Anti-militarist campaigners have launched a private prosecution of two arms companies. A statement by the activists lawyers reads:
“Hodge Jones & Allen solicitors today confirmed that they have obtained a summons against two international arms companies – TIAJIN MYWAY INTERNATIOANL TRADING COMPANY and MAGFORCE INTERNATIONAL for promoting unlawful weapons at the DSEi Arms Fair in the Excel Centre in September 2013.
Evidence that both companies had promoted unlawful weapons emerged during the arms fair itself. This lead to companies being ejected from the fair and the relevant material being passed to authorities.1
HJA had written to the DPP, CPS, Revenue and Customs, the Met police, Vince Cable and the Attorney General2 to enquire about an investigation by the State and make representation that action should be taken against the companies – to date no substantive response has been received.
The arms companies were promoting stun guns/stun batons and leg restraints – all of which are classified as “Category A items” under the Export Order Act 2008 and should not have been promoted in the arms fair.”
The two activists had previously been on trial for public order offences during the protests against the 2013 DSEi arms fair. Their charges were dropped after they argued that their actions were justified due to the illegal activities of companies at the fair. A statement from the activists reads:
“Following repeated attempts by our lawyers at disclosure regarding the nature and extent of the authorities’ investigation into breaches of law at the arms fair, most of our trial group’s criminal prosecutions were dropped. This week, we commenced our own private prosecution proceedings against the arms dealers.
We want to make clear that we are not merely opposed to ‘illegal’ weapons at the arms fair, we are against the arms fair full stop and everything it represents: the corruption, the human misery, and the profiteering by a narrow elite at the expense of people and planet. We see this private prosecution as a further step towards meeting our objective of discrediting and then stopping the DSEI arms fair for good.
Please support us in this campaign and spread this message.”
For more info see http://www.stopthearmsfair.org.uk
Palestinians demonstrate in the buffer zone East of Gaza City on the anniversary of the signing of the Balfour Declaration – Photo by ISM Gaza
On 2nd November 2013 Israeli forces fired tear gas at Palestinians demonstrating in the Gaza buffer zone East of Gaza City, by the Nahal Oz checkpoint. A report of the demonstration by an eyewitness can be viewed here. Pictures of one of the canisters fired at the activists are shown below.
Corporate Watch has written several articles about Israel’s use of tear gas in the West Bank. Some of our previous work can be found here and here. Continue reading
An IOF ‘skunk van’ attacking demonstrators in the occupied West Bank village An Nabi Saleh, Photograph taken by Corporate Watch researchers on 11 January 2013
On 11 January 2013 Corporate Watch witnessed Ford vehicles, fitted with Good Year tyres, being used to repress demonstrations in the occupied West Bank. As Who Profits? has previously reported Ford vehicles are used by the Israeli Occupation Forces’s (IOF) Caracal combat unit and Ford F550 trucks have been adapted by the Israeli company Hatehof into armoured personnel carriers for use by the IOF. Hatehof is majority owned by the owner of the Solor Group, a company which partly operates out of the infamous settlement industrial zone Nitzanei Shalom in Tulkarem.
Some of the Israeli police forces operating in An Nabi Saleh on the same date were also using Ford vehicles. Continue reading
An article entitled ‘Predicting a Riot’, on the Eurosatory Land Defence and Security Exhibition website sheds light on the non-lethal weapons currently being developed to control dissent. The article alludes to the British Summer 2011 riots and the Toronto G20 protests as examples of a “new form of mass crime” that justifies the use of new technology by police forces:
“2011 was a year of global political upheaval, as politics and technology converged to change the face of protest, direct action and mass criminal behaviour. In stark contrast to the legitimate protest, which has driven democracy in states such as Egypt, or raised political questions in Western states, a new form of mass-crime has brought massive property damage, injury and death.
