Beyond an Olympic truce

The UK government should go beyond the call for an Olympic truce and take steps to end the arms trade says Kaye Stearman.

It’s good to see the UK government leading the call for a worldwide truce during the 2012 London Olympics. UK diplomats worked overtime to sign up every UN member state to co-sponsor the truce resolution, including South Sudan, the UN’s newest member, and Kiribati, one of the most isolated.

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Disarm the Census

Count me out banner
A protester in a Guantanamo Bay-style outfit

Ian Pocock reports on London CAAT’s protest about Lockheed Martin’s role in the UK census

As part of Count Me Out’s weekend of action against Lockheed Martin’s deplorable involvement in the census, Saturday saw London CAAT members carry out a protest at Victoria station.

The protesters engaged with the public for nigh-on two hours and found a lot of sympathy for our cause (one passerby even said we were saving the world but I wouldn’t go that far!). We handed out 400 leaflets as well as a number of stock letters that people could send to their MPs. The Guantanamo Bay-style costume attracted a lot of attention (Lockheed contracts out interrogation at Guantanamo Bay) and enabled us to inform the public why we were there. Continue reading “Disarm the Census”

Withdraw the census contract!

CAAT has signed a joint statement with CND and Stop the War urging the UK government to withdraw the 2011 census contract for England and Wales from arms giant Lockheed Martin.

Count me out demo at Office for National Statistics - 7 March 2011
Count me out demo at Office for National Statistics - 7 March 2011

How many people are aware that the collection of data for the forthcoming UK census, scheduled for 27 March, has been contracted to American arms giant Lockheed Martin? The contract will cost UK taxpayers £150 million.

Lockheed Martin is one of the world’s largest arms producers, with over £33 billion worth of arms sales in 2009. Its products include cluster bombs which
can indiscriminately kill and maim innocent civilians, and nuclear weapons, the use of which are illegal under virtually all conceivable circumstances. Lockheed Martin also manufactures Trident missiles for both the US and the UK nuclear weapons systems and is one of three contractors which run the nuclear weapons factory at Aldermaston. Continue reading “Withdraw the census contract!”

Census 2011 – would you trust an arms company with your data?

With Lockheed Martin being a lead contractor for the UK’s 2011 census, Geoff Meaden asks if the data collected will really be secure.

2011 UK Census logo

In March 2011 Britain’s once-a-decade national census will be carried out. The aim is to record a wide range of information on every person in every household in the United Kingdom, in order to help guide provision for local and national public services. To this end, the census is compulsory. A little known fact about the census, however, is that the main contract, including data capture, was won by a subsidiary of US corporation, Lockheed Martin, which also helped with the 2001 census.1

Lockheed Martin is the world’s second largest weapons manufacturer2 and makes Trident nuclear missiles for the USA and UK. It also holds a one-third share in the management contract for Britain’s Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) at Aldermaston, which is undergoing redevelopment as the government pushes towards replacing its nuclear weapons system. A recent growth area for Lockheed Martin has been “intelligence and surveillance”, and as part of this work the company has moved into data collection. Vice-President, Lorraine Martin is reported to have said, “We want to know what’s going on anytime, any place on the planet”.3 Continue reading “Census 2011 – would you trust an arms company with your data?”

“Merchants of Death” guided tour.

London CAAT decided on a “Merchants of Death” walk as The thirteen companies we visited.one part of our “Stop the Arms Trade Week”. Rather than a series of protests, this was a more sedate tour of Central London, with descriptions of certain companies thrown in. So thirteen of us met outside Victoria station and even had the sun shining on us. In terms of the types of companies we went to, there was a clear distinction.

Obviously, we took in major military producers and arms dealers such as BAE Systems, Boeing UK, Rolls Royce, Lockheed Martin (including INSYS), QinetiQ, MATRA BAe, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics and Land Rover Leyland International Holdings. Among such “Merchants of Death” there is a long history of corruption, sometimes involving countries with serious records of human rights abuse, which underlines how indiscriminate the trade is.
Continue reading ““Merchants of Death” guided tour.”