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.
The EDO decommissioners’ court case finally kicked off at the start of June. EDO CEO Paul Hill has been extensively cross-examined about his company's arms deals and one of the defendants has already been acquitted after no evidence was produced to prosecute her. A solidarity demo has been organised to take place outside Hove Crown Court on the day of the verdict - expected to be some time next week.
In Nottingham, anti-arms trade activists showed solidarity with the EDO decommissioners by targeting the Radford premises of EMICS, a company involved in the global arms trade. The gates were chained shut and graffiti saying "SMASH EMICS" was sprayed on the walls.
Previous feature: Hammer Time: The EDO Decommissioners go on trial
EMICS, which has premises on Radford Boulevard, provides quality assurance to the arms company QinetiQ to facilitate the development of military hardware. Its clients also include weapons manufacturers Rolls Royce.
The EDO decommissioners' 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). 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.”