Friday, 10 October 2014

"The Writer With No Hands" - An Interview With Matthew Alford

Local university lecturer Dr. Matthew Alford has spent the last few years investigating the death of Hollywood screenwriter Gary Devore, and now the documentary feature film "The Writer With No Hands", based on his extensive research is being shown at festivals across the world. We caught up with Matthew for an interview about the documentary and the impact his findings could have on the Hollywood movie industry.

Tell us about The Writer with No Hands
Dr Matthew Alfrod
It is a documentary feature film about the mysterious death of a Hollywood screenwriter in 1997. His name was Gary Devore.  

Body of lies: The CIA's involvement with Hollywood film-making.

What are the circumstances surrounding his death?
Gary vanished into thin air whilst driving home to his wife near Los Angeles. There was a huge, fruitless search. A year later, an ‘amateur detective’ found a hand-less corpse in a ditch. The police called it a freak accident and a freak discovery but they never looked into Gary’s equally freakish links to the US government's intelligence services. So I did. I found that Gary had just written what he called "the hardest hitting movie Hollywood will ever see ". Of course, no one ever saw it.  

CBS news article on Gary Devore

What do you think may have happened to Gary?
It might be a case of ‘enforced disappearance’, perpetrated by a group tied to US security services. It is hard to be sure, though, without full access to documentation, such as the 600 pages of case notes that the Police are withholding from myself and Gary’s family. They tell me this file is marked "confidential".

What is your interest in the subject?
 I've always been fascinated by propaganda and the abuse of power, and it’s particularly intriguing when it occurs through entertainment. Pentagon and CIA manipulation of Hollywood scripts is fairly commonplace, including on major franchises like Transformers. Much of this is done secretly by supposedly ‘public’ bodies. But Gary's death is, potentially, the most dramatic illustration of corruption in this area I've ever come across. 

Reel Power - Matthew's first book

How is the film doing?
The Writer with No Hands premiered this year at Hot Docs festival in Toronto, which is pretty major, and has gone on to festivals in Seattle, New Jersey, and Dallas. More to come. I was told that less than 1% of films get into big festivals without an established name or sales agent attached, so that's an excellent sign.  

Cine In Style article on The Writer With No Hands

How has Hollywood reacted to a film that essentially criticises the Hollywood system?
Early days. I have had some celebrities and corporations initiate contact asking to see the film. Team Downey (Robert Downey Jnr’s company) was one of them, so obviously I sent them a copy, especially as they'd have the power to get it sold through Disney. Unfortunately, I had a bit of a mind-blank, since the film raises all these questions about Pentagon interference in Hollywood and Iron Man is mentioned on the list. Bang goes Disney. Ironically, even as we speak, I am wearing my favourite Marvel t-shirt, which has a picture of Iron Man plastered all over it.

Why did you make the film? 
I hired a director because I wanted some extra protection. I figured the CIA would be less likely to hassle me if I was recording everything. That was a decision I often regretted deeply.

What is the next step? 
Looking to sell it worldwide. I have also just finished writing the book-of-the-film, which I'm equally excited about. Of course, acclaimed obscurity is a nagging possibility, so I'd like to keep building public support for the project.

Who is the writer with no hands? 
Me, for a while. Gary, forever.

How do you think The Writer with no Hands will affect the film industry?
If people get behind it, The Writer with No Hands can put significant pressure on the CIA and Pentagon to end their interference in the screen entertainment industries. With real momentum, we might even find something unprecedented: proof of a Western state-sanctioned murder and cover-up of a whistle-blower.

What messages do you think people should take away from the film?
I’m not keen on messages in movies. I just want people to be entertained by the movie and, until it is out properly, click ‘like’ on Facebook so I can keep them posted.  

The Writer With No Hands Facebook page

Dr. Matt Alford is a lecturer at the University of Bath. In 2010 Pluto Press published his first book, Reel Power: Hollywood Cinema and American Supremacy.  

The Writer With No Hands - Official Website 

The Writer With No Hands Facebook page

Friday, 2 May 2014

Bath Man Attempts to Press Charges Against Tory Ministers

Keith Ordinary Guy and supporters outside Bath police station
At 2pm today, local man Keith Ordinary Guy, who writes a letter a day to David Cameron, and an army of supporters went to Bath police station to attempt to press charges against Iain Duncan Smith and Lord Freud for breaching the Human Rights Act over the Claimant Commitment Contract.

