Bristol’s EDO Decommissioners face unfair trial

Another state clampdown on dissent as 2 defendants remain on remand

It appears that the 6 Bristol EDO Decommissioners, along with the 3 Brighton residents who have been charged with them, now face an unfair trial.

break-armsSupporters in Bristol understand that the defendants have only been awarded £5000.00 in legal aid between them, following changes to the legal aid rules that apparently came into effect in January 2009 (If you know about these legal aid changes please post a comment! Thanks). In fact the legal aid awarded is believed to cover only 8 of the defendants, as one defendant is so far without legal aid.

Clearly their charge of ‘conspiracy to commit criminal damage’ is a complicated one, and its believed the case could be in court for over 4 weeks when it eventually comes to trial. The £5000.00 legal aid awarded seems unlikely therefore to cover even their solicitor’s costs, never mind the expense of barristers in court, and of bringing in expert witnesses. Given their stated defence will rest on proving they acted to prevent a greater war crime being committed by Israel & EDO (in bombing Gaza), it is clearly in the interests of the state, and an arms industry that profits from so many governmental contracts, to ensure the defendants are unable to properly argue their case. Indeed the state would no doubt love to be able to lock up these pesky anti-militarists, out of sight and out of mind, for as long as possible with as little publicity as possible. We can be sure that the police, and the arms industry, will have no such limitations on their costs as they attempt to prosecute the case against the 9. British justice, what a joke!

A further complication appears to be that any funds raised to support their defence, could be counted against their legal aid award. So if £5000.00 or more was raised to fund their defence, they would then loose the £5000.00 awarded in legal aid. So whilst supporters can raise funds to pay for things like publicity, travel to meetings, and support for the 2 defendants on remand, that is basically it. That then is currently what the £369.00 raised at The Plough benefit on 14 February will have to go towards (and thanks to all who supported that benefit). The alternative would be for the campaign to raise a shitload of money to cover the whole of the defence without need for legal aid, but that would mean raising in the region of £50,000.00 or more. Watch out for more info on the Decommissioners site.

The next pre-trial hearing is set for 8 May, ironically just 4 days after the Smash EDO Mayday street party. In the meantime 2 defendants remain on remand. One of them, Elijah Smith (or ‘James’), also faces a trial relating to charges arising from the Raytheon actions at their site in North Bristol. The trial is scheduled for 2 days starting on April 14 in Bristol, so expect a support picket for that – more info to follow.

Support the Decommissioners on remand
Elijah Smith VP7551, HMP Bristol, 19 Cambridge Road, Horfield, BS7 8PS
Robert Alford VP7552
, HMP Lewes, 1 Brighton Rd, Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 1E
Please start sending letters of support or visiting to keep their spirits up.

The campaign needs your support
Donations will be great fully received for the challenges that lie ahead, cheques are made payable to The Decommissioners, and send to PO Box 6, Booty, 82 Colston Street, Bristol. BS1 5BB

Campaigners in Bristol – the EDO Decommissioners need your solidarity now

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One response to “Bristol’s EDO Decommissioners face unfair trial

  1. A Decommissioner

    A brief summing up of the WAR CRIMES commited in Gaza this January can be seen below. The report was compiled by Amnesty International.
    So who really are rhe criminals here?

    The companies named here have offices on BRISTOL BUISINESS PARK, COLDHARBOUR LANE (OPPOSITE UWE-FRENCHAY CAMPUS)
    Amnesty researchers in Gaza found several weapon fragments after the fighting. One came from a 500lb (227kg) Mark-82 fin-guided bomb, which had markings indicating parts were made by the US company Raytheon. They also found fragments of US-made white phosphorus artillery shells, marked M825 A1.
    On 15 January, several white phosphorus shells fired by the Israeli military hit the headquarters of the UN Relief and Works Agency in Gaza City, destroying medicine, food and aid. One fragment found at the scene had markings indicating it was made by the Pine Bluff Arsenal, based in Arkansas, in October 1991.

    The human rights group said the Israeli military had used white phosphorus in densely populated civilian areas, which it said was an indiscriminate form of attack and a war crime. Its researchers found white phosphorus still burning in residential areas days after the ceasefire.

    At the scene of an Israeli attack that killed three Palestinian paramedics and a boy in Gaza City on 4 January, Amnesty found fragments of an AGM114 Hellfire missile, made by Hellfire Systems of Orlando, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing. The missile is often fired from Apache helicopters.

    Amnesty said it also found evidence of a new type of missile, apparently fired from unmanned drones, which exploded into many pieces of shrapnel that were “tiny sharp-edged metal cubes, each between 2 and 4mm square in size”.

    “They appear designed to cause maximum injury,” Amnesty said. Many civilians were killed by this weapon, including several children, it said.

    Rockets fired by Palestinian militants were either 122mm Grad missiles or short-range Qassam rockets, a locally made, improvised artillery weapon. Warheads were either smuggled in or made from fertiliser.

    The arsenal of weapons was on a “very small scale compared to Israel”, it said, adding that the scale of rocket arsenal deployed by Hizbullah in the 2006 Lebanese war was “beyond the reach of Palestinian militant groups”.

    Armed for war

    Israelis Missiles launched from helicopters and unmanned drones, including 20mm cannon and Hellfire missiles. Larger laser-guided and other bombs dropped by F-16 warplanes. Extensive use of US-made 155mm white phosphorus artillery shells and Israeli-made 155mm illuminating shells that eject phosphorus canisters by parachute. Several deaths caused by flechettes, 4cm-long metal darts packed into 120mm tank shells, and fragments of US-made 120mm tank shells.

    Related Link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/feb/23/israel-arms…-gaza

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