They won! Anti DPRTE campaigners victorious

On the 6th of January 2015 two local people stood trial, accused of disrupting last year’s Defence Procurement, Research, Technology & Exportability (DPRTE) Arms Fair, now an annual occurrence in Cardiff.

The defendants were accused of throwing red paint at delegates entering the fair, damaging their luxury goods worth hundreds of hundreds of pounds. They were charged with Criminal Damage and breach of s.4A of the Public Order Act (“Causing harassment, alarm or distress with intent”). They were advised that the prosecution would be seeking custodial sentences.

The defendants sought to run separate, distinct defenses. The first was to put forward a factual defense that the police had grabbed him and wrestled him to the ground for no reason. The second defendant contended that they had been acting out of necessity in an attempt to prevent war crimes based on the arms fair’s various links to Israel and the horrific attacks against Gaza that took place over the summer, in the context of the continuing oppression of the Palestinian people.

Before the trial started some 30 supporters gathered outside Cardiff Magistrates court for a solidarity demonstration with the two defendants. Several groups came out to support, including Food not Bombs Cardiff, Anarchist Action Network, Afed Bristol, Cor Cochion Caerdydd, Bristol Defendant Solidarity, Bristol Against the Arms Trade, disarmUWE as well as South Wales Anarchists.

Outside Cardiff Magistrates Court before the TrialOutside Cardiff Magistrates Court before the Trial

Throughout the day defendants and their supporters were followed and surveiled by Police Liaison Officers, who largely failed in their documented intelligence gathering role since all attendees wisely declined to engage with them from the outset.

Court proceedings were delayed for hours as there was no prosecutor – the Crown Prosecution Service was called and the prosecutor who had been appointed to the case said he knew nothing about it. A replacement prosecutor was then speeded to the court.

As the arms dealers and lay prosecution witnesses had also failed to turn up, the prosecution sought to amend the charge to Criminal Damage of the arresting officer’s uniform. One of the police witnesses had claimed paint damage to his uniform – which surely, if it had occurred, would have been the result of manhandling and grabbing the defendants when they were arrested. The District Judge said that this was “moving the goalposts” considerably and that Criminal Damage by paint transfer during an arrest when the police grabbed the defendants would be “ludicrous”.

After lunch the CPS informed us that it would drop all charges. The many supporters in the public gallery broke out into applause and the judge scolded them saying “this is NOT a football stadium!”.

Outside Cardiff Motorpoint ArenaOutside Cardiff Motorpoint Arena

The DPRTE arms fair will be returning to Cardiff Motorpoint Arena on the 8th of March 2016. To flog their machines of torture and death. The people of Cardiff and beyond stand ready to oppose them and we ask that you will join us.

For more info on how to get involved with the campaign against DPRTE arms fair, email:

A tribute to Bev

Our beautiful friend Bev passed away on 31st December. She was a well-known and loved activist and she was a regular in the Smash EDO campaign, demonstrating against the arms industry for many years.

Bev and her daughter Caitlin first got involved in the demos against EDO towards the start of the campaign. They were soon a regular presence at the demonstrations against the factory. She came to the protest camp behind the factory in Wild Park and helped to set up a kid’s space for her daughter and other young people at the camp, which was promptly torn down by the police when they evicted the camp. She joined with others in refusing to leave, even when our tents were confiscated by police.

Community and helping others was at the heart of Bev’s values. She was always there to provide help and support to her friends and fellow activists, often giving a place to stay in her house for those who needed it. She thought it was important to support people who had been arrested for taking direct action against EDO. During the month long trial of trial of the EDO decommissioners, Bev came to the court every day providing support in the public gallery and joining demonstrations outside the court.

Even after being diagnosed with terminal cancer Bev still tried to attend as many regular demonstrations at the factory as she was able to and was often disappointed when she couldn’t make it.

A lot of us who got to know Bev through the campaign formed close long term friendships with her over the years. Bev was a much loved and valued friend to us all. We will always be glad to have known her.

