making it possible.

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