Category Archives: BattleTech

Gratuitous war porn – tanks, fighter planes, helmets, uniforms, insignia…

Bristol EDO Decommissioners: Anti-war crime activist trial begins today in Hove

The trial began today of the EDO Decommissioners, a group of people from Bristol who wrought an estimated £180,000-worth of damage on a factory involved in production of bomb release clips used by the Israeli Defense Force to deliver lethal munitions into densely populated areas during Operation Cast Lead, its offensive on Gaza in December 2008-January 2009.

The five-strong group from Bristol which carried out the “citizens’ decommissioning” on the night of the 17th January last year is joined in court by three Brighton people who did not take part in the damage. The Decommissioners argue that their actions are lawfully excusable on the grounds that they were preventing Israeli war crimes. One of them, James ‘Elijah’ Smith, has been on remand since the action – seventeen months in gaol without a conviction.

The trial is taking place at Hove Crown Court
in East Sussex, just the other side of Brighton to the Moulsecoomb-located EDO MBM factory which was the subject of the defendants’ actions, and is scheduled to last seven weeks.

Operation Cast Lead led to a United Nations investigation, culminating in the Goldstone Report, which was highly critical of the IDF’s conduct of the war:

We came to the conclusion, on the basis of the facts we found, that there was strong evidence to establish that numerous serious violations of international law, both humanitarian law and human rights law, were committed by Israel during the military operations in Gaza.

The mission concluded that actions amounting to war crimes and possibly, in some respects, crimes against humanity, were committed by the Israel Defense Force.

There’s no question that the firing of rockets and mortars [by armed groups from Gaza] was deliberate and calculated to cause loss of life and injury to civilians and damage to civilian structures. The mission found that these actions also amount to serious war crimes and also possibly crimes against humanity.

The Gaza war was marked, amongst other things, by IDF use of white phosphorus.

EDO Decommissioners’ raffle – one day left!

EDO Decommissioners' raffle flyer

Tomorrow is the day of the draw for the EDO Decommissioners‘ fundraising raffle!

The draw takes place at Kebele in Eastville at (I think) 7pm, with prizes including reconditioned bicycles, t-shirts, a veg box, plants, wine and books.

Tickets cost just £1 for a strip of 5 – that’s FIVE CHANCES TO WIN for a mere quid! (Or you can even buy a single ticket for 20p…)

If you haven’t got any but would like some, I still have a few left, just contact me before lunchtime tomorrow to let me know how many you want. I’ll accept pledges if it’s not possible to take your money before the draw, and scan your tickets so you know what numbers are yours.

Raytheon <3 Tim?

Raytheon

Wonder what about professional killer Tim Spicer the Raytheon bods are interested in?

O_o

Raytheon is the company whose Bristol office roof has been repeatedly occupied over the past few weeks by people protesting against its business – arms manufacture:

Raytheon are 4th largest arms company in the world with a $20 billion turnover per year. They are involved massively in the manufacture or delivery systems of WMD. They are the biggest cruise missile maker (Patriot and tomahawk). Their range of both cruise-missiles and plane-dropped bombs can be loaded with cluster bombs. Cluster bombs are indiscriminate weapons killing civilians and soldiers alike. During the 2006 War on Southern Lebanon, Raytheon were supplying the Israeli military who were using the weaponry on civilian targets and deliberately sprayed millions of bomblets throughout the country. They also manufacture DU depleted-Uranium tipped Bunker Busters bombs, such as the ones that killed hundreds of civilians in the Amiriyah shelter in Baghdad. DU has had devastating health effects on civilian population of Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as on British soldiers. Raytheon munitions were used extensively in the destruction of the city of Fallujah during the second Iraq war. Have the UK contract with MOD for UK inland security and the Olympics, plus are involved with the new military training academy being built at St Athens [sic] in South Wales. They are also researching military technology for civilian control, such as a sinister crowd-dispersal microwave beam called “The Silent Guardian” which causes intense burning effects on the recipients.

(From a report on IndyMedia, included here with all the usual implied caveats, etc.)

There’s also a Smash Raytheon blog, and Anti-METRIX, a blog about the campaign opposing the St Athan privatised military academy.

Wikipediaphile: Tom Wintringham

Tom Wintringham

Tom Wintringham was born 1898 in Grimsby, Lincolnshire. He was educated at Gresham’s School, Holt, Norfolk and Balliol College, Oxford but abandoned his university career at the outbreak of the First World War to join the Royal Flying Corps. At the end of the war he was involved in a brief barracks mutiny, one of many minor insurrections which went unnoticed in the period. He returned to Oxford, and in a long vacation made a visit of some months to Moscow, after which he returned to England and formed a group of students aiming to establish a British section of the Third International: a Communist Party. As the party formed, Wintringham graduated from Oxford and moved to London, ostensibly to study for the bar at the Temple, but in fact to work full time in politics.

