|END CAPITALISM - END WAR|
Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR) have written to the organisers of Edinburgh International Science Festival urging them to cut their financial ties to major arms company, Selex ES.
The Festival – which is one of the UK’s leading organisers of science education activities for school children – lists as one of its major funding partners, Selex ES.
Selex ES manufactures a wide variety of military equipment including unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) and targeting systems for combat aircraft and warships. Its annual sales total €3.5 billion. It is a subsidiary of Finmeccanica – one of the world’s largest arms companies. In 2009, one of the Selex family of companies secured a deal with the authoritarian regime of Colonel Gaddafi in Libya for border security equipment worth €300 million. Selex also has a subsidiary in Saudi Arabia, another authoritarian country.
The SGR open letter reads “It is factors such as these which lead us to conclude that Selex ES plays a key role in supporting militaristic activities of both Western governments and governments with major human rights problems. We believe it is entirely inappropriate for a company with such a background to sponsor a science festival aimed at children.”
Dr Stuart Parkinson, Executive Director of SGR, said “Arms companies should not have a role in science education events for children. We should be encouraging children to see science and technology as a means to help tackle pressing social and environmental problems, not finding new ways to wage war.”
Latest figures reveal that global military spending currently exceeds $1.7 trillion a year. This is an enormous amount of money, especially considering that urgent global problems such as poverty and environmental damage do not receive anything like the resources they need to tackle them. The UN Secretary-General recently remarked that “the world is over-armed and peace is under-funded”
SGR is an independent membership organisation of nearly 1,000 natural and social scientists, engineers, IT professionals and architects. It was formed in 1992. SGR’s work is focused on several issues, including security and disarmament, climate change, sustainable energy, and who controls science and technology.