BAE systems office occupation report
Friday May 04, 2007 12:37 by inspector gadget - Serious fraud and violent crime office kebelesocialcentre at riseup dot net
On Thursday 26th April 5 activists succeeded in occupying offices at BAE systems in Filton for one and a half hours, as part of a DIY Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and crimes of genocide investigation. The action caused
significant disruption to the workings of the death dealing company.
Although from the inside the offices look like any other offices, this really is the belly of the beast: BAE systems is the U.K.'s largest weapons manufacturer, the government's arms dealer of choice and purveyor of heavy
weaponry to ruthless regimes across the globe. The company is corrupt to the core, currently undergoing investigations by the SFO into dodgy deals with South Africa, Romania, Tanzania, the Czech Republic, Chile and Qatar and is responsible for tens of thousands of deaths and endless suffering, all part financed with millions from U.K. taxpayers. Their business is in fanning the flames of war and genocide to keep the world in constant conflict, which means a nice little earner! Thursday's occupation made sure it was not going to be just another day at the office.
"Please next time pick another office. I can't go through this again!" were the words of one arms dealer employee faced with a very chaotic working environment where nothing seemed to be in it's proper place after a serious filing reshuffle. You could say the office looked like a bomb had hit it. Of course the explanation that his minor inconvenience was really very minor compared to what the victims of his company's wares have to endure fell on deaf ears. Why do arms dealers all seem to have that glazed look in their eyes when you start talking about what weapons actually do to people? The attempts of the action to get a reality check and calls to conscience through to the assembled BAE workers looking on in dismay were met with a combination of blank stares, shutting it out and trying to look busy. The ones that were too far gone chose the tried and tested defence mechanism of sneers and jeers, a real reflection of just how offensive and past caring some people let themselves descend. Still a quick ethics brainstorm by the visiting conscientious investigators on the office memo board came up with some forward thinking results and some challenges for the company's future. On the "to do" list were "Stop arming dictators", "Stop total war", "Get a conscience" and "Quit working for BAE" as some areas for improvement and
So when the police smashed the window to break up the DIY investigators' team meeting in their barricaded office, it felt as if the shattering glass might serve to shatter the illusion of impregnable security and unaccountability with which those who profit from mass murder shield themselves. Of course it doesn't come close to the fear you feel at the sound of exploding bombs or machine gun fire, but it's a start. When faced with CS gas pointed in their faces by police, the investigators sat down and formed a solid circle with interlocking arms, peacefully refusing to leave until the investigation was completed into the dropped Serious Fraud Office case into the Al-Yamamah Saudi arms deal, where millions of pounds of our taxpayers money has disappeared into a slushy black hole. Needless to say, these requests for information were met with more blank stares as BAE cannot come clean about this: the numbers just don't add up. Perhaps KPMG, BAE Systems' accountancy firm, could provide some answers.
The investigators were finally dragged from the offices after 10am, arrested for burglary and resisting arrest, and taken to Trinity Police station. They remained locked up for nearly 14 hours with 2 of the group, who are vegan, denied food for over 11 hours until a food delivery from the brilliant and persistent support was finally accepted. The group was eventually released for a communal hug and a well-earned ciggie at 1.30am. The investigators have to return to be charged on the 18th June.
We cannot allow companies like BAE to continue with impunity. It's up to normal people like those who took part in this action to confront them and to struggle for a world where they have no place. The arms industry, like the capitalist system that spawns it, cannot be reformed, made less corrupt or somehow more ethically sound. There are many ways that we can start to take them down. Let's start now!