Solidarity with the Raytheon Nine

aytheon Company, based in Waltham, Massachusetts, is a leading U.S. military
contractor. With annual revenues of over $20 billion, 90 percent from defense
contracts, Raytheon is the world’s third largest missile manufacturer.

In 1999 Raytheon opened an office in Derry City, Northern Ireland. Ironically,
Raytheon was brought to Derry during the Northern Ireland peace process
by Nationalist and Unionist politicians and was paraded as an example of
what the peace dividend would gain for a population with some of the highest
unemployment rates in Europe. Eventually, Raytheon created only around
40 jobs. Nevertheless, local politicians— despite Raytheon’s complicity
in Bush and Blair’s war crimes—have balked at forcing the company out for
fear that U.S. investors would be sent the wrong message. 

In August 2006, disgusted by Israel’s U.S.-backed invasion of Lebanon,
antiwar activists in Derry protested, occupied, and “decommissioned” the
Raytheon facility there. Now, nine members of the Derry Anti-war Coalition
(DAWC) who participated in the occupation face jail sentences. 

Eamonn McCann, one of the Raytheon 9, is a founder of the 1960s civil rights
movement in Northern Ireland, author of several books, including War and
an Irish Town
, columnist for numerous publications in Ireland, chair of
the Bloody Sunday Trust, member of the Socialist Workers Party, and former
candidate for the Socialist Environmental Alliance in Northern Ireland’s
recent National Assembly elections. McCann explains why Raytheon was targeted:
“Every day brought reports of Israeli attacks, allegedly on Hizbollah positions,
but, as was clear from the news footage, bringing death and agony to terrified
civilians.” McCann says a DAWC meeting “voted to picket the Raytheon plant
on August 9 and, if possible, to occupy and to decommission the premises….
In the event, nine of us managed to gain entry. Computers and papers were
hurled from the windows. The mainframe was disabled.” 

Recently, evidence surfaced that Raytheon products had indeed been used
in the Qana, Lebanon killings. The evidence also shows a close-up of the
fuselage of a bomb retrieved from the Qana carnage. The markings identify
a Raytheon MK-84 guided bomb unit BSU-37/B. Mc Cann remarks: “If the Raytheon
9 are branded criminals then we are being asked to accept that it is a
crime to occupy the office of an arms company, but not a crime to occupy
a country; that it is a crime to drop computers from an office window,
but not a crime to drop missiles on innocent people. The Raytheon 9 will
face the court as the accusers of Raytheon, not the accused, and will use
the trial to highlight the war crimes of the U.S. and UK governments.” 

Colm Bryce, also of the Raytheon 9 and the Derry Antiwar Coalition, says:
“We’ve been protesting Raytheon since it came here in 1999. They said they
weren’t doing any military work. However, former employees have told us
they were doing military work. At the height of the Lebanese war we found
out that U.S. cargo planes were rushing bombs to Israel. We felt this sort
of thing is happening all the time. Just like the U.S. military uses Shannon
airport here in Ireland to transport troops to Iraq. It felt unbearable.
This is not about us. This is about what’s going on in Lebanon, Iraq and
Afghanistan day in and day out. We want to put Raytheon and the war on

Larry Kirwan, a leader of Black 47—an Irish rock band from New York City—says
that his group has “spoken out against the War in Iraq since it was a mere
gleam in the eyes of Messrs. Bush and Cheney. Many of our fans in the service
are now suffering the consequences of this ill-advised invasion. The Raytheon
9 are not criminal, they are merely focusing attention on this current
Administration’s failed Middle Eastern policies. Had the millions of us
in the U.S. who saw through Bush/ Cheney’s lies engaged in similar non-violent
activities, we would not be in dire position we find ourselves in Iraq

The Raytheon 9 have received support from throughout Ireland and across
the world. Among those who have signed the statement of support are Noam
Chomsky, Mark Thomas, Christy Moore, George Galloway MP, Salma Yaqoob (Stop
the War Coalition UK) Ibrahim Mousawi (Lebanon), Caoimhe Butterly, Richard
Boyd Barrett (Irish Anti-War Movement),  and many others. 


Sandy Boyer co-hosts WBAI’s Radio “Free Eireann” and has led campaigns
to free Irish political prisoners. He has contributed articles on the Irish
struggle to publications in Ireland and the U.S. including
New Politics
and The Blanket. Shaun Harkin is a regular contributor to the Socialist
Worker and the International Socialist Review