Author Archives: tomandersoncw

Arms fair organiser operating at a massive loss

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Clarion Events, the company which organises the biannual arms fair in London’s docklands has been operating at a massive loss. The international trade exhibition organiser declared a consolidated loss of £22 million during 2014 following a £41 million loss the previous year.

DSEI is one of the world’s largest arms fairs, playing host to thousands of companies and government delegations from around the world. The fair sparked two weeks of protests, with campaigners attempting to disrupt the setting up of the fair by blocking the road to the exhibition centre and blocking trucks bringing weapons to the fair to display. Several protesters managed to bypass security and get inside the fair (see and ). breached Clarion’s cyber security and leaked documents containing commercial, logistical and security information intended for Clarion’s customers.

When Clarion bought DSEI from Reed Elsevier (now RELX Group) in 2008 it was new to the arms business. Its exhibition portfolio included the Baby Show, the Travel Show and the Spirit of Christmas fair. Since then, Clarion seems to have developed an appetite for arms fairs. It bought six more within the space of four years. In a clear statement of intent, Clarion has even become a member of the group, the industry body for the arms trade, and set up a special company called Clarion Defence and Security to manage their collection of arms fairs. It also organises the .

Clarion Events was bought by Providence Equity in January this year. The mainstream press that it was hard to find a buyer for Clarion because of its involvement in the arms trade. Providence will be hoping to see a turn around in Clarion’s finances. But this year’s anti-arms fair protests may have eaten into Clarion’s profits from DSEI.

Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade said: “Clarion profits from an industry that thrives on war and conflict and has rightfully been a target for protest. If it was to fold or give up on DSEI then any prospective buyers would quickly find themselves facing the same opposition. Arms fairs are not just morally bankrupt, they’re also bad for your brand and bad for your business.”

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Arms fair’s cyber security breached

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Anarchists calling themselves the ‘Information Liberation Front’ (ILF) have to the website, which show that they were able to to company EZONE account on the DSEI arms fair’s website and register a at the fair. DSEI is one of the world’s biggest arms fairs and is taking place in London’s Docklands today. Hacking Team is a cyber surveillance company, which is exhibiting at the fair. Continue reading

French multinaltional SAFT complicit in Gaza massacre

A battery pack manufactured by SAFT USA, discarded in a house in Khuza'a, Gaza

A battery pack manufactured by SAFT USA, discarded in a house in Khuza’a, Gaza

As the anniversary of last year’s seven week long massacre by Israel in the Gaza Strip draws closer, evidence obtained by Corporate Watch shows that a French company manufactured equipment used by the Israeli military in Gaza last year. Photos taken by International Solidarity Movement activist Charlie Andreasson on 7 August 2014 show that a military battery pack manufactured in the US by French company SAFT was discarded in the village of Khuza’a in the southern Gaza Strip after one of the worst massacres of the attack.

The photos were taken in a house which was occupied by Israeli soldiers during July 2014. One photo shows a notice from the Israeli military to people living in the villages in the countryside east of Khan Younis, requiring them to leave their homes and go to the centre of the city until further notice. The notice said that if they did not go then they would be in danger. Other photos show shrapnel on the floor and cases for bullets.

Ammunition containers left by Israeli soldiers n a home in Khuza’a

Notices dropped by the Israeli military ordering Khuza’a residents to leave their homes

Map of the area for evacuation

Shrapnel from a shell fired by the Israeli military in Khuza’a

According to an article by Mondoweiss based on first hand accounts, on 23 July Israeli forces entered the village of Khuza’a, firing bullets and artillery shells at people trying to flee. Ambulance crews that had negotiated with the Israeli forces to rescue the wounded were also fired on. A missile was fired at a local clinic where people were attempting to obtain emergency treatment. Throughout the day medical crews were prevented from helping the wounded.

Later in the day, soldiers occupied several houses around Khuza’a, turning them into military posts. People trying to leave the village, many carrying white flags, were fired on with bullets and missiles from planes, helicopters and drones.

One resident, Mohamed Ismail, sent out accounts on Twitter. His updates read:

“My family & I made it out, light injuries. Hundreds of casualties, bodies in the streets. Many of the dead in Khuza’a bled to death bc ambulances unable to reach. From my window I watched a 20 yr old die for hours. One doctor, Kamal Abu Rjeila, treated injuries that came into his clinic even after it was bombed & his father killed. The Israeli army used ten families as human shields. They took over their homes and wouldn’t let them escape. Home I was sheltering in with 50 others was bombed. I don’t know what happened to them but my shoes soaked in their blood. We escaped to our home under the cover of the dust from the bombing. Minutes later, it was hit by 3 artillery shells. We tried to escape on foot to Khuza’a’s exit, but helicopters fired on us. I saw a woman carrying her dead child in one arm and a white flag in the other. She used the white flag to wrap his body. As we walked I saw my uncle and his son, dead on the road next to their house. Snipers were hitting people in the legs. My other cousin died trying to save his bleeding brother in the street. They died on top of each other. There are corpses still lying in the streets, injured people waiting to become corpses, families who still haven’t escaped”.

