Busy as I am, I just couldn't resist the action at Lockheed Martin this morning. We gathered at 10 am, formed a circle, sang, and shared words. With banners, flags, signs, we walked to the main gates of Lockheed Martin to be joined by other committed peace activists. The Pacific Life Community holds monthly vigils on the fourth Friday of every month to send a simple clear message to the US government and the folks at Lockheed Martin, and the world:
"Instead of devoting over half of the government budget to arms and wars, the government could be providing better health care, building up our infrastructure, reopening and improving our schools, and helping all to find a decent place to live. Lockheed Martin is the world’s largest military contractor and the world’s largest arms exporter. It is also the program manager for Trident nuclear missiles. The United States government is L-M’s biggest customer. In 2008 Lockheed received an average $260 from each taxpaying family—a figure that grows each year as a result of corporate-dominated Pentagon spending."
Bob and Janet Aldridge were with us, and Bob has written extensively about the deep dark hole devoted to the Trident nuclear missile technology.
"Lockheed tops the list of global military contractors.
"The bottom line for corporations is profit. Profit is reflected in stock earnings. In 2002, Lockheed Martin stock earned $1.17 per share. In 2007 the per-share earnings jumped to $7.10.
"These profits weren’t just a lucky windfall. They were actively planned and promoted through what is called the “revolving door” syndrome. There were many revolving door players beating the war drums for Lockheed Martin’s interests, but two will suffice for illustration. Those two are Bruce Jackson and Stephen J. Hadley.
"As a military intelligence officer in the 1980s, Bruce Jackson worked in the Pentagon with prominent neoconservatives Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, and Dick Cheney. Jackson also was executive director of the Project for a New American Century, the neoconservative think tank that provided the framework for Bush’s national security strategy of preemptive war. He joined Martin Marietta in 1993 as director of strategic planning and corporate development projects which involved the 1995 merger with Lockheed. He stayed on with the newly-named Lockheed Martin and in 1997 became director in charge of finding new international markets. In 1999 he was promoted to vice president for strategy and planning, a position he held until 2002.
"Stephen J. Hadley was on the White House National Security Staff from 1974-1977 during the Ford administration. In 1977 he joined the law firm Shea & Gardner which had Lockheed as a client. He took a leave of absence in 1986 to serve as counsel to the Tower Commission investigating arms sales to Iraq; and another in 1989 to serve four years as assistant secretary of defense for international security policy for the Bush Sr. administration. In 2001 Hadley left the law firm to join the George W. Bush administration, first as deputy national security advisor and later as national security advisor. In that position he was the point man in selling Bush’s war on Iraq.
"In 1996 Jackson started the nongovernmental US Committee to Expand NATO to provide pressure for bringing some former Soviet bloc countries into NATO. Hadley was also involved. Their success in that effort (while Jackson was working for Lockheed Martin and Hadley was with a firm representing Lockheed Martin) provided leverage in 2003 for getting new NATO members to support and join the “coalition of the willing” in Bush’s war on Iraq – a war which was very profitable for the weapons builder.
"In November 2002, Hadley as deputy national security advisor called Jackson – then a vice president at Lockheed Martin – to the White House to help develop a rationale to attack Iraq. He asked Jackson to do for Iraq what he did for NATO in 1996. Jackson came up with the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq. Stephen Hadley pursued the claim that Iraq was trying to acquire weapons of mass destructiona nd promoted a story that Iraq tried to buy uranium yellowcake from Nigeria. That story was later proved to be a fake but, nevertheless, Hadley’s “mistake” provided the needed justification to attack Iraq. For that he was promoted to national security advisor.
“Shock and Awe” struck at night on 20 March 2003 when Lockheed Martin Stealth F-117 fighters launched bunker-buster bombs on Baghdad. From that date on, Lockheed Martin profits soared. [excerpted from http://www.WeVigil.org]
In addition to making war on other nations, Lockheed Martin is deeply involved in data collection on Americans and Canadians. I don't feel safer with the intrusion of Homeland Security into our lives and the shredding of our Constitution in service to corporate profits.
