Cairo, Egypt - The Palestinians are human laboratory rats to the Israeli military, intelligence services and arms and technology industries. Israel’s drones, surveillance technology — including spyware, facial recognition software and biometric gathering infrastructure — along with smart fences, experimental bombs and AI-controlled machine guns, are tried out on the captive population in Gaza, often with lethal results. These weapons and technologies are then certified as “battle tested” and sold around the world. Israel is the 10th biggest arms dealer on the planet and sells its technology and weapons to an estimated 130 nations, including military dictatorships in Asia and Latin America.
A coalition representing "progressive Jewish anti-Zionist" and pro-Palestine organizations on Thursday staged a "die-in," blocking the entrance of Raytheon's Tucson office on Aeropark Boulevard. The initial action featured about 60 protesters, clad in black with masks covering their faces and signs with messages decrying "genocide in Gaza." They chanted "free Palestine" before lying down on the pavement. Over the course of the first 20 minutes, The Arizona Republic observed roughly a dozen vehicles make a U-turn in front of the entrance being blocked by the protesters. Those staging the “die-in” were lying behind a series of ladders and barricades that they erected, while other protesters stood in front of it, closer to the road.
This morning, three simultaneous actions have targeted weapons factories across Britain, to prevent the production of weaponry destined for use by Israel in their ongoing massacre of the Palestinian people. While Israel’s Instro Precision in Kent has been met with a 100-person-strong blockade, a lock-on and a rooftop occupation disrupted Leicester’s UAV Tactical Systems and Howmet Fastening Systems. At the Instro Precision factory in Sandwich, over 100 people have descended on the site, to blockade the two entrances to the Discovery Park business area. The site, which has faced protests for years and has previously been occupied by Palestine Action, has been forced closed.
On October 7, Hamas fighters broke out of Gaza, the world's largest open air prison, and directly attacked the Israeli State, including military facilities, illegal settlements and airports. Israeli Occupying Forces responded with sophisticated weaponry targeting civilian housing in Gaza and schools and hospitals where people sought refuge. Israel has now stopped all water, power and aid to Gaza. To understand what is happening and Palestinian rights under international law, Clearing the FOG speaks with Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh, who resides in Bethlehem. In support of Palestinians' right to resist, massive rallies and marches are taking place around the world. Clearing the FOG also speaks with Priscilla Lynch and Clara Wagner about their direct action last week targeting L3 Harris, which provides military equipment to Israel, as part of a campaign by Demilitarize Western Mass.
Northampton, MA - On the morning of Thursday, October 12, members and supporters of the Demilitarize Western Mass collective created a blockade at 50 Prince Street, Northampton, in front of L3Harris (the local subsidiary of weapons giant.) L3Harris is the ninth largest weapons manufacturer in the world, and this direct action is in protest of this part of the military industrial complex in the region, particularly their role in violence abroad and carceral surveillance systems. The blockade consists of protesters locking themselves to a large boat and three trailers, preventing cars from entering either of the driveways to L3Harris.
Israel has now declared a ‘full siege’ on Gaza, dropping 1,000 tonnes of bombs on the 25-mile long Strip and cutting off all supplies, food, energy and water to its 2 million inhabitants. Over 700 Palestinians have been killed, over 180,000 made homeless, and Gazans are preparing for worse to come – until now, it was unthinkable that their 17 years of captivity and starvation could be made any worse. At this moment, those of us living in the globe’s imperial core face a choice: between silence and complicity in the decades-long brutalisation of Palestine, or standing with the liberation efforts of those subjected to Israel’s brutality, apartheid, war crimes, and constant abuses of human, religious, and cultural rights.
In the early hours of Monday morning, Palestine Action struck four offices home to iO Associates, the sole recruiters for Israeli arms manufacturer Elbit Systems. Offices in Manchester, Bristol, London, and Reading were sprayed with red paint from fire extinguishers, to symbolise the blood of the Palestinians that Israel continues to spill. This action follows two occasions in which activists stormed the new Manchester offices, the first time confronting iO’s Director Ross Markall, who assaulted the protestors unprovoked. Shortly after this, iO Associates removed all of Elbit’s job offers from their website, however they have since been put back up.
