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Solidarity with Those on Trial in Belfast & Brighton for Resisting Israel's Weapon Manufacturers!
anti-war / imperialism |
Thursday June 03, 2010 11:21 by Ciaron O'Reilly - Catholic Worker/ Ploughshares
Derry Women on Trial in Belfast & EDO Decommissioners on Trial in Brighton
I have just spent the last two days in a Belfast court attending the trial of 9 women and 2 men from Derry. Charges on 3 other men were dropped the Tuesday morning we drove up from Dublin.
The nine women moved from protest to resistance during the Israeli attack on Gaza in the January of '09. It was a powerful experience to listen to their testimony to why they have risked their liberty to bring down the mainframe computer of the Derry Raytheon plant during the Israeli '09 war on Gaza.
Raytheon is one of the largest arms manufacturers in the world and was invited to Derry as part of the North's "peace dividend", opened by Nobel Peace Prize winners Hume and Trimble, go figure! Raytheon weapons have been used extensively by the state of Israel in killing civilians in Lebanon and Palestine. The 9 women had attempted to enter the Raytheon plant in Derry with the intention of pouring water into the mainframe computer and having a direct effect on Israel's ability to butcher men, women and children in Gaza. during the attacks of Jan '09.
The 9 women knew from the previous trial of the "Raytheon 9" that the August '06 action undertaken during Israel's attacks on Lebanon - that by disabling the Raytheon mainframe computer in Derry it had knock on effects on other Raytheon computers through the UK.
The women also knew from prosecution witnesses at that trial that Raytheon has an ongoing commitment to maintaining the equipment they have sold to Israel and which has been used repetitively to murder from the air in Gaza.
While the 3rd. week of this trial unfolded in Belfast, the events in the Mediterranean Sea were also unfolding. Events where nine solidarity activists were murdered and dozens wounded by Israeli commandos in international waters. From my christian paradigm those killed, wounded and imprisoned activists were practising the acts of mercy..."bringing building supplies to the homeless, medical equipment to the sick and food to the hungry" Matthew 25:31-46. Israel (like the U.S. with their sanctions on Iraq in the '90's) have criminalised practising the acts of mercy. Indeed, the state of Israel has made practising the works of mercy toward the people of Gaza a capitol offence.
The Derry defendants have been making the long daily commute from their homes to the Belfast court for the last 3 weeks. It was a privilege to travel back with them to their hometown and experience their community of resistance.
I have attended dozens of anti-war trials over the last 3 decades and have always found them to be sacred times and spaces...the fragility and strength of the defendants, the demonic slickness of the arms corporations & military, the weird rituals and costumes of the courts and the prosecution's desperate attempts to strip such compassionate actions of any context. As the late Phil Berrigan once said to me "Brothers and sisters in jail, or on trial, for peace and justice sake speak to our conscience, which is how God speaks to us!"
In the Irish anti-war scene there is a marked lack of solidarity from the more moderate "mass rally" protest leadership & movement for those who take nonviolent resistance. Unlike the Rossport campaign that has been built on nvda and prison solidarity, the anti-war scene seems to be one of groundhog day rallies, posturing & political manouverings between small left groups. Hopefully the Palestinian solidarity movement can move beyond this dynamic, but there seemed to be no mention at the rally in Dublin last Monday of the trial in nearby Belfast of those who resisted Israel's weapons manufacturers. What gives? If we are serious about resisting war in the imperial heartland we have to move from protest to nonviolent resistance. There isn't much resistance, because in our atomised society & protest movements there isn't much solidarity
I know from my own resistance experiences, trials and a couple of years in prison - that the more solidarity the resister experiences, the easier the resistance is to undertake and sustain!
Next week (June 7th.) 6 activists go to trial in Brighton/England for their nonviolent disarmament actions at EDO - another weapons supplier to the Israeli military. 3 local activists have also been charged and are also on trial. One of the defendants Elijah John Smith has been kept in jail by the British state since the action in January 09.
Sometimes it is the case that folks who would like to offer solidarity don't now how to....it's up to the movement to make it as easy as possible for folks to express their solidarity.
A simple act of solidarity you could do would be to send a letter or postcard of solidarity to
HMP Lewes ,
1 Brighton Rd,
also check the following website for more backgorund information and updates
If you know anyone in Belfast encourage them to get along to the closing stages of the Raytheon trial of the Derry women in Laganside Court 13.
There will be folks returning from the Gaza convoy after time in Israeli jails, bashed and injured. It's important to reach out to hese folks with whatever solidarity we can muster...it's only limited by our imaginations. There are folks still in jeopardy on the "Rachel Corrie" heading towards Gaza that we need to stand with. And of course there are the folks in Gaza that need to know that the killing and wounding of our friends will not kill our movement of nonviolent solidarity with them.
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I've just spent the past week at the EDO Decommissioners trial in Brighton/England. It was a privilege to accompany these good people, and their support, to trial. The 8 defendants were arrested during the January '09 Israeli bombing of Gaza following their nonviolent disarmament of EDO offices in Brighton. EDO produces components for the Israeli F 16's that were wreaking extensive damage, and claiming hundreds of lives, in Gaza at the time.
As reported previously, 5 of the defendants were acquitted by the jury last Wedmesday afternoon June 30 during the fourth week of the trial. On Friday morning July 2nd. the Judge directed the jury to acquit the two remaining defendants.
