I have to admit feeling some envy as we at WRI followed, supported and joined the events around the Global Day of Action on Military Spending, which took place on 12 April, organised by the International Peace Bureau (IPB) and the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS). The envy is because for several years WRI has been pushing for more cooperation between groups campaigning against war profiteering worldwide.
On April 12, 2011, the Institute for Policy Studies and the International Peace Bureau co-organized the first-ever Global Day of Action on Military Spending. We accomplished our major goal of making more visible the issue of military spending. Our GDAMS events generated considerable media coverage with stories in the Christian Science Monitor, Huffington Post, Russia Today Television, Telesur, Voice of America, and many national and local outlets. We also accomplished our secondary goal of creating a global network of organizations and individuals committed to working on the reduction of military spending worldwide. Finally, we forged an important partnership with the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute that we plan to continue in future years.
There were GDAMS events at the international, national, and local levels. Activists produced videos, constructed powerful public displays and performances, held press conferences and seminars, and mobilized public opinion in favor of reducing military spending.
Malaysian NGOs are concerned about the carte blanche given to the Ministry of Defence for arms purchases while health, education and other social services are still so deplorable. The total security allocation under the Tenth Malaysia Plan is RM23 billion. Through the years, the allocation for security (internal security + defence) has been as high as 15.9% and 15.0% under the 3rd and 6th Malaysia Plans while the allocation for health has been as low as 1.6% and 1.0% under the 4th and 5th Malaysia Plans respectively.
The European Bureau for Conscientious Objection (EBCO) and its Greek member organisation, the Greek Association of Conscientious Objectors (GACO), made an open call to other organisations and groups in Greece and a successful joint action was organised on April 12 in Athens, at the Parliament Square by EBCO, GACO, Antinationalistic-Antimilitaristic Initiative, World Without Wars and Violence, Antigoni, World Women March, Synaspismos Youth, Greens, Young Greens, Iliosporoi, Kokkino, Ksekinima and AKOA Youth.
With hardly any arms-producing company are claim and reality further apart than with EADS. While - in the directive "integrity and transparency" - the Board of Directors declared ethical responsibility to underlie their actions, even dictators and sham democrats are equipped. A serious example of a purely profit-oriented business policy include arms transfers to Libya where in the war between the dictatorial regime of Gaddafi and the Western-dominated "alliance of the willing" EADS weapons are used on both sides. War is good for business - at EADS.
Although Finland is not a very big arms producer, it still has its share of the market of death. During the past decade, arms exports from Finland have doubled, but still only reach about 1% of all the EU exports. Many of the new arms deals have been made with countries in the Middle East, such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
On May 14 2011, 400 Belgians filed a complaint against the Israeli firm Agrexco. Agrexco is Israel’s main exporter of agricultural goods from the illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The Belgian airport of Liège is one of the main hubs for its distribution network across Europe. Agrexco has been challenged for its involvement in trade with the settlements for years, but refuses to cut its commercial ties with their agricultural business.
Chevron, once part of the Standard Oil empire, has grown over the past quarter century into the world’s fourth largest petroleum company, thanks to a series of ambitious acquisitions: Gulf Oil in 1984, Texaco in 2001 and Unocal in 2005. The purchase of Texaco brought with it a massive environmental lawsuit that has dragged on for more than a decade. This is only one of a host of controversies surrounding Chevron’s environmental and human rights record around the world.
“What would you do if someone came to your door with a cup in hand asking for a contribution to help buy guns to kill a group of people they didn't like?”
— Wally Nelson
Wally Nelson was a resister during World War II, one of many U.S. pacifists who not only refused to kill but didn’t want to pay for it either. In 1942, Ernest Bromley refused to buy a “defense tax stamp” for his car because the money went to the war, and the U.S. government took him to court. He spent 60 days in jail for refusing $7.09 for stamps and a $25 fine imposed by the court.
17 - 19 June, 2011, Helsinki, Finland
European Network Against Arms Trade (ENAAT) Annual Meeting
This year annual meeting will focus on the responses in different European countries to the use of European arms in repression of the Arab uprising. There will be updates on arms export figures, analysis of industrial trends (notably in response to the crisis and the European military budget cuts) and also a lot of inspiring stories.
For information on the Helsinki meeting please contact Jarmo Pykälä: firstname.lastname@example.org.