Mercedes/Daimler – Luxury Limousines for High Society and Military Vehicles for the Battlefields of the World
The Daimler Corporation is known throughout the world for the production of Mercedes vehicles. The Mercedes Car Group sold almost 1,3 million vehicles in 2007, from “Smart” to luxury limousines of the C, E and S class to the “Maybach” as well as more than 467 000 trucks and 328 000 vans and buses. The Daimler Corporation is one of the world’s leading car groups.
However, few customers know that Daimler not only produces civil noble auto-mobiles but also military vehicles, which were supplied as jeeps, unimogs or army transporters in the past years to areas of crisis and war. Often exported civilly as so-called “dual-use” vehicles and implemented militarily, they serve the military for the deployment of troops and material to the front, for example, or for the transport of prisoners. Among the receiving countries of thousands of Mercedes military vehicles were states like Sudan, Iran and Iraq in which human rights were massively violated.
The police in Rio de Janeiro shot through the slits of their Mercedes transporter at the inhabitants of the Favelas while hunting supposed drug dealers. Security agents in Georgia have mounted modern multiple rocket launchers since 2007 on heavy cross-country trucks of the series Actros 3341 of Mercedes. Years ago, the Critical Daimler Shareholders placed charges against the corporation because of suspected illegal supplying of Mercedes Unimogs to Sudan, a country torn by civil war. The military vehicles were equipped with a sandy camouflage colour, reinforced driving cabins, round rotating skylights and two rifle mountings. There was no trial, because the suiting weapons were not supplied by Daimler. The DaimlerChrysler Corporation participates directly in the production of weapons, aside from producing and exporting dual-use and military vehicles.
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EADS – First Place on the List of Expanding Arms Exporters
Europe’s second largest armaments giant, number 7 in the world in 2006, was again the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company, or EADS, with its main office in Amsterdam. The corporation consists of the airplane producer Airbus, the helicopter producer Eurocopter, the space branch Atrium, the business departments for military transporter planes as well as defence and security with the Eurofighter-Consortium. EADS is also the essential owner of the guided missiles producer MBDA. The largest single owner of EADS is the German Daimler Corporation with 22,52 percent of the shareholding capital. Further owners are Sogeade with Lagardère and the French state holding company Sogepa (together 27,53 percent), the Spanish state holding company SEPI (with 5,49 percent) as well as different institutions, private investors and colleagues (with 43,94 percent).
In 2007 EADS was able to achieve success with armaments contracts and exports in its 25 percent military component: 18 LUH helicopters were supplied to the US forces, Saudi-Arabia ordered the immensely high amount of 72 Eurofighters. This was the second export contract for the EADS fighter plane after Austria’s contract for 15 Eurofighters.
Due to the exorbitant growth of weapons sales throughout the world up to 12,6 billion US dollars in 2006 – the year before EADS had exported weapons worth 9,6 billion dollars – the armaments giant moved up to first place among the firms with the greatest growth in weapons transfers. In 2007, EADS earned profits as high as 124 million dollars, partly because of delays in the A400M program. It is a matter of fact, that the profits will increase again in the coming years with the future exports of the military transporters.
A leading position on the world market is taken by the armaments producer MBDA, whose shareholder EADS has 37,5 percent of the capital. In 2007, MBDA has strengthened its position as “worldwide leading supplier of guided missile systems.” “Export contracts for defence systems supported from the ground and tank defence missiles have come in from the Near East and other regions”, cheered EADS in its business report for 2007.
In addition to the above mentioned weapons systems, EADS develops and produces carrier systems for atomic weapons of the French navy, mining systems and cluster bombs distributors. On its homepage, it advertises the missile launcher MLRS as well as the –“guided” MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System). The MBDA profits from the business with cluster bombs by means of the MLRS. The MLRS cluster bombs which were deployed in 2006 by the Israeli army in the war against Lebanon have an effect similar to that of land mines. Entire landscapes are contaminated with cluster bombs because of the extremely high number of unexploded bombs, whose number reaches 40 percent of the ammunition deployed.
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