Protest the Air Force Association "Arms Bazaar"
When: Tuesday, September 17, 2019, from 12 Noon – 1:30 p.m.
What: A Nonviolent Vigil and Prayer Service for Peace and Justice during the AFA "Arms Bazaar." As we undertake this vigil, we do so in solidarity with Campaign Nonviolence, who will be sponsoring a week-long series of actions nationwide from September 14-22. Nearly 3,000 actions are taking place in the U.S. and abroad as part of this campaign. For more info see: https://paceebene.org/campaign-nonviolence/
Where: Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, 201 Waterfront St., National Harbor, MD 20745.
We will meet for the vigil at the corner of Waterfront St. and St. George Blvd., directly across from the Gaylord National Resort (See Directions Below)
Sponsored by the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker
For more info contact: Art Laffin - 202-360-6416, firstname.lastname@example.org
"Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade." --Pope Francis, September 24, 2015 Speech to the U.S. Congress
From September 16-18, the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center is once again playing host to the Air Force Association (AFA) "Air, Space and Cyber Conference" what we call an "Arms Bazaar." The AFA, according to its web site, is "the voice for aerospace power and the Air Force family." Last year's theme for the AFA Arms Bazaar was: “Multi-Domain Operations: Leveraging the Full Spectrum." This year's theme is "Expanding the Competitive Edge." (see below more info) Over 130 exhibitors taking part in this years Arms Bazaar have played a prominent role in U.S. warmaking. Arms contractors like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and BAE, are profiting from war and literally are making a killing! But that's not all. The Pentagon and numerous arms dealers are committed to U.S. nuclear/military/cyber superiority and militarizing and controlling space.
As the source of approximately 36 percent of the world's military exports, the U.S. is the worlds largest arms supplier, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute see: https://www.sipri.org/media/press-release/2019/global-arms-trade-usa-increases-dominance-arms-flows-middle-east-surge-says-sipri
The U.S. exported arms to at least 98 countries in the past five years; these deliveries often included advanced weapons such as combat aircraft, short-range cruise and ballistic missiles, and large numbers of guided bombs. Of the 25 countries buying the most weapons from the U.S., 10 are either NATO member nations or part of other alliances formed with the U.S. since the Cold War. In 2017 the U.S. set a one year record for clearing weapons sales of $75.9 billion.
The biggest recipient of U.S. arms sales is Saudi Arabia. The Saudi's have been using weapons from arms contractors like Lockheed Martin to kill innocent Yemenis, including scores of children.
More than half (52 percent) of U.S. arms exports went to the Middle East in 2014–18. U.S. arms sales in the Middle East are fueling widespread wars in the region, as the U.S. continues its quest to destroy ISIS.
In concert with weapons contractors participating in the AFA Arms Bazaar, the U.S. is engaged in direct military intervention in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, continues its military support for the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, proceeds with its military "pivot" in the Asia-Pacific to threaten and contain China, and wages its killer drone attacks. During this past year there have been U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia.
In its pursuit to dominate space, the Trump Administration is creating a "Space Force," a new branch of the U.S. military. In an August 29th ceremony formally establishing the Space Force, Mr. Trump called the command's creation a "landmark moment" in protecting America's assets in space and said it would help "defend America's vital interest in space, the next warfighting domain, and I think that's pretty obvious to everybody. It's all about space."
The U.S. government also continues with its "Missile Defense" deployments encircling China and Russia, constituting a flagrant violation of its Anti-Ballistic missile treaty with Russia.
Today the U.S. possess over 6,000 nuclear weapons, many of which are on hair-trigger alert, and proposes to spend an estimated $1 trillion over the next 30 years to modernize its existing nuclear arsenal. The Pentagon also announced in June a new nuclear war doctrine: "Nuclear Operations." This doctrine is designed to fulfill the Trump Administration's quest for nuclear-war-fighting “flexibility.”
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has turned its "Doomsday Clock" to 2 minutes before midnight to signify the perilous situation facing the world due to the dangers of nuclear war and the climate crisis. This peril has been exacerbated by contradictory and belligerent comments by a U.S. president who has threatened to attack Iran, as well as by the U.S. conducting a sub-critical nuclear test in February, and withdrawing from the Iran Nuclear Deal and the INF Treaty with Russia. As a leading nuclear superpower, the U.S. practices a double standard by calling on other nations to disarm while, at the same time, it refuses to disarm and instead is rapidly expanding its own arsenal. The U.S. military is also the world's single biggest consumer of fossil fuels which is directly responsible for destabilizing the earth's climate.
On July 7, 2017, at the conclusion of a special "UN Conference To Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons," 122 countries voted in favor of historic treaty to legally prohibit nuclear weapons. To date 26 countries have ratified it. We call on the U.S., the only country to have ever used nuclear weapons, to endorse this treaty and to lead the way to total worldwide nuclear disarmament.
During its three day Arms Bazaar, the AFA is sponsoring over 30 forums addressing how the U.S. can refine its warmaking apparatus and cyber capability so it can dominate earth and space. On September 16, the AFA will hold a $300+ per plate banquet honoring outstanding airmen, and on September 18, it will have another similar banquet celebrating the birthday of the AFA. We decry the AFA Arms Bazaar for what it is: a scandalous affront to God, a theft from the poor, and a threat to people and the environment worldwide!
The victims cry out for justice, and the earth, under daily assault, groans in travail! Who will speak for the poor and the victims, as arms dealers reap huge profits from their lethal weapons and death technology? Who will protect our sacred earth and environment? We urgently need, more than ever, to nonviolently resist all war, racism, oppression and violence--from Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan and Gaza, to Ferguson, Charlottesville, D.C. and elsewhere. Together, let us continue to do all we can to establish the Beloved Community, end the climate crisis, eradicate poverty and create a world free of nuclear and conventional weapons, killer drones, war, racial hatred and oppression. In the name of God, who calls us to love and not to hate, demonize and kill, it's time to end this Arms Bazaar!
Please join with members of the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, Pax Christi and other peacemakers as we seek to say YES to Life and a resounding NO to the merchants of death and war profiteers.