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International Day of Action Against the Arms Trade – Brighton

Blix Bloc | 22.03.2005 00:13 | Anti-militarism | Repression | South Coast

Brighton arms dealers EDO MBM were visited today by a Citizens Inspections Agency (CIA) team who demanded access to their weapons manufacturing facility. EDO MBM manufactures release mechanisms for the Paveway series of bombs as well as other military hardware. They are a wholly owned subsidiary of the American EDO Corp, and have a multi-million pound contract with the UK MoD related to the Paveway bomb.

Around 20 inspectors, clad in head to toe white overalls attempted to inspect warmonger EDO MBM's factory as part of the International Day of Action Against the Arms Trade called by the 'destroy the arms trade' session at Beyond ESF in October. Police and private security seriously obstructed our efforts, and as a result we are concerned that EDO MBM do indeed have something to hide.

Subsequently, the inspections team read out the names of some of the more than 100,000 Iraqi civilian casualties of the illegal invasion, and held a two minutes silence interrupted only by sniggering police officers. Mass murder, what a laugh! The cops had had enough, and with none of their usual guff about 'facilitating' our protest they imposed a section 14 order under the Public Order Act, demanding we disperse because we were 'intimidating' and might 'compel' EDO staff to cease work – by reading out the names of their victims? Surely the compulsion would come from the employees conscience officer?

The CIA team is dismayed to report that three of our members were then kidnapped in a white van with blue flashing lights by some dodgy characters in day-glow jackets who seemed to be acting as EDO's private security. They claimed to be police officers. In any case, such grave attempts to obstruct weapons inspections could lead to serious consequences. It was unclear why the first arrest was made, the second was clearly for filming the first and the third, ten minutes later was apparently for meditating alone on a grass verge. Police also assaulted a camera man filming the second arrest.

Our remaining team members then retreated to the main road where re-enforcements were massing (well, 5 more people and 4 dogs). Public opinion was clearly with continued inspections as passers-by congratulated our efforts and cars honked horns in support. Nonetheless, the Police insisted on trying to silence a musician playing his clarinet. Asked if a ban on music had been slipped in with the recent anti-terror laws, the police told the musician that it wasn't illegal but he 'might end up getting arrested' if he didn't shut up. He carried on playing, his dog howled along in a kind of endearing out of tune way and the police backed off.

After convening to make further plans, the CIA team relocated and rendezvoused at the Brighton war memorial, where we placed a list of some of those who had been killed by the Coalition bombing in Iraq.

Blix Bloc
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Hide the following 8 comments

private security

22.03.2005 07:47

great action, photos would be cool

what do you mean edo private security took people away? what were people eventually charged with

the one that went away

They were nicked by the cops,

22.03.2005 10:25

But the cops were acting like private security guards for EDO, removing civil trespassers for example (the police are not allowed to act as 'agents of the landowner' in moving trespassers, they can only arrest people for aggravated trespass, not move them on). Sorry for any confusion!

Blix Bloc`

arrests latest

22.03.2005 14:27

the 3 arrested were held for 10-12 hours before being charged under section 14 of the 1986 public order act and bailed until 31st March. They had severe bail condtions imposed them which banned them from Home Farm Road, home of EDO/MBM, and the whole of the Wild Park.

CIA block

arrested and fucked

22.03.2005 16:43

Hey y;all, the demonstration yesterday was one of the most fluffiest actions that ive been on.
section 14 indeed, the only justification that I can see were that we were wearing boiler suits and dust masks and as this was a publicity stunt find it hard to see that any charges will stick.

It is intimidation and we must stand our ground with this.

We do have the right to protest and as long as we stand our ground and perservere things will be cool.

When the inspector came back to issue me with a repeat of the section 14, as I hadnt been present at the 1st, I looked him in the eye and said "I dont believe for one minute that you have the slightest belief that us or our behaviour is going to lead to the conditions described in the section 14", "we are peaceful and on a grass verge out of the traffic and pedestrians, in fact it is one of the most peaceful groups I have been with in years of protest".
To this the inspector looked embaressed and nervous, the truth cuts through many things, even the hard veneer of police Inspectors.

following this I was arrested and stuck in a smelly, cold cell in the gulags of Hollingbury custody suite for 12 hours.

