Activists Occupy Office Lockheed Martin Brussels
Brussels 22nd February- This morning a group of 13 anti-nuclear activists occupied the European headquarters of US arms manufacturer Lockheed Martin, in Brussels, in protest against the company’s close links with the Bush government, and specifically its production of nuclear weapons and weapons used in the war against Iraq. The activists, who all wore masks with the face of George Bush, disrupted the working of the office for 35 minutes. The action was timed to coincide with the visit of US President George W. Bush to Brussels.
At around 9am, activists entered the office building on Chaussée de la Hulpe, where Lockheed Martin has its main European sales office. A large international samba band, all wearing Bush masks, played loud music in the main lobby of the building while other activists entered the offices of Lockheed Martin and interviewed employees about the links between the company and the Bush regime. The action was organised by For Mother Earth, a member of the Friends of the Earth International network, with the support of JNM (Jeugdbond voor Natuur en Milieu).
Lockheed Martin is the world’s largest defence contractor, and is responsible for the production of Trident nuclear missiles deployed by both the United States and Britain. Each of these missiles can carry nuclear weapons with a destructive power equivalent to 60 Hiroshima bombs. In 1996, the International Court of Justice in The Hague declared that the threat or use of nuclear weapons would generally be illegal under the principles of international humanitarian law.
The company also supplied weapons used in the war against Iraq, including the F-117 Stealth fighters used in the “Shock and Awe” bombardment of Baghdad which caused many civilian deaths.
The company has close links with the US government. It has played a leading role in lobbying for increased defence spending after the terrorist attacks on September 11th 2001. It has donated over $1 million to members of the US government committees responsible for awarding defence contracts, and in return has been rewarded with orders from the US federal government that are worth $65 million per day. As well as clear financial links, there is also a “revolving door” between the company and the Bush administration, with personnel working for Lockheed Martin moving to the Pentagon, and vice-versa.
The company sells weapons to oppressive regimes such as Israel and Saudi Arabia, and the company has a long history of using corruption and bribery to achieve lucrative deals. It has also been active in lobbying for increased defence spending within the European Union.
Stephan Price, a campaigner with For Mother Earth said “When President Bush comes to Europe to encourage NATO and European Union governments to increase their arms spending by joining the so-called war on terror, it is clear that Lockheed Martin will be one of the big winners. The company is openly pushing for greater spending on arms in the US and Europe, and acting in a highly immoral way by supplying these deadly weapons. It is also acting illegally. As a nuclear weapon producer, Lockheed Martin is involved in the preparations for war crimes and crimes against humanity. We have visited the European headquarters of Lockheed Martin this morning to give a clear signal that they cannot continue this work unhindered.”
Stephan Price, For Mother Earth
+32 (0)484 501529
Background information on Lockheed Martin, including details of bribery and corruption:
Involvement in lobbying for increased defence spending: http://www.corporateeurope.org/ebs2004.html
Financial contributions to US politicians:
For more information:
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