One of the central economic motives for war is exploiting natural resources. It is also a central feature of post-war "reconstruction". It is explicit in the strategies of alliances such as NATO or the European Union - although they are more likely to say "guaranteeing security of supplies". It is also a major factor in the forced displacement of poor and indigenous communities in many parts of the world, often carried out with brutality.
There is a lot of evidence that the arms trade is an epicentre of corruption, and that it fuels conflicts around the globe. Andrew Feinstein’s brilliant new book, The Shadow World (2011, review by Padel 2012) shows this clearly. Less scrutinized are the centrality of the arms industry to the world economy, the industry’s links with mining, and its outstanding greenhouse gas emissions. However much we limit our individual carbon footprints, will this make any difference unless we curtail our wars?
1) Why is it important to talk about mining projects today in Latin America?
Anyone who is interested in the principal causes of unrest that involve current social movements in Latin America will be able to confirm that they are generated around two related themes: the commercialisation of so-called common goods (water and natural resources) and the rural and indigenous resistance to large mining projects.
With global demand for natural resources increasing year on year, some of the world's poorest communities are having to fight hard to protect their environment and way of life. When protests and direct action do not work, many will try and get redress through the courts.
But when multinational companies decide that the costs of settling such cases are far less than the huge profits on offer, is justice being undermined?
On 28 August a demonstration against the mining giant Vedanta Resources took place during Vendata's AGM in London.
The demonstration was a joint effort between War On Want, Foil Vedanta, the London Mining Network, Amnesty and Survival International to protest outside the multinational corporation’s annual meeting at the Lincoln Centre in London’s Covent Garden.
Demonstrators accused Vedanta of causing death and displacement on a massive scale, as well as poisoning water and the environment.
The Barclays Bank, HSBC and StanChart banking scandals well illustrate why the City of London is sometimes described as “the most corrupt square mile anywhere on the planet Earth!”
The British and the war business do corruption with panache. How apt that the villain in the Barclays saga is a man called “Diamond” -- for diamonds are symbolic of colonial conquest both in India and South Africa, as well as war and the passions of love.
Two anti-militarist activists were found guilty of aggravated trespass in Brighton, UK. The pair had glued themselves to the gates of the EDO MBM factory in the early hours of 27 April 2011 in protest at the sale of bomb rack umbilical cables called Field Replaceable Connector Systems (FRCS) for use on US warplanes and also to the Israeli military.
EDO MBM is an arms factory in Moulsecoomb, Brighton which is wholly owned by the US company, ITT Exelis.
G4S plc (formerly Group 4 Securicor) is a British multinational security services company headquartered in Crawley, United Kingdom. It is the world's largest security company measured by revenues and has operations in around 125 countries. G4S was founded in 2004 by the merger of the UK-based Securicor plc with the Denmark-based Group 4 Falck.
Allianz is a German multinational financial services company head-quartered in Munich, Germany. Its core business and focus is insurance. As of 2010, it was the world's 12th-largest financial services group and 23rd-largest company according to a composite measure by Forbes magazine.