This issue of The Broken Rifle focuses on war profiteers. During War Resisters' International Conference "Globalising Nonviolence" that took place in Eringerfeld Germany between the 23-27 of July 2006, we had a theme group who worked on war profiteers. This theme group was an essential step in the develop of WRI's Global Initiative Against War Profiteers. Most of the material you will find in this issue comes from the work of that week.
War profiteers depend mainly on government contracts. Imagine what Lockheed Martin would be without their Pentagon contracts! At the same time governments need an excuse for spending such huge sums of money e.g. "war against terror", "national security", "peace forces", etc. Since war profiteers depend on government contracts they need to be in the position to influence them. Through the years they have positioned themselves to have an immense political power within governments, and they enjoy privileged access to decision-makers that the general public can only dream of.
War profiteers are not only those that benefit from the arms industry, but also those that impulse military action and elaborate strategies to profit from war. Among war profiteers we can include:
Large private corporations
Here we refer to the transnational and multinational corporations that need control over our natural resources and our national territories in order to support their hegemonic project and so that relations of economic and political solidarity cannot be improved (which would permit true development of Latin American countries).
A case study on a nonviolent campaign against war profiteers
The Honeywell Corporation was based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.
Honeywell produced cluster bombs (bomblets), small steel ball bearings embedded in a steel shell. When this antipersonnel weapon explodes, the steel ball bearings shoot out 2, 200 feet per second. Honeywell also made other weapons and civilian products.
Report from the "Globalising Nonviolence" theme group
During WRI International Conference "Globalising Nonviolence" we had a theme group on the topic of war profiteering. Meeting every day of the conference, we were able to go through a process of learning about war profiteers, campaigns against them, and explore how WRI's Global Initiative Against War Profiteers can help groups in this important work.
The 24th War Resisters' International Triennial Conference
From 23-27 July, the 24th WRI "Triennial" conference took place in Eringerfeld, Germany. Surely, participation was more global than at many recent WRI conferences, with more than 200 participants from all continents and more than 30 countries present.
However, German visa regulations prevented Samiira Jama-Ebli from Somaliland from speaking at the conference. Some other participants from Nigeria, Mali, and Senegal were not able to participate because of visa problems.
The Broken Rifle is the newsletter of War Resisters' International, and is published in English, Spanish, French and German. This is issue 71, September 2006. This issue of The Broken Rifle was produced by Javier Gárate. Special thanks go to Joanne Sheehan and Acción Kolectiva por la Objeción Fiscal FOKA from Colombia, and others who provided the information used in this issue. If you want extra copies of this issue of The Broken Rifle, please contact the WRI office, or download it from our website.