Brighton is today celebrating with a victory demo to mark the acquittals of the EDO Decommisioners, the activists who broke into an arms company back in January 2009 to sabotage its production of military components for the Israeli air force.
After more than three weeks in court, the jury agreed that the activists had done nothing unlawful when they caused severe damage to the EDO/ITT factory.
The activists had not denied causing the damage, but had successfully argued that they were justified in their actions to prevent a bigger crime taking place. They proved in court that the components produced by EDO were being supplied to the Israeli military for use in their F-16 bombers, the planes that had bombarded the civilian population of Gaza that winter. The attacks resulted in more than a thousand deaths, many of them children.
NETCU, the police ‘extremism unit’ that advises companies on defending themselves from activist campaigns, has so far not commented on the case (although it is usually very quick to flag up successful prosecutions). It is well known that both NETCU and its sister unit the NPOIU have been involved with the prosecutions, as well as collecting surveillance on EDO protesters and campaigners generally.
NETCU’s sympathies have been firmly with EDO, supporting the investigation and prosecution of anti-militarist activists, while the actions of EDO and their collusion with Israeli war crimes has escaped investigation. Conspiracy to commit war crimes is clearly not something that comes under their definition of ‘extreme’.