Raytheon 9 Statement

raytheon9.org– On 11 June 2008, by a unanimous verdict of the jury, the Raytheon 9 were found not guilty of three counts of criminal damage at the Raytheon offices, Derry Northern Ireland on 9 August 2006.
Immediately afterwards, the defendants addressed supporters and press outside Belfast’s Laganside Court. Colm Bryce began:

The Raytheon 9 have been aquitted today in Belfast for their action in decommissioning the Raytheon offices in Derry in August 2006. The prosecution could produce not a shred of evidence to counter our case that we had acted to prevent the commission of war crimes during the Lebanon war by the Israeli armed forces using weapons supplied by Raytheon.
We remain proud of the action we took and only wish that we could have done more to disrupt the ‘kill chain’ that Raytheon controls.
This victory is welcome, for ourselves and our families, but we wish to dedicate it to the Shaloub and Hasheem families of Qana in Lebanon, who lost 28 of their closest relatives on the 30 July 2006 due to a Raytheon ‘bunker buster’ bomb.
Their unimaginable loss was foremost in our minds when we took the action we did on 9 August, and the injustice that they and the many thousands of victims of war crimes in Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan have suffered, will spur us on to continue to campaign against war and the arms trade that profits from it.
We said from the beginning that we came to this court not as the accused but as the accusers of Raytheon. This court case proved that Raytheon in Derry is an integral part of the global Raytheon company and its military production. This is no longer a secret or in doubt. Raytheon have treated the truth, peaceful protest, local democracy and this court with complete contempt. The most senior executive who appeared said that the charge that Raytheon had ‘aided and abetted’ the commission of crimes against humanity was “not an issue” for him. Raytheon should have that contempt repaid in full and be driven out of Derry and every other place they have settled. They are war criminals, plain and simple. They have no place in our society and shame on all those in positions of power or influence who would hand them public funds, turn a blind eye to their crimes, cover their tracks or make excuses for them.
These crimes continue daily and hourly in the Middle East. It is up to those of us who oppose those wars of domination and occupation to build a movement that matches the enormity of what is being done by Western governments. We hope that this victory gives courage and heart to all those involved in that movement and the many more who need to be for us to achieve our aim of stopping these wars. Until then, the very least we can do, to show solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the Middle East is to dissociate ourselves from the corrupt governments of the US and Britain. That means opposing the visit to Belfast of the world’s biggest war criminal, George W Bush on 16 June.
We feel totally vindicated by this decision and wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to all of those who gave us support, especially to our families and friends, to the members of the Derry Anti War Coalition and the Irish Anti-War Movement , to our excellent legal teams. Of course, we particularly want to thank the jury who listened intently through three weeks of evidence before ensuring that justice was done today.

Eamonn McCann then addressed supporters and press saying:
The outcome of this case has profound implications.
The jury has accepted that we were reasonable in our belief that: the Israel Defence Forces were guilty of war crimes in Lebanon in the summer of 2006; that the Raytheon company, including its facility in Derry, was aiding and abetting the commission of these crimes; and that the action we took was intended to have, and did have, the effect of hampering or delaying the commission of war crimes.
We have been vindicated.
We reject entirely and with contempt the statement by Raytheon this evening suggesting that the result of the trial gives them concern about the safety of their employees. This is an abject attempt to divert attention from the significance of the outcome. Not a shed of evidence was produced that we presented the slightest danger to Raytheon workers. The charge of affray was thrown out by the court without waiting to hear defence evidence.
Our target has always been Raytheon as a corporate entity and its shareholders and directors who profit from misery and death.
There is now no hiding place for those who have said that they support the presence of Raytheon in Derry on the basis that the company is not involved in Derry in arms-related production. We have established that not only is the Derry plant involved in arms-related production, it is also, through its integration into Raytheon as a whole, involved in war crimes.
We call on all elected representatives in Derry, and on the citizens of Derry, to say now in unequivocal terms that the war criminal Raytheon is not welcome in our city.
We call on the office of the Attorney General and the Crown Prosecution Service, in light of this verdict, to institute an investigation into the activities of Raytheon at its various plants across the UK, with a view to determining whether Raytheon is, as we say it is, a criminal enterprise.
We believe that one day the world will look back on the arms trade as we look back today on the slave trade, and wonder how it came about that such evil could abound in respectable society. If we have advanced by a mere moment the day when the arms trade is put beyond the law, what we have done will have been worthwhile.
We took the action we did in the immediate aftermath of the slaughter of innocents in Qana on July 30th 2006. The people of Qana are our neighbours. Their children are the children of our neighbours. We trashed Raytheon to help protect our neighbours. The court has found that that was not a crime. This what the Raytheon case has been about.
We have not denied or apologised for what we did at the Raytheon plant in the summer of 2006. All of us believe that it was the best thing we ever did in our lives.

