Canada Doing Brisk Business Arming NATO and Human Rights Abusers

July 15th, 2011 - by admin

Jeff Davis /Postmedia News – 2011-07-15 00:59:47

Canada Doing Brisk Business in Arms:
Data Military Hardware Exports Rise

VANCOUVER (July 11, 2011) — Canada was the 12th largest exporter of military hardware in the world in 2010, according to data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

This represents a significant spike in sales from 2008 and 2009, when Canada was the 15th largest international arms dealer.

Most of these guns, bombs, aircraft and armoured vehicles went to close NATO allies, but Canadian arms also found their way to human rights abusers, including Saudi Arabia, China, Libya and Tunisia.

Between 2006 and 2009, Canada exported some $1.4 billion worth of military gear, according to the Report on the Export of Military Goods from Canada for 2007-2009, published by the Department of Foreign Affairs. Canada exported military hardware to 70 countries between 2007 and 2009. Canada has arms embargoes against Myanmar (Burma), Belarus and North Korea.

Sales to NATO allies accounted for $737 million, or 52 per cent, of all reported sales from 2006 to 2009. Among the top NATO buyers were the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Norway. Such close non-NATO allies as Australia and New Zealand also made major purchases, as did South Korea.

Airplanes, helicopters and aerospace components were the hottest items, with sales totalling more than $387 million in three years. Bell helicopters and Bombardier jets were big sellers, as were aircraft engines from Pratt & Whitney.

Canada’s high-tech defence sector also has boomed, with strong sales of sensors and guidance and fire control systems. Canada also sold aircraft-and ship-based radar systems to a range of countries, as well as imaging equipment and computer software.

The Light Armoured Vehicle III (LAV-III) has been used heavily by Canadian Forces in Afghanistan, and the vehicle -produced by General Dynamics Land Systems Canada -is selling quickly on the international market. Fleets were purchased by the United States, Saudi Arabia, Australia and New Zealand.

Canada exported nearly a $250 million worth of guns, bombs and ammunition from 2007 to 2009, to countries ranging from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.

The $1.4-billion sales figure disclosed by the government does not include military sales to the United States. These figures are not disclosed, the report says, “due to close and long-standing military cooperation with the United States, including the integrated nature of North America’s defence industry.”

Kenneth Epps is a longtime arms-trade watcher with the Canadian security think-tank Project Ploughshares. He says the government’s reporting on its arms exports is woefully incomplete. Epps estimates that three-quarters of all of Canada’s military exports go to the United States.

Ploughshares calculates that Canada exports between $1.5 billion to $2 billion worth of military goods to the United States each year, a figure that dwarfs military exports to all other countries.

“Given that the US market there surpasses all other markets combined, Canada is reporting less than half the true picture,” he said.

Epps said this unreported US data also conceals weapons shipments that pass through the United States before being exported onward to countries like Pakistan. In 2009, Libya purchased more than $6,000 worth of heavy guns and ammunition, and $80,000 worth of training devices.

“It looks like Canada was following the European pattern of accepting that (Col. Moammar) Gadhafi was some sort of reformed character and allowed exports that Canada, under the UN embargo, was legally required to prevent,” Epps said.

“The figures suggest Libya was being looked at as a new market.”

Epps also pointed out that the LAV-III vehicles Canada sold to Saudi Arabia have been deployed to Bahrain to help prop up the besieged regime of King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. [Talk about repressive regimes. The hypocrisy of the Harper dictatorship is too much to bear.]

(c) The Vancouver Sun

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