Fahy, Michelle: Landforces’ brothers in arms: how a weapons peddler qualified for charitable status

Michelle Fahy

Landforces’ brothers in arms: how a weapons peddler qualified for charitable status‘, Michael West Media, 4 June 2021

[C]onsider the activities of a not-for-profit organisation that many Australians will be astounded to discover has gained privileged charitable status – AMDA Foundation Limited (AMDA).

AMDA is the organiser of Land Forces, a biennial military and weapons exhibition running in Brisbane this week showcasing organisations “operating across the full spectrum of land warfare”.

The 600 exhibitors at Land Forces include local and multinational weapons manufacturers and other suppliers to military forces. Event sponsors include global arms corporations such as Boeing, BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, Rheinmetall, General Dynamics, Saab and Hanwha, along with local companies Electro Optic Systems (EOS), CEA, and NIOA. Representatives from foreign governments and militaries are among the attendees.

Michelle Fahy’s work features elsewhere on Honest History, too. Use our Search engine or see this article and this one.

Update 1 August 2022: ‘Hard-wired for corruption: the arms trade and Australia’s lax monitoring regimes’

Michelle Fahy’s long article posted on Undue Influence: substack. ‘The international arms trade, worth around US$200 billion a year, represents less than 1 per cent of world trade yet is said to account for about 40 per cent of its corruption.’ And Australia is keen to get a big slice of the trade. Have we no shame?

All countries justify secrecy around arms-related activity with claims of protecting ‘national security’. The Australian government, for example, imposes a high level of secrecy over its arms procurement, sustainment and export deals, with politicians and the Department of Defence resisting demands for greater transparency. A key tenet of the UN Arms Trade Treaty—which Australia championed at the United Nations and ratified in 2014—is that nations must promote transparency in the arms trade to build confidence among countries. Australia, however, does not.

Australia also relies on ‘commercial-in-confidence’ justifications to protect arms industry interests. This, in combination with national security claims, has led to almost blanket secrecy around Australia’s arms exports. To give just one example, there is no visibility around what or how much weaponry Australia has exported to Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates during the years of the Yemen war.

More, much more, in this article.

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