Activists block Raytheon weapons facility over arms sales to Israel and Saudi Arabia

Yesterday, on Thursday, August 12, activists blocked the entrance to a Raytheon facility in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. The action was organized by the FANG Collective and RAM INC (Resist and Abolish the Military Industrial Complex) in protest of the defense contractors weapons sales to Israel and Saudi Arabia, as well as its connections to the U.S/Mexico border.

RAM INC put out a statement citing the connections between local lawmakers and the company. “Raytheon spends millions of dollars a year lobbying politicians to escalate global conflicts and inflate the Pentagon’s budget just so that their profits can grow. Right here in Rhode Island Raytheon is the second highest donor to both Senator Jack Reed and Representative Jim Langevin. We can no longer allow rouge corporations like Raytheon to determine our foreign policy”, it reads.

Raytheon, which is the second largest weapons contractor in the world, has made billions selling weapons to the Saudi coalition attacking Yemen. According to a 2020 investigation by the New York Times, the company sold over $3 billion worth of bombs to the Saudis shortly after the war on Yemen began.

“Intent on pushing the deals through, Raytheon followed the industry playbook: It took advantage of federal loopholes by sending former State Department officials, who were not required to be registered as lobbyists, to press their former colleagues to approve the sales,” reads the report. “And though the company was already embedded in Washington — its chief lobbyist, Mark Esper, would become Army secretary and then defense secretary under Mr. Trump — Raytheon executives sought even closer ties.”

Activists blocked the entrance to a Raytheon facility in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. (Photo: Uprise RI)

In 2020 Raytheon Missiles & Defense announced that it partnering with the Israeli company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems to establish a United States production facility for Iron Dome, Israel’s missile defense system. According to numerous reports, Israel plans to request an additional $1 billion from the U.S. to replenish Iron Dome. Although that decision will be left up to congress, the Biden administration has repeatedly indicated that they support supplying Israel with those funds.

“Raytheon profits from the killing of civilians, families and children in Palestine, Yemen and elsewhere,” said one of the protesters. “We can’t sit idly by while Raytheon engineers new and more destructive ways of killing innocent people, Raytheon must be stopped and held accountable.”

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