Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Pretty despicable -tax breaks for company exporting weapons to Saudi Arabia, UAE.

Tax break for weapons exports to Mid-East countries accused of war crimes, Michael West Media, by Michelle Fahy | Oct 6, 2020   Australian weapons manufacturer Electro Optic Systems, with financial support from the federal and ACT governments, is capitalising on the ‘growth market’ of the Middle East, one of the world’s most volatile regions. Michelle Fahy reports.

As has been reported repeatedly, remote weapons systems manufactured by EOS are being exported to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia despite both countries being accused of war crimes. Numerous UN reports have detailed shocking human rights violations over the six years of the Yemen war.

After a shutdown due to Covid-19, EOS announced last month that it is exporting again.

EOS and the federal government have been asked repeatedly for proof that its weapons are not being used in Yemen. “Trust us,” is the standard response.

Assurances from a company chasing millions in profit and a government intent on catapulting Australia into the global top 10 of weapons exporters seem to be the best the public can expect in terms of accountability.

There is zero transparency when it comes to Australian weapons exports………..

Government support for EOS

EOS has received extensive government support, including an exemption from paying state payroll tax. Under questioning last November by the ACT Greens, Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the ACT Government provided support to EOS (PDF p44), “principally for its space industry related activity”. While EOS separates its space industry work from its weapons side, both companies operate in the same group under the same board……..

EOS has so far supplied the UAE and Saudi with its remote weapons systems. The systems are mounted on armoured vehicles and can incorporate a light cannon, machine gun, grenade launcher or anti-tank missile, which EOS does not manufacture. The system enables the weapon to be operated from inside the vehicle, which makes the soldier safer. It can identify targets and automatically aim the weapon, making the firing of the weapon faster and more accurate. In military parlance, the system enhances lethality. See it in action here.

The claim that it was not a weapons manufacturer may have been technically correct when asserted by EOS and Barr, but that is no longer the case.

Last month EOS announced it had moved into production with a new range of directed energy (laser) weapons. The weapons are being marketed by EOS as ‘drone kill’ technology (counter unmanned aircraft system or CUAS). EOS says “CUAS are entirely defensive systems”. The potential market is large. EOS has named its new range of weapons Mopoke, after the small native Australian owl.

EOS has not disclosed its list of interested customers for Mopoke, but industry insiders – such as AuManufacturing – have noted that its first customers are likely to come from the Middle East, given drone attacks on infrastructure there……….

EOS is now unequivocally a weapons manufacturer, and likely to soon start exporting its weapons to the Middle East.

Supplying weapons to war crimes accused

Melissa Parke, a lawyer, former federal Labor MP, and human rights expert, is one of three UN-appointed Eminent Experts on Yemen. Parke told SBS Dateline last year:

“No country can claim not to be aware of the violations being perpetrated in Yemen. To continue to provide weapons in the knowledge of such violations is both morally and legally hazardous.”

A former secretary of the Defence Department, Paul Barratt, has also stated his position on these weapon sales:

“Regardless of whether Australian-made weapons [are] crossing the border into Yemen, Australia now has a national policy which seeks and facilitates weapons sales with countries that stand accused of gross violations of human rights and likely war crimes. When did this particular trade in arms become official Australian policy? As a country that routinely asks other countries to abide by the rules-based international order, it would seem hypocritical, at best, that Australia is now willing to … make a profit from weapons sales to nations that are openly flouting this international order.”……….

In addition to ministerial lobbying, EOS Defence Systems has received federal financial support, including:

  • $3.7 million from Defence between 2013 and 2016
  • $41.5 million performance bond from Export Finance Australia (EFIC) (PDF p66)

The company has also gained from influential appointments to its board. Former Chief of Army, Peter Leahy, joined the EOS board in May 2009, just 10 months after retiring as army chief. In April 2016 Leahy was joined by former Chief of Air Force, Geoff Brown, less than 10 months after he had retired from the air force…… https://www.michaelwest.com.au/eos-weapons-export-transparen

October 6, 2020 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, politics international, weapons and war

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