John Hume and Raytheon’s dodgy comms strategy…

Nice piece of FOI work by the Londonderry Sentinel, which has the notes by then DETI minister Ian Pearson on John Hume’s view re bringing the controversial (and loss making) Raytheon plant to Derry:

“He would like the company to emphasise that its software helps to protect people (whether through having good air traffic controls systems or in radar work etc), not kill people. In addition, he suggested that in describing the work in a public arena reference should be made to government contracts, rather than MoD contracts, since the latter can be emotive. He undertook to update his colleagues, including Mark Durkan, on the meetings and he would work behind the scenes to get support for the company.
“The company were content with the outcome of the meeting and advised John Hume that they would be moving forward with gaining certification to undertake additional government (MoD) work. They undertook to keep in touch with John Hume’s office…by providing updates.”

Hume disputes the obvious implications of Pearson’s internal report… In fact the paper carries a lengthy rebuttal:

“The memo obtained by the Sentinel was not an agreed minute of a briefing which was provided by Invest NI in respect of Raytheon in 2003 and the SDLP does not accept its contents as an accurate reflection of the meeting.
“John Hume as the then MP did not indicate that he was content with Raytheon exploring defence options for Derry and in no way advised Invest NI or the company to present any such activities in any particular way. In fact, the briefing was provided as John had made clear that he would not support development of products that were not designed to protect people.
“While John and Mark Durkan did not discuss this particular meeting, their discussions about Raytheon around that time adhered to the party stance and there was no question of any SDLP representative working either behind the scenes or publicly for a change in approach to Raytheon. The party has at all times maintained exactly the same stance on this matter in public and in private, as the public would expect. In fact, Mark Durkan as party leader and councillors discussed this issue when it came to council and they reinforced the party’s consistent position.
“That position was and remains that the welcome expressed by council when Raytheon came to the city was contingent on civilian applications being its work, and that if that changed then the welcome position would change. At any further meetings with Raytheon the party also made clear its position in respect of development of systems in Derry which were not designed for civilian use.”

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  • John O’Connell

    Much ado about nothing. Sounds like MI5 and MI6 trying with the help of Invest Northern Ireland to fulfill their secret deal to turn Foyle over to Sinn Fein because they know Sinn Fein could never do it on their own.

    Nobody’s going to believe this baloney only those who’ve a long track record of opposing the SDLP like Eamon McCann.

  • Jim

    Questions were being asked 10 years ago about Hume’s support for the whole Raytheon package

    http://republican-news.org/archive/1999/November11/11rayt.html

  • John O’Connell

    Jim

    Catch yourself on if you think that republicans have any credibility in this issue or in any relating to the arms trade. The arms trade is the stock in trade of republicans. They are steeped in the actual use of weaponry against human beings.

    This article is getting more like a Sinn Fein hit on the SDLP every minute. I hope we’re not going to hear all their greivance stories about the SDLP as their egos run riot at this opportunity to attack the man who brought them political acceptability. I suppose this is thanks, John.

  • brendan,belfast

    This whole issue is a nonsense on so many levels. Firstly Eamonn McCann (633 votes) has zero mandate and zero credibility. What’s he gonna do drop another hard drive out the window??

    Secondly, so what if Hume was helping them get MoD contracts? They are an arms factory, providing jobs to the people of Derry. All the other pious nonsense, including that from the current crop of SDLP coouncillors, is just that, nonsense. Defence stategies only?

    Everyone knows its a fig leaf and in fact nobody gives a damn apart from the tiny bunch of morale crusaders.

    The SDLP should stand up and tell them where to go. Do you think Raytheon employees who support their families from their Raytheon pay packets, give a damn where the contracts come from??

    Everybody needs to grow up on this issue, especially Citizen McCann.

  • Ex Pat Pat

    I agree with Pat. That was one thing I admored about John Hume was his willingness/ability to fight on the economic front for his constituency. Raytheon jobs were a good thing in an area of high unemployment – I doubt if Eamonn McCann could create many jobs with all his big talk.

  • Danny O’Connor

    F**k ,pot calls kettle black,in this case it is a pot on the fire talking to an electric kettle.
    John Hume does not need to justify himself to a group responsable for so many murders.

  • Sinn Féin have no right to moralise on the topic of arms but the whole affair is deeply distasteful. Raytheon profit out of the death and destruction of others and no amount of job creation makes that right. Indications are that the Derry plant manufactured hardware for use by the British Army in Afghanistan, something clearly in breach of the agreements they made when they opened the plant. Even the whole idea of getting Raytheon to agree to produce only technology for civilian applications is naive in the extreme, they are a bloody arms company. I’ve campaigned against the arms trade in other areas before so to approach Raytheon in a different way would be hypocrisy on my part. I personally think it’s wrong and, if the memo is accurate, the SDLP are wrong too.

  • Cynic

    Oh what hypocrisy on so many levels.

    We want an arms manufacturer to come to Derry to give us work but don’t offend us by do any military related work – heavens no – having seen 3500 dead that would be just too offensive,. And design all your software so it doesn’t work for the hated British occupying forces.