Supporters came from as far afield as London and Cornwall. One supporter commented "I believe that slavery should not be back on the statute books. Nothing is voluntary, it's all enforced - workfare, zero hours contracts. Non compliance means no food."

Keith first spoke to the police officer on the desk. He told her:

"As a citizen, you are the only people I can come to."

"I am horrified."

"Between 2011 and 2012, 10,600 people died after being found unfit for work by Atos. Our government is doing this to us. You are the only portal of access and we need help."

"The Claimant Commitment Contract is just the latest phase and it's just horrific. I'm not a demonstrative man, I just want justice."

The police officer then went to get the Inspector. Keith commented "I think the policewoman on the desk was nearly in tears. I feel that I was taken seriously."

Keith Ordinary Guy in Bath
police station attempting to press charges
against Iain Duncan Smith and Lord Freud
When the Inspector arrived, Keith told him:

"If you refuse to sign the contract, you have no access to benefits in Britain. It's forced labour."

The Inspector replied:

"If it's been brought into a statute, it's not something I can deal with. The people who brought it in would have looked at the Human Rights Act. You would need to take it up with a solicitor."

Keith responded:

"Between 2011 and 2012, 10,600 people died. They've refused to release figures since then. I've tried to bring charges of manslaughter against them and I think that still stands."

The Inspector replied:

"My job is to enforce the law as it stands."

After the leaving the police station, Keith was upbeat. He told us:

"It went really well because it has given me an insight into the situation that we're actually in. It's our opinion that what they are doing is inhuman, but what they did is put the laws onto the statute book."

"The next step is to see if there's a solicitor that can take on the legal challenge. Crowd sourcing for legal funds may be the next move."

"Ordinary people need money to get access to justice - they've scrapped Legal Aid. Unfortunately the law only works for the rich."

"I will try to raise a legal challenge."

"So many people are dying. A million people are using foodbanks and the government are saying that they've got nothing to do with it."

Supporters then joined Keith for a coffee. From the discussion afterwards it was decided that they would form a people's army - called "The Shoestring Army", as those involved are living on a shoestring. The domain name was then immediately registered.

This is Day 1 of a new fight back for the lives of ordinary people. Stay posted - The Shoestring Army is only going to grow.

Keith's website, where he publishes his letters can be found here:

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Bath Campaigner to go to Police to Bring Charges Against Tory Ministers

Keith Ordinary Guy - the Bath man who sends a letter to David Cameron every day - is heading to Bath Police Station at 2pm on Friday 2nd May to send the message that the government's new Claimant Commitment Contract contravenes the Human Rights Act (HRA), and that Iain Duncan Smith and Lord Freud are in breach of the Human Rights Act.

The message reads:
Iain Duncan Smith and Lord Freud Breach Human Rights

The Claimant Commitment Contract. Policy Aims:

The conditionality regime will recast the relationship between the citizen and the State from one centred on 'entitlement' to one centred on a contractual concept that provides a range of support in return for claimant's meeting an explicit set of responsibilities, with a sanctions regime to encourage compliance.

Iain Duncan Smith and Lord Freud have reintroduced slavery through forced compliance (sanctions regime), denying people the means of survival if they do not comply or fail to meet conditions.

- Article 4 - Prohibition of Slavery and Forced Labour
2: No one shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour.
Any work or service which forms part of normal civic obligations.
Under these contracts the work or service cannot be considered normal because it involves the loss of means of survival.

The new Claimant Commitment Contract means that claimants are required to perform forced or compulsory labour via contracts set up by DWP work coaches.

Claimants who refuse to sign the contract or breach it will be denied Universal Credit (JSA etc.), i.e. the means of survival, thus breaching Article 1 of the HRA.

