In a guest blog, Michelle Fahy of the Medical Association for Prevention of War exposes how the UK Royal Family has worked with arms companies and human rights abusers around the world. Many of those arms companies are using the Invictus games in Australia as a promotional vehicle.
The Science Museum justified its plans to host a ‘welcome reception’ for arms dealers from Farnborough International by telling us that Farnborough International was a ‘legitimate organisation’.
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.
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”.
Activists joined arms dealers and security men for a black tie dinner at the London Hilton Hotel
After last year’s fun and games, we didn’t expect to be welcomed into the annual ADS dinner at the London Hilton. Tickets cost over £200, and the guest list included Vince Cable, several MPs and bigwigs from all the UK’s largest arms companies. But even for an arms dealer’s dinner, the reception we got was quite surreal.
Even before the event, there was controversy. The BBC political editor Nick Robinson pulled out of giving the after dinner speech after a complaint from CAAT. And as the arms dealers arrived at the Hilton on the night, there was a lively crowd of protesters outside waving banners and chanting. Continue reading “Gatecrashing an arms dealer’s dinner”
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.
This blog is reposted with kind permission from Life requires Freedom.
Today (14/05/13) the UK Trade and Investment: Defence and Security Organisation (UKTI DSO) held a symposium at the BIS conference centre in Westminster, London. In order to facilitate the networking of UK small and medium-sized arms enterprises with larger companies and to provide ‘advice, information and support to increase their sales opportunities in the defence and security sectors at home and overseas’. The anti arms trade force was maintained at this event, as it had been at BAE’s AGM last week. Arms dealers need to gain some conscience and realise that, surprising as it may seem, profiting from death is wrong.
Continue reading “Welfare or Warfare?…The UK government has made their choice very clear at the expense of the taxpayer”
Jessie from the London CAAT group reports on a successful mission to expose an arms company lurking in London.
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. Continue reading “Wild beasts and parliamentary action”