At 9am Tuesday morning, September 17th, a media advisory went out stating that executives from the Caterpillar corporation would be arrested at their office in DC and at other locations around the country. The media responded immediately, assuming it was another case of corporate corruption, but, when Fox News arrived, they quickly realized it was not an issue of corruption but of War Crimes!
Activists from SUSTAIN (Stop US tax-funded Aid to Israel Now!) marched into the building in Downtown DC that houses the Caterpillar office, to make a citizens arrest under the provisions of the 4th Geneva convention, and to demand that the CAT executives come to the UN building in DC immediately to turn themselves in for war crimes. The arrest warrant served to CAT read:
“The Israeli Defense Forces have committed numerous war crimes and crimes against humanity—as defined by the Fourth Geneva Convention—against the Palestinian people using Caterpillar equipment. The Caterpillar corporation, by knowlingly selling equipment to be used for such purposes, and by refusing to cease such sales when illegal uses were documented, is complicit in these crimes. It is thereby violating its duty under international law, and violating its own code of moral conduct.”Based on this complicity, and in the spirit of Israeli justice, which CAT supports, the warrant called for:
“the immediate arrest of all senior executivs of the Caterpillar Corporation. Further, all Caterpillar executives living in the District of Columbia, are to be exiled to Anacostia [ghettoized area in southeast DC]. They will be furnished with UN refugee tents erected in abandoned alleys, though these will later be bulldozed with Caterpillar equipment. While some of these executives may not be directly associated with Caterpillar complicity in war crimes, we suspect they are related to people who are, and that’s good enough for us.”Upon delivery of the warrant, the CAT executives tried to slam the door, but the SUSTAIN activists blocked it with their bodies and held it open. The CAT executives first threatened to call the police, and then threatented physical assault. The activists replied calmly that they would remain there until they were finished articulating all of the war crimes for which CAT was responsible. They presented color photographs of CAT bulldozers demolishing civilian homes, and explained that at Nurenburg, corporate executives who knowingly supplied equipment for war crimes were tried and held accountable under international law.
Meanwhile, downstairs in front of the building more activists from SUSTAIN, dressed as Israeli soliders, were condemning the CAT building for demolition. They were demanding, over a bullhorn, that everyone evacuate the building because people complicit in terrorist acts and war crimes were being arrested inside. “This is a closed Israeli military zone” they yelled as ‘construction workers’ put orange cones in front of the entrance and wrapped the building in yellow ‘Caution’ tape. They then posted “Condemnation Orders” on the front doors of the office building which read:
“This Office of the Caterpillar Corporation (and the activities carried out herein) Are Condemned. All personnel are instructed to vacate the premises and to turn over this office to homeless Palestinian families.”The CAT executives were visibly shaken, and were publicly indicted in front of the media. The executives and the media were made aware of the fact that similar actions happened today at other CAT offices around the country, and that if CAT continues to supply bulldozers for Israeli war crimes, the actions will continue to escalate nationally and internationally.
Pictures and video footage from todays action, provided by the DC Indymedia center and various independant photographers will be posted on the SUSTAIN website as soon as possible.
Streaming RealVideo of the event is available here on sinkers.org.