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Census 2011 – would you trust an arms company with your data?

With Lockheed Martin being a lead contractor for the UK’s 2011 census, Geoff Meaden asks if the data collected will really be secure.

2011 UK Census logo

In March 2011 Britain’s once-a-decade national census will be carried out. The aim is to record a wide range of information on every person in every household in the United Kingdom, in order to help guide provision for local and national public services. To this end, the census is compulsory. A little known fact about the census, however, is that the main contract, including data capture, was won by a subsidiary of US corporation, Lockheed Martin, which also helped with the 2001 census.1

Lockheed Martin is the world’s second largest weapons manufacturer2 and makes Trident nuclear missiles for the USA and UK. It also holds a one-third share in the management contract for Britain’s Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) at Aldermaston, which is undergoing redevelopment as the government pushes towards replacing its nuclear weapons system. A recent growth area for Lockheed Martin has been “intelligence and surveillance”, and as part of this work the company has moved into data collection. Vice-President, Lorraine Martin is reported to have said, “We want to know what’s going on anytime, any place on the planet”.3 Read more »

Druid Cycles tells Excel – exhibit bikes, not arms

Druid Cycles against London arms fair - Excel Centre - January 2011

Druid Cycles against London arms fair - Excel Centre - January 2011

Druid Cycles is a bicycle repair community interest company (CIC) based in south London with a green approach, focusing on recycling and repair. They tell us why they feel so strongly about the forthcoming London arms fair, DSEI.

Our team consists mainly of people from former Soviet Block countries . Many of us did army service and some have been to Afghanistan or Chechnya.

I do not have to explain to you that those tours of duty cause long-term psychological damage; many are unable to deal with the trauma. I know many personal stories and many of us regret what has happened in the past. We were part of a machine, unable to resist and as brainwashed as many people today.

We  joined Critical Mass just three months ago, out of passion. We have known about protests in London, many years and have also taken part in them.

We have been given a free exhibition space by the show organiser at the Excel Centre and after reading messages from other mass riders, I remembered the Arms trade show.

Although we have been guests at the bike show, I thought we should also use this opportunity to educate others and express our honest opinion. We are an organisation working with bikes, cyclists and cycling organisations and we are in favor of bikes and not canons, tanks and land mines.

If we can assist again, it will be our pleasure and duty to peace.

The team of Druid Cycles

Green sees red over arms sales

Why did Lord Green take the Trade Minister post when he clearly had problems with the ethics of arms sales? Kaye Stearman ruminates on ethics, religion and arms sales.

What started out green, then rapidly turned yellow, white and red?. No, it’s not a chameleon. It’s the new UK Trade Minister. Why? Well, he is called Green, quickly turned yellow, waved the white flag of surrender, and then grew red with embarassment – as did the government. 

Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint takes his seat in the House of Lords

Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint takes his seat in the House of Lords

This is the background to the riddle. For months the Coalition government had been seeking a Trade Minister, someone with gravitas and international contacts,  to act as a public face of UK Trade & Investment (UKTI). They thought that they had hit the jackpot with Lord Stephen Green of Hurstpierpoint – after all he is a newly appointed Tory Lord just stepping down from the Chairmanship of banking giant HBSC and an ordained Church of England priest. What’s not to like?

Lord Green’s dilemma

Unfortunately Lord Green is reputed not to like weapons companies, so much so that he decided that HBSC would no longer provide financial services to those companies who manufactured arms such as landmines, cluster bombs and combat aircraft. However, according to the Telegraph of 7 January, “the bank retains BAE Systems as a client and its senior non-executive director, Sir Simon Robertson, is chairman of Rolls-Royce”,  so clearly the adversion to arms goes only so far. Read more »