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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

The Raytheon file:
The campaign against Raytheon in Derry

A briefing for the Foyle Ethical Investment Campaign

Liz Curtis • April 8, 2003


Since the USA and Britain began their blitz on Baghdad and invasion of Iraq on 20 March, thousands of people have been killed and many more grievously injured. The victims include many Iraqi civilians, including children.

Much of the devastation of life and property has been caused by weapons made by the American company Raytheon, the world¹s biggest producer of missiles. Both the American and British forces are firing Raytheon missiles, which include Tomahawk cruise missiles, Patriots, ''bunker busters'' and cluster bombs. Among those killed by Raytheon missiles are the 62 or more civilians who died in a Baghdad market place on Friday 28 March.

In August 1999, in a bizarre spin-off from Northern Ireland¹s peace process, Raytheon established a software development centre in Derry City. While this centre is not manufacturing missiles, its role includes work for the British Ministry of Defence and developing e-commerce software for the company.

Raytheon was invited to Derry by the internationally renowned politician John Hume, the local MP and MEP, as part of the effort to build the city's economy following the cessation of violence. State funding came from the Industrial Development Board. Hume had won the Nobel Peace Prize for his leading role in the peace process, as had Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble.

Both Hume and Trimble welcomed Raytheon to Derry. The city council, dominated by the SDLP and Sinn Fein, has consistently supported the company¹s presence.

But people in the city opposed to the international arms trade immediately began a vigorous campaign to expel the company, using street theatre, murals and demonstrations to draw attention to Raytheon¹s lethal products. This campaign became ever more urgent as the invasion of Iraq neared.

Human rights campaigner Dr Robbie McVeigh says: 'Before the war started, we gave a personal letter to every city councillor pleading with them to take a stand against Raytheon, and saying they would bear a heavy responsibility if they failed to do so. Before long, more people will have been killed in Iraq than the 4,000 people who died in our conflict here in Ireland, and Raytheon¹s weapons will be responsible for many of those deaths.'

While opposing Raytheon, the campaigners also recognised Derry¹s urgent need for jobs. They founded the Foyle Ethical Investment Campaign (FEIC), aiming to develop socially responsible employment opportunities in the city.

'The people of Derry do not want their city to be associated with the evil arms trade,' says FEIC spokesperson Jim Keys. 'Raytheon came here as part of the peace dividend, so we are exchanging peace at home for war abroad. We want good investors, who will produce positive products and protect the community¹s rights.'

Raytheon and its products

Raytheon is a American multi-national arms manufacturer based in Lexington, Massachussetts. Details about the company and its products are available on its website, It donates large sums to political parties; recipients include the British Labour Party.

Raytheon has 77,500 employees around the world, including 2,300 in the UK, of whom some 60 are employed in Derry. There have been layoffs recently, both in Derry and elsewhere, as a result of the global economic downturn.

Raytheon is the biggest missile manufacturer in the world, and the fourth largest arms company in terms of military sales (see Gideon Burrows, The No-Nonsense Guide to the Arms Trade, pub. New Internationalist & Verso, 2002). Within three weeks of the attack on New York¹s twin towers on 9 September 2001, Raytheon¹s shares rose 40 per cent. Raytheon also produces products which have civilian applications, including air traffic control systems.

Missiles produced by Raytheon include Tomahawk cruise missiles (which cost at least $500,000 each and are currently devastating Baghdad) along with Paveways, Patriots, Sidewinders and Stingers. They also make the Maverick, which was first used in Vietnam and has been extensively used since.

A coded weapon fragment seen by Robert Fisk in the second Baghdad market place to be bombed, where some 62 civilians were killed, came from a Raytheon weapon, possibly a High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) (see The Independent, 2 April 2003, article appended below).

Raytheon sells the TOW anti-tank missile to Israel, which has fired many of them in Palestinian refugee camps, causing widespread death and injury and destroying many homes. Graffiti recently appeared in Derry reading: 'Palestine burns, Raytheon earns.'

Raytheon also makes the JSOW cluster bomb, carrying BLU-97 bomblets. A BLU-97 which had landed in a civilian area of Iraq was pictured on television on 1 April. The cluster bomb is a ferocious weapon described by the Washington Post as having 'a unique civilian impact' (26 February 2001).

