BAE Saudi massacre of Yemenis profiteering continues

This Associated Press video says about itself:

(29 July 2019) Yemeni officials say an airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition hit a market in northern Yemen, killing at least 10 civilians, including children.

They say the strike took place Monday in the Saada province …

A hospital manager in Saada blamed the coalition for the attack.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorised to brief the media.

There was no immediate comment from the coalition.

The … Health Ministry said the airstrike wounded another 27 people.

While in Saudi invaders-occupied Aden hundreds of Yemenis are dying from COVID-19 … more Yemenis die from the famine imposed by the Saudi regime and its allies. And more Yemenis die from BAE British bombs dropped from Saudi Royal Air Force warplanes.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain, 15 May 2020:

Campaigners slam BAE’s ‘essential’ weekly flights to Saudi Arabian air base

BRITISH arms giant BAE has continued supplying military equipment to Saudi Arabia throughout the Covid-19 crisis, sparking fury from campaigners today.

Weekly flights from a BAE Systems factory in Warton, where Typhoon jets are made, to a military base in Saudi Arabia, have continued despite the global pandemic.

The Gulf kingdom is using its fleet of Typhoons to bomb Yemen.

On Monday, Junior Defence Minister James Heappey told Parliament that the trips had been designated as essential “logistics support” to the Saudi army.

He also admitted that the flights were using an RAF base in Cyprus to refuel en route.

The minister was responding to a question from Labour MP Sam Tarry, who had pressed the Ministry of Defence (MoD) about the purpose of the flights.

Investigative website Declassified previously revealed that the flights carry spare parts from Warton to the Saudi military’s main operating base, from where it launches its airstrikes on Yemen.

A Saudi-led coalition of Gulf states announced a ceasefire in April, but campaigners say that the bombing has continued, with three civilians injured by an airstrike as recently as May 2, according to the Yemen Data Project.

“UK-made fighter jets have played a key role in the devastating Saudi-led bombing of Yemen,” said Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT).

“The war has created the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, and, especially at this time, further military support for Saudi forces can only make it even worse.

“Despite the terrible humanitarian crisis and the outbreak of Covid-19, the war is still raging. There must be a meaningful ceasefire from all sides.

“The suffering of Yemeni people will be made far worse by the airstrikes that Saudi fighter jets are being used for.

“We are in unprecedented times and this should not be happening.

“Fighter-jet maintenance is not essential work, whether it is for the UK or any of the human rights-abusing regimes and dictatorships that BAE sells its arms to.”

Since 2015, Britain has licensed £5.3 billion worth of arms to the Saudi regime, CAAT said.

In 2019, the Court of Appeal ruled that the government had acted unlawfully when it authorised the supply of weapons to Saudi Arabia without assessing whether they would be used in Yemen.

However, this has not stopped the sale of weapons under previously granted licences.

Dead soldier’s father boycotts commemoration because of war profiteers’ presence

British Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband Philip May make their way to last year's remembrance service in London. Philip's company, Capital Group, is the largest shareholder in arms dealers BAE Systems

This photo shows British Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband Philip May making their way to last year’s remembrance service for dead soldiers in London. Philip’s company, Capital Group, is the largest shareholder in arms dealers BAE Systems.

By Sam Tobin in Britain:

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Exclusive: Grieving father to boycott remembrance service in ‘disgust’

Bill Stewardson, whose son Alex Green, 19, was killed in Iraq, says the Cenotaph ‘is not there for arms dealers to seize as a PR opportunity

THE father of a soldier killed in Iraq is boycotting this year’s remembrance service in “disgust” at the “cash-hungry immoral pigs” who will be in attendance while “living lives funded by war”.

Kingsman Alex Green was shot dead in Basra in January 2007 while returning from a patrol in the city centre. He was 21.

His dad Bill Stewardson told the Star he was declining his invitation to this year’s Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall on November 10 on the basis that Prime Minister Theresa May, her husband Philip May and former Labour prime minister Tony Blair will also be there.

He said: “Ms May and her husband, and Tony Blair and co, will all be standing about with poppies and long faces while they are living lives funded by war.

“I have got actual, real reasons to attend things like that: my son’s died. I don’t go because of people like that.

“The Cenotaph is not there for arms dealers to seize on as a PR opportunity … while they are making massive amounts of money out of the war.”

Philip May is a senior executive at investment company Capital Group, the largest shareholder in BAE Systems and the second largest in fellow arms company Lockheed Martin.