…the evolution of police weapons and tactics has become necessary and justified. To support responders, policy-makers must establish new systems to rapidly stop a peaceful gathering from becoming a criminal free-for-all, while protecting a vital right to free expression.” Continue reading
At least three people have died in Cairo’s Tahrir Square after inhaling toxic tear gases. Reports suggest that, in addition to CS gas made by Combined Systems Inc (CSI) and other American and British companies, Egyptian security forces have used other, stronger gases against protesters, such as the illegal CR gas. Meanwhile in Palestine, yet another person was killed by a high-velocity gas canister fired by Israeli soldiers during a weekly demonstration in the village of Nabi Saleh. Continue reading
Click here for a podcast of Corporate Watch’s interview with Dissident Island Radio on the use of Palestine as a testing ground for ‘non-lethal’ weapons.
In the light of the recent death of Jawaher Abu Rahma through tear gas inhalation (see http://corporateoccupation.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/1080/ ) Ryan Olander takes a look at the history of systematic ‘non-lethal weapon’ usage by Israel against Palestinians.
American toxic tear gas used by the Israelis
Jamal Shukeirat, resident of East Jerusalem, was a young man on the 26th of September 1988; 23 years old. For most people his age, September is a month to return to university or begin thinking about harvest. However, his life was cut short this day. Jamal was shot directly in the head with a large and heavy tear gas round by the Israeli Military. 
It is illegal under international law to use propelled tear gas in this way. An addendum of the Chemical Weapons Convention (of which Israel is a signatory ) states: “And, as toxic chemicals, RCA [riot control agents] are subject to the requirement that their types and quantities must be consistent with their purpose. This implies that the munitions or devices used to deliver RCA must also be consistent with that purpose.”  The reason it is considered a “less-than-lethal” weapon is because its dispersal effects come as the CS gas they burn are inhaled. This causes nausea, loss of breath and impaired vision. Many times the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) use this weapon as projectile to strike nonviolent activists. Instead of firing these heavy metal canisters indirectly and in a gentle arc, the IOF fires them directly at Palestinians, Israelis and internationals. Continue reading
Tear gas canisters fired from a vehicle mounted launcher during a weekly demonstration in Bil In Photo courtesy of Bil In Popular Committee
“The Israeli government and its army have been for years now using the West Bank and Gaza as their testing ground. The Palestinians are their guinea pigs. The Israeli army uses tear gas that would probably be banned in any other countries in the world. They shoot tear gas, directly at protesters, once again, an illegal act. But a very rewarding one. Israel’s security industry is booming. It’s never been this good. Countries all over the world are buying Israel’s expertise in security, crowd control and weaponry every day. Israeli soldiers are training other countries commandos all over the planet”
From the blog, Bil’in: A Village of Palestine, 02/01/11
Jawaher Abu Rahma - Killed by teargas inhalation on 31/12/10 - Photo by Oren Ziv, Active Stills
Bassem Abu Rahma - Killed by an impact wound from a Teargas canister fired at him while demonstrating in Bil In in April 2009 - Photo from Active Stills
On New Year’s Eve 2010, whilst much of the world was celebrating, over a thousand people demonstrated in the Palestinian village of Bil’in against Israel’s encroachment on the village’s land, Israeli tear gas and rubber bullets rained down on the protesters and Jawaher Abu Rahma, who had joined the march to the apartheid wall and retreated to the sidelines after the first Israeli volleys of gas, choked to death as gas enveloped the village.
A report from Bil’in residents said that “Israeli soldiers fired tear-gas from the moment protestors entered their sight. It is obvious that for the army, the mere presence of unarmed demonstrators is reason enough to use chemical weapons against them.”. Continue reading
The mass mobilisation against September’s G20 Summit in Pittsburgh was met with a characteristically brutal response from US Homeland ‘Security’. In many ways, police repression of UK protests pales in comparison to American political policing, with activists being routinely arrested under various terrorism-related charges and local and federal law enforcement agencies rolling out military style operations, complete with temporary detention facilities and costing hundreds of thousands of dollars each. The Pittsburgh police, however, may well have distinguished themselves as hitting a new low in the erosion of US civil liberty. Alongside US police staples such as rubber bullets, tear gas and ‘flash bang’ stun grenades, the Pittsburgh authorities unleashed an acoustic weapon, one of a new generation of ‘non-lethal’ military devices, used not only to disperse and intimidate protesters, but to gain control over their behaviour. Continue reading