Why Do We Focus on ATK?
By Steve Clemens, Gandhi’s Birthday Action, October 2, 2007
• They make illegal weapons
• They profit from war and death
• They sell their weapons all over the world
• This is their World Headquarters
1. Illegal Weapons:
According to the Laws of War and International Humanitarian, weapons which fail to discriminate between combatants and the civilian population are “indiscriminate” and, therefore illegal to be “manufactured, sold, stockpiled, or used.”
• Anti-personnel landmines – ATK is one of the leading manufacturers of landmines in the U.S. since it’s spin-off from Honeywell and has recently bragged about developing two new versions of “smart” ones called the Spider and the Matrix. Anti-personnel landmines have been declared illegal by Treaties although our country has refused to sign it. Since more than 80 nations world-wide have signed the Treaty, it is in effect.
• Cluster Bombs- ATK is one of only two manufacturers of the CBU-87, an air-dropped cluster munition used in both Afghanistan and Iraq by the U.S. Military. International Law experts state that a “dud rate” of greater than ½ of 1% would make this weapon “indiscriminate”. The cluster bombs ATK makes have been shown to have a “dud rate” of between a low of 5% and as high as 30% - and, as such, have been specifically mentioned in United Nations Resolutions as illegal because of their indiscriminate nature. Although the term used is “dud”, unexploded cluster bombs litter the landscape and explode for decades to come – often killing children and farmers.
• Depleted Uranium Munitions- The use of waste product from the enrichment of uranium, the hard, dense, yet still radioactive –and a toxic “heavy metal” to boot – depleted uranium bullets and artillery shells have been used in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Balkans. Although difficult to prove scientifically, it is widely believed to result in cancers, birth defects, toxic poisonings and other deadly health maladies in both the civilian population and can affect the troops that use these weapons as well. Again, like cluster bombs, depleted uranium weapons are specifically outlawed by a UN Resolution.
• “The Gun that Can Shoot Around Corners”- (XM25 Air-Burst Assault Weapon) – Designed to explode beyond walls or other objects without being able to “see” what is behind them. Is it a combatant – or a child? What will happen when “criminal elements” in our society get a hold of them and use them against the police? By it’s very nature it is indiscriminate.
• Critical Components of Rockets and Missiles Designed to Deliver Nuclear Bombs- The rocket motors for the first-strike Trident Submarine nuclear missiles as well as the land-based Minuteman III nuclear missiles are made by ATK. These are weapons which, if used, can lead to a nuclear holocaust or the end of human life on this planet.
2. Profiting From Death:
Profits have soared since 9/11
ATK is the largest supplier of ammunition to U.S. Military –worth protesting even if it is not illegal.
Convicted of price-fixing by the U.S. Government! (AeroJet and ATK colluded to keep the prices of cluster bombs high by agreeing not to bid against each other.)
3. Selling Weapons All Over the World:
According to their own website, ATK has sales representatives in 60 different countries and sells to BOTH SIDES in some conflicts.
4. World Headquarters Are Here:
Housed in this building are the key decision-makers for this corporation. They bear a particular responsibility for the choices they make regarding what this company makes and sells. They are the ones who can choose Peace Conversion with no loss of jobs.
Please go to www.alliantACTION.org for more information on this Merchant of Death and the creative ways we have tried to nonviolently resist it.