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.

Research released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) shows that over the last five years, India has become the world's biggest importer of arms, accounting for 12% of all arms imports between 2013 and 2017, and a signifant increase (24%) on the previous five years.

Thales is a French company, part owned by the French government, that builds a vast range of radars, sonars and electronic surveillance satellites, tactical communication systems and combat management systems, drones, helicopter avionics, armoured vehicles, mortar systems and missiles.

For the past few years, the Finnish arms trade has been changing. Data compiled by the peace and security think-tank SaferGlobe shows that the largest export region used to be the European Union, since 2015 the top position has been taken by Middle Eastern countries.

In London, activists arrested taking nonviolent direct action against the DSEI arms fair have been in court in a series of trials. A large number of the defendants – mainly accused of obstruction of the highway – have been acquitted or had their cases dropped, successfully arguing that they were acting within their human rights to protest peacefully.

Chemring Group is the world's 68th biggest arms company, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. The company was formed in 1905, and now employs just under 3,000 people. The companies profits in 2016 came to £8 million before tax.

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

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