13 January 2011
"This is not OK" CAAT launches anti-arms trade campaign on Eisenhower anniversary
2011 sees Campaign Against Arms Trade's (CAAT) new campaign "This is not OK". The simple slogan highlights the unethical basis of the Government's enthusiastic support for the arms industry and arms exports.
"This is not OK" is launched on 17 January, the 50th anniversary of President Eisenhower's farewell address, where he warned against the unfettered growth of the "military-industrial complex". He stated:
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."
In the coming year, CAAT will focus its anti-arms trade message on three separate but interlinked groups and organisations:
The Coalition government, its Ministers, and MPs from the main political parties, in and out of government.
UK Trade & Investment Defence & Security Organisation (UKTI DSO), the government organisation responsible for promoting arms exports and organising and inviting foreign government delegations to UK arms fairs.
Clarion Events, the private company that owns and organises international arms fairs, including DSEi, Defence and Security Equipment International, the biennial London arms fair.
Throughout the year there will be public actions and demonstrations to bring home the message "This is not OK" to the public, to government decision-makers and to DSEi's organisers. The climax of the campaign will be the DSEi arms fair which takes place in London docklands on 13-16 September 2011.
Sarah Waldron, Core Campaign Co-ordinator at CAAT, says
"Eisenhower's concerns about the military-industrial complex are as relevant to the UK today as they were to the USA 50 years ago. The arms industry has a devastating impact on people and countries round the world, as well as funnelling money from more socially useful areas. This is not OK. We want an end to government support for the arms industry and the cancellation of arms fairs, especially the DSEi arms fair.
For further information contact CAAT Media Co-ordinator Kaye Stearman email the press officer.
1. Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) works for the reduction and ultimate abolition of the international arms trade together with progressive demilitarisation within arms producing countries. Around 80% of CAAT's income is raised from individual supporters.
2. President Dwight D Eisenhower gave his farewell speech to the American public on 17 January 1961. He closed with the words: We pray that people of all faiths, all races, all nations...will come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love. As the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe during World War II and later the Army Chief of Staff, he was in a better position than most to know of the impact of war and the weapons used in them.
3. The DSEi arms fair is organised by UKTI DSO and Clarion Events.
4. UK Trade and Investment has approximately 130 staff to support 34 industry sectors. In 2008, it opened the Defence & Security Organisation (UKTI DSO) to promote arms exports. UKTI now employs 160 civil servants to sell arms. Peter Luff, Defence Equipment Minister, has said: There will be a very, very, very heavy ministerial commitment to (arms sales). There is a sense that in the past we were rather embarrassed about exporting defence products. There is no such embarrassment in this Government. Foreign Secretary William Hague has also been upfront about his involvement in promoting BAE products to the rest of the world.
5. Clarion Events is a large private equity events company that hosts a range of trade and consumer fairs such as the Baby Show and the Spirit of Christmas fair. Since 2008 it has also acquired 12 arms events including DSEi as well as joining the arms industry trade body Aerospace|Defence|Security.