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Hammer Time: The EDO Decommissioners go on trial

07.06.2010 17:24 | Smash EDO | Anti-militarism | Palestine | South Coast

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.

The trial comes just a few days after 9 people who attempted to decommission Raytheon in Derry during Israel's 2009 assault on Gaza were acquitted by a jury (see Ireland Indymedia and here) .

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.

Original feature | UK Smash EDO Newswire Archive

Links: www.smashedo.org.uk | www.decommissioners.co.uk

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.”


edo trial update

25.06.2010 05:48

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  smashedo@riseup.net 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:  smashedo@riseup.net
- Homepage:  http://www.smashedo.org.uk

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De commisioners trial Hove Crown Court

10.06.2010 17:34

Hove Crown Court is the unseemly euesore at the top of my road. During this week i have been actively supporting the peaceful, law abiding and responsible demonstration that has been taking place in support of the de-commisioners. I fully support the demonstrators and the de commisioners and in comon with many citizens of Brighton and Hove i find the presence of a factory that supplies arms to the Israel state unacceptable and morally offensive. The actions legally definable as war crimes that the state of Israel have perpetrated against the people of Gaza are plain to see for all who are prepared to look.
The de commisioners and their supporters have not been prepared to walk by on the other side - they have acted in the name of right thinking humanity indeed they are soldiers of humanity. The only criminals are those who supply arms to war criminals and the servants of the police state who call the actions of the decommisioners "crimes."
I have been given to understand that the chair person of EDO arm suppliers has been able to easily obtain "police protection" - and it is disconcerting to note that police will willingly protect someone like this - is in not amazing what money, influence and political clout can by. No! I support the de commisioners, unlike the local "law' enforcement agancy and other minions of our corrupt na ddysfunctional justice system, my integrity is not for sale

George Coombs
mail e-mail: georgecmbs@aol.com

Smashingly good start at Decommissioners trial.

16.06.2010 20:12

Smashingly good start at Decommissioners trial.
bristol | community | news report Wednesday June 16, 2010 10:19 by abc-paster - supporter

The first week of the trial of the EDO Decommissioners was dominated by questionning of EDO boss Paul Hills, who was in the dock from Tuesday to Friday, and will be back again on Monday. He did not have a pleasant time as the defence team dug into what exactly EDO get up to, and with who.

He was openly accused of lying by the defence, and at one point was warned by the judge of the risks of perjuring himself. Of interest to anti-militarists will have been discussions around export licenses and the inter-connected nature of the international arms trade, along with its links into political patronage. Also worth noting was the judge’s ruling that the jury be given as background info a very brief summary of the Goldstone report into Israel’s bombing of Gaza in 2008/9 and as the Decommissioners trial in Hove Crown Court enters its second week one of the defendants had their case dropped due to insufficient evidence provided by the prosecution. Back of the net. So thats one down... eight to go

Defendants were believed to have been pleased with how the first week went as the trial finally got going after a 17 months wait, and they were able to sit back and watch Hills sweat. Of course they too will soon be up for questionning, but we trust their integrity and committment wil shine through! Defendants were further boosted by the good news from the Raytheon 11 trial in Belfast that ended on 4 June with 9 acquittals and 2 minor convistions, following 3 previous acquittals. Report here.

At the beginning of the week one defendant, Robert Alford, chose to plead guilty as expected. However the judge decided he should remain on remand and will not be sentenced until the trial of the other 8 defendants ends. Although displeased at being kept on remand, this does mean Alford could benefit in the event the others are found not guilty.

On the opening day of the trial, 7 June, defendants were greeted by a strong picket of the court. Around 60 people joined the protest, with about 20 from Bristol (including people from Bristol STW, Bristol PSC, Bristol ABC and other campaigners). The protest continued until around 1.30pm, when the jury were let go for the day and the court was closed to everyone except defendants and legal teams (apparently on security grounds as they watched cctv footage from inside the EDO factory). There is a report here from Bristol Indymedia, photos here, and a Guardian report here. You will find links to the Goldstone report in those articles.

In the meantime Elijah Smith remains on remand throughout the trial, being bussed in from Lewes prison daily. Letters of support for him continue to be welcomed – write to Elijah Smith – A3186AM, HMP Lewes, 1 Brighton Rd, Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 1EA. You may also wish to send supportive letters to Robert Alford – A1583AN at the same address.