    And this alleged cunning MI5 plot to promote the wider Shinnerdom is initiated by a local Derry paper using FOI to obtain documents that seem to show the SDLP engaged in some practical behind the scenes politics to bring work to Derry but keep themselves ever so slightly distant from any collateral criticism. Wouldn’t it be interesting to obtain all the documents on SF negotiations on such issues – do you seriously think they would show a stand based on sound policy and ethical principles!

    Non issue. Many years ago John Hulme bent over backwards to bring work to Derry … and bears s*** in the woods

  • Cynic

    PS read the SDLP statement carefully

    An ICBM in the USA protects people as it deters other rogue states like North Korea attacking the USA with a nuclear device becasue they know that, if they do, it can totally eliminate them. Conditions satisified. So Rayethon could build them in Derry if it liked.

  • jojo

    Comments saying Hume was bringing jobs miss the point. If the SDLP said they had no problem with what Raytheon was doing in terms of military systems then that’s fine – but they said they did have a problem. Yet behind the scenes seems to have been a different story. It’s been publicly acknowledged that Hume lobbied for Raytheon to win a defence contract, yet the SDLP said this sort of work wasn’t to be done in Derry once Raytheon got the contract. Okay for it to be done in other areas then, was it? Just not Derry?

  • John O’Connell

    jojo

    It’s been publicly acknowledged that Hume lobbied for Raytheon to win a defence contract,

    When? I find this unlikely.

    Okay for it to be done in other areas then, was it? Just not Derry?

    You’re misrepresenting the SDLP position based on a misconception that Hume lobbied for a defence contract.

  • jojo

    When Raytheon first came, and it won the ASTOR contract, the enterprise minister publicly said that the award of the contract had helped move forward the plan to set up in Derry, and he publicly said that Trimble, Mallon and Hume had lobbied for Raytheon to get that contract. Even Raytheon’s own website said ASTOR work would be done in Derry when it was awarded the contract. It was hardly a secret at the time

  • jojo

    “Extensive lobbying by the Secretary of State and myself, together with local politicians including David Trimble, Seamus Mallon and John Hume, has influenced a decision which will bring further opportunities to people here. The contract will lead to Raytheon accelerating the establishment of its software development centre in Derry.” Adam Ingram 1999

  • John O’Connell

    jojo

    Still no proof that John Hume had lobbied for a defence contract, as opposed to the SDLP’s stated position of only supporting non military contracts.

  • jojo

    ‘Extensive lobbying by the Secretary of State and myself, together with local politicians including David Trimble, Seamus Mallon and John Hume has influenced a decision…’ I see this as saying John Hume helped lobby and helped influence the decision. Ingram was talking about ASTOR – the system now in use in Afghanistan – and John Hume never denied what he said at the time, nor did Seamus Mallon who was deputy first minister. And Mallon certainly never spoke out, either, against the award of any other defence contract to Bombardier etc. Why aren’t the SDLP consistent and demanding that Bombardier and Shorts and other firms that employ a lot of people also do civilian work only?

  • John East Belfast

    1967

    “I’ve campaigned against the arms trade in other areas before so to approach Raytheon in a different way would be hypocrisy on my part. I personally think it’s wrong and, if the memo is accurate, the SDLP are wrong too.”

    Are you a pacifist or a Quaker or something – or can you in certain circumstnaces believe in a Just War ?

    If the latter then where are you supposed to buy your weapons from ?

  • nineteensixtyseven

    John East Belfast,

    Most of the campaigns I’ve ever been involved with involved demands for disinvestment, like in protesting my university for investing heavily in BAE and the Engineering Faculty taking money. I don’t think it’s right for educational institutions to be investing their students’ fees in such things, especially if they are giving them no say and refuse to meet them on the matter. No, I’m not a pacifist and we can all name wars that can be justified but when an industry develops beyond all realistic controls and produces weapons because it is profitable to do so, and when such companies are umbilically attached to the economies of states then unavoidable wars have a tendency to break out. My distaste here is for politicians wanting to have their cake and eat and, if this memo is true, saying one thing in public and another in private.

  • John East Belfast

    1967

    “No, I’m not a pacifist and we can all name wars that can be justified but when an industry develops beyond all realistic controls and produces weapons because it is profitable to do so, and when such companies are umbilically attached to the economies of states then unavoidable wars have a tendency to break out.”

    Sorry but that statement makes no sense and lacks credibility.

    You cant say you are not a pacifist but expect your army to go to war with spears and bows and arrows.

    They are going to need the latest technology and kit and weapons that will kill as many of the enemy as possible with minimum damage to your own troops. Hopefully you never have to use them but you need to be ready to do so if necessary.

    If you believe in just wars and you believe you will need modern weapons then you have no credibility in saying that you dont want those ghastly weapons built in your own back yard.

    Or is it because they were sold to the British Army that is your main problem here ?

