Arms Dealers to Converge on Dublin for Weapons Conference

Sunday Tribune announces international arms fair in Dublin

Sunday 22 August 2004

Today's (22 Aug) Sunday Tribune announced details of a "major weapons conference" to be held in Dublin's Berkeley Court on October 19-20th.

The conference carries the title: 'less lethal weapons in peace and war" - a great example of the Orwellian newspeak that the weapons industry uses to describe itself.

'less lethal weapons' is a phrase used to describe everything from stun guns and plastic bullets to the new sonic-bombs that have been deployed to 'disperse' crowds in Iraq and will see their first outing in the West during the protests next weekend in NYC against the Republican National Convention.

The line-up of expert speakers reads like a proper rogues gallery and a more provocative group could hardly be imagined. We have the CEO of Taser international inc, a major supplier of weaponry to the occupation forces in Iraq. And 'senior officers from the LAPD and west midlands police' - remember Rodney King? Remember the Birmingham 6 and the historical record of the West Midlands police in framing Irish people in Britain. Now we are apparently inviting them here to teach us a bit of their expertise in brutalising people

Although the Tribune is a notoriously unreliable source of information (remember the fall of Basra!) the level of detail in this report seems to give credence to the claims (unless they are the victims of an elaborate hoax).

This conference comes at an opportune time for the anti-war and anti-capitalist movement. Since the Bush visit there has been a lack of focus for these movements and this conference is something that will readily unite all of the people who have been active in the anti-war and direct-action movements. Dublin Grassroots has also just got back together after a well-earned summer break and with the experience of organising the Mayday and Bush protests behind us, we should be in good shape to mobilise for this conference. An anti-war critical mass has already been planned for the start of October which should tie nicely into the mobilisation and a general DGN meeting has already been planned for two weeks from now. Also, the Grassroots Gathering will take place in Belfast the following weekend, so there is a good menu of events - both reactive and proactive - for people to get involved in.

The extraordinarily provocative nature of the conference, at a time when revulsion at the war machine and the arms industry is running high across the world, and the exceptionally obnoxious nature of the speakers, means that it should be relatively straightforward to motivate people around this. It also means that the arguments for taking direct action against the conference should have some broad appeal.

Now, I assume that there will be some sort of protest organised by one of the SWP fronts (IAWM? GR? ESF?). It is possible that the nature of this conference and the various political pressures that they have faced in the last couple of years will prompt them to try some sort of direct action, but I don't think that really matters. The case for direct action - shutting down this conference - is obvious and I think that is exactly what we should be aiming to do. This represents a real opportunity for all serious anti-war and anti-capitalist campaigners. Are we going to sit back and allow them to peddle their stinking arms so that they can turn around and use them against us tomorrow? Are we f**k.

Chekov - WSM/DGN

This story was first posted to indymedia and can be read with comments at

For more on resistance in Ireland to militarism see

[A Personal report from a Workers Solidarity Movement member, these reports are posted to the Ainriail list when first written]

[A Personal report from a Workers Solidarity Movement member, these reports are posted to the Ainriail list when first written]

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