Today, Tuesday 1 March, a group of anti-arms trade activists succeeded in blocking access to the UK Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) and UK Trade & Investment Defence & Security Organisation (UKTI DSO) for over an hour in protest at the UK’s arms exports to Libya.
They demanded a fundamental shift in the UK’s approach to arms sales: an end to the government promotion of arms exports and no more sales to repressive regimes and areas in conflict. A samba band played, while one of the protesters scaled the entrance to BIS to hang a banner above the entrance.
Read the full press release from Campaign Against Arms Trade
University careers fairs across the UK have seen demonstrations by anti-arms trade protesters in recent weeks as student activists oppose the recruitment efforts of companies like BAE Systems, the world’s largest arms producer.
The wave of recent actions at graduate recruitment fairs in Bristol, Edinburgh, London, Southampton and Exeter saw campaigners staging ‘die-in’ protests in front of BAE’s stalls and being forcefully removed by security staff. Key successes have been; the closure of the careers fair at Edinburgh, disruption of BAE presentations, a turn out of 50 students at Exeter University, a forthcoming discussion at Southampton University on arms companies on campus and we now know that BAE are having to shell out money for extra security at recruitment events.
Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) are encouraging students to continue demonstrating everywhere that arms traders attempts to recruit – this week students are expected to protest at Oxford University and Kent Universities Careers Fair.
CAAT group has compiled a list for students of 40 careers events this term where BAE or other arms traders will have a presence on various university campuses, including events at universities in Bath, Brighton, Bristol, Canterbury, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Exeter, Hertfordshire, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Northhampton, Nottingham, Oxford, Portsmouth, Sheffield, Swansea and York. Click here to see when one or more arms companies could be recruiting on your campus.
BAE Systems has been dogged for years by persistent allegations of bribery and investigated by the Serious Fraud Office for corruption, is keen to recruit university graduates, especially in engineering and sciences. Each year they spend thousands of pounds on recruiting staff to research, design, build, market and sell the next generation of killing equipment.
CAAT’s new Ban BAE campaign is designed to complement the clean investment campaign – calling for universities to divest from the arms trade for ethical reasons – and ultimately aims to sever the links between education and the arms trade entirely.
For further information on the Ban BAE Campaign please contact Abi Haque, CAAT’s Universities’ Network Co-ordinator on email@example.com or ring 020 7281 0297.
For information on CAAT please contact CAAT Media Co-ordinator Kaye Stearman via firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 020 7281 0297 or 07990 673 232.
1. Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) works for the reduction and ultimate abolition of the international arms trade together with progressive demilitarisation within arms producing countries. Around 80% of CAAT’s funding comes from individual supporters and CAAT is strictly non-violent in all its work.
2. CAAT has released a new action guide for students and activists, Disrupting Arms Company Recruitment, available to download from CAAT’s website, together with a BAE Counter-Recruitment Campaign Pack. Further information on the campaign and the Universities Network is available here. CAAT has compiled an initial list of dates when BAE is visiting universities which is available here. This is not a comprehensive list – check with your university careers service if your university isn’t listed.
3. According to the Stockholm International Peace Institute (SIPRI), BAE Systems is the world’s largest arms producer. It sells arms to countries the UK Foreign Office’s Human Rights report classes as “major countries of concern”. Notable customers include Israel, Pakistan and Indonesia, while its foremost overseas markets are Saudi Arabia and the United States. In February 2010 BAE agreed to plead guilty to “accounting irregularities” in a 1999 sale of radar equipment to Tanzania and was fined £30 million, while being simultaneously fined $400 million by the US Department of Justice for conspiring to defraud the US and for making false statements under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Two weeks after the launch of Campaign Against the Arms Trade’s new Ban BAE counter-recruitment campaign, students and anti-arms trade activists kicked off the academic year by taking over a BAE recruitment presentation and staging a die-in at their stall.
The action took place at the Guardian’s busy Graduate Fair held at the Business Design Centre in north London and saw 15 young people, including students, CND supporters and Quakers, making a strong but peaceful statement against the unethical activities of BAE – the world’s largest arms producer.
