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EDO MBM shut-down after activists lock on to police cordon

Posted by anti militarist on July 18, 2012

On Monday 16th July anti arms trade campaigners held a mass ‘citizens’ weapons inspection’ of the EDO MBM arms factory in Brighton.

ImageJust before 1pm scores of people identically dressed in white weapons inspector suits and brandishing scale models of Paveway bombs, the weapons EDO MBM manufacture in conjunction with Raytheon for NATO troops in Afghanistan, met at the Level in Brighton. Numbers soon swelled to close to a hundred despite heavy rain.

They were met by several vanloads of police from Sussex, Kent and Hampshire, Evidence Gathering Teams (EGT) and Police Liaison Officers (PLOs). PLOs are a new police tactic which is being trialed by several forces as a way of dealing with potential threats from mass demonstrations. The tactic is based on a consultation with Dr Clifford Stott, owner of a company called Crowd and Conflict Management.

ImagePLOs were countered by teams of FITwatchers who used banners and placards to prevent PLOs entering the mass of the demonstration.The assembled weapons inspectors heard speeches from Smash EDO, FITwatch and from one of the Decommissioners, the affinity group who broke into EDO in 2009 and sabotaged the production line to prevent the supply of weapons components to the Israeli military for its ongoing massacre in Gaza.

The march began, surrounded on three sides by banners, including a reinforced front banner, and accompanied by several sound systems.Passers-by on the Lewes Road were given information about the ongoing campaign against the Brighton arms factory. The police followed the march with vans and motorcycle cops but were hands-off until the marcers arrived at Home Farm Road.

The demonstration turned into Home Farm Road, where the EDO factory is based and was faced by a line of police watching from the verge above them. About three quarters of the way up the road police had erected an eight foot tall metal and perspex crowd barrier, entirely blocking the road, flanked by Hares fencing cages. As demonstrators approached the barrier police could be seen through Perspex windows. The South section of Home Farm Road was occupied by scores of police vans, the majority from Kent, mounted police and CCTV vans. The barrier was designed to slide open to let traffic through.

Undeterred, the weapons inspectors produced d-locks and lock-on tubes which they used to fix themselves to the police cordon, thus completely closing down the industrial estate and preventing movement in or out of EDO MBM. Other inspectors, intent on getting to the factory, climbed over a fence behind the police cordon and managed to hang a banner directly opposite the factory gates, despite hundreds of police attempting to enforce the Section 14.

The unit of police occupying the verge above approached and, after a stand-off lasting nearly an hour, announced a Section 14 was in place. Protesters were unable to hear the Section 14 order at the time but were later told (during police interviews) that the cops intended to keep them behind the cordon until 4pm and then clear the road. Anyone who disobeyed was liable for arrest. Police eventually managed to move the protesters who had not locked-on further down Home Farm Road, making five arrests in the process. They then began to scratch their heads on how to remove the lock-on.Image

The last of the locked-down protesters were not removed by a cutting team until 5.30pm. The four were arrested and taken to Hollingbury nick. The detainees were released at 1am. Sussex Police, keen to take any opportunity to limit the ability of the Smash EDO campaign to organize against the company, imposed stringent bail condition preventing protest at the factory and, despite the minor nature of the charges, conditions for defendants not to contact one another. Attempts were made to remand one detainee, but police were later forced to release her by a technicality, namely that the charges were made-up.

The demonstration was a part of Smash EDO’s Summer of Resistance, three months of relentless action against the factories which has included mass demonstratration, critical masses, phone blockades, and an art not war demonstration to name but a few. There’s still ten days of the Summer of Resistance to go – why not come and do your own action.

This weekend Smash EDO hosted a gathering to organize a mass mobilization against the G8 conference, to be held in the UK in 2013. Participants in the gathering came from all over the UK with contingents from Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham, London, Cardiff, Lewes and Edinburgh to name just a few. The gathering launched a new network aiming to meet in locations around the UK in the coming year to build resistance to the G8. A workshop is planned at Earth First in August and the next gathering will be held on Saturday 23rd September in Birmingham.

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SIMON LEVIN RIP – Human Rights Activist, Decommissioner and Friend

Posted by anti militarist on July 8, 2011

Long-term Brightonian human rights activist, Simon Levin, passed away on Friday 24th June, at the age of thirty-six. He spent much of his life fighting against injustice . Attending pickets during the miners’ strike when he was a young boy, Simon was then an active supporter of the Irish struggle against imperialism and, during the last decade, involved in action for Palestine and against the Iraq war.

Simon was from a Jewish background; his great grandparents were murdered at Auschwitz. This was one of the reasons that he joined the Palestinian struggle against Israeli apartheid. In 2004 Simon travelled to Palestine and spent months as an international volunteer in Balata refugee camp. During Israeli army incursions Simon provided an international presence designed to make people in the camp safer and support Palestinian resistance. In 2008 he led a delegation to the Jordan Valley and worked with Palestinians to establish Fasayil School, despite Israeli military orders that building was prohibited.

Involved in the Smash EDO campaign from the beginning, he was part of the first blockade of EDO in 2004 and fought against EDO’s planned injunction against protesters.  Simon played a leading role in the decommissioning of the EDO factory in 2009 – and was with the others found not guilty of conspiracy to cause criminal damage on the basis that he had acted to prevent war crimes. His own experiences in Palestine were used as evidence. On hearing the verdict he said, “Considering that the whole point of this is that we have broken no law, hopefully it will set a precedent for the people of this country to realise that in a liberal democracy we are the checks and balances.”