Mr Stewardson added: “If a shiny white ribbon could be placed around the Cenotaph … and only those who have not supported or profited from war were to be allowed through it, who do you think would be there? Where would Mr and Mrs May find themselves?

“How many of those thousands and thousands of fine young people who made the ultimate sacrifice would want such cash-hungry immoral pigs standing long-faced in the cold November air at the Cenotaph?

“Leaving aside my son’s death, which is difficult, how the hell can we have a Prime Minister whose husband directly profits from companies that avoid paying tax and make a huge profit from selling arms to Saudi Arabia? How can that be? Why is that fair?”

For years following his son’s death, he was “the voice in the wilderness”, still supporting the war in Iraq despite his loss, he also told the Star.

“Until sort of 18 months, two years ago”, he said, “I have been the one not speaking in the way that other bereaved families have been speaking. Every bereaved person in the country has a crutch.”

He said that his belief that the war in Iraq was “well-founded, well meant, it was based on truth and honour, if you want” helped him deal with his bereavement.

But he said former prime minister Gordon Brown’s book My Life, Our Times, published last year, was “the point at which my mind changed course.”

In the book, Mr Brown accuses the Pentagon of knowing that the evidence for “the existence of WMDs [weapons of mass destruction] was weak, even negligible and in key areas non-existent”, but failing to tell Britain.

He now believes that “we were all misled.”

Mr Stewardson added: “People will point the finger at me and say: ‘That’s not what you used to say’ — well, of course not, because I wasn’t aware then of what I am now.

“I actually have no problem with the way my son died, representing Queen and country.

“He knew what he was getting into, he signed the form, me and him had the conversation and that’s not what I’m complaining about — it’s the abuse of the memories of all those people.”

Dutch soldier in Afghanistan killed by colleagues, parents demand talk with ‘defence’ department: here.

Merchants of death’s propaganda aimed at children

This video from Britain says about itself:

BAE’s Prostitutes and Saudi Arabia

31 July 2008

Afshin Rattansi interviews Symon Hill from the Campaign Against the Arms Trade.

LONDON: A senior British prosecutor’s decision to drop a bribery investigation into BAE Systems Plc weapons contracts with Saudi Arabia doesn’t need to be reconsidered, the highest court in Britain ruled.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Arms companies using schools to ‘normalise their appalling business’

ARMS companies are spending millions of pounds a year in an attempt to “normalise their appalling business” in the eyes of children at hundreds of schools, campaigners have warned.

Several of the world’s largest arms dealers sponsor school events and provide teaching materials promoting the military equipment sector, with one company even developing a missile simulator for children to “play with”, the Observer newspaper reported.

Staff from Europe’s largest arms company BAE Systems — whose fighter jets are currently being used in the Saudi-led bombardment of Yemen — visited 420 schools across Britain last year and the company even deployed CBeebies [a TV show for toddlers] presenter Maddie Moate to promote the company at an event.

Raytheon, the fourth-largest arms firm in the world, runs an annual competition for pupils to build model drones, while the 10th-largest, Thales, uses cartoon mascots Raybot and Faybot to promote its education tools.

Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade said: “When these companies are promoting themselves to children, they are not talking about the deadly impact their weapons are having.

“Many of these companies have profited from war and fuelled atrocities around the world. Schools are vital to our society and should never be used as commercial vehicles for arms companies.

“It is time for arms companies to be kicked out of the classroom.”

Mr Smith added: “Arms companies aren’t targeting schools because they care about education. They are doing it because they want to improve their reputations and normalise their appalling business.”

A spokeswoman for BAE tried to justify its activities in schools by saying: “We invest in a diverse portfolio of programmes aimed at encouraging more young people to study stem [science, technology, engineering, maths] subjects, which is vital for the UK economy.”

Saudi warmongering crown prince and British war profiteers

Protesters stage a die-in in front of London's Excel Centre during the DSEI arms fair in 2017 Photo: Diana More

By Ben Cowles in Britain:

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Bin Salman’s visit shows that BAE Systems’ profits matter more than women’s rights

The Star speaks with Campaign Against Arms Trade’s ANDREW SMITH ahead of Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to Britain

SAUDI Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrives in Britain tomorrow for an official state visit.

And while the Tory government wines and dines the tyrannical heir apparent at the taxpayer’s expense, his military will be busy committing war crimes with British-made bombs from British-made jets in Yemen.

