When Merchants of Death Visited Lockheed, Boeing, Raytheon, and General Atomics: Photos and Videos

By David Swanson, World BEYOND War, Armistice Day, 2022

On Thursday, I caught up with representatives of MerchantsOfDeath.org who are planning a war crimes tribunal next year. They were delivering subpoenas to Washington, D.C.-area offices of Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, and General Atomics.

I missed the Lockheed stop but am told they were not very welcoming. I’m reminded of the last time I visited Lockheed and their representatives literally would not open their mouths. Now, if we could just teach their lobbyists that trick.

When I got to Boeing, peace advocates were gathered in the lobby waiting for someone to come meet with them.

I said a few words (this video gets better after the first few seconds):

Brad Wolf (left) served Andrew Lee (center) of Boeing’s PR office with the subpoena:

Lee claimed that Boeing needed to support the “Department of Defense” and its allies, by which he meant the Pentagon and every nasty government Boeing could get permission from the U.S. government to sell weapons to, and that Boeing did this by “bringing the troops home” with no explanation of who it was who got the troops away from home and would go on doing so. He also — I’m paraphrasing very roughly — seemed to suggest that Boeing helped in widespread slaughter around the globe precisely so that people could come air their grievances in the lobby (unlike, it was implied, in many of the other countries that Boeing sells weapons to). And yet this freedom-isn’t-free malarkey had not helped out at Lockheed Martin and would prove as much a failure as any war when we got to Raytheon and General Atomics. Not that any of these companies alerted each other that we were coming. They clearly did not.

But Raytheon wouldn’t come out or let us in, and none of the people outside would say they worked for Raytheon.

When Brad and I went into General Atomics I remarked on how fitting it was that they had a revolving door, before I even saw the guy with the Marines lanyard around his neck — though whether it indicated a past job, the Marines’ birthday, or just bad taste I do not know.

Following this visit, some of us were talking about the usual problems: war, nuclear danger, climate destruction, broken media, broken government, etc. I said that I thought the biggest problem (not the only problem, as all the other problems are real problems) in persuading people to see through propaganda was not that they were stupid or uneducated or only moveable by emotional appeals and not facts, and not that sensible people were no good at communicating, but rather the general widespread fantasy that what’s on TV or in newspapers has some connection to what’s intelligent or persuasive. The New York Times recently, I noted, had a columnist practically brag about how he’d refused to admit climate collapse was real until someone flew him to a melting glacier. No apology. No warning. No lesson learned. The proper admirable position is apparently precisely to refuse to believe serious evidence until someone flies you to a glacier. But, of course, I commmented, we cannot actually fly every jackass in the world to a melting glacier.

And yet, if you’re going to fly government officials to an annual COP meeting, why hold it in an Egyptian dictatorship? Why not hold it on a melting glacier? And given the general failure of all else to end war, why not fly the same government officials the next week to Yemen or Syria, Somalia or Ukraine, and set up viewing stands the way they did at Bull Run / Manassas (or Riotsville), and ask them to look solemnly into the camera and explain how what they’re seeing is creating the freedom thousands of miles away to be given a few dismissive words by some hack at the Boeing corporation?

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