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Canadian Firms Soaked in Iraqi and Afghan Blood

While Paul Martin was congratulating Canada on “not participating” in the U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq during last spring’s federal election, a Quebec-based weapons firm sealed a deal which will ensure that every time Iraqi or Afghani blood is shed, a Canadian-made bullet will be one of the prime suspects.

On May 25, 2004, General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems announced the formation of a “multinational consortium of proven small-caliber ammunition producers whose purpose is to respond to the U.S. Defense Department’s immediate and growing demand for small-caliber ammunition.” Members of the consortium include Winchester, Israel Military Industries Ltd. (IMI) and SNC Technologies, Inc. of Le Gardeur, Quebec.

SNC Technologies (SNC TEC) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of engineering firm SNC-Lavalin, which acquired the company in 1980.

SNC TEC prides itself on the production of what it calls, with no trace of irony, IM (insensitive munition) technology. In an age of kinder and gentler invasions and occupations, it’s nice to know that at least one of the players is up front and honest about the brutal nature of its product.

SNC TEC produces the tools by which murders are committed, individually or on a mass scale. They make over 100 types of ammunition, both for training to kill and for killing itself. From the 5.56 mm “non-toxic improved penetrator cartridge” (which presumably does not give cancer to the individual whose insides are torn apart by the bullet) to the “.50 caliber Sniper Elite and Target radar augmented projectiles,” SNC boasts of a “creative R&D and engineering team” to fill what they call the “niche” in the world murder market.

It is one of numerous contracts which Canadian war firms are picking up to support current U.S. invasions, occupations, and other illegal maneuvers under the guise of fighting terrorism.

Héroux-Devtek announced September 29 that its Landing Gear Division has been awarded $22 million in contracts from the United States Air Force for the F-16 fighter aircraft, the “workhorse” of the U.S. military which can unload 16,000 pounds of bombs in one go.

Héroux-Devtek owns the notorious Diemaco of Kitchener, manufacturers of a “family” of chain guns which can fire up to 700 rounds a minute and which are currently in use in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A company release proudly boasts of a “repair and overhaul contract for the U.S. Air Force for ten years. The total value of the contract is $140 million. Important design, development, manufacturing and supply contracts were also signed [in 2004] for new generation military aircraft with Boeing, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin.”

And more will come. At the end of September, The World Trade Centre Montreal and the Quebec Aerospace Association put together a trade mission to visit the head office of the US Naval Air Systems Command (US NAVAIR) at Patuxent River, Maryland. Their goal was to “promote Quebec’s aerospace products and services for American defence.”

This summer, Project Ploughshares reported that Canadian helicopters were bound for Pakistan’s military, despite a Canadian military embargo against that country. They will originate in the Bell Helicopter Textron Canada plant in Mirabel, Quebec, and are to be used in the “war against terror,” the catch-all phrase for anything anyone wants to get away with when a clear, legal rationale is not readily available.

Meanwhile, the Canadian government, perhaps fearful that a stand for peace will interfere with the domestic war industry, abstained in August at the United Nations on a resolution “reaffirming the central role of the United Nations in the maintenance of international peace and security and the promotion of international cooperation”.

A U.N. release says the resolution “condemned acts of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, wherever and by whomever committed, and reiterated its call on all States to adopt and implement further measures to prevent terrorism and to strengthen international cooperation in combating terrorism.”

While some may fret about Canada’s world reputation in abstaining on such a concept, others may simply realize Canada cannot support such resolutionss when it profits off the export of products whose sole purpose is terrorizing civilian populations.

MATTHEW BEHRENS works with Homes not Bombs.

 

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