Protest the Air Force Association “Arms Bazaar”

When: Wednesday, September 20, 2017, from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. 
 
What: A Nonviolent Vigil and Prayer Service for Peace during the AFA $300+ per plate banquet (please bring a candle). 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 18-25. See: http://www.paceebene.org/programs/campn-nonviolence
 
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 (See Directions Below)
 
Sponsored by the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker
 
For more info contact: Art Laffin – 202-360-6416artlaffin@hotmail.com
 
                                                                                                                                 

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 

                                                                                                                                                                            

Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade.” 
— Pope Francis, September 24, 2015 Speech to the U.S. Congress

Dear Friends, 

 
From September 18-20, the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center is once again playing host to the Air Force Association (AFA) “Air, Space and Cyber Conference” what we call an “Arms Bazaar.” The AFA, according to its web site, is “the voice for aerospace power and the Air Force family.” To mark its 70th anniversary the theme for this year’s AFA Arms Bazaar is: “Breaking Barriers: Heritage to Horizons.” (See more below)
 
During its three day Arms Bazaar, the AFA is sponsoring over 30 forums addressing how the U.S. can refine its warmaking apparatus and cyber capability so it can dominate earth and space. On Wednesday, September 20, the AFA is holding a $300+ per plate banquet honoring outstanding airmen. We decry the AFA Arms Bazaar for what it is: a scandalous affront to God, a theft from the poor, and a threat to people worldwide! 

Some 130 arms contractors taking part in this years Arms Bazaar have played a prominent role in U.S. warmaking. These arms contractors, like Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Boeing, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon, are profiting from war and literally are making a killing! But that’s not all. The Pentagon and numerous arms dealers are committed to U.S. nuclear/military/cyber superiority and militarizing and controlling space.

As the world’s preeminent military superpower, the U.S. secured $33.6 billion in foreign military sales for 2016. The U.S. supplies weapons to much of NATO and Middle Eastern allies like Turkey, Israel, and Saudi Arabia. U.S. arms sales in the Middle East are fueling widespread wars in the region as the U.S. continues its quest to destroy ISIS. In concert with weapons contractors participating in the AFA Arms Bazaar, the U.S. is engaged in direct military intervention in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, continues its military support for the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and the Saudi war in Yemen,  proceeds with its military “pivot” in the Asia-Pacific to threaten and contain N. Korea and China, and conducts killer drone attacks in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

 

The U.S. government also continues with its “Missile Defense” deployments encircling China and Russia, constituting a flagrant violation of its Anti-Ballistic missile treaty with Russia.  Moreover, the U.S. plans to spend $1 trillion over the next thirty years to modernize its own nuclear arsenal, instead of pursuing a real path to disarmament. 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! 

 
On July 7, 2017, at the conclusion of a special “UN Conference To Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons,” 122 countries voted in favor of historic treaty to legally prohibit nuclear weapons. The “Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons,” bans nuclear weapons and establishes a framework for the elimination of nuclear weapons programs – including warheads, materials, delivery systems and facilities. This is a most encouraging and hopeful sign. However, the U.S. and other countries that bear nuclear arms, and as well as those nations that either come under their protection or host weapons on their soil, boycotted the negotiations and have thus far refused to endorse this treaty. 
 
It is hypocritical for the U.S., the only country to have ever used nuclear weapons and the leading nuclear superpower which refuses to disarm, to call on any other country, including North Korea, to give up their nuclear weapons. The U.S. can never request that another country disarm until it first apologizes and atones for the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, endorses the treaty on the “Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons,” and totally dismantles its nuclear arsenal. Only then can the U.S. legitimately ask other nuclear nations to disarm

 

Who will speak for the poor and the victims, as arms dealers reap huge profits from their lethal weapons and death technology? 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, Orlando, Charlottesville, D.C. and elsewhere. Together, let us continue to do all we can to establish the Beloved Community, end the climate crisis, eradicate poverty and create a world free of nuclear and conventional weapons, killer drones, war, racial hatred and oppression. In the name of God, who calls us to love and not to hate, demonize and kill, it’s time to end this Arms Bazaar!

 

Please join with members of the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, Pax Christi and other peacemakers as we seek to say YES to Life and a resounding NO to the merchants of death and war profiteers.

 

With gratitude, 
Art Laffin
Theme and Overview: (Taken from AFA web site)

The 2017 Air Force Association’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference theme is “Breaking Barriers: Heritage to Horizons.” It is the nation’s premier event for defense and aerospace professionals from across the globe. AFA brings together Air Force senior leaders including the Secretary of the Air Force, the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Major Command Commanders, the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, and many more.

Get connected with and gain global perspectives from speakers and attendees with diverse backgrounds and with deep experience in industry, government, and the military.

Participate in three days of rich discussions and gain unique insights into transformational factors that are guiding the Air Force today.  Stay current with a powerful agenda addressing:

  • Changing defense strategies
  • Operational issues
  • Legislative changes
  • Force structure
  • The defense market

Each year, we devise new ways for our attendees to share knowledge and access the most innovative information and ideas.  Our sessions provide a breadth of industry insight and forward-thinking outlooks.

  • Influential keynotes to address pressing topics
  • Networking opportunities for business contacts
  • Dozens of exhibitors to showcasing new technologies and solutions that are driving tomorrow’s industry landscape worldwide

 AFA Technology Exposition and Agenda — See: http://secure.afa.org/events/Conference/2017/Conference2017_agenda2.asp

Your attendance at AFA’s yearly Air, Space & Cyber Conference is the ideal opportunity to preview and discuss the latest developments in air-power, space and cyber capabilities vital to the Air Force Mission.

Over 7,200 people register for the Air, Space & Cyber Conference and Technology Exposition comprising top decision makers from the Air Force.  In fact, last year was a record breaking year for attendance and we fully expect another record breaking crowd.

In the past speakers have included top leaders of the U.S. Air Force such as the Secretary of the Air Force, the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, and the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force.

The Air, Space & Cyber Conference and Technology Exposition will boast over 100,000 square feet of space with over 130 companies showcasing the latest airpower, space and cyber capabilities. Over the course of this three day event, the exhibition schedule will provide over 21 hours of exhibit time, 44% of which are non-compete hours.  There will also be two very popular and well attended receptions for exhibitor and Air Force leaders to network and exchange ideas.

 

Directions and Public Transport Info to Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center

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 Resort. If 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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Published in: on September 11, 2017 at 9:20 am  Leave a Comment  

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