For a more detailed report of the trial, video footage and still photos go to the Schnews link below.........
Some other still photography from the trial
EDO Decommissoners Trial Blog
ONLY a Zionist would be so arrogant.
The Judge's crime??
I can see how the Tosser Prosser would be offended - I mean a statement like that is, like, worse than the Holocaust, man!!
Brighton/ENGLAND - Jury Clears 6 EDO Decommissioners - Verdicts on 2 Remaining Defendants this Friday
Hi ya from beautiful Brighton. The trial entered its fourth week. The jury was sent out on Tuesday. On Wednesday afternoon they returned unanimous acquittals on 6 of the 9 defendants. Trial resumes on Friday, if the jury cannot reach a unanimous decision on the other two defendants, the judge has the option of sending the jury out ofr a majority 10-2 or 11-1 verdict.
Elijah Smith remains in Lewes Prison, there was a solidarity demonstration outside the prison last night. The public gallery has been full of supporters including representation form County Clare and Kerry. Read the Guardian article below for more detail..........
Google EDO Decommissioners for more background on the action and the case etc
Peace activist tracked at 80 lawful demonstrations.
Surrveillance logged banal details for years.
How the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU) spends its funding is describe in the article written at the link below.
Check out the picture on page 3 of Saturday's Guardian. (Hove Crown Court). Wicked!
Unfortunately it doesn't seem to appear in the online version. Bloody mainstream press!
Anyway the video is still worth a look.
"Report from the Trial of the EDO Decommissioners in Brighton/England"
by Ciaron O'Reilly
This past week I travelled down to Brighton/England for the jury trial of the "EDO Decommissioners". The trial is in its third week and likely to go into a fourth. The EDO Decommissioners http://decommissioners.co.uk/ are a group of Bristol based anti-war activists who travelled to the EDO plant in Brighton during the January '09 Israeli bombing of Gaza.
The Brighton EDO plant provides the Israeli Air Force with components for their F16's - a hi tech destructive weapon that was being used extensively in the Israeli bombing campaign over Gaza. The 6 Bristol activists were arrested after carring out extensive nonviolent disarmamant of the Brisol plant.
3 Brighton based activists who have been involved in the long local campaign against EDO ( see the film "On the Verge" about the history of this campaign
were also arrested outside the factory after extensive disabling of the EDO plant was carried out by the Bristol activists.
One of those charged Elijah Smith has been denied bail since the action and has remained in custody for the past 18 months awaiting this trial. He is brought from Lewes Prison daily for the trial taking place in Hove Crown Court. Other defendants were released under harsh bail conditions that prohibited any communication between the defendants. This made preparation for trial and organising around the trial difficult.
It was a privilege to sit in the public gallery 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.
*Report on Trial June 24th. 2010
**Report on Trial June 18th. 2010
(following charges dropped against one EDO defendant
***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
Report on EDO Decommissioners Trial - end of week 2
One of the EDO,MBM,ITT defendants was aquitted yesterday.
After enduring 18 months of bail conditions, stress and hassle the judge directed the jury to find Rosa, who was arrested outside the factory wearing a silver party dress, NOT guilty.
Paul Hills, the managing director of EDO was in the witness box from Tuesday morning until the end of play Friday 4.30ish. So that'll be more like 4 days, although Friday morning was a late start due to both the Judge having other commiments to attend to and Hills having to return to the arms factory EDO, MBM, ITT to fetch more documents he felt he needed. A great deal of information has been presented to the jury by the defence.
Strange this, because upon his return and the continuation of his evidence - when he referred to said documents - the defence council pointed out that they had already been shown to Hills and the court in the previous days as part of Hills being cross examined.
One other thing that Hills wanted time to clarify what other commpanies he was dealing with and whether he should name them.
As it transpired one turned out to be Raytheon.
The trial continues on Monday with Hills back in the witness box.
Any more details on this weeks evidence and I'm afraid you'll have to wait until the end of the trial when we can sit down and agree to what should or needs to be published. This week has been most indepth and thorough regarding the factories activities.
It has been most revealing.
I hope you understand this as there has been a great deal of interest from the police both local and national.
EDO Decommisioners Trial Begins in Brighton/ England.....
Guardian article on the trial....
The judge in the decommissioners trial at Hove Crown Court on day one said that the jury would need to know the historical background to the trial. He recommended that a short summary of the Goldstone Report be submitted to the jury as part of the evidence for the defence. This is a highly significant decision as the report is extremely critical of both the Israeli Defence Force and Hamas. It finds, in particular that war crimes were committed by Israeli F16 in its attack on Gaza in 2009. Outside the court room around 100 people gathered in support of the decommissioners, if you were one of them we are very grateful.
During the second day of the trial the managing director of EDO MBM was called to be a witness by the prosecution. Things got particularly interesting when Dexter Dias QC got the chance to cross examine Paul Hills on whether his company was supplying component parts to the IAF. Dexter Dias QC was determined the truth be told and brought several documents to the juries attention. Including the Zero Retention Force Arming Unit which used to be advertised on the EDO MBM website as being used in the IAF VER 2 which is the F16 bomb rack.
Check out this website for background on the action and updates on the trial......
A simple act of solidarity you could do would be to send a letter or postcard of solidarity to the defendant who has been remanded in jail for the past 18 months since the action......
HMP Lewes ,
1 Brighton Rd,