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Theme Group 1: New developments in war profiteering

There are several new profitable developments in the defence business. This theme group will be addressing three of them: The privatisation of war, armed and unarmed drones and the growing market for “homeland security”.

Privatisation

Increasingly, governments are outsourcing military tasks that used to be done by the state. In Afghanistan coalition troops have deployed the largest mercenary army in the history of mankind. Even intelligence is privatised. Not only are western companies hired, but also locals. And not only local cooks but also armed personnel.
What impact does the use of private companies have on the reality of war? How does it influence the way to peace? Which policies are followed by different nations? What are the juridical consequenses? What are the economics of privatisation, is there an argument for nations with tightening defence budgets? And what are, or should be, the rules?

Drones

UK military officials are expecting one third of the UK air force to consist of drones within 20 years. The use of drones, notably the use of armed drones as a means for “individual target assassinations” is changing the reality of war. Right now, the US is using armed drones in six coutries, but as much of the operation is in the hands of the CIA and special forces they are under no democratic control whatsoever. Although just a few nations are operating armed drones it is very likely that development will continue quickly

Security and defence

After 9/11 a big growth market for the defence industry is what is called “homeland security”. New technologies are developed for the control of crowds, to catch refugees or to tap communications. The defence industry is leading the market, pouring more money out of other budgets than the traditional defence budgets.

Emerging trends

We would like participants to come prepared to share information about the experience in their countries in the context of at least one of the three issues under discussion.

Campaigning tools

It is likely that most people attending the seminar and the theme group will have a lot of campaigning experience. We will look at the very different types of campaigning including:

  • undertaking research including the use of legislation on public access to information;
  • petitioning and talking to politicians
  • using the media (old and new);
  • taking legal action;
  • consumer campaigns such the Belgian and Spanish bank campaigns;
  • taking action against the arms companies themselves at their annual general meetings or their premises.

Internationalising the issue

  • Are there topics on which we could/should combine to campaign?
  • Are bilateral links more helpful than a wider campaign?
  • Is it possible to help each other while still having different national campaigning priorities?

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