By Lindsay Potter
As we go to print, it has been eight weeks since the beginning of the bombardment of Gaza, with over 17,000 (now 24,000) civilians killed, the number growing daily and nearly half of them children. The living are mostly without water, electricity, food, fuel, and medicine, entry or exit, and the Israeli government continues to use criminal tactics to carry out genocide — documented and named by the Center for Constitutional Rights, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International.
Within a week after the start of Israel’s war, weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin’s stock surged 11%, following a 36% increase in Spring 2023 as a result of the war in Ukraine. In September, Lockheed reported a total annual revenue of over $67 billion. Lockheed’s weapons have been documented in use in Israeli war crimes against Palestinians and
Lockheed’s Hellfire missiles are currently among the demands from Israel. But this is only business as they have conducted it for decades. Lockheed’s profits soared 41% in 2004 as a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Under President Bush, a Lockheed Martin lobbyist was appointed General Consul for the Department of Homeland Security. The company spends millions of dollars in lobbying and campaign contributions and currently their CEO is on the board of the Council on Foreign Relations. Over the last twenty years, Lockheed has been involved in billion dollar contracts to manage Sandia Laboratories, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the Nevada Test Site — federally owned sites for the research, development, and testing of nuclear and non-nuclear weapons technology.
Despite legislation alerting Congress to the giant waste of the nearly $2 trillion renovation of U.S. ICBMs and despite arguments by former Secretaries of Defense that land-based missiles are too expensive, too risky, and redundant, Lockheed has $3.7 billion in current contracts for the Minuteman III and its replacements meant to carry the arsenal through 2075. The U.S. Navy plans to use Lockheed Martin Hercules aircraft for nuclear command and communications. Lockheed has a current $6.3 billion contract for work on the Trident II nuclear submarine missiles for the U.K. and U.S. So far, the U.S. has sent over $46 billion in weapons to Ukraine, including Javelin anti-tank missiles, M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System launchers, and Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, all made by Lockheed Martin.
U.S.-Israeli Exceptionalism & the New Arms Race
Lockheed profits from U.S. violation of international law and the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, with $50 billion in sales of its F-35 war plane to seven different countries, many with the possible purpose of hauling the U.S.’s own B61 bomb. Israel was the first to receive the new Lockheed Martin F-35, and it has been used in bombing sorties over Gaza. In addition to the U.S. exceptionalism enshrined in the NPT, the U.S. boldly violates the treaty with nuclear sharing. Much was made of Russia sending nuclear missiles to Belarus, and when Russia tried this once before during the Cuban Missile Crisis. However, little is said of the U.S. forward-deployed nukes in five NATO countries.
If North Korea tests a warhead, the U.S. responds with joint military drills in the North Pacific and threats of economic and military retaliation. Iran, though it signed the NPT and agreed to inspections, though it followed the letter of the Iran Nuclear Deal until Tr
ump unilaterally withdrew, though
it has suffered U.S. sanctions for decades, is still demonized as a potential nuclear threat. Yet, Israel has never signed the NPT and does not acknowledge its arsenal of anywhere from 80 to as many as 600 nuclear warheads, according to Seymour Hersch. Israel’s real nuclear capabilities and complete exemption from inspections, accountability, and standards of international law are encouraged by Western Europe and are a feather in the U.S. cap, a base of operations for U.S. hegemony.
Lockheed Martin has an office and show room in Tel Aviv. Israeli contractor Rafael is partnering with Lockheed, and an Israeli company won the lucrative contract to make the outer wing box for the new F-35s. Now Israel, as an arm of the U.S. empire, not only wields Lockheed’s weapons to kill civilians, it will grow its economy by the same manufacture of death. Demand is so high Lockheed Martin is currently taking up to four years to fill orders, for example for war planes for Poland. Because of the global demand for weapons, with the market for nuclear weapons projected to double from 2020 to 2030, Lockheed and other manufacturers are coordinating efforts to increase production infrastructure.
Though Russia put forward a UN security council resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, the U.S. vetoed. Brazil put forward a resolution for a humanitarian pause for aid to be let through and still the U.S. vetoed. The U.S. chooses the profits of Lockheed and the imperial ambitions of the U.S., Israel, and allies, over the lives of civilians. The same is true of the U.S. and U.K. dismantling the proposal for peace in Ukraine presented by China. Lockheed Martin is in the business of killing people and the U.S. government acts as if it leads its international PR and market development — rolling over entire populations in order to ensure the demand for weapons only increases.