An uninvited guest at the arms dealers banquet

Last week, we were there to challenge arms dealers gathered in London for a £246/head ‘networking’ dinner, where they were wining and dining 40 MPs and 60 senior civil servants, with the BBC’s Jeremy Vine to entertain them with an after dinner speech.

After making their way past protesters at the door, the guests probably thought they could sit down and get on with the business of keeping military spending high and public subsidies for arms companies flowing. But there were a few surprises when the first speaker took the stage.
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Fuelling profit from conflict: NATO and the arms trade

Protesters take to the streets of Newport

When NATO defence ministers dine together aboard HMS Duncan later this week, arms companies will be rubbing their hands in glee as we, the public, continue to underwrite the cost of their promotion.

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Arms dealers out of Church House!

Here’s the latest update from CAAT’s Christian Network.

Arms dealers at Church House: never again

Church-house-cropped-land-banner

This month, in the space of three weeks there will have been two conferences sponsored by some of the world’s largest arms companies at Church House, which also houses the administrative headquarters of the Church of England.

The Church House conference centre is run by a charity, whose president is the Archbishop of Canterbury and whose council includes “representatives of national church institutions”.

Hosting such events supports and legitimises the arms industry and the terrible destruction it causes. It helps sustain the status quo of huge military spending, at the cost of addressing real human needs.

Please take action now:

  • Sign our online letter to Archbishop Justin Welby asking him to ensure that Church House conference centre never again hosts such events.
  • Take part in a Silent Vigil as the arms trade conference commences tomorrow, Wednesday 9 July: meet at 10.45am outside Methodist Central Hall.

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One less venue for arms dealers

Campaigners celebrate with a banner saying 'arms dealers NOT here today'
We were there to greet them, but where were the arms dealers? Turns out direct action at the last arms dealers’ breakfast at the Savile Club was enough to put them off!

In July, the Chamber of Commerce hosted a Defence Breakfast at the Savile Club in Mayfair.

The event promised to help arms dealers “…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, often buyers from repressive regimes.

A group of activists turned up and blocked the entrances, keeping the arms dealers from their croissants and seriously disrupting the opportunity for schmoozing.

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“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.

International recognition and international inspiration

The 2012 Right Livelihood Award recipients receiving their diplomas in the Swedish Parliament
The 2012 Right Livelihood Award recipients receiving their diplomas in the Swedish Parliament. Photo: Wolfgang Schmidt

Anne-Marie O’Reilly writes on the Right Livelihood Award presentation and the inspirational people she met there.

Last week my CAAT colleague Henry McLaughlin and myself were lucky to represent thousands of people’s contributions and years of work when we travelled to Stockholm to accept the Right Livelihood Award for CAAT. The experience was both humbling and inspiring. Humbling to stand alongside the other incredible award winners, who have dedicated their lives to making change; inspiring to make connections between our work and what others across the world are doing.

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Vince Cable: Constituents speak out

Protesters with banners outside Vince Cable's constituency office
Protesters outside Vince Cable’s constituency office

Paul Tippell is a member of Twickenham, Richmond and Kingston Network against the Arms Trade (TRAKNAT, www.traknat.org.uk), which is co-ordinating a public meeting on 29 November to quiz Vince Cable and Zac Goldsmith on the arms trade. We spoke to him about how constituents are lobbying the Business Minister, and his tips for the future.

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Resist the arms fair

One year before the DSEI arms fair is scheduled to take place, campaigners have promised resistance

DSEI, one of the world’s biggest arms fairs, is scheduled to return to London’s docklands in September 2013. One year before it plans to open its doors, Stop the Arms Fair pledges to resist the arms fair and is calling for a massive day of action on 10 September 2013 if the fair goes ahead.

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Why we think it’s important to be at the factory gates

Campaigners in Wales hold an annual vigil at their local BAE Systems factory as well

For fifteen years, a dedicated group of campaigners have kept a monthly presence outside the gates of their local arms factory – BAE Warton in Lancashire. In the run up to September’s month of action against the arms trade on our doorstep, Jan Harper spoke to us about what inspires them to action.

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In solidarity with democracy protesters: Stop Arming Egypt

Campaigners outside the Foreign OfficeOne year ago today, the revolution in Egypt began. Since then, those calling for democracy have been put through military trials, tortured and killed. Yet the UK is still arming the regime. Today, before joining the vigil outside the Egyptian Embassy, we delivered our petition of over 7,000 signatures to the Foreign Office, the department responsible for licensing weapons sales to the regime. Our message was clear:

On the anniversary of the beginning of the popular uprising in Egypt, we are calling for an end to the UK’s promotion of arms sales to repressive regimes.

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