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Raytheon 9 Acquitted!

A few news outlets are reporting the Raytheon 9 have been acquitted, though they report six have been acquitted today, this will all make sense in a bit I am assured-

Six Derry anti-war protesters have been unanimously acquitted of destroying property belonging to multinational arms company Raytheon. They were each found not guilty of causing criminal damage to the building and offices and an employee`s car in Derry in August 2006.

But, author and journalist Eamonn McCann, was convicted of stealing two computer disks belonging to the company. He walked free after Judge Tom Burgess imposed a 12 month conditional discharge. The 65-year-old said he and his supporters had been vindicated.

Update: This means I can repost what I wrote on the 4th which I took down in case it jeopardised this acquittal:-

Fan-fuckin’-tastic! According to People’s Geography

The Raytheon 9 have just this morning been acquitted of terrorism charges stemming from their courageous actions taken against the Raytheon Corp. in Derry, following the Massacre at Qana on July 30 when Israel used the Raytheon JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition). It was the Raytheon JDAM which guided the US MK-84 bombed to its target, a bomb shelter in the village, killing 27 and wounding 30 women and children and three elderly men.

Socialist Worker also reports it in a Google news search result though the page is down right now, more as I get it and I’m waiting for confirmation from Derry Anti War Coalition.

Update: Tuesday’s report does hint at what was to come-

Events in the trial moved rapidly today. Our lawyers began by asking the judge to withdraw the case from the jury on the ground that the prosecution had not proved its case, even after having called all its witnesses and that there was therefore no requirement for the defence to offer any further evidence: the case was lost, we should go free. After prolonged argument between the defence and the prosecution, the judge said he’d consider the issues over night and give a ruling tomorrow (Wednesday).

We have no idea how the judge will rule. But it was clear from the argument, and from the judge’s interventions, that our application was seen by all as very strong. Even if the ruling goes against us, the concessions made by the prosecution in the course of the exchanges gives us more confidence that we have a good chance of acquittal if the issue goes to the jury. Of course, you can never tell with juries. We are not complacent or taking anything for granted.

But everyone left the court in higher spirits than at any time since the case began.

The public gallery was again packed with supporters, including members of the Derry Anti War Coalition, a SWP contingent from Dublin, representation of the Quaker community, the Catholic Workers’ group and the WSM and individual republicans and others. The solidarity of all is much appreciated.

Tomorrow may be a big day. In any event, barring unanticipated further delays, we are still on schedule for a verdict before the week is out.

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Raytheon 9 Do The Limbo

This is the state of play via those in the know-

Today, the Raytheon 9 were acquitted on the charge of affray. The trial in relation to the remaining charges of criminal damage has been adjourned pending an appeal. The appeal is being held as quickly as possible and a gagging order in relation to the issues under appeal is in place to preserve the integrity of the trial. Just as soon as we have any further definite news, the Raytheon 9 website will be updated.

So they are doing well but not absolutely all the way, so pray, wish, cross your legs and fingers, sacrifice goats (ok don’t do that) or whatever to help them win outright. You can send a message of support to resistderry@aol.com

nb. I have removed the previous post about the Raytheon 9 so as not to endanger (even slightly) their case.

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Raytheon 9- New Updates

They’ve had time to put up some detailed reports here. Some excerpts that show even when Raytheon staff are confronted by proof of their work contributing directly to war crimes they affect not to perceive it as unethical or that their conscience is bothered-

…there were legal arguments which centred on the legitimacy of the defence – in short, that the action at Raytheon in August 2006 was not criminal because it was taken in order to prevent the commission of war crimes. In the end, the judge ruled that the defence could be put and that it was for the jury, not the judge, to decide if the Raytheon 9 were acting on the basis of an ‘honestly held belief’. This was a very significant turning point in the trial. It puts the burden of proof on the prosecution.

Wednesday, Thursday and part of Friday were mainly taken up with witnesses from Raytheon. A number of these witnesses were people who happened to be in the office when the action happened.

Two were more noteworthy. Kieran McGivern, who had claimed that his car had been damaged by paper thrown from the office window, was asked by defence barristers about the work he performed at Raytheon (he was working on JETTS, a military contract for the British MoD), which he eventually admitted was a computer programme to enable the targeting of weapons. Asked how he felt about the use of Raytheon weapons in the killing of innocent people in, for instance, Lebanon, he said that he lost no sleep over it.

