The arms trade is undermining democracy in countries around the globe, according to Andrew Feinstein, a former MP in South Africa, who was nicknamed “Mr Clean” by the media for his determination to investigate corruption.
The close relationship between arms companies and the UK government is again under scrutiny following a damning report into the crash of a Nimrod aircraft in Afghanistan in 2006 , which caused the deaths of 14 people.
The South African politician Andrew Feinstein, well-known for his struggles against corruption and the arms industry, has been announced as the key speaker at a major gathering of anti-arms trade activists in the UK later this month.
The news that BAE will be prosecuted shouldn't be such a surprise. In a fair world, it would be normal. But fairness is not a quality that has ever applied to BAE, a company that has spent years using its influence to avoid facing justice.
The arms company BAE Systems will be charged with corruption after years of allegations and controversy. The Serious Fraud Office has asked the attorney-general to initiate prosecution on charges of multimillion pound bribery.
The Conservatives' shadow Defence Secretary, Liam Fox, is facing strong criticism for suggesting that a Tory government would increase financial and political support for arms exports despite the party's commitment to spending cuts in other areas.
The former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, has drawn criticism for making comments supportive of the arms industry. He suggested on BBC television that Britain should be proud of being “particularly good at manufacturing tanks”.
Two members of the Catholic Worker movement, including a priest, have been arrested at the London arms fair. They poured red paint over an entrance sign before kneeling in prayer beneath a banner asking God to forgive arms dealers.
London’s arms fair has opened this morning to a wave of protest and criticism. Protestors have demonstrated both outside the fair and at the offices of UKTI, the government unit through which the arms fair is subsidised.