Farnborough: an arms fair operating alongside a civil aerospace exhibition, obscured by an airshow

Ian Prichard, CAAT’s Research Co-ordinator, describes his day at Farnborough 2010: an arms fair operating alongside a civil aerospace exhibition, all obscured by an airshow.

Finmeccanica's squashed golfball

10.00am – Arrived at Farnborough. My first view is of the vast Finmeccanica exhibition – several buildings including something akin to a squashed-golfball, and plenty of outside space. Helicopters were everywhere, with the odd Eurofighter and drone. Amongst its many business dealings it currently supplies the authoritarian Algerian regime to meet both “battlefield and internal security requirements”, and supplies Turkey with attack helicopters to fight separatist Kurds.

What BAE brings to an airshow
Continue reading “Farnborough: an arms fair operating alongside a civil aerospace exhibition, obscured by an airshow”

Rage Against The Arms Trade

Rage Against The Machine on stage
Rage Against The Machine in Finsbury Park

Agenda item at Campaign Against Arms Trade’s weekly meeting: We’ve been invited to have a stall at the Rage Against The Machine gig in Finsbury Park on Sunday 6th June. Is anyone interested in helping run the stall?

“Me! Me! Me!”

I couldn’t believe my luck. Less than a month in the job and I got to see one of my favourite bands.

Remember the 2009 campaign that got RATM’s 1992 single Killing In The Name to Christmas number one in order to keep Simon Cowell’s X Factor winner from the top spot? Well this was the free gig that the band put on to say thank you to British fans. Continue reading “Rage Against The Arms Trade”

Nottingham anti-arms trade activist convicted

On 20 May at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court, anti-arms-trade activist Kirk Jackson was found guilty of aggravated trespass for his part in a protest that shut down an arms company for a day. He was given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £350 court costs.

Anti-arms trade protesters on H&K rooftop
Anti-arms trade protesters on H&K rooftop
The charge arose from a 18 February protest at the Nottingham warehouse of international arms company Heckler & Koch. Before dawn, four activists locked themselves to the gates, preventing employees from entering, while Kirk and another activist climbed onto the roof and displayed banners accusing the company of “arming repressive regimes”.

Heckler & Koch has been the target of demonstrations since 2007 when Nottingham residents discovered its presence on the Lenton Lane industrial estate. The company has a long history of supplying weapons to unstable regions, and using licensed production deals in order to evade arms embargoes. This was the first direct action taken against the company. Continue reading “Nottingham anti-arms trade activist convicted”

A global referendum on militarisation and climate change

Ian Mackinnon reports from the People’s World Conference on Climate Change in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

At the Peoples’ World Conference on Climate Change from 19-22 April 2010, activists and grassroots organisations from around the world gathered to address what they see as the failure of governmental climate policy at Copenhagen.

Working Group 4 was charged with developing a proposal for a global referendum on environmental issues. However, the debate among the participants ranged frequently and profoundly into issues of war, militarisation and occupation.

Discussion at the PWCC
Discussion at the PWCC, Bolivia, April 2010

The group concluded two and a half days of discussions by submitting to the plenary session a document outlining their plans for the structure and preparation of the referendum. Their proposal recommended that it comprise the following five questions:

1) Do you agree with changing this capitalist model of over-production and super-consumption, and re-establishing harmony with nature, recognizing and respecting the rights of the Mother Earth? YES or NO

2) Do you agree that countries and transnational corporations reduce and reabsorb their greenhouse gas production proportionally to their emissions and historical responsibilities in order to halt global warming? YES or NO

3) Do you agree with transferring all that is spent in wars and for allocating a budget bigger than used for defence to climate change? YES or NO

4) Do you agree that our countries be transformed into territories of peace, free from occupation by troops and foreign military bases? YES or NO

5) Do you agree with a Climate Justice Tribunal to judge those who destroy Mother Earth? YES or NO
Continue reading “A global referendum on militarisation and climate change”

Report – The People’s Jury @ BAE AGM

Anne-Marie O’Reilly on how CAAT campaigners brought BAE to justice on 5 May.

Dick Olver looms over judges
The People's Jury in session

One 12-foot high puppet (literally armed to the teeth) + 30 judge/jurors in wigs and cloaks = a strange sight for civil servants, tourists and shareholders in the City of Westminster this morning. The giant puppet was Dick Olver, Chair of the world’s largest arms company, and the thirty judge/jurors were Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) activists. The scene was set for the People’s Jury outside BAE’s AGM.

Chanting “BAE can’t you see: corruption is your legacy”, the People’s Jury pursued Giant Dick Olver from 66 Victoria Street (home to the government arms sales department from which he receives so much support) to justice outside the AGM. Continue reading “Report – The People’s Jury @ BAE AGM”

Calling young voters!

The current election campaign is intriguing for many of us, not only because there is no clear favourite to win, but because we shall see at least a 150 new faces in parliament.

Many of these faces will be young faces, replacing those who for many years have been at the heart of the establishment. What’s more, approximately four million young people will be eligible to vote for the first time this year, and capturing their votes could be key for whichever party pops the champagne on 7 May.

Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) is taking part in an event that sets out to show that to engage a new generation of voters, politics are going to have to change. New Voters, New Politics exists precisely to show that candidates need to take the issues of young voters seriously if they wish to gain their support.

CAAT is supporting this event with fifteen other organisations which will allow young voters to grill four high profile politicians from four of the national parties. It will have a ‘Question Time’ type format, and the politicians will face questions relating to issues such as human rights, the environment, fair trade and the arms trade.

With the High Court’s recent decision not to to allow a judicial review hearing against the Serious Fraud Office’s (SFO) controversial plea bargain settlement with BAE Systems, as requested by CAAT and The Corner House, it’s an opportunity to question politicians on how they plan to bring BAE to justice.

Taking part in the session will be: Hilary Benn (Labour),James Brokenshire (Conservative), Simon Hughes (Liberal Democrat) and Darren Johnson (Green).

New Voters, New Politics is being held at Oasis Centre Hall, opposite Lambeth North tube station.
Date: 27 April
Time: 7pm (Doors open at 6pm)

If you are a young voter and have questions for the politicians, we have plenty of seats to fill so book your place now!

Email universities(at)caat*org*uk for more information and to book a spot.

SPEAKING out against the arms trade

Niki Goridis on Speak’s Day of Action.

1 March – This was definitely a different Monday morning for the staff of UK Trade & Investment Defence & Security Organisation (UKTI). What made it so different?

A crowd of about seventy young people had congregated in front of UKTI’s headquarters at 66 Victoria Street, dancing, singing and enjoying themselves. They were generous too. Every person leaving the building was offered bread, juice and flowers. 

Alas, the UKTI staff didn’t accept these offerings and seemed keen to get out of eye-shot. However, many passers-by were interested. Most slowed their pace and had a closer look at the colourful crowd.

The cardboard tank, covered with flowers
The cardboard tank, covered with flowers

And they were indeed colourful, with their bright clothing and their banners with slogans like “no bailouts for bombs” or “British arms exports: aiding repression and harming development”. Best of all, was the huge tank made of cardboard and decorated with flowers.
Continue reading “SPEAKING out against the arms trade”

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. Continue reading “Looking back with CAAT”