Arms fairs – Who’s selling? Who buying ?

It’s a changing world, not like the old days, the old days were better. We knew who our enemies were and where to find them. Today it’s far more complicated, we rely heavily on the holy trinity, M.I.5, 6, and G.C.H.Q., to even the playing field, but sometimes that’s not enough, sometimes we need to set a trap.

With this in mind we’ve travelled to the Tuyap fair convention centre in Istanbul. They are hosting the ‘International defence industry fair.’, the convention is extensively an arena to showcase the Turkish defence industry. Due to the specialised nature of the event and the relatively small field, we are making up the international element.

Anyone can go, all you have to do is apply for tickets, although if you’re not selling you may be expected to buy a tank or something. They say money makes the world go around, if that’s true, guns keep it spinning. And if there’s one thing corrupt dictators and warlords love more than anything else, it’s an arms fair. Turkey does an excellent job of keeping track of those on international watch lists and they are more than happy to throw open their doors for this catch all event.

Our display really looks the part, the graphics department have out done themselves. The banner is a large Union flag with ‘Coburg Arms International’ across the top. The centre piece a gold wreath with a lion rampant, above, in latin ‘Per Fortitudinem, Potentatis , with the translation running underneath ‘Strength through power.’ Either side there are a number of photographic montages of nondescript combat units and military vehicles. All stirring stuff, and all fake.

Alan and I have been seconded to M.I.6 for the duration of the event. Alan will be analysing threats in real time, and I am to ensure that any data is logged and sent off site, or in this instance up to our satellite. One great advantage to an arms fair is that the kit on display is often the real thing, the realistic looking satellite with the flashing lights does exactly what is say’s on the tin.

6’s Agents are doing a fantastic job, anyone and everyone who shows an interest is greeted with a smile and a drink. Usually salesmen give a firm hand shake to assert dominance, but in this case, it’s to ensure the palm reader gets a clear print. The intense eye to eye contact, not just male bonding, but facial recognition and iris scanning built into his glasses. If only we had a DNA sample to go along with that.

“Let me take that glass from you sir, I’ll get you a fresh one.”

All in all it’s turning into a very successful trip. We’ve even managed to secure a rather large up front payment from an international security operative with a rather dubious past, sounds nicer than mercenary doesn’t it. The funds clear almost immediately, although it will be severe months before the shipment arrives. Those sea crossings are awfully long, and dangerous, did I mention dangerous ? It’s true, cargos get lost, washed over broad all the time….and it’s so difficult to getting insurance, that’s if you can get any at all…..thats the problem with the Arms business…very doggy…you can loose your money if you’re not careful.   

So ,as I said, rather successful, although Alan is rather vexed, the latin translation is wrong and that the biscuits aren’t right. Apparently it should read ‘Through strength, power’ and regardless of what it say’s on the packet, those aren’t ginger nuts.

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