PBI-Canada noted in Canadian Dimension article that links Safran to the RCMP C-IRG and Israeli military

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Photo: Blockade of Safran Electronics in Peterborough, February 26. Photo by Irene Suvillaga.

Canadian Dimension magazine recently published Direct action confronts Canada-Israel arms trade by Kirsten Francescone and Irene Suvillaga.

Their article highlights: “Safran Electronics & Defense Canada Inc. [whose] facility located in the south-end of Peterborough [is] a subsidiary of the Safran Group, a French multinational that manufactures defence-related equipment and components, and has contracts with the Israeli military to provide it with telemetry equipment and battlefield targeting technology.”

Noting a community blockade of the Peterborough facility, the article quotes Urpi Pine, an Indigenous organizer who took part in the action, who says: “If the government isn’t going to take action to prevent this ongoing genocide, then we are going to take matters into our own hands. The settler-colonial state of so-called Canada must stop the flow of weapons to Israel; we are morally and legally bound to do so.”

Safran and RCMP H145 helicopters

The article further reports:

“Indeed, Safran’s links to settler-colonialism don’t stop with Israel. In 2023, Peace Brigades International reported that the RCMP special task force responsible for the militarized raids on the ancestral lands of the Wet’suwet’en nation in British Columbia utilize Airbus H145 helicopters, the engines for which are produced by Safran. In 2015, it was reported that Israel-based international military technology company and defense contractor Elbit Systems purchased H145 helicopters from Airbus for the Israeli police force to use in ‘counter-terrorism’ and ‘border security’ operations.”

The Canadian Dimension article links to RCMP use helicopters, airplanes and drones to surveil and arrest Wet’suwet’en land defenders (PBI-Canada, May 21, 2023).

H145s at Fairy Creek

In May 2021, Narcity reported: “The RCMP confirmed to Narcity that four people were arrested on May 26 with the help of helicopters after staging tree sit-ins to stop old-growth logging in the forest, which sits on the unceded territories of the Pacheedaht and Ditidaht First Nations on Vancouver Island.”

On May 27, 2021, photographer Mike Graeme also posted on Instagram: “Helicopters were heard overhead all day today, as RCMP resorted to removing tree-sitters by air.”

Photo by Mike Graeme. This appears to be an Airbus H145 helicopter.

Photo: The H145 is equipped to deploy the RCMP’s Emergency Response Team. The ERT has been deployed as part of the Community-Industry Response Group (C-IRG) raids on Wet’suwet’en territory in January 2019, February 2020 and November 2021.

The RCMP C-IRG is currently under “systemic investigation” by the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC).

A recent statement on the need to stop weapons exports to Israel signed by United Nations Special Rapporteurs, Independent Experts and working group members highlights: “Arms companies contributing to the production and transfer of arms to Israel and businesses investing in those companies bear their own responsibility to respect human rights, international humanitarian law and international criminal law. They have not publicly demonstrated the heightened human rights due diligence required of them and accordingly risk complicity in violations.”

CANSEC arms show, May 29-30

Numerous groups, including the Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM) and World Beyond War Canada, are currently organizing to protest CANSEC.

Safran (Booth 221) and Airbus (Booth 401) are both listed as exhibitors at CANSEC. Notably, Elbit Systems, the largest weapons supplier to Israel, will also be at CANSEC (Booths 1421/M10).

For updates on community organizing in opposition to CANSEC, click here.

To read Direct action confronts Canada-Israel arms trade by Kirsten Francescone and Irene Suvillaga, click here.

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