Global university without a global conscience

Just to let you know that I am now blogging against the arms trade on the New Statesman website :)))

They have just put my comment piece “Global university without a global conscience” up on their Campus Radicals blog.

It has attracted quite a few comments already and was nicely timed to go live just before the UCL Council tomorrow looks at the issue of an ethical investment policy. Hopefully the UCL Council will listen to the voices of over 1200 UCL students, staff and alumni and ditch the arms shares.

Stop the Arms Trade Week

The beginning of CAAT’s designated “Stop the Arms Trade Week”, 2nd June, coincided with activities organised under “The World Can’t Wait” banner and London CAAT produced a small leaflet to tie in issues of poverty, lack of development and the more than £1118 billion spent annually on arms, which puts into pathetic perspective the amounts the G8 promises and does not deliver to the world’s poorest countries.

A few of us headed down to Archbishop’s Park by Lambeth Palace and later to the banks of the Thames, to offer our support to the idea of “waking up the G8”. Dressed in white and packing alarm clocks, bells, horns and drums, the protesters were up for it. At 2:00, Westminster Bridge, Lambeth Bridge, the banks between them and even boats on the river resounded with unheeded wake-up calls.
Continue reading “Stop the Arms Trade Week”

Reed Elsevier rejects Arms Trade!

Congratulations and celebrations are in order! Intense campaigning from the CAAT team, combined with support from medical professionals, academics and high-profile authors has led to Reed Elsevier discontinuing their involvement with arms shows!

Given time and support CAAT and friends have convinced Reed Elsevier that involvement with the arms trade is immoral and, like an infuriating member of the Big Brother house, unwanted. A big well done.

1,000 UCL students tell provost to ditch arms shares

UCL Provost Malcolm Grant was yesterday presented with a petition signed by over 1,000 UCL staff and students calling on him to sell UCL’s shares in an arms
company. The provost also received a hand-signed copy of a book by UCL alumnus Richard Wilson, in which he describes how his sister died as a result of the arms trade.

Richard Wilson, his book Titanic Express and famous UCL alumnus Gandhi

Richard Wilson is just one of the UCL graduates who has given his backing to
Disarm UCL, which calls for the College to divest from arms trader Cobham plc
and to adopt an ethical investment policy. Continue reading “1,000 UCL students tell provost to ditch arms shares”

Disarm UCL campaign going strong

It’s been a while since I last updated you guys on how things are going at the Disarm UCL campaign.

As you might know University College London (UCL) is currently the biggest university investor in the arms trade in the UK. Most UCL students, staff and alumni think this is a disgrace. I am one of them.

We had a meeting last night and it was good to see everyone so full of ideas and enthusiasm for the campaign so close to the end of the academic year.

Despite the fact that most of us are coping with very stressful exams and essay deadlines the campaign is still going strong. We have a new alumni coordinator who got 30 UCL alumni to write to the UCL Provost to tell him to ditch the arms shares via pledgebank. Well done, Dan! And thanks to everyone who wrote letters.
Continue reading “Disarm UCL campaign going strong”

Protest at BAE Systems AGM

Just came back from the CAAT protest at the BAE Systems AGM. It was a great success. Before the start of the AGM we gathered in front of the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in Westminster.

Some protesters had prepared a stunt: One of us dressed up as a judge. Two others were dressed up as Tony Blair and as BAE Systems CEO Mike Turner. They grabbed the judge and gagged him.

Tony Blair and Mike Turner silence a judge

The stunt was very popular with the media. There were loads of photographers taking pictures. Our stunt was also really popular with the tourists on their way to Big Ben. Continue reading “Protest at BAE Systems AGM”

Blogging the experience of gentle protest

Apologies if this info comes a bit late but here it is anyway:

Richard Smith, chief executive of United Health Europe has blogged about his experience inside the Reed Elsevier AGM and about what he calls a “gentle mornings protesting”.
Read the blog entry here

For those who are new here: Reed Elsevier is a global publishing company, which runs arms fairs on the side. We protested outside their AGM two weeks ago.

Read more about the campaign

BAE spies with their (…) eyes

I used to live, for several years, in Eastern Europe. I have since resigned myself to the fact that there probably is a nice little folder with my name on it somewhere in the Belarussian KGB archives documenting most of my life (where I went, conversations I had etc.) in Minsk. It’s a chilling thought.

What had I done to deserve being spied on? I worked as a volunteer with people with disabilities. How subversive! I always tried to shrug being spied on off as something you get when you live in a country which is under authoritarian rule. As Belarus wasn’t “my country” I could always leave if I didn’t like the spy-thing.

Well – I have left. I am back in “my country” and here I am worried that I was being spied on again. BAE Systems have previously used agents to obtain all sorts of personal and confidential information on CAAT staff and supporters. This time round Paul Mercer of LigneDeux Associates, who was hired by BAE systems has received a confidential CAAT e-mail and passed it on to BAE systems.
Continue reading “BAE spies with their (…) eyes”

Reed Elsevier AGM protest

I am from Cornwall and doing two weeks work experience with CAAT as part of my degree course in journalism. Its only my second day at CAAT but so far its been very exciting being in London. Yesterday we held a protest outside the AGM meeting of Reed Elsevier who run arms fairs as a subsidiary business.

Protest at Reed Elsevier AGM with smiling policeman

Some of the CAAT team went into the meeting as shareholders and asked questions to the board asking them to justify their involvement with the arms trade, especially in the face of their links to healthcare and the loss of their rating as an ethical company to invest in. They also asked questions about the invitation to arms fairs given to human rights abusers and suspects of genocide.
Continue reading “Reed Elsevier AGM protest”