HRA - Article 2 - Right to Life
1: Everyone’s right to life shall be protected by law. No one shall be deprived of his life intentionally save in the execution of a sentence of a court following his conviction of a crime for which this penalty is provided by law.
Earlier today we caught up with Keith to find out more about the campaign:

What drove you to to take this action?
I’ve been writing ‘A letter a day to number 10’ for over two years now, currently on No 728, and it is clear that the government have an agenda that they are pursuing regardless of public outcry, facts or the suffering they are causing. I have been to the police twice attempting to bring charges against Iain Duncan Smith and was fobbed off both times. This time, I called on Sonia Poulton and her camera man Lee to, at the least, make this a very public ‘event’. Whatever the outcome I hope that we can bring the glare of publicity to bear on the inhuman policies being inflicted on the British people. I have a particular care for disabled people as someone who has experienced severe mental health problems all my life. The treatment of disabled people by this government is so inhuman it beggars belief.

Do you think it will make a difference?
Yes I do think it will make a difference if in no other way than to raise awareness. People have felt comforted, supported and encouraged by my letters, I have been told many times that seeing that days letter gave someone the strength to go on for another day. Even if just one person is helped to keep going that was a letter worth writing as far as I am concerned.

What measures can other ordinary people do to oppose the cuts to benefits, the workfare scheme and generally make the world a better place?
I think it is crucial that relying on social media alone to do anything effective will never work. Whatever we do, and report on social media, must happen in the real world. I encourage people to be as creative as possible, through writing, art, music, drama, peaceful protest, handing out leaflets, reporting government crimes, creating public events, whatever people can dream up to protest, protect and raise public awareness. We had a picnic in Regents Park last year, called ‘We Shall Overcome’ inspired by the Joan Baez song, with floral tributes to the 10,600 people who had died within six weeks of being found fit for work by Atos. I was unable to attend and so co-ordinated live updates on Facebook and Fusion Radio dedicated a day of music in memory of our lost. Along with the group in London, who handed out leaflets and talked to people, the event was followed by many sick and disabled people online as well as those who simply could not travel to the event that day. Many were moved to tears, including me, and shared what was truly loving and peaceful day.
The We Shall Overcome Event in Regent's Park
Join Keith at Bath Police Station on Friday 2nd May at 1.30pm

Keith's website, where he posts his letters and the (very few) replies he gets can be found here:

Find out what happened at Bath Police Station here:

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Ticket Holders Refused Entry to Nigel Farage's talk in Bath

Nigel Farage's talk in Bath was hit by a scandal tonight when genuine ticket holders were refused entry. Several individuals, who had applied for tickets prior to the event, were refused entry to the UKIP leader's sell-out event at The Forum. One ticket holder refused entry told us "They approached us immediately. They had obviously made their decision based on looks. No further reason given. Discrimination based on looks alone".

Meanwhile, approximately 40 anti-UKIP campaigners protested outside, some of which were able to make it inside.

Earlier today, Nigel Farage was kicked out of The Bell Inn in Bath, full story here:

UKIP Demo Tonight, After Farage Kicked out of The Bell

UKIP leader and all-round racist (and elephant-hating) scumbag Nigel Farage is set to give a "sell-out" talk to curious and supportive residents of Bath this evening. However, we have it on good authority that "some" of those tickets may have been claimed by activists. Anti-immigration advocate Farage (whose own family were French immigrants escaping religious persecution) last week declared a hatred of elephants, along with his UKIP chums, by voting "No" to a key resolution on the ivory trade. Other members of UKIP, some of whom have been suspended, have recently been quoted saying that the Somerset floods were God's revenge for gay marriage, and that British-born comedian Lenny Henry should move to a black country.

This afternoon, Mr Farage was asked to leave The Bell Inn on Walcot Street in Bath. The Bell's statement reads:
"Just had UKIP leader Nigel Farage and his be-suited henchmen in the pub with a BBC News film crew. 
Avoiding any actual political argument, I told him that he was welcome as a citizen to have a pint – we are, after all, a public house – but it was inappropriate for him to be using our premises for his hustings. I asked the camera man to stop filming. Most of the entourage then finished or left their drinks and went outside. They may have continued filming outside, I don’t know, but that is the public highway and they have every right to.

Martin Tracy of The Framing Workshop said he’d brought them in as he thought it would help raise the profile of Walcot Street. He had the decency to apologise when he realised how inapt that was.

