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Hoodwinking the citizens; Raytheon, Invest Northern Ireland and Derry City Council

category derry | anti-war / imperialism | feature author Sunday October 15, 2006 23:22author by Eamonn McCann Report this post to the editors

featured image
Raytheon's own 'how to find us'

In an indymedia.ie exclusive 'preview', veteran civil rights activist and journalist Eamonn McCann, publishes here the piece submitted to the Derry Journal for his weekly column this coming Tuesday. The story has huge ramifications for the future of democracy at local government level, as well as the global struggle against the US military industrial complex. This is why McCann, a member of the Socialist Workers Party and one of the "Raytheon 9", has asked for this article to be 'scattered far and wide'.

When did Raytheon give Derry City Council assurances that the company’s Derry plant would not engage in arms-related production?

In statements last week, representatives of the SDLP and Sinn Fein referred to the assurances and complained that Raytheon has reneged on them.

The statements followed a meeting on Monday between representatives of Raytheon and the leaders of the council parties. At this meeting, it seems, Raytheon admitted that the plant at Springtown was engaged in the manufacture of software for military systems. That is, the company apparently confessed to having acted in bad faith.

Monday’s meeting had been arranged following the revelation in the North West Telegraph (acknowledgement of our Telegraph colleagues’ performance on this story is in order) that Raytheon involvement in arms-related production in Derry had been discussed at meetings between company representatives and officials of Invest Northern Ireland in 2004 and 2005. Documents obtained by the Telegraph under the Freedom of Information Act portrayed the company as having viewed any assurances given to the council as meaningless.

Minutes of the meetings suggest that Invest NI officials shared this attitude to the assurances.

Indeed, there is no indication in the minutes that any of those at the Raytheon/Invest NI meetings were conscious of the assurances having been given. There appears to have been an assumption that the council could be brought onside to support arms-related production.

This is strange, given that the position of the council had been set out in two separate, detailed motions passed earlier in 2004.

A joint SDLP/Sinn Fein motion to a special council meeting on January 7th 2004 recalled that, “Council had received assurances that the Raytheon facility here in Derry would only be engaged in activities that had civilian applications...Council acknowledges that Raytheon’s core global business is the arms trade....Council wants no part of that trade in this city. In particular, we declare our opposition to the development or production of weapons or any software whose end use is a military application and if it is shown that Raytheon have broken their understanding to engage in only civilian work in Derry, then Council’s position will change.”

The motion---introduced after councillors had heard a presentation from Foyle Ethical Investment Campaign spokespersons Richard Moore and Angela Hegarty and Green MEP Patricia McKenna---was passed by 20 votes to nil with three abstentions. As well as 23 councillors, town clerk Tony McGurk and chief administrative officer Bobby Dobbins were present. The motion mandated Mr. McGurk “to immediately write to Raytheon outlining the concerns raised and seeking answers to those points."

Three and a half months later, on April 27th 2004, the council returned to the topic when SDLP leader Pat Ramsey proposed the suspension of standing orders to allow discussion of newspaper reports the previous week citing affidavits from two former Raytheon employees that they had carried out work on a military project at the Derry plant. The project was the Airborne Stand-Off Radar (ASTOR) system, which has recently been rushed into service ahead of schedule in Afghanistan on account of the deteriorating position of NATO troops fighting in the country.

The minutes of the April 2004 meeting record Councillor Ramsey saying that it was “imperative that Raytheon immediately clarify the nature of their work in Derry. He pointed out that if the company was engaged in such work, this would be in breach of an assurance given by the company when it originally located to the area.”

Councillor Ramsey was supported by Gerry MacLochlainn of Sinn Fein, who “pointed out that...the company had explicitly stated that it would not engage in military work.” The council then passed (17 votes to five) a resolution along the same lines as in January: “Council accepts the location of Raytheon facility in Derry on the basis that it would be engaged in activities that had civilian applications, not military ones; if the basis of Raytheon’s acceptance had changed, the Council’s position would change. Council again calls on Raytheon to immediately clarify the nature of their work in Derry.”

In addition to councillors, nine council officials, including Mr. McGurk, were in attendance.

