Homes not Bombs
Because Canada should build homes, not blow them up
PO Box 73620, 509 St. Clair Ave. West
Toronto, ON M6C 1C0
(416) 651-5800, firstname.lastname@example.org
January 11, 2005
ATTENTION: Marylynne Campbell
President, SNC-Lavalin Engineers and Constructors
And All Employees of SNC-Lavalin at 2200 Lakeshore West
We are writing to let you know about another friendly, nonviolent visit from members of Homes not Bombs, to take place at 12 noon on Monday, January 17, Martin Luther King Day. The late civil rights leader talked fervently about the need to end war and war profiteering, identifying as three entwined evils militarism, poverty and racism.
As you know from prior correspondence and our presence at SNC's Toronto headquarters on November 10, 2004, we are a group dedicated to nonviolence in both word and deed, hoping to work in step with the legacy of the civil rights movement in which King played such a major role. We very much enjoyed meeting with employees on their lunch breaks on that day, and hearing their concerns about the war in Iraq and their shock about the fact that SNC-Lavalin has a subsidiary contributing to the horrors daily committed there.
Among our numbers on Monday will be individuals who are veterans of prior wars as well as folks who have been to Iraq as civilian peacemakers and witnessed first-hand the devastation of war that has been wrought in part due to the participation of SNC-Lavalin. Some of our friends are currently there as well, documenting ongoing abuses and seeking in whatever capacity they can find to bring about some peace with justice for the people of that beleaguered country.
We want to inform you that in addition to picketing and handing out flyers, there will be some street theatre which reflects the nature of what is going on in Iraq right now, in part because of SNC-TEC's production of bullets for the occupation forces. While some of this theatre may be difficult to watch, we want to again emphasize strongly that we will be on-site in the spirit of love, nonviolence and transformation which marked the civil rights movement.
Most importantly, we sincerely hope to meet with you and SNC employees on January 17 in an effort to secure your commitment that you will cease and desist from both active participation and aiding and abetting war crimes against the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. This is no idle turn of phrase. We take very seriously the lessons of the Second World War and The Nuremberg Principles which carry a great deal of moral, legal, and historical weight, yet are often forgotten in times of mass slaughter.
Over 100,000 Iraqis have been murdered by occupation forces in Iraq, with countless thousands killed in Afghanistan (figures confirmed by the respected British medical journal The Lancet). How many of them have been murdered by SNC bullets? SNC's commitment to supply on an ongoing basis hundreds of millions of bullets for those forces makes the company and those within the company who know of this relationship potentially complicit in war crimes under Canada's War Crimes program.
Canada's Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Program states: "A person is considered complicit if, while aware of the commission of war crimes or crimes against humanity, the person contributes directly or indirectly to their occurrence. Membership in an organization responsible for committing the atrocities can be sufficient to establish complicity if the organization in question is one with a single brutal purpose, e.g. a death squad."
SNC-TEC's single brutal purpose is clear: to produce a product which, when used correctly, results in only one thing: murder on an individual and mass level.
Again, the term war crimes is not one we use lightly. It has been used by the likes of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, world-renowned human rights organizations which have documented the torture at Abu Ghraib and similar detention centres, bombings of homes and weddings in Falluja and Mosul, among other locales; the use of cluster bombs and depleted uranium weapons, and the spraying of thousands of bullets at roadside checkpoints which have killed untold numbers of civilians.
The U.S.-led war and subsequent occupations clearly violate the most basic norms of international law, as well as humanitarian law, and moral dictates about the necessity of learning to love one another and live together in peace and justice. During the 1991 slaughter, the Pentagon targeted water works and electrical facilities with the full knowledge such attacks would result in massive mortality rates post bombing due to diseases associated with contaminated water Feel free to visit the website http://www.progressive.org/0801issue/nagy0901.html for further information on this crime.
Terror bombing is a cornerstone of the US Air Force Strategic Attack Doctrine, publicly available on the USAF website at
The U.S.-enforced sanctions, responsible for over a million Iraqi deaths, constitute one of the major crimes against humanity of the late 20th century. We ourselves are familiar with the Canadian government's role in enforcing these sanctions and Canada Post's refusal to ship medical and school supplies to the Iraqi people, even arresting some of our members who sat-in until their package was mailed.
The events of the past week are part of the daily horror: a 500-lb bomb dropped on a house, killing fourteen; an additional dozen or so civilians murdered at a checkpoint with bullets that may have originated at your SNC-TEC factory in Quebec.
Your President, Marylynne Campbell, states that SNC has a "mandate" to build these weapons for the armed forces. But let us not forget the purpose of the armed forces, as described tellingly by Canadian General Lewis Mackenzie. "As much as Canadians would like to ignore the fact, the role of a soldier is to kill as efficiently as possible with the resources available once he is ordered to do so by his government. There are many sidelines to his profession that make us all feel warm and fuzzy...But they are all subordinate to one overriding responsibility, and that it to kill on demand." (Globe and Mail)
We can supply you with far greater support materials to make the case that, to work in harmony with international and Canadian law, SNC-Lavalin must divest itself of SNC-TEC immediately.
In conclusion, we most urgently need to meet with you out of a concern that members of your corporation could be charged under international and Canadian law, both for direct participation in, and for support of war crimes and crimes against peace. It is our hope that we can secure a commitment that SNC-Lavalin will divest itself of SNC Technologies, the branch involved in supplying those committing war crimes.
Ultimately, we write not out of a sense of despair but of hope, hope in the power of transforming unjust situations into solutions which work for all people, not just a few. It is our hope that on Monday we can discuss ways in which you can extricate yourselves from this serious situation, with our full-fledged support.
We look forward to meeting with you on Monday.
The folks at Homes not Bombs
(for more info on the demo)
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