EDO and Israel
Posted by anti militarist on November 11, 2009
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’. 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
ii Archived EDO Corp ZRFAU promotional document http://web.archive.org/web/20070927214113/http://www.edocorp.com/documentation/ZeroRetentionForceArmingUt.pdf (accessed June 2009)
iii Archived EDO Corp Promotional document http://web.archive.org/web/20040401120233/http://www.mbmtech.co.uk/br.html (accessed 17 June 2009)
iv Testimony of David Jones. Managing Director /of EDO MBM Technology Ltd. 7 December 2005. Appeal of Gittoes, Marcham, Sacca, A20050031/36/41.Lewes Crown Court (Sitting in Hove). Transcript provided by Appellant
vi‘Lucas in B-2 weapons launch study’ Flight International. 14 February 1990
vii Archived EDO MBM Website 2003-07 Pylon Ancillaries page http://web.archive.org/web/20031008125120/http://www.mbmtech.co.uk/pa.html (accessed 17 June 2009)
viii Archived EDO MBM Bomb Racks page that was removed in 2004 http://web.archive.org/web/20031215082036/www.mbmtech.co.uk/br.html (accessed June 17 2009)
ix See footnote ii
x Information Commissioner’s Office. Decision Notice 15 December 2008. http://www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/decisionnotices/2008/fs_50180838.pdf (accessed 17 June 2009)
xi Confirmed by legal representatives for DBERR and ICO in Information Tribunal case EA/2009/0002. Telephone Directions Hearing. March 2009.
xii David Miliband. Statement to House of Commons. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmtoday/cmwms/archive/090421.htm#hddr_8 (accessed 17 June 2009)