Four months after this meeting, seven and a half months after the January council meeting, on August 23rd 2004, Stephen Lewis, manager of Raytheon’s Derry plant, and a colleague met with Jim McConnell, a senior official of Invest Northern Ireland and another Invest NI man to discuss the involvement of the Derry plant in the British Ministry of Defence’s JETTS project. The Raytheon website describes JETTS (Joint Effects Tactical Targeting System) as an “an electronic software based toolset for use by military headquarters staff to manage and coordinate the sensor-to-shooter cycle...The aim is to improve the operational capability in the battlespace by enhancing the combat effects of tempo, simultaneity, surprise, tactical agility, lethality and survivability, all whilst reducing fratricide.”

This was war production, plain and simple, obviously incompatible with the January and April council resolutions. Yet while the Raytheon and Invest NI representatives are recorded referring to the importance of council support, bizarrely they do not refer at all to the council’s position as formally set out in the resolutions.

McConnell’s minute of the meeting records: “Key issue for NISSC [Northern Ireland Software Systems Centre---the Derry plant] on this contract will be the attitude of the council. Both the MoD and [Raytheon] will be looking for acceptance in principle that the council have no objections regarding this work. NISSC to write to the council, and Alan McCormick [Raytheon’s UK Director of Engineering] will be planning to meet Tony McGuirk (sic.) to update him and see how best to move forward. Company will not issue a press release."

There is no mention of the company having received a letter from Mr. McGurk outlining the council's concerns, or of any letter in reponse answering the points raised.

McConnell's minute continues: “I offered Invest NI support, initially via Kevin Helferty (Invest NI’s senior Derry official), or if necessary to include Leslie Ross [head of Invest NI’s Clients and Business Group]. Company to assess timing and best presentational strategy.

“This is a key contract regarding the future of NISSC....However, if the council is reluctant to back the project, then the future of NISSC is uncertain.”

These are remarkable sentiments. On the face of it, there was no “if” about the council’s position on the JETTS project. Nor, judging from its public statements, was the council “reluctant to back” the project. “Totally opposed” would have been more apt. Somehow, Raytheon bosses and Invest NI officials appeared to have gained an impression that the council’s policy on arms-related production wasn’t to be taken seriously.

Among questions which arise are: Did Raytheon seek, and did it obtain, “acceptance in principle that the council have no objections regarding this work”? Did the envisaged meeting between Alan McCormick of Raytheon and Tony McGurk of the council take place? When? Was anyone else present? Was the meeting minuted? What was the outcome and to whom was the outcome reported? Which elected representatives, if any, were informed that these exchanges were under way? Were council officials or councillors aware of Raytheon’s strategy of secrecy? (“Company will not issue a press release.”) On what basis did Invest NI, an industrial development agency answerable to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, offer Raytheon the services of two senior officials, apparently to help in “presentational strategy” to advance arms-related production which the relevant elected body had voted overwhelmingly to oppose?

Five months after this meeting, 12 months after the first council resolution on Raytheon, on January 27th 2005, Raytheon’s Stephen Lewis, McConnell of Invest NI and colleagues met again, at Raytheon’s Derry office. Again, the minutes were taken by McConnell. They contain no suggestion that any of the questions arising from the previous meeting had been answered---or asked.

The minutes begin: “Steve Lewis reported that he had a positive meeting with the Mayor of Derry [Gearoid O'hEara of Sinn Fein] re. the relationship with Raytheon and Derry Council. The company will continue its policy of maintaining a low profile whilst continuing to work with local charitable initiatives.”

Many companies involved in controversy opt to keep their head down and play up commitment to local good causes. What’s unusual in this case is that the company appears to have felt able to treat the controversy as a matter of no importance. Seemingly still unfazed by the council resolutions, the meeting noted that, “In terms of business areas, C21 and Homeland Security were 2 large markets which were opening up and providing possibilities for Raytheon.” The C21 is a twin turbofan aircraft, essentially a military version of the Lear business jet. Homeland Security refers to the Bush administration’s “War on Terror” initiative to extend and strengthen surveillance, detection and security systems against perceived threats to US interests.

Intriguingly, the apparent contradictions between the positions of the company and the council had not prevented “positive” contact between Raytheon and Mayor O’hEara.