I wrote this because our frontage may well feature on tonight's BBC News or BBC West News, and I'd rather not be deluged with complaints"

Tonight's demonstration will be outside Farage's talk in The Forum, 1a Forum Buildings, St James Parade, Bath, BA1 1UG from 6.30pm. Go along and tell him he's not welcome in our city.

The "Farage Wave", just after he was kicked out of The Bell - buy Gary a pint here:

Update: Ticket holders refused entry to Nigel Farage's talk "based on looks alone"

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Earth Hour Gathering in Bath - And There's More on the Way

This year's Earth Hour - organised by WWF - saw up to 70 environmentally aware people of all ages and many different backgrounds gather together on the green in front of the Royal Crescent to celebrate the event. Earth Hour, in which people are invited to switch off all electrical devices between 8.30 and 9.30pm, is an international campaign to raise awareness about energy usage. It began in 2007 in Sydney, Austrailia and has since become a worldwide hour of action.

The event saw people from all over the city congregate en masse with candles, acoustic guitars and blankets. The combination of a growing sense of environmental awareness, good weather, and the great job undertaken by the people who organised the event were key factors in its success. Even residents of the Royal Crescent came down to the event. At the end of the evening several people did a litter pick and everyone took home a bag of rubbish, to ensure that Earth Hour stuck to its environmental principles.

Due to the success, there are now plans to make "Earth Saturday" a regular event, on the last Saturday of every month, with the next event scheduled for 26th April. Organisers say that if the weather is looking bad, the event will be moved to the following Saturday.

So come on down, this could be the start of something big!

Earth Saturday - Facebook page:
Earth Saturday - April Event Page:

Friday, 14 March 2014

Foster Watch #5 - Don Foster Abstains on Latest Badger Cull Vote

is a series of posts following Bath MP Foster, who is now Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government. Details of Don's voting record can be found at

Back in August 2013, Don told the Bath Chronicle that he was 'pressured' into voting for the badger cull, having been told by the former Liberal Democrat Chief Whip that he had to 'toe the party line', and that preferred choice would be to abstain (see here for full article). Of course, now Don is the Lib Dem Chief Whip, and it's now his job to make MPs vote against their wishes.

This week the badger cull was debated yet again in parliament, and yet again the pro-culllers lost the debate - 219 to 1, although unfortunately this vote is non-binding and won't by itself stop future culls. However, some pro-cull MPs chose to abstain, because the report on last year's cull has yet to be published. Don chose to abstain, and then sent the following e-mail to his anti-cull constituents:
Thank you for contacting me regarding the vote in the House of Commons on 13 March regarding the possible extension of badger culls nationwide. 
As you may be aware, I decided to abstain from voting on this motion and I would like to take this opportunity to explain the reasoning behind my decision. I chose to abstain as I acknowledge and agree that the trials that took place had numerous shortcomings in terms of cost, humaneness and achieving targets.
However, I did not chose to vote for the motion as I believe that we should not side line the issue of bovine TB, but instead endeavor to quickly develop viable alternatives to tackle bovine TB.
Originally, I voted in favour of the trials taking place as bovine TB is a terrible disease that results in the deaths of tens of thousands of cattle every year. Around 28,000 cattle were slaughtered in England in 2012 alone as a bovine TB control measure. It is estimated that we could be paying as much as £1 billion over the next decade if we do nothing to stop the spread of this disease.
Badgers and cattle transmit bovine TB between each other – the scientific evidence to support this link is now beyond dispute. It is equally clear that no other country has managed to make significant progress on bovine TB without tackling how the disease is spread by wild animals. It was for this reason I voted in favour of two badger cull pilots going ahead this year.
However, since the trials started it has become clear that they were not being completely successful and because of this I could not agree to a national roll-out of further cull trials unless I was convinced of the safety, humaneness and effectiveness of these initial trials.
The trials have not reached the target of removing 70% of the badger population, with initial estimates suggesting the trials reduced the badger population by over 30% in the Gloucestershire and around 60% in the Somerset.
It is due to these short comings that I support developing a viable alternative to badger culling. However, at the moment this alternative does not exist as the option of vaccinating badgers, requires them to be trapped and vaccinated on a yearly basis, which I sure you will agree is logistically problematic. The current vaccine available is only around 70% effective, this poses further problems when you consider that in disease hotspots it is estimated that a third of badgers will have bovine TB.
For this reason, it is clear that we need to advance and accelerate work in developing a viable alternative and I am grateful for the work being done by the Wildlife Trust to advance this alternative. The Government is also investing £11.7 million in vaccine development over the next three years.
Furthermore, George Eustice, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, delivered a statement at the end of the debate yesterday. You can read this at the following link and scroll to 4:45PM.
I hope that this is helpful in explaining my position on the issue of badger culls. Please do not hesitate to contact me further on this matter on any other.
With best wishes,
Yours sincerely,
Well, where do we start with that? Obviously Don has forgotten that he was pressured into voting for it and attempted to make up an excuse for voting in favour of it. TB declined by 3.4% in cattle between 2012 and 2013 without badger culling - Defra's figures are wrong. Vaccination has been shown to work in Wales - TB has declined by 24% as a result far more than than the 16% reduction that even the government admits that a badger cull could deliver (see here for reference). Last year it was calculated by badger expert Professor Rosie Woodroffe (no stranger to badger culling, as she was involved in the last badger cull, but like all good scientists has accepted that her findings showed that it would make 'no meaningful contribution' to tackling the problem) that the cost of badger vaccination would be £2,250 per square kilometre per year, and that the cost of culling, including the cost of policing, would be £2429 per square kilometre per year (reference). Furthermore, the charity Care for the Wild estimated the cost per badger in last year's cull was £4121 (reference) and in January Biocensus reported that the cost per square kilometre was £12857, with just £3913 per square kilometre for vaccinations in Wales (reference). Vaccination could potentially be even cheaper as we know that there's a lot of potential volunteers who would be willing to help with vaccinating badgers for free (several of our friends recently attended badger handling courses, and many more people across the country have attended similar courses), if it meant a complete end to culls.

