Protesters take Vince Cable to task over his support for arms sales

Rhiannon Rees reports on Kingston Peace Council’s vigil outside Vince Cable’s constituency office

Vince Cable talks to the protesters

On Friday 18 March I joined constituents of Vince Cable who were lobbying him at his constituency office in Twickenham to end government support for arms exports to repressive regimes.

As Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills he is the Minister responsible for the UK Trade and Investment Defence and Security Organisation (UKTI DSO), the government agency that has been promoting arms exports to Libya, Bahrain and other governments that abuse human rights…surely an uncomfortable position for a leading Liberal Democrat MP! Continue reading “Protesters take Vince Cable to task over his support for arms sales”

One Show reports on UK arms companies

On March 17th, BBC TV’s prime-time magazine programme The One Show aired a report about the UK’s hidden arms companies. For CAAT this report was a valuable opportunity to present our message to a mainstream audience of millions, and I was excited to be involved in making it.

The One Show’s report was prompted by news coverage of the UK’s arms sales to repressive regimes such as Libya and Bahrain. The programme’s makers contacted CAAT and decided to base the report on a map of arms companies around my home county of Nottinghamshire. I took One Show reporter Simon Boazman on a short guided tour of a few of the companies, including small arms manufacturer Heckler & Koch, the target of a long-running local campaign.

Continue reading “One Show reports on UK arms companies”

Disarm the Census

Count me out banner
A protester in a Guantanamo Bay-style outfit

Ian Pocock reports on London CAAT’s protest about Lockheed Martin’s role in the UK census

As part of Count Me Out’s weekend of action against Lockheed Martin’s deplorable involvement in the census, Saturday saw London CAAT members carry out a protest at Victoria station.

The protesters engaged with the public for nigh-on two hours and found a lot of sympathy for our cause (one passerby even said we were saving the world but I wouldn’t go that far!). We handed out 400 leaflets as well as a number of stock letters that people could send to their MPs. The Guantanamo Bay-style costume attracted a lot of attention (Lockheed contracts out interrogation at Guantanamo Bay) and enabled us to inform the public why we were there. Continue reading “Disarm the Census”

The day I went to Downing Street…

CAAT petitioners in Downing Street, 9 March 2011
CAAT petitioners in Downing Street, 9 March 2011

Rhiannon Rees wrtes of her experiences as a member of a CAAT delegation presenting an anti-arms trade petition at the office of the Prime Minister.

On Wednesday, 9 March, I went with Anne-Marie, Henry and Sarah from the CAAT office, and Azeldin El-Sharif, of the British-Libyan Solidarity Campaign, to present CAAT’s ‘This is not OK’ petition at 10 Downing Street.

Nearly 4,000 people had signed the petition and posted their comments to tell the Government that selling tear gas, firearms and crowd control ammunition to Bahrain and Libya, promoting arms exports to corrupt and repressive regimes and holding one of the world’s largest arms fairs in London next September are NOT OK. Continue reading “The day I went to Downing Street…”

Withdraw the census contract!

CAAT has signed a joint statement with CND and Stop the War urging the UK government to withdraw the 2011 census contract for England and Wales from arms giant Lockheed Martin.

Count me out demo at Office for National Statistics - 7 March 2011
Count me out demo at Office for National Statistics - 7 March 2011

How many people are aware that the collection of data for the forthcoming UK census, scheduled for 27 March, has been contracted to American arms giant Lockheed Martin? The contract will cost UK taxpayers £150 million.

Lockheed Martin is one of the world’s largest arms producers, with over £33 billion worth of arms sales in 2009. Its products include cluster bombs which
can indiscriminately kill and maim innocent civilians, and nuclear weapons, the use of which are illegal under virtually all conceivable circumstances. Lockheed Martin also manufactures Trident missiles for both the US and the UK nuclear weapons systems and is one of three contractors which run the nuclear weapons factory at Aldermaston. Continue reading “Withdraw the census contract!”