It seems there is never a quiet time when it comes to campaigning against war profiteers. It can be the work against nuclear weapons and the celebration of the 30th anniversary of Nukewatch, The Nuclear Resist and The Ploughshare Eight in the US, or in France, with actions against the Eurosatory arms fair, or in Europe, with the work and meetings of ENAAT, shareholders' actions and court cases, or in Israel and Palestine, with the work on BDS and settlements products and around the use of military equipment against Palestinians and internationals, or in Africa with the permanent resources war. All these are reported in this issue of War Profiteer News.
Photo and video material from the Israeli attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla expose the use of European and US produced war material. The attack on the relief boats was executed by Israeli navy special forces Unit 13 (Shayetet 13). Several large and small navy ships, as well as helicopters, were used, armed with US and European weapons.
Albert Beale, from Peace Pledge Union (British WRI affiliate), and CAAT activist
Most major corporations in Britain are owned by shareholders who, between them, own millions of shares in the company. Sometimes even one individual shareholder will hold millions of shares - yet other people might only own one.
Who are these shareholders? The very largest ones tend to be other corporate bodies - such as pension funds, investment funds which invest money on behalf of lots of small savers, and other companies. Then there are rich individuals. Then there are well-off (but not very rich) individuals who have some of their regular savings invested in a company.
The European Network Against Arms Trade (ENAAT) is a loose network of researchers, campaigners and lobbyists. The network meets once a year somewhere in Europe to discuss campaign strategies, political developments and the newest tricks from the arms industry. Although every European country has its specific political culture and the arms industry differs from country to country, there are many reasons to work together. The arms industry is very globalised hardly any country makes a complete weapon system all by itself.
The European Aeronatic Defence and Space company, EADS, is the second largest military producer in Europe. The company is owned by German Dailmer (producer of civil Mercedes cars but also of many types of military vehicles), the French company Lagardère, (partly state owned and partly privately owned by Arnaud Lagardère), a Spanish public investment fund and several big private investment funds. And also, surprisingly, by the peace movement. German peace activists bought shares for € 15 each, therewith buying access to the yearly shareholder meeting and the right to speak.
Every other year, Eurosatory is back, and every time, peace activists and activists against the arms trade try to use it to raise awareness about how the French state and French companies don't care about peace when it comes to building, selling, and buying armament systems and components.
On the Tuesday of what they call the "International Land and Air Homeland Defence Week", Eurosatory's organisers are hosting an Official Exhibitor Reception, which was this year at les Invalides – well known building in Paris. This is normally the opportunity for us to show our disgust and our opposition to this trade. Well, normally - as this year - opponents to Eurosatory have been sent half a mile from the spot as if we were so badly hurting their conscience...
Despite two men being found guilty of minor miscellaneous charges, there was another great victory for Derry Raytheon protesters and for opposition to the arms trade when all nine women charged were acquitted by a jury at Belfast Crown Court on 4th June after a trial spread out over 3 weeks.
The gold rush in Eritrea has attracted many Western companies, among them Canada’s Nevsun Resources Ltd. and Sunridge Gold; Britain’s Andiamo Exploration and London Africa; and Australia’s South Boulder, Sub Sahara Resources, Chalice Gold Mines Ltd. and Gippsland Ltd. And this doesn’t tell all that there is to the involvement of Western companies, for there are many subcontracted companies rushing to get in too, such as AMEC of Canada doing engineering study and Capital Drilling and Geo Drilling of Australia and Boart Longey of Canada doing drilling. But among the stories of the mining boom in Eritrea and the mining companies’ stocks going up and down, the dirtiest secret that has remained untold is the extensive use of slave labor in these mining projects.
Dexia Israel, a subsidiary of the Belgian-French Dexia Group, provides long-term loans and other financial services to Israeli local authorities in the occupied territory. After Who Profits exposed proof of that fact, and following months of protest and a public campaign led by the Belgian Intal group, Dexia announced, in June 2009 that financing Israeli settlements is contrary to the bank’s code of ethics, and that the bank would stop providing new loans to West Bank settlements.
BP (formerly British Petroleum) has become one of the world’s most controversial giant corporations because of its involvement in a series of major environmental disasters and industrial accidents. The company has been the target of intense criticism for its role in the April 2010 explosion at a drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico that killed 11 workers and unleashed a vast underwater oil leak that flowed largely unchecked for weeks.
In April 2009, President Barack Obama declared in Prague that he was committing the United States to a vision of a world free of nuclear weapons. His vision was almost universally welcomed and, eventually, honored with the Nobel Peace Prize.
Since then, it has become apparent that the President’s vision is not driving a change in US nuclear policy. Instead things have gotten, as Alice said in Wonderland, curiouser and curioser. The path to a world free of nuclear weapons, the President seems to believe, leads first through the largest increases in nuclear weapons funding in history—the weapons production budget will nearly double, to $13 billion, in the next five years.