At the vigil, I passed out Perception and Deception Dollars (which include Lockheed Martin within the art). They so clearly serve the shadow side of the US government, promoting war based on lies, deceptions, as well as gross criminal acts, such as 9/11.
I carried the banner with "9/11 Truth for Peace and Justice" and a large Perception Dollar beneath it. Peggy, Mary Jane, Ed, Rush and I chose to risk arrest and block the road to the main entrance. Mary Jane and Peggy held up yellow CRIME SCENE tape across the road. The police blocked part of the intersection, surrounded us, filmed us, and warned us that we had to leave or we'd be arrested. Before they arrested us, Rush asked to make a statement and read a letter written to Lockheed Martin:
"Brothers and Sisters within the Lockheed Martin Space Program and Strategic Systems Program:
"In the words of peacemaker John Dear, “On Good Friday, we stand with the nonviolent Jesus as he suffers torture and execution at the hands of the empire, yet remains centered in the God of love, forgiving and nonviolent to the end. Even in this death He teaches us not only how to suffer and die, but becomes a spiritual explosion of disarming love that is still transforming us all.”
"We come here today to stand or kneel in humility, looking outward from this corporate/military facility, asking for forgiveness for the harm caused by obsessive reliance on war-making for profit. We hold “Crime Scene” tape as a symbol, recognizing a growing resistance in this country to the manufacture and deployment of a nuclear weapon system, the Trident D5, which is among the world’s most horrifying means of mass destruction. Its cost, with other weapons in our corporate-Pentagon alliance, sucks the life out of an economy that is failing the citizens of this country. For its producers and for all who are tacitly complicit, we pray for both forgiveness and conversion.
"We are not against individuals who work for Lockheed Martin or the Navy’s SSP. Instead we renounce the overlying system that mesmerizes its adherents and lulls a whole country to accept false premises while billions of dollars are wasted. Could the company’s lobbying efforts instead win you profitable funding for technology that benefits humanity? We refuse to accept that Lockheed Martin requires war-making and production of nuclear weapons for it to flourish.
We ask you again to question how the production of Trident D5 missiles can be seen as morally justified. And how can the threat of this massive overkill be an effective deterrent to attack by the kinds of enemies we face in this country today.
"It isn’t too late for conversion from a war economy to one that can stop our current process of economic decay, from enormous profits in weapons production to a new model providing justified funding for production related to the common good. So far, however, symbolic “crime scene” tape could be wrapped around the entire Trident Strategic Weapon System. The Nuremberg Principles (cf. IV) state that “the fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his government does not relieve him of responsibility under International law, provided that a moral choice was in fact possible to him.”
"We all share the same planet, facing a somber choice in each of our lives to end our complicity with production of horrendous weapons of mass destruction
"In solidarity and a hope for peace,
"The Pacific Life Community and all those who stand with us"
A few of the Raging Grannies and many of the people standing vigil, sang as we blocked the entrance to Lockheed Martin. The police took their time in arresting and processing us. I greatly appreciated the spirit, courage and persistence of those who stood in solidarity, knowing that we really did represent the vast majority of people who oppose nuclear terrorism, endless war for endless profits, and yearn for a healthy, peaceful world for their children and all children.
The sun was shining; it was a beautiful day. I was glad to be away from the computer, in the company of kindred spirits and old friends.
In jail, I was able to catch up with my old friend, Rush Rehm, who teaches at Stanford and will be in Europe performing in a play and lecturing on the date we are supposed to go to court. Rush described the play which was about Gorbachev's historical overture to Reagan to abolish strategic nuclear weapons. Rehm pointed out that it was the US that was the main obstacle to disarmament. Reagan was an actor whose career was sponsored in great part by General Electric, a manufacturer of nuclear weapons. Ironically, Rush will play Reagan in the play. We put on many hats in the course of our lives. I took off my "Candidate for Congress" hat when I went to the vigil, forgetting my campaign literature, although I did remember to pass out some invitations to our Easter Sunday organizing party. I put on my mother, anti-nuclear, peace activist hat and was energized by the presence of people of all ages and to be able to share stories about past actions, arrests, upcoming events, the growing resistance to corporate rule, the political awakening taking place across the globe. I felt a deep moral urge to be there, show my support, and do what I could for those who couldn't be there.