Jubilee Debt Campaign/London Campaign Against Arms Trade
Jubilee Debt Campaign and London Campaign Against Arms Trade joined
forces to organize a successful action for the Global Day of Action on
Military Spending. Muammar Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein and Hosni Mubarak
were seen meeting Vince Cable outside the department of Business,
Innovation & Skills (BIS), the latter quite happily taking money
from them in exchange for weapons. Inside BIS is the UK Export Finance
department, which backs loans for countries and companies to buy British
exports, including arms.
This allows arms dealers to do `risky’ deals, and is effectively a subsidy because backing from the UK government means a lower interest rate for the buyer.
The UK government is now demanding payment for debts that arose from the department backing loans for Egyptian dictator Mubarak to buy military equipment. And it’s not just Egypt; Iraq and Indonesia also owe millions for arms deals done with former dictators.
The turnout was healthy for such a cold and rainy day, and some brave souls carried out a die-in on the wet floor. A senior civil servant came to talk to us briefly and was challenged on government arms sales to Bahrain – his response was non-committal (he said he supported our right to protest).