The deadly trade in cluster bombs is funded by the world’s biggest banks who have loaned or arranged finance worth $20bn to firms producing the controversial weapons, despite growing international efforts to ban them.
HSBC, led by ordained Anglican priest Stephen Green, has profited more than any other institution from companies that manufacture cluster bombs. The British bank, based at Canary Wharf, has earned a total of £657.3m in fees arranging bonds and share offerings for Textron, which makes cluster munitions described by the US company as “leaving a clean battlefield”.
Campaigners maintain the deadly weapons can explode years after combat, killing or maiming innocent people.
Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, JP Morgan and UK-based Barclays Bank are also named among the worst banks in a detailed 126-page report by Dutch and Belgian campaign groups IKV Pax Christi and Netwerk Vlaanderen.
“Our policy also explicitly prohibits financing trade in landmines, cluster bombs or any equipment designed to be used as an instrument of torture.” A spokeswoman added that Barclays had supplied money to Textron, which makes cluster bombs, but that the US firm was a broad-based weapons manufacturer.
Last December 90 countries, including the UK, committed themselves to banning cluster bombs by next year. But the US was not one of them. So far 23 countries have ratified the convention. New Zealand government’s pension fund sold shares in Lockheed Martin because of its link to the manufacture of cluster bombs. Similar actions have been taken by the Irish and Dutch government.
Title: Cluster Bomb Trade Funded By World’s Biggest Banks
Source: The Guardian, Thursday 29 October 2009
Author: Nick Mathiason
Faculty Evaluator: Peter Phillips
Sonoma State University