Afri staff, volunteers and supporters donned Panama hats on Bloomsday, June 16th, and picketed 30, Botanic Avenue to highlight the fact, revealed in Panama Papers, that a company at this address facilitates commission payments on behalf of major Italian Arms Company Finmeccanica. See below film about the action.
Film by RoJ
Afri cited as one of the most disturbing revelations in the report the fact that a Drumcondra-based company – Intertrade – has acted for one of the world’s largest arms companies, Finmeccanica, whose products include jet fighters, torpedoes and electronic warfare equipment, which are shipped around the world to cause death and destruction.
The company is also implicated in financial scandals, accused of using bribes worth millions of dollars in relation to arms deals in India and Panama. The leaks show how Intertrade uses offshore companies to process sales ‘commissions’ – a classic device to hide corrupt payments. (more…)
“Making peace by making war is what we are trying to do – but it doesn’t work”, stated Edward Horgan, former commandant in the Irish Defence Forces and Shannonwatch spokesperson as he addressed the public meeting on ‘Peace and Neutrality: International and National Perspectives’. Peace can only be achieved by positive neutrality.
One country which has pursued the path of positive neutrality is a country with approximately the same population as Ireland: Costa Rica. Costa Rica disbanded their army in the 1940s and the President at that time, Jose Figueras, declared that the military budget would be used on healthcare and education instead. Figueras believed it was pointless for a country the size of Costa Rica to have an army as it would never be able to compete with a larger country. Costa Rica has since become renowned for its neutrality and peaceful stance in foreign affairs.
UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon: “Disarmament cannot be considered in isolation from other global challenges. The world spends more on the military in one month than it does on development all year, and four hours of military spending is equal to the total budgets of all international disarmament and non-proliferation organisations combined. The world is over-armed. Peace is under-funded. Bloated military budgets promote proliferation, derail arms control and detract from social and economic development. The profits of the arms industry are built on the suffering of ordinary people in Mali, Syria, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo.”
no to war in iraq <insert image>
A report launched in May 2007 by Afri on the eve of the General Election, examines the dramatic changes that have taken place in Irish foreign and defence policy over the past ten years.
This period – 1997-2007 – has seen the increasing militarisation of Ireland’s foreign and defence policy. The report claims this is most starkly evidenced in the almost daily use of Shannon airport in support of the illegal United States-led wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, but also in the inadequacy of the Government’s response to evidence that Shannon has been used as part of a US kidnapping and torture circuit. The ongoing integration of the Irish Defence Forces into non-UN military structures such as NATO’s PfP and the EU’s Battlegroups signals, the report argues, a departure from a truly internationalist and peace-promoting vision. Finally, the report documents the Government’s lack of urgency in at least regulating Ireland’s significant arms trade. (more…)