In 1923 Wintringham joined the Communist Party of Great Britain. In 1925 he was one of twelve CPGB officials imprisoned for seditious libel and incitement to mutiny. In 1930, he founded a newspaper, Daily Worker, and was one of the few named writers to publish articles in it. In writing for the Communist party’s theoretic journal Labour Monthly, he established himself as the party’s military expert. In LM articles and in booklets on the subject, Wintringham formed the arguments against Air Assault and called for ARP precautions several years before Guernica. His arguments were the basis for the most successful of the Communist Party’s wartime campaigns, that for ARP provision, and shaped government policy on the issue in the years leading up to the war. Although at the centre of the CPGB organisation, he was often at odds with Party policy, believing in a communism of alliance and co-operation, rather than the dominant comintern ideology of class against class. Wintringham’s ideas became party dogma when the Comintern announced the ‘Popular Front’, a form of communism Wintringham was prepared to fight for.

In 1934, he became the founder, editor and major contributor of Left Review, the first British literary journal with a stated Marxist intent. Although published by Wintringham and funded by the CPGB, it embraced writers of all shades of socialism, regardless of their party affiliations. The journal established a pattern for what was to become cultural studies.

During the Spanish Civil War, Wintringham went to Spain as a journalist, but he joined and eventually commanded the British Battalion of the International Brigades. Some socialist commentators have credited him with the whole idea of “international” brigades. He also had an affair with a US journalist, Kitty Bowler, whom he later married. In February 1937 he was wounded in the Battle of Jarama. While injured in Spain he became friends with Ernest Hemingway who based one of his characters upon him. He spent some months as a machine gun instructor. When he returned to the battalion the next summer he contracted typhoid, was again wounded at Quinto in August 1937 and was repatriated in October. His later book English Captain is based on these experiences.

In 1938 the Communist Party condemned his wife as a Trotskyist spy but he refused to leave her – he quit the party instead. He came to mistrust the party’s subservience to Stalin’s Russia and Comintern.

Back in England, Tom Hopkinson recruited him to work for the newspaper Picture Post.

At the outbreak of World War II, Wintringham applied for an army officer’s commission but was rejected. When the Communist Party promulgated its policy of staying out of the war due to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, he strongly condemned their policies. Because of the appeasement policies of prime minister Neville Chamberlain, he also regarded the Tories as Nazi sympathizers and wrote that they should be removed from office. He wrote for Picture Post, the Daily Mirror, and wrote columns for Tribune and the New Statesman.

Cover of 'New Ways Of War' by Tom WintringhamIn May 1940, after the escape from Dunkirk, Wintringham began to write in support of the Local Defence Volunteers, the forerunner of the Home Guard. On July 10, he opened the private Home Guard training school at Osterley Park, London.

Wintringham’s training methods were mainly based on his experience in Spain. He even had trainers who had fought alongside him in Spain who trained volunteers in anti-tank warfare and demolitions. He also taught street fighting and guerrilla warfare. He wrote many articles in Picture Post and the Daily Mirror propagating his views about the Home Guard with the motto “a people’s war for a people’s peace”.

The British Army still did not dare trust Wintringham because of his communist past. After September 1940 the army began to take charge of the Home Guard training in Osterley and Wintringham and his comrades were gradually sidelined. Wintringham resigned in April 1941. Ironically, despite his activities in support of the Home Guard, Wintringham was never allowed to join the organisation himself because of a policy barring membership to Communists and Fascists.

From the Wikipedia entry on Tom Wintringham.

Fascinating chap!

Tip o’ the titfer: Paul Stott (“At Ian Bone’s Christmas piss-up yesterday, I was disbelieved when I stated that one episode of Dad’s Army contains a Spanish Civil War character, brought in to teach the men guerilla warfare. Captain Mainwaring is particularly wary of our Spanish comrade, fearing he may be an Anarchist… More seriously, the political nature of the Home Guard, and in particular one of its key figures, Tom Wintringham, is often forgotten. A reappraisal of Wintringham by modern Socialists is long overdue. If you get any book tokens this Christmas, can I suggest you spend them on Hugh Purcell’s study of Wintringham The Last English Revolutionary?”)

Wikipediaphile: Split S

So it’s half four in the morning, I’ve got a documentary on in the background (People’s Century episode 6, ’1927: Great Escape’), and I’m idly stroking threads of human knowledge…

Bonus Army > General MacArthur > Billy Mitchell > Hap Arnold > USAAF > P38 Lightning > Split S

The Split S is an air combat maneuver mostly used to disengage from combat. To execute a Split S, the pilot half-rolls his aircraft inverted and executes a descending half-loop, resulting in level flight in the exact opposite direction at a lower altitude.

