After a full year and a half of one defendant being on remand in prison, numerous pre-trial hearings and several last minute postponements, the EDO decommissioners’ court case is finally kicked off on Monday. With the first date taking place exactly a week after the murderous attack on the Gaza freedom flotilla, the world has, yet again, been reminded of Israel’s continuous war crimes and much is at stake. A callout for solidarity with the decommissioners during the trial has been issued. There will be an 'If I had a hammer' themed demo in support of the decommissioners outside EDO/ITT on Wednesday 9th June between 4 and 6pm - Bring rubber and inflatable hammers. The decommissioners will be arguing that their action was taken to prevent greater crimes.
A reminder of what happened: In the early hours of 17th January 2009, during Israel's 'Operation Cast Lead' offensive against Gaza, six people broke in to the EDO/ITT weapons' components factory in Moulsecoomb, Brighton, and, allegedly, caused hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage to the production line. (see youtube for the local paper's video of some of the damage)
The six decommissioners barricaded themselves inside, and proceeded to break computers and other equipment, with the aim of preventing the factory from being able to produce weapons. The action stopped production at the facility until Israel’s bombing campaign was over.
The case is scheduled to last 7-10 weeks and involves nine defendants: six decommissioners and three arrested outside the premises.
There is a history of juries finding anti-war activists not guilty when they attack machinery used in war crimes. In 1996 four women from Trident Ploughshares decommissioned a Hawk jet that was about to be shipped to Indonesia – they were found not guilty. In 2008 the Raytheon 9, who damaged a factory in Derry supplying weapons to Israel during the 2006 Lebanon war, were also unanimously acquitted by a jury.
Before entering the EDO factory the decommissioners recorded statements detailing the reasons why they planned to take part in the action (see this video youtube video). One of the decommissioners, Elijah Smith, said "I don't feel I'm going to do anything illegal tonight, but I'm going to go into an arms factory and smash it up to the best of my ability so that it cannot produce munitions and these very dirty bombs that have been provided to the Israeli army so that they can kill children. The time for talking has gone too far. I'm not a writer, I'm just a person from the community and I'm deeply disgusted.”
Update, and way to be informed of the verdict
The trial of the decommissioners has now entered its third week and is moving along at a brisk pace. Originally scheduled to run for 10 weeks, then cut to 7, it now seems likely that it will conclude around the middle of next week. Some highlights of the case so far include the five-day-long cross examining of EDO's managing Director Paul Hills about his company's business weapon deals, and the early aquittal of one of the defendants after a submission by the defence that she had 'no case to answer' after the prosecution failed to present the jury with any strong evidence against her. At the moment the jury has heard evidence from most of the defendants and are being presented with evidence from Palestine, highlighting the war crimes that have been committed there.
So far so good...However, it's not over yet and the defendants still need your support! There is a vigil every day outside Hove Crown Court from around 9.45am. Everybody welcome both outside and inside court.
There is a demonstration planned for the day of the verdict, whatever the outcome. It will most likely take place at very short notice. If you want to know the outcome of the trial and come to the demo, please email your mobile phone number to email@example.com as soon as possible. You will then be sent a text when the jury goes out and another once the verdict is announced, with demo details.
As you may have noticed, we have all been very busy during the trial period and have been bad at posting updates about how it is going...so, if you come to court and feel like writing about what's going on please feel free to send your impressions to Smash EDO's email and we can keep people informed. In the meantime, here is a link to a piece which has been written already:
"Every bomb that is dropped, every bullet that is fired in the name of this war of terror has to be made somewhere -and wherever that is it can be resisted"
- e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Homepage: http://www.smashedo.org.uk
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