TRAKNAT is a network of local groups in the Twickenham, Richmond and Kingston area campaigning against UK arms exports. There is more explanation below and on the About Us page, where you will also find a list of the member groups.
We held vigils outside Vince Cable’s office on Friday 6 September 2013 (photos) and Friday 13 September 2013, to coincide with DSEI. 5.30pm – 7pm. We drew attention to Vince Cable’s Business Department’s sponsorship of the World’s largest arms fair (DSEi) at docklands. We were horrified to learn that one of the exhibitors was Rosoboronexport, the Russian arms exporter that supplies weapons to Assad’s in Syria. Rosoboronexport supplies 80% of Assad’s weapons including fighter aircraft, tanks and ammunition.
We are continuing to follow up on our meetings with Vince Cable MP and Zac Goldsmith MP. Four representatives of TRAKNAT have met privately with Dr Cable in August and September 2013, and we have exchanged letters, in an effort to improve the transparency in the licensing of arms exports and arms dealers, and to tighten up the application of the criteria for granting licences for the supply of arms to developing countries. Mr Goldsmith has asked a question in parliament about the recent changes to the reporting rules, and is the only Conservative MP to have signed Early Day Motion 503.
Vince Cable’s Business department issued 17 open licences to British arms brokers between May 2010 and March 2013 to trade an unlimited quantity of weapons from another country to Egypt and 33 open licences to UK exporters to trade an unlimited quantity of weapons from the UK to Egypt. These licences were for a full range of military goods including assault rifles, sniper rifles, combat shotguns and small arms ammunition. The use of these licences is not currently reported and we have no way of distinguishing between, for example, a few components for a naval radar system and an export of a large quantity of machine guns, ammunition, or riot control agents which might be used on a civilian population. Source: CAAT.
Keeping in Touch
We now have a mailing list for occasional news items, like public meetings. Mail firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the list. Also get in touch if you would like to be more involved and come to planning meetings, or to see the letters and documents that we have exchanged so far with Dr Cable.
Our last planning meeting was on 15 November 2013. The date of the next has not been set yet.
TRAKNAT was formed in March 2012, with the initial aim of inviting people to sign a petition to be presented to Vince Cable MP at a public meeting at which the other local MPs would also speak. We collected about 1000 signatures, and presented them to Dr Cable at a public meeting on 29 November 2012. Unfortunately Dr Cable was the only MP able to attend.
We held a separate meeting with Zac Goldsmith at the Houses of Parliament on 13th May 2013.
Aims and Objectives
Our Voices are Important
As Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Vince Cable runs a department which continues to promote and approve weapons sales to regimes which are using force to suppress democracy protesters.
TRAKNAT campaigns for Vince Cable to shut his arms promotion unit, the UK Trade & Industry – Defence & Security Organisation (UKTI-DSO), and stop underwriting loans through UK Export Finance which enable the sales to take place. Until the government stops promoting arms sales, it will continue to ignore its own rules which prohibit arms sales where they may be used for internal repression, or external aggression.
Some countries are still paying Vince Cable’s department for debts that were run up by the UK selling weapons to their former dictators. We call for these, and other unjust debts, to be cancelled. We also call for the withdrawal of export support for climate-wrecking fossil fuel projects and other projects which fuel climate change, result in human right abuses and third world debt.
UK exports overseas can have a massive impact either positive or negative, and the exports our government chooses to promote and support speak volumes about its commitment to human rights, environmental sustainability and social justice worldwide. TRAKNAT is campaigning for the UK government to support responsible, sustainable exports which demonstrate a respect for peace, human rights, and a safe environment and create positive, sustainable jobs in the UK.
We are calling on Vince Cable to:
- Stop arming repressive regimes. It’s time to end government support for the arms trade and close the DSEi arms fair.
- Substantially restrict arms sales to countries where this will divert resources from development and exacerbate poverty.