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.
Israeli drone manufacturer Elbit Systems at Farnborough 2014.
Liverpool activists picked the Undersea Defence Technology conference
Last week the arms trade rolled into Liverpool for the annual Undersea Defence Technology (UDT) conference, and local activists were there to greet them.
UDT is an arms fair that focuses on naval arms and technology. It brings a number of oppressive regimes together with some of the biggest arms companies in the world.
We have requested a list of the countries in attendance, but we already know that this year’s event was attended by representatives from major arms companies such as BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin and Babcock.
On the first day of the conference, members of the newly-established Merseyside Peace Network welcomed the conference participants with a leaflet which was headed: “Merseyside Peace Network Opposes Arms Fair in Liverpool City Centre”. The conference delegates were also welcomed with the CAAT banner that read: “Arms Dealers Here Today. This is not OK”.
Stop The Shipment campaign succeeds as South Korea ends tear gas sales to Bahrain
The Stop The Shipment campaign was launched in October to prevent a massive shipment of over 1.6 million rounds of tear gas from South Korea to Bahrain. CAAT supporters worked with Bahraini and South Korean activists to put pressure on the authorities to stop the deal.
Now DAPA, South Korea’s arms export licensing agency, has announced that due to political instability and pressure from international rights groups they are going to cease all tear gas exports to the Bahraini dictatorship. This is a major victory and is thanks to everyone who supported the campaign.
Campaigners in Wales hold an annual vigil at their local BAE Systems factory as well
For fifteen years, a dedicated group of campaigners have kept a monthly presence outside the gates of their local arms factory – BAE Warton in Lancashire. In the run up to September’s month of action against the arms trade on our doorstep, Jan Harper spoke to us about what inspires them to action.
The Natural History Museum is not the most obvious place to have an anti-arms trade protest – but then again it’s not the most obvious place to have the official welcome reception for an arms fair either. Yet it was under ‘Dippy’, the Museum’s famous diplodocus, that delegates from Farnborough International were to be found nibbling canapes and ‘networking’ on the evening of Monday 9 July.
Kaye Stearman asks: “Why do MPs care so passionately about animal rights while failing to tackle issues like the arms trade?”
One night in June as I was drifting off to sleep, I was galvanised by the passionate debate being played out on the normally soporific Today in Parliament on Radio 4. The programme is noted for its erudition in the explanation of arcane bills and ministerial soundbites but to hear genuine anger and passionate advocacy is rare.
Even more surprising was that the debate was led by backbenchers and cut across partly lines. Who, I wondered, were these MPs and what was their cause. Surely it must involve an issue such as violation of human rights, poverty, famine, war or the arms trade.
Alas, it was none of these. To be fair, it did involve the rights of living beings – in this case wild animals. MPs united in support of a law that would ban lions, tigers and other wild animals from circus shows in the UK. The government had tried to impose a three-line whip, backbenchers had refused to knuckle under and a heartfelt debate on the wrongs of animal mistreatment ensued. Read more »
Ian Pocock writes about London CAAT’s demonstration at the International Fine Art & Antiques Fair.
Our fantastic banner brought us lots of attention
London CAAT members maintained the pressure on Clarion Events with a demonstration outside the International Fine Art & Antiques Fair at Kensington Olympia on Saturday 11 June. After being moved on by the over-zealous security guards, we took up a position outside the entrance to the tube station.
Our brand new banner ‘This Show is Brought to you by the Arms Trade’ gained a lot of attention and a number of passersby stopped to ask why we were there. Read more »