No Christmas Cheer as Arms Giant Lockheed Gets Locked Out

Locked-heed Martin“We never forget who we’re murdering and spying for”. Cornerstone of the UK military-industrial complex / Orwellian state, US-based arms firm Lockheed Martin was targeted early on Thursday morning (13th December) at its central London HQ as activists from Trident Ploughshares and London Catholic Worker delivered a seasonal message to the company, locking workers out of the building for 45 minutes.

Lockheed Martin, whose corporate slogan is “We never forget who we’re working for”, was paid a visit on Thursday morning by a group of non-violent activists from a Trident Ploughshares affinity group called the Muriel Lesters, and London Catholic Worker. The group chained shut and blocked off all the entrances to the building for 45 minutes, from around 8am. The anonymous building (Manning House, 22 Carlisle Place, London. SW1P 1JA), hidden away in a side street near Victoria station, houses the UK corporate headquarters of the arms giant, which makes Trident nuclear weapons (warheads and missiles) and produces surveillance systems used by intelligence services to spy on the public and for commercial espionage. Several banners and placards were on display, including one that read “Lockheed Martin - Nuclear Crime Scene”, and workers and visitors to the building were leafleted, as well as passers by.

A crowd of workers and visitors trying to gain access to the building had gathered on the pavement within a quarter of an hour. Several accepted leaflets. Belgravia police were called to deal with the protesters. There was a delay as the police awaited bolt-cutters and back-up, but the chains were eventually removed from the front door, after which the protesters blocking the back entrances, including an elderly lady in a wheelchair, decided to unchain the doors and move round to the front. Police were admitted to the building for discussions, but no arrests were made (either of the peace campaigners or the arms dealers). The protesters were allowed to continue demonstrating and leafleting peacefully outside the building, until finally leaving of their own accord at 9.30am.

Father Martin Newell, a Catholic priest from east London, says: “I feel it is my duty as a Christian to follow the prince of peace and oppose the horror of nuclear weapons.”

Myra Garrett from east London says: “I felt I had to target the company because of the new nuclear weapons facilities they are developing right here in the UK, at Aldermaston.”

Chris Gwyntopher from east London says: “the building had to be closed in the interests of public security and world peace. Unlike Lockheed, I feel my purpose is to save life, not destroy it. I wish the workers would leave the building for good and seek more humane employment.”

Irene Willis from Essex says: “Christmas seems an appropriate time of year to reflect upon the horrific effects the arms trade and nuclear weapons have in the world and to ask ourselves whether we really need them.”

The group intends to pay the company another visit in the near future.

Notes:

1. Lockheed Martin, SERCO and - currently - British Nuclear Fuels Plc (BNFL) are equal shareholders in AWE Management Ltd, which the UK Ministry of Defence has awarded a multi-billion pound contract to manage and operate the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) sites at Aldermaston and Burghfield, both in Berkshire, until at least 2025. This is where Britain's nuclear weapons are developed and maintained, and where new facilities are being constructed to enable the production of a new generation of nuclear weapons.

http://www.awe.co.uk/main_site/about_awe/the_company/index.html
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2007/11/385666.html
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2007/11/385357.html
http://www.awe.co.uk/main_site/scientific_and_technical/publications/Str...

2. Lockheed Martin promotes itself thus:

“Our vision: As an increasing number of nations of all sizes around the world indicate the desire and capacity to develop nuclear, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction, it is necessary to expand our field of vision.

“Our aim: To sustain capability to design a warhead to succeed Trident by facilitating production of British nuclear warheads.

“Our priorities: The key elements of the science-based programme we are putting in place to maintain the country’s nuclear stockpile.

“Our future: We can now look forward to a long-term stable future for AWE and for the UK nuclear weapons programme.”

Lockheed Martin is the world’s largest arms company. Besides nuclear weapons, it produces a host of killing and spying machines, devices and systems, including ‘bunker buster’ bombs, cluster bombs and landmines.

The company also provides military interrogators for places like Guantanamo Bay and Iraq. It is also a leading partner in the Echelon global surveillance network. Its employees work alongside the American NSA (National Security Agency) at Menwith Hill spy station in Yorkshire.

See the following for details of the above: http://censusalert.org.uk/lockheed_martin.html

As well as being one of two lead bidders for the 2011 UK Census
http://censusalert.org.uk/
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/05/09/census_boycott/ , Lockheed Martin also has civilian contracts in the UK with:

Metropolitan Police Service
http://www.lockheedmartin.co.uk/products/metpolice.html

Transport for London
http://www.lockheedmartin.co.uk/products/lul.html

Network Rail
http://www.lockheedmartin.co.uk/products/networkrail.html

Railways - Positive Train Control
http://www.lockheedmartin.co.uk/products/ptc.html

Royal Mail
http://www.lockheedmartin.co.uk/products/ai.html

More on the company here: http://www.schnews.org.uk/archive/news402.htm

The company’s corporate websites:
http://www.lockheedmartin.com
http://www.lockheedmartin.co.uk

3. Trident Ploughshares is committed to bringing about the disarmament of British nuclear weapons through peaceful non-violent direct action. They call upon the British government to stop deploying its submarine-launched Trident nuclear weapons system with immediate effect, safely decommission every one of its warheads as soon as practicable, reverse its decision to renew / replace its (US-dependent) Trident system, and insist that the UN adopt a global Nuclear Weapons Convention outlawing all nuclear weapons at the very earliest opportunity.

See: http://www.tridentploughshares.org

Reports on recent Trident Ploughshares actions against Lockheed Martin (Oct 2007):

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2007/10/384043.html
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2007/10/384284.html

Reports and pics from Trident Ploughshares London ‘weapons inspections’ earlier this year (Feb 2007), which included Lockheed Martin:

http://www.tridentploughshares.org/article1485

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2007/02/363646.html

Reports from previous Trident Ploughshares actions at Lockheed Martin’s UK headquarters:

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2006/09/351270.html

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/06/314195.html

http://www.tridentploughshares.org/article1248

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/oxford/2004/12/302877.html