SAFT is a multinational company headquartered in France. It produces batteries used in the aviation, transport (tram and metro), oil and gas and telecommunications industries as well as for military use. The battery pack photogaphed in Khuza’a was from the US, where SAFT has a significant presence.

The battery found in the house in Khuza’a had, written on it in English and Hebrew, “SAFT AMERICA INC standard issue organic lithium battery, date of manufacture Feb. 2013”

The civil socitety call for boycott, divestment and sanctions calls for campaigners to target companies involved in supplying equipment used by the Israeli military. Activists should consider campaigning for SAFT’s non-military contractors to drop their contracts with SAFT over its complicity in Israel’s attacks on Palestinians.

Shareholder activists target Barclays AGM

20150423_110056On Thursday 23 April 2015, several protests were held outside the gates of the Barclays Annual General Meeting at the Royal Festival Hall.

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Elbit: new company profile

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Elbit Systems, based in Haifa, is Israel’s largest publicly traded arms and security company. Elbit is growing fast. It has absorbed dozens of companies since 2000 and now employs well over 11,500 people as well a presiding over a considerable global network of subsidiaries and affiliated corporations.

Elbit is a company with international reach, in fact 75% of its market is outside Israel. The company has military contracts with governments in the US, UK and Europe, Africa, Asia and South America.

85% of drones used by the Israeli military are manufactured by Elbit. Elbit’s armed drones are used by the Israeli army in daily surveillance and attacks in Gaza, according to Defense News. In effect, Elbit markets its equipment on the fact that it has been battle tested on the bodies of people in Gaza. For example, the Elbit website advertises that the Hermes 450 drone is the “backbone of Israel’s UAS fleet” and is combat proven.

To read the full profile click here.

Will the Supreme Court give police the ‘right’ to mass surveillance?

john-catt_2509902bThe Metropolitan Police and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), with the backing of the Secretary of State, have been fighting a case in the Supreme Court, defending their ‘right’ to store data on protesters. They are appealing against a 2013 judgement, which said that they were obliged to destroy data about an anti-war protester called John Catt. The ruling has implications for the police’s right to store data on everyone. The court has now heard legal arguments and a judgement is expected soon. Continue reading

Palestinian students call for Barclays boycott over Elbit investment

Barclays stop arming Israel demoPalestinian students have made this call for students around the world to stop banking with Barclays:

The Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel (PSCABI), a group of Palestinian students in Gaza dedicated to the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Campaign of Israel and the global justice movement for Palestinian justice and liberty, respectfully call on students around the world to stop banking with Barclays until Barclays divests from and ceases trading in shares in Elbit Systems, the major Israeli military company and drone manufacturer. Continue reading

Planting hope in Palestine through BDS

We will be participating in Sumud Palestine’s ‘Planting hope in Palestine’ conference in Stoke on Trent.

Tom Anderson will be giving a talk and workshops on the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign.

‘Planting hope in Palestine’ is a one-day conference on Saturday, 25 October from 9.45 to 5.00 pm at Burslem School of Art at Queen Street, Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent ST6 3EJ

Stop arming Israel – Workshop at the Anarchist Bookfair

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At least 800 major drone strikes were carried out during Israel’s 2014 attacks on Gaza while drones caused the most deaths during the attack on Gaza in 2012.

The Israeli drone industry is profitable as well as deadly. Israeli companies have sold drone technology to over 50 countries around the world. Israeli company Elbit is developing a British drone for the UK military.

Come and hear the stories of survivors of Israeli drone attacks and find out how you can join the campaign to make sure Elbit don’t profit any further from the bloodshed they have caused in Gaza.

Barclays Stock Brokers facilitating investment in the arms trade

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Barclays Bank claims that it is “not an investor in the defence industry” (defence is the euphemism the industry uses to avoid talking about trade in weapons). However, the bank profits from investment in the arms trade through providing its Barclays Stock Brokers service, which facilitates the buying and selling of shares, including shares in arms companies. In one of the options offered by Barclays to its UK customers the bank advertises that: “Barclays Stockbrokers will hold your assets on your behalf”. According to the Barclays Stockbrokers sales team the bank allows its customers to invest in any company they wish in “up to 18 different markets”. Barclays Stock Brokers’ customers are able to trade in whatever company they like, regardless of Barclays stated ethical policies. Continue reading