Despite personal battles, Simon never gave up on the struggle for justice and the well-being of those lucky enough to count him as a friend.

One such friend said, “Simon was not only a dedicated activist in the name of liberty, against oppression in all its forms, but a sublimely passionate human being, whose eccentricities, eloquence and wild imagination will never be forgotten.”

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SchMovies First Day Of Trial and First Verdict

Posted by anti militarist on September 25, 2010

View these SchMOVIES of the trial: The opening day of the trial – http://schnews.clearerchannel.org/snippet-decoms-day-one.flv * The day of the first verdicts – http://schnews.clearerchannel.org/special-report.flv

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The Big Story – Decommissioners Documentary

Posted by anti militarist on August 17, 2010

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ITT’s Hammertime!! – Besiege the Brighton Arms Dealers

Posted by anti militarist on August 17, 2010

Smash EDO Mass Demo – Wednesday 13th October

Venue to be announced – to receive updates email smashedo@riseup.net or text 07538093930. www.smashedo.org.uk

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Decommissioners Victorious – Corporate Watch

Posted by anti militarist on August 13, 2010

As the zionist press angrily whip up media smoke screen around the real meanings of the decommissioners acquittals Corporate Watch take an in-depth look at the trial…

On January 17th 2009 six people broke into EDO MBM/ITT in Brighton and caused £189 000 worth of damage to computers, servers, lathes and other equipment. The activists, calling themselves the ‘decommissioners’, took their action in response to the Israeli assault on Gaza which had claimed 1400 lives by the 17th. EDO MBM/ITT manufactures the arming unit for the Israeli F16 bombrack.
The six were arrested, along with three people alleged to have supported the action. All nine were charged with conspiracy to cause criminal damage. At a month long trial at Hove Crown Court seven of the activists argued that they had a lawful excuse to damage EDO’s property as the company was complicit in war crimes. All seven were acquitted on July 2nd 2010 after the jury gave five unanimous not guilty verdicts and the judge directed that the final two should be acquitted. One activist had been found with no case to answer earlier in the trial due to lack of evidence.

Decommission Accomplished

The decommissioning of EDO MBM/ITT completely closed the factory for several days, until the main Israeli assault on Gaza was over. Paul Hills, MBM’s stony faced MD, gave evidence that some of the factory’s production machinery was out of action for up to a month. US contract information shows that ITT was negotiating the sale of further arming units at the time of the action but that the contract fell through.
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and then they came for the Judges . . . . . .

Posted by anti militarist on July 31, 2010

Judge from EDO Decommissioners case now under investigation

A senior judge is under investigation after being accused of making anti-Semitic remarks in court. Judge George Bathurst-Norman is said by right wing critics to have persuaded a jury to clear a group of campaigners who smashed up a factory making parts for Israeli warplanes.

Read what The Daily Mail have to say on the matter.

Criticising Israeli War Crimes Is Not A Crime

After the historic victory of the EDO Decommissioners, the judge in the case, Judge George Bathurst-Norman, has become subject of a concerted campaign of smears and defamation by a number of right-wing columnists, the Zionist Federation, and the Board of Deputies of British Jews on grounds that his summary of the evidence was ‘anti-semitic’. The Office of Judicial Complaints (OJC) has as a result opened an investigation into Judge Bathurst Normans handling of the case. Although we don’t normally find ourselves defending judges, we find the charge of anti-semitism a grossly cynical attempt to undermine the significance of these acquittals of pro-Palestinian activists on evidence of Israeli war crimes that was for the most part agreed by the Crown Prosecution Service. There is nothing anti-semitic in putting agreed evidence of Israeli war crimes to a jury. You can express your concern about this investigation by sending an email to the Office Judicial Complaints, marking your email ‘Bathurst Norman’. customer@ojc.gsi.gov.uk
A full transcript of the Judges summary of the evidence has been published by the Jewish Chronicle here.

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Ornella Saibene on Rattansi and Ridley

Posted by anti militarist on July 30, 2010

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“we broke no law” Not Guilty

Posted by anti militarist on July 22, 2010

The EDO Decommissioners have all walked free after unanimous acquittals following the three week trial which concluded on Friday (2nd July) at Hove Crown Court. What began as a trial of the Decommissioners effectively ended up with the Brighton arms manufacturer, and the war crimes of the Israeli state, in the dock. Is it all over for EDO/ITT in Brighton? It might be now…
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James Smith – Freed From Lewes Prison

Posted by anti militarist on July 9, 2010

Elijah James Smith was finally freed from Lewes prison on Wednesday 7th July. All of the decommissioners had been found unanimously not guilty last Friday, but James still had to apply for bail and is now tied to strict bail conditions, including not visiting Brighton.

James has spent over 18 months on remand for preventing war crimes, he has endured more than most could even imagine and his commitment to peace and the end to the immoral trade in arms is impressive to say the least.

James said “Thanks to everyone for your support and especially those who wrote letters, responding to them helped me pass the time.”

Meanwhile, the campaign continues weapon components used in war crimes around the world are still being made in Brighton, and unless we push for the closure of EDO/ITT they will continue to be. Although the not guilty verdict is a victory, it is not THE victory. “We will be here until EDO isn’t” For upto date information on the campaign keep an eye on www.smashedo.org.uk

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