The JSOW bomb carries a warhead consisting of 145 bomblets which are released about 400 feet above the target. These bomblets are about the size of soft-drinks cans, and float with the wind. On average, five per cent of them do not explode, but lie about on the ground, remaining a lethal hazard for years after they are dropped.

In previous conflicts, cluster bombs have killed many civilians,including children, and thousands of people have lost limbs. The International Red Cross has declared that the use of cluster bombs and other types of sub-munitions in populated areas should be banned.

Human Rights Watch has called for a global moratorium on the use of cluster bombs, reporting: 'During the 1991 Gulf War, the United States and its allied coalition dropped bombs containing about twenty million submunitions, and also reportedly fired artillery projectiles containing more than thirty million submunitions. These resulted in millions of hazardous duds, each functioning like an indiscriminate antipersonnel landmine. At least eighty U.S. casualties during the war were attributed to cluster munition duds. More than 4,000 civilians have been killed or injured by cluster munition duds since the end of the war.'

There are various types of cluster bomb, manufactured by different companies. Several of these carry BLU-97 sub-munitions. (see

Raytheon also produces the 'bunker buster' bomb, which penetrates deep into concrete and hard ground. The latest version is the EGBU-38, replacing the GBU-37.

Raytheon in Derry

Raytheon Systems Ltd established its software centre in a business park on the outskirts of Derry in 1999. The centre currently employs some 60 people, and makes use of graduates and expertise from the University of Ulster (whose Magee Campus is located in the city) and Queen's University in Belfast.

The company is vague about what it actually does in Derry. Its website says the Derry centre is working on ASTOR, an 'airborne radar surveillance programme' funded by the British Ministry of Defence to the tune of £800 million.

The spokesman for Raytheon Systems Ltd, Mike Brown, told a journalist recently that the Derry centre was working on air traffic control systems and the development of an e-commerce website, which would enable, for example, spare parts to be bought over the internet. Raytheon was invited to Derry by John Hume, local MP and MEP, and then leader of the SDLP. Not only had Hume won the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in the Northern Ireland peace process, but he had also been a longstanding and outspoken critic of violence employed by Irish paramilitary groups.

Both John Hume and his fellow Nobel Peace Prize-winner David Trimble, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, formally welcomed Raytheon to Derry at a ceremony in the city¹s Guildhall on 24 August 1999.

In a statement which has been angrily contested by protesters, Hume said that Raytheon's decision 'to locate a major software plant in my home city... will be warmly welcomed by all of our citizens.'

Derry City Council has been fully behind Raytheon. The council is overwhelming nationalist, with 14 SDLP councillors and 10 Sinn Fein. There are six Unionist councillors (four DUP and 2 UUP).

Concerned local people launched a vigorous protest campaign as soon as Raytheon arrived in Derry, but the council studiously ignored it. Then at the first council meeting after the invasion of Iraq, Sinn Féin put forward a successful motion that the council should hold a special meeting to hear all sides of the debate. At the time of writing this meeting has not taken place.

The protest campaign

Campaigners draw attention to the evils of the arms trade, and the diversion of huge sums to death and destruction which could be spent on socially useful projects both at home and abroad.

Angela Hegarty is a human rights activist and lawyer, and a former vice-chairperson of the SDLP. 'The arms trade is completely immoral,' she says.' 'It is dreadful that Raytheon came here as part of our peace process. Instead of beating our swords into ploughshares, we are beating them into missiles to kill people overseas'

Angela points out the social and economic cost of the arms trade: 'Billions of pounds are spent on buying arms, which could be spent on schools and hospitals here, and on medicine and clean water and agricultural products in the developing world. More than 1.6 million children are dying each year because of diseases caused by unclean water, according to UNICEF. We could put that right with only a fraction of the money spent every year on buying weapons from companies like Raytheon.'

The campaigners' activities have included a monthly vigil at the Raytheon plant, as well as many events using street theatre and art. On Good Friday two years running, a walk has been held on the theme of the Passion, starting at the Raytheon plant and stopping for dramatic performances at ''sites of collaboration'', including the city council offices and Magee Campus.

When the invasion of Iraq started, protesters staged a ''die-in'' outside the Guildhall, and also peacefully entered the Raytheon plant, attracting considerable interest from the local media on both occasions (Derry Journal, 28 March 2003).

