Just before dawn on the 17th January 2009, as the bombs were raining down on Gaza as a result of Israel’s attacks, six people scaled security fences, broke windows and entered the EDO factory. They then threw computers and filing cabinets out of windows and took hammers to precision engineering machine tools used for weapons production. Their aim was to disable an active part of the war machine with direct action against a company profiting from the aerial bombardment of Gaza.
During the January 2009 attack on the civilian population of Gaza, over 1400 people were killed including over 300 children. Schools and hospitals were targeted. It is widely accepted that Israel committed war crimes against the people of Gaza during this operation, but have not been brought to justice since. The arms companies who knowingly supplied the weapons enabling the operation to happen remain partly responsible for those crimes.
Those who took part in the decommissioning action were charged with conspiracy to commit criminal damage and faced a three week jury trial in the summer of 2010. In their defence they explained that they had a clear lawful excuse to disarm the factory because EDO were apparently supplying arming units via the US to the Israeli F-16 warplane weapon system used in the attacks on Gaza.
The EDO Decomissioner’s case began on 7th June 2010 in Lewes crown Court (sitting in Hove) and ended on the 2nd July with all defendants found not guilty. If convicted they faced a possible ten years in prison. One of the arrested group was remanded for 18 months from his arrest at the action in January 2009 until his acquittal of all charges in June 2010.