Three months after this meeting in Derry, McConnell and Leslie Ross of Invest NI and Alan McCormick of Raytheon met once again, for lunch at Dean’s restaurant, Belfast, on April 27th 2005. “The meeting had been arranged with the objective of McCormick giving us an update on the business..,” McConnell recorded. “McCormick thanked Invest NI for its support during this period, including our input to the Derry Council situation. It appears that the current mayor (Sinn Fein) is very supportive.”

The first question arising concerns the reference to Invest NI’s “input to the...Council situation?” Who at Derry City Council was in receipt of Invest NI’s “input?” What did this consist of? What gave Raytheon to believe that, despite the tone and content of the resolutions of January and April the previous year which his party had co-sponsored and supported, Mayor O’hEara was “very supportive” of the company?

It may be that Gerry O’hEara’s position was here woefully misrepresented. The point is, Derry people are entitled to know the truth of it. They are entitled to answers to all the questions arising from the documents now available.

Confirmation of Raytheon’s continuing involvement in arms-related production came on February 27th 2006, when NIO Minister Angela Smith told a Commons committee that, “(Raytheon's) Northern Ireland operation is involved in leading-edge work in phased array radar system and the development of leading-edge software for civil and military air traffic control systems. The company has participated in major MoD contracts, including the ASTOR and JETTS programmes."

On May 15th last, the CEO of Raytheon International, Thomas M. Culligan, introducing a new head of Raytheon’s UK operation, declared: “Ongoing efforts on several key programs, including ASTOR, JETTS, Precision Guided Bombs and UK Javelin, are critical to our customers’ success and Raytheon’s.”

Not only is it clear that Raytheon’s Derry plant is dependent on war production for Western armies, this has been evident for some time. It is two and a half years since the workers’ affidavits referring to production for the ASTOR system were published and then debated by the council. It is just over two years since Raytheon representatives talked of writing to the council and arranging a top-level face-to-face meeting to discuss work on the JETTS system. It is nine months since Minister Smith confirmed the involvement of the Derry plant in these two lines of work.

The notion that Raytheon’s betrayal of its word to the council came as a “bombshell” ---as one local newspaper suggested last week---is puzzling.

On the other hand, if the information did come as a bombshell, it is puzzling that councillors havn’t reacted with greater public fury to their discovery of the calculated contempt which Raytheon has displayed towards them as elected representatives. Why seek further talks---assurances?---from an outfit which, on their own account, has treated them like dirt and whose word cannot be trusted?

Puzzling, too, that there has been no comment from councillors on the suggestion in the Telegraph documents that senior council members and officials were complicit with the company in treating the assurances as meaningless.

Most puzzling of all is the mystery surrounding when and where the original assurances were passed by Raytheon to the council. We have the word of Councillor MacLochlainn that these assurances were “explicit.”

What Raytheon representative delivered these explicit assurances to which representative of the council? What form did the assurances take? A written document? A minuted statement? Where and when did these events unfold?

These are a few of the many questions emerging from this affair which demand to be answered. If answers aren’t forthcoming, cynics among us will continue to suspect that senior councillors, council officials and Raytheon representatives have all along been engaged in a joint exercise to bamboozle the people with smoke and mirrors, nudge and wink.

Related Link: http://blackshamrock.org

Good works. Stephen Lewis (Manager, Raytheon) Dr George Wilkie (Director, CSPT), Rachel Doherty (Senior Process Engineer, Raytheon), Dr Stephen Cross (Director & CEO, Software Engineering Institute), At the 2003 Launch of the SEI, University of Ulster, Ma
Good works. Stephen Lewis (Manager, Raytheon) Dr George Wilkie (Director, CSPT), Rachel Doherty (Senior Process Engineer, Raytheon), Dr Stephen Cross (Director & CEO, Software Engineering Institute), At the 2003 Launch of the SEI, University of Ulster, Ma

author by Bronterre O'Brienpublication date Mon Oct 16, 2006 01:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This is mindboggling stuff. Who would have though that a merchant of death-Raytheon-, which receives 90% of its revenue from arms contracts, would lie about war-related activivity? Shocking!

author by Yak!publication date Mon Oct 16, 2006 13:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

