Uniting Church slams ANZ terror link
November 5, 2009
ANZ bank is funding terror weapons whose manufacture, trade and use have been banned under a convention signed by Australia, the Uniting Church said yesterday. The church's Victorian social justice spokesman, Mark Zinsak, said ANZ had joined a global consortium lending money to Lockheed-Martin, which manufactures cluster bombs.
Cluster bombs contain hundreds of small bomblets that break open in mid-air, releasing over a wide area. Often they do not explode on impact, acting as small mines and leaving the area unsafe for decades. Such funding will become illegal if federal Parliament accepts the recommendation of its treaties committee to prohibit funding companies that may produce cluster bombs. It has already signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which seeks to ban their manufacture, trade or use.
Dr Zinsak said ANZ gave Lockheed-Martin a $37.5 million revolving credit facility in 2007 at the same time as it was negotiating a policy with the Uniting Church (as a shareholder) that it would not fund such companies. He said ANZ was the only major Australian bank funding such activities.
''Progressive institutions like AXA and ING have screened these companies out completely,'' he said.
A single cluster bomb contains hundreds of small bombs
Cluster bombs have been banned by progressive nations because they are indiscriminate. They were used by israel in lebanon last year
, and the result is that the thousands of unexploded bombs which litter farmlands and public areas go off if triggered by people or animals. They have small pieces of bright yellow plastic tape on them which attracts children to pick them up, at which point they usually explode.