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The CANSEC War Fair: Weapons Galore and Global Warfare
Links to Nukes, Depleted Uranium, Landmines, Cluster Bombs, BMD, Small Arms and too much more...
Canada's top war industries have their sights set on Ottawa and are aiming to exhibit their wares at CANSEC 2009, Canada's largest military arms bazaar, at Lansdowne Park, May 27-28.
More than 50 of these Canadian military export industries are linked to the
production of weapons systems that most people in this country probably
recognize as morally reprehensible and thoroughly unCanadian, if not downright illegal.
Among the all-Canadian weapons exported by CANSEC 2009 exhibitors are:
* Anti-Personnel Cluster Bombs, Fragmentation Bombs and Phosphorous Bombs
* Automatic Weapons, Semi-Automatic Weapons, Machine Guns and Chain Guns
A new online report by the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT) reveals that CANSEC exhibitors are also engaged in the manufacture of essential high-tech components embedded in weapons systems that deliver the following:
* Nuclear Weapons
* Depleted Uranium Munitions
* Anti-Personnel Cluster Bombs
* Anti-Personnel Landmines
These particularly inhumane munitions -- widely regarded around the world as illegal -- are "delivered" to their targets by a variety of war planes, cruise missiles and land-based systems that contain significant quantities of Canadian components. COAT's online report provides details about dozens of these weapons "delivery" systems and reveals hundreds of online sources of information documenting Canadian corporate complicity in their manufacture. Most of these weapons systems, complete with Canadian hardware, have been used in the Iraq War which has so far claimed the lives of more than 1.3 million people, mostly innocent civilians, since 2003.
CANSEC exhibitors also include about a dozen Canadian companies engaged in the design, creation, development and/or production of:
* "Ballistic Missile Defense" (BMD) weapons systems.
Many Canadians would be surprised to learn these facts because they contradict commonly-held mythologies about this country.
Preaching Peace, Profiting from War
COAT's research into CANSEC 2009 exhibitors demonstrates that Canada's military exporters are continuing their longstanding tradition of aided and abetted not only US and NATO preparations for waging nuclear war and the ongoing use of anti-personnel landmines, but also the research and development of BMD weapons and the production of components for dozens of major weapons systems used in the Iraq War.
This, of course, is completely at odds with many official "feel-good" Canadian government pronouncements supporting world peace and opposing nuclear weapons, landmines, BMD and the Iraq War. However, many of the Canadian war industries exhibiting at CANSEC 2009 have received government funds, subsidies and "investments" to support their specific work to develop and produce these weapons-related systems.
So, although Canada's prevailing cultural mythology presents this nation as one which supports peacekeeping and peacebuilding, CANSEC 2009 (and its corporate and government participants) graphically symbolises this country's actual commitment to war, and the ongoing enterprise of profiteering from the use of numerous immoral, reprehensible and illegal weapons systems.
Uphold Ottawa's 20-Year Ban on Arms Shows!
The local level of government is also involved. In 1989, the City of Ottawa passed a binding Motion banning all arms shows from municipal property. Now, however, arming themselves with a legal technicality, staff at the City of Ottawa have bypassed the elected Council and booked CANSEC 2009 for Lansdowne Park, the municipality's prime, publicly-funded facility.
If you are in Ottawa, please join us in getting more petitions signed and in contacting Ottawa's City Councillors. Also, please join us on May 27 for speakers, music and a candlelight peace vigil.
A growing public movement led by peace,
environment and social justice activists across Canada are now challenging
CANSEC. If you haven't already done so, please sign COAT's online petition and
encourage others to likewise. We need and appreciate your
assistance. All donations to COAT over $25 will receive a subscription to our
magazine, Press for Conversion! Thanks.
The CANSEC War Fair, Weapons and Warfare
The links between CANSEC 2009 exhibitors and their exports of weapons, and weapons-system components, provide us with many sound reasons for opposing this blatant manifestation of the international trade in war technology. For instance:
Fuelling the Iraq and Afghan Wars
Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT) research reveals that at least 50 Canadian arms exporters attending CANSEC have supplied products for three dozen major weapons systems used in the current Iraq War. These include the main warplanes, cruise missiles, drones, tanks and large artillery/cannons used to wage this illegal war which Canadians overwhelmingly oppose. Most of these US weapons, complete with Canadian parts, have also been used to great effect in Afghanistan.