The last Raytheon witness, was John Reilly, head of Legal Affairs and a member of the Board of Raytheon Systems Ltd (the UK company). He presented the bill of damages, which had been considerably reduced by the Compensation Agency from over £300,000 to £97,000, when it was discovered that the PCs that were damaged were not being replaced.

Defence barristers asked him about his view of Raytheon’s involvement in supplying the weapons used in war crimes, and therefore ‘aiding and abetting’ war crimes. He said that he believed Raytheon was an ethical company. When presented with the findings of a report by the Norwegian government that Raytheon was unethical due to its production of cluster munitions, he said that it did not trouble him. He was shown a BBC TV report about the Qana massacre and said that it was not an issue for him that Raytheon weapons had been used in the killing of innocent civilians.

After a number of questions about his role in the drawing up of letters to Derry City Council, he admitted that he had been present at the meeting in September 2006 with the Council at which Raytheon had decided to ‘come clean’ over its military work, after the work on JETTS was revealed by the Belfast Telegraph. He admitted that JETTS had been worked on in Derry since 2004.

The third week of the Raytheon trial began with Eamonn McCann in the witness box.

Eamonn described the run-up to the occupation of Raytheon during the 2006 Israeli assault on Lebanon, detailing the meetings at which the need to take action was discussed and the reasons this particular form of action was decided on.

A lot of the cross-examination by the prosecution concerned whether this was a mere protest or a serious effort to bring Raytheon production to a standstill. Eamonn argued at length that the purpose had been to save lives by hampering the manufacture of bombs and therefore, at the least, slowing their delivery to Israel. There is an important legal point in this, which, we hope, will have become clear by the time the trial ends.

The public gallery was packed again, with a good contingent from Derry and a couple of car-loads from Dublin as well as Belfast anti-war people.

Colm Bryce will take the stand first thing tomorrow (Tuesday). The defendants will be very pleased to see anti-war activists of whatever tendency or group in court to hear his evidence. It is great for morale, and makes the intervals that bit more enjoyable (if that’s the word.)

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Raytheon 9- Eamonn McCann

An interview at socialistworker.org

Raytheon is one of the many companies that fuels war for profit. But the Raytheon company also has a political agenda. Adam Cherill, the business manager of Raytheon, if my memory is correct, has said that the Palestinian people have no connection to the land of Palestine–that they have no culture, no society and no historical ties to the land. Now, that is not a commercial statement. That is a political statement.

The Raytheon company is closely tied to the top brass of the Pentagon. So they are complicit in everything that happens in the Middle East. In particular, they are complicit in war crimes committed through the use of Raytheon munitions.

We know that towards the end of the Israeli-Lebanon conflict in the summer of 2006, Raytheon rushed so-called bunker-buster bombs. They delivered a rush-order, of these bombs just a short time before the war ended so that Israel could continue bombing.

Update on the Raytheon 9 & Hich

They’ve had a very busy week and of course they still have lives to lead, families to look after. The site Raytheon9.org should get updated over the weekend. A helpful person has sent me a quick email report:-

Basically, things are going very well indeed and Raytheon have shown themselves up in front of the jury as the heartless capitalist bastards that we knew they were. We had one of the UK Board of Directors in the witness box on Thurs and Fri. He was so arrogant and sleazy that I suspect he will have won us the case single handed. He ended up saying that he ‘didn’t know’ whether it would be lawful for Raytheon to continue to sell weapons to someone/country that had been shown to be committing war crimes. He also said that they saw ‘no point in engaging with’ those who oppose the arms trade, even if elected politicians. Once the trial is over, we will try to write his evidence up so we can share it.

Best of all, the judge showed a minute of news footage of the aftermath of the Qana bombing when this guy was in the witness box. It was great to see him forced to look at their handiwork, but he didn’t seem to have a heart and just looked away with a kind of sneer on his face….the jury was not impressed. “David and Goliath” was mentioned by one of the barristers…

The defence is starting on Monday with Eamonn McCann in the witness box. The trial may be over by Thursday, definitely by Friday of this week.

Thank you for all your solidarity. We really appreciate it.