Were the absolute monarchy to stop being such a lucrative market for Western weapons of mass destruction, then the British Establishment would be up in arms about the country’s medieval treatment of women, the crackdown on political dissidents and systematic discrimination against religious minorities.

Were Saudi Arabia also to stop selling oil to the West, they’d probably even be calling for regime change.

This hypocrisy is not going unnoticed. A coalition of NGOs, peace campaigners, and activist organisations have organised a series of protests over bin Salman’s visit.

One of the organisations making sure the government knows that war criminals like bin Salman are not welcome here is Campaign Against Arms Trade (Caat).

“For decades now, Saudi Arabia has been the largest buyer of UK arms”, says Caat press officer Andrew Smith, who visited the Star ahead of the protest.

“Since March 2015, Saudi forces have been running a terrible bombing campaign in Yemen. Over 10,000 people have been killed over the bombardment itself. Research by Oxfam shows that right now people in Yemen are suffering the worst cholera outbreak in history, with over a million people having been affected by it.

Even Boris Johnson has called the war the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. Though he has supported the arms exports which have fuelled this war right since day one.”

Perversely, the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen is proving a fantastic business opportunity for the shareholders of arms manufacturers like BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. The government has licensed almost £5 billion of weapons to the kingdom since the conflict began, Smith says.

“One thing which not a lot of people know is that there is actually a whole section of the civil service, the defence and security organisation, which exists for the sole purpose of promoting arms exports. It’s about a hundred civil servants, paid for by taxes, who’re working with the sole purpose to maximise the sales of companies like BAE Systems or Raytheon.

“And this is one of the things that’s so ludicrous about the government’s position on arms exports. On the one hand the government is supposed to be regulating the industry, while at the same time pulling out all the stops to maximise sales and literally working hand-in-hand with arms companies to do so.

“It seems whenever there’s a decision to be made between the profits of arms companies and the wellbeing of other people, it always seems that the arms companies win.”

The Saudi regime cannot be trusted to observe the most basic levels of human rights for its own people, Smith asserts.

But Theresa May and Boris Johnson trust them with vast quantities of bombs and fighter jets, and to regulate their own conduct in an international war.

“The most important thing bin Salman will get from the visit isn’t necessarily the arms sales; it’ll be the images of him outside Downing Street, of him with the royal family. These will be seen around the world and will be a major propaganda coup.

“Bin Salman’s visit coincides with International Women’s Day. The message sent out to women in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere from this visit will be that BAE System’s profits matter more than women’s rights.”

The crown prince is keen to be seen as something of a moderniser.

Last month, women in the theocratic country were told they would be allowed to drive, join the military and attend sporting events.

‘Joining the military’: probably because the Saudi regime’s war on the people of Yemen is going so badly that they need more soldiers as cannon fodder, even women whom they consider to be inferior. Like when Bush’s war in Iraq went badly, drug users, middle aged people and neonazis, who used to be unwelcome in the armed forces, became ‘welcome’.

May, US President Donald Trump and much of the media might be gullible enough to see this as progress but, as Smith says, all these changes prove is just how low the bar was to begin with.

“I don’t think people here are so easily convinced. We need to make clear that people in the UK, people anywhere, don’t support what he’s doing in Yemen but also don’t support the terrible oppression that’s being inflicted on the Saudi people for decade after decade, and which bin Salman has been central to in recent years.

“We don’t believe people in the UK support this visit. We don’t believe they support seeing the Crown Prince of one of the most brutal dictatorships in the world having the red carpet rolled out for him.”

On March 7, Caat, Stop the War, Global Justice Now and the Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK will be protesting outside Downing Street from 5.30pm.

Smith says that it is important that as many people as possible mobilise to make our opposition known.

“The ongoing saga of Donald Trump’s on-again-off-again state visit shows that if it wasn’t for the threat of protest, we would have seen him going down the Mall in a golden carriage already.

“Trump doesn’t likes the fact that there’ll be protests. I think it’s the same with the Crown Prince.

“Almost every social change that has happened around the world has been as a result of people power. Change doesn’t happen by itself; it only happens because people are forcing it.

“I totally appreciate that bringing down the global military-industrial complex is most definitely a marathon and not a spirit. But it is something which is not going to happen without mass participation of people.”

But what if Britain were to halt its arms sales to the Saudis? Surely someone else would fill that gap?

Smith says Caat hears this one a lot. One of the reasons is that the government uses the excuse itself.

