On trial in Burlington for taking on war supplier

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On Tuesday, June 3, 10 non-violent resisters head back to court for a continuation of a trial that sprang from a November 2006 non-violent direct action at the Burlington site of Canada's self-proclaimed top military manufacturer, L-3 Wescam.

A 2006 U.K. report in the Telegraph newspaper praised Wescam technology, noting that the company's "powerful day and night cameras" give "commanders the ability to direct the battle from 40,000 ft. and bring down destruction on an unsuspecting enemy."

Of course, in Afghanistan, the "unsuspecting enemies," even by NATO's own admission, are inevitably the civilian populations who are murdered by the indiscriminate violence that is launched from 40,000 feet.

In November 2006, 10 people attempting to enter into a dialogue with company executives for the Burlington, Ontario military manufacturer L-3 Wescam were arrested and charged with trespassing.

They wanted to talk about transforming Wescam's business from a place of war profiteering and possible complicity in acts of torture into an organization that produces socially useful things for the betterment of the world community. Those charged, in addition to this writer, are Frank (Barney) Barningham, Dan Hilton, Gail Lorimer, Dave Marshall, David Milne, Maggie Panter, Kirsten Romaine, Mike Smith, and Paul York.

Their action followed on the heels of an act of mass murder from the skies when some 80 Pakistani school kids, most under the age of 15, were murdered on October 30, 2006, when, according to numerous on-the-ground reports, an unmanned U.S. Predator drone, employing a targeting device designed and manufactured at Burlingtonâe(TM)s L-3 Wescam, shot a Hellfire missile into the studentsâe(TM) school.

The June trial is carried over from a full day in court in February, during which resisters performed an Ash Wednesday liturgy in a blizzard outside the courthouse. During testimony, protesters described their obligation under the Nuremberg Principles to resist war-making and planned acts of aggression and mass violence, noting that L-3 Wescam supplies human rights violators including Colombia, Egypt, Algeria, China, Iran, Libya, Saudia Arabia, U.S., and U.K (source: Industry Canada).

L-3 Wescam components are used by Hellfire-missile-armed US Air Force Predator, Cobra Attack Helicopter, and the Vigilante chopper's Low Cost Precision Kill scheme; L-3 Wescam "border control" products prevent refugees from finding safety; L-3 Wescam outfits police forces to repress demonstrations and "public disturbances"; Wescam parent L-3 Communications Canada was ranked #1 war manufacturer (Canadian Defence Review, 2006); and Wescam Parent company L-3 Communications supplies "interrogation" teams allegedly implicated in torture in Iraq.

In its advertising, L-3 WESCAM promises to change the way you see the world. But when you see the world through the targeting sites of a Hellfire missile, everyone is an enemy: refugees, school children, wedding guests, all of whom have likely been killed with Wescam technology.

On June 3, we again head to court to help Wescam employees see the human destruction caused by their products and ask: What if Wescam targeted poverty and pollution, not people? What if they produced technology to shoot down heart disease, not Hellfire missiles?

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