Heckler at the Back

arms.jpgSchNews | Campaigners in Nottingham have the world’s second largest seller of small-arms, Heckler and Koch, firmly in their sights. One would have thought that a city infamous for its gun crime would be a poor location for a warehouse full of guns. Not according to H&K, who do great business equipping war-mongers on any side.

Proud owners of H&K weaponry include the brutal militias of Darfur — the Janjaweed. Funnily enough, despite the outcry against the massacres in Darfur, they obviously weren’t quite bad enough to stop selling weapons to the perpetrators. Even a recent arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against a senior Sudanese politician accused of selling H&K weapons to the Janjaweed hasn’t seemed to stem the flow of H&K guns to a militia accused by everyone including the US of committing genocide. (H&K guns also fill the arsenals of the US Dept of Homeland Security, US Navy Seals & the FBI amongst others).

H&K have a ‘strategic partnership’ with the world’s largest mercenary company Blackwater (see SchNEWS 572). H&K supply the guns to the Iraqi and Afghan puppet governments, and Blackwater provide the training (perhaps they also supply child-sized targets for their students).

There was a plan for H&K to produce special edition ‘Blackwater’ weapons — complete with the Blackwater logo on them. However, after Blackwater made the headlines for killing 17 innocent Iraqis (not the first time that Blackwater have killed innocent Iraqis, but the first time that it made the news in a major way), the plan was shelved.

Nearly 100 people showed up this Tuesday (6th) to march against H&K at their Nottingham facility, accompanied by large numbers of police who, in the words of one protester were ‘their usual sinister selves’. The FIT Team (See www.fitwatch.blogspot.com) made their (always unwelcome presence) and did what they do best — blatantly intimidate people all day with video cameras; following some people home.

Interestingly, local media also came under pressure; Trent FM, who had shown some enthusiasm about reporting the demo, received a word in their ear from both H&K’s press office as well as the police, warning hacks that it would be ‘irresponsible’ to publish the fact that H&K has a warehouse full of weapons in Nottingham, as it may prompt criminals to try and steal them.

In response the campaigners pointed out to the radio station that H&K’s address was published at Company House, as well as in several business directories. About the radio station being leaned on, the campaigners said that “If the security policy of H&K and Notts police relies on no-one finding out the company’s location, then clearly it is they who are irresponsible, not our campaign and not the media. A large warehouse stocked with high-power assault rifles and submachine guns with inadequate security to prevent a robbery is clearly a significant danger to the public, and publicisng such a danger is very much in the public interest.”

The H&K warehouse, located at Easter Park, Lenton Lane, Nottingham, is next to the ‘Trent Vineyard’, an evangelist church that held the funeral of Danielle Beccan, a 14 year old girl who was killed in a drive-by shooting. At her funeral service the then mayor of Nottingham said, “Guns have no place at all in our community — not in Nottingham, not in my city nor any other city in Britain.”

One campaigner told us “The arms trade relies on secrecy. Most people abhor the idea of factories and warehouse making and selling weapons around the world, and arms companies know this. By lifting the lid on the business, anti-arms protesters can make a put the pressure on the government/corporate killing machine to stop killing for profit.”

* http://nottsantimilitarism.wordpress.com