Don correctly states that "no other country has managed to make significant progress on bovine TB without tackling how the disease is spread by wild animals", however he neglects to mention that so country has ever solved the problem by culling either. Last year's cull failed to meet the target of killing 70% of badgers in the cull zones, and, which could potentially make the TB problem in these areas worse due to the peturbation effect caused by fleeing badgers (reference). Lastly, as no badgers were tested for TB in last year's cull, there's no way of knowing how many badgers were carrying the disease in the first place. The cull was never going to work, and farmers are being conned. The choice between vaccination and culling is a no-brainer - vaccination is cheaper, delivers better results than culling, and will help to build bridges between farmers and badgerists, not create divisions. Don appears to be on the fence with this issue - e-mail him the facts here:

For more on the badger cull, here's our in-depth look at the issues:

For more on Don Foster, the Foster Watch home page is here:

Monday, 18 November 2013

UWE Arms Fair, Bristol - Drop Beats Not Bombs Rally

Just in from campaigners against the arms fair at the University of the West of England, Frenchay, Bristol. The arms fair will be taking place on Wednesday this week. More info on the arms fair and plans for protests here:

Drop beats not bombs rally
4pm @ UWE, Frenchay campus
by the bus stops

Listen out for the sound system!
The University of the West of England in Bristol is hosting an arms and 'defence' business fair on the 20th November 2013. This conference portrays itself as the main networking and business event in the UK for the MOD and the military community. See their website:

Students are coming together and welcome support to kick them off campus!

Students at UWE believe a decision to host this event is not in the interest of students or education but part of a wider shift towards profit-driven interests. We are calling on UWE not to invest itself into, promote, support or enable profit-making from/of/through wars, military uses of research, military networks, and violent approaches towards conflicts. Students also denounce the University's strategy of investing into large infrastructures which are largely useless to students and education, like the planned 20,000 seats 'UWE stadium' or UWE's massive Conference Centre, where this conference is to take place.

Please sign our petition here:

Our student newspaper, the WesternEye has published this article:

A student has written an open letter showing the related gaps between UWEs claims to sustainability and this military conference:

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Occupy Bath - Notes from the Past

Two years ago, the hot topic in the city was a small encampment in Queen Square. In six weeks, so much happened there. Many friendships were made, many people decided that enough was enough and made the decision to make a stand, and many people were inspired - and this legacy still continues today.

