| Friday 13th June
2008 | Issue 635
Back to the Full Issue
RAY OF LIGHT
Wednesday this week brought smashing news from the north of Ireland as, following a Belfast court jury trial, anti-war activists from Derry were all acquitted of criminal damage charges. During the Lebanon War in August 2006 they stormed and for eight hours occupied their local software development offices of Raytheon Corp., the fifth biggest arms company in the world.
After barricading themselves into the building they set about ‘completely disabling’ the mainframe computer server that links them to the global Raytheon production system. They threw computer terminals out of the window and held out a banner stating ‘Raytheon has been decommissioned’.
After arrest, the nine first faced charges under the Terrorism Act for Aggravated Burglary which could have been tried by a juryless Diplock Court if these had not been dropped to criminal damage and affray. The affray charge was later dismissed by the judge on lack of evidence.
The defendants presented a clear anti-war defence saying that they acted under the genuine belief that they were attempting to prevent war crimes. The prosecution failed to counter this with the appearance of an arrogant director from Raytheon who admitted that he didn’t give a shit if Raytheon’s equipment was used in war crimes or not, or words to that effect.
One of the defendants, a well known local campaigning journalist, raised a smile when asked by the prosecutor why the court should not consider the computer smashing as sheer mindless destruction. If they had acted mindlessly, he replied, why open the windows first before throwing the computers out of them?
For more on the Derry campaign against Raytheon see www.indymedia.ie/
Subscribe to SchNEWS: Send 1st Class stamps (e.g. 10 for next 9 issues) or donations (payable
to Justice?). Or £15 for a year's subscription, or the SchNEWS
supporter's rate, £1 a week. Ask for "originals" if
you plan to copy and distribute. SchNEWS is post-free to prisoners.