But of course, that argument can be used to sell absolutely anything to absolutely anyone.

“The UK rightly doesn’t sell weapons to Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Well, not any more. It wasn’t that long ago he was in Buckingham Palace and Tony Blair was, according to the Sunday Times, lobbying to get him a knighthood.

“It rightly doesn’t sell weapons to Iran or North Korea. And the reasons for that is that they’ve rightly made the decision that to sell weapons to these terrible regimes would be to empower them.

“We want them to apply the same standard to everyone who’s buying UK arms. We don’t believe that arms exports to Saudi Arabia are anymore compatible with human rights than exports to Iran or Bahrain.

“When weapons are sold, we don’t know how they’re going to be used. We don’t know who they’re going to be used against. And one of the big problems with constantly pouring weapons into dictatorships and areas of political instability is that very often the lifespan of a weapon is longer than the lifespan of a government or the political situation it’s sold into.”

So what is Caat’s long-term goal for this protest? Smith says that’s quite simple: a world without war.

“Now that obviously sounds very far off and remote, and in many ways because it is. But there’s things which we can do in the here and now which reduce the chances of conflict in the future and the mass production of weapons is clearly a part of that.

“If we’re ever going to see anything resembling world peace in the future, then it certainly can’t be at the same time as companies are making billions of pounds from selling weapons.

“How that ties into the Crown Prince’s visit is that we believe the majority of people want to see that change as well. The bin Salman’s visit is just another awful manifestation of the UK arms trade; of the power which arms dealers have over foreign policy; of the ways in which governments will prioritise BAE Systems’ interests over those of the people in Yemen or those being tortured in Saudi prisons. It’s the manifestation of the hypocrisy at the heart of foreign policy.

“All of that will be on show when the Crown Prince is having his picture taken outside Downing Street or with UK royalty. And if we want to see that long-term change, it means challenging these terrible manifestations whenever they happen and making clear that this visit is not in our name.”

ANTI-WAR campaigners and MPs called on the government today to end its relations with Saudi Arabia’s crown prince instead of welcoming him on a state visit: here.

Only 6 per cent of Britons back selling arms to Saudi Arabia to bomb and starve Yemenis. So why is he here? Vanessa Baird asks.

Stop British-Saudi war crimes in Yemen

This video says about itself:

Saudi Arabia ‘purchasing offensive weapons’

18 February 2017

Military analysts at IHS Jane’s have revealed that Saudi Arabia and several other Western-backed Saudi-led Gulf countries are purchasing weapons suited for a more offensive military program in distant locations.

The UK-based group specializing in defense and intelligence analysis said Saudi Arabia is purchasing “items intended to boost the attacking capabilities of warplanes, such as precision air-to-ground missiles, advanced guidance systems and air-to-air refueling gear that extends the duration of flights,” according to media reports on Friday.

Saudi Arabia will likely upgrade its fleet of Panavia Tornado ground-attack aircraft and the 72 Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets ordered from BAE Systems Plc to project its military power over a distance.

These weapons will likely be used for human rights violations as witnessed in the war torn Arab country of Yemen.

US and UK Acting Above the Law to Support the Saudi War in Yemen. A former State Department war crimes expert warns that arms sales to Saudi Arabia is ‘prohibited’ under US law – but the lethal exports still go ahead, by Nafeez Ahmed: here.

By Eliza Egret and Tom Anderson in Britain:

You can’t build jobs on the corpses of innocents

Saturday 22nd July 2017

Eliza Egret and Tom Anderson speak with peace activist SAM WALTON about a daring raid he took part in to disarm a Yemen-bound warplane

ON JANUARY 29 2017, Sam Walton, a Quaker, and Dan Woodhouse, a reverend, broke into a BAE Systems compound in Warton, south of Blackpool. This date marked the 21st anniversary of an action when three women entered the same site to disarm a plane to be used in Indonesia for genocide in East Timor.

Walton and Woodhouse intended to disarm a plane which was due to be delivered to the Saudi military for use in its attacks in Yemen. Saudi Arabia has been engaged in an aerial attack on Yemen since 2015, motivated by the regime’s desire to dominate the region. We spoke to Sam after the action.

Why did you choose this BAE site?

The main focus of the site is the manufacturing of military planes. We intended to find Saudi warplanes and disarm them so that they couldn’t be used to commit war crimes in Yemen. Our action was urgent, as there were a number of Eurofighter typhoons ready to be shipped out.

