Two men and two women cut a hole in the fence at RAF Waddington from where the armed Reaper drone is controlled and walked towards the Reaper Ground Control Stations. They were arrested after about 20 minutes and detained in Lincoln police station while their homes were searched. They were later charged with criminal damage and aggravated trespass. There will be a brief court appearance on February 10th and a trial later in the year. Their bail conditions included not entering Lincolnshire and not going within 500 metres of any military base. The four, Chris Cole, Katharina Karcher, Gary Eagling and Penny Walker were protesting at the normalisation of drone warfare.Their full statement is here. For further details see www.facebook.com/EndDroneWars
Today Smash EDO and Brighton Palestine Action blockaded Barclays Bank for an hour before activists were removed. The action was part of a campaign aimed at forcing the bank to have nothing to do with shares in Elbit Systems, Exelis (EDO MBM's parent company), BAE, Raytheon and other arms companies. It comes a month after a nationwide day of action saw occupations of Barclays in cities across the UK One person was arrested, who had glued himself to the front doors of the bank. He was dressed as Santa wearing a placard which read 'Santa says you've been a very naughty bank this year'. Here's the initial press report from the Argus - more pics at https://twitter.com/smash_edo
The Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul has cancelled a major collaboration deal with Israeli military company Elbit Systems in the wake of protests over the firm’s role in oppression of Palestinians. Brazilian social movements and trade unions and Palestinian groups had called on authorities to cancel the deal over Elbit’s role in the construction of Israel’s illegal apartheid Wall in the occupied West Bank and its close relationship with the Israeli military. Tarson Nuñéz, the coordinator of the international relations department of the Rio Grande do Sul government described his government’s decision by saying: “Our government has always given centrality to the promotion of peace and human rights and considers the demands of the social movements and important voice that needs to be heard. Today’s announcement is a logical consequence of this.” Drones supplied by Elbit Systems were tested during Israel’s recent attack on Gaza that killed more than 2,100 Palestinians, and Elbit’s share price has risen since the massacre as investors anticipated a rise in orders oftechnology that was used for the first time during the attacks. Rio Grande do Sul governor Tarso Genro had signed a research cooperation deal making Elbit the first Israeli military company to lead Brazilian military projects in April 2013. Elbit was to be provided access to public funding and technologies produced by four local universities. Ongoing protests and lack of federal support had weakened the project. In his open letter, Genro declared the memorandum of understanding to be “void of meaning”. A $17m plan to build amilitary satellite is among the projects cancelled by Tuesday’s announcement. The announcement has been welcomed as a major victory for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement,a Palestinian led campaign for the South Africa-style international isolation of Israel. Jamal Juma’, coordinator of the Palestinian Stop the Wall campaign, a member of the BDS NationalCommittee coalition of organisations that leads the BDS movement, said: “Elbit Systems has become a symbol of Israel’s construction of an apartheid wall in occupied Palestine and its military aggression against our people. Israel is only able to sustain its human rights violations because of international collaboration including through deals such as the one that the Rio Grande do Sul government has now cancelled.” “In the wake of Israel’s massacre of Palestinians in Gaza, we hope that other governments will take steps to end military cooperation with Israel.” Brazilian organisations including the CUT trade union federation, the World March of Women and local student groups and political parties had all pressured the Rio Grande do Sul authorities to cancel the deal with Elbit Systems and even blockaded entrances to premises owned by Elbit subsidiary AEL Sistemas. The Palestinian embassyand the Palestinian Federation in Brazil have repeatedly intervened with the government. The rector of the university leading aerospace research in the region had declared that the university would not work with Elbit Systems on any research that could have military research,casting the viability of the memorandum of understanding into doubt. Antonio Lisboa, secretary of international relations at the CUT trade union federation, said: “This welcome decision of the government of Rio Grande do Sul reflects the growing opposition to Israel’s apartheid policies. The Brazilian government must now cut all military ties with Israel, a state that practices state terrorism against Palestinians.” In 2009, the Norwegian state pension fund divested from Elbit Systems, and more than a dozen institutional investors have since followed this example. Elbit factories in the UK and Australia were occupied during Israel’s recent Gaza massacre. Governments and local authorities are increasingly taking action against corporate complicity with Israeli violations of international law. At least 17 EU governments have warned businesses about the risks of doing business in illegal Israeli settlements. French multinational Veolia has lost more than $20bn in contracts with local authorities over its provision of infrastructure services to illegal Israeli settlements. Rio Grande do Sul had already stated to play an important role regarding the question of Palestine when in 2012 the World Social Forum Free Palestine was held in Porto Alegre. Mahmoud Nawajaa,the coordinator with the Palestinian BDS National Committee, said: “This decision is an important example of how the grassroots organizing of the BDS movement can influence and change government policy. Earlier this week, we met under the umbrella of the UN to discuss effective measures to coordinate policies by local governments to exclude companies that help Israel violate international law from public contracts”. Jamal Juma’ from Stop the Wall added: “Today’s decision gives hope to all Palestinians resisting Israel’s brutal apartheid system. We thank all those movements and activists that have made this victory for Palestinian rights possible”.
1. ELBIT ROOF TOP PROTESTERS TRIAL DATE 9-13th FEBRUARY at NEWCASTLE-UNDER-LYME
2.Not Guilty Verdict for Barclays Newport Protesters Monday 17th November
Statement from the anti-Nato protestors who were charged during the occupation of Barclays Bank in Newport.
At the time of the Nato summit in September, we were among about 20 activists who occupied Barclays Bank in Newport to protest against the bank’s investment in Elbit Systems. We held up banners, chanted, sang and stuffed our ‘Boycott Barclays’ leaflets in between the mortgage application forms and cash slips. The bank was briefly closed for business. The police moved in and four of us refused to leave, which was apparently enough to charge us with a crime. But as we learned last week, it wasn’t enough for us to be convicted.
Last Monday, we walked free from court. For two of us, the case collapsed because the judge agreed we couldn’t have left without taking the desk to which we’d superglued ourselves. The other two members of the group told the court that being asked to leave did not amount to a police direction. The judge reluctantly agreed. He scolded the police and ruled that since we were not told but asked, there was no crime in refusing. We had occupied the bank to draw attention to Barclays’ links with Elbit and to put pressure on the bank itself, its customers and staff to break the link. Elbit is Israel’s largest military company, a leading drone provider and a major supplier to the IDF.Bar clays holds nearly $3 million of Elbit shares.
At the time of Israel’s onslaught on Gaza in the summer, Elbit’s drones and other military equipment were used extensively. The result was devastation, tens of thousands injured, traumatised, internally displaced, made homeless, and with livelihoods destroyed. More than 2,000 people lost their lives. Nearly 500 children were among them.Even the normally cautious officials from the UN and other international organisations spoke of war crimes carried out by Israel. Can those that fund the companies which make and sell the weapons used to carry out the crimes disclaim responsibility for what will happen further down the line? We think they can’t, and we believe that Barclays’ customers would think they can’t. We know that Gazan students think they can’t: in October, they put out a call for fellow students around the world to take their money out of Barclays until it stops bankrolling Israel’s war crimes. Apparently, Barclays (officially) agrees that funding war crimes is an act with moral repercussions. It even has a policy
which says that it will only very carefully invest in the ‘defence’ industry, and only when it can be sure that what it funds will not be used by foreign authorities ‘either to oppress their own populations or to support unjustified external aggression’. With Elbit we can be quite sure that Barclays can’t be sure of this. But Barclays has a get-out clause. It claims to hold some shares in Elbit on behalf of customers and some to hedge exposure. So it buys the shares with one hand, as requested by its customers, and with the other, waves about the policy which says it cannot buy the shares.
So it’s OK, apparently, and fully in accordance with the policy, to pass on money in your own name and invest it in equipment which will then be ‘used by foreign authorities’ both to ‘oppress their own populations’ and to ‘support unjustified external aggression’. It’s OK, apparently, for Barclays Bank to make a profit from the act of sending money (on behalf of customers) to Elbit Systems, even if it knows that Elbit uses it to make more weapons to be sold on to the IDF, and the IDF deploys the weapons for its war crimes (and then buys more).
