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March Against St Athan Military Academy, April 26

penderyn2000 | 21.04.2008 10:17 | Anti-militarism | Globalisation | Terror War

On Saturday 26 April (1.30pm) people from all over the UK will be coming to Cardiff for the first national UK march against the proposed military academy at St Athan - a huge PFI project involving, among others, arms manufacturers Raytheon: if we do not act now, our taxes will fund their profits and the preparation of future Iraqs.

March against the St Athan Military Academy - assemble 1.30pm, Cardiff City Hall, 26th April.

Imagine a world in which the armed forces are trained by arms dealers.

And we subsidise their profits.

That world will become reality unless we stop the proposed school of death at St Athan.

The creation of a military super-academy at St Athan, between Cardiff and Swansea, was announced as a done deal in January 2007. Despite the fact this represented the biggest PFI in history, involving £14 billion of taxpayers' money, there had been no debate in either Westminster or the Welsh Assembly. A promise of 5500 local jobs was trumpeted loudly by an uncritical news media and presented as a great victory for Wales.

No wonder the politicians didn't want any debate. The new super-academy, replacing many smaller centres, means that military training will now be in the hands of shameless profiteers.

The winning bidders for the project were the Metrix consortium. This consortium includes Qinetiq, the privatised research and development wing of the MoD. Qinetiq was recently the subject of intense criticism by the National Audit Office. Its privatisation was proposed by MoD managers – who then saw their shares rise 10,000% on the day of the sale! 33.8% of Qinetiq was also bought by the US-based Carlyle Group, a sinister lash-up of politicians and arms dealers with a vested interest in promoting
war. Former members of its board include one George W. Bush.

Then there is the US arms manufacturer Raytheon. Raytheon make the missiles which deliver cluster bombs, the horrendous weapons which are estimated to have killed 100,000 people – 98% of them innocent civilians. The world can also thank Raytheon for the depleted uranium weapons which have led to thousands of horribly deformed babies and large increases in cancers in war zones and beyond.

Raytheon, Qinetiq and friends will not just be training UK armed forces at St Athan. They will train any soldiers, sailors and air force personnel that are willing to pay for the privilege. And like all PFIs, the St Athan academy will be subsidised by the taxpayer, and if necessary, bailed out with public money.

There has never been a detailed breakdown of the jobs the academy will bring. However, even Metrix admit that many of the military trainers will relocate from elsewhere. Every PFI has secured profits by cutting costs. St Athan will mean less MoD jobs overall, and the poorest pay and conditions for low-skilled workers.

In any case, imagine what else could be done with £14 billion! With hospitals and schools closing throughout Wales and the UK, with a desperate need to improve social facilities, create sustainable sources of energy etc, such public money could be invested in socially useful projects rather than the preparation for future wars of occupation like Iraq.

If this development goes ahead, 21st century Wales will be become a militarised, security-obsessed nightmare. If you want to stop the war profiteers in their tracks, come to the 26 April demo, support the campaign and raise it in your union, student union, workplace and community. To join our mailing list, email, or write to Stop The St Athan Academy c/o Temple of Peace, Cardiff CF10 3AP. For more details visit

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