It’s a fact acknowledged by everyone that BAE typhoons and Tornados were being used by Saudi Arabia to drop bombs on Yemen. It’s also likely that the Tornados were involved in dropping British-made cluster bombs, as this is what they’re designed for. This is in contravention of international law. When we were scouting the site, we saw a fighter jet there in Saudi colours. It was back from Yemen, being tested and maintained by BAE. We would have disarmed that if we had had the chance.

Can you tell us about the night that you entered the BAE site?

We entered the compound on a Sunday, which we planned because that’s the day that BAE employees are least likely to be working on the planes at night. We’d done thorough research on what planes were there. We also had a good idea of how to disarm planes in a safe manner and how to render them inoperable without placing anyone in danger.

BAE’s security was a joke. But they got lucky and a patrol heard us just as we were about to get into the hangar where the jets were. We were gutted as we were at the very last door, just metres from the jets. If we’d had another couple of minutes, we’d have been able to disarm a jet and prevent war crimes.

We were arrested and taken to the police station. Our court case is on October 23 at Burnley Magistrates Court. We are, of course, pleading not guilty. But it’s not going to be us on trial; it’s going to be BAE Systems and Saudi war crimes in Yemen.

What were you hoping to achieve by your action?

If Saudi Arabia drops fewer bombs, it kills less people. We intended to save lives. The Saudis are so sensitive to criticism. Even by trying to disarm a plane we hoped to ruffle their feathers and stop future arms sales.

The Eurofighters we tried to disarm were the last of a batch of 72 going out there. There are rumours of 48 more set to go out there. We really think we can affect these future arms deals.

Can you tell us more about the situation in Yemen?

In Yemen, 17 million people are short of food, 2.2 million children are starving. Saudi has devastated the country with its bombing. At least 53 per cent of the people killed in Yemen are civilians killed in air strikes.

The indiscriminate targeting of civilians is a war crime by the Saudi-led coalition. At the moment, we’re seeing tens of thousands of people dying in Yemen and that could get much worse. There is no food supply and no way of getting food in there. The deliberate destruction of civilian infrastructure by the Saudis had led to the worst outbreak of cholera in the world which is killing thousands.

What I’m hearing from Yemeni people is: “Thank you for doing something. We feel completely ignored by the world.”

Can you explain more about the British government’s criminal complicity?

There’s very little boundary between BAE, British military personnel and Saudi military personnel. Without these three groups, the Saudi planes that are bombing Yemen wouldn’t be able to fly. The British government prioritises Saudi arms sales above everything else, and as long as we supply weapons to Saudi Arabia, our foreign policy is entwined with Saudi Arabia.

Britain is in a perverse position, giving aid to ease the famine while arming Saudi. If the British government doesn’t stop arming Saudi, then the aid is worthless.

The shrapnel from a UK-made Raytheon bomb was found in Yemen. It blew up a Yemeni food store. That bomb was sold by the UK after the war started in 2015. It was sold in full knowledge that it would almost certainly be dropped on Yemeni targets.

I did an action where I interrupted Vince Cable’s speech at a defence meeting five years ago. Before he started talking, the head of UK Trade and Industry stood up in front of the arms industry to say: “We have to sell Typhoons.” The economics of it are crazy. Saudi Arabia is by far the biggest export market for Typhoons so we’re beholden to them. No-one will hold them to account as the UK is desperate to sell weapons.

Every time we have done actions someone has said: “What about the jobs?” After our Warton action, people didn’t bother to use this argument as it’s such a no-brainer. You can’t build jobs on the corpses of innocent civilians.

Can you talk about the DSEI arms fair that will be held in London in September?

DSEI is one of the world’s biggest arms fairs. It’s where the world’s most repressive regimes buy their weaponry, and it’s an opportunity for them to cement relationships.

Saudi Arabia is coming to DSEI to buy bombs and planes for its war crimes in Yemen. It also needs to control its own populace with riot equipment and restraining gear, which can also be bought at DSEI.

Amnesty International has repeatedly found torture equipment and cluster bombs at the arms fair. Saudi is one of the worst torturers in the world so it will be interested in this, too.

This Amnesty International UK video says about itself:

The London Arms Fair – the campaign the government didn’t want

18 September 2015

A massive arms fair is in London this week, and alongside tanks and guns you might also find offers of illegal torture equipment. The government wanted to keep this quiet, so we made this – the ad campaign they never wanted.

