Wednesday, June 11, 2008


UTV reports six Derry (Northern Ireland) anti-war protesters (pictured here) 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, Eamonn McCann, a founder of the 1960s civil rights movement in Northern Ireland, a veteran socialist and trade unionist, and one of Ireland's most widely read journalists, was convicted of stealing two computer disks belonging to the company.

However, he walked free after Judge Tom Burgess imposed a 12 month conditional discharge.

McCann's co-accused were James Anthon Kelly, (47) of Rathkeele Way, Eamon O'Donnell, 53, of Campion Court, Colm Donal Sarto Bryce, 42, of Westland Avenue, Sean Heaton, 35, of Circular Road and 42-year-old Kieran Vincent Gallagher of Craft Village.

Speaking outside the court, McCann said the men welcomed the jury's decision and said it had "completely vindicated" their actions.

The men took part in a protest at Raytheon's offices in August 2006.

The company is the maker of "Bunker Buster" bombs, Tomahawk and Patriot missiles, and manufactured the missile that killed 62 civilians in a Baghdad market in 2003.

Raytheon set up their office in Derry in 1999. Their arrival was announced by John Hume and David Trimble, shortly after collecting their Nobel Peace Prizes. For years Raytheon’s presence in Derry has been opposed, with regular vigils, public meetings and debates, marches and appeals to local politicians.

There was outrage in Derry when, in 2006, one of Raytheon's guidance systems for missiles developed in Derry and which was being used by Israel smashed into a block of flats in Qana, Lebanon killing 28 people, mostly children.

A few days later, the local anti-war group decided to occupy the Raytheon building as a protest.

In an interview with Britain's Socialist Worker in late May McCann said:

"There's a straight line from 40 years ago to what is happening today. In 1968, we were outraged by the U.S. war in Vietnam and inspired by the Black struggle for civil rights. We were moved by this. In Ireland, we were fighting against local injustices, but we viewed ourselves and our struggles as part of an international struggle."

Today, we continue to fight against local injustices in Ireland, but we also see it as connected to a global struggle. There's never been a contradiction between fighting local injustices and fighting injustice in the world."

The U.S. is attempting to violently dominate the Middle East and control the oil there. Iraq and Lebanon, as well as Palestine, are at the frontline of this struggle. The location of struggle may have changed, but the struggle for liberation and justice continues."

Oh, and by the way, Raytheon is reportedly ready to go with something new. Yes, it is the Silent Guardian, ADS, or the Pain Ray. Actually, some report versions of the weapon are already up for sale. Counterpunch describes the weapon thusly:
"Transmitted at the speed of light over a 700 yard distance, the Pain Ray is a millimeter-wave beam that penetrates 1/64th of an inch beneath the skin, causing the water molecules there to bubble, producing an intense burning sensation, said to feel like being burnt by molten lava or a hot iron. Its delivery system attached to a Humvee and aimed right, the Pain Ray makes people run away -- fast."

The weapon has been described as "Holy Grail of crowd control."

Colonel Kirk Hymes, who is in charge of testing at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia, demonstrated the weapon recently by staging a mock protest rally. A handful of military volunteers, dressed as civilian protesters, carried signs saying "Peace Not War" and threw objects at a group of soldiers. A series of raygun blasts from half a mile away disrupted their chants and forced them to disburse.

Raytheon is currently selling a more limited-range civilian version of the system, under the name “Silent Guardian,” which it promotes as being suitable for “law enforcement, checkpoint security, facility protection, force protection and peacekeeping missions.”

Ostensibly developed as a "non-lethal" tool for crowd control, researchers at the Loma Linda University medical center claim that cataracts and cancer are among the possible long-term negative health effects.

The following is from the Derry Journal (N. Ireland).

Raytheon 6 cleared

There were jubilant scenes in a Belfast court today as six Derry anti-war protesters were unanimously acquitted of destroying property belonging to multinational arms company Raytheon.
As the Crown Court jury of four men and seven women were led from Court 14 at the Laganside complex, the six men and their supporters who had packed the public gallery clapped and cheered in appreciation of the not guilty verdicts.

The six, 65-year-old author and journalist Eamonn McCann, from Westland Avenue, and his co-accused James Anthony Kelly (47), of Rathkeele Way, Eamon O'Donnell (53), of Campion Court, Colm Donal Sarto Bryce (42), of Westland Avenue, Sean Heaton (35), of Circular Road, and 42-year-old Kieran Vincent Gallagher, of the Craft Village, all Derry, were each acquitted of causing criminal damage to the building and offices of Raytheon and an employee's car on August 9, 2006.

However, McCann was convicted by a majority of ten to one of stealing two computer disks belonging to the company but he walked free after Judge Tom Burgess imposed a 12 month conditional discharge.

Speaking outside the court, Colm Bryce declared that their actions had been "completely vindicated" and that the verdicts were "very welcome to ourselves and our families". He said he wanted to dedicate the not guilty verdicts to the bereaved families in Qana in the Lebanon who had been bombed by Israeli Forces using missiles made by Raytheon.

"We feel vindicated in taking the action that we did," declared the anti-war activist.

Mr McCann read from a prepared statement in which he echoed the sentiments that the six "have been vindicated".

"The jury have accepted that we were reasonable in our belief that the Israeli Defence Forces were guilty of war crimes in Lebanon in the summer of 2006. The action we took was intended to have, and did have, the effect of hampering or delaying the commission of war crimes."

He also called on politicians and the citizens of Derry "to say in unequivocal terms that Raytheon is not welcome in our city".

"We have not denied or apologised for what we did," he added. "Personally speaking, and I believe I speak for all of us, it was the best thing I have ever done in my life," declared Mr McCann.

Over the course of the last four weeks, the jury had heard that, following repeated bombing of Lebanese property in which numerous civilians died, the group of anti-war protestors forced their way into the Raytheon plant in Derry and caused significant damage to its server and computers.

The six all claimed their reason for doing so was to protect the lives and property of people in the Lebanon from being attacked by Israeli Forces who bought their weapons, weaponry systems and missiles from Raytheon.

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