Saturday, August 30, 2003

I was going to write about this in a couple of weeks' time, but seeing as it's in the paper today I might as well mention it now.

Over four days in London next month, some of the world's leading arms manufacturers will be peddling their wares at the Defence Systems and Equipment International exhibition in Docklands. It's Europe's largest arms fair, sponsored by the Government -- yes, the Labour government, the one you voted into power because you liked the sound of its ethical foreign policy.

Looking for a fleet of warships? Fancy upgrading your APC for something a bit fancier? Or maybe just thinking of blowing the shit out of your neighbour (you know, the one that plays the Garage tunes at 2 o'clock in the morning.) If so, DSEi's the place to go. It's the Wal-Mart of Weapons.

Because of this, it attracts buyers from around the world, including Angola, Tanzania, Israel, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. But wait -- aren't all these countries accused of human rights violations? Amnesty International certainly thinks so.

Today, the Guardian reports that manufacturers of cluster bombs have been asked not to display their disgusting products because it's considered to be "inappropriate."

That just about sums up the sickening hypocrisy of the whole event. The slick men in suits can happily gather in London with government backing and ply their deadly trade -- but they're politely asked not to to put their goods in the shop window in case it shows them for what they are.

It's not just the cluster bombs that should be kept out -- the whole exhibition should be shut down.

Disarm DSEi 2003
Campaign Against the Arms Trade


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