[Bristol] Ciaron O'Reilly & supporters | 05.06.2010 13:22
Solidarity with Those on Trial in Belfast & Brighton for Resisting Israel's Weapon Manufacturers!
-Derry Women on Trial in Belfast & EDO Decommissioners on Trial in Brighton
I have just spent the last two days in a Belfast court attending the trial of 9 women and 2 men from Derry. Charges on 3 other men were dropped the Tuesday morning we drove up from Dublin.
The nine women moved from protest to resistance during the Israeli attack on Gaza in the January of '09. It was a powerful experience to listen to their testimony to why they have risked their liberty to bring down the mainframe computer of the Derry Raytheon plant during the Israeli '09 war on Gaza.
Raytheon is one of the largest arms manufacturers in the world and was invited to Derry as part of the North's "peace dividend", opened by Nobel Peace Prize winners Hume and Trimble, go figure! Raytheon weapons have been used extensively by the state of Israel in killing civilians in Lebanon and Palestine. The 9 women had attempted to enter the Raytheon plant in Derry with the intention of pouring water into the mainframe computer and having a direct effect on Israel's ability to butcher men, women and children in Gaza. during the attacks of Jan '09.
The 9 women knew from the previous trial of the "Raytheon 9" that the August '06 action undertaken during Israel's attacks on Lebanon - that by disabling the Raytheon mainframe computer in Derry it had knock on effects on other Raytheon computers through the UK.
The women also knew from prosecution witnesses at that trial that Raytheon has an ongoing commitment to maintaining the equipment they have sold to Israel and which has been used repetitively to murder from the air in Gaza.
While the 3rd. week of this trial unfolded in Belfast, the events in the Mediterranean Sea were also unfolding. Events where nine solidarity activists were murdered and dozens wounded by Israeli commandos in international waters. From my christian paradigm those killed, wounded and imprisoned activists were practising the acts of mercy..."bringing building supplies to the homeless, medical equipment to the sick and food to the hungry" Matthew 25:31-46. Israel (like the U.S. with their sanctions on Iraq in the '90's) have criminalised practising the acts of mercy. Indeed, the state of Israel has made practising the works of mercy toward the people of Gaza a capitol offence.
The Derry defendants have been making the long daily commute from their homes to the Belfast court for the last 3 weeks. It was a privilege to travel back with them to their hometown and experience their community of resistance.
I have attended dozens of anti-war trials over the last 3 decades and have always found them to be sacred times and spaces...the fragility and strength of the defendants, the demonic slickness of the arms corporations & military, the weird rituals and costumes of the courts and the prosecution's desperate attempts to strip such compassionate actions of any context. As the late Phil Berrigan once said to me "Brothers and sisters in jail, or on trial, for peace and justice sake speak to our conscience, which is how God speaks to us!"
In the Irish anti-war scene there is a marked lack of solidarity from the more moderate "mass rally" protest leadership & movement for those who take nonviolent resistance. Unlike the Rossport campaign that has been built on nvda and prison solidarity, the anti-war scene seems to be one of groundhog day rallies, posturing & political manouverings between small left groups. Hopefully the Palestinian solidarity movement can move beyond this dynamic, but there seemed to be no mention at the rally in Dublin last Monday of the trial in nearby Belfast of those who resisted Israel's weapons manufacturers. What gives? If we are serious about resisting war in the imperial heartland we have to move from protest to nonviolent resistance. There isn't much resistance, because in our atomised society & protest movements there isn't much solidarity
I know from my own resistance experiences, trials and a couple of years in prison - that the more solidarity the resister experiences, the easier the resistance is to undertake and sustain!
Next week (June 7th.) 6 activists go to trial in Brighton/England for their nonviolent disarmament actions at EDO/ITT - another weapons supplier to the Israeli military. 3 local activists have also been charged and are also on trial. One of the defendants Elijah James Smith has been kept in jail by the British state since the action on 17th January 09.
Sometimes it is the case that folks who would like to offer solidarity don't now how to....it's up to the movement to make it as easy as possible for folks to express their solidarity.
A simple act of solidarity you could do would be to send a letter or postcard of solidarity to
HMP Lewes ,
1 Brighton Rd,
also check the following website for more backgorund information and updates
If you know anyone in Belfast encourage them to get along to the closing stages of the Raytheon trial of the Derry women in Laganside Court 13.
There will be folks returning from the Gaza convoy after time in Israeli jails, bashed and injured. It's important to reach out to hese folks with whatever solidarity we can muster...it's only limited by our imaginations. There are folks still in jeopardy on the "Rachel Corrie" heading towards Gaza that we need to stand with. And of course there are the folks in Gaza that need to know that the killing and wounding of our friends will not kill our movement of nonviolent solidarity with them.
HOW EDO MBM SUPPLIES THE ISRAELI MILITARY
EDO components used in Iraq
EDO MBM/ ITT are a key partner in the development of Raytheon’s Paveway guided bomb programme. The Paveway bomb was the most used air weapon in the 2003 attack on Iraq. 70% of all munitions launched in the initial ‘shock and awe’ bombing were Paveway bombs. Records show EDO MBM have exported parts to the US company General Dynamics, that make the bomb bodies of the US Paveway bombs on a regular basis at least since 2006. EDO MBM currently manufacture hardbacks and ancillaries for the new generation of UK Paveway IV guided bombs as part of a global assembly line that stretches from the US to Sardinia. Since 2003, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed as a direct result of the military invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. The guided bombs used in these immoral and illegal acts of aggression were directly and knowingly assisted by EDO MBM’s research and development of the Paveway system.
