ust this week, it was confirmed that Israel’s top weapons exporter Elbit Systems is closing down its offices in London. The decision follows numerous protests against Elbit and Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), the letting agent for those offices. It is the second time that Palestine Action, the group organizing the protests, has compelled Elbit to quit a site in Britain – a country identified by the firm as a priority for sales and investment. Earlier this year, Elbit confirmed it had sold Ferranti, its subsidiary based in Oldham, near Manchester. Palestine Action’s protests – which often involve smashing up weapons facilities – have angered Israel and its supporters. One of Israel’s most influential backers in Britain is Priti Patel, the home secretary. She has effectively declared war on Palestinian solidarity activists by claiming that the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement is racist – without presenting any evidence.
These are good times to be an arms maker. Not only are tens of billions of dollars in new military spending headed for the coffers of this country’s largest weapons contractors, but they’re being praised as defenders of freedom and democracy, thanks to their role in arming Ukraine to fight the Russians. The last time the industry gained such a sterling reputation was during World War II when it was lauded as the “arsenal of democracy” for fueling the fight against fascism. Raytheon CEO Greg Hayes recently underscored this point in an interview with the Harvard Business Review. While discussing how he should respond to criticism of his company benefiting from a rise in sales right now, he said: “Look, we don’t apologize for making these systems, making these weapons. The fact is, they are incredibly effective in deterring and dealing with the threat that the Ukrainians are seeing today…"
Culturally significant Aboriginal heritage sites continue to be put at risk in Australia, despite the international outcry following Rio Tinto’s destruction of the 46,000-year-old caves at Juukan Gorge. The culprit this time is the Australian Defense Force, which undertakes live-fire training exercises and weapons testing at the Woomera Prohibited Area (WPA). Within range of falling missiles and mortars there is evidence of sequential spiritual engagement spanning centuries in rock engravings, heritage artefacts, tool-making sites, and also sites of mythological importance for Indigenous people. Andrew and Robert Starkey, Kokatha Badu (respected senior figures, or lore men) from the Western Desert region of South Australia, have spent decades registering and protecting heritage sites on their land.
Washington – America’s largest arms companies are increasingly finding lucrative new ways of profiting from the prison industrial complex; in many cases, weapons of war are directly manufactured using coerced prison labor. A new MintPress News study of the 100 largest private Defense Department contractors found that 37% of them were also profiting from incarcerated Americans, either in prisons and jails, or in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) camps. This proportion rose to 16 of the top 25 largest arms manufacturers, including Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman. The complete list of top corporations profiting from mass incarceration, displayed in order of value of Department of Defense contracts received, is as follows...
LaPlante is being poached directly from the military industry that is praising him, which he entered after serving in an acquisitions role under the Obama administration, where he was known for shepherding through major (and controversial) programs, such as the acquisition of the F‑35 fighter jet. By moving from government to industry, then back to government (should the Senate confirm him), all while the weapons industry cheers, LaPlante has spun through a well-trodden revolving door — a career trajectory that is entirely routine, but nonetheless scandalous. In a November 30 White House statement, President Biden praised LaPlante as a “seasoned national security leader with nearly four decades of experience in acquisition, technology, sustainment and the defense industrial base.”
A new report released by ICAN and PAX today, has found that the number of banks, pension funds, asset managers and insurance companies investing in the production of nuclear weapons has gone down in 2021, and shows significant drops in the shareholder values of investments in the 25 companies involved in nuclear weapon production around the world. There is also an early but visible impact of the entry into force of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), with many institutions citing the treaty’s entry into force and the risk of a negative public perception as reasons for the change in their investment policies.
A national protest against an upcoming arms fair took place in Liverpool on 11 September with over 3,000 people in attendance. Jeremy Corbyn and Maxine Peake were among those who showed support. In his speech to the gathered crowd of protestors Corbyn urged, ‘let’s turn the page and learn the lessons from the past. Let humanity prevail.’ AOC Europe, the Association of Old Crows’ electronic warfare conference, is set to be hosted by the city’s ACC Exhibition Centre between 11 and 13 October. For an event of this nature to occur in the wake of US withdrawal from Afghanistan, feels particularly offensive. The ongoing effects of human rights violations perpetrated by Western intervention in the Middle-East are playing out in Afghanistan as I write these words.
Western nations and arms companies are complicit in aiding regimes in the Middle East to spy on their citizens, speakers at an international conference shedding light on the human rights implications of the arms trade, said on Saturday. Attendees at Selling Death: why the international arms trade must be controlled, which was backed by former Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn, decried what they said was a "corrupt" arms trade that reaped huge profits for the "global military-industrial complex." The Egyptian human rights activist, Sherif Mansour spoke of “the quiet war” which he says takes place every day across the Middle East whereby “governments use violence against their own population to build the fear barrier to stop them from ever dreaming to be free like they did 10 years ago in the Arab Spring.”
It was Thursday afternoon peak hour in South Brisbane, soundtracked as usual by trucks rumbling down the busy thoroughfares of the area. But these were not the usual trucks, and the response to them was not the customary indifference we give to our surroundings on busy city streets. Two trucks began to pull into the Brisbane Convention Centre. On the trailer of each were small military vehicles. One was an “Autonomous Combat Warrior” made by Rheinmetall. The company describes the vehicle as the “next generation of land vehicle systems warfighting capability”. Essentially it’s a giant remote controlled car with off-road wheels and guns. The trucks were headed for the Land Forces Defence Exposition, an arms industry sales event which will take place from June 1-3.
Since the end of WWII, especially since the breakup of the Soviet Union, it appears as if US political leaders feel they are trapped in a time warp and are unable to break free. They seem to believe that they must repeat the same disastrous foreign policy of regime change over and over. Since 9/11, the US has attacked or supported attacks against Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen. The attacks, especially the horrendous US-led war crime against Iraq, have destabilized and created havoc in the Middle East, devastated these nations and caused death and appalling suffering for the people. In addition, the US has troops in about 800 locations worldwide, further threatening international stability.
Washington - In his last months in office, former President Donald Trump gave American defense contractors like Lockheed Martin and Reaper drone manufacturer General Atomics Aeronautical Systems billions in projected earnings through a controversial $23 billion arms deal with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a deal now “under review” by the Biden administration. President Joe Biden’s temporary halt to the U.S. arms deal and his decision to remove the Yemeni Houthi rebels from the state department’s list of global terrorist organizations have been touted as a harbinger of peace in Yemen...
The U.S. ruling class deploys the military for three main reasons: (1) to forcibly open up countries to foreign investment, (2) to ensure the free flow of natural resources from the global south into the hands of multinational corporations, and (3) because war is profitable. The third of these reasons, the profitability of war, is often lacking detail in analyses of U.S. imperialism: The financial industry, including investment banks and private equity firms, is an insatiable force seeking profit via military activity. The war industry is composed of corporations that sell goods and services to the U.S. government and allied capitalist regimes around the world.
Solidarity campaigners shut down an Israeli drone parts factory in the UK for several hours last week. Three activists from Palestine Action were arrested outside the Elbit Systems factory in Shenstone in the Midlands on 18 January. This is the third time the factory has been hit in five months. Red paint symbolizing the deaths of Palestinians was also sprayed across the factory front yard. In a Palestine Action video, an unnamed activist said she was “here today because Britain has been complicit in the colonization of Palestine since over 100 years ago with the Balfour Declaration.” Elbit is Israel’s largest private arms company and markets its weapons as “battle tested” on Palestinians in Gaza. It has 10 factories and offices in the UK.
An alarming report published Monday in the Washington Post claimed that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un could fire an intercontinental ballistic missile right as Joe Biden is inaugurated. “North Korea appears to be taking steps toward a new test of a powerful submarine-launched missile, U.S. weapons experts said, as it steadily dials up the pressure on President-elect Joe Biden,” it wrote, suggesting that the Supreme Leader is, “planning a very different fireworks display to greet the incoming U.S. president.” One of the weapons experts the story relies upon is Michael Elleman, a director at the hawkish and secretive think tank, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), who told the Post that the Korean missiles might have a range of around 1,900 miles and have the ability to hit U.S. targets in the Pacific.
When the United States finalized a set of seven arms sales packages to Taiwan in August, including 66 upgraded F-16 fighter planes and longer-range air-to-ground missiles that could hit sensitive targets on mainland China, it shifted U.S. policy sharply toward a much more aggressive stance on the geo-strategic island at the heart of military tensions between the United States and China. Branded “Fortress Taiwan” by the Pentagon, the ambitious arms deal was the engineered by Randall Schriver, a veteran pro-Taiwan activist and anti-China hardliner whose think tank had been financed by America’s biggest arms contractors and by the Taiwan government itself.