A few weeks ago, a friend informed me that they had received a mysterious package with my name on it, and finally got round to giving it to me earlier today. Inside was a wire-bound notebook and a card from someone I hadn't heard from in many months, the person who without a doubt spent more time at the camp than anyone else. Inside was a collection of thoughts, questions, statements, a camping rota and some loose pieces of paper with messages of support from members of the public - all written during the time of the original camp. As we have now reached the second anniversary of Occupy Bath, I thought I might share some of the contents, so that people can be reminded of exactly what the camp meant to the citizens of Bath.

Comments from the Public

The majority of these comments were simple - things like "good luck" and "keep going" - but here's a selection of the more interesting ones from the 100 or so comments. At least one is from a very well-known person, but I'll leave it to you to guess who it was and what they said...

"Very happy you're here!"
"This is great! Time for the silent majority to speak up!"
"Well done to you all - good luck and hope the weather gets better soon!"
"Keep the presence going - it's time the majority in this country had a voice"
"Excellent. There's a need for a voice!!"
"Politics is about the personal - it's about the people"
"Speaking for many"
"Keep going and be very much more ambitious"
"Well done - hope you link with the strike on 30 Nov"
"Thank you, you're speaking for many of us"
"Don't let the bastards grind you down! Support and solidarity to Occupy!"
"Let's get talking!"
"Be the change you want to see - Occupy everywhere!"
"We need to be heard!"
"Very grateful to you for being here"
"You are my heroes, I'm so heart-warmed by your commitment"
"Democracy only works with a level playing field - so state funded campaigns by parties means also no vested interest or lobbying by big money!! Governments are in the pockets of big business"
"The web widens!"
"Down with central banking!"
"Freedom is a valuable thing!"
"You are representing so many people who can't be here"
"Good to see you here. Solidarity from an NUT member"
"Thank you for representing me!"
"Sack the bankers!"
"Good luck, solidarity from Wales!"
"Hopefully the Occupy Movement can keep going and get stronger. Keep up the good work!"
"Thank you for making this statement and taking this action - do it IN MY NAME! With love"
"Sorry I can't join you all but keep it up please, you're speaking for us all!"
"I'm supporting every peaceful movement towards the better"


The following questions were put forward to be considered to give to the BRLSI for a debate on the Occupy Movement. Most are still relevant today, perhaps more so. If you weren't there, these are some of the things we were talking about at the camp:

1. Is it time for a legal ratio between minimum wage and a maximum wage?
2. Do we need more women in politics?
3. Should manifesto pledges be legally binding (at least key ones)?
4. Should we consider a universal allowance/credit ensuring food and energy for citizens?
5. Will the virtual removal of legal aid make society fairer?
6. Should MPs have a genuine local connection to their constituency (i.e. long-term residency)?
7. Should Bath have a local minimum wage as in London?
8. Do we want American insurance companies running the NHS?
9. What defines growth and competitiveness in a global economy?
10. 80% of the world's population do not have freedom of movement across all borders - is this right?
11. Does the bombing of a country for their resources influence immigration?
12. Is there a link between poverty, wars, inequality, economic instability and climate change?
13. Is growth and international competitiveness conducive to human happiness?

Ideas for Placards

Most of these suggestions came from visitors to the camp.

- We are the 99%
- Stop the Traders Gambling with Our Money
- XXX Cities Occupied Around the World
- Education for All
- Are You Happy About Minimum Wage?
- Is Your Rent Eating All Your Income?
- Slaves of the Banks
- We Didn't Vote for Traders
- There's Enough for Everyone's Need, But Not for Everyone's Greed
- 1 Job for 50 People... Are You One of the 49 Left Over?
- "The Future Isn't Inherited From Our Ancestors, It's Borrowed From Our Children" - Native American Proverb
- There's Enough For 2 Tennis Courts Per Person of Land in the UK
- Maldives, Bangladesh, Philippines Overflown By Global Warming.... Should Bath Host the Climatic Refugees?
- Having a Job = The Most Important Thing in Life?
- No, We Haven't Found a Magic Solution For Global Warming
- You Don't Change Things By Fighting the Existing System, Instead Design a New System Which Makes the Old One Obsolete
- Non-Violent Resistance Does Not Seek to Defeat or Humiliate the Opponent, But to Win His Friendship and Understanding
- We Can Have Democracy in This Country, Or We Can Have Great Wealth Concentrated in the Hands of a Few, But We Cannot Have Both
- If Not Now, When? If Not You, Who?