Most recently, they protested against George Bush's visit to Belfast on 7 to 8 April by transforming three Derry landmarks. They shrouded ''Free Derry Wall'' in black, altered the statue of two men known as the Derry Tappers to show them decommissioning a missile, and transformed the statue of Irish goddess Macha at Altnagelvin Hospital into a peace shrine (photographs are on ).

Campaigning for positive employment

Campaigners not only argue against the presence of a major arms company in their midst, but also for the creation of positive employment opportunities in Derry and its hinterland. To this end, they formed the Foyle Ethical Investment Campaign (FEIC).

The area is suffering severely from globalisation, losing jobs in the clothing industry to Africa and Asia. FEIC argues that the gap should be filled neither by companies producing weapons of mass destruction, nor by companies that will vanish as soon as the state handouts run out. One project FEIC supporters are aiding is Brí Nua, which aims to set up a community-owned windfarm in County Donegal.

FEIC spokesperson Jim Keys says: 'We want companies to come here that give workers full rights and also leave something behind them when they go. We also want to create positive businesses ourselves.'

Contact FEIC:

For further information about the campaign against Raytheon contact Rose Kelly or Jim Keys on 07803 26879

Other contacts:

John Hume/SDLP, 5 Bayview Terrace, Derry. BT48 7EE. Tel 7126 5340

Sinn Féin Constituency Office, Rathmor Centre, Blighs Lane, Derry. BT48 OLZ. Tel 7130 9264

Raytheon Systems Limited, Peninsula Court, Ulster Science & Technology Park, Buncrana Road, Londonderry, BT48 0SL, Northern Ireland. Tel +44 (0)2871 304000, fax +44 (0)2871 304100

Corporate Communications, Raytheon Company, 141 Spring Street, Lexington, MA 02421, USA.

Raytheon Systems Limited:

Mike Brown, Tel +44 (0) 20 7569 5517, fax +44 (0) 20 7569 5596,

Raytheon Missile Systems: Colleen Niccum, Tel (USA) 520.794.8565,
Sara Hammond, tel (USA) 520.794.7810, fax 520.794.1315,
Jennifer Spears-Allen, tel (USA) 520.794.4182, fax 520.794.1315,


Article from the London Independent (London), 2 April 2003,

The proof: marketplace deaths were caused by a US missile By Cahal Milmo

An American missile, identified from the remains of its serial number, was pinpointed yesterday as the cause of the explosion at a Baghdad market on Friday night that killed at least 62 Iraqis.

The codes on the foot-long shrapnel shard, seen by the Independent correspondent Robert Fisk at the scene of the bombing in the Shu'ale district, came from a weapon manufactured in Texas by Ray- theon, the world's biggest producer of "smart" armaments.

The identification of the missile as American is an embarrassing blow to Washington and London as they try to match their promises of minimal civilian casualties with the reality of precision bombing.

Both governments have suggested the Shu'ale bombing - and the explosion at another Baghdad market that killed at least 14 people last Wednesday - were caused by ageing Iraqi anti-aircraft missiles. Jack Straw, the Foreign
Secretary, said yesterday it was "increasingly probable" the first explosion was down to the Iraqis and Peter Hain, the Welsh Secretary, suggested on BBC's Newsnight last night that President Saddam sacked his head of air
defences because they were not working properly.

But investigations by The Independent show that the missile - thought to be either a Harm (High Speed Anti-Radiation Missile) device, or a Paveway laser-guided bomb - was sold by Raytheon to the procurement arm of the US Navy. The American military has confirmed that a navy EA-6B "Prowler" jet, based on the USS Kittyhawk, was in action over the Iraqi capital on Friday and fired at least one Harm missile to protect two American fighters from a surface-to-air missile battery.

The Pentagon and Raytheon, which last year had sales of $16.8bn (£10.6bn), declined to comment on the serial number evidence last night. A US Defence Department spokeswoman said: "Our investigations are continuing. We cannot comment on serial numbers which may or may not have been found at the scene."

An official Washington source went further, claiming that the shrapnel could have been planted at the scene by the Iraqi regime.