Nuclear Bombs and Missiles
CANSEC exhibitors also include Canadian military exporters that supply high-tech components for "weapons delivery systems" currently tasked to wage nuclear war, namely, B-52 bombers, "Tomahawk" sea-launched cruise missiles and the stealth B-2 "Spirit," which costs more per plane than an annual Ottawa City budget!
Depleted Uranium Munitions
COAT's research also reveals 20 CANSEC exhibitors that help manufacture seven varieties of "delivery systems" that have fired more than 1000 tons of highly-toxic, radioactive Depleted Uranium (DU) munitions in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq. DU dust will continue to unleash environmental destruction, cancers, leukaemias and other horrendous health effects upon innocent children and others for generations to come.
"Ballistic Missile Defense" (BMD) weapons
A dozen Canadian war industries now heading for Ottawa's CANSEC arms bazaar, have played significant roles in the research, design, development, testing and production of so-called BMD weapons. The primary purpose for these cutting-edge systems, as revealed by Pentagon documents, is not to defend the "Homeland" (as publicly claimed) but to protect US forces and their weapons abroad during battles in faraway warzones. "Homeland defense" is merely the pretext used to garner needed public financing for multi-billion dollar BMD weapons programs.
Small Arms and Ammunition
CANSEC will also host Canadian companies that produce "small arms" and ammunition that is now being used by US and other NATO warfighters in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Colt Canada, which makes automatic and semi-automatic weapons, chain guns and other machine guns, is now soliciting photos for a contest highlighting its weapons in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Each year, a Montreal branch plant (OTS) of US war behemoth, General Dynamics, exports millions of rounds of ammunition to the US for use in Iraq. It too will be seeking additional export contracts during its presence at CANSEC this May.
Anti-personnel Cluster Bombs, Fragmentation Bombs and White Phosphorous
Winnipeg's Bristol Aerospace, which started thanks to Canadian government grants, is now world famous for making unguided, air-to-ground missiles. Some of Bristol's Canadian-made CRV-7 warheads include antipersonnel cluster bombs with submunitions that "optimize fragment size against personnel...." When another variety of Bristol's CRV-7 warhead explodes, "thousands of small, high velocity fragments" spray out to kill people. It too is "designed for antipersonnel applications." Another of these Canadian warheads uses a mixture of "high-explosive" and "white phosphorous," a chemical that can burn through skin and flesh down to bone.
Canada led the way on a global treaty to ban anti-personnel landmines. The signing of this global convention took place in Ottawa and has subsequently been called "The Ottawa Treaty." However, this will not hinder dozens of Canadian military companies exporting products for US warplanes that deliver "anti-personnel landmines" to their human targets. Thirty five of these companies identified in COAT's report will be exhibiting their wares in Ottawa at CANSEC 2009.
Who Pays the Price?
War fair organisers, weapons manufacturers, and others beholden to their narrow vested corporate interests, often proclaim that military trade shows are a boon to profits and business. However, those supporting general public health, safety, welfare, democracy and peace, and those concerned with broader concerns for environmental protection, challenge the contention that fuelling war serves the public good or the preservation of ecosystems.
We ask what expense to the environment, to democracy and to human lives does
this trade in war technology continue? Who pays the price when military
hardware and weapons are proliferated around the world and used in global wars?
Special interest groups, like weapons manufacturers and their PR advocates in
government and media, should not be allowed to over rule widespread public
interest which overwhelming supports peace, not war.
Twenty years ago, the elected representatives of Ottawa citizens voted 11 to 1 to ban all military trade shows from municipal property. The concerns they so eloquently expressed about the international trade in military technologies are as valid today as they were then.
Let's stop CANSEC and other Canadian arms shows, for good!
For more details on CANSEC and how to get involved in the campaign to expose and oppose it, please visit COAT's website:
To see the COAT detailed report described in this article, which lists the names of companies and the weapons systems they are linked to, click here: