Katherine O’Mahoney, Universities Network Volunteer writes:
Anti-arms trade campaigners will be shocked and disappointed to learn of the launch of University College London’s (UCL) new £17m Security Research Training Centre – or UCL SECReT. Funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (ESPRC), the multidisciplinary centre will recruit between 10 and 20 PhD students each year to research a range of subjects relating to crime and security. And, in its ambition to become one of the world’s leading centres of expertise for security and crime science, UCL SECReT has partnered with arms companies BAE Systems, Thales and Lockheed Martin.
This year student group Disarm UCL successfully lobbied for the university to adopt an ethical investment policy which should result in the exclusion of arms shares from the university’s portfolio.
Continue reading “UCL SECReT – NO secret about arms companies links”
Bexie21 describes her experience at Clarion Events Baby Show
This is a blog about how I found out that BabyCentre were indirectly funding the arms trade – and perhaps more importantly, what I did about it.
I was browsing BabyCentre, when i came across a thread on DC Lite. I like DC Lite, because it is full of all different types of thread, some funny, some challenging, generally though, it makes you think!!
BlueHouser had written a thread on BabyCentre’s Involvement with the Baby Show – Well that’s quite normal, I thought, a baby website, involved with a baby show, for parents and expectants, sounds good! I was going! Bought my tickets already, and was looking forward to spending my hard earned dosh on lovely things for my little sproggy! Things for him, things for me, Wahey!!
The Baby show was run by Clarion Events. Hmm. No worries there.
Clarion Events also run Arms fairs. If you’re anything like me, you thought, what the Scooby Doo is a bloody arms fair? Introducing Google, My good friend!, I found the website of CAAT (Campaign Against the Arms Trade) and wow….
I got it: Clarion run baby shows. Clarion also run arms fairs, where weapons are sold. Weapons that maim and kill familes and children and mothers and expectants. Continue reading “How I found out who is funding the arms trade – and what I did about it!”
A picture is worth a thousand words and that is certainly true when you look at the output of the wonderful Jill Gibbon. She attended the 2009 BAE AGM, as she has in previous years, and has done a fantastic series of sketches of the meeting itself and the lunch afterwards -which makes you realise there is a whole subculture of investors who attend AGMs just for the food (admittedly it was the best part of the day).
Look and laugh at www.jillgibbon.co.uk.
The BAE AGM is one of the constants of the CAAT calendar. Every May we mobilise our supporters to line up to ask the sort of questions the BAE Board definitely do not want to answer. 2009 was no exception.
This year we decided to focus on what happens inside the AGM, rather than outside. Even so, the day started with a small group of CAAT supporters holding posters highlighting BAE’s rising profits and ethical record. As usual, the area outside the giant Queen Elizabeth 11 Conference Centree was heavily policed and we were confined to a small holding pen, made even more frustrating by the narrowed pavements and extra barriers thrown up by roadworks. Hopefully, the Korean tourists and French schoolchildren who passed by understood at least some of our message.
At least you can see our messages in our photos. Although BAE faithfully recorded the entire AGM on film, shareholders cannot use recording equipment inside the meeting.
We were faced with the usual bland setting. The BAE Board – all male, almost all white – sat on the rostrum. Most stayed mute, letting Chairman Dick Olver dominate the meeting. Apart from a report from Chief Executive Ian King, and a few short replies from others, it was Olver all the way. Continue reading “Throw the book at BAE – CAAT at the BAE AGM 2009”
CAAT media co-ordinator Kaye Stearman writes…
Monday morning, 30 March, at 8.30am. and the pavement outside Kingsgate House, the unlovely concrete box that houses United Kingdom Trade and Investment (UKTI), was in deep shadow. I had volunteered to do the early shift at CAAT’s UKTI demo and was freezing as a result. As the wind whistled down Victoria Street I almost envied the civil servants, arriving for work in a warm building.
