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.
Here’s the latest update from CAAT’s Christian Network.
Arms dealers at Church House: never again
This month, in the space of three weeks there will have been two conferences sponsored by some of the world’s largest arms companies at Church House, which also houses the administrative headquarters of the Church of England.
The Church House conference centre is run by a charity, whose president is the Archbishop of Canterbury and whose council includes “representatives of national church institutions”.
Hosting such events supports and legitimises the arms industry and the terrible destruction it causes. It helps sustain the status quo of huge military spending, at the cost of addressing real human needs.
Please take action now:
Sign our online letter to Archbishop Justin Welby asking him to ensure that Church House conference centre never again hosts such events.
Take part in a Silent Vigil as the arms trade conference commences tomorrow, Wednesday 9 July: meet at 10.45am outside Methodist Central Hall.
Later, as they approached the building, attendees were accompanied to the door of UWE’s Exhibition and Conference Centre by protesters letting them know who would be attending the event; the likes of Raytheon (bombs in Iraq, missiles in Gaza), Babcock (nuclear submarines), Chemring (teargas used in the Arab Spring) and our good friends BAE Systems. Continue reading “Arms Companies Not Welcome at UWE”