On Saturday, Downing Street disclosed intelligence that linked the Wednesday attack - and by implication Friday's killings - on Iraqi missiles being fired without radar guidance and falling back to earth. The Prime Minister's spokesman said: "A large number of surface-to-air missiles have been malfunctioning and many have failed to hit their targets and have fallen back on to Baghdad. We are not saying definitively that these explosions were caused by Iraqi missiles but people should approach this with due scepticism."

The Anglo-American claims were undermined by the series of 25 digits and letters on the piece of fuselage shown to Mr Fisk by an elderly resident of Shu'ale who lived 100 yards from the site of the 6ft crater made by the explosion.

The numbers on the fragment - retrieved from the scene and not shown to the Iraqi authorities - read: "30003-704ASB7492". The letter "B" was partially obscured by scratches and may be an "H". It was followed by a second code: "MFR 96214 09."

An online database of suppliers maintained by the Defence Logistics Information Service, part of the Department of Defence, showed that thevreference MFR 96214 was the identification or "cage" number of a Raytheon plant in the city of McKinney, Texas.

The 30003 reference refers to the Naval Air Systems Command, the procurement agency responsible for furnishing the US Navy's air force with its weaponry.

The Pentagon refused to disclose which weapon was designated by the remaining letters and numbers, although defence experts said the information could be found within seconds from the Nato database of all items of military hardware operated across the Alliance, "from a nuclear bomb to a bath plug", as one put it.

Raytheon, which also produces the Patriot anti-missile system and the Tomahawk cruise missile, lists its Harms and its latest Paveway III laser-guided bombs, marketed with the slogan "One bomb, one target", as among its most accurate weaponry.

The company's sales description for its anti-radar missile says: "Harm was designed with performance and quality in mind. In actual field usage, Harm now demonstrates reliability four times better than specification. No modern
weapons arsenal is complete without Harm in its inventory."

Faced with apparent proof that one of its missiles had been less accurate than specification, Raytheon was more coy on the capabilities of its products. A spokeswoman at the company's headquarters in Tucson, Arizona, said: "All questions relating to the use of our products in the field are to be handled by the appropriate military authority."

Defence experts said the damage caused at Shu'ale was consistent with that of Paveway or, more probably, a Harm weapon, which carries a warhead designed to explode into thousands of aluminium fragments and has a range of

Despite its manufacturer's claims, it also has a record of unreliability when fired at a target which "disappears" if, as the Iraqi forces do, the target's operators switch their radar signal rapidly on and off. Nick Cook, of Jane's Defence Weekly, said: "The problem with Harms is that they can be seduced away from their targets by any sort of curious transmission. They are meant to have corrected that but there have been problems." During the Kosovo conflict four years ago, a farmer and his daughter were badly injured when a missile exploded in their village. A shard of the casing was found near by with a reference very similar to that found in Baghdad: "30003 704AS4829 MFP 96214."

The American navy confirmed that one of its Prowler jets, which is used to jam enemy radar, had been over an unspecified area of Baghdad on Friday night. A pool reporter on the carrier USS Kittyhawk was told that the Prowler squadron had fired its first Harm on Friday evening in response to an air-defence unit that was threatening two F/A-18 Hornet jets. Lieutenant Rob Fluck told the journalist that the crew had not seen where their missile had landed.

Briefing ends


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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of 'crackpot' than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that seem important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost.
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Index: Current Articles

19 April 2003


Other Articles From This Issue:


Rivers Change Their Course Sometimes but Always Reach the Sea

Anthony McIntyre


The Raytheon File: The Campaign against Raytheon in Derry
Liz Curtis


Republicans' Big Risk Redux: Walker Stumbles Too

Paul Fitzsimmons


A Tribute to Andy Barr
Joe Bowers


Rejecting Stereotypes
Liam O Ruairc


The Daily Uprising
Seaghan O Murchu


14 April 2003


Maghaberry Update


"We Won The Peace, Now Let's Win The War"

PRO, POWs, Maghaberry


"In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash"

Paul Fitzsimmons


Killer Peaceniks
Henry McDonald


Hillsborough and the Anglo-American Agreement to Wage War
Anthony McIntyre


An English View of the 'Ra
Eamonn McCann


In the Swim with Two Boys
Seaghan O Murchu


A Better World Without Him

Anthony McIntyre


Arrogant Propaganda
Paul de Rooij




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