Supporters are welcome inside and outside the court any day of the week. For other anti-EDO events see SmashEDO.

There are no proceedings ttoday, Wednesday, 16th, The defence starts from Thursday 10.30- public are welcome to attend.

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abc-paster - supporter
- Homepage: http://decommissioners.co.uk/

Most wanted: man classified 'domestic extremist' by police is 85-year old artist

26.06.2010 11:04

Peace activist tracked at 80 lawful demonstrations.

Surveillance logged banal details for four years.

Follow this link for video:


- Homepage: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/jun/25/peace-campaigner-classified-domestic-extremist

They're on Trial for Us, We're on the Loose for Them!

26.06.2010 14:43

t was a privilege to sit in the public gallery on Monday and Tuesday and hear the testimony of two of the defendants and also an expert withness from Bradford University Peace and Conflict Studies. The expert witness told the story of the history of the high crimes of the Israeli state against the people of Gaza. The testimonies of the defendants were stories of good people who could not remain silent or ineffectual in the confines of the safety valve of state sanctioned protest when so many lives were being extinguished in Gaza in January '09 with weapons systems manufatured in Britain.

The defendants I met appeared in good spirits, placing their suffering and stress in the context of the march larger and deadlier forms experienced by the people of Gaza. Their support at the trial seems mostly to be friends from Bristol and Brighton and fellow activists they have met over the last 18 month trek through the courts.

I always find such trials a great testament to the human spirit and a challenge to those who experience them. I have a continual frustration with moderate/protest groups (eg. Campaign Against the Arms Trade, Stop the War Coalition, Palestine Solidarity Campaigns et. al.) who claim to be leading campaigns around such issues failing to offer or promote practical solidarity to those who move from state sanctioned protest to nonviolent resistance. It is a betrayal of those who put themselves on the line and a missed opportunity for those moved with compassion for the victims to pull the issues down from abstraction into daily life. Nothing could be less abstract than these 9 good folks in Brighton putting their liberty on the line after disabling the locally produced components of war crimes against the people of Gaza. When one is in the courtroom one experiences the rubber hitting the road in terms of solidarity from those of us afforded a confort zone at the imperial centre to those who inahabit the free fire fringes like Gaza.

*Consider sending a postcard or letter of solidarity to Elijah Smith in prison..........
Elijah Smith, A3186AM, HMP Lewes , 1 Brighton Rd, Lewes, Sussex, BN7 1EA England

**Consider sending a donation to help defendants with trial expenses. Make cheques payable to "Decommissioners" and send to : Decommissioners , Booty, P.O. Box 6
82 Colston St. Bristol BS1 5BB ENGLAND

Related Link:  http://www.londoncatholicworker.org

Ciaron O'Reilly - Catholic Worker/Ploughshares At Large in London

EDO Decommissioners' verdict getting closer!

27.06.2010 23:53

Just a short update and some reminders...
The EDO decommissioners' trial is now almost over with only a few closing speeches to go! Although exact time frames are hard to predict, we are currently expecting the jury to retire on Tuesday the 29th. It could then take them anything between a few hours and several days to reach a verdict. If you can, please come along and show the defendants some support!

There is a vigil everyday outside Hove Crown Court, Lansdowne Road, from about 9.45am and throughout the day. The court case itself starts at 10.30am.

There will be a demonstration as soon as the verdict is in, whatever the outcome. If you want a text with verdict and demo details as we get them, please email your mobile number to  smashedo@riseup.net. Alternatively, send us a text on 07538093930. This is also the phone number for general campaign enquiries. If you are a journalist, or know someone who might want to cover the outcome of the verdict, please use/direct them to  smashedopress@riseup.net , phone 07526557436 .

"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:  smashedo@riseup.net
Homepage:  http://www.smashedo.org.uk


Great News

02.07.2010 12:24

I have been very pleased to hear that the de commisioners have been found not guilty. I also know of other people arrested on other connected charges who had their cases dropped. Well done to all concerned, excellent use. I want to also say shame on the police and system who put these folks on trial in the first place, I know all the police particualrly in this area are interested in is getting a result and I am delighted that they have not got one here. I also say shame on the police for willingly giving police protection to the owner of the establishment supplying arms to criminals - he was never in any danger from the demonstrators who were generally orderly throughout - so shame on the police and our "justice' system and great news and well done decommisioners

George Coombs


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