Archive Page 2


One Show reports on Notts arms companies

On March 17th, BBC TV’s prime-time magazine programme The One Show aired a report about Nottinghamshire’s hidden arms companies.

In the wake of revelations about the UK selling arms to repressive regimes such as Libya and Bahrain, the One Show decided to do a report looking at the UK’s arms trade. The report was based around the Map of Militarism produced by Notts Anti-Militarism. Kirk Jackson, from Campaign Against Arms Trade and Notts Anti-Militarism, took One Show reporter Simon Boazman to a few of the local arms companies, including small arms manufacturer Heckler & Koch, the target of a long-running local campaign.

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Notts arms dealer in trafficking conspiracy

Cotgrave businessman Guy Tinsley selling assault weapons at DSEi 2009

A Nottinghamshire businessman has been implicated in an international arms trafficking racket. Guy Tinsley, director of Cotgrave-based Easy Tiger International, was recorded in a series of phone conversations arranging the illegal import of AK-47 magazines into the US.

In 2008, Tinsley was acting as buyer for a US-based firearms wholesaler called American Tactical. He brokered deals to buy tens of thousands of Chinese AK-47 magazines worth hundreds of thousands of dollars from German arms dealer Karl Kleber.

These deals were illegal because US law prohibits the import of firearms or ammunition from China. But that didn’t seem to trouble Tinsley. In a series of phone calls in early 2008, he told Kleber that he didn’t care where the ammo came from, and they discussed the markings that had been stamped on the magazines to falsely indicate that they had come from Bulgaria.

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Middle East dictatorships armed by H&K

Mohammed Hussein Tantawi with guard wielding H&K machine pistol

The head of Egypt's armed forces (l) on Cairo's Tahrir Square with bodyguard wielding a H&K machine pistol

Across the Middle East and North Africa, people have risen up to try to overthrow their undemocratic governments, and these uprisings have been met with state-sponsored violence and repression.

Now Notts Anti-Militarism can reveal that several of these repressive regimes have been armed by a company with an international sales office in Nottingham: Heckler & Koch.

In Libya, forces loyal to 42-year dictator Muammar Gaddafi have been slaughtering civilian protesters in the streets. According to Jane’s Infantry Weapons, Libya’s armed forces are still equipped with Heckler & Koch G3 rifles.

They bought these rifles from the Greek state manufacturer, which was in turn licensed by Heckler & Koch. The company has used the type of deal many times in order to profit from arms exports that would not be allowed in its home country.

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H&K illegal sales to Mexico exposed

Mexican policeman with a new H&K gun

Mexican policeman with a new H&K gun

The German HQ of arms company Heckler & Koch has been raided by police after campaigners exposed illegal weapons sales to conflict zones in Mexico.

The German government placed an arms embargo on four of Mexico’s 31 states, including Chiapas, home of the Zapatistas, due to serious human rights abuses there. However, between 2006 and 2009, H&K sold assault rifles to those states, shipping the weapons to Mexico City in order to disguise their final destination. Furthermore, Heckler & Koch bribed a Mexican general to get the deal.

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Government hosts arms dealing conference in Nottingham

Today the UK Government hosted a conference in Nottingham aimed at helping British arms companies boost their sales. Arms companies from across the country were invited to the swanky Nottingham Belfry hotel in Broxtowe for this one-day event, entitled “Selling to Defence & Security Markets“.

Banner: "Selling to Defence & Security Markets - Nottingham: 25 May 2010"

The event was organised by a controversial government department called UKTI DSO, which spends millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money every year promoting British arms exports, often to unstable and repressive regimes. The organisation won the 2010 Quango Awards prize for Most Ethically Dubious Quango, and Campaign Against Arms Trade is trying to get it closed down.


Heckler & Koch Shareholders Sued By Investors

In a spectacle that promises to put a smile on the face of Shut Down H&K supporters everywhere a group of bigwig investors are taking the owners of arms company Heckler & Koch (Andreas Heeschen and Keith Halsey) to court in New York. Heckler & Koch has an international sales office in an unmarked unit on a Nottingham industrial estate.

The main allegation is that Heeschen and Halsey “loaned” themselves over 100 million euros from the company account and promptly spent it on playboy luxuries such as mansions, aircraft (including a $12 million Bombardier and a $5 million Challenger) and a yacht.

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Nottingham anti-arms-trade activist convicted

Rooftop occupation at Heckler & Koch, 18th Feb 2010

Rooftop occupation at Heckler & Koch

On May 20th at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court, anti-arms-trade activist Kirk Jackson was found guilty of aggravated trespass for his part in a protest that shut down an arms company for a day. He was given a twelve month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £350 court costs.

The charge arose from a February 18th protest at the Nottingham warehouse of international arms company Heckler & Koch. Before dawn, four activists locked themselves to the gates, preventing employees from entering, while Kirk and another activist climbed onto the roof and displayed banners accusing the company of “arming repressive regimes”.

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This blog is all about Nottingham-based opposition to the arms trade. If you would like to be notified about upcoming events and important campaign news, you can subscribe to the mailing list on the web or by sending an e-mail to nottsantimilitarism-subscribe (at)