Bev’s funeral will be on 14th January:

Bev’s funeral will be at 9.30am on Wednesday 14th January at Woodvale Crematorium, Lewes Road, Brighton, BN2 3QB. The dress code for the funeral is casual, but red and black colours are preferred. The Wake will be at the Cowley Club, 12 London Road, Brighton, BN1 4JA straight after the funeral and will last until well into the evening. People are welcome to bring vegan food to the Cowley Club to share at the Wake. You can drop it off at the Cowley on Tuesday evening from 7pm or you can drop it off between 7 and 8.30am on Wednesday morning. Call Chris on 07598 777 614 to let us know if you’re dropping food off. Bring your own alcohol if you want and the Cowley bar will open in the  evening. The Wake is an open forum. Everyone is welcome to sing, play music, bring their instruments, read poetry and say tributes to Bev. Pot plants and gin were Bev’s favourites – bring pot plants to swap with others and take home at the Wake.

Please donate to remember Bev:

Community and helping others was at the heart of Bev’s values. Please donate what you can towards the funeral/wake costs (and remember, you can still donate after the funeral and wake have happened) and we’ll be sharing this beautiful tribute to Bev together. Any money that isn’t needed for the funeral or wake will be put towards keeping Bev’s daughter Caitlin housed until she turns 18 or it will go towards causes which Bev was passionate about.

You can donate at http://gogetfunding.com/project/remember-bev-lea (but Gogetfunding take a fee), or you can transfer money straight to our bank account via http://smashedo.org.uk/donate and we’ll give it to Bev’s family.

Anti militarist court solidarity – Cardiff

6th Jan 2015
Time: 9:15am
Date: Tuesday 6th January 2015
Location: Cardiff Magistrates Court
Address: Fitzalan Road, Cardiff CF24 0RZ

Court solidarity demonstration to support two much-loved people who are facing excessively harsh charges for allegedly seeking to disrupt the DPRTE arms fair in Cardiff last year. They stand accused of damaging the luxury goods of arms dealers and organisers with childrens play paint.

There will be a short solidarity demonstration outside the court from 9:15am on Monday 6th January 2015. Antimilitarist banners and well-wishers welcome. Afterwards some of us will be supporting the defendants from the public gallery.

URGENT WITNESS APPEAL:
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Were you present at the protest against DPRTE Arms Fair at Cardiff Motorpoint Arena in October 2014? Even if you think you didn’t see anything you may be able to provide useful defence evidence as to the nature of the day.
If you think you may be able to help please email:

An open letter to the Argus – Barclays shares in the arms trade

 

In your article of December 20th about the direct action against Barclays on North Street over the bank’s dealings in arms trade shares you quote a Barclays spokesperson as claiming that Barclays did not own “any shares in Elbit Systems”.

This is simply an attempt by Barclays to evade responsibility for its financial practices.

Barclays PLC is named as a shareholder in some of the world’s largest arms companies, including a massive 4.25% holding in BAE Systems and almost $3 million worth of shares in Elbit Systems.

Barclays Bank profits from investment in the arms trade through providing the Barclays Stockbrokers service, which facilitates the buying and selling of shares, including shares in arms companies. In one of the options offered by Barclays to its UK customers the bank advertises that: “Barclays Stockbrokers will hold your assets on your behalf”. Barclays Stock Brokers’ customers are able to trade in whatever company they like, regardless of Barclays stated ethical policies.

Barclays are trying to brush off public anger about these share holdings by claiming that they are simply held on behalf of Barclays Stockbrokers’ customers and the bank does not determine where customers invest their money. However the bank is profiting from providing the service. According to Barclays Stockbroker’s customer service department the fees for Barclays Stockbrokers’ services include a charge of up to £75 commission for buying or selling shares, a currency conversion charge for trade in shares on foreign markets of 1.5% and a £7.50 charge for automatically reinvesting cash dividends. Barclays also purchases arms trade shares for the purpose of hedging, another form of financial investment.

Barclays have the power to prevent their customers investing in the arms trade by not facilitating the purchase of shares in arms companies through Barclays Stock Brokers. By continuing to profit from enabling these investments they are making a mockery of their own stated policies on investment in the arms trade.