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.”