Eduardo Galeano, the great Uruguayan writer, said "if nature was a bank it would have already been saved".
Isn't that true? So much is decided in the name of financial profit, and what institutions are more cynical in this than banks. When we look at the mess the economy is in and at how many people it affects, who is especially to blame? And yet here come the rescue packages, and the big bonuses for directors who have presided over the disaster.
There are various reasons for the existence of war or organised armed violence. Amongst those that we can identify and understand with ease are economic reasons. It is difficult to demonstrate that the business people who benefit from the preparation and outbreak of war want the conflicts to occur. However, it is not completely outlandish to think that some businessman, greedy and lacking scruples, might uncork a bottle of champagne when he knows that an armed conflict is going to happen. He might even open two bottles if a long war is predicted. This joy that we presume of the arms industry executive might not even be a result of chance.
European arms giant EADS is selling all over the world: From India and Pakistan to Colombia and Kazakhstan. In 2011 it made a revenue of 50 billion euros, a quarter of which was earned by arms trade. The 2011 arms profit was 11.6 billion euro. With that amount of money you could provide basic education for all the children in the world who presently cannot go to school. EADS also produces civil planes, for example the Airbus passengers plane.
On 27 April the Defence Review Committee appointed by the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans published its draft report. That report is available at www.sadefencereview2012.org. On 14 May the Ceasefire Campaign made a submission to the Committee, criticising the draft report. That submission is available at www.ceasefire.org.za.
A new report by Who Profits investigates the business and trade of Ahava – Dead Sea Laboratories, a private Israeli cosmetics corporation which operates from the occupied West Bank. Ahava is the only company which sells Dead Sea cosmetics and is located in the occupied area of the Dead Sea. The Ahava factory and visitors' center is located in the Mitzpe Shalem settlement, on the shore of the Dead Sea in the occupied part of the Jordan Valley and a large percentage of Ahava shares are held by two Israeli West Bank settlements.
From 29 to 31 May the UDT (Undersea Defence Technology Europe) arms fair took place in Alicante, State of Spain. This is one of the most important fairs of the military industry, focusing - as the name says - on wars in the sea.
Olympic sponsor's military construction threatens 'Peace Island'
A demonstration on Saturday 9 June outside the Samsung Store on Tottenham Court Road called for a boycott of Samsung products. Samsung is the main building contractor of the controversial $970 million naval base on Jeju Island, South Korea. Officially designated 'The Island of World Peace', Jeju is home to several UNESCO World Natural and Cultural Heritage sites, and promoted by the South Korean government as 'one of the seven wonders of the world'. The people of Gangjeong village, where construction threatens their way of life, farms and coastline, are mounting a non-violent resitance that's gaining international attention. Samsung and the Korean navy continue to enforce the project despite 94% opposition among the village electorate. Over 500 protestors have been arrested since construction started, many imprisoned, including the village mayor.
Veolia Environnement S.A. is a multinational French company with activities in four main service and utility areas traditionally managed by public authorities - water supply and water management, waste management, energy and transport services. In 2011, Veolia employed 331,226 employees in 77 countries. Its revenue in that year was recorded at €29.647 billion.
With the CIA and the US military using drones around the world for killing and spying, the organisation CODEPINK, based in the United States, has launched a campaign to stop this proliferation both overseas and here at home.
Drone warfare raises a series of new concerns as the latest method of waging war in the 21st century. It is presented to the people in the US as a precise way to “get the bad guys” without risking the lives of its own people, which is why 82 percent of people in the US in a March 2012 poll supported drone attacks against terrorist suspects. The truth is that drone attacks kill many innocent people, radicalise the local population and increase anti-US sentiment and a desire for revenge. Drone warfare makes it easy for the president—any president—to get involved in conflicts without consulting Congress or the people. The US notion that the United States can attack any suspect, anywhere, violates international law and sets a terrible precedent for the rest of the world. Drones have also been used to kill US citizens overseas, violating any semblance of due process, and plans are underway for the widespread use of drones by police departments and other government agencies here at home.