Heckler & Koch: weapon of choice for Gaddafi’s son

On Febuary 27th, as pro-Gaddafi militias and mercenaries were patrolling the streets of Tripoli, a video was posted to YouTube showing Saif al-Gaddafi, son of Libyan dictator Colonel Gaddafi, rallying supporters and promising to send them weapons to fight the protesters.

In the video, Saif Gaddafi can clearly be seen toting a Heckler & Koch G36 assault rifle. In a subsequent interview, Saif was asked by Channel 4 Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jonathan Miller about the “AK-47″ he was brandishing in the video. Showing his pride for the weapon, Saif replied “That was not an AK; that was a Heckler.”

Arkan posing with MP5

Serbian war criminal Arkan posing with his H&K gun

This is not the first time that Heckler & Koch weapons have been chosen by dictators and warlords. Notorious Serbian warlord Arkan, who was indicted by the UN for crimes against humanity, carried a silenced H&K MP5 submachine gun, and armed his bodyguards with MP5s too.

Heckler & Koch has an international sales office in Nottingham, which exports millions of pounds worth of weapons every year.


Thanks to “Disgusted” for posting the item about Gaddafi’s son on Nottingham Indymedia. If you have any interesting information about Heckler & Koch or other Nottinghamshire arms companies, please contact Shut Down H&K or Notts Anti-Militarism.

16 comments to Heckler & Koch: weapon of choice for Gaddafi’s son

  • Ms. L. Chatharaum

    On the selective picking of pictures – where are the photographs of the British SAS using these weapons? Or the USA Delta force using these weapons – or police marksmen and special European forces using these weapons?

    Surely there should be some balanced reporting here!

    I recall that non of the murder / suicides in USA recently – college students killing other college students, ever used a HK weapon?

    Will you give the same attention to Glock or Colt or any of the American made weapons that have killed people or that dictators have got hold of!

    • Evey

      Balanced reporting? You seem to have mistaken us for a news organisation. We are a campaign.

      We have shown that weapons made by H&K are used by armed forces that oppress and kill innocent people.

      You can argue that not all “bad guys” use H&K weapons, and that “good guys” also use H&K weapons, but that doesn’t change that fact.

      The reason we campaign against H&K is that H&K is based in our town. We would like to see people everywhere campaigning against their local arms companies, including Glock, Colt and all the rest.

      • Diraphe

        “The reason we campaign against H&K is that H&K is based in our town. We would like to see people everywhere campaigning against their local arms companies, including Glock, Colt and all the rest.”

        So you have a problem with H&K providing jobs in your community? I’m sure those employed as well as the families they are feeding are thankful for those paychecks.

        • Evey

          If those jobs are highly unethical – if they facilitate murder and oppression in other countries – then yes, we do have a problem with that.

  • John

    To be honest, the prospect of “We would like to see people everywhere campaigning against their local arms companies” is a very naive, possibly even absurd point of view. Small arms are simply another means of warfare that mankind is evidently geared towards using to achieve their means. Whether that be noble and just means of protection and law enforcement or sinister motives of aggression and slaughter, we have to remember that it is not the guns but the people behind the guns that are responsible for their actions. If it wasn’t HKs, dictators would be using AK47s, Makarovs, Uzis or some other form of small arms. You can’t seriously be advocating people to protest against all armament manufacturers, if they all closed down that wouldn’t stop conflict altogether, people would still use sticks and stones if they had to, firearms actually allow for quicker, less-agonizing deaths than previous forms of weaponry had although they are no doubt incredibly dangerous in the wrong hands. My point is if it wasn’t HKs, people would get some other firearm to do the job.

    • Evey

      …it is not the guns but the people behind the guns that are responsible for their actions.

      Yes, and “the people behind the guns” aren’t just the people who pull the triggers – they are also the people who make and sell the guns. They are all responsible and should be held responsible.

      You can’t seriously be advocating people to protest against all armament manufacturers

      Yes we can, and we are.

      firearms actually allow for quicker,less-agonizing deaths than previous forms of weaponry

      So the victims of Gaddafi and Arkan should be grateful to H&K for helping to make their deaths easier? And you accuse us of being absurd?

  • Jonathon crocker

    I’ve heard that Gaddafi’s son buys his clothes from H&M should we boycott them as well?

    • Evey

      Unlike H&K weapons, H&M clothes aren’t designed to kill people, nor have they been used to kill 1.5 million people.

