It’s time to scrap Trident: Join us on Saturday 27th February

Thousands of people are getting ready for the Stop Trident march this weekend.

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This Saturday promises to be a day filled with passionate protests and speeches against the UK Government’s plan to vote to renew the nuclear weapons system later this year. People will be gathering at 12 noon at Marble Arch and then marching to Trafalgar Square where a mass rally will take place. Over twenty organisations are supporting the march, ranging from faith groups to environmental, anti-militarist, health and social justice campaigning organisations.

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London Underground subvertised for Israeli Apartheid Week

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If you were in London this weekend and travelled on the Underground, you may have spotted some adverts exposing the UK’s complicity in Israel’s crimes against Palestinian people. Continue reading “London Underground subvertised for Israeli Apartheid Week”

Resisting police militarisation in the US

Two police officer in heavy riot hear and carrying guns

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.

In the US, a coalition has been taking action against the militarisation of police and institutionalised racism by targeting a major arms fair: Urban Shield. Continue reading “Resisting police militarisation in the US”

Addressing some misconceptions about the Arms Trade Treaty

Deception in High Places by Nicholas Gilby
Deception in High Places by Nicholas Gilby

In this blog anti arms trade writer and campaigner Nicholas Gilby, author of Deception in High Places – A History of Bribery In Britain’s Arms Trade, analyses misconceptions about the arms trade treaty.

The Arms Trade Treaty came into force on 24 December 2014.  At the time of writing the Treaty has been signed by 131 states and ratified by 61.  I want to try and clear up some misconceptions about the Treaty that have been aired in the commentaries surrounding its the entry into force.

Will the Arms Trade Treaty prohibit the sale of arms which might be used to violate human rights?

The short answer is no.

The Arms Trade Treaty sets out criteria for when arms exports should be prohibited (Article 6) and the criteria which should be used when deciding whether other arms exports should be permitted (Article 7).

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The arms trade on your doorstep: Coventry activists target Lockheed Martin

A Coventry-based activist shares his story of arms trade investments, cluster bombs, and challenging the world’s largest arms dealers with Blu-Tack.

If you’ve got something right under your nose, it gives you the opportunity to confront the reality of the arms trade in a way that cannot be dismissed as ‘none of our business’. It also means that you don’t have the problem of slogging half way across the country to put up banners for a couple of hours. I have discovered that drawing attention to your local arms company office can be as simple as sticking a sign up- and can make a significant campaign impact.

Activist with a T-shirt reading "Arms Dealer" and an arrow pointing sideways stands next to an arms fair delegate

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Referendum: Swiss say no to new fighter jets

Sicherheit zuerst! Ja zum Gripen am 18 Mai.
Referendum poster: “Security first! Yes to Gripen on 18 May”

Many European governments have used the situation in the Ukraine as justification to increase military spending. But only in Switzerland do people have a direct say in their country’s military policy. And the signal that the Swiss people sent out last Sunday was very clear: Buying expensive weapons systems is not a priority.

In a national referendum, 53.4% of the voters rejected the purchase of 22 Swedish JAS Gripen E fighter jets. The deal was worth £2 billion immediately and £6.6 billion including operations and maintenance over the next few years. The government had proposed the procurement to replace the ageing F-5 Tiger fleet that will be put out of operation next year.

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Keep water cannons off the streets of London

police baton If the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has his way there will be water cannons on the streets of London by this summer.

When the Mayor announced his support for plans to allow the Metropolitan Police to use water cannon in the capital it came despite widespread public opposition. Johnson’s own consultation had only 59 responses that were in favour of bringing in water cannons, compared to 2,547 against.

The reason that so many people are concerned about the introduction of the cannons is because they are weapons. Their impact on a crowd is indiscriminate and they have been known to injure and blind those unfortunate enough to find themselves on the receiving end.

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Birth defects: Iraq’s toxic legacy

Paediatrician Dr Samira Alaani examining another case at Fallujah General Hospital.
Paediatrician Dr Samira Al’aani examining another case at Fallujah General Hospital.

During the occupation of Iraq, the city of Fallujah bore witness to some of the most intense US combat operations since Vietnam, with 2004’s Operation Phantom Fury widely condemned for its ferocity and disregard for international law.

Paediatrician Dr Samira Al’aani has worked in the city since 1997. In 2006 she began to notice an increase in the number of babies being born with congenital birth defects (CBD). Concerned, she began to log the cases that she saw. Through careful record keeping she has determined that at Fallujah General Hospital, 144 babies are now born with a deformity for every 1000 live births.

This is nearly six times higher than the average rate in the UK between 2006 and 2010, and one strong suspicion is that contamination from the toxic constituents of munitions used by occupying forces could be the cause.

Now a new nationwide study by the Iraqi Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO), has the potential to catalyse efforts to understand and confront the issue, but only if science can be allowed to rise above politics. For years there have been huge problems with funding, political bias and delays. Continue reading “Birth defects: Iraq’s toxic legacy”

The ‘arms for dictators’ scandal isn’t new. It is cross-party, well-established and has been going on for too long

The British government actively promotes the Eurofighter Typhoon to foreign government. This scene comes from  the Farnborough arms fair in 2012.
The British government actively promotes the Eurofighter Typhoon to foreign governments. This scene comes from the Farnborough arms fair in 2012.

The fringe issue of arms export criteria became headline news today (17 July),  with The Independent’s splash on an “‘arms for dictators” scandal. A parliamentary report by the Committees on Arms Export Controls (CAEC) raised a few eyebrows, but the embarrassment of the government approving arms sales to 25 out of 27 of the countries blacklisted as human rights abusers will soon vanish.

Continue reading “The ‘arms for dictators’ scandal isn’t new. It is cross-party, well-established and has been going on for too long”