Stop the arms fair, stop the invasion of Syria

September 4, 2013

A guest post from Kirsten Bayes, kindly reposted from her personal blog.

I like a good embassy demonstration. I must have protested half a dozen in my time, for various causes.

But in the end, an embassy is a building far away from the capital of the nation it represents, where real power lies. Still, when one is trying to change the policy of another nation state, an embassy protest is what there is. Usually.

Photo: U.S. Navy (public domain), via Wikimedia Commons.
Photo: U.S. Navy (public domain), via Wikimedia Commons.

Regarding a US-led war on Syria, though, some key decision makers will be coming to London in a few days time. Not members of the US Congress, whose vote will decide whether the US goes to war – though they might be in town. But the top executives of the big US arms companies.

If the US launches an attack on Syria, it will be from ships made by Northrop Grumman, firing Tomahawk cruise missiles made by General Dynamics steered by Lockheed Martin control systems.

As this article by Allison Kilkenny makes clear, these companies and others like them carry huge weight with Congress, funding many election campaigns. War for them is a chance to make money and shine their reputations. They will be doubtless lobbying hard.

Their execs will be in London for the DSEI arms fair, one of the worlds biggest gatherings of makers of bombs, missiles, warships and drones. Coincidentally, Assad’s arms dealer, Rosoboronexport, who supply 78 percent of his weapons will also be there: it is the need to continue Rosoboron’s exports that has left Russia so intransigent at the UN.

If you are in the UK, and want to influence whether the US goes to war, for one week only you will be able to reach out and touch the key people.

The groups in the Stop the Arms Fair coalition are organising a week of protests against DSEI, from occupations and die ins through to “meet and greet” actions. They have a track record of taking successful direct action and getting up close and personal with arms company execs.

There is a mass action planned by Occupy London at the site of the arms fair on September 8th. September 8th is also when Occupy Wall Street plans to go back to Zucotti Park in New York to say no to any attack on Syria. The U.S. Congress reconvenes September 9th.

This is a unique chance for you to tell the real decision makers what you think. Stop the arms fair, and you may just stop a war.

You should be there.

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