      Whether you should boycott H&M for using sweatshop labour is another matter…

  • Sam

    You are campaigning for a world without guns – is that really what you want?

    Your freedom of speech is protected by guns.

    “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”

    Humanity is not yet sufficiently evolved to not consider violence a suitable response to a conflict of interest. Until that happens, the threat of an equally violent response can, in many cases, avoid violence.

    I don’t like nuclear weapons, but I cannot deny that it is almost certainly thanks to their existence that the cold war remained cold…

    • Skektek

      You are campaigning for a world without guns – is that really what you want?

      Er… Is that a trick question?

      Your freedom of speech is protected by guns.

      No it isn’t. The biggest threat to my freedom of speech is the government, and they’re the one with all the guns.

      “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”

      By “rough men” do you mean the armed forces? Like the British soldiers who tortured Baha Moussa to death? Like the guards at Abu Ghraib? When those rough men do their violence, it is not on my behalf, and it does not help me to sleep peaceably.

      Humanity is not yet sufficiently evolved to not consider violence a suitable response to a conflict of interest.

      If humanity is not yet sufficiently evolved, don’t you think it’s a bit irresponsible to arm them with hi-tech weapons systems?

      …the threat of an equally violent response can, in many cases, avoid violence.

      The availability of weapons can, in many cases, facilitate violence.

      I don’t like nuclear weapons, but I cannot deny that it is almost certainly thanks to their existence that the cold war remained cold…

      It is almost certainly thanks to their existence that the Cold War nearly escalated to a nuclear war (cf Cuban Missile Crisis).

  • Sam

    “The reason we campaign against H&K is that H&K is based in our town.”

    hm, NIMBY anyone?

    • Skektek

      No, a NIMBY is someone who objects only to developments close to them, i.e. think locally, act locally.

      We are opposed to arms manufacturers everywhere, but we focus on the nearest ones because it is practical to do so, i.e. think globally, act locally.

  • DavyJones'_Locker

    Well, you can continue to protest guns all you want. However, when the window shatters at 3 A.M., I very much doubt a well reasoned argument will dissuade violence on the part of the intruder. That being said, I would like to assert a few facts.
    Fact: The world is a nasty, dangerous place. People still fight for many, many reasons.
    Fact: Not all people are equal in size, strength, or fighting capability.
    Fact: Some people use their natural advantages in size to intimidate and abuse others, particularly women.
    Fact: Guns equalize the disparities caused by the previous facts.
    Fact: By arguing for the banning of guns, you are stating that people don’t have the right do fight on an equal level against others who have a advantage in size, etc. over them.
    In essence, the “ban all guns” line is asserting that 100lb women have the right to fistfight 250lb rapists.
    Food for thought, innit?

    • Skektek

      Fact: The world is a nasty, dangerous place.

      The world is all the more dangerous for having 600 million guns in it.

      Fact: Guns equalize the disparities caused by the previous facts.

      When the security forces of Bahrain (one of H&K’s customers) recently opened fire on peaceful demonstrators, it was not to “equalize the disparities” – it was to kill and oppress.

      Your argument would require every man, woman and child to be armed with a gun, which is quite literally crazy, and would make the world a much more dangerous place.

      Fact: By arguing for the banning of guns, you are stating that people don’t have the right do fight on an equal level against others who have a advantage in size, etc. over them.

      Fact: Putting the word “fact” in front of your wildly misinformed opinions does not magically transform them into the truth.

      In essence, the “ban all guns” line is asserting that 100lb women have the right to fistfight 250lb rapists.

      No it isn’t. Guns facilitate far more rapes than they prevent. Tens of thousands of women are raped at gunpoint in conflict and post-conflict situations, such the wars in the Balkans and DR Congo.

  • Graham Bartle

    Acts of violence are going to be a part of human interaction forever. In order for us to have freedoms and protect our human rights we will have to meet the oppressive members of humanity with a equal or superior means of violence. H&K does everything in their power to supply arms only to those they believe are not using them to oppress freedom. Why would you want to shut down this company?

    • Yes. Unfortunately, humans will always live with violence – this is why we think flooding the world with weapons is a bad idea. It’s the same reason you wash your hands after chopping chili. You understand that humans will always live with itchy arses, and so you attempt to mitigate the problems associated with this fact.

      If there was any evidence, whatsoever, that people were using weapons to keep the peace, rather than to kill each other, then you might have the beginnings of a point.

Leave a Reply