Ressourcen zur Gewaltfreiheit

Neue Publikationen zu Ressourcen für Gewaltfreiheit

27 Jul 2015
Englisch

This year, the annual ENAAT (European Network Against Arms Trade) meeting took place from 15th to 17th May in Brno, Czech Republic. Organized by NESEHNUTÍ, a local NGO, the aim of the meeting was to strengthen the cooperation among the ENAAT members, and to come up with some new ideas regarding ENAAT’s future and discuss the trends of the arms trade of European countries, many of which keep preferring business to human rights by selling arms and weapons to authoritarian and oppressive regimes.

27 Jul 2015
Englisch

According to Geoff Rochwarger, CEO of Afek, energy independence is the new Zionism.

22 Jul 2015
Englisch

On July 6 the sun rose to the news that three arms factories had been occupied, and a fourth blockaded. All four factories are wholly owned subsidiaries of Israel’s largest arms company, Elbit Systems.

21 Jul 2015
Englisch

War profiteering

We live in a world where people profit from war. In 2014, Global military expenditure was estimated to be $1776 billion. Lockheed Martin - the world's biggest arms company - sold more than $45.6 billion worth of equipment. The war in Iraq wrenched open the country's economy to contractors of all shapes and sizes.

Arms companies profit from every bomb that falls, and every bullet that's fired. Through occupation, companies have the opportunity to exploit cheap land and lax labour laws. Conflict zones give fossil fuel giants access to new resources to exploit. Militarism means that research funding goes towards developing weapons of war, not finding solutions to global challenges like climate change.

13 Jul 2015
Englisch

In October, War Resisters' International and our South Korean affiliate World Without War will host an international seminar with a specific focus on skill sharing for taking action against war profiteering. “Stopping the War Business” will take place on 16th and 17th October, in Seoul, South Korea. The seminar will be followed by nonviolence training, and then an action to oppose the ADEX arms fair, which will be taking place the following week.

13 Jul 2015
Englisch

During 2014, Spain made defence materials exports worth €3.203 million, whilst in total €3.666 million worth of exports were authorized. The value of the actual exports has decreased by 18% in comparison to that reached in 2013, from €3.907 million. Nonetheless, the tendency during the last 10 years has been a continued increase, as revealed in the following graph.

Spanish exports of defence material 2005-2014

13 Jul 2015
Englisch

On 5th May 2014, peace activists made a stand in the very place where arms are promoted, in the heart of the European quarter in Brussels. Behind the walls of many grey office buildings, arms dealers are lobbying decision-makers. Behind a closed sliding door is the office of the AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD).

The activists had previously attended the action training 'I stop the arms trade'. They entered peacefully, took over the office and handed over letters of dismissal to the staff. The reason for the dismissals? Complicity in the killing machine of the arms trade.

AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe

ASD is the voice of the defence industry in Europe. As an umbrella organisation, ASD represents the interests of 16 large European businesses and 27 interest groups from 20 countries. The executives of ASD are also the CEOs of Europe's biggest arms companies, including BAE Systems, Airbus, Finmeccanica, Thales, Rolls Royce, Safran, and Saab. In 2012, the turnover of the European arms industry was €96 billion. Almost €40 billion of this business was designated for export. The current head of ASD is Mauro Moretti, also the head of Finmeccanica. Via their affiliate AgustaWestland, Finmeccanica supplies fighter helicopters to regimes in Algeria, Libya, and Turkey.

ASD's main mission is to strengthen the European arms industry, by shaping EU legislation and policies as well as by securing public funding opportunities.

Crumbling Control

As the voice of the arms industry, ASD speaks with top politicians and civil servants inside and outside of European institutions, and with privileged access to the European institutions, ASD leaves its mark on EU policy. This was evident in 2009 with the creation of the 'Defence package': two European Directives which form one of the key pieces of EU legislation on the arms trade.

Since the 90’s, European defence companies have clustered to be able to compete with the American giants. Now a handful of large companies dominate the European defence sector. They see internal controls as an obstacle in the development and trade of arms systems. To simplify collaboration with affiliates in various countries, the arms industry pushed the European Union to deregulate. The Defence Package meets this demand of the arms industry: it simplifies arms trade within the EU. Due to the elimination of control at the borders between member states, weapons can now be exported worldwide via the European country with the least stringent export rules.