How on earth did Raytheon, manufacturer of the notorious Patriot missile (responsible for the single largest "friendly" fire death incident in the first Gulf war), get any contract in the UK home security initiative? Why is a company with such a scandalous reputation (http://www.answers.com/topic/raytheon) allowed to operate anywhere in Europe?

author by james Campbellpublication date Mon Oct 16, 2006 14:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Really, Yak! i think you are one of those cynics McCann was writing about. What part of "to improve the operational capability in the battlespace by enhancing the combat effects of tempo, simultaneity, surprise, tactical agility, lethality and survivability, all whilst reducing fratricide” don't you understand ?

author by Yak!publication date Mon Oct 16, 2006 18:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Apart from the cynicism-inducing quotation, which Eamonn McCann did NOT invent (http://ccbn.businessweek.com/releasetext.asp?ticker=rtn...98113), Raytheon have managed the media history of the Patriot to such an extent that an actually harmful defensive instrument is now perceived as heroic.

On 25th February 1991 a Scud was "intercepted" by a Patriot missile resulting in the deaths of 28 U.S. Army Reservists from Pennsylvania barracked in Dharran, Saudi Arabia. This single-largest fatality of Western forces was caused by explosive and inertial debris from the Patriot, not by the Scud (payload less than 15 kilos after Iraqi modification). In the words of a France Channel 5 reporter, "la bataillement a ete completement detruit", or in the words of the American survivor she was translating, "we wuz fucked".

And Raytheon is a succesful bidder in UK defence http://www.raytheon.co.uk/products/homeland_security.html in addition to manufacturing weapons for export to the highest (or any) bidder from Britain and Ireland. We are still being fucked, consensually apparently.

author by anti-war irelanderpublication date Tue Oct 17, 2006 11:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

could you not have used photoshop to scrub 'London' off the map above? Easily done. The city is called Derry.

Well done the Raytheon 9!

Solidarity

author by Flynn - agrescon@agrescon.nlpublication date Tue Oct 17, 2006 16:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Suprise, Suprise ! The Mull of Kintyre Hellicopter crash ? was convienient, the top ten of British intelligence wiped out, pilot error, General Alexander Lebdev, Hellicopter Crash,convienient pilot error, Derry,s Power station, Derry,s new Police and Army Barracks, Derry,s new Gas Pipeline,Derry,s new missile systems, all too convienient and all under the umbrella of Irish Neutrality. Dont be fooled as your enemies won,t. Saterlite control of Oil Rigs are now mandatory. But dont claim Neutrality when the SHIT hits the FAN, because I Flynn told you so. It was by no accident that the ST Andrews meeting was held where it was, the last student was Prince Harry, who shortly,s , going up the Kyber, the anti terrorist center for Europe is Based there, but Who is terrorising Who? and Who is using or misusing Irish Neutrality for this Ledgerdomain? contrary to the Irish Constitution? I Remain yours Respectfully Flynn O Flynn

author by MJpublication date Tue Oct 17, 2006 19:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Well McCann you sure write an awful lot and yet say very little. Tell you what. I'll sum up this verbose article in a few words "Raytheon are Evil. The council are stupid". Made your point in two sentences.
Hoodwinking the people of Derry. That term can also be applied to you McCann. Although I'm not sure if its hoodwinking or just pure hypocrisy. You claim to be a man who wants to promote peace. Yet you freely associate with terrorists e.g. Donnelly. He and his comrades are anything but peaceful, as we have seen this week. These scum seal off whole streets with armed thugs while they beat the crap out of someone they don't like. And try to bomb yet another local business out of existence.
If you are so opposed to violence and victimisation then lets see you condemn all the dissident republican violence in Derry over the last while and refuse to associate with the scum who still terrorise our streets and our communities. Pity you're not so keen to look after people in your own country and community as you are to look after those abroad. What’s the matter…not enough publicity in it for you or does it only apply to your own people when the Brits and the Prods are doing it?

author by Catwomanpublication date Tue Oct 17, 2006 23:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

That last comment by MJ, reminds one of the old Batman TV series.

