First of all apologies for the delay in sending out the newsletter. We hope to be back on track for the rest of the year.
In this issue two of the main stories look at areas of war profiteering not strictly related to the production or sales of weapons.
The main article in this newsletter is about the mining industry in Latin America and its impact on local indigenous communities. As Cesar Padilla says, mining continues to expand in Latin America and has more and more impact on the livelihood of people living in the region. This happens despite the rhetoric from "progressive" governments in the region and their posture of "anti-imperialism". Although there are efforts to nationalise mining, the transnational corporations remain the major beneficiaries of Latin American mining. Most countries in the region base their plans for economic growth on mining and other extractive industries - and this despite strong opposition to them from local communities.
Moving towards a ‘post-extractive model’ and living well?
By César Padilla*
The increase in mining activities in Latin America has not slowed since the middle of the 90s. The region attracts around 27% of all investment in this sector and there are many projects which are yet to start. Some countries base their exports on mining and others are trying to join the list.
Chile and Perú top the ranking of mining countries par excellence, whilst Colombia is trying to start the “mining engine” so as to be part of the club and Argentina is fighting to compete for the investments of the major transnationals. Bolivia, traditionally a mining country, this year has managed to revive the stagnant sector, reaching mineral export figures which are on a par with hydro-fuel exports. An effort to nationalise mining and sectoral law reforms are giving renewed spirit to this activity, which is increasingly in the hands of the State.
The publication of the “Thirteenth Annual Report on Exports Control of Military Technology and Equipment”, covering 2010, raises many questions about the reliabilityof the data provided and on EU commitment to make arms export control effective, say NGOs working on arms trade.
On Tuesday December 20th, Vredesactie filed an official complaint at the Ghent police office against technology company Barco. Barco developed a flight simulator for the Israeli air force, but never requested an export permission, although Belgian legislation on arms trade requires this. “Illegal arms trade”, says Vredesactie.
2011 will go down in memory as the year in which the Israeli Knesset has intensified its anti-democratic legislation, while the Israeli High Court of Justice validated once again the structural economic exploitation in the occupied Palestinian territories. On Monday, December 26 the Israeli High Court of Justice rejected a petition filed by the organization Yesh Din, which challenged the legality of the use of natural resources extracted by 11 companies quarrying and mining in the occupied West Bank.
Once the forth largest Pentagon contractor, the Unisys Corporation has become one of the leading global suppliers of “Homeland Security” technology. Its business operations and politics are a telling example for the power of the security-industrial complex.
Studying the large technical projects of European cooperation in justice and home affairs can be astonishing. Whether it is the programming of the Prüm-CODIS-interface for the comparison of national DNA databases and their wire across the Atlantic, the upgrade of the Schengen Information System to SIS II and its “synergies” with the Visa Information System, the development of the Europol Information System, the networking of national vehicle registers in the context of the EUCARIS initiative, the standardisation of data exchange between national criminal records or a pre-study for the Critical Infrastructure Warning Network of the European Union – one name is always popping up: Unisys.
The coalition “Banca Cívica sin armas” (Civic banking without arms) was launched last December in front of the central offices of Banca Cívica (Civic Banking) in Pamplona-Iruña, State of Spain.
This coalition is formed by three collectives: SETEM Nafarroa, Iruña Group against the Palestinian War Elkartasuna Ekimena, and Alternativa Antimilitarista KEM-MOC.
The website http://www.bancacivicasinarmas.org/ was launched at the same time laying out the reasons why the three collectives joined together.
1 April 2012 , Brussels, Belgium
NATO Game Over - International Direct Action NATO HQ
From 15 till 22 May 2012, the next NATO Summit will be held in Chicago. High on the agenda will be NATO's role as an instrument for military intervention all over the world, and the outcome of the Deterrence and Defence Posture Review (DDPR) currently being conducted within the Alliance – defining the role of NATO's nuclear weapons.
On April 17, 2012, people all over the world will join together for the second Global Day of Action on Military Spending. We urge you to join us.
The current economic crisis has put pressure on the world’s governments to reduce spending on critical human needs: confronting climate change, battling deadly diseases, achieving the Millennium Development Goals. But apart from a few courageous exceptions, national governments continue to waste enormous resources on the military. Figures from the 2011 Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) annual report show that the world’s governments are spending more than ever on the military: $1,630 billion per year – and rising. If spent differently, this money would go a long way to resolving the real challenges facing our planet.