As a reaction to the attacks on Gaza, December and January saw a number of actions against war profiteers doing businesses with Israel, in this issue we present some of them. Such actions enable us to respond locally to crimes being committed elsewhere, as with the case of Gaza. For example the action from the dock workers in Durban, South Africa, is a clear example that makes you wonder how much could we achieve if there was better cooperation between peoples, organisations, and movements around the world.
The latest episode of criminal aggression by Israeli forces in Gaza killed 1,330 Palestinians and injured 4,500: it destroyed about 5,000 homes and severely damaged 17,000 severely damaged. These crimes have been executed using technology of war for bombardment from air and land, weapons which have been imported from a number of countries and produced by a large number of war profiteers.
In the last years an important number of private military companies have been formed in Spain as part of the general process of privatisation and outsourcing of the military. 'Outsourcing' in Spain is quite recent as the Spanish Ministry of Defence were reluctant to have civilian personnel working alongside the military, especially inside military installations. Here we look at two cases where war profiteers have built juice businesses.
During January (2009), Ecuador was the scene of protests against a new mining law that allows and promotes large-scale mining and open pit mining - carried out by big multinationals. This mining will cause great damage to the life of the indigenous Amazonians, affecting access to water and generally degrading the environment.
Hundreds of members of the "Dongria Kondh":/tribes/dongria tribe, together with many tribal and non-tribal allies, formed a human chain at the base of their sacred Niyamgiri mountain on 27 January to prevent British mining giant Vedanta from bulldozing it.
Some reports put the number of people taking part in the protest at over 10,000. Placards carried by the protesters bore slogans including 'Vedanta, go back' and 'Stop mining in Niyamgiri'.
The 10-12th of February a conference titled 'Disarmament for Peace and Development - Warfare or Welfare' was held in Bangalore, India by peace and solidarity organisations in India. It coincided with Aero India 2009 - Asia's biggest display of military aircrafts. The disarmament conference spelled out the need for India to put more money on social security rather than military spending since 80 % of the population are living in poverty. Also because of the great tragedy with 12 people dying every day in India because of gun violence.
In 1964 Serco was awarded the first ever private contract for managing a British military site - the maintenance of the UK Ballistic Missile Early Warning System at RAF Fylingdales. This was a radical move in 1960s Britain, where nationalised industries and state control of "vital" sectors such as defence was the expected norm. This pioneering approach to exploiting the market in public services was well ahead of its time.
The Coalition of Women for Peace (http://www.coalitionofwomen.org) in Israel has launched in January 2009 a ground breaking new database of companies directly involved in the Israeli occupation. This online database (see: www.whoprofits.org) reflects an on-going grassroots investigation effort by The Coalition of Women for Peace, a leading Israeli feminist peace organisation dedicated to ending the occupation and reaching a just peace in Israel/ Palestine.
14th of February launch of WRI's latest publication 'Handbook for Nonviolent Campaigns'
War Resisters’ International launch its ‘Handbook for Nonviolent Campaigns’ – an invaluable resource for campaigners and activists. A range of guest speakers will be discussing nonviolent strategies and campaign tactics.