The Joker was running against Batman for mayor and states that he (the Joker) was always photographed in the company of officers of the law, while Batman was often to be seen with the worst criminals in Gotham City. If we went on guilt by association, St. Andrews woouldn't be the place to be this week.

It was a great TV series, very camp, I've got the hunch it heavilly influenced the imagery of "Gangs of New York".

Solidairty with the Raytrheon 9 . MJ, you are an apologist for Raytheon. Maybe your racism facilitates your blind spot, whe it comes to the killing of children of colour by the 3rd. largest arms company in the world - presently nestling n Derry.

author by Con Carrollpublication date Wed Oct 18, 2006 14:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I may have missed the point about the man who talks about peace and reconciliation on the island of Ireland between people.
and his role with Raytheon here I am speaking of John Hume.
maybe someone did mention him in the article.

author by Justin Morahan - Peace People (personal capacity)publication date Fri Oct 20, 2006 14:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Guilt by association" is a fallacy, M.J. Bad logic. If you want to make a convincing argument, please don't (ab)use it.

The same fallacy was used many years ago in Palestine by scribes and pharisees who complained that:
"This man welcomes sinners and eats with them."

He was a good man by any standards - his name was Yeshua ben Yosef, nowadays he is usually called Jesus.

The fallacy is as bad today as it was then (some things never change).

author by iosaf .:. ipsiphipublication date Fri Oct 20, 2006 19:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I see it as a timely reminder of the other island focus of war economy investment. Be the two centres of such investment (Derry or Shannon) guided by private investors, shareholders or government / state tax breaks - we all know lots of money is being made & the order books write themselves these days.
& we can't forget that "lots of money" is made in both € and £. {meaning Euro & Sterling} oodles of the both of them - no doubt. "mogolló" as we say in Catalonia. We may also allow ourselves the indulgence of wondering aren't there other ways of making the city of Derry/Londonderry and the Shannon airport "places to be offered a good job" ?

Keep going!
everyone working to stop Irish involvement in War & its economy!
But from the Foyle to the estuary of the Shannon we need other jobs too..... "better jobs"

author by Against all armies and all killing!publication date Sat Oct 21, 2006 12:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I, like many people in Derry, are puzzled that McCann seems to be more interested in attacking other anti-Raytheon campaigners than Raytheon. The fact is that Raytheon actually make the ASTOR system in Scotland and McCann's allies are not campaigning to have those workers sacked but in Derry he demands that the workers here be put on the dole. In Derry there are others making military gear - such as the Kevlar body armour that among other things is essential to deliver the Raytheon guided missiles . But that is produced for the British Army and was used against Irish people - so McCann and his allies do not call for that to be removed.
McCann is given free rein to write his version of his story and is well paid to do this in papers that routinely censor statement from anti-imperialists in Ireland and are funnily enough pro-Raytheon. He was actually paid to write an article in a Unionist paper defending his line on Raytheon while awaiting serious charges for aggravated burglary at the plant. Very strange.
McCann is just another one of those highly paid professional leftists who do nothing to challenge the powers that be or stop arms production but merely use it to create an issue to bash other peace activists who are trying to make a difefrence like us in the Foyle Ethical Investment Campaign. We are trying to work with the SDLP and SF to introduce a positive ethical invetsment drive so that the war industry holds no attractions to people facing the second highest unemploymet rates in the UK.

Unite the anti war activists dont split them to suit the extremist Socialist Workers Party.

author by Saoirse - DAWCpublication date Tue Oct 24, 2006 18:49author email resistderry at aol dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Against all armies and all killing" is clearly a troll and not a member of FEIC. Indeed, one wonders if s/he is even living in Derry so ill-informed is his/her comments. First of all, McCann and the DAWC do not attack FEIC, indeed there is a fair overlap between the two groups. Just today, we had a joint protest outside the City Council meeting. Secondly, the Belfast Telegraph for which Eamonn McCann writes is no longer a Unionist paper. It is the most widely read paper by both communities in NI and is now owned by some multinational company. As for McCann being well-paid for his work, even Gerry Murray, his right-wing arch-enemy and Business Editor of the Derry Journal has said that McCann could earn ten times what he does if he was willing to play the newspapers' games - but he won't.