Torture equipment shouldn’t be on sale. Ever.

The article continues:

What will protesting at DSEI achieve?

For the first time ever, the protest stands a good chance of stopping the arms fair. We can’t stop the arms dealers from getting in but we can stop the set-up and prevent the weapons from getting in.

One of the most important things about DSEI is that they don’t want you to know about it. Most of the population of London doesn’t know about it. So by protesting we help to shine a light and therefore help to stop it.

Stop the Arms Fair says: “War starts here, repression starts here, injustice starts here, let’s stop it here.” If people want to do something, come to the protest and help stop the arms fair.

Eliza Egret and Tom Anderson are writers and researchers for the Shoal Collective, a newly formed media cooperative, writing for social change and a world beyond capitalism. To find out how to join the protests against the DSEI arms fair visit You can follow Shoal Collective on Twitter at @ShoalCollective.

British BAE, Saudi war profiteers

This video from Britain is called BAE‘s Prostitutes and Saudi Arabia.

By Peter Lazenby in Britain:

Anti-arms activists target BAE Systems

Saturday 3rd June 2017

CAMPAIGNERS will target Britain’s biggest arms manufacturer today over its sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia.

BAE Systems, which makes fighter aircraft, warships and nuclear missile submarines, is supplying Saudi Arabia with combat aircraft being used in Saudi’s ongoing attacks on neighbouring Yemen, where huge oil reserves have been discovered.

Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) has said that BAE is supplying Saudi Arabia with Euro-fighter Typhoon combat aircraft, which have been used in the bombardment of civilians in Yemen.

The campaigners say BAE also sells arms to other oppressive regimes, including a £100 million fighter jet deal with Turkey.

Supporters of CAAT will meet at the Eros statue in Piccadilly Circus, central London, at 2pm before making their way to protest outside BAE’s offices nearby.

London CAAT member Wendy Horler said: “BAE Systems profits from death and destruction around the world.

“The company says it won’t make political judgements about its buyers, but that means turning a blind eye to terrible abuses being carried out every day.

“It’s a company that routinely puts profits ahead of human rights and shows a callous disregard for the people on the end of their devastating weapons.

“Unfortunately, BAE does not act alone, it operates with the full support of complicit governments, including the UK.”

Bombs bring peace, [BAE] arms dealer tells shareholders: here.

BAE Systems’ bloodthirsty trade is rooted in imperialism: here.

British Christians against Saudi war on Yemen

British banner against Saudi war on Yemen

From the Campaign Against Arms Trade in Britain:

BAE Arms: Saudi Kills

29th January 2017

Early this morning, Reverend Dan Woodhouse and Quaker activist Sam Walton entered BAE Systems’ Warton site in order to disarm warplanes bound for Saudi Arabia. Both have been arrested and are in custody in Blackpool.

Their actions are aimed at preventing BAE’s delivery of fighter jets to the Saudi government. The planes were due to be shipped from the base in the next few weeks. A Saudi-led coalition has been carrying out devastating airstrikes in Yemen since 2015, and international human rights organisations have condemned the bombings, with widespread allegations of war crimes. The pair have released a statement explaining their actions:

“Today we intend to enter BAE Warton, to locate warplanes bound for Saudi Arabia, and disarm them. We take this action in order to prevent the export of weaponry that will almost certainly be used in war crimes.

This day in 1996, three women entered the same site to disarm a plane being sent to Indonesia to be used in the genocide in East Timor. It is symbolic that we take action on this day to mirror the rightness of their action, which a jury found to be lawful.

Eurofighter Typhoons and Tornadoes sold to Saudi Arabia are being used on combat missions in Yemen. BAE also supplies Saudi Arabia with Hawk jets, used to train the Royal Saudi Air Force, which will almost certainly have been used in Yemen in their ground attack capacity. Typhoons and Hawk jets are known to be on site being prepared for imminent delivery to Saudi Arabia, and we have seen Saudi Tornadoes there ourselves.

By stopping or even delaying Saudi Arabia having more planes with which to bomb Yemen this action will save innocent lives and prevent war crimes. Our action is therefore necessary to prevent a greater crime. We are clear that the real crime taking place is arming despots, who frequently use arms on their own people, are known to use torture and the death penalty, and who will be using the planes sent from BAE Warton to continue to commit crimes against humanity.

