The Cape Town Anti-War Coalition is to hold two protests at the Africa Aerospace and Defence Weapons Fair (AADWF) from 20th – 24th September at the Air Force Base in Ysterplaat, Cape Town.
The Coalition is demanding that the SA Department of Trade and Industry explain why its website says it is supplying helicopter and aeroplane parts to Israel while Cabinet ministers claim that there is no weapons trade with Israel.
The AADWF exhibition will feature some of the world’s largest arms giants and military suppliers to human rights abusers, including BAE Systems, Denel, Truvelo and Eurocopter. The demonstration will express the disgust felt by many that the most unscrupulous companies in the world have been invited to exhibit their weapons of death in a carnival like atmosphere.
The first protest will be held on the day the arms dealers arrive – Wednesday 20th September 2006 at 9am. The second protest will be held on Saturday 23rd September 2006 at 10am. Thousands of people from the Cape Town Anti-War Coalition (CTAWC), Sanctions Against Israel Coalition, Umzabalazo we Jubilee, Ceasefire, and the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign are expected to attend.
The Ceasefire and Umzabalazo we Jubilee campaigns said:
“These arms companies will exhibit the latest and greatest in machinery designed for only one purpose, the killing of human beings. Husbands, fathers, son, daughter and infants will all die because of this machinery. This is the harsh truth behind arms expos; they supply arms for countries to go to war with other countries and against their own citizens.
âOften, as was in the case of South Africa’s own Arms Deal, these weapons are bought on credit, essentially diverting the country’s future resources away from much needed social investments like healthcare and education. Not only do innocent civilians die from missiles, they also die because funds were diverted from clean water to arms purchases,” said the Ceasefire and Umzabalazo we Jubilee campaigns.â
Truvelo, expert manufacturer of sniper rifles, is currently manufacturing a new assault rifle. This company is expert in manufacturing sniper guns. The company refuses to say exactly which groups it is supplying in conflicts in Africa and the Middle East. It will only say that its weapons are “sold by manufacturer to Government Authorities”.
Eurocopter makes 14 different military helicopters, including the “Tiger” which they supply to Israel, among other repressive regimes. The Tiger helicopter has recently been adapted to include an “air to ground missile” manufactured by Israeli company Rafael. Missiles from helicopters have been responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Palestinians, Lebanese and Iraqi people and are currently being used by the Israeli army in highly populated areas.
BAE Systems is currently manufacturing over R40 million worth of ammunition for the American military, to be used in their illegal and vicious occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan against “air, surface and ground targets” as they euphemistically describe the thousands of innocent civilians who will be affected by these weapons. “With an effective range of nearly nine miles, the 57mm Mk 295 projectile achieves devastating effects against all target types in any selected mode of fuze operation,” boasts the BAE Systems website. Last year alone, BAE Systems sold more than R150 billion worth of weapons. Arms sales from the United Kingdom alone to Africa have almost quadrupled over the past five years and last year reached the R13 billion level.
Denel enters into partnerships with the European weapons manufacturers to bid for contracts supplying repressive regimes such as Turkey with attack helicopters.
Many of the arms companies “exhibiting” at the weapons fair are allegedly involved in dealing weapons through third party front companies to countries with extremely poor human rights records, like America, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, Angola, Eritrea, Sudan and Nigeria. This method involves direct purchases by the foreign aid recipient from a government weapons manufacturer contractor, without direct government involvement in the process. Others are involved in further impoverishing poor countries like Malawi who have no need for military equipment but who are forced by the World Bank into taking out loans to buy weapons in exchange for aid.
For further info please contact
Shaheed Mahomed, Cape Town Anti-War Coalition on 082 2020617
Makoma Lekalakala, Ceasefire National Executive Member and Umzabalazo we Jubilee Coordinator on 082 682 9177