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Arms trade policies and campaigns the Netherlands June 2004 - May 2005
ENAAT meeting London, May 21-22
Currently we are working mainly on the EU-Constitution and the military, arms trade part of it. The government has given late April money for pro, neutral and contra campaigns. We succeeded to get some of the money for the no campaign. On June 1st there is a referendum on the Constitution in the Netherlands. We are writing three small reports which are published one by one and send to the press and NGO's. We hope to strengthen the progressive NO by those reports. Main themes are the undercutting of arms export controls, the opening for possibilities of a EU preventive war without a UN-mandate, and the function of the European Defence Agency (EDA). Europe will anyway become a stronger leg of our work. We are following EDA and the different defence industry lobbies in Brussels. We also wrote a report for ERG.
Export Credit Agencies
In 2005 we set up a project to campaign against the use of export credit agencies in Dutch arms trade. We have written a factsheet on it, and we are preparing a lobby report and a public meeting. Issues investigated at the moment are the possible loss made on export credits supplied for military transfers, amount of military export credit debts owed to the Netherlands and the implementation of the OECD anti corruption guidelines by the Dutch government.
An important topic since November 2003 is the sale of two major naval vessels to Indonesia. The export of those ships is guaranteed by and export credit valued - 500 million. According to the Dutch government the ships will be used for Coast Guard and anti-terrorism tasks. They will however been fitted with anti-air-missiles, anti-surface-missiles, torpedo's and 76mm naval cannon. In May 2003 similar - but smaller ships - have been used to support the war in Aceh. E.g. by in a fire support from the sea role.
We think for several reasons this deal must been stopped. The costs are enormous (even more so taking into consideration, Indonesia wants to have four of the ships, the next two must be build in Surabaya), the ships can used during internal war (transport, coastal bombardments) and human rights violations.
In 2004 we organised two actions. The first one together with the Dutch Indonesia House and Indonesian artists. We made Wayang puppets, showing violence by the military, the Dutch arms sales and victims. For the second we invited groups to do a small action in front of the banks financing this deal. In 25 villages and cities people stood in front of those banks. We will repeat this action this year and hope to make it bigger.
Pakistan nuclear programme
In 2004 we wrote a report for GreenPeace on the Dutch link towards the Pakistani nuclear programme. The basic technology for the Pakistan nuke was stolen in the Netherlands during the seventies, but contacts continued until very recently. The report led to (inter)national attention for our work (Channel 4, BBC, New York Times, Dutch and Japanese TV). Henk Slebos the main contact of A.Q. Khan in the Netherlands was courted and the juridical process still continues. So will our work on it.
Iraqi chemical weapons
Late 2004 Frans van Anraat was arrested. Frans van Anraat was the main supplier of chemicals for the Iraqi chemical weapon programme in the eighties. In November 2005 he will go to court charged with complicity to genocide and crimes against humanity. At the time of his arrest he was due to leave - suite cases packed - his safe house provide by the Dutch intelligence service (AIVD). We will continue following this case. We hope to use the examples of Slebos and Van Anraat to ask for more scrutiny on dual-use exports. Until today the parliament is not informed on dual-use exports.
We provided information to activists and press around a military fair in the Netherlands on military simulation equipment (ITEC). The fair involved participants such as Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing, Thales, EADS and BAES. In the early stages of the activities the major of Amsterdam said he was against the fair. Next year ITEC will go to London. In June there will be another arms fair in Amsterdam. Groups will prepare protest against it and also try to attract people to DSEi in England.
The Netherlands plans to export 400 surplus armoured vehicles to Egypt.
Chile becomes one of the main clients for Dutch surplus arms. Dutch Leopard-tanks and tanks were exported in the recent past. Currently 4 frigates are exported to Chile, valued euro 360 million.
Pressure is growing by the main parties of the ruling coalition to export military equipment to India and Pakistan, and let slip the restrictive arms export policy which was promised after the Dutch embargo on India and Pakistan was cancelled.
Late 2004 the Nepalese armed forces bought two BN-2T as part of a British aid Programme. The aircraft came from the Dutch police and were sold by the Netherlands in 2003 to Cormack Air Services which resold them to the British government. According to JDW the air power of Nepal has substantially expanded by the sale. They will used to support employed troops.
Late 2004 the documentary 'Darwins Nightmare,' stated that Ukrainian Illusjin's imported fish from Tanzania, but have arms onboard during the flight towards Africa. The Dutch air port Maastricht is used as stop during the flight.
In 2004 there was no debate on the arms exports of the previous year. Only after we asked for it, the debate on 2003 finally was organised in March 2005. Transparency in the Netherlands has been expanded during 2004. The Ministry of Economic Affairs publishes monthly overviews of export permissions provided. It gives detailed new information e.g. F-15 parts exported to Germany and C-130 parts to the UK have there final destination in Saudi Arabia, armoured vehicle parts are going from Germany to Turkey, radar equipment is exported to Poland to end in Indonesia.