Campaign of the Month: SMASH EDO
The pressure on Brighton based arms manufacturer EDO MBM continues to mount as the campaign enters its third year. Brighton anti-war activists have identified EDO MBM as a key link in the military machine currently being turned loose in the Middle East. A subsidiary of U.S arms giant EDO Corp, they manufacture unmanned combat drones as well as vital components for Raytheon’s Paveway laser guided bomb and the helicopter borne Hellfire missile. Edo build the interface system for the Paveway, which was the most used guided munition in the aerial bombardment of Iraq. The Hellfire is used by the Israeli military for ground attacks and targeted assassinations. It was a Hellfire missile that destroyed the ambulance leaving Qana on 23rd July 2006
Brighton peace activists, many of whom have worked with the International Solidarity Movement in Palestine, have banded together under the name SMASH EDO, to expose the company and close down its Brighton operation. The company has been the subject of a continuous campaign, starting with a peace camp in August 2004.
Andrew Beckett, press spokesman for SMASH EDO, explains “ As a town Brighton was at the forefront of the U.K movement against the war in Iraq – the day war broke out six or seven thousand people gathered to protest in the town centre and ended by ransacking the town hall – We are supposed to be a U.N International Peace Messenger City and yet we tolerate the presence of arms manufacturers, who profit from war. EDO manufactures bomb release mechanisms for the U.S, U.K and Israeli militaries. The recent Israeli onslaught on Lebanon was being conducted with the help of weaponry made in our town. In the last months Israel has engaged in an illegal assault on the civilian population of Gaza and has invaded Lebanon killing hundreds of Lebanese civilians. These are war crimes under international and English Law. Israel could not carry out these acts without the support of foreign corporations. We are ordinary people who object to those who profit from death and we aim to bring back the true horror of the ‘War on Terror’ back to the factory floor."
Campaigners regularly hold noisy demos outside the factory to remind the management of their complicity in war crimes. Non-violent direct action such as locking to the gates, occupying the roof or blocking the road aims to disrupt production and highlight the nature of the business conducted inside the anonymous looking factory. The campaign has a high profile in the local media.
Sussex police have been determined to shut down the campaign. They have made over 30 arrests at the factory and in town centre demonstrations. All but four of those arrested have had their charges dropped. An attempt by the company to create an exclusion zone around the factory using the anti-stalking laws collapsed ignominiously in the High Court costing EDO over £1 million in legal fees. The campaign has continued to grow and aims to prove that “Every bomb that is dropped, every bullet that is fired in the name of this war of terror has to be made somewhere. And wherever that is it can be resisted”
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