17 Sep 2015

Illegal torture equipment – right on your doorstep! The adverts shaming Britain’s arms trade

“Horrific killer drones! Ankle-shattering leg irons! Cluster bombs! And electric stun batons that cause excruciating pain but leave no trace!” The cheery voice and cartoon imagery leave no doubt that this advert for the world’s biggest arms fair is a sharp spoof, produced for Amnesty International to highlight the British government’s willingness to flog weapons to repressive regimes via the Defence and Security Equipment International’s jamboree at the ExCeL Centre in London’s Docklands.

But a separate campaign is also leading to many posters cropping up at bus stops and on tube trains that require a second glance. “Important announcement, Travelling on the DLR from 15th to 18th September?” reads one, using London Underground fonts and branding with the DLR line turning into the image of a tank. “This September, a swarm of arms dealers will be descending on the DLR … Customers are requested to help stop the arms fair.”

british arms

The 300 posters are by artists who exhibited work at the Museum of Cruel Designs (PDF) in Banksy’s Dismaland. A collective called the Special Patrol Group helped distribute it around London using “Ad Space Hack Packs”, a £6 pack of Allen keys which it claims “gain access to around a third of bus stop advertising space on the planet”. (Transport for London is not amused by this flyposting “vandalism”.)

More at the The Guardian