The corporate website proudly informs its readers:
At Caterpillar, we are committed to respecting internationally recognized human rights throughout our global operations. While this policy is uniquely our own, we considered principles described in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work in its development.”
Palestinians would beg to differ. And so too should U.S. citizens, says Lawrence Maushard, a journalist and activist from the Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions Movement (BDS), who organizes protests just outside Caterpillar Inc.’s (CAT) traditional headquarters, now its main management structure, in Peoria, Illinois. As Maushard notes:
CAT has knowingly sold its bulldozers and other heavy equipment to the apartheid Israeli military and its front agents for decades. Bulldozers typically get weaponized and are used to destroy Palestinian homes, businesses, farms, property and lives against all international laws governing an occupying power.”
Israel buys CAT equipment from the U.S. military aid allocated budget. The vehicles are also used in extrajudicial killings: the “pressure-cooker” procedure, which is an escalating series of violent maneuvers ending with bulldozers demolishing a house with people inside it, is described in detail in a Who Profits report.
A CAT bulldozer was also used to murder U.S. peace activist Rachel Corrie as she protested, along with other International Solidarity Movement (ISM) volunteers, the demolition of a family home in Gaza in 2003. In full view of the bulldozer, standing on a mound of earth, Corrie “disappeared from view under the moving earth” as the machine was driven forward, further than where she had been standing, before reversing. The Israeli military absolved the driver of all culpability. Read more.