Catalonia’s referendum on independence was marred by dramatic scenes of violence on Sunday as Spanish police and Civil Guards burst into polling stations to try to prevent the vote taking place. Initial reports said 38 would-be voters were injured in the ensuing clashes, but by early evening figures were far higher. The Catalan government health department reported over 840 people had needed various degrees of medical attention, whilst Spain’s Ministry of the Interior said 12 police officers had been hurt.
External resources relating to Spain (State of)
It was, at first sight, just an ordinary rush hour scene at Birmingham’s New Street station. Three cops from the British Transport Police ordering flat whites in a cafe, amid a short break on what must have been a busy shift. One was armed with a pistol and kevlared-up, the others were wearing stab vests and bulky tactical clothing. All were equipped with earpieces, tasers, pepper sprays - and all were tense, scanning the busy street intently as they waited for their drinks.
...experience shows that this mode of policing and cracking down on sources of dissent, is gaining popularity across the western world. We shall not go here into the arguments for or against Catalonian independence. Following the Spanish police’s actions, that would in fact be besides the point, as it abandons the old principle of “policing by consent” instead “policing by domination”. The state’s “monopoly of violence” transforms into the ability to enforce political lines against opposition groups. At its root we find austerity and growing inequality, and the de facto militarisation of the police.
This briefing updates the July 2016 report ‘Border Wars: the arms dealers profiting from Europe’s refugee tragedy’ . It shows that the European policy response to the refugee tragedy continues to provide a booming border security market for Europe’s arms and security firms, some of whom are involved in selling arms to the Middle East and North Africa and all of whom encourage European policies focused on keeping refugees out. It’s a win-win for the security corporations, but the cost is a deadly toll for migrants forced into ever more dangerous routes as they flee wars, conflict and oppression.
The refugee crisis facing Europe has caused consternation in the corridors of power, and heated debate on Europe’s streets. It has exposed fundamental faultlines in the whole European project, as governments fail to agree on even limited sharing of refugees and instead blame each other. Far-right parties have surged in popularity exploiting austerity-impacted communities in putting the blame for economic recession on a convenient scapegoat as opposed to the powerful banking sector. This has been most potently seen in the UK, where leaders of the ‘Leave EU’ campaign unscrupulously amplified fears of mass migration to successfully mobilise support for Brexit. Refugees fleeing terrible violence and hardship have been caught in the crossfire; forced to take ever more dangerous routes to get to Europe and facing racist attacks in host nations when they finally arrive.
However there is one group of interests that have only benefited from the refugee crisis, and in particular from the European Union’s investment in ‘securing’ its borders. They are the military and security companies that provide the equipment to border guards, the surveillance technology to monitor frontiers, and the IT infrastructure to track population movements.
This report turns a spotlight on those border security profiteers, examining who they are and the services they provide, how they both influence and benefit from European policies and what funding they receive from taxpayers. The report shows that far from being passive beneficiaries of EU largesse, these corporations are actively encouraging a growing securitisation of Europe’s borders, with some willing to provide ever more draconian technologies to do this.
It is time for European citizens to demand not a penny more of their tax money be spent on Israeli military and security corporations.
The use of riot control agents (RCAs) as a method of warfare is prohibited under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). The Convention, however, permits the employment of such chemicals for law enforcement including domestic riot control purposes, provided they are used in “types and quantities” consistent with such purposes.
Whilst CWC States Parties are prohibited from developing RCA munitions for use in armed conflict, they may manufacture, acquire and utilise delivery systems to disseminate appropriate “types and quantities” of RCAs for law enforcement. However, there is continuing ambiguity as to the nature and specifications of those means of delivery that are prohibited under the Convention. This ambiguity has potentially dangerous consequences, allowing divergent interpretations, policy and practice amongst States Parties to emerge.
Of particular concern – given the current research and development of unmanned systems - are the implications for the regulation of “remote control” RCA means of delivery. These are dissemination mechanisms incorporating automatic or semi-automatic systems where the operator is directing operation of the platform and/or RCA delivery device at a distance from the target. Certain “remote control” devices incorporate target activated mechanisms triggering automatic RCA dispersal, without realtime operational control, whilst others employ a “man in the loop” system, requiring human authorisation before the RCA is released.
This report highlights the ongoing development, testing, production and promotion by a range of State and commercial entities of a wide variety of “remote control” RCA means of delivery including: indoor fixed installation RCA dispersion devices; external area clearing or area denial devices; automatic grenade launchers; multiple munition launchers; delivery mechanisms on unmanned ground vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicles.
The following report highlights three local and international companies that manufacture “non-lethal” crowd control weapons. These weapons are currently used by Israeli authorities and security forces, mainly to suppress non-violent demonstrations in the occupied Palestinian territories, in violation of the right to freedom of expression and association. Despite the fact that they are often labeled as “nonlethal” weapons, they have already been proven as potentially lethal in different incidents around the world, when the use of these weapons led to the death of demonstrators.
The report focuses on three types of weapons as case studies: tear gas canisters, which are produces and marketed by Combined Systems, Inc. (CSI) and M.R. Hunter; “the Scream”, manufactured by Electro-Optics Research & Development (EORD) and LRAD; and “the Skunk”, which is manufactured by Odortec, with the supporting companies: Man and BeitAlfa Technologies. The report will highlight the harmful consequences of these weapons, including their potentially lethal effects. The occupied Palestinian territories are being used as a lab for testing new civil oppression weapons on humans, in order to label them as “proven effective” for marketing abroad.