A call to kettle FIT and police liaison (again!) in Brighton

From FITWatch:

Fitwatch are heading to the Smash EDO demo in Brighton on Monday 16th July, and we’d love people to join us. Smash EDO protests have historically been heavily hit by snoopers from the FIT, Police Liaison and the National Domestic Extremism Unit and action is needed!

 

These are all dangerous, vindictive and untrustworthy characters. Police Liaison Teams (PLTs), with their ‘trust me I’m a copper’ attitude and fake smiles should be treated with the same healthy distrust as all the rest. PLTs have been deployed heavily on recent Brighton demos to ‘mingle’ and ‘embed themselves’ amongst protesters. At the last Smash EDO demo, Fitwatchers and the aptly named Umbrella Block provided their own twist to some traditional policing methods, as the PLT were kettled by banners and umbrellas – see pics above.

Protesters were forced to take robust action when the cops in the PLT unreasonably refused to comply with protesters requests to move away from the middle of the protest. The were given a warning (politely), but the PLTs insisted on mingling among protesters and remained a threat to protesters’ safety. A cordon of flags, banners and umbrellas was then deployed to contain the threat. Once the PLT were kettled, protesters used a minimum degree of force to escort the now flustered PLTs from the demonstration.

Incredibly the PLT allowed themselves to be pushed, shoved and barged without losing their smiles, and without arresting anyone. They are, after all, the ‘nice cops’, and they refused to admit that people just didn’t want them there. They tweeted instead that ‘many’ people on the demo were happy to ‘engage’ with them. They didn’t mention that much of the ‘engagement’ took the form of shoulder barges.

Cops have no place in our demos. The PLT have a track record of attempting to gain intelligence. They were directed to do so at the UkUncut demo at Nick Cleggs house, for example, when they questioned protesters about their knowledge of the target, and their attitude to protest tactics.

Whatever strategy they use to spy on us – whether it is FIT, Domestic Extremism Unit or PLTs –there is no reason why we should accept their presence on, or within, our demos.

Come to Brighton on Monday in solidarity, and to show the FIT they are not wanted, whatever colour uniform they have on. Meet up with Fitwatchers at the Smash EDO assembly point on Monday, or join us for a FW workshop on Sunday eve at the Cowley Club in Brighton. Everyone welcome to join in!

The meeting point for the Citizen’s Weapons Inspection will be the Level

On the 16th July Smash EDO will be meeting at 1pm for a mass demonstration against the EDO MBM Brighton arms factory

The meeting point will be the Level.

The demonstration is focused on the production of weapons at the EDO factory in Mouslecoomb. The Brighton based business, a trading unit of US firm ITT Exelis, signed a contract with the US Department of Defence (DoD) on 26th June 2012 for the supply of Field Replaceable Connector System (FRCS) cables for US A-10 warplanes. The US Defense Logistics Agency has made the contract public and it can be viewed here – https://dibbs2.bsm.dla.mil/Downloads/Awards/SPM7M712D5011.PDF.

The A-10 warplane is known to carry cluster munitions (see USAF specifications here – http://www.af.mil/information/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=70 and a video of the A-10 dropping cluster munitions here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAPVORCBgUA).

Chloe Marsh of Smash EDO said “this new contract is yet another example of EDO MBM manufacturing equipment which is used unethically. In UK law it is illegal to facilitate the use of cluster munitions.”

Andrew Beckett said “On Monday 16th July we will demand to inspect the EDO MBM factory. The police have refused to investigate the lawfulness of EDO’s busines. However, we will not tolerate war crimes being facilitated by a company on our doorstep and we will continue to resist until this factory closes down.”

 

 

 

 

The Summer of Resistance is still going strong

The Summer of Resistance is 3 months of direct action against arms dealers EDO MBM (part of ITT Exelis). more info at http://smashedo.org.uk/summer-of-resistance

On Saturday 30th June campaigners held a picket of Barclays Bank, the largest global investor in the arms trade and a service provider to ITT Exelis, EDO MBM’s parent company, on the New York Stock Exchange. As usual, the bank closed its front doors for the duration of the protest.

On Tuesday activists held a phone blockade and sent messages via twitter to ITT Exelis.

