|Students protest against BAE Systems on campus|
(Image from 2007 protest)
A number of students also held a vigil outside the hall, to remember those killed by the arms trade.
Cllr Jack Filmore, who represents the university ward, was present at the protest and said 'I think it is ethically unacceptable for a company such as BAE Systems to be allowed onto campus. We wanted to send a clear message that companies with no regard for human life are not welcome here.'
Horrific Human Rights Abuses
A spokesperson for the group said 'BAE has a horrific human rights record, having sold arms to Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Algeria and Qatar. The company produces everything from nuclear submarines to the handcuffs and shackles used at Guantanamo
'The fact that they are here, at this respected institution, lends legitimacy to human rights abuse. We are here to say that this is not okay.'
Gaza? - Kerching!
It's hard to put a finger on when this area became dependent on the manufacture of weaponry and its associated systems. To the point where, through BAE, we could even see profit from the bombing of civilians in Gaza.
Lancaster University is only one of the many universities that rely heavily on BAE for research funding. The university's Sci-Tech faculty now has a Security Centre and develops 'solutions' for 21st century rulers interested in secrecy, surveillance and control, as well as drone technology and other military systems.
But the uni isn't the only camp-follower to the arms dealers in the region. The students have been protesting against it for years now, but for the rest of us it seems that militarisation is increasingly part of our normality.
As well as being famously involved in bribery and fraud across several continents overseas, BAE Systems is deeply embedded in local business and planning networks. The Lancashire Enterprise Zone boasts that it is anchored by BAE Systems across its two sites at Samlesbury and Warton. Pretty much every local and regional plan, from economics and housing to retail developments, cites BAE as the regional driver for growth - a strategy that depends heavily on escalating global insecurity and aggression.
BAE Systems is the world's third largest arms producer. Its portfolio includes fighter aircraft, warships, tanks, armoured vehicles, artillery, missiles and small arms ammunition.
BAE's arms are sold indiscriminately around the world. The company has military customers in over 100 countries and around 95% of its sales are military (SIPRI).
BAE has 5,900 employees in Saudi Arabia and provides operational support to the armed forces including the Saudi air force, which bombed Yemen in 2009.
|Saudi army troops enter Bahrain in BAE-supplied apcs,|
to suppress the popular uprising. March 2011
BAE supplied 200 Tactica armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia, which were used by Saudi troops helping to suppress pro-democracy protests in Bahrain in March 2011 (Jane's Defence Weekly, 23.3.2011).
When asked to comment about the student protest, a security guard representing BAE Systems said, 'Its all about the profit. If we don't do it, somebody else would.' He may have been quoting British PM Tony Blair, who famously said the same thing about the indiscriminate nature of UK arms industry sales in 2002.
What that means is, that it's ok to facilitate harm - even atrocities against humanity - as long as it's not just you doing it. If the Uni is in the market for a new motto, they need look no further.