This week, 35,000 arms company representatives, military officers and state officials from around the world are congregating at the Excel Centre in Newham, East London. Over four days, [Sept. 12-15] guests at Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) can watch demonstrations of new weapons systems, listen to keynote speakers euphemise the global appetite for war-making, visit warships moored on the Thames, and make connections with buyers and sellers via a dedicated networking app. For the more sportingly inclined, there is the tri-force tug of war to show off the brawn and teamwork of the British Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy.
The Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair is taking place at the ExCeL centre in London. Meanwhile, activists and campaigners have already been robustly protesting it – causing some major disruption along the way. However, one group has revealed the extent of the Israeli state’s death and destruction that’s being represented at DSEI. It includes over 40 arms companies from the country selling their weapons there. There was also a Faith Day on Thursday 7 September. This was where people from all denominations (or those with none) held vigils, but also blocked deliveries to DSEI.
As Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) sets up at the ExCeL centre in London, activists have begun resisting it. Not far behind them are the cops – with nine arrests already, even before this notorious arms fair begins properly. As DSEI began to set up on Tuesday 5 September, activists started resisting it. For example, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) held a “vigil”. It was over arms manufacturers and governments selling weapons to the apartheid state of Israel – which it then uses to kill Palestinians.
Could corporate CEOs anywhere in the universe have a deal much sweeter than U.S. defense contractor chiefs? The CEO at CybeCys, Inc., a Texas-based defense contractor, might quibble with that question. He isn’t feeling all that much sweetness these days. Last month, federal prosecutors announced a deal that will have this CEO and CybeCys pay over $283,000 in penalties and damages for cheating on two Covid-era federal loan programs. The CybeCys CEO seems to have transferred hefty chunks of taxpayer dollars into his own personal investment accounts and used those dollars, prosecutors charge, to buy up “securities, exchange-traded funds, and cryptocurrency.”
As more than 100 activists blocked the entrances to the parking lots of the CANSEC weapons show in Ottawa yesterday, traffic was snarled for a distance on Uplands Avenue and the Airport Parkway delaying many attendees getting inside the EY Centre. Canada’s Defence Minister Anita Anand, who was scheduled to speak at 7:50 am, tweeted at 9:51 am that she had “just delivered [her] remarks”. There was also a tweet at 9:17 am that suggests she was just then “officially open[ing] the event”. After Anand’s speech, U.S. Ambassador David L. Cohen visited the booth of Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest weapons company.
ust this week, it was confirmed that Israel’s top weapons exporter Elbit Systems is closing down its offices in London. The decision follows numerous protests against Elbit and Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), the letting agent for those offices. It is the second time that Palestine Action, the group organizing the protests, has compelled Elbit to quit a site in Britain – a country identified by the firm as a priority for sales and investment. Earlier this year, Elbit confirmed it had sold Ferranti, its subsidiary based in Oldham, near Manchester. Palestine Action’s protests – which often involve smashing up weapons facilities – have angered Israel and its supporters. One of Israel’s most influential backers in Britain is Priti Patel, the home secretary. She has effectively declared war on Palestinian solidarity activists by claiming that the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement is racist – without presenting any evidence.
These are good times to be an arms maker. Not only are tens of billions of dollars in new military spending headed for the coffers of this country’s largest weapons contractors, but they’re being praised as defenders of freedom and democracy, thanks to their role in arming Ukraine to fight the Russians. The last time the industry gained such a sterling reputation was during World War II when it was lauded as the “arsenal of democracy” for fueling the fight against fascism. Raytheon CEO Greg Hayes recently underscored this point in an interview with the Harvard Business Review. While discussing how he should respond to criticism of his company benefiting from a rise in sales right now, he said: “Look, we don’t apologize for making these systems, making these weapons. The fact is, they are incredibly effective in deterring and dealing with the threat that the Ukrainians are seeing today…"
Culturally significant Aboriginal heritage sites continue to be put at risk in Australia, despite the international outcry following Rio Tinto’s destruction of the 46,000-year-old caves at Juukan Gorge. The culprit this time is the Australian Defense Force, which undertakes live-fire training exercises and weapons testing at the Woomera Prohibited Area (WPA). Within range of falling missiles and mortars there is evidence of sequential spiritual engagement spanning centuries in rock engravings, heritage artefacts, tool-making sites, and also sites of mythological importance for Indigenous people. Andrew and Robert Starkey, Kokatha Badu (respected senior figures, or lore men) from the Western Desert region of South Australia, have spent decades registering and protecting heritage sites on their land.