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 January this year, Australia’s Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, announced that Australia was aiming to become one of the world’s top ten ‘defence export’ countries over the next decade, moving up from its current position of 20th for the period of 2012-2016. This would put it just behind the five Permanent Members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, Spain, Italy, Ukraine and Israel. A Defence Export Office would coordinate these efforts and allocated $3.8 billion government funding for promotion, along with the creation of an Australian Defence Export Advocate position.

All over the world, police officers are looking more and more like soldiers. To help us understand this militarisation, War Resisters' International has developed a new web resource. We've researched how police forces are being militarised, drawn together the various trends we can see taking place, and illustrated all of this as a new online map. You can explore the resource here: www.wri-irg.org/police

In December 2017, the Colombian government hosted the ExpoDefensa arms fair in Bogota. Nearly 300 exhibitors from 35 countries took part in the fair, with over 12,000 visitors attending, including 76 official delegations.

In Canada, eleven indigenous Guatemalan women are in the process of taking a multinational mining company to court. The women allege that in 2007, police officers, soldiers, and private security personnel attacked their village of Lote Ocho, in eastern Guatemala, and burned dozens of homes in a bid to drive the community from their ancestral land.

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