Meanwhile the Borders & Immigration Agency and the figures behind the treatment of Hicham Yezza show they are sore losers, press release from freehichamyezza.wordpress.com

Following the cancellation order on his deportation and despite being unjustly incarcerated for over two weeks, Hicham Yezza has received news that he is to be transported to a fifth detention centre. He released this statement today from Colnbrook immigration removal centre:

“I have just been informed that I am to be moved to a detention centre in Dover. This would be the fifth movement in 9 days and is therefore unacceptable. It is deeply saddening for both myself and my visitors; it is also a great source of distress at this time and an affront to human dignity and my human right to be treated with respect and consideration. I am thus categorically refusing to go.

I am not a piece of luggage but a human being, and deserve to be treated as such.”

Despite the existence of a long term facility adjacent to Hicham’s current location he is once more being transported. Hicham’s dignity should not come second to the interests of private sector detention centres whose main aim is to delay release procedures and maximise profits. Given that the outcome of his bail application is imminent further transportation is unnecessary, such disruption would not only violate Hicham’s right to private life through contact with visitors and the outside world, but also places a needless burden on the tax payer.

Also the BIA never rest-

Hich’s case has attracted an unusual amount of attention due to the nature of his original arrest, but, in a political climate increasingly hostile to migrants, the horrific way he has been treated by the immigration authorities is all too common. This week alone, two asylum seekers living in Nottingham, Mary-Jane Mutetsi and Amdani Juma have been detained.

More details.

Raytheon 9 Days 3&4

Via raytheon9.org

Raytheon 9 Trial – Day Three
Today saw evidence submitted from a number of police officers and also video evidence of the occupation and arrests.  All the defendants left the Court in a positive mood. After the police evidence is completed we will have a number of witnesses from Raytheon. The defence case is expected to begin next Wednesday 28th or Thursday.  It is expected that a number of the defendants will go into the witness box.

Trial Update Day Four
Day Four was like Day Three: more boring evidence from a succession of police officers about the arrests. They all agreed that none of the defendants had resisted arrest in any way except by passive resistance, in that they did not cooperate with arresting officers and some had to be carried out of the building. One of the interesting facts to emerge from details of the damage done to Raytheon’s offices was the extent to which the offices were refurbished following the occupation. So, a bill for over £3,000 for venetian blinds was included as part of the damage caused by the 9. Under cross-examination, it became clear that as little as 10 -15% of the blinds had been damaged, but they had taken the opportunity to replace the lot!

Short (10min) Documentary!

The Independent Censor Mark Steel on the Raytheon 9

[Via Chicken Yoghurt] As if looking to hire Roger Alton wasn’t bad enough, The Independent had an attack of the vapours (propaganda model variant) and are not publishing Mark Steel’s piece about the Raytheon 9. Luckily he has a website and has published there on his blog, so go there or read it here (appended below). Here is the report from the Raytheon 9 site on the first day of court-

The trial of the Raytheon 9 finally got underway today at Laganside Court in Belfast. The day started well with about 50 people congregating outside the Courthouse. 28 of them carried placards with photographs of the men, women and children who died in the Qana massacre of 30 July 2006. A carload of Irish Anti War Movement activists travelled from Dublin and everyone felt good to see so many turn up to show their solidarity when the ‘official’ protest of the day before had been cancelled at such short notice.

As expected, the first day was taken up with legal arguments about the nature of the defence, witnesses etc. They don’t deny that they occupied Raytheon or that they destroyed their computer system but say that they had a legal, moral and political duty to do so in order to stop or at least delay war crimes, in which Raytheon were involved, being carried out by the Israeli army in Lebanon.

The judge accepted defence arguments that he should not rule the defence out but allow it to be argued and then, having heard the evidence, he can decide how to instruct the jury on what they can, and cannot, take into account in reaching their verdict.

The judge said that he recognised the difficulties the defendants and their supporters face in getting up and down between Derry and Belfast and ruled that the Court would start no earlier than 10.30am and finish no later than 4pm every day. The trial is expected to last three weeks.

Mark SteelHmm, I’ve written this article for this week’s Independent, about a case that should have had masses of publicity but has had hardly any. So there I am feeling smug at redressing the balance and I’m informed this evening that the good people of the law won’t let it be printed. So here it is – my illegal article – oo, it must feel like reading Lady Chatterley’s Lover in 1962…..

There’s a trial currently taking place in Belfast, that seems to explain plainly how nothing makes any sense. It revolves around a factory owned by the arms company Raytheon, which was set up in Derry soon after the IRA ceasefire. John Hume, who’d just won the Nobel Peace Prize was among those who announced the opening of the plant, welcoming it as a result of the ‘peace dividend’ Read the rest of this entry »

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