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EDO Corp. Hits Forbes Beltway Index Rock Bottom Again As Protests Grow

Z | 12.09.2006 13:48 | Analysis | Anti-militarism | Social Struggles | South Coast

On the fifth anniversary of 9/11, arms firm EDO Corp, who had till this year profited more from the 'war on terror' than nearly any other company in the US, are now regulars on the Forbes Beltway Index 'worst performing' stock list. Once again this week, EDO hit the bottom of the list in the Forbes Magazine monthly overview of US equity performance.


EDO sacked 400 workers (12% of its employees) at one of its Californian bases earlier this year citing a failure to gain the sole source contract for its top secret Warlock counter-IED devices. US Government buyers may have been worried that the intense pressures placed on the company by the anti-war protest campaign in the UK, could have led to leaks of highly sensitive technological data, as ex-EDO whistle blowers in the UK have already come forward to expose the Brighton factories involvement in the US Hellfire missile programme that the company had till then kept a closely guarded secret.

A further concern for the US Govt. in the future, will be EDO's participation in the next generation JSF/F35 'Lightening II' stealth fighter bomber assembly line. EDO hold the sole source contract to supply bomb release racks for the new plane that is destined to replace all US, UK, NATO and allied state's fighter fleets with a uniform aircraft platform, and as primary partners in the project, the UK Ministry of Defence have recently been granted access to the highly sensitive source code for the aircraft's computer system. Brighton's EDO MBM who specialise in bomb rack development for the US company will need access to the code to develop the bomb racks, but with its own staff turning against it, EDO MBM are unlikely to be trusted with any information so sensitive.

In recent months EDO Corporation have been implicated in a stream of scandals involving some of their highest ranking directors, including the New York state 'Earmarks' affair, and the F22 Raptor conflict of interest sleaze scandal, exposed by the Washington Post in July, which led to the resignation of director Dennis C. Blair.

The UK protest campaign meanwhile gathers momentum, with growing grassroots suuport, as well as mainstream political support from Brighton city councilors and other politicians. On Wednesday 13th, Caroline Lucas MEP, principle speaker for the UK Green Party, will speak out against the presence of the EDO MBM factory in Brighton, a UN Peace Messenger City, adding her voice to a growing chorus of criticism of EDO Corp.

Despite all this EDO President, CEO, and Chairman James M. Smith has seen his salary double in the five years since the 'war on terror' began,and he continues to pay himself a fortune as if nothing were wrong. If he can sack 400 people in California without so much as a twinge of regret, EDO MBM staff must be starting to worry about the security of their pay cheques in the UK, where the political fall out of sacking 150 people is likely to be less for the US based Corporation whose biggest customer is the US government. EDO have agressively bought sold and asset stripped smaller companies over the last few years, and other than in its value in holding its position within the European market, EDO MBM in Brighton becomes less and less an asset to EDO Corpoartion's grander designs which are moveing towards servicing the expanding US intelligence community. It is possible that Sir Robert Walmsley, Chairman of EDO(UK), has lobbied his former UK Ministry of Defence mandarin friends to gain a recent, but small,contract with the MOD, for the Brighton company. But how far can such charitable gestures influence EDO's major institutional share holders when they have seen the company lose 20-25% of its value since April, or an estimated $100 million US dollars in market capitalisation. Small contracts and acquistions seems to be having no affect on EDO's relentless decline, while they are having to borrow hundreds of millions of dollars to continue their strategy of expansion.

EDO face a determined and growing campaign of protest and resistance in the UK that is developing on several fronts and levels of action, and is becoming increasingly aware of EDO's economic vulnerabilities. A recent roof top occupation by two protesters led to a simultanious drop in EDO's share price on Wall Street as the news of the protest appeared on international financial news feeds. EDO obviously hope the campaign will just go away if they ignore it. This is likely to prove a major factor in their coming downfall, as blanket 'no comment' responses to all questions from the press are only confirming a general belief that they have no answer to allegations of there involvement in war crimes in Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon. Despite clearly biased policing by Sussex Police, the protesters are obviously not going anywhere. On the contrary it is EDO who will have to go, and probably sooner than they think.

The protest group Smash EDO, hold regular noise demos outside the EDO MBM factory in Brighton between 4-6 every Wednesdays. See

There will be a march through Brighton to the Town Hall this Saturday 16th September