As for this silly argument that DuPont (one of the larger employers in Derry) are part of the war machine because they make Kevlar, that's the kind of crap that Sinn Fein like to spread in an attempt to undermine the Raytheon 9. It won't work. People can see the difference between a plant that makes something that CAN be used by the military and one whose primary role is to provide weapons of mass destruction.

author by Saoirse - DAWCpublication date Tue Oct 24, 2006 18:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

IN response to MJ. No one in Derry Anti War Coalition "allies" themselves to dissident republicans or any other political group, no more than people who are members of AWI ally themselves with anarchists or people in IAWM ally themselves with the SWP. The DAWC, like most anti-war groups in most towns, is open to anyone. We have members who are devout christians, radical socialists like the SWP, anarchists, "old Labour" types, just plain anti-war people, Uncle Tom Cobley and all. We also, being in Derry, have republicans. Some of those republicans used to plant bombs etc but now don't. These are known as pro-Agreement republicans. We also have anti-Agreement republicans, some of whom are charged as part of Raytheon 9. None of them have been convicted (or even charged) with planting bombs anywhere though.

Does MJ think that DAWC and other anti-war groups ought to vet the politics of those involved????

author by Catwomanpublication date Tue Oct 24, 2006 21:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Child raring...affirm 'em when they do good stuff, disable equipment of the 3rd.largest arms company in the world profiting from the killing of kids in Lebanon (they're not white kids, so maybe that's why our previous poster has not prioritised the Raytheon induced deaths?). He prefers to play his local politcal games as Baghdad, Beirut, soon Tehran burns Our poster rushes to undermine the 9 before the courts, he services the prosecution. Sounds like there's a history of working both sides of the fence in that town?

Guilt by association..meanwhile at St. Andrews, locals sit down with Bomber Blair (Serbia. Iraq ongoing). Paisley inciter of pogroms. And the Republican reps accused of alll sorts of stuff. But there they sit risking similar accusations of guilt by association. if any of those party's were to seriously break with the ongoing U.S. attacks on Iraq and disable relevant equipment and work to rmove the U.S. base form County Clare, we should afirm them when they do such good stuff.

author by shane - FEICpublication date Fri Oct 27, 2006 18:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

saoirse - you are quite right - the person who wrote that post is obviously not who s/he says s/he is - definitely not a FEICer. It's just a very poor attempt at sowing division using lies, misinformation and half-truths.

To the person who asked "Why don't you photoshop the London out of 'Londonderry' on the picture above?' - Why don't you ? you are free to download it, do what you want to it and post it back up

author by MJpublication date Wed Nov 01, 2006 16:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Does MJ think that DAWC and other anti-war groups ought to vet the politics of those involved????

No Saoirse. Not the politics. Just the people.
MJ also thinks that people who freely associate with the political wings of certain terrorist groups who are still bombing, beating and burning in this very city are people of questionable ethics. MJ thinks that it is pure hypocrisy that certain so-called anti-war and pro-ethical persons freely associate with these types and are happy to defend them. MJ has no problems with the political affiliations of many members of DAWC and accepts that some of those who resorted to the bomb and bullet in the past have now moved on and have embraced the path of peace, politics and non-violent protest. MJ has a problem with the political affiliations of some of the so-called members of the DAWC whos political stance means they they are directly affiliated with violent thugs who try to justify their actions by calling themselves freedom-fighters when all they are doing is lining their own pockets and satisfying their own sadistic and criminal tendencies.
I can't believe I have to point this out to members of DAWC and then have to defend my stance on keeping the minions of terrorism out of the anti-war movement. So much for suggesting that we limit the anti-war movement to people who embrace the true doctrine of peace.
I wonder how long this comment will stay up before those who don't like me pointing out the obvious (that so many others apparently choose to ignore) have it removed like my last comment was?

author by dermotpublication date Thu Nov 02, 2006 21:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ah Saoirse do you really believe the DAWC is not politically compromised by the SEA/SWP?

If so, can you explain how it is that DAWC posters have appeared all over Derry in the last few days, every one with an accompanying SEA poster for another event?

Incidentally, the DAWC posters are advertising the visit of a Hizbullah representative, which is an interesting acitivity for a so-called left-wing movement ( or for that matter, an anti-war movement).

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