Welcome to the first issue of 2010. Here at the WRI office we have been busy these first two months of 2010. During the last two weeks of January, WRI held its International Conference in Ahmedabad, India. In this issue we report on some of the sessions which were related to the topic of war profiteering. The conference was an important opportunity for campaigners and researchers on the issue of war profiteers to meet and make connection beyond particular regions and areas of work.
According to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration of South Korea, the total turnover of arms exports by South Korea exceeded 1 billion dollars in 2008. The Defense Acquisition Program Administration of Korea plans to raise this figure to 1.5 billion dollars by 2015, expecting to become one of the world's top ten arms exporting countries by 2012. The alleged arguement that South Korea should deter the North from provoking a war works as an excuse for spending huge amounts of money on the arms industry.
The arms manufacturers Raytheon are to end their computer software manufacturing operation in Derry, Northern Ireland, following a concerted campaign by Derry Anti War Coalition (DAWC) and the Foyle Ethical Investment Campaign (FEIC).
Between the 22 -25 of January 2010, WRI held its international conference in Ahmedabad, India. One of the main topics of the conference was the issue of war profiteering, with a special relation to its impact to the livelihoods of local communities. Here we report on some of the workshops on this topic.
Transnational campaigning against war profiteering – making links with the arms trade movement (ENAAT) and the local communities
On 7th February 2010, 8 peace activists entered the Brussels Holiday Fair and impersonated flight attendants of the Israeli airline company El Al. They handed out fake free plane tickets to Israel, which referred to the fact that El Al contributes to the transport of arms to the country. Their theatrical intervention didn't go down well with the Israeli security agents who were observing the Fair.
A mother of five who says she was sexually harassed and assaulted while working for Halliburton/KBR in Iraq is headed for a secretive arbitration process rather than being able to present her case in open court.
What it means: instead of having her case heard in court like a normal American citizen, Barker will have it dealt with in behind-the-scenes, private arbitration.
OIP, the Belgian company producing night vision goggles and aimpoints, received unexpected visitors from the Transnational Awareness Group. TAG inspectors entered the company's premises to verify information about complicity to warcrimes. They were specifically concerned about arms sales to controversial countries like Colombia and Israel.
London-listed Vedanta Resources came under further pressure over ethics as Britain's Church of England said it was selling all its shares in the company, worth around £3.8 million.
“We are not satisfied that Vedanta has shown, or is likely in future to show, the level of respect for human rights and local communities that we expect of companies in whom the Church investing bodies hold shares,” said Mr John Reynolds, the chairman of the Church's Economic Investment Advisory Group, which acts as the main advisor to the Church Commissioners and the Church of England Pensions Board.
Niger exports enough uranium to France to generate 80 per cent of the latter’s electricity supply, writes Khadija Sharife. But ordinary Nigeriens reap little benefit from France’s control of their country’s uranium resources, with over three-fifths of the population living below the poverty line and reports of radioactive contamination of water, air and soil by multinational mining operations.
Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) and The Corner House were shocked and angered by the decision of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) to settle with BAE Systems. As a result of the settlement there will be no opportunity to discover the truth behind alleged bribery and corruption in the many BAE deals that were under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office.
Elbit Systems is one of the world's largest defence electronics manufacturers and integrators. Established in 1967, and based in Haifa, Israel, Elbit employs 11,000 people worldwide. It supplies the military, navy and air force in the occupation of Palestine, and has profited greatly from Israel's numerous attacks and assaults on the Palestinian and Lebanese people.
The apartheid government relied heavily on conscription to perpetuate its power in the region as well as to suppress the majority of South Africans.
Conscientious objection increased in the 1980s and found popular support in the End Conscription Campaign. The ever-increasing number of young white men refusing to serve in the apartheid army or just not turning up for duty, was a contributing factor to demise of the apartheid state. In 1993, with the first democratic election in sight, the ECC disbanded.