On these facts alone, EDO MBM/ITT are complicit in crimes against humanity and war crimes under international law. Any damage done to their factory by the decommissioners action in January 2009 pales into insignificance when this is taken into account. But EDO MBM’s complicity goes further still...
EDO and Israel
Since 2004 two managing directors of the company have confirmed the company owns the patents of two essential components used by the Israeli Air Force F16 aircraft called the VER-2.
Open sources and statements by directors of the company prove that the Zero Retention Force Arming Unit and the Ejector Release Unit (ERU) 151 are both used in the VER-2 bomb rack. In 1990, Flight International reported that the Lucas Western ‘Zero Retention Force Arming Unit’ had ‘already been fitted to Tornados, Israeli F-16s, Australian F-111s, USAF F-15Es and USN A-6s and A-7s’. Between 2003 and 2007 EDO MBM advertised on its Brighton website that it was ‘actively manufacturing’ the EDO MBM Zero Retention Force Arming Unit.
EDO MBM advertised the VER-2 until 2004 when managing director David Jones hastily removed it because, as he stated under oath ’we were experiencing protests‘ and ‘didn’t want to advertise what we particularly do to outside people who were likely to use it against us’.
EDO MBM’s website continues to advertise the ERU-151 while directors of the company have denied under oath that it has ever been made, sold, exported by them or by anyone else. However during an investigation buy the Information Commissioner in 2008 the UK Government Department for Business (DBIS) admitted that since 2000 the company had applied for arms trade export licenses to export the ERU-151 but refused to disclose dates, or destinations, claiming this might damage the commercial interests of the firm.
In March 2009 both the UK Government and the Information Commissioner confirmed that these license applications had been approved.
In August 2009 the Head of Export Policy Unit at the UK government Export Control Organization admitted that these licenses had not been found in initial 2007 searches of the license documents under a Freedom of Information Act request, or during a further four week internal review, because the company had described the ERU-151 in its applications in an ‘unconventional’ way.
Despite this the Government claim that this does not prove that directors lied in court about the ERU-151 because it is possible the licenses were never used. The Department of Business claim they do not collect information about when military export licenses are actually used.
Currently EDO MBM has 55 arms export licences in force The company may also be describing the military items to be exported in an ‘unconventional’ manner so as to escape the scrutiny of arms export controls. The same tactic may be widespread throughout the arms industry and the thousands of companies that export military components every year without any of the scrutiny that EDO MBM have been placed under.
On 21 April 2009 Foreign Office minister David Miliband admitted in parliament that UK military components had been used by the Israeli Air Force in its attacks on Gaza. ‘British made components for F16s have been exported to the United States where Israel was the ultimate end- user,’ he said. The next day another FCO minister Bill Rammell, Deputy Head of the Counter Pro liferation Department stated before the Committees On Arms Export Control. ‘We believe that there is IDF equipment that was used in Operation Cast Lead, and it almost certainly contained British-supplied components’. In respect of F16s, helicopters and armoured personnel carriers, either on an incorporated or an unincorporated basis, there have been no approvals since Lebanon 2006.’ Under a five year Standard Individual Export Licence (SIEL), if the ERU-151 licence was approved in 2002, then EDO MBM could still have been exporting it directly to Israel up to 2007. If approved around the time of the Lebanon war of 2006, then EDO MBM could still have been making and exporting it to Israel indirectly, via the USA, France or another country, right up to the time of the decommissioning action. It is very probable that such contracts include the regular provision of spares and replacement parts for the equipment that EDO MBM have owned the sole patent to since 1998.
As of August 2009 the UK government refuses to confirm or deny if they hold any information relating to EDO MBM/ITT’s exports to Israel. The Government claim international relations with allied government could be damaged by any such disclosure, and any disclosure of exports to sensitive destinations could lead to the company being targeted by ‘pressure groups’ in further acts of direct action. The question arises. If there is nothing to hide, why do the UK government refuse to provide information. All this evidence leads us to just one highly probable conclusion. EDO MBM are arming Israel.
By the Scintilla Research Project
Monday 7th June 2010 (moved from 17th May)
On 17th January 2009, as the bombs rained down on Gaza, six people entered the EDO factory in Brighton. They threw computers and filing cabinets out of the first floor window and took hammers to machinery used for weapons production. The factory makes parts for weapons that have been used against the people if Iraq, Afganistan and Palestine. (see www.smashedo.org.uk for more information) Their aim was to disable the war machine and to take action against those who profit from the aerial bombardment of Gaza. The factorys offices were out of action for a month and hundreds of thousands of pounds of damage was reported.
The EDO Decommisioners always intended to go to trial – now set for June 7th – Not as the accused but as the accusers making the case that their action was lawful because they were disarming an arms factory which is complicit in war crimes.
9am, Remember Gaza vigil outside the court (expected to be Hove Crown Court, check www.smashedo.org.uk closer to the time).
Monday 7th June 2010 (moved from 17th May)
Decommisioners court case due to begin.
Wednesday 9th June 2010 (moved from 19th May)
If I had a Hammer - Decommissioners support demo at EDO MBM, Home Farm Road 4-6pm.
[Bristol] Ciaron O'Reilly & supporters
Original article on IMC Bristol: http://bristol.indymedia.org/article/692570