What I would like to say is the following, many people have spent 12, 120, 1200+ hours in custody, against injustice and to stand against repression, if we walk away just because a cop issues an order, esspecially when we feel strongly that we have the right to be there and in fact know the police order to be a form of intimidation, if we walk away at this time, we will not only be weakening our cause (the highlightening of the arms trade), but we will also be slowly giving up the few rights that we have, namely the right to peacefully protest.
It is important that we take a stand and challenge orders such as section 14, if we dont it wont be long before we are having our association together in places like Belmarsh or we find our selves electronically tagged.
Whilst I appreciate that some have there reasons for walking away from such situations, please dont walk away, just out of fear of the police, the end consequences that we face are much worse.

Myself and others will be talking about section 14's and police/Gov repression at the following meeting in Brighton on 1st April-


Supported by Liberty, Stop Political terror, Green Party, Amnesty International Brighton, Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC)

@ Friends Meeting House, Ship Street, Brighton

7.00 – 9.30pm Friday the 1st April

“The real threat to the life of the nation, in the sense of a people living in accordance with its traditional laws and political values, comes not from terrorism but from laws such as these” Law Lord Hoffman, 18 Dec 2004

Chaired by Doug Jewell-Campaigns co-ordinator for Liberty


Sagheer Hussain –Specialist criminal defence lawyer and representing Stop Political Terror (the group fighting for the rights of the Guantanamo and Belmarsh detainees).

Keith Taylor- National Green Party spokesman & candidate for Brighton Pavilion.

Anne Costello-Campaign Against Criminalising Communities.

The (local) Brother of a detainee in Guantanamo Bay.

Angela- Chair of Amnesty International Brighton.

Jaya Nyanajoti- anti arms and human rights campaigner.

Richard– Animal rights and protest legislation.

The meeting will be focused upon the justice of existing and proposed anti-terror

legislation, in particular Charles Clarke’s new proposals for civil ‘control orders’ on ‘terrorist suspects’ which would serve political control

(they would punish individuals for what they might do, not what they have done, the orders would include electronic tagging, restrictions on association, the use of phones and internet, and possible house arrest, any breach could lead to imprisonment).

Also an examination of whether or not the right to protest can be said to exist given the now extensive police powers over demonstration and direct political action.

Anti-terror laws have broadened the definition of ‘terrorism’

to include normal political activities, they authorize searches and even detention

in the name of ‘suspicion’ or ‘association’ with terrorism.

Entire communities live under a culture of ‘suspicion’.

Over the last ten years numerous laws have increased police powers

and criminalized most forms of lawful protest.

I have a horrible feeling that we are sinking into a police state”

George Churchill-Coleman, former head of police anti-terrorist squad during the 1980’s and 1990’s

Lastly those of you who like a good chat with the police on these demos, please take a walk with them and do it away from me.

The smiley friendly cop who stood amongst us for all of the demonstration was put there to do information gathering, as he was so warmly recieved by some of the people aned they chatted merrily away to him the police camera crew felt like joining the demo as well, had the bizarre situation yesterday of seeing the camera crew practically joining the demo and trying to film the private meetings that we were having, the camera was put centermeters from your heads, as you were discussing what to do.

dont tolerate this, talking to the friendly cop at the start and through the morning helps this.

You must make them feel unwelcome, do not welcome them, they are scum and are there to have you put in prison, as i have been in prison i know full well what this is like and maybe is why i feel so strongly about this, the only purpose for filming and talking to you is to incriminate you and ultimatly sentence you to prison, the nice smiles and friendliness are a front.

On good demonstrations, the police are made unwelcome and are made to go and stand away from the protestors, how can you converse with those who protect the arms dealers.

some of the cops present yesterday i have witnessed previously breaking the hand of a young women in Brighton and some of them are in fact complete psychopaths.

Over the past 4 years in Brighton I have seen many of the cops present yesterday, abusing there powers and people.


Dougie Jewell from Birmingham Stop the War Coaliton fame?!

23.03.2005 19:07

"Chaired by Doug Jewell-Campaigns co-ordinator for Liberty"

OMG - tell me it's not the same Doug Jewel from Birminghams stop the war coalition?!

