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.

The Australian War Memorial (AWM) is one of our pre-eminent national institutions. It rightly holds a special place in commemorations of our war dead, not only as the nation pauses on Anzac Day, but right throughout the year. In the memorial’s own words, “Its mission is to assist Australians to remember, interpret and understand the Australian experience of war and its enduring impact on Australian society”.

War Stops Here

In September 2017, activists from across the world will gather in London to resist the DSEI arms fair, and for WRI's annual Council meeting. On Sunday 10th September, WRI will host an activist seminar, “War Stops Here”, to support action against the arms trade and other forms of war profiteering. For more information, see http://www.wri-irg.org/en/war-stops-here-10-sept

As the ISDEF (International Defense & HLS) arms fair got under way in Tel Aviv earlier this month, a shadow conference – INsecurity: 50 years of Exporting Occupation – was also taking place challenging the narrative of the military industries. Coalition of Women for Peace invited speakers from around the world to participate in a series of panel discussions with Palestinian and Israeli campaigners, drawing parallels between the experiences of those living in militarised communities such as the favelas of Brazil and the realities of the lives of Palestinians living under occupation.

Journalists in the UK and Denmark have uncovered evidence that BAE Systems – the UK's largest arms companies and one of the largest in the world – has profited from the sale of surveillance technology, including to many oppressive governments in the Middle East.

In May and June 2017, activists in Canada, Israel and France have taken nonviolent direct action against arms fairs. In Ottawa, Canada, 40 activists blockaded the entrance to the CANSEC fair for over an hour. CANSEC is an annual two day event hosting 800 companies from across the arms industries, and attended by 12,000 people. As well as exhibits of weapons and other equipment, attendees were given the opportunity to hear presentations from government ministers and attend evening receptions sponsored by Lockheed Martin.

MagForce (or Mag Force) International is a manufacturer of military equipment based in France, with head offices in the Paris suburb of Aubervilliers. The company sells equipment and vehicles to militaries and the police forces around the world, including uniforms and other clothing, armoured vehicles, and crowd control weaponry. The company’s website includes various water cannons, riot shields, and chemical weapons such as mace.

In May 2017, US vendors of weapons made by German company Heckler and Koch received a letter purporting to be from Martin Obermann, the company's head of Transatlantic Sales, informing them of a mass recall of the weapons. The letter read,

Our campaign of the month is "Deadly Exchange", a project of Jewish Voices for Peace . Deadly Exchange seeks to end exchange programs between police forces in the USA and Israel.

In September 2017, thousands of arms dealers will descend on London to market their wares to militaries from across the globe. Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) - is one of the biggest arms fairs in the world, and it takes place in east London every two years, exporting death and destruction around the world.

We are the international resistance to DSEI, and we need your help.
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