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Stop The UWE Arms Fair

From campaigners against the arms fair at the University of the West of England (UWE), Frenchay Campus, Bristol:



UWE will be hosting an Arms fair in the ECC on the 20th of November. UWE is giving them the space to network and plan the selling and buying of weapons! This includes exporting to other countries, new technology in weaponry and manufacturing of these weapons.

Angry with this happening? Then come to the PROTEST. If you do not have enough time then email the vice chancellor at to voice your complaints.

MONDAY- banner making and planning, core24 from noon.

TUESDAY- Drop Beats Not Bombs - rally/party against the arms trade, student village. Meet 4pm at the Frenchay bus stops. Bring people.


The UK is one of the worlds largest exporters of weapons, most of the arms sold go to middle east, and South & East Asia. There are very few legal restrictions on where arms can be sold, even exporting to countries with highly questionable human rights records is considered legal.

In 2010 the UK Government Human Rights Annual Report identified 26 countries “of Concern”,. Despite these concerns the UK approved arms exports to 16 of these countries, including Libya, Israel and Saudi Arabia. During the Arab spring uprisings in 2011, UK brought weapons were routinely used in the crack down against protesters. The UK often sells weapons to both sides of a war, prolonging conflicts to increase profits for arms dealers at cost of the lives of soldiers and civilians. During the Falklands war Argentina was legally sold weapons, which were then used against British soldiers!

War creates poverty, any African nation at war economy shrinks 15% each year. It looses infrastructure, spreads disease, makes land infertile and kills a lot of the population. Most war related deaths are civilian; around 90%.

At the same time we create stricter border control policies. We promote war to countries, sell them weapons, increasing their poverty, while decreasing their ability to live. We then refuse refuge to those who try to escape these terrifying situations we help to create.

If they do manage to get to the UK, refugees often face discrimination. Like the disgusting “go Home” anti immigration vans, that the government were proudly driving around earlier this year. Go Home and be shot at, by our weapons!

The Government has always had incredibly close ties with the arms companies.The Government’s UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) department is a vital element of the UK’s arms dealing. In 2008 it opened the Defence & Security Organisation (DSO) which promotes weaponry on behalf of arms companies. 54% of UKTI staff now only invested in selling Arms.

The Government’s main arguments to defend it's behaviour fit into three categories: arms exports are important for national security; they are vital to the UK economy and jobs; and they are stringently regulated.

These are all false

There is no “security of supply”. Arms production takes place across the globe and all significant Ministry of Defence purchases include hundreds or thousands of imported components and sub-systems. If we were to go to war with any of those countries, or run out of money, then why would those countries still supply us with weapons?

This argument also falls through in that it looks at the world through a military lens, It marginalises major security threats such as climate change, energy insecurity and inequality that are acknowledged by Government but absent in terms of meaningful policies and funding.

The arms trade is heavily subsidised to the tune of £852 million a year - that's more than £13,000 per job per year! Imagine what could be done if all those skills and resources were devoted to socially beneficial projects.

Selling Arms is a drain on the public purse, causes human rights atrocities and destruction of the environment, and is riddled with accusations of fraud and illegality – none of which the government has put much effort into investigating. The only reason to sustain the arms trade is to make the politicians rich mates even richer, and for those in power in our country to feel 'big' and important.

The companies which attend Arms Fairs are guaranteed potential customers in vast numbers, including military delegations and individual trade, government and armed forces representatives. They make contact, negotiate and sign contracts over the course of a number of arms fairs and interim meetings.

So don't even think a strongly worded letter to your local MP will change anything. It is time to take action into our own hands and Stop the Arms Trade. Lets kick the Arms Fair out of our university!

More info on the Facebook Page:

More info on the Drop Beats Not Bombs rally at UWE on Tues 19th November here: