Military Spending - Arms Industry

UN vote calls on Israel - open nuclear programme to inspectors

A vote by the United Nations general assembly has called on Israel to open its nuclear programme to weapons inspectors. The UN general assembly has overwhelmingly approved a resolution calling on Israel to open its nuclear programme for inspection.

The resolution, approved by a vote of 174 to 6 with six abstentions, calls on Israel to join the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) "without further delay" and open its nuclear facilities to inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Those voting against were Israel, the US, Canada, Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau.

Resolutions adopted by the 193-member general assembly are not legally binding but they do reflect world opinion and carry moral and political weight. And the resolution adds to pressure on Israel as it faces criticism over plans to increase settlement in the West Bank, a move seen as retaliation for the assembly recognising Palestinian statehood.

Israel refuses to confirm or deny possessing nuclear bombs though it is widely believed to have them. It has refused to join the non-proliferation treaty along with three nuclear weapon states: India, Pakistan and North Korea.

Israel insists there must first be a Middle East peace agreement before the establishment of a proposed regional zone free of weapons of mass destruction. Its rivals in the region argue that Israel's undeclared nuclear arsenal presents the greatest threat to peace in the region.

British arms deals: a tale of quick death, dirty money and fast profits 06 November 2012 Colin Todhunter United Kingdom

British arms deals: a tale of quick death, dirty money and fast profits
06 November 2012 Colin Todhunter United Kingdom

The UK arms trade receives about £852m a year in subsidies, much of it going to BAE, a company with a track record of bribery, espionage and arms deals with oppressive regimes.

By Colin Todhunter
6 November 2012

Saudi Arabian troops enter Bahrain in 2011, no doubt armed with weapons supplied by Britain, to help crush the democracy movement which threatened to overthrow the dictatorship that has ruled the country for centuries.

BRITISH PM CAMERON is often quite keen to stand in front of the TV cameras and lecture the public on the values of peace and democracy in an unstable world.

With his public school accent and an air of authority and respectability afforded by the trappings of state, Cameron words may carry a good deal of weight to the casual observer.

But what better way to evaluate his commitment to such high-minded principles by highlighting his actions.

Let’s cast our eyes towards the Arab world. Under Cameron, Britain is not only involved in stoking conflict in Syria right now, but also helped destroy Libya by supporting and taking part in an illegal NATO bombing campaign.

Moreover, Britain not only exported weapons and crowd control equipment to Gaddafi months before attacking him, but also to dictator Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and to the regime in Bahrain, a clique which last year carried out the fiercest of crackdowns on protesters.

And this week, David Cameron is accompanying representatives of British weapons manufacturers to Saudi Arabia and the UAE in an attempt to win further lucrative defence contracts for UK firms.

Time to ask on anniversary of 9/11: who pays and who profits from endless US wars?


On average, one US soldier dies everyday. Not an enormous sum, unless it is your mother, father, son or daughter that has perished. Few Americans notice. Afghan loses are not reported.

ELEVEN YEARS LATER, we are still at war. Bullets, mortars and drones are still extracting payment. Thousands, tens of thousands, millions have paid in full. Children and even those yet to be born will continue to pay for decades to come.

On a single day in Iraq last week there were 29 bombing attacks in 19 cities, killing 111 civilians and wounding another 235. On Sept 9th, reports indicate 88 people were killed and another 270 injured in 30 attacks all across the country. Iraq continues in a seemingly endless death spiral into chaos. In his acceptance speech for the Democratic nomination for President, Obama claimed he ended the war in Iraq, well… not quite.

The city of Fallujah remains under siege. Not from US troops, but from a deluge of birth defects that have plagued families since the use of depleted uranium and white phosphorus by US forces in 2004. No government studies have provided a direct link to the use of these weapons because no government studies have been undertaken, and none are contemplated.

Dr. Samira Alani, a pediatric specialist at Fallujah General Hospital, told Al Jazeera,

Drones: a humane approach to war? Or a special form of inhumanity?

Dirk Kurbjuweit says Germany should not allow itself to be seduced by the idea that an unmanned aircraft is a humane weapon.
A SUICIDE BOMBER needs to be 100 percent willing to sacrifice his life. With a drone pilot, on the other hand, the risk of pilot death drops to zero percent.

The West's war on Islamist terror is currently being waged between these two conflicting priorities. Nothing is more indicative of the asymmetry of the war, and nothing is as symbolic of the cultures that are waging it.

It's a war between those who are willing to sacrifice everything and those who are unwilling to give up anything -- a war of sacrifice versus convenience, bodies versus technology and risk versus safety.

Like no other weapon, the drone stems from the needs and strengths of the West. Aside from convenience, technology and safety, it also represents a moral claim. In the world of weapons, the drone is a good weapon, at least at first glance. It claims no victims on one side and relatively few on the other, because it fires precision missiles.

The German Defense Ministry recently confirmed that the German military, the Bundeswehr, is currently reviewing the question of whether it should buy combat drones. (At the moment, it only uses unarmed drones for reconnaissance purposes.) Because Germany is relatively scrupulous in matters of war, the unmanned aircraft seems to be the ideal weapon for the country.

But is it really true that the drone is a good weapon? In reality, it raises a number of ethical questions related to pride, humanity and the law.

Keeping Their Distance

In the history of war, close-quarters combat is considered especially noble. It requires strength and courage. Those who are weaker and more cautious prefer to keep their distance. In the Bible, David was able to defeat Goliath because his slingshot enabled him to stay far away from the giant.

America's global empire of military bases grows to over 1000

David Vine -

YOU MIGHT think that the US military is in the process of shrinking, rather than expanding, its little-noticed but enormous collection of bases abroad.

After all, it was forced to close the full panoply of 505 bases, mega to micro, that it built in Iraq, and it’s now beginning the process of drawing down forces in Afghanistan.

In Europe, the Pentagon is continuing to close its massive bases in Germany and will soon remove two combat brigades from that country. Global troop numbers are set to shrink by around 100,000.

Yet Washington still easily maintains the largest collection of foreign bases in world history: more than 1,000 military installations outside the 50 states and Washington, D.C. They include everything from decades-old bases in Germany and Japan to brand-new drone bases in Ethiopia and the Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean and even resorts for military vacationers in Italy and South Korea.

In Afghanistan, the US-led international force still occupies more than 450 bases. In total, the US military has some form of troop presence in approximately 150 foreign countries, not to mention 11 aircraft carrier task forces — essentially floating bases — and a significant, and growing, military presence in space. The United States currently spends an estimated $250 billion annually maintaining bases and troops overseas.

Some bases, like Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, date to the late 19th century. Most were built or occupied during or just after World War II on every continent, including Antarctica. Although the US military vacated around 60% of its foreign bases following the Soviet Union’s collapse, the Cold War base infrastructure remained relatively intact, with 60,000 American troops remaining in Germany alone, despite the absence of a superpower adversary.

Lindsey German: The anti-war movement won't let Tony Blair forget about Iraq


FIVE YEARS after he left Downing Street, Tony Blair's attempted comeback to political life shows how little he understands about what went wrong with his career, and about the level of opposition to him that still remains.

He has planned a series of fundraising events to facilitate his return to grace, including an "in conversation" with Tessa Jowell and a £500-a-head dinner alongside Ed Miliband tomorrow. Jowell had to hastily cancel her appearance for fear of demonstrations.
Tonight's Blair event at Arsenal's Emirates stadium in north London will be met by protests organised by the Stop the War coalition over his role in the Iraq war.

It appears that his old friend and partner in crime, Alastair Campbell, will be there. While we have to assume that those attending will not choke on their dinners, many Labour members and voters will find all this too much to stomach.

Blair was determined to follow George Bush into war, regardless of the evidence of its necessity or the consequences. He and Campbell, along with head of MI6 John Scarlett, constructed a dossier that claimed Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction that posed a direct threat to Britain. It was a lie.

He refused to put the full and balanced advice on the legality of the war to his cabinet, let alone to parliament or to the public. Instead he insisted that it was legal, a fact disputed by many international lawyers.

Blair ignored public opinion, which repeatedly showed majorities against the war, and the largest peace demonstration ever in British history.

He bullied and bribed many Labour MPs into voting for war in March 2003, against their better instincts and the wishes of their constituents.

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