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The Pico Rivera, California Walmart (if not all 5) is not closed for plumbing problems. Since when does the company known for squashing rumors, tactical execution, information control and ruthless business practices allow itself to be paraded around the media by everyone from low level economic commenters to actual uninformed conspiracy theorists? If there is really a sneaky coverup for business problems, why is it this sloppy when the rumors could be stopped with a few simple statements from corporate? The confusion may be more useful than anything to the situation as a distraction.

Here is an excerpt from a 1999 Los Angeles Times article on the shutdown of a highly secretive Northrop Grumman plant involved in manufacturing the B-2. The site was was dismantled, auctioned and then razed to build the shopping center currently on the site. While it makes sense that a large retail development should be placed there or something similar to fill the space, it is the wrong place to have a coincidence like that during a “conspiracy theory” frenzy.

(LA Times)

For Northrop Grumman veterans, the dismantling in Pico Rivera is part of a drawn-out farewell to a program that sparked enormous controversy over high costs and other problems–but also, ultimately, garnered praise for the B-2’s performance in combat this year in Yugoslavia.

Northrop Grumman operated the windowless plant with such strict secrecy that trucks made their deliveries in the middle of the night and Air Force officers avoided wearing their uniforms there.

“It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to work on this kind of program,” said Robert Soikkeli, manager of the Pico Rivera site and a Northrop Grumman employee since 1982, when the company opened the Pico Rivera complex.
…………
Thursday’s auction, held most of the day inside the hulking Northrop Grumman buildings, stood in dramatic contrast to the tradition of extraordinary secrecy.

During most of the last two decades, few visitors got past the lobby. If you were invited to the company cafeteria, you needed a security escort. Much of the inside of the main building is a maze-like network of walls and pathways intended, in part, to prevent employees from seeing more than they were meant to see.

Even Thursday, some of the old habits were hard to break. The company barred anyone from bringing in cameras, tape recorders, cellular phones or even pocket calculators.

Security personnel kept the bidders clustered together, preventing them from wandering around the building, even to inspect equipment that would be up for auction later in the day.

The Pico Rivera site is just east of the heart of the Los Angeles metro area and near the major highway arteries for the area, as well as extensive railroad infrastructure and a waterway.

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Walmart’s tactical disaster response is well documented.

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There are 9 disaster distribution centers, strategically located across the country and stocked to provide rapid response to struggling communities in the event of a natural disaster.

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