FAO Newsdesks - 3rd May 2002
CAAT releases BAE Systems' Alternative Annual Report at BAE AGM
Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) will be attending this year's BAE AGM, concerned at where the company derives its profits.
CAAT will be releasing an alternative annual report, which calls into question the company's pledge to follow a code of conduct. Among many issues charted are:
The sale of Hawk jets and Gripen fighters to South Africa in a deal the UK Department of Trade and Industry backed with £1.67bn of export credits guarantees. The deal dwarfs allocation for HIV/Aids treatments, from which over 10% of South African's suffer. Moreover, even military journals acknowledge the country "faces no immediate military threat".
How BAE won the sale of a military air-traffic control system to Tanzania. The £28m deal was criticised by the World Bank for costing four times the necessary levy and the equipment largely useless as the country needed a civilian air-traffic system. With an annual turnover of £13.1bn last year, BAE is twice as wealthy as Tanzania (population 33 million) - one of the world's ten poorest countries.
How BAE lobbied for £1bn of Hawk jets to be sold to India, and exhibited at an arms fair in Delhi, as tensions between India and Pakistan peaked at the start of 2002.
In the past, British Aerospace, a previous incarnation of BAE, sold jets to Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Zimbabwe. Moreover, they attempted to sell Saddam Hussein Hawk jets in the 1980s. CAAT's report, using sources from military trade press, demonstrates that little has changed in terms of BAE's carefree attitude to exporting arms.
Richard Bingley of CAAT said: "This is a company that still sells military equipment to areas of conflict, bad governance and abject poverty. Surely it is time for BAE to cut out these dubious deals and behave with more corporate responsibility."
CAAT activists will be attending the AGM at Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Westminster, from 9am on Friday 3rd May. Pictures and interviews will be available for media personnel.
To receive a copy of the 'BAE Systems Alternative Report 2002' please contact Richard Bingley at the CAAT press office on +44-(0)-20 7281-0297 or 07947 230426. Email: press(at)caat·org·uk
Alternatively, the report can be found on the caat website