Explosive Stuff weblog

News and opinions on international arms trade. Subscribe and stay tuned!

Dutch missile technology to Saudi Arabia?

Germany "supports the supply of offensive weapons to Saudi Arabia," concluded Left Party Bundestag member Jan van Aken in a reaction to the deliverances of components for Tornado and Eurofighter combat aircraft, parts of howitzer and mortar ammunition, and armoured transport vehicles to the Saudi kingdom. The exports were authorized as part of joint projects to which Germany committed... read more >

Figures for action

“Developing nations from 2011 to 2014 received 62% of the value of all international arms deliveries.” It is a text from the annual report 'Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 2007-2014,' published December 2015. The newest edition of this annual report appeared almost against expectation. The previous issue was published in 2012; annual was hardly accurate any... read more >

Letterbox arms companies in the Netherlands

Tax evasion and weapon production A few kilometres from the office of Stop Wapenhandel in Amsterdam, many arms companies have financial holdings, part of the financial structures of the world's largest arms sellers. These holdings are using the advantages the Dutch tax system offers on three main issues: * an enormous tax treaty network * a participation exemption, which exempts dividends... read more >

COP21: why climate change is an issue for peace activists

Next month Paris will be the venue of the important COP21 – United Nationals Conference on Climate Change. World governments have to make highly needed binding agreements on action against climate change and thereby limit its already noticeable consequences. Michael T. Klare, professor of Peace and World Security Studies and a renowned specialist on war, energy and climate change, wrote... read more >

Why the Netherlands should not arm the Egyptian navy

While the world is watching Syria, and Europe finally becomes aware of the refugee tragedy that has burdened on Syria's neighbouring countries already for several years, the disaster in Yemen is passing fairly unnoticed. A coalition led by Saudi Arabia and including Egypt, Jordan, Sudan and Bahrain intervened in March against a Houthi uprising which drove president Hadi in exile. The fighting... read more >

Arms industry fuels and profits from refugee tragedy

In the last weeks, news has been filled with stories about the 'refugee crisis', tens of thousands of people from the Middle East and North Africa desperately trying to enter the EU. Escaping from a region suffering from armed conflict, repression, poverty and the effects of climate change, they are met by governments trying to keep the borders as closed as possible. Seeking increasingly... read more >

Arming against Putin

Peace activists' eyes are focusing on the Stop the Arms Fair week of action in London – the biggest anti arms trade protesting against the biggest arms fair, DSEI. At the same time in Poland the 23rd MSPO International Defence Industry Exhibition takes place fairly unnoticed. According to the organizers it is “the third largest trade show on the Old Continent; ranked after Paris... read more >

Despite military embargo, India sells Dutch radar technology to Myanmar

An arms embargo is the strongest measure of arms control. And thus must be taken very seriously. In 2013, Stop Wapenhandel published on its website about a possible breach of the embargo against Myanmar by re-export of Dutch defence technology from Thales through the Indian company Bharat Electronics (BEL). Defence company Thales responded immediately by proving that it had explained to BEL its... read more >

War industry lobby and EU Defence Summit June 25-26

Last month, the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) published an evaluation of the revised EU lobby transparency register. “While some new organizations have signed up and others have improved the quality of their registrations, too many other entries continue to look problematic: confusing, unclear, inconsistent or just down-right dodgy” concludes... read more >

Universities a pool of knowledge and personnel for defence production

The Dutch military turns to children as young as 15 years of age to attract new personnel to its ranks. The military industry is also interested in youngsters, to recruit new skilled labour for its research, development and production facilities. They are actively linking up with technical universities to find students to fulfill staff positions. The Dutch defence industry is not producing simple... read more >

European major weapons in the Yemen war

A coalition of 10 countries, including the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), is  fighting in Yemen against Houthi rebels who forced Yemen's government into exile. Dutch weapon systems are playing an invisible but important role in this war; many of the participating navy ships are fitted with Thales Nederland fire control radar. Analysts say the war is not about Yemen's internal... read more >

Libya needs serious arms control

Last Friday, the UN Security Council decided to leave the arms embargo against Libya unchanged, and urged the government in Tripoli to improve the monitoring of its weapons. Libya and neighbouring Egypt had asked to lift restrictions on Libyan government arms imports 'so it could better fight extremists groups.' Earlier this month the UN Panel of Expert on Libya stated in its annual... read more >

Fokker: “a company with a long track record of deceit and illegal behavior”

In his Opinion of February 5, 2015 U.S federal judge Richard Leon refused to approve a settlement for sanction violations by the Dutch aerospace firm Fokker Services, daughter of Fokker Technologies Holding B.V with the US Government. Fokker is a key Dutch defence company. The company was accused of more than 1,100 illegal shipments worth $21 million to Iranian customers, including the military,... read more >

Shipyard Damen wants to build for Azerbaijan

Dutch Damen Shipyards considers building military naval vessels for Azerbaijan, a country that is involved in an arms race with neighboring Armenia. Mid Janauary, Kommer Damen CEO and owner of Damen Shipyards visited the World Economic Forum in Davos to strengthen cooperation with Azerbaijan. He met the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev personally to discuss construction of military and... read more >

Congratulating ABP?

Recently ABP, the largest Dutch pension fund, announced it had divested from shares in Indian company Larsen & Toubro. ABP stated that Larsen & Toubro was excluded because “the lack of cooperation in order to rebut the presumption of direct involvement in the production of nuclear weapons. Thereby the company is acting contrary to the non-proliferation treaty aimed at tackling the... read more >

F-35 might undercut European arms export policy

Fighter aircraft are among the most decisive weapon systems in combat available. The most expensive and best marketed is Lockheed Martin's F-35 Lightning II, also known as Joint Strike Fighter.. On a recent South Korean tender for new fighter aircraft two giants in the world of aircraft, Boeing and Airbus, had to team to tackle the strong position of Lockheed. Nine countries are officially... read more >

Arms trade in the real world

Recently, the Dutch parliament and government had their annual debate on arms export policies of the previous year. Although the debate is supposed to include an evaluation of individual arms trade licenses, these were not on the agenda, resulting in a large number of questionable exports not addressed, such as optical instruments, parts for armoured vehicles, aircraft, and naval vessels for... read more >

Arms fair season

It seems to be arms fair season. Two weeks ago, Dutch peace activists and the solidarity movement with Palestine went to Rotterdam to protest against the annual meeting of the Dutch Defence and Security Association (NIVD). This annual meeting is connected to an exhibition, newspeak for arms bazar. Just before the meeting, the spokesperson of the NIVD told the press that one of the participating... read more >