Kony 2012: Now that we have your attention

John Siebert Africa, Conventional Weapons, Defence & Human Security, Forced Displacement and Migration, News

No sense just piling on. The Kony 2012 viral video has elevated awareness of Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army in Africa to stratospheric heights. Over the past few days the critics have weighed in, including many Ugandans. And the folks at Invisible Children, who created the 29-minute video, have responded. We all want the source of insecurity addressed—yes, Kony needs …

Canadian support for a strong ATT grows

Kenneth Epps Americas, Conventional Weapons, News

The time to negotiate a global Arms Trade Treaty is rapidly approaching. It is only a matter of weeks to the start of the UN diplomatic conference in July.  It is reassuring to long-term promoters like Project Ploughshares that, as negotiations rapidly approach, more Canadian actors are stepping in to press Ottawa to support a strong treaty. On January  31 …

Would an attack on Iran be legal?

Cesar Jaramillo Americas, Asia, Conventional Weapons, Defence & Human Security, Mideast, News

Conspicuously absent from most analyses on the prospect of military action against Iran over its nuclear program is the question of whether an attack by the U.S. or Israel would be consistent with international law. Concerns raised in Western policymaking circles regarding a military intervention in Iran have little to do with its legality. Typically cited are the staggering costs …

Bill C-19: Is data a four-letter word?

Maribel Gonzales Americas, Conventional Weapons, News

The battle to save the long-gun registry has turned into a fight to save the data contained in the registry. When Bill C-19 passes as expected, most rifles and shotguns will no longer have to be registered. And records on 7.1 million registered “non-restricted” weapons will be destroyed, records that were collected over a period of 14 years at a …

What is the value of Canada’s annual arms exports?

Kenneth Epps Americas, Conventional Weapons, News

In a highly connected, digital age when it is possible to track people and packages across the planet in real-time one would be forgiven for thinking that Canadian officials should be able at leisure to monitor military exports and report their value. Not so. In fact, not even close. There is not a single person anywhere, government official or otherwise, …

Canadian-Finnish arms sales to Saudi Arabia

Kenneth Epps Americas, Conventional Weapons, Europe, News

UPDATE: Though four ministers voted against granting the permit, the Finnish government has granted an export licence for 36 Patria mortar systems to be shipped to Saudi Arabia, the government-controlled arms maker said in a statement. The Finnish research group SaferGlobe Finland released a statement in late November that questioned Finnish government approval of 36 heavy mortar systems for the …

Damned Nations: Greed Guns Armies & Aid

Tasneem Jamal Conventional Weapons, News

We at Ploughshares highly recommend the new book by War Child’s Samantha Nutt, Damned Nations: Greed, Guns, Armies, and Aid, the critically acclaimed account of her decades of work in some of the most devastated corners of the world. We were pleased to note that on page 153, she acknowledges the work of Project Ploughshares: “NGOs don’t have to be …

Canada redefines the Libya arms embargo

Kenneth Epps Africa, Americas, Conventional Weapons, News

Joël-Denis Bellavance, a reporter with La Press in Montreal, published an article today dealing with Canada’s approval in April of the export of a suitcase-sized drone to the rebel forces in Libya. The export was made in contravention of the UN embargo on supplying arms to Libya. Bellavance based his story on related documents, heavily blacked out, secured through the …

The F-35: What goes up must come down

Kenneth Epps Americas, Conventional Weapons, News

One silver lining in the dark clouds of economic malaise accumulating in Western skies is that military spending must inevitably drop. The Stockholm Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) reported that world military expenditures reached a record $1.6-trillion (U.S.) in 2010, an unprecedented government outlay that is clearly unsustainable. Some states may increase military expenditures in the near term but the big …