Since the terrorist attacks in Paris, David Cameron has announced plans to increase investment in counter-terrorism police and that thousands of troops are ready to patrol the streets if a similar attack took place in London. The lines between policing, the army and ‘security’ are becoming blurred and ‘counter-terrorism’ is being used to clampdown on civil liberties.
Since the terrorist attacks in Paris, the French government has declared a national state of emergency; giving exceptional powers to security services and police. This is being used to suppress dissent and civil disobedience during the UN climate talks which started yesterday. Big events such as Christmas markets and football matches have been allowed to go ahead, but all protests and marches have been banned. Squats have been raided, activists have been placed under house arrest and have had possessions seized.
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. Continue reading “An uninvited guest at the arms dealers banquet”
Twickenham residents don’t expect to see armoured vehicles – complete with gun turrets – on the streets of their town. But people in some countries are not so fortunate. For one week in January 2015, the Twickenham Rugby stadium has been playing host to an international conference on armoured vehicles. But protesters are asking the stadium chief executive not to hold arms trade events there in future.Continue reading “Dictators shopping in Twickenham?”
Activists in Bristol have been busy, and this October succeeded in chasing an chasing an arms fair out of their town. But it seems one arms event just wasn’t enough for Bristol’s arms dealers. The day after the protest at the arms fair in Cardiff, the CEO of QinetiQ was in Bristol speaking to students as part of the University of West England’s “Distinguished Address Series”. Luckily, Bristol Against Arms Trade were waiting, and activist Aly Vernon explains what happened next.
QinetiQ work mainly on military technology – they make weapons, guidance systems, military aircraft- but also branch out into surveillance & security technologies (including technologies considered for ID cards) and ‘energetic materials’ (i.e. explosives). QinetiQ make a mint supplying arms to the beheading-regime in Saudi Arabia and run the UK Drones test centre in Aberporth, West Wales, where they test the Israeli-developed drones that have killed hundreds in Gaza. Continue reading “A distinguished address? Arms dealers speech targeted by activists”
Underneath it’s nondescript acronym, the DPRTE – or Defence Procurement, Research, Technology and Exportability exhibition – claims to be one of ‘the UK’s leading’ arms fairs. The event brings together a whole host of companies looking to find out what’s new in the world of warfare. In its own words, it ‘provides a unique promotional, educational and engagement platform’.
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.