Monday, January 18, 2010

Raytheon Finally Forced Out of Derry by Anti-Arms Trade Campaigners

From resistderry@aol.com:

Great news, and a real victory for campaigners against the arms trade. Many thanks to all who have helped us in the campaign.... We still have members facing court cases - but it doesn't seem so daunting now that we know we have cleansed our town of this complicity with war crimes. Below, a short article which you all are welcome to make use of....

 

Raytheon, the third largest missile manufacturer in the world has announced it¹s leaving Derry (Northern Ireland). The announcement is a huge victory for People Power and shows how a sustained and determined campaign can win against even some of the world¹s most powerful and influential corporations.

 

The announcement came exactly a year after the third occupation of Derry¹s Raytheon office by anti-war campaigners. The campaign against Raytheon¹s location in Derry has been going since before it arrived, despite the welcome given it by local politicians, who saw the jobs as part of the ³peace dividend².

 

Anti-war and anti-arms trade campaigners said we didn¹t want our peace to be built on the massacre of people in other parts of the world. The Foyle Ethical Investment Campaign (FEIC) started the move to get Raytheon out of Derry and was joined by the Derry Anti War Coalition (DAWC) from 2003 with the start of the Iraq war.

 

The first occupation of Raytheon in April 2003 saw both campaigns come together after 62 people were killed in a Baghdad marketplace by a missile that Robert Fisk identified as a Raytheon one.

 

In the aftermath of the Qana massacre of 30 July 2006, the DAWC again occupied the plant, this time Œdecommissioning¹ the mainframe computer and wrecking over £350,000 worth of equipment. The nine men who were charged with burglary and criminal damage were acquitted of all charges unanimously by the jury in Belfast Crown Court in June 2008.

Last January, nine women occupied and tried to again decommission the computer systems in the Raytheon plant, hoping to do what the Raytheon 9 did during the Israeli assault on Lebanon in Aug 2006 and prevent or delay war crimes being committed by the Israeli Defence Forces in Gaza with the use of Raytheon weapons.

 

It seems that Raytheon has finally got the message ­ as long as they are in Derry, the DAWC will continue to try to disrupt their complicity in war crimes everywhere in the world they ply their evil trade.

Since Raytheon announced it was leaving, the two main political parties in the town ­ the SDLP and Sinn Fein ­ have tried to make out that they are happy to see it go. But, for ten years now, both parties colluded with Raytheon to try to pretend that the Derry plant was not involved in military work. This nonsense was proved to be just that at the men¹s trial in 2008 but it didn¹t stop both parties continuing to refuse to tell Raytheon to go. 

Said Eamonn McCann, one of those who occupied in 2006, ³the day will come when people will look at the arms trade which deals in mass murder and ask how did we allow it to operate like this in human misery ­ just as we now ask how people tolerated the slave trade. We hope our actions in Derry have brought that day a little closer².

 

Meanwhile, the trial of the 9 women who occupied during the Gaza assault last year is set to start on International Women¹s Day (March 8th). The women, along with five men arrested outside while demonstrating in support of them are charged with Burglary, Criminal Damage and Assault. Charges against the 5 men include, obstructing police and impersonating a police officer. Two men are also charged with assaulting a police officer after a pregnant woman was assaulted by a policeman ­ the incident was broadcast by BBC News; no charges have been brought against the policeman to date.

 

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net

 

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

 

 

 

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