The ‘arms for dictators’ scandal isn’t new. It is cross-party, well-established and has been going on for too long

The British government actively promotes the Eurofighter Typhoon to foreign government. This scene comes from  the Farnborough arms fair in 2012.
The British government actively promotes the Eurofighter Typhoon to foreign governments. This scene comes from the Farnborough arms fair in 2012.

The fringe issue of arms export criteria became headline news today (17 July),  with The Independent’s splash on an “‘arms for dictators” scandal. A parliamentary report by the Committees on Arms Export Controls (CAEC) raised a few eyebrows, but the embarrassment of the government approving arms sales to 25 out of 27 of the countries blacklisted as human rights abusers will soon vanish.

Continue reading “The ‘arms for dictators’ scandal isn’t new. It is cross-party, well-established and has been going on for too long”

“We interrupt this breakfast” – arms dealers find coffee and croissants hard to get

On 9 July, arms dealers gathered for a breakfast briefing which promised “to help you expand your network of contacts” and “promote your business”.

It is part of a series of gatherings which let arms dealers meet with each other and their customers. These events set the agenda for the UK’s exorbitant military spending and are where arms deals are born.

But  campaigners from Stop the Arms Fair were there to stop it and sat in the entrance refusing to allow the arms dealers to pass. The hour long event was delayed for over half an hour and the General who was to speak at the event had to be “kept away”.

Stop the Arms Fair has published a great write-up of the action. Read it here.

Tear gas suppliers at London’s arms fair

British made tear gas used in Egypt- photo by Omar Robert Hamilton
British made tear gas used in Egypt- photo by Omar Robert Hamilton

This September’s DSEI arms fair will once again give authoritarian governments and dictatorships the opportunity to stock up on what is fast becoming the weapon of choice for repressive regimes- tear gas.

Some of the world’s leading suppliers of tear gas will be exhibiting, including British arms company Chemring, Brazil’s Condor, the US firm Non-Lethal Technologies and the joint German and South African-owned company Rheinmetall.

Tear gas made by these companies has recently been used to help crush protests in Bahrain, Egypt, Turkey and Brazil.

Continue reading “Tear gas suppliers at London’s arms fair”

TAPOL – 40 years of campaigning

A British-made Stormer APC in Aceh, Indonesia
A British-made Stormer APC in Aceh, Indonesia
TAPOL, the organisation that campaigns for human rights in Indonesia, celebrated its 40th birthday last week with a reception and film screening at the Ritzy cinema in Brixton. Staff from Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), which has worked with TAPOL for many years, were at the reception.
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Hack Day is a happy day for CAAT data

EU arms export browser
EU arms export browser

When Ian Mackinnon proposed that CAAT hold a “Hack Day” to help enhance and improve the presentation of CAAT’s data, I was intrigued. Ian is the data programmer whose skills have enabled CAAT to convert static arms export data from the UK and the European Union into flexible and accessible formats on CAAT website.

CAAT has organised many types of gathering but this was our first Hack Day. Who would respond? Would participants have the skills to deal with the complex data?

As it happens, there was no need to worry. The excellent management and communication skills of Ian and the organising team of Joana, Louis, Jesse and Ursula had persuaded 15 enthusiasts to take a “summer” Saturday out to join us at Kings College in central London.

Continue reading “Hack Day is a happy day for CAAT data”

The award BAE’s Olver wouldn’t accept

Symon eviction video still
A shareholder activist is evicted from the AGM

What do you get for leading an arms company facing billion-dollar corruption investigations?

Well, BAE’s outgoing Chairman, Dick Olver, has been given a knighthood for his “services to business.”

CAAT had already recognised Olver’s ‘achievements’ at the company’s recent AGM, presenting him with our own prestigious “Whitewash Award.”

Sadly, he was too shy to let us finish our heartfelt tribute – but you can read the full speech below, and watch a video of the award ceremony (with other highlights from Olver’s last ever AGM).

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British arms and the euro crisis: hand-in hand?

Demonstration in London on the Global day of Action Against Military Spending.
Demonstration in London on the Global day of Action Against Military Spending.

Are the British and European arms industries partially to blame for the euro crisis and the austerity craze it inspired? According to a new report by Frank Slijper of the Dutch Campaign Against the Arms Trade and the Transnational Institute, the answer may very well be yes. Continue reading “British arms and the euro crisis: hand-in hand?”

Welfare or Warfare?…The UK government has made their choice very clear at the expense of the taxpayer

This blog is reposted with kind permission from Life requires Freedom.

Today (14/05/13) the UK Trade and Investment: Defence and Security Organisation (UKTI DSO) held a symposium at the BIS conference centre in Westminster, London. In order to facilitate the networking of UK small and medium-sized arms enterprises with larger companies and to provide ‘advice, information and support to increase their sales opportunities in the defence and security sectors at home and overseas’. The anti arms trade force was maintained at this event, as it had been at BAE’s AGM last week. Arms dealers need to gain some conscience and realise that, surprising as it may seem, profiting from death is wrong.
Continue reading “Welfare or Warfare?…The UK government has made their choice very clear at the expense of the taxpayer”

“Play the budget right”

Join us in protest on the Global Day of Action on Military Spending – 15 April 2013

The UK's military spending is £39bn every year - enough to stop the cuts to the NHS. Twice.

Want to learn more? See CAAT’s press release and visit the GDAMS website.

Join one of the events taking place around the country, including our “Play the budget right” street theatre action, Old Palace Yard, Westminster (opposite the Houses of Parliament), 9am, 15 April 2013.

Don’t let Saudi Arabia get away with it!

A protester holds a CAAT placard saying "You can't do this in Riyadh".The news from Saudi Arabia that the authorities intend to surgically paralyse a young man as a judicial punishment has led to worldwide revulsion. The logic behind the punishment is that ten years earlier Ali al-Khawahir had stabbed a friend in the back resulting in his paralysis and therefore should suffer the same fate.
Continue reading “Don’t let Saudi Arabia get away with it!”