Even if we do not manage to disarm a plane bound for Saudi Arabia, we hope that by openly trying to do so we will endanger future arms deals. The Saudi rulers are notoriously touchy about criticism – they don’t tolerate it at all in their country. Furthermore, they are not just buying arms – they are also buying legitimacy. That is why whenever we want to seal a big deal senior royals and government ministers must fly out and persuade them to buy weaponry. We need to do everything we can to show these sales are illegitimate and stop the government pushing for more sales. We hope that by shining a light on British complicity in Saudi war-crimes we will contribute to ending arms deals with this regime. Therefore even if we do not manage our primary aim of stopping or delaying a plane being used in war crimes through physically rendering it incapable of doing so, this action will still less directly in the future prevent war-crimes by stopping weapons being sold to those that perpetrate them.

This action has been planned over many months. We do not take these steps lightly, but we have no other option. We have been active in opposing the arms trade to Saudi Arabia for years, and in the face of wilful government denial that there is a problem with arming Saudi, including willingness to suspend our own due process of law, and complete unwillingness to consider stopping arming Saudi Arabia, we must take this action.

It is absolutely beyond a shadow of a doubt that BAE’s Typhoons and Tornados are being used by Saudi Arabia in their war in Yemen, where, again beyond a shadow of a doubt, they are committing war crimes – 78% of deaths in Yemen are civilians, 69% of civilian deaths and injuries were caused by air-launched weapons, over 99% of civilian deaths and injuries from airstrikes were by those perpetrated by the Saudi-led coalition. That means 53% of those people killed in Yemen are civilians killed by Saudi airstrikes – a war crime.

A legal analysis from Matrix Chambers found that the UK government is breaking international, EU and UK law by supplying arms to Saudi Arabia in the context of its military intervention and bombing campaign in Yemen. In June 2016, a Judicial Review of the government’s decision to keep selling arms was granted and will be heard in February. In October 2016 two Parliamentary Committees said, “Given the evidence we have heard and the volume of UK manufactured arms exported to Saudi Arabia, it seems inevitable that any violations of international humanitarian and human rights law by the coalition have involved arms supplied from the UK. This constitutes a breach of our own export licensing criteria.”

We probably won’t even make it to a plane bound for Saudi; we will probably get caught and either thrown off the base or arrested, but we have to try. We will carry out this action in the safest way possible and, if we are spotted, we will comply with reasonable requests from BAE personnel and not resist arrest.

We intend this action to be accountable, just as we believe selling weapons to be used in war-crimes must be. Therefore, if we are not spotted we will alert the authorities, rather than attempt to ‘get away with it.’ We fully expect to be arrested and are prepared to spend time in prison if need be. It is for the sake of accountability that we have written this statement in advance and will carry it with us on the action.

~ Reverend Daniel Woodhouse and Sam Walton”

British BAE merchants of death indoctrinate children

This video from Britain says about itself:

No Pride In War: Action Against BAE Systems

24 May 2016

Activists protest against the inclusion of BAE Systems in London Pride 2016.

By Paddy McGuffin in Britain:

it emerged yesterday that those loveable merchants of death at BAE Systems have opened a new £15 million training academy in Samlesbury, Lancashire, describing it as “a huge boost for the skills of current and future employees.”

The firm said it would train, “all apprentices and graduates in BAE’s military aircraft business and provide lifelong learning and skills development for 13,000 workers for at least the next 40 years.”

Quite what this “training” will involve is anyone’s guess, but your scribe can’t help imagining one long conveyor belt where the raw recruit goes in, has their ethics removed and their moral compass scrambled before being spewed out as a fully operational psychopath with a shiny suit and badge and all the Saudi royal family on speed dial.

Disturbingly, the firm also said it would offer classes for children from the age of five.

Stop selling British weapons for Saudi massacres in Yemen

This video says about itself:

27 September 2016

Britain has been accused of blocking the UN inquiry into atrocities in Yemen allegedly carried out by its theocratic ally Saudi Arabia.

In an open letter to the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), a group of NGOs has alleged that the UK is blocking the progress of the inquiry by failing to give backing to an effort by the Netherlands to set up a full investigation.

Since the conflict began the UK has sold more than £3 billion (US$3.9 billion) in arms to the Saudi regime and provided training on targeting both by warplanes and artillery.

The groups, including Human Rights Watch and Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT), have said that the inquiry would “establish the facts, collect and preserve information related to violations and abuses with a view to ensuring that those responsible for crimes are brought to justice in fair trials.”

