Welcome to Peace News, the newspaper for the UK grassroots peace and justice movement. We seek to oppose all forms of violence, and to create positive change based on cooperation and responsibility. See more

"Peace News has compiled an exemplary record... its tasks have never been more critically important than they are today." Noam Chomsky

  • facebook
  • rss
  • twitter

Articles from the Peace News log: Arms trade

Articles from the Peace News log.
For articles in this category from the whole site, look here

The Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) has been given permission to keep putting the British government's arms trade policies on trial – over the Saudi-led war on Yemen.

On 4 May, the British court of appeal granted permission for the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) to appeal the legality of British arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

CAAT took its legal case to the court of appeal on 12 April for a one day hearing in an attempt to overturn a high court judgment which allows the UK government to continue to export arms to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen.

On 4 May, two court of appeal judges, lord justice Irwin and lord justice Flaux, granted permission to appeal, and the case will be heard by the court of appeal in the months ahead.

For more than three years the government has refused to stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia – despite overwhelming evidence that UK weapons are being used in violations of international humanitarian law in Yemen.

'Given the evidence we have heard and the volume of UK-manufactured arms exported to Saudi Arabia, it seems inevitable that any violations of international humanitarian and human rights law by the coalition have involved arms supplied from the UK. This constitutes a breach of our own export licensing criteria.' – Parliament's International Development and Business, Innovation and Skills Committees, October 2016

Ignoring massive public pressure to stop the arms sales, the government has instead done everything it can to maintain its relationship with Saudi Arabia, the UK's biggest arms customer.

We can’t and won’t let this stand.

...Read More

Andrea Needham reports on the recent trial of Sam Walton and Dan Woodhouse in Burnley

Image

Sam and Woody with supporters outside the court

Poor old British Aerospace. Not only were the first group of people to break in to their Warton site in Lancashire to disarm a warplane acquitted, now the second lot have also been found not guilty. It's curious how difficult it appears to be to convict people for acting peacefully to prevent war crimes.

The first such disarmament action took place in January 1996, when a group of women (myself included) broke in and disarmed a Hawk warplane being sold to Indonesia for use in their brutal war on the people of East Timor. Six months later, all of us were acquitted by a jury, having made the defence that we were simply using reasonable force to prevent crime, as allowed in British law.

The serial number on the casing was visible, showing that the bomb was made by Raytheon in Glenrothes, Scotland, after the war against Yemen started.

The second action took place exactly 21 years later (the date was a happy coincidence), when Sam Walton and Dan Woodhouse broke in with the intention of disarming Typhoon, Tornado and Hawk warplanes which BAE is selling to Saudi Arabia. As we all know, Saudi Arabia is pursuing a brutal war in Yemen, which has led to thousands of civilian deaths. The almost total destruction of the infrastructure of the country has caused the biggest outbreak of cholera in recorded history, and millions of people are on the verge of starvation. Yet BAE continues to sell warplanes, other British companies sell bombs, and the British government falls over itself to appease the fragile Saudi ego, touchy as the rulers are about accusations of war crimes.

...Read More

New book marks 20th anniversary of land-mark anti-arms trade action

ImagePress release
27 January 2016
Peace News [1]

Contact 07596 483 272 for more info or to arrange an interview with Andrea

WOMAN WHO DISARMED WARPLANE PUBLISHES MEMOIR
New book marks 20th anniversary of land-mark anti-arms trade action

7pm, 29 January 2016, Friends House, London: A woman who disarmed a warplane bound for genocide in South East Asia will be launching her newly published book about the action and subsequent trial at an event in Friends House, London this Friday, the 20th anniversary of the action itself [2].

Published by Peace News Press, Andrea Needham's book 'The Hammer Blow' [3], is an inside account of the Seeds of Hope East Timor Ploughshares action, in which four women used household hammers to disarm a Hawk warplane at a British Aerospace factory in Lancashire in 1996 [4].  The plane was about to be delivered to the Indonesian military, for use in their then-ongoing campaign of genocide against the people of occupied East Timor [5].

...Read More

Report and images from Trident Protest at Rolls Royce AGM.

