Protest the Air Force Association “Arms Bazaar”

When: Monday, September 14, 2015, from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. 

What: A Nonviolent Vigil and Prayer Service for Peace during the AFA $310 per plate banquet (please bring a candle)
Where: Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, 201 Waterfront St., National Harbor, MD 20745. 
We will meet for the vigil at the corner of Waterfront St. and St. George Blvd., directly across from the Gaylord National Resort.

Sponsored by: Dorothy Day Catholic Worker
 
For more info contact: Art Laffin – 202-360-6416

“War should always scandalize the faithfulThink of the children starving in refugee camps, these are the fruits of war. And then think of the great dining rooms, of the parties held by those who control the arms industry, who produce weapons. Compare a sick, starving child in a refugee camp with the big parties, the good life led by the masters of the arms trade.”
                                                   —Pope Francis
                                                 February 25, 2014 Mass at the Vatican’s Santa Marta Chapel
Reported by Vatican Radio

Dear Friends,
This is an invitation to please join with the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, with peacemakers from Pax Christi Metro D.C.- Baltimore and other groups to protest the annual Air Force Association (AFA) Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition, what we call an “Arms Bazaar.” Please come and bring a friend. And please spread the word and post this wherever you can.
The U.S. power structure, in concert with weapons contractors participating in the AFA Arms Bazaar, is engaged in direct military intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan, continues its military support for the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, threatens Russia over its involvement in the Ukraine,  proceeds with its military “pivot” in the Asia-Pacific to threaten and contain China, and wages unrelenting killer drone attacks in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. While undertaking a historic agreement with Iran to curb its nuclear program, the U.S. government is planning to spend $1 trillion over the next thirty years to modernize its own nuclear arsenal. The U.S. military is also the world’s single biggest consumer of fossil fuels which is directly destabilizing the earth’s climate. The victims cry out for justice, and the earth, under daily assault, groans in travail. 

Who will speak for the poor and the victims, as arms dealers reap huge profits from their lethal weapons? Who will protect our sacred earth and environment? We urgently need, more than ever, to nonviolently resist all war and violence–from Iraq, Afghanistan Pakistan and Gaza, to Ferguson, NYC, Baltimore, Charleston and D.C. Together, let us continue to do all we can to establish the Beloved Community, end the climate crisis, and create a world free of nuclear and conventional weapons, war, racial hatred and oppression.  

As we undertake this vigil, we do so in solidarity with Campaign Nonviolence, who will be sponsoring a week-long series of actions nationwide from September 20-27 See: http://www.paceebene.org/programs/campaign-nonviolence. 

Please join this important witness to say YES to Life and a resounding NO to the war profiteers. We must not let this Arms Bazaar go unaddressed.
With gratitude,
Art Laffin

At a Glance
Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition (From the Air Force Association Web Site)

The Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition is truly a one-of-a-kind event where AFA brings together Air Force leadership, industry experts, academia, and current aerospace specialists from around the world to discuss the issues and challenges facing America and the aerospace community today.

Past speakers at previous conferences include the Secretary of the Air Force, the USAF Chief of Staff, the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, and other top Air Force, government, and aerospace industry leaders. This event attracts the top echelon of USAF senior leadership, including the commanders of every USAF command. Also invited are military dignitaries from air forces worldwide. The Air & Space Conference offers attendees major conference addresses, forums, and professional development workshops that focus on challenges and accomplishments unique to the Air Force and the aerospace community.

The Technology Exposition features aerospace exhibitors from around the world that display and demonstrate the latest breakthroughs in air and space technology. The exhibits at AFA’s Technology Exposition highlight the most current developments in aerospace technology and education.
 