The letter, which was coordinated by the medical peace group Medact, puts a powerful case for a proper examination of allegations.

“As health professionals, we have a duty to speak out against all causes of ill health in Yemen. This must include the sale and export of UK weaponry that is fueling the conflict.”

Speaking for his organization, CAAT’s media head Andrew Smith said: “For 18 months now, UK arms have been central to the destruction of Yemen.

“The aid that is being given amounts to a small fraction of the damage that has been caused and pales in comparison to the £3.3 billion worth of arms that have been licensed.”

He called for Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to “end the arms sales and put a stop to the uncritical support that the UK provides for the Saudi regime.”

Johnson last week claimed that the UK was “using a very, very wide variety of information sources about what is happening to acquaint ourselves with the details” of events in the war-torn country.

Saudi Arabia has been fighting Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen since 2015. Estimates for those displaced by the war are around 2.5 million while 50 percent of the population are reported to be suffering from malnourishment.

By Zoe Streatfield in Britain:

Saudis admit to massacre at Yemen funeral

Tuesday 18th October 2016

Activists demand Tories to end arms sales

PEACE activists blasted the Tory government yesterday for selling arms to Saudi Arabia after an investigation revealed that Saudi forces had killed over a hundred civilians in a bombing raid.

The publication of a report by the Saudi-led Joint Incidents Assessment Team admitted that their forces were responsible for the bombing of a funeral in Yemen’s capital Sanaa that killed 140 people and injured over 500 more.

Despite revelations about human rights abuses, the Tory government has licensed over £3.3 billion worth of arms to the Gulf state including drones, missiles, tanks and aircraft.

And Britain’s largest arms company, BAE Systems, announced that it has begun talks to sell more warplanes to Saudi Arabia — a move supported by the government.

Campaign Against Arms Trade’s (CAAT) Andrew Smith said: “On paper UK arms export controls are very clear.

“The legislation says that if there is a clear risk that UK arms might be used to violate international humanitarian law then exports should not go ahead.

“How much more serious does the crisis have to get before the government finally stops arming one of the most abusive regimes in the world?”

The Saudi-led bombing campaign has been condemned by the United Nations, the European Parliament, Amnesty International and almost every single NGO that has people on the ground in Yemen.

British arms sales to Saudi Arabia are currently subject to a judicial review, following an application by CAAT.

The claim calls on the government to suspend all existing licences and stop issuing further arms licences to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen while it holds a full review into whether the exports are compatible with British and EU legislation.

A three-day review will take place in front of two judges no later than February 1 next year.

A Labour spokeswoman called on the government to “urgently review its support for the Saudi-led coalition, as well as placing an immediate suspension on the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia until there has been a full, independent, UN-led investigation into these attacks against civilians.”

A Momentum spokesperson said: “Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership forced a government U-turn on Saudi prison contracts last year and continues to draw attention to Saudi human rights abuses at home and in Yemen.”

BirdLife on Yemen: What do conservationists do when they can’t do surveys, can’t implement grass-root activities, can’t meet with local people or government representatives to talk about environmental issues and policies? What if a country is being bombed: here.

Merchants of death BAE ‘pinkwashing’

This September 2015 video says about itself:

The United States exports more weapons than any other nation – which means American companies profit from other countries’ wars.

Another video used to say about itself:

11 August 2014

Top 5 War Profiteering Companies. War is business, now more than ever. This list has the 5 companies in it that most profiteer from all the wars in the world today.

The five corporations in this video are Lockheed Martin, Boeing, BAE Systems, Raytheon and General Dynamics.

After polluting corporations’ greenwashing and artwashing, now corporations with anti-LGTBQ records doing ‘pinkwashing’.

After Big Banking doing so, now Big War Profiteering corrupt BAE.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Vigil protest against pinkwashing BAE

Wednesday 25th May 2015

LGBT activists staged a vigil outside London City Hall yesterday in protest over BAE Systems’ involvement in the capital’s annual Pride parade.

The vigil organisers, a coalition of LGBT, pacifist and anti-militarist groups, say the company’s participation is part of a “pinkwashing” campaign.

The firm sells arms to countries with homophobic laws such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

Peace Pledge Union co-ordinator Symon Hill said: “Of course people who work for the armed forces or arms companies are welcome at Pride.

“That is different to giving a platform to the likes of BAE Systems and the Royal Air Force to pinkwash their image despite their complicity in human rights abuses around the world.”