War Profiteers

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WRI activists disrupting the welcome dinner at the ADEX arms fair
WRI activists disrupting the welcome dinner at the ADEX arms fair

Economics is one of the key causes of war - wherever there is a military conflict, someone is profiting from it. We call this "war profiteering".

WRI looks at war profiteering in a broad sense - we consider all companies and initiatives that benefit financially from military conflict as war profiteers, in some sense. This includes the arms trade and companies profiteering for the privatisation and outsourcing of the military, but also those extracting natural resources in conflict zones, financial institutions investing in arms companies, and many others.

WRI publishes a series of war company profiles, and organises events to bring campaigners and researchers together to share strategies against war profiteering.

For the past twenty years, the EU has been deploying military-mandated missions overseas that have gone virtually under the radar and generally evaded public scrutiny. The Transnational Institute’s new report ‘Under the Radar: Twenty years of EU military missions’ sheds light on these missions.

Global headlines are once again seized by the outbreak of armed conflict, detailing indescribable suffering and destruction. War, it feels, is everywhere and always. To some, this means business. Many of the facilitators and profiteers of armed conflict globally attended the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) in London, September 2023.

Norinco (formerly the China North Industries Corporation) is China’s biggest arms company, and ranks 7th on SIPRI’s list of the world’s 100 biggest arms companies. Found in 1980, Norinco manufactures a wide range of military hardware for the Chinese military, and for other armies and police forces around the world.

Alsetex is a French company, owned by the Etienne Lacroix Group including various types of non-lethal munitions and crowd control equipment. Products manufactured by Alsetex include tear gas grenades, stun grenades, riot control agents, and a range of related launchers.

Société d'Application des Procédés Lefebvre (SAPL) is a French company that specialises in the manufacture of weapons and equipment for use by law enforcement, including “non-lethal” weapons, ammunitions, aerosols, shields and silencers. They also provide training in the products they manufacture. 60-70% of SAPL’s income comes from the French government, but SAPL also exports to a number of other countries. In 2022, the company reported income of €2.7m.

Cheddite is a French-Italian company with headquarters in Livorno, Italy and Bourg-lès-Valence, France. They are one of the world’s largest manufacturers of empty shot gun shells and primers.

CONTENT WARNING: this article makes references to sexual violence, torture, and other details that some readers may find upsetting.
The Wagner Group is a Russian paramilitary organisation founded in 2014 by former GRU officer Dmitry Utkin and businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, and has been described as “one of Russia’s most influential foreign policy tools”. Since its founding, Wagner Group has become known for its readiness to use extreme levels of violence and brutality during its operations.

Accuracy International (AI) is a British company based in Portsmouth, specialising in the production of high-end, hand built, precision sniper rifles and associated equipment. Weapons manufactured by AI have been used extensively in conflict zones, including states accused of human rights abuses.

CNO Tech is a South Korean arms company, who manufacturer a range of equipment of weapons for military and law enforcement use, including single and multi-shot “riot” launchers...

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