THE BACKGROUND STORY
Bristol Decommissioners on trial, 7th June 2010 in Hove Crown Court.
On January 17th 2009 the bombs had already fallen relentlessly for three weeks on Gaza. Massive demonstrations had been held locally and worldwide to protest against the Israeli attacks. MP’s said talks were going on and Tony Blair went to Israel to shake hands with the Israeli Prime Minister. The body count was nearing 1400 and 300 of those were children. With UN compounds and schools bombed, emergency vehicles attacked and indiscriminate weapons such as white phosphorous being used against civilians. A growing sense of helplessness was pervading the anti-war/peace movement.
On the night of the 17th a ‘citizens decommissioning’ took place at weapons manufacturer EDO/MBM/ITT in Moulsecoomb, Brighton. Just after midnight Robert Stafford age 28, Elija Smith 41, Tom Woodhead 25, Ornella Saibene 40, Bob Nicholls 53 entered EDO’s premises with the aim in Elija Smith’s words to ‘smash it up to the best of our ability’. Once inside the building they barricaded themselves in and set about their mission.
Machinery used to make bomb release mechanisms ( these carry and eject missiles from fighter planes and unmanned ‘drones’) and an assembly area for the electronic components were put out of action. EDO make a VER2 mechanism which is designed for the F16 fighter and used by the Israeli Defence Force.
The six caused £300,000 of damage but more importantly stopped the supply chain that the war machine needs. The decommissioners were peaceably arrested and charged with criminal damage and conspiracy.
Elija Smith has been held on remand in Lewes Prison, Brighton since then. The others are under very strict bail conditions. It has been important to give financial and moral support to Elija. This has included many fund raising events, stalls and letter writing sessions. Their trial commences on 7th June 2010 in Hove Crown Court.
Financial support will be greatly appreciated as 5 have to live in Brighton without income for possibly 7 weeks. This site contains videos and reports by organisations such as Amnesty International which confirms the Israeli Governments disregard for International and Humanitarian Law ( Law of wars).
The decommissioners are part of a growing international anti-militarist movement.
Bob Nicholls, who has worked with the homeless for many years, states the reasons for being against the corporate military machine are:
‘War becomes the only method of conflict resolution.
We are all brutalised by the glorification of war, violence and guns.
Wars cause much of the migration and refugee problems worldwide.
Military weapons manufacture consumes vast financial and material resources which could be used elsewhere in society.’