arms trade

en

Andrew Feinstein

The global trade in arms is a business that counts its profits in billions and its costs in human lives. It is arguably the most damaging of all trades, accounting for around 40% of all corruption. It has massive influence on the way our governments operate, ensuring that war is a preferred option to diplomacy, and that we spend billions of dollars every year on weapons we often don’t need. It perpetuates, makes more deadly and sometimes even causes conflict and repression.

Global military expenditure is estimated to have totalled $1.77 trillion in 2014, that is more than $250 for every person on the planet. This was a fall of 0.4% on the previous year and is about 2.3% of global GDP.

Emily Masters, originally printed in 'Peace News'

After a four-month campaign, the international Stop the Shipment campaign succeeded in stopping a shipment of over a million canisters of tear gas to Bahrain on 8 January.

The government of Bahrain has been using tear gas to repress pro-democracy demonstrations since the Arab Spring spread to the Gulf state in February 2011.

A Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) report in 2012 found that ‘Bahraini law enforcement officials routinely violate every UN principle’ in their ‘unusually relentless and indiscriminate campaign… weaponizing toxic chemical agents – so-called tear gas’.

Bombspotters on trial

Placheolder image

In 2012, 7 activists entered the SHAPE military base where NATO makes strategic nuclear weapon decisions. The group called themselves 'the bombspotters', and they took their act of civil disobedience to denounce the presence of nuclear weapons on Belgian soil as part of the NATO Game Over/Bombspotting campaign. They were arrested, and three and a half years later have been put on trial. The seven appeared in court on October 26thand are now awaiting the verdict of their trial. It is possible to send an email in support from this website: https://bomspotters.wordpress.com/nous-soutenir/

After the Stopping the War Business seminar, WRI and World Without War activists took action to disrupt the welcome dinner for the ADEX arms fair in Seoul.

Inside the hotel that was hosting the dinner, activists held banners, chanted 'Stop Arms Trade', and flung money strewn with 'blood' on the ground. They were forceably removed by security, but caught the attention of over around 100 'VIPs', arms dealers and members of the military.

Outside, protesters held a rally, with speakers, songs, a die-in and a dance, in full view of the buses of arms dealers arriving for the dinner.

For two days activists from sixteen countries have gathered in Seoul for the Stopping the War Business seminar, co-hosted by World Without War and War Resisters' International.

We heard inspiring talks about ongoing resistance to war profiteering - from police militarisation and the companies that feed it in the USA, to civilian companies profiting from occupation in West Papua. We participated in workshops on different tactics we can use in the struggle to stop war profiteering, and in 'campaigns clinics', in which participants introduced campaigns they are involved in, and heard reflections and ideas from other activists.

During the NATO exercise Trident Juncture 2015 the alliance will practice military interventions in North Africa

Marines from the US train in la Sierra del Retin, Barbate

The NATO exercise Trident Juncture 2015 will take place during October 2015 and until early November in Italy, Portugal, and the State of Spain. According to a variety of sources, this will be the “largest exercise of NATO since the end of the Cold War”1, “largest exercise conducted by the Alliance since 2002” (…) and “the Alliance’s most important exercise in 2015”2, or “the largest deployment of the Alliance in the last decade”3. The exercise consists of two clearly distinguished phases, a command post exercise (CPX, 3-16 October) and a phase of real action (Live Exercise, LIVEX, 21 October-6 November).

What is war profiteering?

'War profiteering' includes all those who profit financially from war and militarisation, or whose money makes war possible. That includes a complex network of companies, financial institutions, and individuals. The obvious thing that people think of when you talk about war profiteering is weapons manufacturers, but it goes much further than that.

We believe that so long as violence remains profitable, war will persist, because the short-term economic interests of the powerful will be put before longer-term peace and liberation. So that's why it's important – because without preventing war profiteering, we can never see an end to war.

This September, one of the world’s biggest arms fairs arrives at London’s ExCeL centre. The arms fair, due to take place on 15-18 September, involves more than 1000 companies and 30,000 attendees. A week of action will take place in the week before the fair, from 7 – 12 September, to make it as difficult as possible for it to go ahead. Each day different groups will be organising actions highlighting the different impacts of the arms trade and repression. Many groups will be using the #WarStartsHere slogan, also used by the European Antimilitarist Network.

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Stephanie Demblon

“Europe is at war against an imaginary enemy” - this is Frontexit’s campaign slogan regarding the respect of migrants’ human rights at the borders of the European Union. Usually addressed from a humanitarian angle (guilty of negligence to basic migrant rights) or a political one (the question of migratory flux management and distribution), the subject is rarely connected to the European arms market. And yet…

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