Arms sales are not apolitical acts. On one hand, they bolster the buyers by giving them a British endorsement as a fig-leaf of respectability, but they also buy the UK government's political support and compliance. As the crackdown continues to escalate it is becoming increasingly clear that decisions being made in support of arms sales are having serious consequences for the victims of state repression.
With the polls tightening and the bookmakers shortening their odds, there is now a very real chance that Scottish people will vote for independence in two weeks time... However, one of the most positive contributions has been the Scottish Government's commitment to a 'do no harm' arms exports policy in the event of a Yes vote.
Without justice there can be no peace in Bahrain, and that won't change as long as the UK is happy to promote and provide political cover for an illegitimate government that is inflicting untold misery on its own citizens. Only by ending the political and military support that is strengthening the regime can the UK ensure that it is promoting human rights and acting the best interests of the people of Bahrain.
Coming soon near you it's The Terminator. Yes, folks the fully autonomous weapon is firmly on the horizon. Whether on the battlefield or targeted on the streets, these weapons should have no place in warfare or policing. But a future where the decision on whether you live or die could soon be made by a Killer Robot. It sounds like science fiction, but the reality is moving ever closer.
It's possible I'm being too harsh on the Government. Maybe the remaining 130 licences for exports to Egypt are OK, and the risk that any of this other equipment might be misused is minor. But I suspect we need more revocations now, and a tighter policy on actually issuing licences in future. At the very least we need more information.
The five things you need to know on Wednesday 17 July 2013... 1) ARMS FOR DICTATORS From the Independent's splash: "The Government has issued...
Ten years ago, when I, along with colleagues from many countries around the world launched the Control Arms campaign, we had a simple message for governments: the arms trade is out of control and ordinary people around the world are suffering at the rate of one death every minute, with millions more forced from their homes, suffering abuse and impoverishment.
I'm not denying that the war in Syria is a hell on earth for it's citizens, or that there have been war crimes committed against them. Though I suspect our government's push for arms sales to Syrian opposition forces may have less to do with the atrocities and inequalities of a foreign war and more to do with financial concerns closer to home.
The British government recently sat down with torturers and did business. Sound familiar? Of course it does. Yet this time, the tortured victims of Sheikh Khalifa's dictatorship in the United Arab Emirates were not political dissidents, Yet this time, the tortured victims of Sheikh Khalifa's dictatorship in the United Arab Emirates were not political dissidents, but British citizens. "but British citizens.
On average a man, women or child dies every minute as a result of armed violence.Two thirds die in countries that are not officially in conflict. Violence fuelled by illegal arms diverts resources away from schools, healthcare and critical infrastructure. It undermines sustainable development, eats away at stability and robs millions of their future.