Anarchists shut down Barclays in Cardiff in protest against Exelis investments

outside Barclays
outside Barclays

outside Barclays
outside Barclays

unforeseen indeed
unforeseen indeed

all closed up
all closed up

The campaigners formed a Radical Bloc on the Trades Council-organised May Day march, breaking from the main route to take action against the bank instead of going to listen to speeches by union officials at the Trades Council’s rally.

A local anarchist and member of the Stop NATO Cymru campaign group said: “We took part in the May Day march to draw attention to the struggles of workers all over the world against exploitation and violent oppression which is exacerbated by arms producers here in the UK.

We targeted Barclays because it’s a major investor in Exelis Inc. the parent company of the EDO Corporation which is guilty of mass-producing arms to sell to oppressive regimes, exacerbating violent conflict and suppressing legitimate protest. Barclays Global Investors UK Holdings Ltd has 5,059,591 shares in Exelis and Barclays PLC has 63,071 shares.

We entered the branch after leaving the May Day march and refused to leave until we had made an impact. Within half-an-hour the management decided to close, depriving the company of a busy Saturday afternoon’s profit through direct action. We sent our message to the public by plastering the front of the building with stickers which gave details of Barclays’ guilt and sent a clear message to the company that we won’t tolerate money from our communities being used to fund war.”

The protest was organised by anarchist group Stop NATO Cymru as part of an ongoing campaign to oppose the forthcoming NATO Summit in Newport this September.

A member of Stop NATO Cymru added: “We oppose all wars between nations and see NATO, the armed wing of western capitalism, and the companies which manufacture its weapons as being two sides of the same coin. Both murder ordinary people who are forced into conflicts by their conditions and escalate situations like Ukraine’s, where two imperialistic powers are forcing their will over an innocent population, NATO being one of those powers.”

1) For more information on Stop NATO Cymru: network23.org/stopnatocymru

2) For more on opposition to the forthcoming NATO Summit:
www.radicalwales.org/2014/02/nato-in-newport-2014.html

3) For more on the May Day march:
www.facebook.com/events/564905746896026/?fref=ts

4) For more information on Exelis Inc./EDO Corp.: www.smashedo.org.uk

 

Brighton arms trade protest case – Verdict expected this Thursday

Smash EDO Press Release,. Wed 22 August 2012, Contact: Andrew Beckett or Sam Hayward – 0752655743

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CASE NAME:

R-v-Nero and Pidwell

VENUE: Brighton Magistrates Court
Edward Street, Brighton
TIME: 10:am
DATE: 23 August 2012

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Brighton Magistrates are expected to announce a judgement in the case of R v. Nero and Pidwell on Thursday 23 August 2012. The case continues from 2 August after running out of time due to complex legal arguments and evidence about aircraft weapons technology.

Two anti-war activists, Jessica Nero and Gavin Pidwell, face charges of Aggravated Trespass. In their defence they have presented evidence of the unlawful business activities of Brighton arms company EDO MBM Technology Ltd, a subsidiary of US arms maker ITT Exelis Inc. Exelis is a a $1.7billion multinational arms, security, and intelligence
technology company.

Jessica Nero and Gavin Pidwell were arrested on 26 April 2011 after blocking the firm’s factory gates in protest at its ongoing manufacture of weapons system umbilical connectors being supplied for use on the new Israeli F-35 aircraft, as well as US F-16, and A-10 fighter jets, all of which carry illegal cluster bombs as part of their arsenals.

Section 2 (2) of The Cluster Munitions (Prohibitions) Act 2010 makes it an offence for any British person or resident to assist the use of cluster bombs.

The Managing Director of EDO MBM, Paul Hills, who has worked in the weapons system business for 23 years was cross-examined on the lawfulness of his business by the defendants legal team on 1 August. He denied knowing that a Joint Stand Off Weapon (JSOW) onto which his company’s parts are fitted,is a cluster bomb.

