War Profiteer of the Month: Heckler & Koch


Heckler & Koch is the world's second-largest manufacturer of handguns, assault rifles, submachine guns, machine guns and grenade launchers. Their UK HQ is an anonymous unit on an industrial park off Lenton Lane, NG7. It is responsible for selling guns around the world. Half a million people are killed by small arms each year, three quarters of whom are civilians. Literally millions of Heckler & Koch small arms are in use in around 90 countries. Heckler & Koch has licensed its weapons for production by repressive regimes such as Turkey, Iran, Mexico, Thailand, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Myanmar. Beyond the reach of EU arms embargoes, these countries have supplied the weapons to conflict zones such as Indonesia, Kenya and Sri Lanka.
H&K guns have been used in wars in Bosnia, East Timor and Sudan. The Heckler & Koch G3 rifle has been used by the often murderous military of Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Guyana, Haiti, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, and Peru. These examples illustrate the unethical and uncontrolled nature of the industry in which Heckler & Koch is proud to operate.
H&K also supplies military and police units across Europe and the USA. The police team that slaughtered Jean Charles de Menezes on a London tube train was armed with powerful Heckler & Koch assault weapons.

Small arms

The type of weapons sold by Heckler & Koch - are the true weapons of mass destruction. Half a million people are killed by small arms each year, three quarters of whom are civilians. Millions more have to flee their homes due to small arms warfare. Literally millions of H&K small arms are in use in over 90 countries:

* Soldier with Heckler & Koch submachine gun in Darfur, the Janjaweed have been armed with H&K assault rifles.
* Heckler & Koch machine guns are currently being used by notoriously trigger-happy corporate mercenaries Blackwater in Iraq and Afghanistan.
* In Kenya, H&K guns were used in the 2008 post-election massacres.
* In Kosovo, Serbian police used H&K guns to murder Albanian villagers.
* Georgian elite forces fighting in South Ossetia have been illegally armed with Heckler & Koch assault rifles.

Legal loopholes, brokers and gunrunners make it all too easy to evade arms embargoes, as comedian Mark Thomas demonstrated by arranging a shipment of German-made H&K submachine guns to Mugabe’s brutal regime in Zimbabwe. Furthermore, small arms have a very long shelf life and older models are often resold to countries with poor human rights records. The Heckler & Koch G3 rifle is still used by the often murderous armed forces of Angola, Bangladesh, Brazil and Ethiopia.

75% of the world’s small arms end up in the hands of criminal gangs and civilians, prompting a lethal arms race between criminals and police in which the only winners are arms dealers such as Heckler & Koch. Not only are H&K guns used by British police, they are also smuggled into the UK to be used by organised criminal gangs.

It is perhaps for these reasons that Heckler & Koch does not advertise its presence in Nottingham. Its official address is a PO Box, its industrial unit is completely unsignposted, and unwanted callers are discouraged by rapid armed response from Nottinghamshire Police, acting as the company’s own security guards.

Outraged by the presence of such an unethical company, a group of Nottingham residents established a campaign called Shut Down H&K. The campaign holds monthly demonstrations outside Heckler & Koch’s office at Unit 3, Easter Park, Lenton Lane, Nottingham NG7 2PX. To get in contact with the campaign go to: http://nottsantimilitarism.wordpress.com/heckler-koch/

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