The 2009 Directives definitely made European arms export rules less strict. Export control continues to be a national domain, but responsibilities of governments and control mechanisms disappear along with weapons over national borders. The arms industry desperately needs an expansive trade of weapons to conflict regions in order to be profitable; that we are exporting a catalyst for violent conflict is an after-thought. For example, in 2011, the year of the Arab Spring, European arms export licences to the Arab region amounted to €9 billion, double the exports in 2007.

With the Defence Package, the arms industry got the 'harmonisation' that they were looking for. In their annual report, ASD congratulated themselves for their successful lobbying work.

Before they propose new legislation, the European Commission publishes a “green book” to seek comments from interested parties. In this way, ASD could already include their comments before any legislation was actually proposed. During the “collaborative procedure” that followed, ASD established a special committee to co-ordinate the lobbying efforts of the companies that they represent. The goal was to influence the discussions between the European Parliament and the Council. The icing on the cake was the 2008 speech by Ake Svensson, then president of ASD and CEO of Saab, to the European Parliament. Later, ASD monitored local implementations of the Directives and exerted pressure when necessary. In this whole process, ASD had a privileged position, from preliminary discussions, to editing of the policy texts, and even checking the implementation.

Public Money for Weapons

ASD lobbyists also exercise their influence in the domain of public financing for research. The arms industry develops ever more technically advanced weapon systems and subsystems, so they try to feed at the trough of public subsidies for scientific research.

By the letter of the law, European research money may not be used for the development of weapon technology. In practice, within the FP7-Security program, which ran from 2007 to 2013, €1.4 billion was available for “civil security research”. By embellishing their intentions, arms manufacturers managed to help themselves to a sizeable sum out of this research fund.

The current EU research program - Horizon 2020 - keeps this civil focus. But there's no objections to research of which the results can also be used to increase military capacity. So-called “dual-use products” can now be financed openly in this way, and the arms lobby is grinning like a hyena.

ASD 2ASD 2The European Commission is now preparing the next long-term budget, from 2020 to 2027. The arms industry is lobbying to make sure that the EU will directly and openly fund military research - and with success. The European Commission wants to launch a “preparatory action” to look into the added value of military research. At the European Council meeting in December 2013, while Vredesactie protested the further militarisation of the EU, the Council decided to set up a “high-level group of personalities” to study this. This “independent advisory council” has recently become active. Seven of seventeen members come straight from ASD's board or working groups, Which means Europe’s biggest arms suppliers are dictating policy again. Unfortunately, it is not new that industry is heavily over-represented in the expert groups designing policy. Critical voices are missing.

It is time to stop them

Behind closed doors, arms dealers meet decision-makers, lobby for less export control, and promote their weapons. With a bespoke policy for the benefit of the arms industry, European values have no meaning. Europe is one of the biggest arms exporters on earth. This creates problems - weapons are never neutral, they are used in bloody, violent conflicts. Weapons have no expiry date, and European weapons pop up in conflicts and increase insecurity worldwide.

On May 5th peace activists tried to stop the arms trade. They closed down the ASD office and handed over letters of dismissal to the employees. Business as usual was disturbed until the police intervened. This was only the beginning. Join us and stop the arms trade!

13 Jul 2015
Englisch

Swiss activists have been protesting against the purchase of war drones from the Israeli company Elbit Systems. On 25th May, activists blocked the entrance to one of Switzerland's biggest military bases, where members of the Swiss parliament planned to watch a demonstration of the Hermes 900 drone. This was just one of several actions Group for a Switzerland Without an Army (GSoA) took during the last session of the Swiss parliament.

10 Jul 2015
Englisch

A summary of news and updates about war profiteers and the arms trade, from international media outlets and industry newsletters.

South East Asia, The global arms market and commoditization, The Diplomat, June 2015, http://thediplomat.com/2015/06/the-global-arms-market-and-commoditization/

24 Jun 2015
Englisch

In Finland, conscription is among the most glorified institutions of the state among the people. For most of last decade polls have shown about 70 % support for keeping conscription, and none of the major political parties want to abolish it. In the beginning of 2015 the Ministry of Defence and the armed forces made a decision to cut the reserve by about a third, to 230,000 people, opening for the first time the chance to look for alternatives to mandatory conscription. The state faces broad international criticism for not respecting the rights of conscientious objectors.

