Stop War Where it Starts....
Join the Mother's Day Coalition for Peace to rally at a major subsidiary of Canada's self-proclaimed Largest Military Contractor, Burlington's L-3 Wescam
Sunday, May 14, 2:30-4 pm, Rally and Festival of Transformation: Demand Scones not Drones; Blooms, not Bombs!
Monday, May 15, 12 Noon: Rally and nonviolent civil disobedience (gather at 9:30 am for final planning and preparation)
Both take place at Burlington's L-3 Wescam. For directions and to arrange rides out to Wescam from Hamilton, contact (905) 634-7654
To get to Wescam from Toronto, contact Homes not Bombs at (416) 651-5800
(If you do not live in Southern Ontario or cannot attend but would like to support the direct actions taking place May 14-15, consider faxing or emailing L-3 Wescam executives on Monday, May 15, urging them to sit down and dialogue with the coalition: Send a quick note calling on L-3 Wescam to end its war business and make socially useful products to John Dehne, President, Fax: (905) 633-4100, or send an email from the following site: http://www.wescam.com/contacts_1_sales.asp)
The technology of war, used against the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, and countless other countries around the world...the technology of border "control" and interdiction used against refugees and immigrants...the targetting and night-vision equipment likely being used by the RCMP and OPP against Six Nations...much of it begins in Burlington's L-3 Wescam.
WHO IS L-3 WESCAM?
According to the Wescam website's audiostream (underscored by rock and roll music) "Wescam systems provide long-range covert intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to defense and public safety and security agencies around the globe. When the US Air Force needed a superior electro-optic and clear imaging system for the Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicles they chose our 14-TS. This advanced technology gives them the air superiority and agile combat support that are central objectives in air force operations. Adding the best information and dominating in tactical intelligence saves
lives. Wescam: changing the way you see the world." (The Predator has been implicated in numerous extra-judicial executions and bombings using their Hellfire missiles of families in Pakistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan.)
Wescam unapologetically advertises its exports to the Armament Authority of Egypt and the Colombian Air Force, as well as the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Army, all of which have been implicated in horrific crimes. Wescam's parent, L-3, is one of the world's most profitable Pentagon contractors.
On Sunday, May 14, we invite you to join us as we envision what Wescam could look like as a civilian contractor producing socially useful products instead of targetting devices for some of the deadliest military devices currently in operation. Among many activities, we will be producing a mass graveyard with the names of hundreds of individuals murdered in Iraq and Afghanistan, often with the use of Wescam technology. If the government can pay tobacco farmers to stop growing a product which contributes to countless thousands of deaths every year, surely it can do the same for industries that profit off of war.
On Monday, May 15, we want to bring evidence of serious human rights violations Wescam's technology has been involved with to the people who work there. Wescam's slogan is "How do you see the world?" We want to show Wescam how the world looks on the other end of their targetting devices. The theme of the day, See What We Have Done, will focus on our international and domestic obligations and the Nuremberg Principles, and seek out a meeting with Wescam employees. (More details on the civil disobedience component forthcoming soon...) The lines will be very clearly drawn between what is considered a "legal" rally and what area will involve civil disobedience on this day.
Another component of our work will be a special culture-jamming action, placing statements about how Mother's Day was originally started as a day to resist war (see below) in the envelopes of Mothers Day cards in local stores.
L-3 claims in their 2005 annual report that they are now Canada's largest war manufacturer. Yet few if anyone is likely to have heard of L-3 Communications, whose divisions in Canada include the former Litton Systems/Northrup Grumman plant in Rexdale, Burlington's Wescam, and Don Mills' Applied Physics.
What sounds like just another bland, high-tech firm is in fact supplying some of the deadliest tools in the arsenal of the U.S-led wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti, and elsewhere. L-3 Wescam, based in Burlington, Ontario, is perhaps best known as the designer of a targetting device which is used by the US Air Force's Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), the Predator.
According to the U.S. Air Force's strategic vision planning document, the future of warfare is the use of UAVs, naming the Predator as a system that "evolved into a formidable combat support and was involved in every major military operation" between 1996 and 2004. Armed with Hellfire missiles, the Predator is described as "one of the military's most requested systems, assisting in the execution of the global war on terror by finding, fixing, tracking, targeting, engaging, and assessing suspected terrorist locations."
The Predator was implicated in the extra-judicial execution of six individuals driving in Yemen, who were obliterated by Hellfire missiles. No arrests, no charges, no trial, just a summary execution from the silence of the skies. They never knew what hit them. Recent news from Afghanistan and Pakistan reports houses blown away and civilians obliterated by UAV-fired missiles. We do not hear about the victims of such gross outrages, other than that they must have been the "enemy."
The UAV is viewed as "a major component of the Army Future Combat System," especially since unmanned vehicles mean increased air time, hovering time, and an ability to operate in "environments contaminated by chemical, biological, or radioactive agents." The Pentagon admits that politically, using UAV's piloted with video screens based on the US cuts the domestic cost created by bodies coming home.
And the best is yet to come. "Arming the RQ-1 Predator with Hellfire missiles can be compared to the mounting of guns on biplanes early in the last century," gushes the USAF document.
L-3 Wescam is not just disturbing for the products they make. They are disturbing for what they represent: a resurgent, proud embrace of a world vision that sees constant war, constant repression, and a constant market for the tools required by both.
"L-3's employees, systems, products and services play a significant role in assisting the U.S. military," claims its 2004 annual report. L-3 has waxed enthusiastically about the "war on Terror," which has seen L-3 emerge as one of its biggest profiteers. By supplying tools not only to militaries but to border enforcement teams that snag individuals fleeing repression and trying to cross borders; by providing riot police with ever more high-tech tools of the trade to shut down demonstrations; and by profiting from the propaganda of fear, L-3 and L-3 Wescam are major players in war, racism, and repression.
L-3 Wescam asks us, "How do you see the world?" Well, if you don't like what you see, come to Wescam and help show them another way of looking at the world.
The Mother's Day Coalition for Peace is composed of the Wescam Transformation Project, Hamilton Action for Social Change, Homes not Bombs, Country Music Fans Against Music that Drones On and On, and numerous other groups and individuals. The Coalition works on the level of consensus decision-making and is dedicated to nonviolence both in word and deed, and a spirit of openness, respect, and understanding to all we encounter.
For more info: Homes not Bombs: (905) 634-7654, or (416) 651-5800, firstname.lastname@example.org
We remind folks that Mother's Day was not conceived as a saccharine holiday to benefit card makers and flower growers, but was in fact a day to resist war. It was started by Julia Ward Howe after the U.S. Civil War; she and other mothers who had lost their sons and husbands declared "Disarm, Disarm!", and it is this tradition we will be reclaiming on May 14 and 15 in Burlington. Please join us whether you live in the area or need a ride from west or east!
MOTHER'S DAY PROCLAMATAION FOR PEACE
Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts, whether our baptism be that of water or of fears!
Say firmly: "We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says "Disarm, Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe our dishonor nor violence indicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each bearing after their own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.
In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.
Julia Ward Howe, Boston, 1870
(directions: From the 403, exit at Waterdown Road and head north to North Service Road, then east on North Service to Wescam, which is very near King Road.)
- From Plains Road (York Blvd in Hamilton), turn left on King Road and follow it over the 403 to King Road. Turn right and you're there.
- Bus service from Hamilton leaves Jackson Square regularly, taking York Blvd, which turns into Plains Road. It's $2.35, but transfers from the HSR on Burlington Transit work, and vice versa. Get off at King Road in Burlington and walk north on King. At a brisk pace it takes about 15 minutes to reach North Service Road and Wescam.
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