Nonviolence Programme

War Resisters' International Nonviolence Programme

The Nonviolence Programme works sharing resources in nonviolent campaigning and action - such as the Handbook for Nonviolent Campaigns; coordinates and leads nonviolence training and promotes campaigning on war profiteering - including the publication of War Profiteers' News.

Recent War Profiteers posts

28 Jul 2015
English

seoul posterseoul posterIn October, WRI and South Korean affiliate World Without War will host an international seminar focused on resisting war profiteering. 'Stopping the War Business' will bring activists together who are resisting war profiteering in a wide variety of contexts – from the militarisation of police, to the arms trade, to extractive industry and profiteering from occupation. There is still time to register for the seminar, which will also take place alongside a WRI council meeting.

27 Jul 2015
English

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
English

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

22 Jul 2015
English

Ben Whitaker

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
English

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
English

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
English

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
English

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
English

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.

Recent Nonviolence Programme related publications

28 Jul 2015
English

peace camppeace campWRI's affiliate in the state of Spain - Alternativa Antimilitarista.MOC - are holding their summer gathering from 29th July to 2nd August, in Barcelona.

28 Jul 2015
English

WRI produces a variety of newsletters and publications. We're currently reviewing the scale and reach of WRI's publications, and welcoming our readers and contributors suggestions and insights as to how they could be improved in the future.

We would really appreciate you taking a few minutes to fill in this short survey.

In English: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/VKK97HM

28 Jul 2015
English

issuuissuuIt's now really easy to read The Broken Rifle magazine (recent and back issues) on tablets, phones and lots of other devices. Find them here, and subscribe to automatically receive future editions here.

28 Jul 2015
English

Polen ÜnlüPolen ÜnlüOn 20 July, an attack against civilians in the southern Turkish town of Suruç killed dozens of people. Conscientious objectors Alper Sapan and Polen Ünlü were amongst those killed. WRI affiliate Vicdani Ret Derneği have released a statement that includes Polen and Alper's CO declarations, which we quote here:

27 Jul 2015
English

Polen ÜnlüPolen ÜnlüStatement from WRI affiliate Vicdani Ret Derneği

On 20th of July, many young people from different cities took the road for the re-construction of Kobanê which is the city that has been resisting against the attacks of ISIS for several months. Those young people wanted to re-build the city which was destroyed by war and bring life back to the children who are sentenced to death in the pillaged land. Alper SapanAlper Sapan

But they could not success. Everlasting war policy turned to a bomb and exploded right at the middle of the crowd of young people who were resisting to build the peace. Tens of people lost their lives and hundreds of them were injured.

One of those young people who had lost her life is Polen Ünlü who declared her conscientious objection in 2012 by saying “That war does not murder only men, but it murders women as well.” Alper Sapan is also one of those young people who had murdered in the massacre, and also one of conscientious objectors who declared his conscientious objection in May 2014 by saying “For the world where there is no war, no nation, no border; for freedom, I am listening to my heart and rejecting the military service.”

21 Jul 2015
English

Alper SapanAlper SapanYesterday's attack against civilians in the southern Turkish town of Suruç killed dozens of people. Conscientious objectors Alper Sapan and Polen Ünlü  were amongst those killed. In solidarity and respect, we share news from WRI member Merve Arkun:

Two of our CO friends were murdered by a suicide bomb attack that has happened in Pirsus (Suruç, Urfa, Turkey), today.

More than 31 Polen ÜnlüPolen Ünlüpeople travelling to Kobanê to support resistance against ISIS have died. At least 100 were heavily wounded.

Here is his Alper Sapan's CO declaration:
I am Alper Sapan. I am an anarchist who 19 years old. I am against the injustice, exploitation and oppression of the state. I am rejecting violence and the state. I am listening to the voice of my conscience and objecting the military system for a world that no borders, no wars and no nations. I will not die, I will not kill for anybody and will not be anybody's soldier.

Before militarism ends our lives let's end militarism.

Information about Polen Ünlü is still being translated into English. You can find information in Turkish here.

via Vicdani Ret Derneği (Conscientious Objection Association)

15 Jul 2015
English

This beautiful, working watch belonged to Herbert Runham Brown (1879-1949), one of the founders of WRI.

It has been kindly donated to WRI for auction by WRI member and former staff person Wolfgang Zucht, in the hope that it might again be owned by someone connected with WRI who would appreciate its history, and be able to help to continue Brown's work through WRI in the process.

Winning bid: £111.11

The auction has now closed. Thank you to everyone who bid!

10 Jul 2015
English

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/

29 Jun 2015
English

"A Second Time Around" by Arlo Tatum forms a chapter in CJ Hinke's new book about war resisters in prison, forthcoming from Trine-Day in Spring 2016. (He welcomes suggestion for a title!). CJ was the last person arrested for the Vietnam draft and lives in Thailand where he has co-founded the Nonviolent Conflict Workshop (NVCW) to teach the tactics of Gene Sharp and develop new ones. See https://prisonwarresisters.wordpress.com.

29 Jun 2015
English

Read the submission from the European Union here.

MORNING

24 June 2015

Concludes Interactive Dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on Eritrea

The Human Rights Council this morning discussed the situation of human rights in Eritrea, holding an interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea, and concluding its interactive dialogue with the Chair of the Commission of Inquiry on the Situation of Human Rights in Eritrea.

24 Jun 2015
English

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
English

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.