23 Jun 2015
Englisch

Antimilitarists in Spain have spoken out in solidarity with young Ukrainian's studying in the country, who have been recalled to fight by the Ukrainian government. Alternativa Antimilitarista.MOC Madrid has called on the Spanish government to protect six young Ukrainian on a study trip in Spain, after two young people recieved letters from the Ukrainian government in February, calling them up to military service. The students currently have to return to Ukraine every year to renew their permit. The organising group - Asociación de Asistencia a la Infancia de Aragón – has been organising such trips since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, and is looking for ways to extend the young people's stay in Spain for several years.

23 Jun 2015
Englisch

On the 20th of May 2015, Egypt’s minister of defense, Sedki Sobhi, issued an executive order to exempt the two Egyptian conscientious Objectors, Mark Nabil Sanad and Mostafa Ahmed El-Saied, permanently from the military service. Both conscientious objectors have been living in a legal limbo for over a year, struggling for recognition as conscientious objectors. The decision of the minister of defense didn’t recognize them as conscientious objectors, but decided to exempt them from the service permanently.

23 Jun 2015
Englisch

Our CO-Update this month is a reminder that, as we work together as an international movement against war, the repercussions of resistance to militarism is often felt by individuals refusing to fight. Our Finnish friends have written of the history of the movement in Finland where resistance to conscription began, in some form, in 1901.

19 Jun 2015
Englisch

In April, Syrian Kurds who refused “compulsory military service” were arrested by the Kurdish security forces and taken to detention facilities before being transferred to the 'fighting fronts'. Dozens of young men were arrested at checkpoints in the city of Sere Kaniye, in Hasakah province. The controversial conscription law was introduced in mid-2014, and obliges citizens aged between 18 and 30 to join the People's Defence Service (YPG) for six months.

Sources

19 Jun 2015
Englisch

A judge in South Korea has unexpectedly found three conscientious objectors not guilty of draft evasion. The three CO's – all Jehovah's Witnesses – were acquitted by Senior Judge Choi, Chang-seok in Gwangju District Court. There are only two other reported cases – in 2004 and 2007 - of a judge finding conscientious objectors in South Korea not guilty of draft evasion, and in both cases the ruling was appealed by the prosecution and ultimately over turned. The prosecution in this case is appealing against the decision.

19 Jun 2015
Englisch

Luwam Estifanos

Often (far too often) I think about what other people make of our stories, our Eritrean stories. Not the dramatic stories but the typical ordinary ones, the experiences which are familiar to all Eritreans. I am sure our stories of unimaginable pain inflicted unnecessarily by the very people who claim to have liberated us, come across as far too strange to belong to an ordinary life.

Like these stories …

19 Jun 2015
Englisch

Selam Kidane

For a series of stories of women conscripted into to the Eritrean military, please see 'Strange is the Eritrean story, strange is the Eritrean women's story'.

19 Jun 2015
Englisch

Two women in Lithuania have created a series of photos, exploring the issue of conscription in Lithuania. Tiskevic-Hasanova and Neringa Rekasiute created the photo series after conscription was reintroduced in March 2015. The first call-up took place May 11th, when 2/3 of the 3,000 spaces to be filled were met by volunteers.

19 Jun 2015
Englisch

In Greece, conscientious objector Dimitris K. Sotiropoulos has been found guilty again of insubordination by a military court, and given a ten month suspended sentence. The nature of the trial was heavily criticised by those in attendance.

19 Jun 2015
Englisch

In April, The Czech government announced plans to create a register of citizens who would be willing to volunteer for military service. The Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said that the move was in response to threats from Islamic State and insecruity in Ukraine, but did not amount to conscription, which was abolished in 2005. The legislation still needs approving by both houses of parliament, where the ruling party has a majority, and signed by the president.

19 Jun 2015
Englisch

Belarus has for the first time adopted an Alternative Service Law, to take effect from 1 July 2016. The law will allow some - but not all young men - who are conscientious objectors to perform a civilian alternative service, instead of compulsory military service. However only young men with a religious objection will be eligible to apply, not those with non-religious pacifist convictions. It is also unclear whether even all young men with religious objections to military service will be allowed to do civilian alternative service.

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