Saturday 8th of August 2020

at the market for fresh weapons...

eweapon market
Hundreds of protesters gathered in East London at one of the world’s largest arms fairs seeking to peacefully prevent the Defence and Security Equipment International from going ahead as usual.


Every two years, the UK hosts one of the world’s largest arms fairs called the Defence and Security Equipment International or DSEI.


The DSEI couldn’t happen without fundamental support of government. It’s going to be UK civil servants who are greeting the arms dealers, UK civil servants who are greeting the military delegations and there will be UK ministers, speaking on platforms, singing the praises of the arms companies in attendance and trying to promote even more arms sales on via behalf


A varied collection of individuals, groups and organizations have been working together to prevent the DSEI from going ahead by blocking transportation of the weaponry on display into the East London Excel Center, which hosts the arms fair.


Oh, the policing has been, Oh, it’s been an overreaction. In fact, we’ve seen over a hundred people who’ve been arrested this week for peaceful protest and some of the policing has been very violent. Some of policing has been very heavy handed. And ultimately the people who have been protesting this week have been protesting peacefully –  trying to stop the weapons from getting into the world’s biggest arms fair. And over a hundred people have been arrested for doing this and people leave. The police should be investigating frankly over torturous brutal regimes who are going to be in London buying up weapons.


Faith groups, socialist groups, Palestine solidarity campaigners, Kurdish campaigners, and others have been doing all they can to both oppose the DSEI arms fair – while also seeking to educate people on the connection between the fair and British foreign policy, which produces countless refugees in the middle East and around the world.


My name is Sanaz Raje and I am from the group Unis Resist Border Controls. It’s a national campaign made up of British lecturers, students and activists, not just British ones of course, but people that are migrant especially, opposed to the Hostile Environment policy in the UK. And specifically how it functions in higher education in the UK.

There’s been border controls inside higher education for many, many years. And in fact, sometimes it predates what we now consider as the Hostile Environment policy that came into effect, with Theresa May when she became Home Office Secretary. And she instituted the policy in 2012 that became codified into law with the Immigration Acts of 2014 and 2016.

So essentially what it does is creates everyday borders in the UK and it turns regular people into border guards. And we see this in the NHS, we see this in schools and obviously the work we do inside the university inside pushing back against this policy, we make the links between, the carceral university and how basically all of these policies are linked together. How universities are very much complicit in the arms trade as well and creating like an extra layer ‘hostile environment’ in terms of migrants all over the world.



My name’s Sam and I’m here to represent Baque da Resistancia. Those are the Brazilian Drums of Resistance. We are here to protest against the arms fair, to sales of arms to Brazil, to sales of arms to [the] Brazilian military, and to sales of arms to all regimes that are killing innocent people around the world.MANUELA BENINI – BRAZILIAN ACTIVIST (03:20):

We brought some placards and banners, uh, in, um, in response to the murder of Marielle Franco, which was a Brazilian politician and activist who was murdered in 2018 in Rio de Janeiro. Um, the gun that killed her was from, a German make and is being traded right now in the arms fair.SAM ALEXANDER (BAQUE DA RESISTANCIA)  (03:41):

Well, the militarization of the Brazilian population is actually happening. I mean, they’re arms going out all over the place with in Brazil. The president [Jair Bolsonaro] is trying to liberate arms for everyone and he’s trying to also, his vice president is over here at the moment. Trying to do the arms deals. So we want to stop that because the fascist with guns is no good. And one of the things about taking music, taking drums to a protest, is that it’s very negative energy always going out when you’re shouting negative things at  people. But actually trying to say something in a positive way with positive music can make a lot of difference to the people who spend all their time in camps like this and places like this. So we believe in bringing music to these kinds of events.


It’s wonderful to be here with such incredible people. It makes me feel that I’m not alone in believing in peace.



This is Mohamed Elmaazi reporting from London.

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of nukes and reject stores...

What Happened to Luigi Di Maio’s Antinuclear Commitment?

by Manlio Dinucci

Like all European environmental parties, without any exception, Luigi Di Maio’s Five-Star Movement is deeply anti-nuclear. It campaigned vehemently on this theme. And like all European environmental parties, when they come to power, they defend NATO, its wars and its nuclear policy.

Is there finally a Minister of Foreign Affairs who will commit to Italy joining the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons?

The neo-minister Luigi Di Maio subscribed in 2017 to the Ican Parliamentary Pledge, the international coalition to which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize [1]. In doing so, the political leader of the 5 Stars Movement - the current Minister of Foreign Affairs - has pledged to "promote the signature and ratification of this Treaty of Historic Importance" by Italy.

The Ican Commitment was also subscribed to by other current 5-star ministers -Alfonso Bonafede (Justice), Federico D’Incà (Relations with Parliament), Fabiana Dadone (Public Service) - and by other M5S parliamentarians, like Roberto Fico and Manlio Di Stefano.

But there is a problem. Article 4 of the Treaty states: "Each State Party which has nuclear weapons owned or controlled by another State on its territory shall ensure the prompt withdrawal of such weapons". To accede to the UN Treaty, Italy should ask the United States to withdraw B-61 nuclear bombs from its territory (which already violate the Non-Proliferation Treaty) and not to install the new B61 -12 or other nuclear weapons. Moreover, since Italy is one of the countries which (as NATO itself states) "provide the Alliance with aircraft equipped to carry nuclear bombs, over which the United States retains absolute control, and staff trained for this purpose ", to accede to the UN Treaty, Italy should ask to be exempted from this function.

Unthinkable requests from the second Conte government which, like the first, considers the United States as a "privileged ally".

Here is where the cards are shown. The Ican Commitment was subscribed to in Italy by more than 200 parliamentarians, mostly from the Pd and the M5S (about 90 each), the current government parties. With what result?

On September 19, 2017, the day before the Treaty was opened for signature, the House approved a Pd motion (also voted by Forza Italia and Fratelli d’Italia) which committed the Gentiloni government to "evaluate the possibility" of joining to the UN Treaty. For its part, the M5S did not ask for the accession to the UN Treaty, and therefore the withdrawal from Italy of nuclear weapons, but to "declare the unavailability of Italy to use nuclear weapons, and not to buy the necessary components to make the F-35 aircraft fit for the transport of nuclear weapons ". Ergo: that the F-35 planes, designed for nuclear attack especially with the B61-12, be used by Italy with a kind of security that prevents the use of nuclear weapons.

The following day, the North Atlantic Council, with full Italian support, rejected and attacked the UN Treaty. It has so far been signed by 70 countries, but, because of pressure from the US and NATO, ratified only by 26 while it takes 50 to enter into force.

The same thing happened with the Treaty on Intermediate Nuclear Forces buried by Washington. Whether at the NATO, UN or EU headquarters, the first Conte government has lined up behind the US decision, giving the go-ahead for the installation of new US nuclear missiles in Europe, Italy included.

The solemn undertaking pledged by Pd, 5 Étoiles and others has therefore proved, based on the test of facts, to be a demagogic expedient to collect votes. If for any of them this is not so, let them demonstrate it in fact.

Because of the "inevitable link with the United States", reaffirmed yesterday by Conte in his speech in the House, Italy finds itself deprived of its own sovereignty and transformed into the front line of US nuclear strategy. With multi-partisan consensus and complicit silence.

Manlio Dinucci

Roger Lagassé

Il Manifesto (Italy)


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