So now you know.

Hammer, sickle & screw drivers…

German screw vehicle

Black SapperI was idly surfing through some Russian videos when I came across a rather splendid blog page looking at screw-thread vehicles developed by both the Soviet and German military. It all rather brings to mind Black Sapper, the “crooked genius who invented the Earthworm, against whose diamond-hard drills no bank vault was safe” (Gifford)…

But anyhow – some very interesting pics and videos of all manner of rather uncomfortable-looking metal monsters, go take a look :)

Add to Blinkslist :: add to del.icio.us :: Digg it :: :: add to furl :: add to ma.gnolia :: seed the vine :: :: add to simpy :: Stumble It! :: TailRank

Car bomb diggity

Lebanon car bomb
Car bomb explosion, Beirut, Lebanon, 14/2/05 (Mohamed Azakir, Reuters)

The car bomb seems such a weapon of the moment that who even knew it had an 80 year-long, tortured history. But Mike Davis, whose most recent projects include the only significant book on the Avian flu, The Monster at Our Door, and Planet of Slums, a startling analysis of the way significant parts of our planet have been rapidly urbanizing and de-industrializing all at once, almost invariably produces the unexpected. This week, Tomdispatch offers his two-part history of the car bomb, a series that puts one of the more terrifying phenomena of our moment into a new perspective and shines a dazzling light into any number of dark corners of our recent past.

An interesting read by the look of it, I’ll be poring over this in more detail once I’ve had a bit of shuteye.

‘History Of The Car Bomb’ on Global Research

ETA:

Whilst watching the documentary ‘Back To Beirut‘, about former hostage Brian Keenan’s return to Beirut, I realised that the above photograph is from the scene of the 2005 car bomb attack that targeted former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri, which also achieved the slaughter of twenty more, with many scores more injured.

Fairford pair found ‘guilty’

Fairford Trial, Bristol - pic from Bristol IndyMedia

Two peace activists who broke into RAF Fairford and attacked US military vehicles have been found guilty of conspiracy to commit criminal damage.

Paul Milling, 61, from Cumbria, was given a conditional discharge and ordered to pay £250 in costs.

Dr Margaret Jones, 57, of Bristol, was told to return to Bristol Crown Court on 27 July for sentencing.

The pair said they wanted to stop B-52s taking off from the Gloucestershire base to be used in the Iraq war.

The defence claimed their actions were lawful because they were attempting to prevent a war crime.

They had used hammers and bolt cutters to disable fuel tankers and trailers used for carrying bombs at the base, causing £10,000 of damage.

The prosecution, while accepting the pair acted on their “honestly held beliefs”, insisted they were still guilty of breaking the law.

Dr Jones had told the court the plan was to buy time for Iraqi civilians to flee before the anticipated “shock and awe” bomb attacks on Baghdad.

Mr Milling, a former magistrate and councillor in York, said he had been horrified to learn of the devastating impact cluster bombs could have if dropped on civilian targets.

The pair were being re-tried after a jury failed to reach a verdict last September.

BBC News

Bums. Still, out of the three sets of defendants, three initial trials had hung juries, and of the subsequent retrials, two ended in not guilty verdicts.

But as Margaret says, “Paul and I agreed this afternoon that we both still feel profoundly content about what we tried to do back, in 2003. We still see it as morally right. If it’s been adjudged legally wrong – so be it.” (From Bristol Social Forum & Bristol IndyMedia)

There’s lots more background on this and the other Fairford trials on Bristol IndyMedia.

Meanwhile, in the distant sky…

Nato raids ‘killed 35 Afghans’ (BBC)

Afghan villagers in the eastern province of Kunar say 35 civilians have been killed in separate air attacks by international forces.

The villagers said neighbours in Watapour were burying 10 people killed in a strike when planes attacked again, killing 25 more people.

:-|

Like a heavily armoured Blue Peter appeal…

tank-o-meter

Political pranksters/Situationists Lite Space Hijackers are trying to raise the spondoolinks to buy a tank, or, at the very least, some kind of armoured personnel carrier…

There comes a time in every activist groups development when they realise that there is something missing in their set up. We have been striving to cause trouble, save the world and wind up the powers that be for 8 years now. However we still don’t own a tank… Please help us right this wrong.

For more info on how to help, see the Tank-O-Meter page.

Guns! Films! Wiki! RARRRGH!!!

De Niro in Ronin

Desperately need to know which Sig Sauer assault rifle Robert De Niro is waving around in ‘Ronin’?

Can’t sleep for the desire to be able to distinguish between the P90 and the 93R in ‘Desperado’?

Or just want to salivate over some smooth cocking movieland gun porn?

Well, I guess that Internet Movie Firearms Database (IMFDb) is the site for you, then. It’s only small at the moment, but from little acorns and that…