Friday, 1 April 2011
CASE 254 - EDO MBM Bomb makers
EDO Corporation was an American company, which was acquired by ITT Corporation in 2007. EDO designed and manufactured products for defense, intelligence, and commercial markets, and provides related engineering and professional services in Brighton England. It employed 4,000 people worldwide and had revenues of $715 million in 2006. EDO's assets are now part of ITT Defense Electronics and Services. Its also ben proven that these parts are being sold to US, UK and Israeli armies and possibly many other private and government controlled armies.
Earl Dodge Osborn founded the Edo Aircraft Corporation in 1925. The company's first successful product line was pontoons for floatplanes. With the outbreak of World War II, the company's focus shifted, and EDO began to provide subassemblies for military aircraft. This shift in emphasis led to the company being renamed the EDO Corporation in November 1947.
EDO became a public company in 1956 with its listing on the American Stock Exchange, and moved to the New York Stock Exchange in 1983. An agreement was reached September 18, 2007 for ITT Corporation to buy EDO for $1.7 billion. After EDO shareholders' approval, the deal was closed and finalized on December 20, 2007.
Regular anti-war protests outside EDO (UK) factory
On 21 September 2006, protesters blockaded the EDO MBM factory in Brighton for several hours forcing the Managing Director Paul Hills to scale a security fence to enter the premises. He then used an angle grinder or wire cutters to cut a hole in the EDO's fence to let the employees in to work. The protesters left the scene without being arrested. On 16 September 2006, 100 protesters marched through Brighton to deliver a petition calling for the closure of EDO MBM to Brighton Town Hall. On 23 August 2006 two protesters climbed 40 feet onto the roof of EDO MBM Technology Ltd to unfurl a banner protesting the company's supply of weapons to Israel used in the Qana bombing in which 16 Lebanese children were killed. On 19 July 2006 protesters staged a 'Horrors of War' demonstration outside the Brighton factory recreating scenes of violence and mutilation that result from aerial bombardment. On the morning of 17 July 2006, three activists completely blockaded EDO's Brighton, United Kingdom subsidiary EDO MBM Technology Ltd in protest at EDO’s supply of weapons technology to the Israeli military being used to attack Gaza and in the then ongoing 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict. These are just a few actions in an ongoing campaign of protest, civil disobedience and non-violent direct action against EDO in Brighton that began in 2004 and has come to be known as the Smash EDO campaign. There has been at least one demonstration a week outside the factory since 2004, and the number of protests against the EDO MBM since 2004 now numbers in the hundreds.
Smash EDO campaign
There have been numerous protests and direct actions since 2004 voicing the opinion that EDO MBM should close or convert its factory to civilian use. In January 2009, during the Gaza war, activists raided EDO's factory in Moulsecombe and destroyed equipment. In 2010, a jury found the activists, who invoked the lawful excuse defence, according to which it can be lawful to commit an offence to prevent a more serious crime, not guilty of conspiring to cause criminal damage to the factory. Jonathan Hoffman, vice-chair of the Zionist Federation, claimed the judge had "behaved more like the defence counsel than the neutral officer of the court that he was supposed to be. The role of a judge – far from advancing his own political agenda – is to clarify points of law to the lay members of the jury..."