The Opening Session of The Merchants of Death War Crimes Tribunal began on November 12, 2023. This People’s Tribunal will hold accountable — through testimony of witnesses and documentary evidence — four U.S. weapons manufacturers which produce and sell products that attack and kill not only combatants but non-combatants as well.
These four defendants— Raytheon, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, General Atomics—are representative of the entire U.S. War Industry. On November 10, 2022, the four defendants were served with subpoenas and asked to participate. All four defendants declined.
This Tribunal alleges these weapons manufacturers have committed War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity. The Judges of the Tribunal will hear the evidence, render a verdict, and issue an extensive report.
Testifying will be Dr. Cornel West, Richard Falk, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, Norman Solomon, John Pilger, Jeremy Kuzmarov, Christian Sorensen, Jeffrey Stern, William Astore, Aisha Jumaan, Matt Aikens, Marie Dennis, Dr. Kelly Denton-Borhaug, and numerous others.
The testimonies of the witnesses for the Tribunal have been video-recorded during the last year as investigative teams identified witnesses and elicited their testimony. This included testimonies from the victims of war, military and weapons analysts, lawyers, journalists, moral philosophers and theologians.
Once the Opening Session concludes, the entire Tribunal will be streamed via video links over consecutive weeks examining War Crimes in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Gaza, and Yemen. The role of Lobbying, Think Tanks, the “Revolving Door,” and other means by which these predatory capitalists enrich themselves through war will be explored.
These recorded testimonies will be presented to the Jurors of the Tribunal and a worldwide audience (via livestream). The first segment of the Tribunal aired on November 12, 2023.
Kathy Kelly, a peace activist and author, made over two dozen trips to Afghanistan from 2010 – 2019, living with young Afghan Peace Volunteers in a working class neighborhood in Kabul. She learned about conditions in Afghanistan through encounters with mothers and children, many of whom were directly affected by war. With Voices in the Wilderness companions, from 1996 - 2003, she traveled 27 times to Iraq, defying the economic sanctions and remaining in Iraq throughout the Shock and Awe bombing and the initial weeks of the invasion. Kathy has been an educator for most of her life, but she believes children of war and those who are victims of violence have been her most important teachers. She is board president of World BEYOND War and a co-coordinator of the Ban Killer Drones campaign. (www.bankillerdrones.org)
Nick Mottern is Co-coordinator with Kathy Kelly of BanKillerDrones.org and is an organizer of the Merchants of Death War Crimes Tribunal, which will be holding hearings in November 2023. He is a member of the national board of Veterans For Peace. He is also a reporter, whose work has appeared on Truthout, Common Dreams, Counterpunch and on other websites, and he is a researcher and organizer who has worked for the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs, Bread for the World and Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers. While with Maryknoll he coordinated, with Jerry Herman, of the American Friends Service Committee, the Africa Peace Tour, an educational tour that brought Africans to the U.S. to speak about apartheid and U.S. military involvement in Africa.
Brad Wolf is a lawyer, former prosecutor, professor, and community college dean. He is cofounder of Peace Action Network of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, an affiliate of Peace Action and a partner of World BEYOND War. Brad is a full-time activist for peace and justice and his writings have been published in The Progressive, Common Dreams, Counterpunch, Antiwar.com, Consortium News, and Dappled Things. He recently authored a book on Philip Berrigan's collected writings entitled "A Ministry of Risk."