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Honeywell: Bomb Recruitment


By Lee Penn

HARVARD STUDENTS, like most Americans, have come to think of the Indochina War as a nightmare safely past, now that overt American combat there is ended. But American aid and munitions continue to pour into the coffers of Saigon dictatorship, just as the Nixon administration aids its political bedfellows in Chile, Greece, Brazil, South Korea, the Philippines, and the Middle East. In any of these regions an increase of popular resistance to U.S.-supported oppression could cause the government to drag us into new counterrevolutionary intervention. This continual threat of war means that now, as with Dow Chemical in 1967 or with ROTC in 1969, it is no less important to try to break the ties between the military and large corporations.

The problem of complicity is raised by Honeywell's appearance today at the OGCP to recruit employees from Harvard. Honeywell produces useful goods like medical supplies and Pentax cameras. Honeywell also produces antipersonnel bombs and components for the electronic battlefield--both of which significantly contributed to the destruction of Indochina.

During the war, Honeywell produced the BLU-26/B "guava" bomb. This bomb was first used in secret air raids on neutral Laos in 1966. One mother bomb contains 600 to 700 guavas, each of which releases high-speed steel pellets upon explosion, as well as hot plastic fragments which are undetectable by X-rays when embedded in the body. These pellets can't pierce steel, cement, or sandbags--they are designed to tear unprotected human flesh. One mother bomb can saturate an area the size of ten football fields with lethal shrapnel. Time-delay fuses are designed to explode some bomblets before they hit the earth so as to kill those sheltered in trenches; other bomblets don't explode until well after the air raid, when medical assistance has entered the bombed area.

Another Honeywell-manufactured weapon is the SPIW, or Special Purpose Individual Weapon. Each of these bombs sprays out "flechettes"--barbed steel nails one to three inches long. These nails cause more internal damage to their victims than dum-dum bullets, which were outlawed by the Hague Convention of 1907. On December 24, 1972, Fred Branfman, an authority on the air war, explained the effects of the bomb in the Washington Post:

Flechettes are small steel nails, with protruding fins at one end, designed to enlarge the wounds as they enter the body. Doctors report that flechettes peel off the outer tissue, shred internal organs, lodge in blood vessels deep in the body, and are more difficult to remove than any other antipersonnel device.

Honeywell also produces the Rockeye II antipersonnel bomb. Between June 30, 1972, and June 30, 1973, the Pentagon bought $30.9 million worth of these bombs. They were heavily used on North Vietnamese cities during the heavy bombing of 1972 and early 1973. One jet sortie could release four canisters, each containing 247 Rockeyes, thereby killing and maiming people in an area of 30,000 square yards. Each Rockeye can imbed itself partly underground, so that its explosions injure civilians sheltered below ground. Each missile hurls out high-speed molten steel splinters. These, mixed with rock and dirt from the explosion, are blasted into the bodies of the victims, causing massive internal infections and injuries. Dangerous surgery is required to remove the shrapnel. In the December 4, 1972, issue of American Report, Dr. Ton That Tung, surgeon and Vietnamese member of the French Academy of Science, estimated that for any two people wounded in Rockeye attacks, one was killed.

DESPITE THE VIETNAM cease-fire, the March 1973 Defense Marketing Service Intelligence Report noted that Honeywell would have a contract to produce $15 million worth of Rockeye bombs, in both calendar years 1973 and 1974. Honeywell bombs are used now by Thieu's pilots in bombing NLF territory in violation of the cease-fire. Rockeye II bombs were used by Israel in the 1973 Middle East war, as reported by the October 29, 1973 Newsweek.

Honeywell continues to seek and gain arms contracts; new contracts made for 1973 and 1974 included provisions to manufacture delay fuses for Air Force M-117 bombs, the BLU-26/B "guava bomb," the Rockeye bomb, rocket targeting systems, infra-red sensors used in the electronic battlefield, and a "thin wall fragmentation mechanism." Honeywell takes the profits from these contracts, and when challenged on its responsibility for overseas murder, says, as in 1972, "The ultimate decision as to types and quantities of weapons to be available and used must be the responsibility of the Department of Defense." This disclaimer could be expected; few businesses concern themselves with the consequences of the use of their product, except in terms of profit. During World War II the Krupp arms trust supplied the weaponry for German aggression. When called to answer for their conduct after 1945, the owners of the company said that they were just following orders. That defense was insufficient to prevent the imprisonment of high Krupp officials for war crimes.

This country is unlikely to use the courts to bring the planners of the Indochina War to justice. Instead, Honeywell, the latter-day Krupp, is appearing on campus to recruit technicians and executives from the Harvard student body. Some say that this recruitment need not be protested, that nobody is forced to see the interviewer.

This argument misses the point. Honeywell is heavily dependent on the military for its profits; high sales depend upon U.S. involvement in, or preparation for, foreign war. Harvard students who work for Honeywell will do so despite the fact that Harvard students have broader opportunities than most other Americans for employment which does not contribute to the destruction of weaker countries. The accumulation of wealth for the company and its executives leads directly to the accumulation of misery and death for the victims of Honeywell's bombs. Members of the Radcliffe-Harvard New American Moverment and the Democratic Socialists have called for the picketing of the Honeywell recruiter at the OGCP office today. A peoples' trial of Honeywell will follow. A corporation so plainly tainted by human blood should not be allowed to produce war material without protest.

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