In the last few years there has been an increase in the number of initiatives against drones and other forms of killing by remote control, as reported in this newsletter. As warfare and war technologies change, so does the focus of our campaigning. Is this a sign that our campaigning, rather than setting our own agendas, is merely a reaction to the agenda of the powerholders?
Why is it that there are so many new initiatives against the robotisation of war?
Martin Smedjeback, a nonviolence trainer, active in the antimilitarist network Ofog, was arrested on the evening of July 14th in Malmö, in the south of Sweden. He climbed the fence of the weapons factory Aimpoint, which manufacturers redpoint laser sights used by the US Army and many other military forces around the world. At the interrogation at the police station that same night, he was informed that he would probably be charged with illegal trespass or severe illegal trespass: crimes that have a maximum sentence of six months and two years in prison respectively.
The second biggest arms company of Europe, EADS, has its headquarters in the Netherlands. Although these headquarters are not much more than a mailbox – EADS has the same tax policies as Starbucks – it means the company falls under Dutch law and has to have an annual shareholders meeting in Amsterdam. It has become a good Dutch tradition to welcome the EADS shareholders with banners and loud noise.
On Monday 29 July the seventh village – Phuldumer – again voted unanimously to reject Vedanta’s mine. This means the majority have now spoken, and Niyamgiri is saved by the people’s vote as sanctioned by the Supreme Court of India! In Odisha activists are already celebrating after months of hard work to ensure this precedent legal process was fair, and not manipulated. This victory also shows the amazing strength of Niyamgiri’s the people. Despite all Vedanta and the Odisha state government’s attempts to subvert the process: by threatening villagers with guns and violence, by selecting just twelve villages, by choosing corrupt judges – Niyamgiri villagers have united, across caste, class and district to defend the mountain that gives them life and livelihood.
This year's annual meeting of the European Network Against Arms Trade (ENAAT) took place in Zurich, Switzerland. It was great that activists from almost a dozen European countries could come to the meeting. We were especially pleased that, for the first time, someone from Slovakia could report on the situation in her country.
On November 23-24, in Washington DC, US, there will be a global gathering entitled "Drones Around the Globe: Proliferation and Resistance.” It is sponsored by CODEPINK, the Institute for Policy Studies and The Nation magazine.
The UK government is welcoming the world’s worst human rights abusing regimes to shop for weapons in London. WHAT WILL YOU DO?
A massive arms fair is planned to take place in the UK in September 2013. The UK government plans to invite human rights abusing regimes, such as Algeria, Bahrain, Colombia, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam, to the London arms fair to court them and sell them weapons.
The Remote Control Project - a pilot project of the Network for Social Change, which has been hosted by ORG throughout 2013 - held its first conference on 10 June 2013.
Thirty experts from think tanks, academia, journalism and the NGO world participated in the event to discuss the issues involved in the trend towards ‘Remote Control’ military activity. Discussions centred on how issues surrounding increased use of drones, private military companies and Special Forces interconnect and form a new approach to warfare, or ‘Remote Control narrative’.
Headquartered in Jamestown, Pennsylvania, United States, Combined Systems Inc. (CSI)—often manufacturing under the brand name Combined Tactical Systems (CTS)—supplies Tunisia, Yemen, Germany, Netherlands, India, East Timor, Hong Kong, Argentina, Chile, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Cameroon, and Sierra Leone, as well as its most high-profile clients as of late— Egypt and Israel.
Over the past decade, the expanded use of unmanned armed vehicles has dramatically changed warfare, bringing new humanitarian and legal challenges. Now rapid advances in technology are resulting in efforts to develop fully autonomous weapons. These robotic weapons would be able to choose and fire on targets on their own, without any human intervention. The Problem describes numerous ethical, legal, moral, policy, technical and other concerns with fully autonomous weapons.