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Rage Against Raytheon in Reading

Assorted Anti-Militarists | 18.03.2005 16:02 | Anti-militarism | London | Oxford





21st March has been called by international groups as a global day of direct action against the arms trade. Groups and individuals around the world will be taking multiple forms of direct resistance against arms dealers, and this protest forms a part of that. This is an initiative from the 'Destroy the Arms Trade' session at Beyond ESF (,

• The global arms trade profits from war and destruction, fueling instability, conflict and oppression around the world. Arms dealers constantly search for new ways to sell their deadly products, often arming both sides in a conflict, adding fuel to the fire and leading to tragic consequences.

• The US and UK make up the two largest arms dealing nations in the world. States use the arms trade for their own ends, with arms being sold to tyranical regimes which will 'protect' US/UK corporate 'interests' - i.e. refuse workers rights, human rights, environmental protection and smash furiously any social movements which dare to resist this oppression.

• Of course, arms dealers get paid back for this assistance in global system management. When your dealing with such shady characters, it helps to have your profits guaranteed - so, the UK governent finance the arms trade to the tune of £760 million - thats £30 per taxpayer - while our hospitals, schools and other vital services go underfunded. If the arms dealers sign a risky contract and end up not getting paid for their goods - thats ok! The UK government will make it up to them, using YOUR money, via the Export Credit Guarantee Department.


• The American company Raytheon Systems Ltd. are the worlds 3rd biggest arms company. Their profits for 2002 alone hit $2.6 billion. Their list of clients includes such bastions of fair play as Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia. Certain Raytheon weapons can be equipped with the international condemned 'cluster bombs'

• This company is not simply off in some far-flung corner of the world far from any criticism or action. They are acting, every day, in the very centre of Reading. Soane Point, 5-8 Market Place holds the UK home of Raytheon Systems 'Javelin Missile Project'. The Javelin is an anti-armour missile, used by countries including the US, UK, Oman, Taiwan and New Zealand. Of course its most recent use has been in Operation Iraqi Freedom, where officials have been extremely happy with its 'performance'.

• The dubious activities of Raytheon are more than only the - already reprehensible - trade in weapons of mass brutality to illegitimate regimes around the world. In 1995, Raytheon illegally bribed the Brazillian government in order to obtain a surveillance program for the Amazon rainforest. Raytheon has been implemented in a lawsuit by German workers alleging that they contracted cancer through use of radar machinery. Raytheon refused to acknowledge the right of workers to form unions in two factories in New Hampshire, US. In 1998, Raytheon, following the decision of the US to place economic sanctions on Pakistan, attempted to get around this "obstacle" and complete a transaction with the military regime by re-routing the trade through its Canadian branch

This action has been organised by a coalition of groups and individuals from around Reading, including the RAGE Collective, Reading Peace Group and the Reading Amnesty International Group, plus others. People involved here will also be involved with mobilising against the DSEi (Defence Systems Equipment International) arms fair in London, September 11th-13th. The latter is the worlds largest arms fair, taking place every other year at the Docklands Arena, in the heart of Londons impoverished Canning Town. In 2003, thousands protested against DSEi by day and night. This year we will shut them down - starting here and now! For more info please see
For general info about today or direct action in this area please see

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  1. Brighton Weapons Inspectors — edosmashnik