On Wednesday a critical mass for independence from American arms factories was hed, going from the Level in Brighton, to the factory via the Preston Circus Barclays, where we stopped for a flash picket. A noisy demonstration outside the factory gates ensued and some 4th July fireworks were fired from the Wild Park behind the factory.

Now its all about the Citizen’s Weapons Inspection at 1pm on the 16th July watch www.smashedo.org.uk for details

EDO MBM in Brighton developing new generation of micro weapons for US assasinations

In May 2012 John Eaton, a director of the EDO MBM factory in Brighton, spoke on behalf of the company at an arms conference in Washington on work being done in Brighton to develop bomb release units with a footprint “the size of a dollar bill”.{1} In his abstract for the talk Eaton contends “flexible responses require new approaches to the delivery of small non traditional weapons from non traditional airframes involved in the kill chain.”[2]

ITT Exelis is already supplying components for the MQ9 Reaper (Predator B)drone, used by both the US and the UK in Afghanistan.[3]

In marketing its products in the US EDO is profiting from the covert and illegal war being fought by the US army and CIA using unmanned aircraft armed with miniature weapons in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

Operations in Pakistan alone have killed at least 800 civilians, including 175 children.[4]

The US’ assassination policy is illegal under international law. The UK charity Reprieve, who are currently involved in a legal challenge against British involvement in US assassinations said “Evidence suggests that drone strikes in Pakistan are being carried out in violation of international humanitarian law, because the individuals who are being targeted are not directly participating in hostilities and/or because the force used is neither necessary nor proportionate.”[5]

Chloe Marsh, of Smash EDO said “This is just one example of the weapons being manufactured at the EDO factory being used in war crimes and is exactly why we have called for a citizen’s weapons inspection of the factory on July 16th.”

“We have been attempting to force EDO to be transparent about what it manufactures in Moulsecoomb for over eight years”

Andrew Beckett, commenting on a statement condemning the demonstration by Mike Weatherley MP, said “I think its shameful that the Brighton and Hove Conservative Party is defending a private company that is manufacturing weapons to be used in war crimes.”

“Mike Weatherley has again attempted to cloud the issue by linking the demonstration to the Olympic torch ceremony. In fact the ceremony is taking place in Hove whereas the EDO factory is in Moulsecoomb. The Conservatives are, again, trying to draw attention from the real issue, EDO MBM’s complicity in war crimes.”

[1] The presentation is available at http://www.indymedia.org.uk/media/2012/06//497549.pdf

[2] http://www.ndia.org/meetings/2610/Pages/default.aspx

[3] http://www.spacewar.com/reports/EDO_To_Develop_Weapon_Release_System_For_Predator_UAS.html

[4] Numbers of confirmed civilian deaths in Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/category/projects/drones/

[5] http://www.reprieve.org.uk/press/2012_03_12_UK_drones_legal_challenge/

 

Bad Music Demo – Smash EDO Summer of Resistance week eight

Smash EDO have called for three months of direct action to close down EDO MBM – From 1st May to 1st August 2012.

A bad singer outside EDO
A bad singer outside EDO

Today activists bearing marracas, cymbals, a guitar and a saxophone made a cacophony of bad music outside the arms factory gates.

Last week Sussex Police nicked our sound system. Unperturbed tone-deaf anti-militarists sang Frank Sinatra, Jingle Bells and part of the sound track from Grease to the workers as they finished their shifts.The local rag, the Evening Anus, published an article accusing Smash EDO of ‘hijacking’ the Olympic Torch ceremony by holding a mass demo (in Brighton) on the same day as the torch will reach Hove  http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/9784764.Smash_EDO_accused_of_hijacking_city_celebration/ – its really starting to seem like groundhog day, when we called our last mass demo The Argus accused us of planning to disrupt the Jubilee.

On top of that the MET have been emailing us asking us to liaise with them about protests at the Olympics, despite Smash EDO having no plans to demonstrate against the Olympics whatsoever.

We will be demonstrating outside Barclays, which provides services to EDO’s parent company on the New York Stock Exchange and is the largest global investor in the arms trade, on Saturday at 1pm in North Street, Brighton.