As those same civil servants pushed through the rotating door (the title of one of CAAT’s earlier campaigns) they were puzzled to be handed a copy of UKTI’s Defence and Security Organisation (DSO) “performance report”. Like most civil servants they are familiar with glossy government reports. They know that most are exercises in box ticking, highlighting perceived successes and hiding more dubious activities – or spin as we laypeople call it. Continue reading “The cuckoo has landed… at UKTI”
London CAAT members descended on the Excel Centre on the weekend of the 27th February as Clarion Events, owners of the DSEI arms fair, were holding a Baby Show there. Two hours of leafleting took place on the Friday and there was a musical protest by East London Against the Arms Fair on the Saturday. But the main London CAAT action was on the Sunday, when a particularly angry baby turned up laden with missiles, guns and a globe which he proceeded to destroy with the aforementioned items. Some passers-by and even exhibitors were drawn towards this strange sight and gladly took leaflets and/or signed the petition we had. There was a preview article by the local website Wharf, which can be found here (www.wharf.co.uk/2009/02/first-it-was-nuclear-santa-now.html) and they also sent down a photographer to cover the action. Photos can be seen at www.flickr.com/photos/londoncaat
On Wednesday 11th February, a group of students staged a die-in protest to highlight the University of Nottingham’s extensive links with arms companies. This protest was held as part of a national day of action against the arms trade, called by Campaign Against the Arms Trade Universities Network.
Click here for the full story on Indymedia
Barnaby Pace updates us on the current wave of anti-arms activism to sweep the nations universities: –
Since 12.30 yesterday a number of Warwick students have occupied our SO.21 lecture theatre. We are demanding firstly that the university help the victims of the Israel-Palestine conflict by sending textbooks and computer equipment, restoring the ability of students in the region to use their right to education. The university should inform students about the issues by funding a series of talks on the conflict. Importantly we feel that the university should end its complicity in the conflict by severing its ties to the arms trade. Our university promotes arms companies in an unquestioning positive light at careers events, does research for arms companies in our academic departments and has university finances invested in funds which do not preclude arms trade investments, and this is an unacceptable status quo. Continue reading “Return of Red Warwick”
Barnaby Pace writes
On Thursday 15 January a group of Warwick University students, in opposition to the arms trade and in solidarity with Gaza, protested at a recruitment event run by BAE and Warwick University Careers Service.
Why BAE? Is it especially unethical? Just look at their record. BAE is the third largest arms manufacturer in the world. So much has come to light in the last few years with the discoveries, investigations and court cases surrounding the Al-Yamamah arms deal to Saudi Arabia, in which BAE systems was the primary supplier of weaponry. It is alleged that BAE paid over £1 billion in bribes to members of the Saudi regime.
But this case is not unique – BAE is currently being investigated over bribery allegations Arms companies are often not willing to disclose who their customers are (especially for arms components); this may be common practice among many businesses, citing “commercial confidentiality”. However, most businesses do not need to hide that they sold fighter jets to Robert Mugabe (as BAE and Rolls Royce have) or torture equipment for Guantanamo Bay (BAE subsidiary Hiatts). Nor are reputable business alleged to give a cool £1 million in bribes to the late, but not lamented, General Pinochet (BAE again). All good reasons for protesting and the inclusion of Israel in its (very colourful) list of customers made action particularly important at this time for us.
Continue reading “Warwick’s unethical career services”
Eight O’clock one rainy morning outside Victoria Station, a crew of CAAT activists assembled with high hopes and higher necked woolly jumpers. Their aim, to descend on the unwitting offices of Kingsgate House, the home of UK Trade and Investment, and alert them to the rather clandestine and immoral activities now taking place within.
Considering the keenness of the hour and the biting frost, spirits ran high. In the moments to be grasped before the zero hour, we debated whether or not it was credible to combine ridiculously base pop anthems with a catchy acronym to achieve a campaign chant. In the case of Daphne and Celeste’s turgidly dire “U.G.L.Y.” the answer was deemed no. It seems however well one could substitute “U.K.T.I you ain’t got no alibi you ugly” into its insipidly feverish brogue, the price of being associated with such bilge was deemed too high. The decision was postponed, but it was decided to float the idea of a new workshop at the next national gathering entitled: “the art of incorporating acronyms into catchy campaign chants.” We did however congratulate ourselves on having higher standards and considerably more scruples than your average pop music producer.
Continue reading “acronyms and activism”