Last Thursday, while most of us were voting, Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) joined other human rights groups in the Hague to present a 350-page dossier to the International Criminal Court – starting a process which could lead to BAE executives being charged with war crimes (1).
Working with the European Center for Constitutional Human Rights, Yemeni organisation Mwatana for Human Rights and others, we aim to persuade prosecutors to investigate whether BAE and other arms companies “purposely intended” to supply weapons to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen, after it became clear that war crimes were being reported.
Next year CAAT will also be in the Supreme Court to defend our Appeal Court victory which declared the licensing of arms sales to Saudi Arabia to be “irrational and therefore unlawful.” And we’ll be working with MPs of all parties to ensure that the government complies with the Court’s ruling.
Will you help us hold the government and the arms companies to account in 2020?
Your donation will mean that we can continue to shine a light on ministers and arms company executives who would love to keep these deadly deals far from public view.
Campaign Against Arms Trade
PS With a new Prime Minister who has a track record of supporting arms exports to countries like Saudi Arabia, our campaign is more important than ever. Please support us today if you can.
On June 19 the Court of Appeal has ruled that UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen are UNLAWFUL
The Court found that the government had failed to properly assess whether there have been breaches of International Humanitarian Law.
This historic judgment means that the government must now stop issuing new arms exports licences and suspend existing licences to export arms to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen, and retake all decisions in accordance with the law.
These sales should never have been licensed in the first place. Even as schools, hospitals, weddings, and funerals have been bombed, the government has licensed the sale of billions of pounds of weapons for use in the conflict.
We have now shown that these arms sales were not just immoral, but also unlawful.
But even now the government is likely to resist. Every step of the way it has done all it can to keep the weapons flowing.
We need MPs to know about this ruling, to keep building the pressure to stop these sales once and for all.
Please email your MP today and help us make this count: caat.org.uk/unlawful
Campaign Against Arms Trade
Campaign Against Arms Trade
British Marines in Belize, February 2, 2019.
Photos show the marines carrying out battlefield drills, including casualty evacuation. Marines from 40 Commando were among the first British troops to land in Iraq during the 2003 invasion.
They are currently accompanied by sappers from the Royal Engineers' 59 Commando Squadron, who provide "close combat engineer support," as well as members of Condor Troop, a unit normally based in Scotland.
Britain's air force is also active in the region. Flight data shows an RAF transport aircraft from Brize Norton landed in Belize after dark on January 23. On February 2, the RAF released aerial photos of the Belize coastline, saying that its personnel were supporting "army exercises in Central America."
Belize itself is part of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) which is staunchly opposed to foreign interference in Venezuela.
Thus it appears a collective siege is underway, conducted by NATO allies of the U.S., The Netherlands, Britain and also France -- which has bases in French Guyana -- all looking for seats at the table from the imperialist redivision of Venezuela and the Americas. Experts consulted by Prensa Latina, in addition to highlighting the dangerousness of these movements, point out that in the first place they are aimed at intimidating the Venezuelan leadership, but if this objective is not achieved, they could be used in direct incursions against that South American nation.
In fact, such forces would not have to go much closer to the Venezuelan territory to develop attacks with their aerial means and missiles, because they are in a position to do so from relatively large distances, experts point out.
1. U.S. Southern Command's "Masterstroke" Plan
The plan states the U.S. aim of "continuing setting fire to the common frontier with Colombia. Multiplying the traffic of fuel and other goods. The movement of paramilitaries, armed raids and drug trafficking. Provoked armed incidents with the Venezuelan frontier security forces." The plan includes recruiting "paramilitaries mainly in the campsites of refugees in Cúcuta, La Guajira and the north of Santander, areas largely populated by Colombian citizens who emigrated to Venezuela and now return, run away from the regimen to intensify the destabilizing activities in the common frontier between both countries. Making use of the empty space left by the FARC, the belligerency of the EBN and the activities in the area of the Gulf cartel." It goes on to its conclusion, which is "to prepare the involvement of allied forces in support the Venezuelan army officers or to control the internal crisis in the event they delay too much in taking the initiative. Establishing a speedy time line that prevents the Dictator to continue winning control on the international scenario. If it is necessary, act before the elections stipulated for next April."
While this once secret plan was envisioned around last year's Venezuelan presidential election, it has been repurposed to achieve the present desperate attempt to takeover Venezuela.
2. In 2013, Helmin Wiels, the Afro-Curaçaoan leader of the Pueblo Soberano (Sovereign People) party was assassinated. Wiels demanded total independence, an end to legalized corruption, the closure of the U.S. military base and that the island not be used against Venezuela.
3. The Brazilian generals in charge of "humanitarian aid" for Venezuela have the blood of the Haitian people on their hands. The Brazilian general who is now the Defence Minister for Jair Bolsonaro, retired army general, Fernando Azevedo e Silva was Operations Chief of the UN Mission for the (de)Stabilization of Haiti (MINUSTAH) -- the UN so-called peacekeeping force -- under the command of General Augusto Heleno Ribeiro Pereira, also now retired, in 2004 to 2005.
Last autumn, Bolsonaro also named Heleno as the head of the presidential office for national security. He is described as "the real power behind" the former army captain and extremist congressman Bolsonaro, who formally assumed the presidency on January 1, 2019.
Statements from MINUSTAH to the public about the massacre (which have disappeared with its after-action report to the U.S. Embassy) described a firefight that "lasted over seven hours during which time their forces expended over 22,000 rounds of ammunition," and an operation that involved 1,440 troops: 1,000 who "secured the perimeter" and 440 who engaged in a raid.
4. All the countries that militarily occupied Haiti through MINUSTAH are today organized as the extra-legal Lima Group formed by Canada in 2017, who sanction and prettify military intervention in Venezuela as humanitarian engagement.
They included Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Paraguay, Peru and the United States. This United Nations "peacekeeping" force occupied the country after the U.S., Canada and France orchestrated the violent overthrow of Haiti's elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and sent in U.S. Marines in 2004 along with troops from the Royal Canadian Regiment.
(With files from Tony Seed's Blog, U.S. Navy press releases, Maritime Herald, Naval Today, Prensa Latina, news agencies.)