Two important reports were released last month, neither getting the kind of attention they deserve. On 4 April, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Working Group III report was published, evoking a strong reaction from the United Nations’ Secretary General António Guterres. The report, he said, ‘is a litany of broken climate promises. It is a file of shame, cataloguing the empty pledges that put us firmly on track towards an unlivable world’. At COP26, the developed countries pledged to spend a modest $100 billion for the Adaptation Fund to assist developing countries adapt to climate change. Meanwhile, on 25 April, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) issued its annual report, finding that the world military spending surpassed $2 trillion in 2021, the first time it has exceeded the $2 trillion mark.
President Joe Biden’s new appointee as arms czar for Ukraine, Terry Wolff, has a lot of blood on his hands. The three-star general’s new job is to coordinate arms shipments to Ukraine that are designed to bog down the Russians, including a new $800 million weapons package that President Biden authorized last Thursday. A native of Elk Grove, California, who graduated from West Point in 1979, Wolff previously trained Iraqi forces for a deadly siege of Mosul in 2016, and helped plan operations in the illegal war on Afghanistan as a National Security Council senior director for the country. Between November 2015 and February 2019, Wolff directed the global coalition fighting ISIS in Syria, which served the ulterior goal of overthrowing the nationalist regime of Bashar al-Assad.
With German chancellor Olaf Scholz proclaiming on Tuesday, April 19 that the European Union and NATO are united to make sure that Russia never wins the war in Ukraine, the possibility of it continuing looms large. He also pledged more weapons to Ukraine, including anti-tank and air defense weapons. Scholz’s announcement came after his meeting with several NATO leaders. “Our common goal is to continue to arm the Ukrainian military so that it can continue to defend itself against attacks,” Scholz said at a press conference following the meeting. Several other countries, including Canada, the UK, the Netherlands and Romania, also pledged the supply of more weapons to Ukraine. Ukranian president Volodymyr Zelensky has been giving contradictory statements for some time, vacillating between the need for talks with Russia and more weapons supplies from the west.
Today, the day of Lockheed Martin’s annual meeting, begins a week of actions around the world. These included a demonstration and a petition delivery at the company’s headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland, this morning. Reports, photos, and videos from actions around the world are being posted athttps://act.worldbeyondwar.org/stoplockheedmartin Activists delivered a petition to Lockheed Martin’s headquarters during its (virtual) annual general meeting, calling on Lockheed to begin work on conversion to non-deadly industries. They held colorful banners, and demonstrated in front of the Bethesda, Maryland, building, and then paraded half a mile to an overpass and displayed their banners over the highway (I-270) with messages including “Lockheed Martin weapons terrorize the world.”
The UK Ministry of Defense (MOD) is no stranger to a bad idea. Nobody who has spent more than five minutes in or round the UK military would deny it. The MOD’s latest project is a ‘green’ drone. In itself, this is a symptom of a broader global push towards ‘sustainable’ brands of warfare. This increasingly sees national militaries, and their worldviews, being used to grapple with an issue which has no military solution. Being oppressed or killed by green military equipment, let’s be honest, is hardly different from being oppressed or killed by the usual hardware. So what’s the story? In their quest for some good green optics, the MOD have enlisted none other than Elbit Systems. Yes, the firm which supplies 85 percent of Israel’s drones.
The U.S. and its proxies in Europe are moving an enormous amount of weapons into Ukraine. But no one has an idea where those weapons will end up. It is likely that many of those will proliferate outside of the Ukraine and some of those weapons will inevitably hit those who now deliver them. In a review of the U.S. war on Syria Aaron Maté details how the Obama/Biden team empowered terrorist networks in Syria: Based on declassified documents, news reports, and scattered admissions of U.S. officials, this overlooked history of how the Obama-Biden team's effort to oust the Assad regime – in concert with allies including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey – details the series of discrete decisions that ultimately led the U.S. to empower terror networks bent on its destruction The U.S. pushed an enormous amount of weapons into Syria.
Members of the Ottawa Peace Council will on Friday head to the Lockheed Martin Canada headquarters on O’Connor Street to protest the Liberal government’s decision to purchase that company’s F-35 stealth fighter. The gathering is part of what is being called the Global Mobilization to Stop Lockheed Martin, a series of at least nine protests in various cities around the world to highlight the company’s role as the largest weapons producer in the world. The F-35 is expected to be featured prominently at the various protests, including in Toronto, as the public relations war over the jet enters a new phase. The Liberal government announced March 28 it was entering into negotiations to buy the fighter plane, retreating on Justin Trudeau’s promise Canada would never acquire the aircraft he claimed didn’t work and wasn’t needed.
Karen DeYoung reported for the Washington Post Thursday that Russia sent a formal diplomatic note to the United States on Tuesday, accusing Washington and its NATO clients of insidiously subverting peace process with Ukraine initiated at the Istanbul talks on March 29, and the subsequent withdrawal of Russian forces from the outskirts of Kyiv, Chernihiv and Sumy, thus ending the month-long offensive in Ukraine. The document, titled “On Russia’s concerns in the context of massive supplies of weapons and military equipment to the Kiev regime,” was forwarded to the State Department by the Russian Embassy in Washington, in which Russia accused NATO of trying to “pressure Ukraine to abandon peace negotiations with Russia in order to continue the bloodshed.”
In order to scuttle the Russian peace initiative to Ukraine announced at the Istanbul talks on March 29, halting Russian military campaign north of the capital and focusing on liberating Russian-majority Donbas in east Ukraine, practically spelling an end to Russia’s month-long offensive in the embattled country, NATO powers have announced transferring heavy weapons, including tanks and S-300 air defense system, to Ukraine to further escalate the conflict. Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday, April 7, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley revealed that US and NATO countries have collectively provided roughly 60,000 anti-tank weapons and 25,000 anti-aircraft weapons to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion on Feb. 24.
Workers at TrainOSE, a Greek railroad company, have been refusing to transport U.S. tanks destined for Ukraine from Alexandroupoli, a port in the northern part of the country. After workers there refused, bosses tried to force railroad workers from elsewhere to take on the work. “For about two weeks now,” the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) said in a statement, “there has been pressure on the employees of the engine room in Thessaloniki to go to Alexandroupoli.” The bosses’ desperate effort to find workers who would move the transport forward was unsuccessful. The argument from employers that they should have no specific interest in what they are transporting came to nothing, even with a threat regarding the workers’ contract, which states, “An employee can be deployed according to the needs of the company.” Further threats of dismissal also proved fruitless.
The war in Ukraine is causing more and more saber-rattling in the U.S. and Europe. As many countries massively ramp up their own military budgets, many more still are sending weapons to Ukraine. According to the Unione Sindacale di Base (USB), workers at Galileo Galilei Airport in Pisa, Italy discovered boxes full of “weapons of all kinds, ammunition and explosives.” They had previously been informed that the delivery contained humanitarian goods such as food and medicine. The airport workers then refused to send the weapons to Ukraine via Poland. USB reports that the chairman of Tuscany airports, Mario Carrai, has since assured that there will be no more arms shipments through Pisa airport. However, USB continues to call on workers to block all arms shipments.
As the United States weighs more involvement in the growing conflict between Ukraine and Russia, some of the largest weapons companies in the world — Raytheon and Lockheed Martin — are openly telling their investors that tensions between the countries are good for business. And General Dynamics, meanwhile, is boasting about the past returns the company has seen as a result of such disputes. The statements come as the U.S. government escalates arms shipments to Ukraine, among them the Javelin missiles that are a joint venture between Raytheon and Lockheed Martin. House Democrats, meanwhile, are trying to quickly push through a bill that would significantly increase U.S. military assistance to Ukraine, and impose new sanctions on Russia.
After 18 months of sustained direct action taken at the Elbit Ferranti site in Oldham, Greater Manchester, with 36 people arrested, Elbit have now sold Ferranti technologies, with its continued operation in Oldham appearing unfeasible. Activists have occupied, blockaded, smashed, disrupted, and protested regularly at the site, ultimately succeeding in ending the factory’s production of specialist military technologies for Israel’s fleet of combat drones. In November 2021, anonymous sources revealed to Palestine Action that mass redundancy notices had been issued to staff working at the factory, and that premises were being cleared in preparation for Elbit leaving the site. Today, it was publicized that Ferranti has indeed been sold to TT Electronics, a British electronics firm.
The Pentagon has finally published its first Airpower Summary since President Biden took office nearly a year ago. These monthly reports have been published since 2007 to document the number of bombs and missiles dropped by U.S.-led air forces in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria since 2004. But President Trump stopped publishing them after February 2020, shrouding continued U.S. bombing in secrecy. Over the past 20 years, as documented in the table below, U.S. and allied air forces have dropped over 337,000 bombs and missiles on other countries. That is an average of 46 strikes per day for 20 years. This endless bombardment has not only been deadly and devastating for its victims but is broadly recognized as seriously undermining international peace and security and diminishing America’s standing in the world.
Autonomous weapon systems – commonly known as killer robots – may have killed human beings for the first time ever last year, according to a recent United Nations Security Council report on the Libyan civil war. History could well identify this as the starting point of the next major arms race, one that has the potential to be humanity’s final one. The United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons debated the question of banning autonomous weapons at its once-every-five-years review meeting in Geneva Dec. 13-17, 2021, but didn’t reach consensus on a ban. Established in 1983, the convention has been updated regularly to restrict some of the world’s cruelest conventional weapons, including land mines, booby traps and incendiary weapons.