Doug Jewell of Socialist Action helped the SWP's Ger Francis and the Muslim Association of Britain carve up the city's stop the war movement and exclude secular south asian activists and other progressive left wing activists. So much so in fact that they went off and set up their own democratically organised anti-war group called the Birmingham stop the war network!

I also hear he played a pivotal role in helping carve CND up for Kate Hudson a couple of years ago...

Now he works for Liberty?! tell me this is not true!

My faith in Liberty has hit another all time low...

Good luck with the meeting though :)

Political opportunism and activism suck

from yahoo finance message boards

24.03.2005 22:15

BAE, Cobham Seek U.S. Defense Firms as Pentagon Spending Rises

Feb. 14 (Bloomberg) --

BAE Systems Plc, Cobham Plc and Smiths Group Plc are among U.K. defense companies planning to acquire U.S. military contractors, who are benefiting from increased Pentagon spending on the war in Iraq.

The U.S. defense budget in fiscal 2004 was $375 billion, about three times that of the U.K., France, Germany and Italy combined. U.K. companies, helped by a 33 percent rise in the pound versus the dollar since 2002, say U.S. purchases are an inexpensive way to increase profit.

``We made five acquisitions in the U.S. in 2004 and we are going to make more this year,'' said Mike Turner, chief executive officer of BAE, Europe's biggest weapons maker, in an interview Jan. 18. ``There's no money in Europe. It's all in the U.S.''

U.K. defense companies last year bought U.S. companies worth $1.6 billion, a four-fold increase from a year earlier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. BAE, one of the 10 biggest suppliers to the Pentagon, in September bought Herndon, Virginia- based DigitalNet Holdings Inc., a provider of secure communication systems, for $589 million.

The purchase would have cost London-based BAE as much as $730 million three years ago, based on exchange rates.

``British companies are actively hunting for U.S. properties,'' said John Kutler, chairman of Los Angeles-based Jefferies Quarterdeck, a unit of U.S investment bank Jefferies Group Inc. ``The currency gives them added ammunition.''

Profit Margins
Buying U.S. companies is boosting earnings for British acquirers partly because of higher profits allowed by the Pentagon on military development and manufacturing contracts. The Pentagon allows defense contractors to make pretax profit margins of between 10 percent and 15 percent of sales, Turner said.
``That's not really accepted in the U.K. and Europe,'' the CEO said.

U.S. companies that may be acquired include Portland, Oregon- based Flir Systems Inc., a maker of night-vision cameras; New York- based EDO Corp., and defense-electronics makers Harris Corp., Herley Industries Inc., and Anaren Inc., said analysts including Richard Valera of Needham & Co. in New York.

Shares of EDO have risen 29 percent since January 2004, valuing the company at $644 million. Flir stock has increased 76 percent, giving it a market value of $2.2 billion. BAE shares have risen 52 percent. The London-based company is worth 7.84 billion pounds ($14.6 billion).

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Regarding Jaya's comment about chatting to the cops

26.03.2005 12:48

I was one of the people who had a conversation with the smiley cop with the beard. We ended up discussing the Iraq war and the advantages of biodiesel. I don't think anyone is stupid enough to say anything that would compromise the group (ie: identify protesters, talk about future actions). The cops are stratigically opposed to us, but sometimes it is good to remember that dispite their chosen proffession, they are still human beings. Treating them with basic civility on this kind of demo can often have the effect of making them ashamed of what they are doing. Most coppers join the police because they believe that it is a worthy profession that serves the community. The average plod in a uniform is not the Gestapo. The sort of idiot meathead copper who enjoys beating up protesters would not bother talking to us anyway.

I am not trying to defend or condone the police, all I am saying is that taking an openly hostile attitude to them as a matter of course can be counter productive and makes it easier for the individual cop to trample all over our right to protest with a clean conscience.

Bob Roberts

Agree with the above - maybe there needs to be a discussion forumon this subject

28.03.2005 16:05

I used to ignore or be vaguely hostile to the police, but now I feel it is better to try to explain the issues of the protest to them, if they are friendly about it all the better, no matter what their motives. It must be remembered that most police people are not the brightest sparks and chatting to them during demos or events can help increase their understanding of things, no doubt they all discuss the days event after they finish. The police are humans too and in inclusive movements they should, as individuals, be tried to be won over. It is the institutions that they represent that we have a problem with, not the individuals.