Hi everyone, Activists from Glasgow Palestine Action have today occupied the roof of an arms factory owned by Thales UK,an arms company that collaborates closely with Elbit Systems on the development and manufacture of drones.Thales and Elbit are working together on the Watchkeeper project that is developing a drone for the UK government based on the Hermes 450 drone that Israel has used during its attacks on Gaza. I've just spoken to someone at the action who said that there are 4 people on the roof and 2 people blockading the entrance. Engineers are unable to enter the site and the factory has been closed for the day! Follow @GlasgowBDS and https://www.facebook.com/GlasgowPalestineAction and #StopArmingIsrael for updates and please help spread the word! thanks, michael
The following information has been taken from Earth First Journal. see the full article here
As well as drone aircraft, Israel military employs unmanned vehicles by air, land, water and subterranean tunnels. Yuval Azulai, a defense analyst at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv predicted earlier this year that, by 2035, Israel will be able to “plan almost any military operation using autonomous unmanned devices; it will be possible to carry out most military operations using such devices; and unmanned devices will operate in swarms. In other words, hundreds of devices, of different kinds, will communicate with one another in real time, will react to the changing reality, and will attain the desired outcome on the battlefield, with no human presence on the scene.” And while Israel is a leading producer, user and seller of military grade aerial drones here are a few of Israel’s deadly non-aerial robots currently in use:-
Guardium is an unmanned ground vehicle — placed in the field for the first time in 2009 — that drives itself up and down the Gaza and Lebanese borders. Covered in armor and decked out with the latest suite of sensors and surveillance gear, it has replaced the presence of human soldiers walking the border beat.
A significant portion of Israel’s naval fleet is comprised of unmanned speed boats strapped with weapons: .50 caliber machine gun, 7.62 mm machine gun, 40 mm grenade launcher.
An MTGR (Micro Tactical Ground Robot) is a creepy crawler. Israel’s 16 pound version is used as a kind of tunnel rat to enter the complex of tunnels Hamas and other Palestinian groups have created in, under and around the border with Israel. They have camera’s with 360 degree views, day and night capabilities, one or more robotic arms, GPS, a laser rangefinder to measure dimension, large batteries and decent speed capabilities. An MTGR can place explosives and remove booby traps.
The 9 protesters were eventually all taken down by the police on Wednesday evening after 2 days of media coverage alerting the public to fact that UAV engines make engines for drones, that they are a subsidiary of massive Israeli arms manufacturer Elbit Systems and that they are being used to kill people in Gaza. They had shut the factory for 2 days. The protesters had clear banners and made lots of statements about what they were doing and why. Elbit refused to comment. The protesters (from London Palestine Action) were charged with aggravated trespass. Their pre trial hearing is on Wednesday August 20th at 10am at Cannock Magistrates Court, Wolverhampton Road, Cannock, Staffs, WS11 1AT. Come along and support them outside the court from 9.30.
From 5am this morning Tuesday 5th August 9 protesters have been on the roof of the Elbit factory in Shenstone near Lichfield which makes engines for drones including the Watchkeeper drone.
The activists from London Palestine Action chained the gates shut and are now occupying the roof.They have a huge banner ‘UK: Stop Arming Israel’ hung from the roof. Follow @londonpalestine and spread the word widely. Elbit is an Israeli arms company, one of the biggest manufacturers of drone engines in the world. Anyone who is local to the factory is encouraged to go down to support the action. The factory is UAV systems, at Shenstone, just outside Lichfield and north of Birmingham. there is a train station at Shenstone and its easy to get to from either Birmingham or Lichfield. The factory address is UAV ENGINES LTD, Lynn Lane, Shenstone, Lichfield, WS14 0DT, UK Police have
closed all entrances to the factory and fire service is currently trying
to gain access. go to Shenstone if you can to support the occupation of the factory. #stopelbit #stoparmingisrael
see pictures and local newspaper report here
As we witness the relentless Israeli assault on Gaza, drones are increasingly mentioned as a major cause of fear, death and destruction. At Farnborough air show last week Israeli companies were there and although there is no evidence that Israel has directly exported any armed drones, Drone Wars UK found in their report ‘Israel and the Drone Wars’ that “about fifty countries out of the more than seventy known to have some form of military UAV capability have received drones or drone technology transfers from Israel. ”
See a longer post by Drone Wars about the Farnborough air show here.
Our monthly event outside RAF Waddington from where the armed Reaper drones are controlled was a faith watch in June. Unfortunately we weren’t able to connect through skype to the young Afghan peace volunteers as we had hoped – perhaps the electricity was down for them as it frequently is. However we had a drone song, a poem, a recital from the Koran, a Fransican blessing and a ‘fig tree’ exercise about why and how we can stop drones. There were 15 of us there. See coming events page for details of next month’s Drone Watch Waddington