Raytheon 9 – support them at trial At a packed Derry Anti War Coalition meeting on 2 August 2006, 3 days after the Israeli bombing of a shelter and mosque in Qana, south Lebanon, killed 52 villagers including 15 disabled children, the idea of occupying the offices of Raytheon in Derry emerged. It was known that Raytheon supplied the Israeli Defence Forces with ‘bunker-buster’ bombs that were being used against Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. It was later confirmed that the bomb used at Qana was a Raytheon MK-84 guided bomb. It was also known that Raytheon in Derry was involved in military work although their press release on their arrival in the city on 24 August 1999 described Raytheon as “one of the world’s leading providers of international air traffic control systems.”
Colm Bryce, one of the Raytheon 9 said, “We’ve been protesting Raytheon since it came here in 1999. They said they weren’t doing any military work. However, former employees have told us they were doing military work. At the height of the Lebanese war we found out that U.S. cargo planes were rushing bombs to Israel. We felt this sort of thing is happening all the time. Just like the U.S. military uses Shannon airport here in Ireland to transport troops to Iraq. It felt unbearable. This is not about us. This is about what’s going on in Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan day in and day out. We want to put Raytheon and the war on trial.”
On the morning of 9 August, the anniversary of the Nagasaki atomic bombing, over 30 people gathered to picket and occupy the Raytheon site. Goretti Horgan delivered a short speech: “We are here to take a stand against the violence of the US/Israeli wars in the Middle East. We must not offer violence to any other person. We will do what we can to get into Raytheon. And when and if we get in, we should leave Raytheon and the political parties of this place with no room for doubt that that are many of us who won’t rest until we get this company out of Derry once and for all.” Raytheon’s military work in Derry was halted as the offices were occupied for 8 hours and computers were decommissioned.
Eamonn McCann remarked: “If the Raytheon 9 are branded criminals then we are being asked to accept that it is a crime to occupy the office of an arms company, but not a crime to occupy a country; that it is a crime to drop computers from an office window, but not a crime to drop missiles on innocent people. The Raytheon 9 will face the court as the accusers of Raytheon, not the accused, and will use the trial to highlight the war crimes of the U.S. and UK governments.”
The trial of the 9 who are charged with criminal damage and affray is due to start in January in Derry. Support at the trial is welcome and it is expected to run for several weeks. See http://www.raytheon9.org for details.
New director for CAJ, and lessons from the conflict in NI The executive of CAJ (Committee on the Administration of Justice) is very pleased to announce that after an open advertising and recruitment process, and a strong field of candidates, it has appointed Mike Ritchie to be the organisation's new Director, replacing Maggie Beirne who is returning to London after 15 years in Northern Ireland. Mike worked for CAJ in the late 80s/early 90s, then for several years with NIACRO, and more recently with Coiste. Meanwhile, at the AGM in October the following executive committee was elected: Chair, Kieran McEvoy; Vice Chair, Pat Conway; Treasurer, Les Allamby; Parliamentary Liaison Officer, Paddy Hillyard; Minutes Secretary, Fiona McCausland; Membership Secretary, Barbara McCabe; Just News Editor, Fionnuala Ní Aolain.
CAJ will be publishing a report entitled “The War on Terror: Lessons from Northern Ireland” by January 2008; the November issue of their newsletter, Just News, had a summary of the key lessons including as No.1, “Human rights abuses fuel conflict” and at No. 6 “Special or emergency legislation can lead to serious abuses and be counter-productive.” CAJ’s detailed Annual Report for 2006-7 is now available – contact the office. CAJ, 45/47 Donegall Street, Belfast BT1 2BR, ph 028 – 90961122, e-mail email@example.com and web http://www.caj.org.uk
INNATE holds Open Space conference on nonviolence in Belfast
Saturday 19th January in Belfast sees an Open Space ‘conversation’ taking place from 10 am – 4 pm organised by INNATE, partly to celebrate its 20th/21st birthday. This is a series of small group conversations determined by who wants to discuss what aspects of nonviolence, and related matters, on the day; people vote with their feet. The day will end, for those who wish to stay, with a presentation on INNATE’s work over the years. Fee: £7/€10 (£5/€7 unwaged) including lunch. Bookings: INNATE, 16 Ravensdene Park, Belfast BT6 0DA . Please send your full contact details including phone, e-mail and a cheque payable to ‘INNATE’, and info on any special dietary or other requirements. Queries to 028 (048 from Republic) - 90 64 71 06 or firstname.lastname@example.org Further details will be sent to those requesting and to people who book. Information leaflet (pdf 1.3Mb)
European Mediation Conference in Belfast; booking open
The European Mediation Conference, organised by Mediation Northern Ireland and the Scottish Mediation Network, takes place at the Waterfront Hall, Belfast from 10th (morning) – 12th April (lunchtime) 2008 with the overall title ‘Building Relationships and Getting Results’. The primary aim of the conference is to advance mediation in the service of economic and social progress in a changing Europe; the plan is to reflect on the task of building peace for Europe and the world; explore developments in the practice of mediation; raise awareness of mediation among policy makers, opinion formers, and the general public; strengthen relationships in the European mediation field; and make a record of the conference widely available.
There are a wide variety of themes and strands running through the conference which can be found on the website at http://www.mediationconference.eu including keynote speakers Professor John Paul Lederach, Ambassador Herbert Salber (Director of the OSCE Conflict Prevention Centre) and Jan Egeland (Director of the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs and a Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on matters relating to the prevention and resolution of conflict). The range of workshops (for four sessions) and training sessions are also listed on the website. Fees are payable in UK£ with early registration (by end of January) costing £120, £220 or £270 for 1, 2 or 3 days. European Mediation Conference, 1 Dublin Road, Belfast BT2 7HB, ph 028 – 9023 5001, email@example.com
Sound the Alarm for Action on Climate Change
From 3rd – 14th December 2007 the UN Climate Change Conference will take place in Bali, Indonesia. World leaders will meet to discuss the roadmap for future global action to avert the worst ravages of climate change. The outcomes of this conference will have implications for everyone on the planet. To coincide with the conference, an international day of action on 8th December has been announced. Marches and demonstrations will be taking place across the world, including in the UK and Ireland, which will illustrate the demand for strong action to be taken by governments on climate change.
lIn Northern Ireland Christian Aid, Trócaire and Friends of the Earth have teamed up to organise “Sound the Alarm for Climate Change.”
From half past one on that date, activists will gather on the steps of St Anne’s Cathedral, Donegall Street, Belfast. There will be no need for banners or placards. Instead we are asking everyone to bring their alarm clocks. At 2pm precisely we want everyone to set off their alarms in unison, to represent the 2 degrees temperature rise threshold that we cannot cross if we are to avoid the worst ravages of climate change. If you haven’t got a portable alarm clock, the alarm function on your mobile phone will suffice. If you haven’t got a mobile phone, bring a whistle or a drum. Bells will also ring out in St Eugene's Cathedral, Derry; Cathedral of St Patrick and Colman, Newry; St Macartan's Cathedral, Enniskillen; St Malachi, Hillsborough; St Columba's, Omagh; St Patrick's Church of Ireland Cathedral, Armagh; Christ Church, Lurgan. If you would like more information then please call Niall Bakewell on 028 9089 7592 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
lIn Dublin a public ‘Parade for the Planet’ for action on climate change will take place from the amphitheatre at Dublin’s Civic Offices to the Custom House on Saturday 8th December from 1pm organised by the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition, see http://www.stopclimatechaos.ie There’ll also be events in Mayo, Kilkenny and Kildare - see website for details. See also http://www.foe.ie
A lightbulb moment
Petition the Irish Government to ban energy-wasting lightbulbs - Ireland currently has the highest energy consumption per household for lighting in the EU with energy being wasted by grossly inefficient lighting like incandescent bulbs and old halogen lights. Ireland should take the lead in Europe and the world by passing a law setting mandatory, ever-improving, efficiency standards for lightbulbs by January 1, 2010. Visit Greenpeace Internation site
Joint SCI-Youth Memorial International work camp in Russia 2008
No one knows how many people suffered and died in the Soviet Gulag camps. Historians estimate that between 12 and 20 million people were sent to the Gulag between 1928-1953, and as many as 95 percent may have perished. This excludes the millions killed by planned famines and summary execution. The Memorial Museum of the History of Political Repression and Totalitarianism in the USSR, located in Russia’s Ural region on the site of the Perm-36 Gulag is to serve both as a reminder of the past and a warning for the future. The aim of the common workcamp for 10 international SCI volunteers and 10 volunteers from Memorial will be to renovate dilapidated parts of Perm-36 in order to preserve its memory as a reminder for future generations. The study theme is "Democracy in Russia and Western Europe - then and now". Memorial is one of the biggest and well-known NGOs in the Russian Federation. Contact VSI/Voluntary Service International for further details: E-mail email@example.com and website http://www.vsiireland.org
VSI publishes a detailed e-mail information bulletin on its own and related activities – contact office for details. VSI, 30 Mountjoy Square, Dublin 1, ph 01 - 855 1011.
Death of Steve Williams
We very much regret to record the sudden death on 3rd December of Steve Williams, a worker in the vineyard of conflict transformation and among many things a former representative at Quaker House in Belfast, most recently living and working in England. Our heartfelt sympathy goes to Sue and his wider family and circle of friends.
Across de water with de Borda
The de Borda Institute, in partnership with the nef (New Economics Foundation), has just completed a pair of seminars, in Oxford and London, where both the theory and practice of multi-option decision-making were subjected to analysis. It is all part of a JRCT (Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust) funded project, to see whether the adoption of a more consensual methodology might not lead to a more civilised world, and as part of this project, we now hope to undertake five pilots. The report of the seminars is available on request from: Peter Emerson, Director, The de Borda Institute, 36 Ballysillan Road, Belfast BT14 7QQ, ph 028 90 711795 / 078 377 17979, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
and web http://www.deborda.org
Quaker House Belfast new address
Quaker House Belfast is now at; Third Floor, 21 Ormeau Avenue, Belfast BT2 8HD. The phone and e-mail address have not changed: 028-9024 9293, e-mail email@example.com
You can now download the lecture Peak Oil: The End of Economic Growth by Charles Hall from the Feasta website. Charles Hall has developed the concept of EROI, or energy return on investment, and this lecture focuses on the past, present and future energy cost of energy itself, and how that is likely to effect investments, economic growth and discretionary spending. See http://www.feasta.org
There will be, as usual, no January issue but there could be an e-mail supplement if the news in warrants it. The next full issue will be dated February, deadline 30th January.
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