Arms companies at the Big Bang Fair

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Britain’s largest science and engineering fair for young people, which took place last month, was sponsored and supported by a total of five major arms companies, including the world’s third largest weapons manufacturer, BAE Systems.

General Dynamics, Rolls Royce, Thales and Selex ES also have sponsorship deals with the Big Bang Fair. As part of the deal, the arms companies enjoy a stand at the fair, from which they can promote themselves to young people.

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Cathedral cancels arms trade event

S&P-dinner-cancelled

We’ve found arms trade events in some unlikely locations before: under the dinosaur in the Natural History Museum, or in the National Gallery, surrounded by paintings which ‘enrich life’.

But finding the Gala Dinner for an arms fair in a place of worship – a Cathedral no less – probably tops the bill!

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Cameron takes arms dealers to India

David Cameron has just returned from yet another overseas trade mission – this time to India.

It’s been billed as the largest UK trade mission ever, with over 100 delegates – government ministers, MPs, “leaders of industry”, university grandees and assorted hangers-on. In the name of cementing trade ties we have seen Cameron playing cricket, laying wreaths and promising quicker visas for Indian students.

"Would you like to buy this Eurofighter Typhoon, sir?"
“Would you like to buy this Eurofighter Typhoon, sir?”

All this flummery rather disguises the main aim of the trade mission to flog arms to India, which in recent years has emerged as one of the world’s largest arms buyers. So it is worth having a closer look at who accompanied Cameron and what they might be selling.

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Southampton CAAT show how it’s done

"infuse some fun and do things other than campaigning together (e.g. incorporate banner painting, role play, games etc)"
“infuse some fun and do things other than campaigning together (e.g. incorporate banner painting, role play, games etc)”

Southampton CAAT is born

Forming our CAAT group was initially inspired when one of our members met someone from CAAT on an arms trade protest at the DSEI arms fair in 2011. We then realised there was no active CAAT group in Southampton, though many separate groups had taken action on the arms trade at Southampton University. Southampton University is riddled with links to the arms trade in terms of sponsorship from major arms companies and arms companies being represented on boards. It is for this reason we decided to form a cohesive group to try to sustain a campaign.

Southampton CAAT in action

One of our first ideas was to arrange a night time cycle about the city – this idea could be easily linked to visiting the local companies making arms or components for arms in the city. We looked up the companies who exhibited at the East London DSEI arms fair.
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UK arming Bahrain as violence continues


On this day, two years ago, a group of Bahraini citizens gathered at the “Pearl Roundabout” to call for democratic freedoms and equal rights for the majority Shia population. They were part of the “Arab Spring”, the wave of protests that swept the region in 2011.

The ruling regime responded with violence. Peaceful protesters were met with bullets and teargas. Some of the weapons used by the police and military came from the UK.

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Infiltrating an arms dealers’ dinner

The arms dealers were out to dinner again on 29th January This time at The London Hilton. Perhaps our national institutions like the Imperial War Museum, the National Gallery and the Natural History Museum don’t want them anymore.

The London Hilton may not want them either after last night!

Twelve of us got together to attempt to highlight the indecency of what was going on, and though I say it myself, we did rather well.
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“The affair stinks but it doesn’t stink enough….”

Damning words from Judge Stefan Apostol. He was speaking in a courtroom in Vienna, at the conclusion of a corruption trial.

Alfons Mensdorff-Pouilly
Alfons Mensdorff-Pouilly. He’s laughing but we’re not – and nor are the Austrian judiciary.

Although the trial received almost no publicity in the UK, the individual on trial and the company behind his misdeeds were deeply linked with the UK.

In the dock was “Count” Alfons Mensdorff-Pouilly, popularly known in Austria as “Count Ali”. Aristocratic ranks were abolished in Austria in 1919 but erstwhile aristocratic families are reluctant to give up grandiose titles which it seems work wonders in gaining entrée into certain social and business circles.
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A tale of two committees

westminsterThe new year has brought CAAT a small but important campaign victory. For the first time, it seems that the Minister responsible for Human Rights at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) will be consulted on priority markets for promotion of arms exports.
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