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Two Days of Action Against the Arms Trade

imc-uk-features | 07.08.2007 17:18 | Smash EDO | DSEi 2007 | Anti-militarism

Following a call-out from Disarm DSEi, a wave of autonomous actions against the arms trade took place around the UK over the weekend of 28-30 July, 2007. Actions included a protest at Heckler & Koch's small arms factory in Nottingham; visits to arms manufacturer Raytheon and mercenary company Erinys in London and to arms factory EDO MBM in Brighton; an Anti-DSEi stall in Brick Lane, East London, to raise funds for the Space Hijackers to 'buy a tank'; and protests at the MOD Defence Export Services Organisation and the adjacent armed forces recruitment centre.

But this is just the beginning; activists are flexing their muscles ready to take on the world's largest arms fair when it returns to the Excel Centre in East London on 11th-14th September. For further information, see

Links: Disarm DSEi | Space Hijackers | Smash EDO | CAAT | London CAAT



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DSEi selling torture equipment

07.08.2007 17:33

Just one more reason in a long litany to shut down DSEi when they show up in ExCel.
From today's Guardian:

Prevent torture equipment sales at arms fairs, say MPs
Richard Norton-Taylor
Tuesday August 7, 2007
The Guardian

Arms fairs should be patrolled by customs officers to stop the sale of instruments of torture and other equipment banned in Britain, a cross-party committee of MPs say in a report today.

They express concern about loopholes in the law that have allowed Land Rovers to be used in violent attacks on unarmed protestors in Uzbekistan and open the way to the sale of British military equipment to Burma despite an arms embargo.

The Guardian and Mark Thomas, the journalist and stand-up comedian, have discovered torture equipment and other anti-personnel weapons at British arms fairs. Today's report by the Commons committee on export controls says the issue arose again in May at a security industry exhibition in Birmingham.

It says Mr Thomas observed that a Chinese company, Echo Industrial Co, had electro-shock items on display. In evidence to the committee, he described how the person in charge of the stall, Jinguo Xia, "offered to show me the stun weapons and discharged them in the fair".

Mr Xia admitted being in possession of the weapons.

"It was a sad state of affairs," Roger Berry, Labour chairman of the committee, said yesterday. "Customs officers were not there. The Chinese company was near the Acpo (Association of Chief Police Officers) stall but [they] did not notice what was going on. The prosecution decided to prosecute for possession but not for breach of export controls."

At the last biennual Defence Systems & Equipment International Exhibition in London's Docklands, Mr Thomas found leg irons and stun guns - banned for export under British law - were being advertised by an Israeli company. At the previous exhibition, the Guardian found that Israeli cluster weapons were on show despite an appeal from the organisers to hide them.

MPs say the government has taken steps to tighten controls. What concerns them, they say, is failure to enforce the law and close loopholes which enable British weapons, and military vehicles and components, to be sold to violent regimes. When there are prosecutions, the fines are well below the value of the products seized.

The report says the inadequacy of controls over licensed production abroad was shown by the use of Turkish supplied and built Land Rover Defender vehicles in a massacre in Uzbekistan in 2005 when up to 500 people were killed. It also highlights the issues of "re-exporting", where British products are exported from the UK and then exported again to countries under arms embargoes. Amnesty, Oxfam, and Saferworld said last night that the committee's report should serve as a "wake-up call to the government of the urgent need to strengthen its own arms controls". But they also said the report was weak about the negative impact UK arms exports could have on developing countries.