War Profiteers

WRI activists disrupting the welcome dinner at the ADEX arms fair
WRI activists disrupting the welcome dinner at the ADEX arms fair

Economics is one of the key causes of war - wherever there is a military conflict, someone is profiting from it. We call this "war profiteering".

WRI looks at war profiteering in a broad sense - we consider all companies and initiatives that benefit financially from military conflict as war profiteers, in some sense. This includes the arms trade and companies profiteering for the privatisation and outsourcing of the military, but also those extracting natural resources in conflict zones, financial institutions investing in arms companies, and many others.

WRI publishes a quarterly magazine called War Profiteers' News (in English and Spanish), and organises events to bring campaigners and researchers together to share strategies against war profiteering. In 2017 we will gather members and friends of the WRI network in London, for a seminar called “Stopping the War Business”. Campaigners will share experiences and strategies of countering the arms trade and other war profiteers. The seminar will take place at the same time  as the DSEI arms fair, where we will also take nonviolent direct action together. In 2015, we organised a similar event in Seoul, South Korea, which took place at the same time as the ADEX arms fair.

In September 2017, hundreds of weapons companies gathered in London for the Defence and Security Equipment International arms fair, to meet representatives from militaries all over the world. WRI produced a booklet profiling some of the companies attending.

From 11 to 15 September, Geneva will be hosting the Conference of States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty. The world’s third largest purveyor of armaments, France has a privileged relationship in this area with Saudi Arabia and its allies. According to hitherto undisclosed data revealed to Orient XXI by the Observatoire des Armements, the French government used a contract for weapons ostensibly meant for Lebanon to prepare for the Kingdom’s war in Yemen and speed up delivery at the height of that conflict.

Since 2008, the Klong Sai Pattana community in Thailand have been resisting the encroachment of a large palm oil company - Jiew Kang Jue Pattana Co Ltd. The company has illegally occupied and cultivated palm oil trees, and the community believes it is behind escalating violence that has led to a number of deaths, in a campaign of intimidation they believe is being waged to drive them from the land.

Moses John (South Sudan) and Jungmin Choi (South Korea) are members of WRI's Council, and attended protests in London against the DSEI arms fair. They both gave speeches about the impact of the arms trade in their countries and around the world - you can hear some of what they had to say in this video.

The Australian War Memorial (AWM) is one of our pre-eminent national institutions. It rightly holds a special place in commemorations of our war dead, not only as the nation pauses on Anzac Day, but right throughout the year. In the memorial’s own words, “Its mission is to assist Australians to remember, interpret and understand the Australian experience of war and its enduring impact on Australian society”.

War Stops Here

In September 2017, activists from across the world will gather in London to resist the DSEI arms fair, and for WRI's annual Council meeting. On Sunday 10th September, WRI will host an activist seminar, “War Stops Here”, to support action against the arms trade and other forms of war profiteering. For more information, see http://www.wri-irg.org/en/war-stops-here-10-sept

As the ISDEF (International Defense & HLS) arms fair got under way in Tel Aviv earlier this month, a shadow conference – INsecurity: 50 years of Exporting Occupation – was also taking place challenging the narrative of the military industries. Coalition of Women for Peace invited speakers from around the world to participate in a series of panel discussions with Palestinian and Israeli campaigners, drawing parallels between the experiences of those living in militarised communities such as the favelas of Brazil and the realities of the lives of Palestinians living under occupation.

Journalists in the UK and Denmark have uncovered evidence that BAE Systems – the UK's largest arms companies and one of the largest in the world – has profited from the sale of surveillance technology, including to many oppressive governments in the Middle East.

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