One of the world’s biggest arms companies has pulled out of a major sponsorship deal with the Edinburgh International Science Festival following protests over “blood money”.
But Selex ES - accused of selling high-tech weapons and security systems to repressive and undemocratic regimes around the world - is still running one of the most popular children’s activities at the festival, which starts in two weeks.
Campaigners have hailed the sponsorship cancellation as a “victory”, but are now calling for the festival to cut all its ties with Selex ES. It is wrong for an educational event to have any association with a company that profits from war, they say.
Selex ES, which has a base at Crewe Toll in Edinburgh, is part of the £11 billion Italian corporate giant, Finmeccanica, one of the world’s top ten arms dealers. Selex ES describes itself as an “international leader in electronic and information technologies for defence systems”.
The company has sold military surveillance drones to Pakistan, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, weapons and missile electronics to the United Arab Emirates and weapons management systems to Malaysia and Thailand. It has also provided radar for drones to the Israeli defence electronics company, Elbit, and is helping to develop a flight training centre for the Israeli air force.