Franciscan monks travel from the Netherlands to hold silent vigil outside ITEC arms fair this week
ITEC, a specialist annual arms fair dedicated to military training and simulation, will take place this week from 16th-18th May in the ExCeL Centre in London's Docklands.
ITEC is organised by Reed Exhibitions, the company responsible for the DSEI arms fair which took place at the ExCeL Centre last September and is due to return to London in September 2007. DSEI 2005 met with widespread national protest as well as opposition from Newham residents, the Council and London Mayor Ken Livingstone.
Two Dutch Franciscan monks have brought their annual protest to Newham this week: they will hold a silent prayer vigil each day outside the ExCeL Centre, near the Customs House Station entrance. ITEC has previously been held in the Netherlands and the monks have held their vigil protest at each one. The Mayor of Amsterdam, Job Cohen, spoke out against ITEC 2005 in much the same way as Ken Livingstone spoke out against DSEI 2005 in London.
The equipment on display at ITEC ranges from simulators for training individual pilots to fly fighter jets and attack helicopters, to Command and Control systems for modelling full war scenarios, to equipment for high-tech target practice. Equipment expected to be seen at ITEC this week includes Hellfire missile target practice and F-16 Fighter Jet Simulators.
Last year ITEC attracted 133 exhibitors, including seven of the world's ten biggest arms manufacturers. Many of the companies who will be present this year are the training and simulation divisions of major arms companies, such as BAE Systems Insyte or Lockheed Martin Simulation, which was awarded a contract to supply F-16 training to the Israeli Air Force in 2004. Israel has continuously used F-16 fighter jets against Palestinian civilians in the illegally occupied Palestinian Territories. F-16s have also been implicated in the destruction of Kurdish villages by Turkish armed forces.
Anna Jones, a spokesperson for Campaign Against Arms Trade, said:
“The companies exhibiting at ITEC train people to kill and maim. This arms fair will see human rights abusers and countries involved in bloody conflict proliferating ever more dangerous weaponry. We need to keep the pressure on Reed Elsevier to drop this deadly part of their business.”
For information or an interview, please contact Beccie D'Cunha on 020 7281 0297 or media(at)caat·org·uk.
ITEC 2006 briefing
A two page briefing about ITEC 2006 and Reed Elsevier's role in organising it can be downloaded here as a pdf.