Resisting police militarisation: shut down ‘Security and Policing’

Last night I joined activists from several groups including the Network for Police Monitoring, Global Justice Now, Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants, London Mexico Solidarity, London Campaign Against Arms Trade and Stop the Arms Fair for a protest outside the Home Office to call for an end to the ‘Security and Policing’ arms fair.

Candles in jam jars in front of a 'Human Crisis Your Profits' placard
Photo by Sophie Mawson

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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”

Stop Elbit victory: No arms company expansion in East Kent!

On 21 October, activists invaded the former Manston Airport, in Kent, in broad daylight and occupied the roof of the WW2 control tower. Arms company Instro Precision rents the top floor for R&D and customer demonstrations, and it was seeking to expand by moving its whole operation to the airport from its current base in nearby Broadstairs. Thanet District councillors were due to vote on the planning application later the same day. Activists – who had already occupied the company’s facilities in February and July this year – were determined to stop the move and the expansion from happening.anti-arms trade banners on the railings outside Manston Airport

Why? Because Instro is owned by Elbit Systems, the largest supplier of drones to Israel, meaning we can be almost certain that Elbit’s technology was used to commit likely war crimes in the massacre of Gazans by Israel in 2014. Not only that, but Elbit is also a supplier of arms to the regimes of Saudi Arabia and Turkey – both known to have supported ISIS financially or militarily. In other words, Instro-Elbit is fueling some of the worst conflicts and
facilitating some of the worst oppression in the Middle East. Continue reading “Stop Elbit victory: No arms company expansion in East Kent!”

Stop Elbit defendants in court: call out for solidarity

This summer’s Block the Factory demonstration drew campaigners from across the UK to protest at Israeli arms manufacturer Elbit Systems’ factory in Shenstone. But 19 people were arrested during the demonstration, charged with breaching a High Court injunction that Elbit Systems had taken out in an attempt to halt protests at the factory. Campaigners have successfully challenged the injunction, and the ban on protest at the site has been lifted.

On Friday 28th August, the 19 arrested at the Block the Factory demonstration will be appearing at Burton-on-Trent magistrates court, and are expected to plead Not Guilty to the charges. Show your support with those arrested by joining one of the solidarity demonstrations.

Campaigners celebrate outside court Continue reading “Stop Elbit defendants in court: call out for solidarity”

What is Elbit hiding?

Two rooftop protests and no arrests. East Kent CAAT reports on the campaign against Israeli arms manufacturer Eblit System’s factory in Broadstairs, and asks: just what does Elbit have to hide?

Last year, we found out that we had an Elbit factory on our doorstep – Instro Precision, based in Broadstairs. This year we shut it down – twice. Both times, we put four people on the roof, D-locked a neck to the main gates, draped banners down the building, turned away deliveries, leafletted the local population and alerted media outlets. The workers were told to keep away for the day – both days.

In February, they tolerated the bad publicity and loss of business. Not one of the protesters was arrested. We wondered why: it is hardly usual for blockaders to be allowed to shut a factory down.

So we thought we’d see how much Elbit and the police would tolerate.

Continue reading “What is Elbit hiding?”

Stop Elbit: Kent activists rooftop occupation of an Israeli drone factory

On 17 February 2015, members of East Kent Campaign Against Arms Trade were among several groups who staged a rooftop occupation of a local arms factory. The action was hugely successful, receiving widespread media coverage and extensive local support. You can see a video report of the day here. Here, one of the activists gives her account of the day.

Protesters on the roof at a Kent arms company site

For 13 hours last Tuesday, we occupied the rooftop of a factory owned by the Israeli army’s drone supplier, Elbit Systems. We hung enormous banners advertising Elbit’s role in Israel’s war crimes, took phone calls from the press and pitched a tent against the cold.

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East Kent CAAT target Barclays

Canterbury activists from the new East Kent CAAT group have been targeting Barclays over their shares in Israeli Arms company Elbit systems,.

Barclays have been hit by a string of protests from activists across the country over their shares in Israeli arms manufacturer Elbit Systems. Elbit make 85% of the drones used by the Israeli military, and it’s armed drones are used by the Israeli army in daily surveillance and attacks in Gaza.

10404923_947009095318238_6906227602453814054_n (1) Continue reading “East Kent CAAT target Barclays”

UK drone exports – a peek behind the curtain

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This guest post comes from Chris Cole of Drone Wars UK and focuses on the UK drone industry. You can find out more at www.dronewars.net

Drones, or as the industry prefers to call them unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are the latest ‘must have’ weapon system and many countries are seeking to acquire or develop various types of military drones. While Israeli and US companies dominate the drone export market(and are also involved in lobbying efforts to ‘relax’ the international controls on their export), drones are increasingly been seen by the UK arms industry as a growth area and already a number of smaller niche companies have been swallowed up by the big guns.

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Arms export controls are broken

From Israel to Hong Kong, the arms export controls system is broken.

The UK’s arms export policy rarely comes under as much scrutiny as it did this summer. As Israel launched its devastating attacks on Gaza which were to leave more than 2,000 dead, over 500 of them children, the UK’s arms sales and military collaboration with Israel were challenged from all sides.

Protesters occupied the roof of Israeli drones manufacturer Elbit Systems, shutting it down for two days.
Protesters occupied the roof of Israeli drones manufacturer Elbit Systems, shutting it down for two days.

 

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UK must stop arming Israel

Protesters occupy Elbit Systems factory in Birmingham
Protesters occupy Elbit Systems factory in Birmingham

Last month Philip Hammond, the defence secretary, pronounced on Russia’s support for separatists in Ukraine: “They have been supplying them, they have been supporting them… They cannot deny their responsibility for the acts that these people are carrying out.”

He is right, but the same could be said of the UK’s support for Israel in the bombardment of Gaza.

Since 2010 the UK government has licensed £42 million worth of military equipment to Israel, including targeting systems and drone components. Even the UK government’s own review found 12 licences for components that may well have been used in the bombardment of Gaza.

The government’s response to its own review was shocking. It said it would suspend the licences only if ‘significant’ hostilities resumed. Yet even when Israel renewed its attacks on Gaza, with a further seven days of conflict, it did not do so. Continue reading “UK must stop arming Israel”