The rocket that killed 23 people at a wedding in northern Yemen in April came from a factory in southern Arizona
The rocket was fired on the night of April 22 by Saudi coalition forces, who were at war in Yemen Houthi Clans for three years. The Guardian reported that the majority of the victims were women and children. Survivors described how the jets continued to encircle the bombing zone after the attack and prevented the first responders from reaching the victims. Twenty-year-old groom Yahya Ja'far and his bride Fatum Allam escaped, but dozens of friends and families were not so lucky.
In the rubble, the survivors found splinters of a missile with an ordinal number. Local media in Yemen published a photo of the remains of the Ansar Allah Media Center, which has documented in detail the air raid on telegram, Facebook and Twitter . Using a defense company database, Bellingcat investigators tracked the gun to Raytheon's Tucson factory.
It was not the first time a Raytheon weapon killed innocents in Yemen, writes Patrick Wilcken, an Amnesty International researcher. in Medium:
"Most of the civilian casualties of this war stems from the technological superiority of the Saudi coalition and exclusive supremacy in the air, with coalition air strikes leaving a trail of material evidence, including the remnants of many But the war, which was terrible for Yemeni civilians, was lucrative contracting giant, headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts, for Defense Shareholders. The Saudi Arabian coalition's indiscriminate attacks coincided with the sharp rise in Raytheon's stock price, prompting human rights lawyers to ask: Will the $ 55 billion company "favor" war crimes?
By law probably not. It depends on what the company, its officers and its board of directors, knows about the targeting practices of the Saudi coalition forces. Local and international human rights groups have documented a reckless disregard for the lives of non-combatants in this remote desert society.
In September 2016, Saudi fighters bombed a water rig near Beit Saadan village, killing at least 31 civilians and injuring 42 more. Researchers at Human Rights Watch found rocket remains of the Raytheon Paveway series at the site of the attack.
Raytheon fragments were found in the ruins of two houses in Sana'a town, which were destroyed by a Saudi air raid in October 2015. A woman and her three-year-old son were injured in the attack.
In August 2016, a Paveway-led rocket (currently manufactured by Raytheon and Lockheed Martin) hit a hospital operated by Médecins Sans Frontières. Killing 11 people, including one MSF employee, and injuring 19 others.
A month later, a Raytheon-made bomb used Saudi Arab forces in a fatal strike at a memorial service in Sana'a City, killing more than 140 people. A salvaged remnant indicated that the rocket's fin was made for an MK-82 bomb manufactured by Raytheon.
In August 2017, a laser-guided bomb launched by a coalition jet hit a group of homes in Sana & # 39; a. Of the two parents and six children who lived there, only one survived, a five-year-old girl named Buthaina.
A local photojournalist found a piece of metal in the rubble and sent the pictures to Amnesty International researchers. The fragment contained a clear, albeit cryptic set of labels that were stenciled onto the gray sheet: MAU-169L / B EC42; ASSY2252788-1; and NSN 1325-01-524-9697. The researchers traced the fragment to Raytheon's bomb production department in Tucson.
Since Saudi Arabia launched its war against Yemen in March 2015, at least 212 civilians have been killed in attacks on Raytheon's missiles, according to confirmed news. 19659003] Amnesty International had documented 36 Coalition air strikes by March that seem to be in violation of international humanitarian law, many of which are war crimes. These resulted in 513 civilian deaths (including at least 157 children) and 379 civilian deaths.
At the same time, the war in Yemen was very good for Raytheon stockholders, and when the war started in March 2015, the company's stock sold at $ 108.44 a share. By June 2018, the stock price had risen to $ 210.70, an increase of 94 percent in three years.
Washington's alliance the Saudi Monarchy fueled the company's growth engines.
In 2015, five months after the first Intervention by the Saudis Following a civil war, the Obama administration approved the sale of 4020 GBU-12 Paveway II-led bombs to Saudi Arabia, according to the Pentagon.
During President Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia in June 2017, he offered to sell "over" 104,000 air-to-ground ammunition, "which contains GBU-12 bombs, along with four other US-made bombs. In November, Reuters announced that Saudi Arabia had agreed to buy $ 7 billion worth of precision rockets from Raytheon and Boeing in the coming years.
In short, Raytheon's bomb squads are brisk. Sales increased from just over $ 7 billion in 2016 to approximately $ 7.8 billion in 2017, in part due to the sale of laser-controlled Paveway bombs.
Now Raytheon is a hot stock. Four days after the April 22 wedding on the wedding, the company reported that its quarterly profit had increased to $ 633 million for $ 2.20 per share. Financial Tip The Ray says Raytheon is a better investment than its main competitor Lockheed Martin.
"Raytheon is much more focused on the international market, and we believe that higher international standards will be supported by an increased level of threats at international level." A defense sector analyst told an investor conference.
As William Hartung, an arms trafficking analyst at the Washington Center for International Affairs, put it: "The coincidence for Raytheon are the big arms deals that both Obama and Trump have cemented the American-Saudi relationship in the past for the war is also a bonus. "
Is there no law?
The humanitarian crisis in Yemen and the pattern of indiscriminate attacks have prompted human rights activists, and legal scholars are asking whether the allies and suppliers of the Saudi coalition are involved in war crimes.
In Italy, a coalition of human rights organizations filed a lawsuit in April against the managers of RWM, an Italian gun manufacturer and senior official of Italy's National Arms Export Authority. The plaintiffs argue that the company's executives and the Italian authorities killed six civilians in a deadly attack in October 2016, even though they knew they might violate international human rights and international humanitarian law.
In an article for the Just Security Blog, Professor Oona Hathaway and four of her students state that the Aliens Torts Statute (ATS) allows non-US citizens to file suit in the Federal District Court for violations of international law.
"Although sovereign immunity protects officials and states involved in the Saudi Arabia-led coalition under the ATS," writes Hathaway, "US corporations that manufacture weapons and deliver to the coalition may be eligible for aid
In an e-mail interview, however, Hathaway expressed doubt that Raytheon was legally responsible for attacks on civilians landmines for example – are not inherently indiscriminate:
"Liability For aiding and abetting violation of international law under ATS, the defendant (here Raytheon) knows that selling ammunition would help violate international humanitarian law, "said Alexandra Francis, one of Hathaway's co-authors, in an e-mail. "As Professor Hathaway states, this is difficult to prove legally, as weapons could possibly be used for legitimate purposes."
But getting a good social commitment is a bigger business than a close legal defense.
"Can the company really say that it has taken all possible measures to prevent and mitigate the risk that its products will be used in further catastrophic air raids?" Writes Amnesty researcher Wilcken. "How can Raytheon be sure that one of his guided bombs is not entering another household in a densely populated residential area anywhere in Yemen?"
I turned to two members of Raytheon's Board of Directors for comment: Stephen Hadley, former Security Advisor to President George W. Bush, and Letitia Long, former Director of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency. I assume that Hadley is well informed about United States military policy in Yemen and Long is well-versed in targeting issues. None of them answered questions about the death of civilians in Yemen by e-mail.
Raytheon's Corporate Communications Department did not respond to written questions.