Trident KillsRolls-Royce directors were confronted with the harrowing testimony of a Hiroshima survivor, Setsuko Thurlow, at their AGM on 1 May. Although the quote was lengthy, the chair was too disorientated to interrupt, and the board responded with nervous laughter.

Rolls-Royce provides power systems for Britain's Trident nuclear-powered, nuclear-missile-carrying submarine system. In June 2012, Rolls-Royce was awarded a £1bn contract to produce new reactor cores for the submarine that is intended to replace Trident.

At the Rolls-Royce AGM, Sheffield peace activists asked about the impact of a nuclear strike on shareholders, alternative uses for Rolls-Royce technology such as green energy, and whether taxpayers would have to pay for the lost investment if the Trident nuclear submarine system is not replaced. At the end of the AGM, activists held up banners saying: ‘No Trident’ and ‘Trident Kills’.

...Read More

Jessica Corbett reports from a recent meeting of anti-arms trade campaigners at City Circle.

ImageOn 10 September, DSEi invades London. DSEi, or Defence & Security Equipment International, is the world’s largest international arms trade fair, and is held every two years at the London ExCeL Centre.

One of the most touted arguments in favour of arms production is employment. Companies and politicians constantly make the claim that a reduction in arms development means a loss of jobs.

However, that doesn’t have to be the case, and some alternatives to arms trade may actually be better for workers and the economy.

In many nations with arms trade industries, governments subsidise arms trade-related jobs with taxpayer money. As of May 2011, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) estimated the UK arms export subsidies at around £700 million per year.

...Read More

Second half of Jessica Corbett's report on City Circle's recent anti-arms trade meeting.

ImageThe City Circle held its weekly public meeting at the Abrar House Friday evening, featuring two experts on the international campaign against arms trading.

In less than two weeks, London will play host to the world’s largest international arms trade fair. The city will welcome 30,000 arms dealers and 1,400 exhibitors or companies to the ExCeL Centre for Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEi), which is held here every two years.

But for many Londoners, and campaigners from all over the world, DSEi is not a welcome event.

Leading up the three-day fair, which kicks off 10 September, activists have organized vigils and demonstrations to highlight major concerns about arms trade.

The meeting on 30 August was simply called ‘The Fair is Here.’

Speakers Kirsten Bayes and Barnaby Pace addressed about 40 members of the surrounding communities and answered questions from the audience.

Kirsten Bayes is a long-time campaigner for various peace and social justice movements. She started campaigning against DSEi in 2003, and in 2011 she joined the Stop the Arms Fair coalition team.

Stop the Arms Fair is a coalition of groups, such as Occupy London and Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT).

...Read More

A series of Jill Gibbon's drawings from BAE's annual general meeting, May 8th

Image
Getting cross

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

...Read More

The freebies given away at DSEi arms fair in London are so extraordinary they need to be seen to be believed. Jill Gibbon has drawn and photographed a selection.

Air Boss Defense condoms given free to arms dealers

Air Boss Defense condoms given free to arms dealers

...Read More

Jill Gibbon reports from Britain's biggest arms fair.

Image
Appropriate clothing for selling weapons

A sign at the entrance to the Defense and Security Equipment International arms fair warns that visitors must wear business dress. The pinstriped suits, school ties and polished shoes shroud the event in sham respectability. However, the dress code does not extend to sales staff. Here, the main aim is to entice.

...Read More

ImageThis is the first of a series of drawings from DSEi 2011.

As the world’s largest arms fair, DSEi is part of a wider shift in the commercialisation of war. Although arms companies have always profited from conflict, military production was previously linked to the perceived needs of the state.

In the 1990s this changed. Arms companies responded to the reduction of military budgets at the end of the Cold War by expanding beyond state boundaries, merging into multinationals and selling to almost any country willing to buy. Caught between the national and multinational, promising defence while selling war, the international arms trade is riddled with contradictions.

Arms companies sell military equipment to opposing sides of border disputes, to developing countries at inflated prices, and to repressive regimes for ‘crowd control’. Many of these deals take place at DSEi.

...Read More