Education in annihilation
BAe Systems is Europe's biggest arms company and it's growing all the time. Glascoed near Usk is home to a former Royal Ordnance factory taken over by BAe Systems in 1987. The main activity of the 400 employees at `Land Systems Munitions & Ordnance Glascoed' is the filling, packing, & supplying of finished munitions including tank shells, mortar shells, small arms ammunition, missile and torpedo warheads, (including Hellfire missiles), depth charges and warheads.
Other sites produce parts of weapons that are then shipped to Glascoed to be filled with explosives and fuses. The company supplies an estimated £100m of ammunition to the Ministry of Defence each year through their exclusive ammunition contract the vast majority of which would pass through Glascoed. Though BAe gets more income from the US Defence Department than from the British MoD, BAe also boasts that it supplies munitions and small arms to more than 50 other countries although it is reluctant to say which ones.
Last November BAe opened up a new education centre for primary school children at the Glascoed site which will, according to Managing Director Steve Rowbotham, be "a unique learning experience to bring the subject of World War Two to life".
The hypocrisy is obvious - a producer of weapons of mass destruction that maim and kill thousands of men, women and children throughout the world for profit inviting children to their death factory to show them a war exhibition!
We are informed that learning about war means that the children can try on gas masks and "learn about about what life was like". We doubt if they will be:
• shown the carnage, slaughter and real effects of war, about how armament companies profit from war by selling weapons to anyone who wants them regardless of the consequences;
• told that BAe Systems build and supply armaments like cluster bombs and, in the past, depleted uranium shells (widely believed to be the cause of `Gulf War Syndrome');
• told about making a fat profit from humans being killed and ripped apart in the most horrific ways.
We wonder if Career Wales, Newport City Council and Don Touhig MP (Minister for defence & veterans), who fully support the educational centre, could get together with BAe Systems to open up a similar facility in Iraq to teach the children there about the benefits of being the victims of war?
Or maybe, part of the "war experience" for the children of the 250 schools in the catchment area of this facility would be to take them on a school trip to Iraq? To see how children their age get to feel BAe's engineering up close. No doubt, Steve Rowbotham and Don Touhig could explain how a career as an engineer at BAe systems making weapons of mass destruction will "pull out all the stops to challenge outdated perceptions of engineering being all grim and grimy"!
Companies like BAe are very keen to put money into education, it is here they find the next wave of people to build and innovate new & more efficient ways of committing murder. Through its Education Programme of school visits, special child friendly website & new educational facilities, BAe is targeting school children, some as young as nine with its "Schools Challenge" which asks schools to get children to design `vehicles of the future'.
Perhaps the "Schools challenge design an emergency vehicle project", will come up with an ambulance that has the capability to hoover up children's body parts? But hey, why let the bloody gore of war get in the way of the militarisation of our young children's minds!
Locally, Victoria Primary and Penygarn Junior in Pontypool, Rogiet Primary in Monmouthshire, St Illtyd's Primary in Rumney and Ty Sign Primary in Caerphilly have all invited BAe specialists into their schools to try to convince children that making and selling weapons to kill people is acceptable.
As well as reaching out to children locally, BAe train some of the world's deadliest killers just down the road from Glascoed in Cwmbran. Since January 2000 1600 student from 40 countries have been taught at `BAe Systems Cwmbran Training College'. BAe's premier training facility uses simulators & interactive technology to show professional murderers how to use BAe's products to kill better. BAe boast that all their instructors in subjects like electronic Warfare, Air Defence & Battlefield Management, have had recent operational experience.
Taken from Gagged, the excellent publication by Gwent Anarchists - contact firstname.lastname@example.org to subscribe online