Smash EDO spokesperson Andrew Becket commented: ‘There has been clear documentary evidence presented in this case that EDO MBM have engaged in unlawful activities including assistance in the use of cluster bombs and the supply of military equipment for Israeli war planes contrary to UK domestic law.’

The defendants are represented by Teresa Blades of Kellys Solicitors, Brighton.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF EDO MBM’s PARENT COMPANY CRIMES

EDO MBM is a UK subsidiary of US arms maker ITT Exelis Inc. ITT is a $1.7billion multinational arms company with a notorious twentieth-century history of support for the fascist regimes in Spain, Germany, and Chile.

More recently ITT pled guilty in 2007 to illegal exports and cover-up of secret military technology to China over a 25 year period. As part of a plea agreement with the US Department of Justice, ITT paid $100million in fines, which at the time was one of the largest criminal fines for breaches of arms export controls in paid in US history.

EDO MBM’s previous parent company EDO Corp pled guilty 2003 to illegal arms exports and agreed to pay a $2.5 million fine to US authorities.

Both corporations were placed under increased auditing and compliance regimes as a result of their convictions.

From 1983 to 2000 EDO MBM was owned by the British Morgan Crucible PLC, under the direction its then CEO Ian Norris. Ian Norris was convicted of conspiracy to obstruct justice in December 2010 after destroying company documents related to a corporate fraud investigation into Morgan Crucible in the same period that EDO MBM was owned by the conglomerate. After being extradited to the US, Ian Norris was tried, convicted sentenced to 18 months in a US prison.

In June 2010 the crown court acquitted seven Smash EDO activists of £180,000 damage to the factory after a defence of ‘lawful excuse’ was accepted by the jury on grounds that it was reasonable to believe EDO MBM were engaged in illegal arms exports to the Israel Air Force of arming units used to commit war crimes in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead in January 2009.

Smash EDO spokesperson Andrew Beckett said, ‘EDO MBM have failed to learn anything from their parent firms corrupt histories or their own exposure in the crown court in 2010 as liars. They continue to act illegally,and unethically with apparent impunity. Like their bosses before them, the directors of EDO MBM have sought to cover up these crimes with lies and misrepresentations in numerous judicial proceedings.’

‘Sussex Police have done nothing to stop these acts, in fact by neglecting to do their duty they have effectively supported them. It’s time to bring this sordid tale of police collusion with arms dealer corruption to an end’.

ENDS

Contact: Andrew Beckett or Sam Hayward – 07526557436

Smash EDO website: http://www.smashedo.org.uk

Corrupt Brighton arms company activities challenged in court

CASE NAME: R-v-Nero and Pidwell

VENUE: Brighton Magistrates Court Edward Street, Brighton TIME: 10:am DATE: 31 July 2012 – 2 August 2012

On 31 July 2012, two anti-war activists will face charges of Aggravated Trespass in Brighton Magistrates Court. In their defence they will present evidence of the unlawful business activities of Brighton arms company EDO MBM Technology Ltd, a subsidiary of US arms maker ITT Exelis Inc. a $1.7billion multinational arms, security, and intelligence technology company. Jessica Nero and Gavin Pidwell were arrested on 26 April 2011 after blocking the firm’s factory gates in protest at its ongoing manufacture of weapons system umbilical connectors being supplied for use on the new Israeli F-35 aircraft, as well as US F-16, and A-10 fighter jets, all of which carry illegal cluster bombs as part of their arsenals. Section 2 (2) of The Cluster Munitions (Prohibitions) Act 2010 makes it an offence for any British person or resident to assist the use of cluster bombs. The Managing Director of EDO MBM, Paul Hills will be a prosecution witness on the first day of the trial and is expected to be cross-examined on the lawfulness of his business by the defendants legal team. Smash EDO spokesperson Andrew Becket commented: ‘There is clear documentary evidence in this case that EDO MBM have engaged in unlawful activities- including assistance in the use of US cluster bombs and the supply of military equipment for Israeli war planes contrary to UK domestic law.’ The case is set to last to last 3 days. The defendants are represented by Teresa Blades of Kellys Solicitors, Brighton. Continue reading