repost | 02.05.2003 09:44
and lots more besides.
“On Mayday, we propose a pre-emptive strike…an attack on the real weapons of mass destruction: oil companies, arms manufacturers, multinationals and banks.” - Mayday flyer.
Yesterday was Mayday and time for the traditional game of cat and mouse, with a few thousand anarchists and anti-capitalists trying to outwit and outsprint thousands of cops. Many of our favourite shops had either been boarded up or not even bothered to open up for the day while workers took the day off obviously fearing that hungry anarchists would eat them alive.
One of those who didn’t bother opening was Lockheed Martin, one of the main targets of the Mayday pre-emptive strike strategy. Lockheed are the world’s largest weapons manufacturer who make a killing out of, er, killing. The “defence” company’s share prices rocketed after September 11th and with their fighter jets very busy during the war in Iraq, they’ve reported a doubling of profits in the first few months of this year.
In late 2001, the company won what has been described as “the largest defence contract in history,” a $200 billion development contract to build a Joint Strike Fighter, which according to their own website, aims to “provide the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, and the UK’s Royal Navy and Royal Air Force with an affordable and stealthy tactical aircraft for the 21st century.” One capable of killing thousands of civilians who happen to live in ‘rogue states’ no doubt…
Since lining its pockets through war, suffering, and destruction is what Lockheed Martin is all about - just check out its latest “Making Weapons For the World” advertising - it comes as no surprise that the company’s most lucrative export item is the F-16 combat aircraft. Since the mid-1970s, they’ve managed to flog over 3,000 of them to such freedom-loving customers such as Israel, Turkey, Pakistan, Indonesia and Egypt.
But if your stomach for flying has weakened since September 11th, Lockheed are one of the only arms manufacturers still to offer a nice line in anti-personnel land mines, with a life span of up to one hundred years, which they flog for as little as £2 each - surely it can’t be good business to make them so they last that long? Across the world, landmines claim a new victim every twenty minutes, that’s more than 26,000, mostly civilian, deaths and injuries each year.
Lockheed are leaders in the design and development of nuclear technology and its by-products in the US and are responsible for the production and maintenance of British nuclear warheads at their Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston in Berkshire where they specialise in “state-of-the-art hit-to-kill” precision weapons. They receive $1 billion per year from the US Dept of Energy to help run the notorious Nevada Test Site where it carries out “sub-critical testing”, which attempts to exploit loopholes in the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. They are also heavily involved in the Trident programme in the US, as well as here in the UK which costs us £1.5 billion a year. British nuclear-powered Trident submarines are on patrol, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Each submarine can carry 48 independently targeted nuclear warheads, each of which has seven times the explosive power of the first atomic bomb at Hiroshima, which killed 140,000 civilians.
Lockheed produce the AUP-3(M) depleted uranium missiles that have been deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq. These indiscriminate weapons are classified illegal by the United Nations. When a DU shell explodes, it sends out contaminated dust particles small enough to be inhaled - high doses kill, low levels cause cancer. Unfortunately dust particles are not smart enough to distinguish between civilian and military victims and since the last Gulf War incidences of leukaemia and Hodgkins disease in Iraq have increased tenfold, as has the proportion of babies born with birth defects, that is without heads, brains, spines and limbs.
With a track record like Lockheed’s they just couldn’t resist sticking their fingers in the Star Wars pie. They are the lead contractor for the Theater High-Altitude Area Defense programme, a system designed to intercept medium-to-long-range ballistic missiles. Of course, if you make loads of money producing some of the world’s most destructive weaponry, it only makes sense to make loads more by creating systems to “protect” people against those same weapons. It’s the ultimate business plan.
Lockheed also does a good line in bribery and corruption. According to Tim Weiner, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, “Lockheed has a criminal history that includes paying millions of dollars in bribes.” Since 1990 they’ve been done a total of 63 times, handing over $230 million in fines and settlements.
So how come they seem to get all the contracts? The US Centre for Responsive Politics reports that Lockheed spent more than $9.8 million lobbying members of Congress and the Clinton administration during 2000 and gave $225,000 to the Bush-Cheney inaugural fund. Whilst in the UK they’ve been busy mopping up contracts as Neo Labour puts our public services on sale to the highest bidder. When air traffic control was part-privatised Lockheed was there, eager to add to its already existing contracts with the Royal Mail, the Met Police and the UK Census. Now they are bidding for the £3 billion contract to run the nerve centre of the NHS, which would enable it to profit not only from bombing people but also from putting them back together again. No doubt soon they’ll be running our schools telling kids that War is Peace.
* For more on this delightful company http://www.actagainstwar.org/article.php?id=177
* Check out some of their war porn http://www.lockheedmartin.com or http://www.lockheedmartin.co.uk
* CND have a scrap Trident campaign 020 77002393 http://www.cnduk.org
* Campaign Against Arms Trade 020 7281 0297 http://www.caat.org.uk
* Recommended reading ‘The No Nonsense guide to the Arms Trade’ by Gideon Burrows (Published by Verso 2002) www.versobooks.com/
* There were more pre-emptive strikes against the arms trade at the BAE Systems AGM on Tuesday. BAE is the UK’s biggest arms dealers. One person who was dragged out by security yelled “It’s on your conscience. How do you sleep at night, you bastards?” By thinking about all the lovely profits they make out of war and death stupid.
* Were you nicked at Mayday? Did you see anyone get arrested or beaten? Then get along to the meeting today (2) 6pm at LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 (corner of Parfett St.) If you saw someone getting nicked then get in touch with the Legal Defence and Monitoring Group email firstname.lastname@example.org or http://www2.phreak.co.uk/ldmg/index.php
* DSEi (Defence Systems Equipment International) is Europe's largest trade fair (6-12 September in London) for guns, bombs, military planes, small arms, mines and tanks. A mass international protest has been called, get ready to Disarm DSEi! 07817652029 / 07887620379 http://www.dsei.org