With this issue we celebrate our 30th issue of War Profiteers' News, we have a special issue focusing on the upcoming international seminar: War Profiteering and Peace Movement Responses, that WRI is organising together with the European Network Against Arms Trade (ENAAT).
Justícia i Pau (Centre Delàs), Fundació per la Pau, War Resisters' International and the European Network Against Arms Trade invite you to the seminar: “War Profiteering and Peace Movement Responses” to be held in Barcelona between 29 September and 2 October, 2011.
There are several new profitable developments in the defence business. This theme group will be addressing three of them: The privatisation of war, armed and unarmed drones and the growing market for “homeland security”.
Increasingly, governments are outsourcing military tasks that used to be done by the state. In Afghanistan coalition troops have deployed the largest mercenary army in the history of mankind. Even intelligence is privatised. Not only are western companies hired, but also locals. And not only local cooks but also armed personnel.
Many governments say they have tough export controls, but, in reality, government support for export promotion and military companies is always the priority. For example, UK Prime Minister David Cameron led a delegation of eight arms companies to Egypt in February 2011 at about the same time as an arms embargo was being imposed on neighbouring Libya, itself a UK government "priority market" for arms sales until just a few weeks previously. Many governments have arms export promotion agencies to oversee such Government support. The UK's was set up in 1966. but others are much newer.
The appropriation of natural resources has always been a cause of war. With the consolidation of capitalism, private companies invest billions in and lobby heavily for the exploitation of natural resources. Almost always, the extraction of these resources severely damages the lives of local communities living near the extraction sites.
The continual attacks upon merchant shipping by pirates in the Gulf is now starting to have some alarming consequences. Over the last few months there have been a lot of reports about moves to have armed guards upon merchant shipping. These reports cover both initiatives within the shipping industry and by various government.
The following headlines are from Loyds list.
Monday 18 July 2011
‘UK shipping minister Mike Penning has confirmed that the government intends to introduce legislation to provide a legal framework to allow British ships to carry armed guards.’
Erik Prince, founder of mercenaries firm Blackwater, has helped set up a mercenary army of foreign troops for the UAE through the company Reflex Responses. The force, largely composed of Americans, was described by the New York Times as "a volatile element in an already combustible region". It is not clear whether the project has official US support. Reflex Responses is developing a giant complex in the UAE desert to train troops for other governments as well.
DSEi, the world's biggest arms fair, opens in east London on September 13, 2011. But arms fairs don't organise themselves - a lot of work goes into inviting the right mix of despots and dealers. So who makes DSEi happen?
On July 9, 2011 the BNC (BDS National Committee), the largest Palestinian civil society coalition, launched a call for a mandatory, comprehensive military embargo on Israel.
The BNC calls upon all people of conscience, movements and organisations worldwide to support the embargo and to pressure governments, multilateral bodies and the UN, as well as private and public companies and institutions, to: