McCann and others acquitted of criminal damage

The law may sometimes be an ass.. but a jury can also be a joke. Were the three who had previously “refused to acknowledge the court” among the six acquitted of criminal damage at the Raytheon software factory in Londonerry in August 2006? Writer Eamonn McCann was found quilty of stealing two computer discs belonging to the company. From the BBC report.

Speaking outside the court, Mr McCann said the men welcomed the jury’s decision and said it had “completely vindicated” their actions.

It did nothing of the sort, Eamonn. Let’s see if other interested parties continue to pressurise the US-based company.

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  • lamh dearg

    Sad decline of an interesting, intelligent man.

    He was a good commentator, a controversialist who could genuinely make you think.

    He’s been getting sadder and a little pathetic since he started standing again for election (His previous attempt against Eddie McAteer and John Hume was youthful and off its time)

    And this escapade was silly, pointless and removed the credibility he used to have

  • The Raytheon story and its protagonists (both the jury and the protesters) offer an interesting counterpoint to that other story of democracy in action in the House of Commons Wednesday.

    The action of McCann and his fellow activists had a long history, going right back to the announcement of Raytheon’s arrival in the city. A history of conscientious opposition to the international arms trade, made all the more remarkable given the city’s unemployment profile.

    So so easy to tap tap indignation and dismissives at the citizens of a jury….and those who risk liberty in pursuit of their politics.

  • Bit harsh I reckon lamh dearg.

  • RepublicanStones

    I think its a tad harsh. im no fan of McCann, but i admire him for being more than just a rehtorical windbag. He took action, which he knew was undoubtedly going to fail, but the victory is in the action itself and not the outcome. Long gone are the days of the likes of Tony Benn, it seems pay packets not principles are the reasons why people get involved in politics now.

  • Damien Okado-Gough

    This is fantastic news for Ploughshare and other peace activists everywhere.

    According to their supporters in an earlier, yet premature, news post the jury had agreed that their actions were legitimate insofar as they disrupted the workings of an organisation whose activities were resulting in the killing of civilians in several parts of the world, including Israel and Iraq.

    A similar view has already been taken by juries elsewhere on these islands when judging similar actions by Ploughshare peace activists, amongst others.

    Fair play to all nine involved. I only hope that the resounding success of this piece of [i]nonviolent[/i], direct action is not lost on some of their number.

  • Harry Flashman

    “This is fantastic news for Ploughshare and other peace activists everywhere.”

    Ah yes but this group weren’t ‘peace’ activists were they? They support war and warring factions, the only problem they had with Raytheon was not that it produces weaponry but that it produces it for the democratic governments that they don’t like.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Someone once told me that a mark of a civilized society is the that it is safe to be unpopular.

    One gathers, by this turn of events, that NI would be regressing towards tin pot status.

  • foreign correspondent

    Good for McCann and co. Pity the poor warmongers getting a few computers getting thrown out of the window, compared with the misery their weapons of war cause.

  • Damien Okado-Gough

    Harry Flashman,
    You should read to the end of my post.

  • Guns ‘n’ Posers

    Am I to understand, as an uneducated layman, that one may be vindicated in court for the wilful destruction of the private property of a legal and publicly traded (and taxed, you brew lovin’ hypocrites) company, simply because the private moral opinions of the jury ?
    This is madness…..and I’m saying that as someone who has serious moral reservations about the arms industry, rather than reservations on the military capabilities of those I don’t like, a la McCann.

    So what happens when some nut job/people’s hero carparks an abortion clinic in a few years time ?

    also,
    The guys at Raytheon have recently developed a “pain ray” that emits micro-waves pitched to stimulate nerve endings to dramatic, non-lethal effect. If only those poor boys in the Paras had had that when they were attacked by that mob in stroke city, they would perhaps , in their youth and in their panic, have had a better and more wholesome recourse than that which was employed. Still McCann, smash up their facilities and puff about how smart you are, sure its all good crack.

  • Mick

    Who cares about any of this ?move on

  • Dread Cthulhu

    DOG: “You should read to the end of my post.”

    P’raps you should take your own advice and read the whole of his, Damien.

    A) McMann’s mob of merry marauders are partisans, not peace protesters. They were not protesting against violence, just that the side they don’t like has the upper hand.

    B) The more one goes to the well of what amounts to a “hot” invasion of a place of business, the greater chance there is of unintended consequences.

    C) The more one goes to the well of “direct action,” the greater chance there is for escalation and confrontation, with a gradual coarsening of the high standards these groups like to claim.

    Lastly, Damien, if not agreeing with someone’s politics or business is reason enough to burst in and break their stuff, how far are you willing to accept that notion? Are you willing to accept it were you to be targeted on a personal or professional basis?

  • joeCanuck

    For the few who are decrying the actions of the jury, can you tell us what you would replace the jury system with? A Star Chamber? Consisting, of course, only by people who think like yourselves?

  • Democracy is about more than governments buying votes in parliament or the likes of the DUP selling the hard earned liberties of those they govern, especially when the pottage is a here today gone tomorrow sum.

    McCann and his comrades deserve respect if not support, although I give them both. As to the Jury they did no more than one expects from 12 good and true people, bless them

  • The Devil

    Well actually he has been vindicated by a jury of his peers Pete, you may not like it but he and his co-accused have been exhonerated by the courts for their actions.
    If only you were concerned as much for the little children with their stomachs blown out their heads blown off or their legs and genitals burned to an unrecognizable charcoal mush as you are for a country hopping tax evading question ducking morally bankrupt organisation which makes financial profit from human misery destruction and death.
    Perhaps then Pete decent people like McCann and his co-accused wouldn’t have to risk jail because we as a society would have totally rejected these hideious organisations and expelled them from our midst.
    Or is it okay bye you Pete because these weapons are normally reserved for Niggers Gooks Commies and Wogs, the clue is in the word normally Pete, that means they can be used on you one day if you face doesn’t fit, or in your case the word face should be plural.

    Guns ‘n’ Posers

    It’s “bru” the Scottish shortened version of the unemployment bureau not “brew” which is somthing which is modified by heat or chemical reaction.
    If you could also remember that you do something for the “craic”(fun and humor) not crack (something flawed) even though they are pronounced the same they have totally different meanings, rather ironic considering that your statement was funless and flawed.

    Dread C

    you have a problem with a business being invaded but not a country, computers being broken yet not bones, production being ended yet not lives…???

    Perhaps Dread C you should take Pete B down to the Albert clock and run a little competition between the three of you to see which one has the most faces, my money is on Albert finishing 3rd

  • Damien Okado-Gough

    Dread,
    You too have not seemed to have read or understood my original post.

    I said that peace activists everywhere should take great encouragement from this, seeing that a jury has, once again, agreed that such nonviolent, direct action is legitmate. I then went on to point out that some of those who were involved in that very action could learn from its nonviolent nature, the very part of my original post that neither Harry or yourself seem to have read or understood. At no point did I say that any of the Raytheon 9 are pacifists.

    I also agree that such actions are legitimate if they are targetting an industry which is involved in the military industrial complex, and which is involved in supplying the weaponry which is being used for the state murder of thousands of innocent civilians the world over.

    Acting in self defence or in the defence of another against aggression is legitmate in my view, and, it seems, in the view of the court in which the Raytheon 9 were tried. Sweet.

  • g’n’p

    Nevil,

    The term brew is used as a colloquialism in Ireland as well as Scotland, and as a colloquialism is subject to regional variations and no formalised spelling, and I believe in written language both spellings, maintain phonetic integrity, are acceptable and appear in print. people might think you mean irn bru, after all. ;>
    I would ask you to remember that the expression crack (as in humour ) is a Belfast expression most likely originating in the phrase ‘to crack a joke’ the rendering of this colloquialism into Modern Irish phonetics and passing it off as an Irish word for fun is a contrivance of Ulster Scots proportions (the word act as suffered a similar fate). I fail to see any Irony, although you arrogant tone is amusing.

    to those who defend the jury,

    It is the function of a jury to determine whether or not the defendant is guilty of the illegal act they have been charged with, not to appraise that persons actions by their own standards and treat them accordingly. A more disgusting abuse of our “hard won freedoms” is difficult to imagine.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    The Devil: “you have a problem with a business being invaded but not a country, computers being broken yet not bones, production being ended yet not lives…???”

    I simply asked if DOG was willing to allow an extension of this policy of “direct action” against those whom one disagrees, including himself, should the circumstance arise.

    DOG: “I also agree that such actions are legitimate if they are targetting an industry which is involved in the military industrial complex, and which is involved in supplying the weaponry which is being used for the state murder of thousands of innocent civilians the world over.”

    In other words, what is gravy for a goose is not gravy for a gander — i.e. were some organization that you supported were targeted in this fashion — vandalism, invasion of the work-place, etc., you would not support it. An interesting, if somewhat hypocritical and cowardly, approach. One hopes you don’t find yourself in an unpopular position or profession, DOG, lest you find yourself on the receiving end.

  • Damien Okado-Gough

    Dread,

    [i]In other words, what is gravy for a goose is not gravy for a gander—i.e. were some organization that you supported were targeted in this fashion—vandalism, invasion of the work-place, etc., you would not support it. [/i]

    I never said any such thing. If I was involved in a profession which was responsible, to a large degree, for the killing of civilians, then I’d deserve such an action being taken against me.

    How you were able to drag hypocracy and cowardice out of any of my previous posts is beyond me.

  • lamh dearg

    Damien

    “I also agree that such actions are legitimate if they are targetting an industry which is involved in the military industrial complex, and which is involved in supplying the weaponry which is being used for the state murder of thousands of innocent civilians the world over”

    Who defines what is “the military industrial complex”?

    Do factories making uniforms for armies count? What about Kevlar production? What about supplying other goods and service to armies, communication technology?

    It sounds like you are reverting to our local arguments about “legitimate targets”

    McCann and anyone else has the right to campaign against Raytheon or abortion clinics or the existence of a joke of a parliament in Stormont.
    They have a right to campaign for a change in the law to ban such firms from setting up here, from trading here. They have the right to campaign for and support people who refuse to work for Raytheon and its ilk despite pressure from the DSS.

    They do not have the right to forcibly enter other people’s buildings, destroy property and remove other people’s belongings.

    I wonder what McCann’s opinion would be of an extreme Christian organisation doing onto a Family Planning Clinic what he did unto Raytheon.

    But if he is allowed to do it then they should be allowed to, their opinions and beliefs are as valid as his whether he or you or I would agree.

  • jivaro

    McCann etc’s said their Raytheon attack was sparked by events in Qana a couple of years ago.

    The BT has the Belfast court seeing footage of a dead baby in the wreckage of a building in this south Lebanese village after an Israeli airstrike.

    But the Qana incident is by no means as straightforward as it has been presented in the media.

    See dossier at http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2006/08/corruption-of-media.html

  • Damien Okado-Gough

    Lamh derg,

    You make a very good point about which products actually facilitate war crimes and which do not, yet few would draw any real similarities between a cloth uniform manufacturer and a ballistic missile manfacturer. The case in question, however, is about Raytheon and an arms manufacturer. It is also well known that the weapons they make have been used in what many consider to be war crimes.

    If someone was to have knowingly supplied a weapon to an individual to commit an act of violence against someone, would they not have broken the law of the land? Would they not be convicted of a crime in a court for doing so? Just because Raytheon and companies like it operate within the realm of international law, doesn’t make what it does and less criminal in a moral sense. It is no less responsible for the deaths of those killed with its weapons and someone who supplies a knife which is used to murder someone in a street outside a pub. Just because it is legal business, doesn’t mean to say that it is moral.

  • lamh dearg

    but morals shift and your moral values are not my moral values.

    In some societies it is “moral” to stone adulterers to death, in some societies it is “moral” to eat human flesh.

    Which is why we have the law which applies to us all, stops some people stoning women, others blowing up abortion clinics and others attacking firms like Raytheon. If you make exceptions for one you give up the right to insist on the others.

    A direct question to you. If an extreme right wing Christian group did to an abortion clinic what McCanndid to Raytheon would you support them and regard their acquittal on charges as a reason for celebration?

  • Cinte

    I’m astounded at some of these posts. With regard to suggestion that the jury’s verdict reflected their own moral sensibilities: the judge himself ruled last week that the defendants should be acquitted of all charges. His ruling was based on very tight legal grounds (of course) and anyone who was there to hear the ruling could tell you that it clearly was not some reflection of his own personal morality. The trial only progressed to a jury decision because the judge’s ruling was over-ruled by the appeal court. So in fact the jury’s verdict was entirely consistent with that of the judge.
    The legal argument is much more nuanced than some of the posters here seem to believe, and certainly this decision does not allow anyone to trash the property of someone whose actions or beliefs they disagree with.
    The arguments in court made it quite clear that the damage caused by McCann and others was legal because it was motivated by an honest belief that they were attempting to protect the property (and lives) of others whose property was in immediate need of protection and that their actions could reasonably be expected to assist in providing such a protection. The defence made a watertight case establishing that these conditions held, and both the judge and jury were left with little option given the law and the failure of the prosecution team to provide evidence to the contrary. The verdict was reached on legal rather than moral grounds and this was evident to all in court.
    Can I also say that I am amazed that people who risked their own liberty to protect civilians in other countries should be vilified and their motivations questioned. If only we all had the courage to lead such principled lives.

  • Cinte

    indeed

  • joeCanuck

    I don’t condone vigilantism, but these people have been acquitted of wrongdoing.
    What worries me is the verbal assault on the jury. No one has answered my question as to what it should be replaced with.

  • Dave

    “Long gone are the days of the likes of Tony Benn, it seems pay packets not principles are the reasons why people get involved in politics now.” – RepublicanStones

    That’s what happens when you make politics into a profession. Either apply a time limit or make the remuneration nominal. That way you’ll attract people who are motivated by a purpose that is other than a well-paid, high-profile career. Most politicians are not fit to run a corner shop, never mind a country. Very few of them have any accomplishment outside of persuading a political party offer to the gullible electorate as a candidate for public office.

    What did McCann accomplish by his action? He may have brought public attention to an arms manufacturer in Derry, but do the public actually care? I don’t think they do. Self interest is the new black. And to prove the point, most of those who will vote today to transfer more sovereign powers to the EU will be doing so not because they support the engineering of a super state by stealth but because they believe (wrongly) that there is financial benefit in it for them and they were successfully scared out of their little wits by carefully planted stories in the media of economic stability resulting in a threat to their own job if they voted against, even if democracy is flushed down the pan to further the ‘As long as I’m all right, Jack’ mentality. So, folks might protest about an arms manufacturer in Derry but if that arms manufacturer offered twice the wage that folks could get elsewhere, they’d be queuing up for the jobs.

    Cynical? Perhaps, but today’s cynicism is tomorrow’s reality – which, of course, is also pessimistic. 😉

  • Patrique

    Mick Hall asks who cares.

    Good for you Mick, what does the mass destruction of Iraq and such matter when a new episode of “Big Brother” is on TV?

    This is a truly wonderful victory, ranking alongside some of Gandhi’s feats.

    Congratulations to all concerned, and long may juries be made up of such sensible people, guided by a learned judge.

    Victory to thoise against the so called “war”, victory to the peace people, victory to the people of the world.

  • Harry Flashman

    So the posters who approve of McCann are all pacifists are they? They condemn any act of violence or the use of any weapons, is that right?

    Or do they just object to weapons owned by western democracies?

    AK47’s and roadside ied’s are acceptable but American, British or Israeli weapons are somehow immoral.

    Have I got that right?

  • Damien Okado-Gough

    Harry,
    I am not an absolute pacifist, but I am as close to one as I can reasonably be. I believe that a physical response to violence is sometimes necessary, but not always. I strongly believe that in some cases passive resistance would be far more productive in producing peace than a violent response.

    For example, I believe that the UN was wrong not to use physical force to protect Srebrenica. If I saw someone being assaulted in the street I would intervene if I could, and have done in the past, using physical force to prevent the assault.

    I certainly don’t disapprove of western democracies holding weapons, although I would prefer a world with much fewer weapons and with weapons which are not used as readily as some countries use them.

    The issue here with several posters, it seems, is who is right in using violence. You think it is wrong to attack a company which produces the weapons being used in war crimes in Israel, but do you think it was right for the US and UK to break international law and invade Iraq to disarm them of WMD? Maybe you don’t, but I’m fairly sure many of the critics of the Raytheon 9 action do.

    When I was much younger, I declared to a philosophy A Level class that I was an absolute pacifist. The lecturer then presented an senario to me. He asked me what I would do if I was a father and I heard a noise from my baby daughter’s bedroom and on entering the room there stood the mad-axeman over my baby’s cot with his hand raised about to kill my the baby with an axe. I had a gun in my hand. Could I remain an absolute pacifist in those circumstances? I felt very silly, to say the least, because my answer was that I’d shoot him if necessary to protect the child.

    Although that specific senario is highly unlikely, incidents like the Jewish holocaust, Srebrenica and Rwanda show us that that broad senario is presented to us on a regular basis and that in those circumstances, it is the moral duty of the strong to protect those who cannot protect themselves. Even Gandhi said that it would be better to use violence in these circumstances that to succumb to cowardice.

    The case of the Raytheon 9 falls into such a category. They believe that their actions were designed to protect those who are not in a position to protect themselves in the face of military actions which do not have the backing of international law, and the jury and the court have agreed with them.

    The challenge for the critics of the Raytheon 9 is to demonstrate that the armed actions which the 9 are protesting against are morally just.

  • PeaceandJustice

    Cinte – “The arguments in court made it quite clear that the damage caused by McCann and others was legal because it was motivated by an honest belief that they were attempting to protect the property (and lives) of others whose property was in immediate need of protection and that their actions could reasonably be expected to assist in providing such a protection.”

    When Martin McGuinness and his Sinn Fein PIRA death squads were bombing shopping centres, murdering people in front of their families, torturing people and dumping their bodies etc would you have agreed with people smashing up Sinn Fein PIRA offices? I thought not.

  • lamh dearg

    Damien

    Please answer my question about your opinion and reaction to a similar action against an abortion clinic

  • Pete Baker

    lamh dearg

    Indeed.

    The defence position appears to rest on the legal argument that –

    “The arguments in court made it quite clear that the damage caused by McCann and others was legal because it was motivated by an honest belief that they were attempting to protect the property (and lives) of others..”

    In other words, it didn’t matter whether that honest belief was founded in reality or not – just that those involved believed it to be the case.

    A comparative judgement would be ‘guilty but insane’ [or delusional].

    But that’s not how Eamonn McCann, et al, have been portraying this ruling by their calls for an inquiry into alleged ‘war crimes’ by Raytheon.

    As I said in the original post, “The law may sometimes be an ass.. but a jury can also be a joke..”

  • Damien notes:
    [i]”When Martin McGuinness and his Sinn Fein PIRA death squads were bombing shopping centres, murdering people in front of their families, torturing people and dumping their bodies etc would you have agreed with people smashing up Sinn Fein PIRA offices? I thought not.”[/i]

    Fair comment, but, alas, PeaceandJustice is conspicuously silent about the more than twice as many killings of civilians by the unionist death squads — with the help of the security forces — and by the security forces themselves.

    If you want to condemn the terrorism in the Troubles, please be sure to include those responsible for most of the terrorism. To point the finger only at the least guilty party is, it seems to me, either ignorant or dishonest. On either event, the comment is worthy only of scorn.

  • Harry Flashman

    Damian seriously had you never considered the “what would you do if someone was attacking a loved one?” argument before the teacher asked you about it? Seems rather an obvious consideration if at the age of early adulthood you are claiming to be a pacifist.

    Anyhoo, your point seems to be that western governments should intervene to defend persecuted groups in Poland in 1943, Srebrenice in 1996, Rwanda in 1994 but curiously not Iraq in 2003.

    There was nothing “illegal” about the invasion of Iraq, I think if you do a little research you’ll find that the US forces in Iraq today are there under a UN mandate.

    I note you still haven’t addressed lamh dearg’s point about concerned citizens attacking abortion clinics.

  • Damien Okado-Gough

    Harry,

    You’re not seriously putting forward the argument that the US and the UK invaded Iraq to liberate the Iraqi people from Saddam [i]at your age[/i] are you?

    I take the view that there was no justification for the invasion under any of the UN resolutions set out beforehand, even if the US and their allies claim that there is. No single nation or coalition of nations, other than the UN, had the right under those resolutions to take military action to enforce them and the UN did not support the invasion. The international opposition to the war before it was waged was deafening.

    Since, however, a lot of the international community has become resigned to the fact that the war has been waged and that Iraq been plunged into a type of hell that Hussein couldn’t have conceived off in his wildest dreams. Therefore, several UN resolutions dealing with the occupation and its effects on the poor people of Iraq have given a cloak of legitamacy to the occupation. Even France has moved to reconciliation with the US over Iraq in an attempt to help the situation there.

    lamh dearg,

    I don’t believe that abortion, as it is currently legally constituted in the UK, is immoral. I don’t believe abortion is murder. Therefore, I don’t believe that clinics should be the target of protests any more than your local chiropodist.

    Bob McGowan,
    Be careful with your misquotes please.

  • Harry Flashman

    And your opinion and three pounds fifty will buy you a coffee latte with extra moccachino in Starbucks, but it’s still complete nonsense.

    The US invasion of Iraq was premised on the need to overthrow Saddam Hussein, it was not illegal, it was supported by a huge coalition of nations, it is now accepted as legitimate by the United Nations and even those nations that opposed it initially are reconciled to its outcome.

    The Republic of Iraq is now a democracy and Saddam Hussein and his ghastly family and friends are enjoying their eternal rewards. Iraq is a very much better place now than ever it was under them.

    If you doubt that then you would be calling for a restoration of the Baathist party under the rule of the al-Tikriti mafia, but you’re not so you accept that the democratically elected government of Iraq is the legitimate government of that nation, despite the best efforts of terror enablers like Eamonn McCann to prevent the ouster of Saddam.

    You might not agree that abortion clinics are immoral but if some activists do believe that to be the case then why should they not be permitted to attack those clinics on the exact same basis that McCann’s toytown Trots claimed for their assault on the legitimate, legal business premises of Raytheon?

    You’re not being a hypocrite are you?

  • lamh dearg

    Damien

    Thanks for replying and clarifying that.

    I see now that it is basically simple.

    If Damien Okado-Gough thinks that something is immoral, then it is and direct action against it is right. If he thinks something is moral, then it is and direct action against it is wrong.

  • Damien:

    [i]”Be careful with your misquotes please.”[/i]

    Apologies to you though I did correct the source in the text of the message. Nonetheless, I do owe you a BIG apology.

  • Cinte

    Peace and Justice
    If the implication of your post is that I am somehow a hypocritical republican you are very far off the mark. I am not a republican but anti-war and that includes anti what passed for a war here too.

    With regard to other posts, can I point out again that the law does not justify attacks or direct action against all and anything that one finds immoral. I originally posted because the verdict seemed to have been construed in this way. Pete Baker is correct to point out that what mattered legally is that the defendants had an honest belief that their actions were protecting others (plus a number of other conditions). I am sure there were some on the jury who did not agree with the moral stance behind the direct action, but the law seems to be fairly clear on this point.
    However, quite why Pete thinks this as an insane belief escapes me, particularly given Raytheon’s clear admissions in court that their operation in Derry was involved in manufacture of weapons software, Moreover, it was established in court that their weapons and weapons guidance systems have been used to commit what Amnesty International described as warcrimes. Perhaps Amnesty are also somehow deluded.

  • Pete Baker

    Cinte

    “Perhaps Amnesty are also somehow deluded.”

    Sometimes they are.

    Admittedly, though, ‘insane’ was somewhat prejorative.

    But ‘Guilty but deluded’ would not be.

    The point is that despite Eamonn McCann’s declaration that they had been “completely vindicated” by the jury’s decision, they were not.

    The simple fact is that the legal protections available to those accused of a crime as a result of their spontaneous intervention in an event – in the honest belief that they were preventing a crime against another – have been misused and abused by the defenders of this politically motivated and planned obstruction of the entirely legal operations of this company based on those individuals own interpretations of international events. Events of which a Belfast jury have no competence, or jurisdiction, to decide upon.

    As I said at the beginning, “The law may sometimes be an ass..”

    And as I noted previously, this particular escapade wasn’t the start of the campaign against Raytheon in Londonderry.

    That fact counters the idea that these individuals were simply reacting to current events at the time.

  • eamonn mccann

    How wrong can you be? Not much wronger that Mr. Pete Baker on the outcome of the Raytheon trial.

    He writes: “The simple fact is that the legal protections available to those accused of a crime as a result of their spontaneous intervention in an event – in the honest belief that they were preventing a crime against another – have been misused and abused by the defenders of this politically motivated and planned obstruction of the entirely legal operations of this company based on those individuals own interpretations of international events. Events of which a Belfast jury have no competence, or jurisdiction, to decide upon.
    “As I said at the beginning, ‘The law may sometimes be an ass..’
    “And as I noted previously, this particular escapade wasn’t the start of the campaign against Raytheon in Londonderry.
    “That fact counters the idea that these individuals were simply reacting to current events at the time.”

    Shameless ignorance from start to finish.

    It was central to our case that the August 2006 occupation and decommissioning of the Raytheon plant was NOT spontaneous. I was aggressively and at length cross-examined by prosecution counsel trying to extract an admission that we HAD acted spontaneously. I was able to show that the Derry Anti-War Coalition had met twice before the occupation, once seven days in advance and again two days in advance, and on both occasions had discussed the proposed action in detail. Under questioning, I was also able to show that what we did once we had gained entry to the plant was exactly what we had planned to do, that there was noting spontaneous about it.

    We were also required to show also, and did show, that there were reasonable grounds for believing that the operations of Raytheon, including the operation of its Derry plant, were NOT “entirely legal” but, on the contrary, amounted to aiding and abetting the commission of war crimes.

    Moreover, the belief that Raytheon was complicit in war crimes was NOT based on “those individuals own interpretations of international events.” We submitted a 150-page dossier to the court, setting out the analyses and interpretations of eye-witnesses to particular events, academics, lawyers, NGOs including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch and governments, as well as BBC news footage of the effect of Raytheon bombs in Lebanon and footage from Raytheon’s own website.

    It was also crucial to our case that “this particular episode wasn’t the start of the campaign against Raytheon in Londonderry,” that we were NOT “simply reacting to current events at the time.” We submitted an account of, and I gave lengthy evidence about, the various pickets, marches, vigils, lobbies etc. which the DAWC and the Foyle Ethical Investment Campaign had undertaken in the years between the arrival of Raytheon in the town and the 2006 occupation.

    Mr. Baker doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

    The law an ass? Not as big an ass as he.

    Eamonn McCann

  • Pete Baker

    Eamonn

    Firstly, thanks for taking the time to comment.

    “Shameless ignorance from start to finish.”

    Well, perhaps..

    I certainly make no claim to be infallible.

    But I would just point out that you seem to have got the wrong of the stick in your comment. Which was possibly my fault for not being clearer.

    I have not argued that you acted spontaneously.

    The reference in the comment you quoted clearly, I thought, related to the legal defence of self-defence/defence of others which I had understood was your defence in this case.

    And I pointed out that you, and others, have been complaining about and campaigning against Raytheon’s presence in Londonderry for some time.

  • Damien Okado-Gough

    Harry,

    [i]The US invasion of Iraq was premised on the need to overthrow Saddam Hussein[/i]

    We don’t disagree, but that is different from your previous comment that the reason for this was to liberate the people of Iraq from his regime, which is simply not true. It was to change the balance of power in the Middle East and to secure the oil reserves of the country. That is a barely disputed fact now. Certainly, no reasonable person would argue differently.

    [i]it was not illegal[/i]

    It most certainly was insofar as it breached the UN resolutions in the manner I outlined above, ie, that the no resolution permitted unilateral military action against Iraq, only UN sanctioned action, of which there was none.

    [i]it was supported by a huge coalition of nations[/i]

    But not the UN, as I pointed out. And the coalition was not huge, it was pityful.

    [i]it is now accepted as legitimate by the United Nations and even those nations that opposed it initially are reconciled to its outcome[/i]

    I just made that point in my last post. Why are you making it back to me trying to disprove my argument with it? A strange tactic indeed.

    [i]Iraq is a very much better place now than ever it was under them (Sadam et al).[/i]

    A statement so devoid of reality it’s shocking. Iraq may not survive this. The country may actualy split three ways, along ethnic lines, embedding bloody conflict for generations. The US’s lack of plan for after the initial invasion has been ridiculed incessantly since in plunged the country into vicious ethnic conflict. Sadam certainly need to be ousted, but not like this.

    [i]You might not agree that abortion clinics are immoral but if some activists do believe that to be the case then why should they not be permitted to attack those clinics on the exact same basis that McCann’s toytown Trots claimed for their assault on the legitimate, legal business premises of Raytheon?[/i]

    Believing that something is immoral and proving it are two different things. The Raytheon 9 proved in a court of law that Raytheon’s activities are immoral and, therefore, they have justified their actions.

    Lamh dearg

    [i]If Damien Okado-Gough thinks that something is immoral, then it is and direct action against it is right. If he thinks something is moral, then it is and direct action against it is wrong.[/i]

    I never said anything of the sort. Reductio ad absurdum only works if stay true to the central point of the argument you’re trying to debunk. As I replied to Harry immediately above, proving the immorality of an action you’re trying to prevent and just believing in its immorality are two different things. For example, I do not believe that people have the right to assault gay people, just because they think that homosexuality is immoral. That is what your argument is alleging I believe. It is a total misrepresentation of what I have been arguing in this thread.

  • Reader

    Damien Okado-Gough: As I replied to Harry immediately above, proving the immorality of an action you’re trying to prevent and just believing in its immorality are two different things.
    No they aren’t, because a proof depends on your axioms, and everyone picks their own axioms. Do you think your proofs of immorality are going to be the same as those of a Biblical fundamentalist, or a Marxist, or an Ayn Rand type libertarian?
    Or are your axioms just plain better than everyone else’s?

  • Damien Okado-Gough

    Reader,

    They are certainly diffferent things. It depends on what constitutes proof and who you need to prove it to and in the case of the Raytheon 9, they needed to prove to a jury that their actions were morally justified and they did.

  • Reader

    Damien Okado-Gough: It depends on what constitutes proof and who you need to prove it to and in the case of the Raytheon 9, they needed to prove to a jury that their actions were morally justified and they did.
    The law doesn’t do “morally justified” – the law does “legally justified”. And I bet you don’t use British law as your primary moral compass unless it suits you to do so.

  • Damien Okado-Gough

    Reader,
    Laws set out what is deemed to be right or wrong action. What is right or wrong is the very subject matter of morality. Laws are founded on morality, albeit, in almost all cases, the morality of the powerful in society, or, indeed, the immorality of the powerful in society.

    That said, I’ll rephrase my last post, that they needed to prove to a jury that their actions were right action according to the law, and they did.

    And no, I don’t use the law of the land as my primary moral compass, but that has no bearing on my belief that the Raytheon 9 were right in what they did. In fact, they were right in what they did, despite what happened in court, because they were morally justified in doing so. It is merely a sweeter victory for them that the jury agreed that they were [i]right[/i] in doing what they did.

  • Harry Flashman

    The invasion of Iraq was legal, if it wasn’t the UN would not have sanctioned the result.

    It ain’t rocket science.

    If the court had found McCann and his Derry Liberation Front guilty would you then have agreed that their behaviour was immoral?

    Do you believe that the ultimate test of morality is Derry Crown Court?

  • Damien Okado-Gough

    Harry,

    [i]The invasion of Iraq was legal, if it wasn’t the UN would not have sanctioned the result.[/i]

    Kofi Annan said that the invasion of Iraq was “not in conformity with the UN charter…from the charter point of view, it was illegal.” And what do you mean by saying that they ‘have sanctioned the result’? Yes they have resigned themselves to the fact that the invasion has taken place and passed several resolutions to try to clear up the bloody mess, but that does certainly not mean that they agreed that it should have taken place.

    [i]If the court had found McCann and his Derry Liberation Front guilty would you then have agreed that their behaviour was immoral? Do you believe that the ultimate test of morality is Derry Crown Court?[/i]

    As I wrote in my post previous to this one, and in response to Reader:

    [i]And no, I don’t use the law of the land as my primary moral compass, but that has no bearing on my belief that the Raytheon 9 were right in what they did. In fact, they were right in what they did, despite what happened in court, because they were morally justified in doing so. It is merely a sweeter victory for them that the jury agreed that they were right in doing what they did.[/i]

  • lamh dearg

    but now I am confused again, Damien.

    Sorry to rabbit on but imagine

    a fundamentalist Christian Group enters and trashes an abortion clinic.

    in court they argue that they believed that they were morally obliged to do this to prevent harm to others and that they thus consider themselves innocent.

    At this stage would you applaud, condone, understand or condemn their actions?

    a jury of their peers finds them not guilty, does this change your opinion?

  • Dave

    lamb dearg, there are no absolutes. If there were, then we could have justice by computer algorithm and not bother humans with the infinite variables. Each case must be considered on its respective merits. In this case, that is the procedure that was followed. McCann was acquitted, and that’s the end of it.

  • lamh dearg

    “McCann was acquitted, and that’s the end of it. ”

    No, a legal precedent has been set, so it’s not the end of it.

    I am not arguing that he should not have been acquitted, I do not know, I did not hear the evidence or the legal arguments. But I feel it right to request that the law is applied fairly and that all people, of all opinions are equal before the law.

    If people can destroy the legally held property of a legal business and be judged to have done so legally, that is a significant development in our society which I fear could open the door to all kinds of direct action by all shades of opinion against all kinds of businesses or organisations.

    It is worth trying to tease out how such events can be judged on their individual, respective merits while the underpinning law is still applied fairly to all.

  • eamonn mccann

    Sorry about the vituperative tone of my earlier response to Pete Baker. Thing is, I had become totally pissed off by comments following our trial which seemed to me to show no understanding of the defence which we had presented or the legal basis on which we had been acquited. I see that comments along the same faulty lines continue. But I have had my say and will leave it. Apologies to PB.

    Eamonn McCann

  • Dave

    Eamonn, don’t rock the system if the vibrations make you nauseous. 😉

  • Pete Baker

    No problem, Eamonn.

    I’ve been blogging on Slugger for too long to be offended by what’s said about me in the comments zone.

    But you did utilise the legal defence of self defence/defence of others? [previous link didn’t work, try the ‘Self-defense (theory)’ link at the above linked site]

  • Damien Okado-Gough

    lamh dearg,
    I’ve answered your question in full in earlier posts. I’m not going to answer it again. Please read my earlier posts.