Kaye Stearman asks: “Why do MPs care so passionately about animal rights while failing to tackle issues like the arms trade?”
One night in June as I was drifting off to sleep, I was galvanised by the passionate debate being played out on the normally soporific Today in Parliament on Radio 4. The programme is noted for its erudition in the explanation of arcane bills and ministerial soundbites but to hear genuine anger and passionate advocacy is rare.
Even more surprising was that the debate was led by backbenchers and cut across partly lines. Who, I wondered, were these MPs and what was their cause. Surely it must involve an issue such as violation of human rights, poverty, famine, war or the arms trade.
Ann Feltham, CAAT’s Parliamentary Co-ordinator, attended the International Development Committee hearing on 19 July which saw BAE under attack by MPs for its shameful inaction in paying £29.5 million to the Government of Tanzania.
BAE’s sacrificial goats up before the MPs were Legal Counsel Philip Bramwell and the company’s Head of Government Relations Bob Keen. Why, the MPs demanded to know, had BAE not paid over the £29.5million for the benefit of the Tanzanian people which was part of the plea bargain and confirmed by Judge Bean in the Crown Court in December. Continue reading “BAE wilts under Select Committee onslaught”
What a fantastic route, what amazing things we saw and what gruelling hills we climbed! Nine friends set off on 26 May to pedal part of the Camino Del Cid, a route which we planned to take us from Bilbao on the Northern coast of Spain to Valencia in the south, a distance of 587 miles.
Burgos is the starting point of the Camino, and so we dutifully posed with a huge statue of El Cid before pedalling off for our first day. This brought us to St Domingo De Silos, just in time to hear the monks singing perfect Gregorian chant in the cathedral. It was a surreal contrast after spending a sweaty day on the bikes. Continue reading “Riding the El Cid route to raise funds for CAAT”
I attended the presentation given by the arms company Thales a few months ago as a personal interdisciplinary exercise. The problem was as follows.
Given a group of thoroughly decent academics listening to a presentation of some highly technical problems posed by an organisation devoted to the production, inter alia, of tools of repression, mass slaughter, and arbitrary execution, I was interested to learn how such individuals would cope with a certain cognitive dissonance which they might be expected to experience.
Jim McCluskey, who lives in Vince Cable’s constituency asks: As a Liberal Democrat MP Vince Cable supported the call to end government support for arms exports; what’s he doing now he’s trade minister responsible for the arms industry?
The international arms trade fuels the World’s wars. This is essentially a criminal activity which causes violent death and untold suffering on a vast scale. The British government is a key player giving massive help, with taxpayers’ money, to UK arms manufacturers.
On Sunday 12th June, the “Get Ready for the Arms Fair” planning event took place. Campaigner and blogger Kirsten Bayes took part and had this to say about it…
I spent the day with some of the most amazing people I have ever met (present company excepted, of course).
They were gathered together to work out what to do about about the world’s largest Defence and Security Equipment exhibition, taking place in London 13-16 September.
DSEI is a particularly poisonous event. It has a history of Governmental-invites to representatives from dreadful regimes, of drawing on massive public subsidy, and of using British servicemen to demonstrate tanks, guns, ships to international arms dealers. This in support of multi-billion corporate profits. Continue reading “Something for the Weekend: Disarming DSEI”
Ian Pocock writes about London CAAT’s demonstration at the International Fine Art & Antiques Fair.
London CAAT members maintained the pressure on Clarion Events with a demonstration outside the International Fine Art & Antiques Fair at Kensington Olympia on Saturday 11 June. After being moved on by the over-zealous security guards, we took up a position outside the entrance to the tube station.
Before the Baby Show opened, activists took their message to prospective customers of Mothercare, one of the principal sponsors of the Baby Show. On Monday 16 May and Friday 20 May, campaigners ran an information stall and leafleted outside Mothercare in central Birmingham. Many people turned away in disgust. Others went inside and asked the management why they were supporting arms dealers. Continue reading “Kicking up a stink at the Baby Show”
Modgala, a Buddhist nun working with the Amida Trust, speaks to Kat Hobbs of CAAT about taking action at the DSEI arms fair in 2001 and what action she will take at DSEI 2011.
Why take action?
“I’m in favour of direct action, as long as it doesn’t distress people. I don’t have any qualms about disabling the equipment – just when and where.”
While giving teachings in former Yugoslavia in 2003, Modgala experienced first hand the destruction that conflict brings. Prior to going to her first demonstration on 11 September 2001 she came across a photograph at a John Pilger exhibition: “a photo of an empty bed, where you could see the bloodstains underneath. It opened my eyes. I realised I had to do something.” Continue reading ““It opened my eyes. I realised I had to do something.””