“This is a regime that cannot be trusted and really should not be provided with these weapons.”
Anti-war activists say one of the world’s greatest humanitarian disasters has connections to one of the Commonwealth’s largest employers, Raytheon Technologies, which supplies military weapons to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for its ongoing war in Yemen.
Investigators with the United Nations say evidence shows Saudi Arabia has committed numerous war crimes against Yemeni civilians in the past several years.
Brian Garvey – assistant director of Massachusetts Peace Action – said Raytheon’s weapons sales are also supporting the Kingdom’s continued blockade of Yemen’s supply routes, which has led to widespread famine and malnutrition.
“And frankly, many connections to international terrorism,” said Garvey. “This is a regime that cannot be trusted and really should not be provided with these weapons.”
Garvey said 5% of Raytheon’s sales come from Saudi Arabia, which the Biden Administration calls a longtime strategic ally.
Raytheon has previously stated the company does not make U.S. policy but simply complies with it.
Garvey noted that activists are not opposed to Raytheon’s workers in the Commonwealth but rather, the policies that executives promote to increase their own weapons business.
Washington, D.C. is known to have a revolving door between private and government employees. Current Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III is a former Raytheon board member.
Garvey said growing concern over the potential use of nuclear weapons technology in Ukraine has only added urgency to his group’s campaign.
“When you have a company like Raytheon Technologies, who has a real interest in getting these contracts and producing these weapons for their own bottom line,” said Garvey, “that’s directly at odds to the interest of people everywhere.”
President Joe Biden recently signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law, giving more than $800 billion to the Defense Department. Garvey said he thinks much of that could be better spent preparing for climate change, or even the next pandemic.
Kathryn Carley began her career in community radio, and is happy to be back, covering the New England region for Public News Service. Getting her start at KFAI in Minneapolis, Carley graduated from the University of Minnesota and then worked as a reporter for Minnesota Public Radio, focusing on energy and agriculture. Moving to Washington, D.C., she filed stories for The Pacifica Network News and The Pacifica Report. Later Carley worked as News Host for New York Public Radio, WNYC as well as Co-Anchor for Newsweek’s long running radio program, Newsweek on Air. Carley also served as News Anchor for New York Times Radio. She now lives near Boston, MA.