There was heavy handed treatment of the protesters by the security services at the event, activist Anna Clark was dragged away by her arms, while at least one other protester was pulled by the feet. It seems as if the security at the fair were expecting protests against BAE, in the afternoon the stall area opposite BAE was occupied not by an exhibiting employer, but two security guards keeping watch.
BAE Systems sells arms to countries the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Human Rights report classes as “major countries of concern”. Notable customers include Israel, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Indonesia. BAE arms sales in several countries have been investigated by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and allegations of corruption have dogged the company for years. In March 2010 BAE agreed to pay a $400 million criminal fine to the US Department of Justice.
The company is keen to recruit university graduates, especially in engineering and sciences. Each year they spend thousands of pounds on recruiting staff to research, design, build, market and sell the next generation of killing equipment.
But students are increasingly voicing their distaste for the promotion of careers in the in the arms industry by supposedly ethical organisations, like universities and The Guardian. CAAT has identified over 40 careers events in October and November 2010 where BAE or other arms companies will be present. Student activists are being urged to ensure that BAE is met with campus protests every time it participates in career fairs or other recruitment events.
Hannah Brock, a Quaker, explained, “I was glad to do something public in support of a campaign that makes people contemplate who they give their skills to”.
Hilary Aked, who interrupted the presentation, told Ekklesia that she was motivated by her recent work in Palestine. She pointed out that BAE sell weapons parts to Israeli forces.
“I can see for myself the effects of Israeli military actions, having just returned from Palestine,” she explained, “They’re using expensive military equipment to violently suppress peaceful protests”.
Abi Haque, CAAT Universities’ Network Co-ordinator says:
“We significantly disrupted the BAE presentation and stall. It was encouraging to see how many students were receptive to our message about BAE and the unethical career choices they offer to graduates. We hope that The Guardian, which has done so much to expose BAE’s shady activities, will exclude BAE from future Graduate Fairs.”
*For further information on the Ban BAE Campaign please visit CAAT Universities Network micro-site.
*For questions concerning the CAAT Universities network email@example.com“>email Abi Haque, CAAT’s Universities’ Network Co-ordinator or call 020 7281 0297.
*For information on CAAT please firstname.lastname@example.org“>email CAAT Media Co-ordinator Kaye Stearman or ring 020 7281 0297 / 07990 673 232.
Youtube video of Ban BAE protest at the Guardian Graduate Fair
Ekklesia article available at http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/13375
Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) has launched its new Ban BAE counter-recruitment campaign at the start of the new university year. CAAT’s Universities’ Network is calling on anti-arms trade activists to take part in direct action against arms giant BAE Systems and stop their participation in recruitment events.
Abi Haque, CAAT Universities’ Network Co-ordinator says:
Education and arms companies should not mix. CAAT aims to widen the gap between universities and the arms trade. Previous student actions have been hugely successful, as well as very entertaining. Last year these ran from confiscating promotional materials and removing displays, to die-ins and and grim reapers looming over stalls. We expect this year to be equally interesting.
For full press release and contact details see: http://www.caat.org.uk/press/recent.php?url=20101005prs
Campaign Against Arms Trade is excited to launch BAN BAE, the campaign to kick arms giant BAE Systems off campus.
BAE Systems is desperate to recruit university graduates. Each year they spend thousands of pounds on recruiting students to design, build, market and sell the next generation of killing equipment.
In 2008, student protests across the UK forced energy giant E.ON to abandon its recruitment tour of universities. Last year students targeted BAE recruitment stalls with die-ins and dressed as grim reapers!
This year we want BAE to be met with protests wherever it goes to recruit students. We want to force BAE to conclude that attending university career fairs is not worth their while and shut down their main link to graduates.
Take action to BAN BAE:
- Find out when BAE are visiting your university. CAAT has compiled an initial list of dates here: http://universities.caat.org.uk/ban-bae Check with your careers service too.
- To order a campaign pack and find out ways to get involved please email Abi and for more information please visit our student website.
