By Cam Reuker and Liisa Wale
Arizona Community Press | www.azcommunitypress.org
On Thursday, March 14th The 2nd Annual Requirements Conference for Arizona’s Aerospace, Aviation & Defense Community at the Hilton Scottsdale Resort & Villas was met by protest during the lunch hour. The Aerospace & Defense Requirements Day was hosted by the Arizona Technology Council and Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA). People in attendance included Praxis Resources, Honeywell, and Northrop Grumman.
End the War Coalition called for this action to let the Arizona defense community know that it is time to stop funding war and spend the money on human needs. Virginia Hauflaire, representing Arizona Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), said “I am here to protest the outrageous amount of spending that we are using for military force when we need this money for social needs. It is high time that we not make America totally subservient to the military industrial complex. It is time we move our money out of making war and use our money to fund social needs such as health, education and general welfare.”
Those protesting had an opportunity to interact with some of the conference attendees who stopped to talk.
Video Taken by Cam Reuker:
Shortly after this video was taken of brief talk with a conference attendee both Sheila Ryan and Edwina Vogan were asked to leave the property and to stay on the public side walk. The Hilton staff said they welcomed the right to protest but reserved their right to have it moved to the sidewalk.
Some of the latest technology being highlighted at this conference included drones. Northrup Grumman, one of the conference attendees, is a recognized leader in unmanned systems. Here in Arizona drone technology is being used at the Arizona/Mexico border. Elizabeth Venable, a concerned citizen who attended a portion of the conference, stated that “I am concerned about the use of drones for surveillance of the American people and immigrants. I think there are better things for the U.S. government to invest in that will provide a better return to society such as education and healthcare”.
Richard A. Smith, a spokesperson for the Phoenix Chapter of Veterans for Peace who is a Navy veteran and retired attorney, stated that the military industrial complex’s “intervening of government and defense industry has resulted in the society being harmed because that money is taken away from education, housing, healthcare and virtually anything and everything that makes society vibrant and productive. Research has proven that we don’t have the resources to continue to spend exorbitantly on weapons systems that we don’t need. We can cut spending and be safe and secure.”