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.

As thousands of protesters in Hong Kong gather to protest the proposed “Extradition Bill”, police have used “less lethal” weaponry produced by the company American company Amtec Less Lethal Systems. A tweet posted on June 12th shows a cartridge clearly labelled “ALS – 1202 – Rubber Rocket”. According to the ALS website, the 1202 cartridge is a 12 guage “high velocity rubber finned projectile that is designed to be direct fired, producing blunt trauma and pain compliance.” It has a range of around 120 feet.

Working with our friends at Vredesactie, WRI has recently published a new guide to support grassroots activists to research the arms industry in their country. The guide explores where to access accurate and up to date information on arms companies and lobby organisations.

The British foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt has urged Germany to end it’s ban of weapons exports to Saudi Arabia. Hunt has written to his counterpart Heiko Maas, and described how the ban is impacting British companies ability to fulfil their own contracts with Saudi Arabia on a visit to Berlin to discuss Brexit.

Germany has been joined by Finland, Netherlands, and Denmark in a suspension of arms sales to Saudi Arabia. The decisions follow the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and announcements by the United Nations that Yemen is experiencing the worst famine the world has seen for 100 years.

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