Repressive regimes and countries in conflict are among the military delegations who will be attending the 2010 Farnborough Air Show. Algeria, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia will attend, having been invited by the UK government. Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) says that the presence of such countries makes a mockery of the system of arms export controls, which supposedly restrict arms sales to responsible countries.
While negotiations for an Arms Trade Treaty take place in New York, Coalition Government ministers will be participating in trade days at Farnborough. Vince Cable, Business Secretary, with overall responsibility for the government arms sales unit, UK Trade & Investment Defence & Security Organisation (UKTI DSO), will be there on Monday 19 July. Defence Minister Liam Fox, who has explicitly stated that arms sales should be a foreign policy tool, will attend on Tuesday 20 July.
Rooftop occupation at Heckler & Koch
On May 20th at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court, anti-arms-trade activist Kirk Jackson was found guilty of aggravated trespass for his part in a protest that shut down an arms company for a day. He was given a twelve month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £350 court costs.
The charge arose from a February 18th protest at the Nottingham warehouse of international arms company Heckler & Koch. Before dawn, four activists locked themselves to the gates, preventing employees from entering, while Kirk and another activist climbed onto the roof and displayed banners accusing the company of “arming repressive regimes”.
Early this morning anti-arms trade campaigners climbed onto the roof and locked themselves to the gates of the UK headquarters of the major arms company Heckler and Koch to protest against the company’s unethical activities; Unit 3, Easter Park, Lenton Lane, Nottingham NG7 2PX
Heckler and Koch is the world’s second largest manufacturer of handguns, assault rifles, submachine guns, machine guns and grenade launchers (1). Millions of H&K weapons are currently in use in over 90 countries, falling into the hands of child soldiers in Africa, terrorists in the Middle East, militias in Darfur, rebels in Nigeria, arms traffickers in the Philippines, mercenaries in Iraq and organised criminals in Serbia. Heckler & Koch weapons have been used by armed forces in conflicts in which those forces have been accused by international monitors of war crimes, including Bosnia in 1991, South Ossetia in 2008 and Sri Lanka in 2009. In total, H&K weapons are estimated to have caused 1.5 million deaths worldwide to date.
In recent years there have been efforts to create a Latin America-wide anti-militarist network, which has produced statements on, amongst other issues, the threat of war between Colombia and Venezuela, and the military coup in Honduras. One of their most significant challenges is the new populist face of militarism in the region, with leaders such as Hugo Chavez garnering widespread support from civilians for potential conflicts.
On Tuesday 2nd February 2010 in London, there will be a discussion of the growing anti-militarist movements in Latin America, featuring activists Pelao Carvallo, a Chilean living in Paraguay, and Rafael Uzcategui from Venezuela. This event will be presented by War Resisters’ International and hosted at Housmans radical bookshop, and will be conducted in English and Spanish, with interpreters.
Housmans has been selling radical books for fifty years, and is one of the last remaining radical bookshops in London. The biggest threat to independent bookshops is Amazon, which imposes poor conditions on its workers, and whose near-monopoly allows it to squeeze small publishers. Housmans recently launched its own online bookshop, with half a million titles, to provide an ethical alternative to Amazon.
The event will begin at 19:00, and the address is 5 Caledonian Rd, London N1 9DX (nearest tube King’s Cross).
For three weeks in January 2009, the bombs rained down on Gaza. At the end of Israel’s brutal bombing campaign and ground offensive over 1400 Palestinians had been murdered, including 314 children.
In Brighton EDO MBM/ITT manufacture some of the weapons components that devastated so many lives. All over the world thousands of people watched appalled at the carnage on the streets of Gaza. Thousands marched and raged at the destruction of peoples’ homes and lives. On January 18th 2010, the anniversary of the final day of Operation Cast Lead, we will come together to remember the people of Gaza.
We will not allow those who supported their pain and profited from their suffering to go unchallenged. We will not let this genocide be forgotten. On the first anniversary after their deaths, we will rise up. We will take to the streets. We will remember…
Assemble at 1pm, wear black…
More details, including the meeting place, will be published here closer to the date.