6 April 2009
On Jan 17th, while Israeli bombs were still raining down on the people of Gaza, six people gained entry to EDO MBM/ITT, a factory in Brighton manufacturing military equipment being used by the Israeli air force, and smashed machinery and computers causing at least 300 000 pounds worth of damage and closing the factory for nearly a week.
According to one witness computers and filing cabinets were hurled out of top floor windows the protesters broke in to the factory in the early hours staging a “citizen’s decommissioning” of the EDO-MBM/ITT arms factory in direct response to the killings of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip by the Israeli military.
Elijah Smith, one of the protesters that broke into the factory, said before the action, “I’m looking at the world scene and I’m getting more and more horrified. I’ve been looking at the law and 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 actually work or 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.”
Several activists recorded messages prior to breaking in to the factory. These messages, as well as a video of the break in were posted on the internet shortly after.
The 6 people surrendered to the police when they arrived and have been charged with conspiracy to cause criminal damage along with three others arrested nearby. Two people, Elijah Smith and Robert Alford, have been remanded in custody since January. The 6 will argue in their defence that they had a lawful excuse to cause the damage because they believed that EDO’s equipment was being used in the commission of war crimes by the Israeli military.
Israel’s bombing of Gaza killed 1400 people including at least 400 children. There is incontrovertible evidence that Israel committed war crimes in Gaza. These crimes would not have been possible without weapons supplied by companies like EDO MBM.
The trial of the Gaza 6 may last several months and hinge on whether the jury accepts that crimes were committed by Israel.
If you hear the sound of a child being brutalised in the house next door and you rush in to smash the door down and save the child, should you be charged with breaking and entering? Obviously not.
– Eamonn McCann of the Raytheon 9
Make a donation to the defendants (to cover tobacco, etc for those in prison and defendants travel to court).