'Arming all sides' is the name of this issue's campaign of the month - an initiative that looks at the arms trade during World War One, and how the arms trade has been one of the main motors for wars since "the war to end all wars". The latest military attacks in Iraq are the clearest example of war profiteers making their killing by arming all sides.
“Just as we said during apartheid that it was inappropriate for international artists to perform in South Africa in a society founded on discriminatory laws and racial exclusivity, so it would be wrong for Cape Town Opera to perform in Israel.”
– Desmond Tutu
Back in the 1980s, while studying engineering at Columbia University in New York, I was active in the divestment campaign against South African apartheid. When a fellow student cynically asked me, “Do you really think apartheid will end in your lifetime?”, my answer was, “No, I don’t. I am doing this as a moral obligation to stand with the oppressed anywhere.” But apartheid was abolished in my lifetime, and no one can take the inspiring power of that achievement away from me or from anyone around the world who contributed, no matter how modestly, to that universal struggle.
“Secure societies – Protecting freedom and security of Europe and its citizens.”
Last year, the powerful DG Trade and Enterprise of the European Commission published a study on the European arms industry. The 'strategy for a stronger and more competitive European defence industry' stresses the need for a strong European arms industry, not only to provide security but first and foremost because the Commission considers the arms industry a great technological innovator and employment generator. According to the Commission, military research should be stimulated with EU money, and export regulation (“unnecessary red tape”) should be kept to a minimum. There was even the proposal to use the Commission as 'launching costumer' for new military products. When reading this Communication one can only conclude that the lobby of the European defence industry – by organisations like AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe - has been very effective.
In Ecuador, antimilitarist and environmental activists are currently working together in a way that allows us to imagine a post-extraction society. Since the 1970s, the country has been heavily dependent on petroleum extraction in order to finance its budget and achieve sought-after 'development', as defined by the Western world view.
This has led to Ecuador depending on petroleum for almost 35% of its income. (El Telégrafo, 2012) This model based on extraction has not taken into consideration the environmental and social costs in some areas of the country, displacing and contaminating indigenous and rural communities in the areas where petroleum is extracted.
The London-based British Museum was (peacefully) invaded by uninvited guests four times in June: one Saturday afternoon people – many dressed as Vikings - erected a mobile long ship in the museum's Great Court in an act of vocal performance poetry initiated by the group BP or not BP; on separate lunchtimes visitors to the museum found a group of Quakers and friends holding a Meeting for Worship, surrounded by posters about BP; and on a weekend afternoon members of the Dharma Action Network for Climate Engagement (DANCE), a group of active Buddhist practitioners, held a walking mediation around the museum, reflecting on the link between big oil and climate change.
As the police violence in Ferguson, MO continues and there is a growing outcry over military weapons transfers from the Pentagon to police departments all over the US, a group of Bay Area organizations and War Resisters League are organizing a week of action and education against Urban Shield, a massive SWAT team training and weapons expo set to take place September 4-8 in Oakland, CA. According to an internal memo between the Alameda County Sheriff's office to the Board of Supervisors, Urban Shield 2014 will cost at least $1.7 million. National programs such as 1033 under the Department of Defense, and Urban Shield, under the Department of Homeland Security's Urban Area Security Initiative, are behind the militarization of US police forces.
The Bolivian economy is traditionally based on the extraction and export of large volumes of unprocessed natural resources, and this type of economy is called 'extractivist'. Mining and hydrocarbons are the most representative economic activities of this type, but what is often forgotten is that it is a case of extraction and exportation of non-renewable resources, resources that we are losing and thi is far worse if the exportation of raw materials (minerals) is controlled by others.
98% of extractive mining industry is run by the private sector (cooperatives and transnational companies). Just 2% is run by the state, meaning that the state has not regained sovereignty over mineral resources. Bolivia is facing serious environmental problems and violation of collective rights that have impacted water supplies, polluted the soils, and effected the health and quality of life of the people that live in territories with mining activities. Mining code Nº 1777, which favours the miners economic interests – and was approved by the ex-president Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, himself a mining businessman (COMSUR) - is still valid.
Press Statement by the spokesperson of the campaign Action outcry - Stop the arms trade!
The campaign "Action outcry - Stop the arms trade" criticized the decision made by the Federal Government, to upgrade the weapons of Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq with German war weapons. The campaign spokesmen Jürgen Grässlin and Paul Russmann spoke emphatically of "the disastrous consequences of the pending arms transfers".
"German arms supplies to the Kurdish peshmerga are false and fatal in their effect. Whoever supplies weapons to a war party, is adding fuel to the fire of war" said Jürgen Grässlin, national spokesman of the German Peace Society - United War Resisters (DFG-VK) and for the campaign 'Action outcry - Stop the arms trade"!
For the next four years the First World War may be used to promote militarism. But to use the war to promote military spending and justify conflict is a miserable legacy for those who died. CAAT is challenging this militarism, which helps to sustain the arms trade now, by exposing the profiteering of the arms trade during the First World War, and the opposition to it that followed.
Elbit Systems is one of the world's largest defence electronics manufacturers and integrators. Established in 1967, and based in Haifa, Israel, Elbit employs 11,000 people worldwide. It supplies the military, navy and air force in the occupation of Palestine, and has profited greatly from Israel's numerous attacks and assaults on the Palestinian and Lebanese people.