Tuesday, 22 April 2008

March against the Military Academy

Wales recently recently received its biggest ever award of taxpayers money: £14 billion. Unfortunately the 4 main parties in Wales have supported this money not being spent on hospitals, schools and public services. but instead on war, in the shape of a huge, privatised military academy being built at St Athan, near Cardiff. RESPECT - The Left Party is proud to be the only political party in Wales speaking out against the Academy in the upcoming elections.


Mass demonstration called by Stop the St Athan Military Academy Campaign
Supported by UK Stop the War Coalition

Assemble 1.30 pm, Cathays Park
(opposite Museum/City Hall, Cardiff
Saturday 26 April

In the summer of 2006, hundreds of people protested in Cardiff against the war on Lebanon. The Israeli military dropped half-a-million cluster bombs on Lebanon supplied by arms companies like Raytheon. Now Raytheon has been invited to Wales by the Welsh Assembly Government to help run a huge, privatised military academy near Cardiff. It's time to get back onto the streets! Anything we can do in Wales to prevent the State waging war on its terms can only be of help to those resisting in the frontline in the Middle East and beyond.

Stop the St Athan Military Academy Campaign supporters include:

Aberystwyth Peace & Justice Network, Bangor Peace & Justice GroupCaernarfon Peace & Justice Group, Cardiff Anarchist Network, Cardiff Justice & Peace Group, Cardiff RESPECT/Left Party, Church Action Against Poverty, CND Cymru, CND (Swansea), Communist Party of Wales, Cymdeithas y Cymod (Fellowship of Reconciliation Wales), Cymdeithas yr Iaith (Welsh Language Society), Cynefin y Werin, Green Party (Wales), Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign, Penarth Justice & Peace Group, Permanent Revolution, Quakers (Caerleon), RESPECT/Left Party, Socialist Labour Party (Wales), South Wales Anarchists, Stop the War Coalition (UK), Stop the War (Bristol)Stop the War (Cardiff), Stop the War (Swindon), Stop the War (Wrekin), Women in Black (Abergavenny), Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Wrexham Peace & Justice Centre

To add your name or organisation to the list of supporters or for more information about the campaign, email: no2militaryacademy@inbox.com

Imagine a world in which the armed forces are trained by arms dealers.And we subsidise their profits.

That world will become reality unless we stop the proposed school of death at St Athan.The creation of a military super-academy at St Athan, between Cardiff and Swansea, was announced as a done deal in January 2007. Despite the fact this represented the biggest PFI in history, involving £14 billion of taxpayers' money, there had been no debate in either Westminster or the Welsh Assembly (Senedd). A promise of 5500 local jobs was trumpeted loudly by an uncritical news media and presented as a great victory for Wales.

No wonder the politicians didn't want any debate. The new super-academy, replacing many smaller centres, means that military training will now be in the hands of shameless profiteers.The winning bidders for the project were the Metrix consortium. This consortium includes Qinetiq, the privatised research and development wing of the MoD. Qinetiq was recently the subject of intense criticism by the National Audit Office. Its privatisation was proposed by MoD managers – who then saw their shares rise 10,000% on the day of the sale! 33.8% of Qinetiq was also bought by the US-based Carlyle Group, a sinister lash-up of politicians and arms dealers with a vested interest in promoting war.Former members of its board include one George W. Bush.

Then there is the US arms manufacturer Raytheon. Raytheon make the missiles which deliver cluster bombs, the horrendous weapons which are estimated to have killed 100,000 people – 98% of them innocent civilians. The world can also thank Raytheon for the depleted uranium weapons which have led to thousands of horribly deformed babies and large increases in cancers in war zones and beyond.Raytheon, Qinetiq and friends will not just be training UK armed forces at St Athan. They will train any soldiers, sailors and air force personnel that are willing to pay for the privilege. And like all PFIs, the St Athan academy will be subsidised by the taxpayer, and if necessary, bailed out with public money.There has never been a detailed breakdown of the jobs the academy will bring. However, even Metrix admit that many of the military trainers will relocate from elsewhere. Every PFI has secured profits by cutting costs. St Athan will mean less MoD jobs overall, and the poorest pay and conditions for lowskilled workers.

In any case, imagine what else could be done with £14 billion! With hospitals and schools closing throughout Wales and the UK, with a desperate need to improve social facilities, create sustainable sources of energy etc, such public money could be invested in socially useful projects rather than the preparation for future wars of occupation like Iraq.

If this development goes ahead, 21 st century Wales will be become a militarised, security-obsessed nightmare. If you want to stop the war profiteers in their tracks, support the campaign and raise it in your union, student union, workplace and community.

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