 
Why Protest

The Air Force and some 150 arms contractors taking part in the AFA Air & Space Conference and Technology Expo, what we call an “Arms Bazaar,” have played a prominent role in U.S. warmaking.  These arms contractors, like Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon  are profiting from war and literally are making a killing! But that’s not all. The Air Force and numerous arms dealers are committed to U.S. nuclear/military superiority and militarizing and controlling space.
The U.S. continues to be the preeminent military superpower in the world and, along with Russia, a leading arms dealer. The U.S. supplies much of NATO and Middle Eastern allies like Turkey, Israel, and Saudi Arabia. Russia supplies Iran, much of Southeast Asia, North Africa and other nations.  To tabulate U.S. and Russian arms sales, Business Insider took numbers from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute for 2012-2013 to see whom the two rivals were supplying with weaponry. The U.S. dealt to 59 nations that Russia doesn’t sell or send weaponry to, while Russia dealt to just 15 nations that don’t receive U.S. arms. Fifteen countries received weaponry from both the U.S. and Russia, including Brazil, India, Afghanistan, and Iraq. The country that received the highest dollar amount of U.S. weaponry was the United Arab Emirates, with more than $3.7 billion in arms received over that period. Russia dealt the greatest value of weapons to India, sending more than $13.6 billion. Overall, the U.S. sent more than $26.9 billion in weaponry to foreign nations, while Russia sent weaponry exceeding $29.7 billion in value around the globe. For more see: http://www.businessinsider.com/arms-sales-by-the-us-and-russia-2014-8. 

U. S. arms sales are fueling wars in the Middle East. To wage war in Yemen, Saudi Arabia is using F-15 fighter jets bought from Boeing. Pilots from the United Arab Emirates are flying Lockheed Martin‘s F-16 to bomb both Yemen and Syria. Soon, the Emirates are expected to complete a deal with General Atomics for a fleet of Predator drones to run spying missions in their neighborhood. (See “Sale of U.S. Arms Fuels the Wars of Arab States by Mark Mazzetti and Helene Cooper, New York Times, April 18, 2015). President Barack Obama has promised increased U.S. arms shipments to Israel, Saudi Arabia and other Middle East allies concerned about the nuclear agreement with Iran. (See “Post Iran Deal, A Push to Boost Support for Israel” by Walter Pincus, Washington Post, Aug. 25, 2015).
From September 14-16, the AFA will host more than 45 forums that will address how the U.S. can refine its warmaking and remain the preeminent military superpower on earth and in space. Secretary of Defense(War) Ashton Carter is among the featured speakers. During the three days, there are two major banquets. On September 14, as the AFA holds a $310 per plate banquet honoring outstanding airmen, a nonviolent vigil will be held outside the Gaylord National Resort to decry this scandalous Arms Bazaar.
Who will give voice to the victims who have suffered and died in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere as a direct result of U.S. warmaking, and weapons, like the Drone ”Predator” and “Reaper” war planes, produced by the arms contractors participating in the Arms Bazaar? In the name of God who calls us to love and not to kill, it’s time to end this Arms Bazaar! It’s time to repent of U.S. war crimes and make reparations to all victims of U.S. warmaking. It’s time to bring all the war money home, alleviate poverty, meet urgent human needs, and save our environment. It’s time to end construction of a new U.S.-backed naval base on Jeju Island in S. Korea that will serve as a U.S. military outpost to threaten and contain China. It’s time to disarm and eliminate all weapons–from chemical and nuclear weapons to killer drones, end all U.S. military intervention and abolish war. It’s time to end systemic racist violence and the militarization of the police at home. It’s time to practice nonviolence. Please join this important vigil, and say Yes to Life and a resounding No to the war profiteers.

Directions from Downtown D.C., Parking and Meeting Place
Take 395 South (off of New York Ave. or Constitution Ave. at 9th St. NW) Merge onto 295 South via exit on left (crossing into Maryland) – 7.4 miles. Take the exit toward National Harbor. Take ramp to National Harbor Blvd. Bear left on National Harbor Blvd. and go two blocks to St. George Blvd. Make a right on St. George Blvd. Go to one block before Waterfront St. and look for street meter parking. Also St. George Parking Garage is on right in case you can’t find street parking (just past the cross street called Mariner Passage). The garage is one block before Waterfront St., where the Gaylord National Resort is located. We will meet for the vigil at the corner of Waterfront St. and St. George Blvd. on the sidewalk in front of the Gaylord National ResortIf you are coming from Maryland or Virginia use Map Quest for the most precise route to the Gaylord.

Public Transportation

If you would like to use public transportation, take the Green Line to Branch Ave. Get off at Branch Ave. and take the NH1 National Harbor bus line. This bus takes you to the corner of St. George Blvd. and Waterfront St. across from the Gaylord National Resort. Call 202-637-7000 and select “ride guide” for best directions. Or go WMATA web site.

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