  • John O’Connell

    jojo

    Why aren’t the SDLP consistent and demanding that Bombardier and Shorts and other firms that employ a lot of people also do civilian work only?

    Because they’re in other MP’s constituencies for a start. But I take your point.

    However, you’re going nowhere with the quotes as they are meaningless in pinning anyone down to having said something of a specific nature.

  • John O’Connell

    John East Belfast

    They are going to need the latest technology and kit and weapons that will kill as many of the enemy as possible with minimum damage to your own troops. Hopefully you never have to use them but you need to be ready to do so if necessary.

    How very antichristian of you. I suppose you’re not as Christian.

  • John East Belfast

    John

    I am not a Quaker or a pacifist.

    I assume you do not believe in Just Wars then and under no circumstances you will ever contemplate defending your country, its people or even your own family in the event of an aggressor. Under such circumstances you will just lie down then and let them have their way ?

  • John O’Connell

    John East Belfast

    Under such circumstances you will just lie down then and let them have their way ?

    them = paranoia

    The only way that you argument can be proved wrong is for nuclear war to break out and the world to be jeopardised. So I’m saying your philosophy is barbarian, profoundly stupid and ultimately based on paranoid delusions about inferior races and so on.

    A world without violence is the dream of Christianity and yet you challenge that dream and replace it with nonsense about preparing yourself for battle.

  • John East Belfast

    John

    And you are a hypocrite.

    Indeed the worst kind – one who is prepared to let others do your killing and dying for you

  • nineteensixtyseven

    John East Belfast,

    No, it’s not because it’s the British Army any more than the German army or the French army or the Irish army. And it does make sense; if states plough a lot of money into modern weaponry they will want to use their gear and will manufacture a reason to do so.

  • John East Belfast

    1967

    So what point are you making ?

    You say you are not a pacifist but you dont want your Govt to spend money on weapons. Therefore what are you going to fight your just wars with ?

    You arent making any sense

  • John O’Connell

    John East Belfast

    Indeed the worst kind [of hypocrite]- one who is prepared to let others do your killing and dying for you

    The lesson of Christianity is that victory is in defeat and this stands to reason in that the opposite situation is where we have masculine aggressors dominating nations such that the competition for glory always results in war somwhere sometime. There is then an everlasting preparedness to go to war just to defend themselves against the same mindset in other countries.

    I say we change the mindset and if we have to suffer some defeats in doing that, so be it.

    That is in my commitment as a Christian to the SDLP position in the North which rejects fighting against the persecution of our tradition by the British and unionists for centuries. So I reject your claim that I am a hypocrite.

  • John East Belfast

    John

    I said you were a hypocrite because you implied you could countenance circumstances of a just war but you didnt want weapons of war manufactured in Derry. I am sorry but I dont understand any other way to describe such a situation.

    The “everlasting preparadness to go to war” is there for a reason.

    That is history clearly shows we will throw up tyrants and religious nut jobs who think God needs some help. Others may want your land your oil or in years to come your water.

    Who knows but any Government who believes in its own liberty and values the freedoms we all enjoy would be wreckless not to be ready.

    Your views – contradictory as they are – are very much in the minority

  • John O’Connell

    John East Belfast

    you implied you could countenance circumstances of a just war

    You’re making things up now to support your argument.

    I believe that all war is evil. No war is necessary in any circumstances and for any reason.

    The usual riposte is what about Hitler. Hitler would have done much less damage if his armies were spread much more thinly across the world and defeated using diplomatic efforts at exposing his brutality and embarassing him into accepting less rather than brutalising half of Europe to fight someone who was no more than someone who ultimately believed in the same things as you.

  • John East Belfast

    John

    In you earlier post you said

    “The only way that you argument can be proved wrong is for nuclear war to break out and the world to be jeopardised.”

    I thought by that you implied in extreme circumstances you thought aggression could be justified.

    However if you are an out and out pacifist under any circumstances then you should have just said so when I asked you earlier.

    As for

    “No war is necessary in any circumstances and for any reason”

    is as far as the vast majority of people on the planet – unfortunately – total bull shit.

    As for Hitler

    “would have done much less damage if his armies were spread much more thinly across the world and defeated using diplomatic efforts at exposing his brutality and embarassing him into accepting less rather than brutalising half of Europe”

    isnt worthy of comment

    and as for comparing Hitler’s aim with mine as well as an earlier insulting post referring to me believing in inferior races – which I ignored at the time- I can only conclude you have a very warped view of the world.

  • John O’Connell

    John East Belfast

    Firstly you didn’t ask me if I was a pacifist if you check.

    and as for comparing Hitler’s aim with mine as well as an earlier insulting post referring to me believing in inferior races – which I ignored at the time- I can only conclude you have a very warped view of the world.

    You may not believe it but my beliefs are consistent with those of Jesus Christ. I think it is you who has what may be typical views in our era but are under the surface warped views that would lead to a nuclear holocaust if followed by world leaders.

    Sorry about the jabs about Hitler and inferior races but there are people like you in name who would not put up too strong an argument if that was put to them.