Success! Arms fair chased out of Birmingham!

Fantastic news just in: campaigners have chased an arms fair out of their city – again!

Protesters with a megaphone and Stop Arming Saudi palacrd outside the arms dealers' dinner

Arms dealers interrupted, again! Arms dealers arriving for a £200/dinner in London last month found the doors blocked and protesters exposing the deadly impact of their work. 

The DPRTE arms fair was moved to Birmingham after energetic protest and objections from locals drove it out of Cardiff …

… Now the threat of protest in Birmingham has forced the event to move before it even opens!

Continue reading “Success! Arms fair chased out of Birmingham!”

21 years on: solidarity with the disarmers

Andrea Needham writes: On 29 January 1996, I was one of a group of women who disarmed a Hawk warplane at BAE’s Warton factory in Lancashire. The plane was destined for Indonesia, where it would be used in the ongoing occupation and genocide in East Timor.

Exactly 21 years later, and now in the era of social media, I was idly perusing Facebook on a Sunday morning when I saw that two men had broken into the very same factory, with the intention of disarming warplanes being sold by BAE to Saudi Arabia, for use in their crimes against humanity in Yemen.

Andrea Needham with a copy of The Hammer Blow

Continue reading “21 years on: solidarity with the disarmers”

Stop Arming Saudi: decision time

This Thursday Campaign Against Arms Trade will be in the High Court challenging the Government’s decision to keep arming Saudi Arabia.

Image of Yemen destruction, saying the UK approved £7.7 million of arms sales to Saudi Arabia every single day since it started bombing Yemen

The hearing will determine if a judicial review will be granted to consider whether UK arms sales to Saudi are in violation of domestic and European arms export law.

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A New Vision of Security

The UK sells arms to over 100 countries across the globe, including many abusive regimes, or those in conflict, even selling arms to both sides
The UK sells arms to over 100 countries across the globe, including many
abusive regimes, or those in conflict, even selling arms to both sides

The official justification for the Government’s unquestioning support for the arms trade is that it is vital to safeguard “national security”. CAAT’s Arms to Renewables campaign argues that we must shift priorities to tackle the root causes of insecurity.

What is security?

For individuals in the UK and all over the world, security means having basic needs met and feeling safe in our homes and communities.

In contrast, the Government views security almost exclusively through a military lens. Its National Security Strategy is based on military force and the projection of power. Continue reading “A New Vision of Security”

Arms export controls are broken

From Israel to Hong Kong, the arms export controls system is broken.

The UK’s arms export policy rarely comes under as much scrutiny as it did this summer. As Israel launched its devastating attacks on Gaza which were to leave more than 2,000 dead, over 500 of them children, the UK’s arms sales and military collaboration with Israel were challenged from all sides.

Protesters occupied the roof of Israeli drones manufacturer Elbit Systems, shutting it down for two days.
Protesters occupied the roof of Israeli drones manufacturer Elbit Systems, shutting it down for two days.

 

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Take action: Help Maryam

The repressive Bahraini government continues to abuse human rights and crack down on democracy protests. The UK has a close relationship with Bahrain but has failed to speak out about its human rights violations – instead it has prioritised trying to secure more arms sales to this authoritarian regime. We urgently need it to speak out now.

Maryam Al Khawaja is an inspiring human rights defender, who has fought tirelessly for justice for others. Now she needs our help.

Maryam Al Khawaja
CAAT took action with Maryam in May this year, forcing Prince Andrew to withdraw from a London conference which aimed to whitewash the abuses of the Bahraini government.

Continue reading “Take action: Help Maryam”

Let’s talk about ‘legitimacy’, Science Museum

The Science Museum justified its plans to host a ‘welcome reception’ for arms dealers from Farnborough International by telling us that Farnborough International was a ‘legitimate organisation’.

So I went to Farnborough this week and saw what ‘legitimate’ looks like.

It was the most surreal and chilling day I have ever experienced. But for the arms dealers and military buyers attending, it was just business as usual.

I stood by the glossy stands of Israeli arms companies, promoting ‘battle-tested’ weaponry with slick videos of missile strikes and drone attacks, while outside, in the real world, the death toll in Gaza mounted.

Elbit stand at Farnborough 2014
Israeli drone manufacturer Elbit Systems at Farnborough 2014.

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How big business is running the EU

…and how we can help stop it

On May 22 we get to vote for our new representatives in the European Parliament – but who will really decide what the EU does?

Banner outside a conferences venue saying "Arms dealers here today. This is not okay"
Activists from Vredesactie took action at the annual conference of the European Defence Agency where politicians network with arms industry executives.

Corporate lobbyists have taken over European decision-making. We need our new MEPs to stand up and support politics for people, not politics for corporate profit.

That’s why we’re supporting  a Europe-wide campaign to ask those standing for election for the European Parliament to pledge to curb the power of lobbyists. Please contact your candidates today.

Continue reading “How big business is running the EU”

Shifting priorities, then and now

“Social reforms which involve expenditure are at a standstill; we are making drastic cuts in the supplies for education and for housing; our hospitals are seriously embarrassed; our industries are crippled; our unemployed number more than 1,500,000, and yet in the last financial year we spent more than 23 million upon armaments. No wonder the taxpayer grumbles and the financiers shakes their heads.”

– Major General Sir Frederick (Barton) Maurice in 1921 (1)

Today, Monday 14 April, we are taking action with people across the world to challenge military spending and to say it’s time to shift priorities and fund human needs, not war. Meanwhile, researchers for Selling to Both Sides: the arms trade and the First World War have been exploring debates about military spending before and after the First World War, and the parallels with today.
Continue reading “Shifting priorities, then and now”

Prince Charles’ dance of shame

Charles dressing for a 'sword dance'
Prince Charles joined Saudi Arabia’s autocratic rulers in a ceremonial sword dance. Saudi Arabia executed more than 70 people last year, mostly by public decapitation with a sword. Image: AFP/Getty

This week Prince Charles flew to Saudi Arabia and danced for its autocratic rulers. The next day Saudi Arabia and arms company BAE Systems announced they had finalised their latest multi-billion pound weapons deal.

Charles was in Saudi Arabia at the request of the UK government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office. BAE’s share price was set to fall this week unless agreement could be reached on its latest sales of Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets to Saudi Arabia, so the UK government sent in the royals to seal the deal. As a Buckingham Palace spokesperson has said “Middle East potentates like meeting princes.”

Human rights organisations had highlighted Saudi Arabia’s appalling record on human rights and urged Charles to use his visit to promote reform. Instead he has sent a clear signal of support for repression.

 Please sign CAAT’s petition to challenge the Royal Family’s complicity in arms dealing.

Continue reading “Prince Charles’ dance of shame”