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

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!