[News] "Huge Victory": Elbit forced to sell Ferranti after sustained direct action campaign

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Jan 11 12:09:20 EST 2022


qudsnen.co <https://qudsnen.co/33748-2/> "Huge Victory": Elbit forced to
sell Ferranti after sustained direct action campaignJanuary 11, 2022
------------------------------

Oldham (QNN)- Members of Palestine Action celebrated a “huge victory” on
Monday after Israel’s largest privately-owned arms company of Elbit Systems
sold off one of its UK factories.

After 18 months of sustained direct action taken at the Elbit Ferranti site
in Oldham, Greater Manchester, with 36 people arrested, Elbit has now sold
Ferranti technologies in Oldham.

The Power and Control Business of Ferranti Technologies has been sold to TT
Electronics, a British electronics firm, for $12 million in a deal which
the Israeli firm completed, apparently, as part of its restructuring of its
UK operations.

Since August 2020, Palestine Action’s occupations of the site have caused
weeks of forced factory closure, and have cost millions in damages to the
company.

At the end of November 2021, Elbit began packing up their Oldham operation
– now the majority of the Ferranti business has been sold off, according to
the group.

Activists in Palestine Action have occupied, blockaded, smashed, disrupted,
and protested regularly at the site, ultimately succeeding in ending the
factory’s production of specialist military technologies for Israel’s fleet
of combat drones.

In November 2021, anonymous sources revealed to Palestine Action that mass
redundancy notices had been issued to staff working at the factory, and
that premises were being cleared in preparation for Elbit leaving the site.

On Monday, it was publicised that Ferranti has indeed been sold to TT
Electronics.

This major restructuring – selling a subsidiary which Elbit has
consistently promoted as a success and which has helped Elbit to land
multi-million pound contracts with the British government – suggests that
Elbit is under significant pressure to tighten its UK operations, said
Palestine Action.

“This is most likely due to the impossibility of continuing at the
often-occupied site, the massive financial impact of occupations, and an
attempt to avoid more bad publicity,” it added.

Although Elbit attempted to make the Oldham factory a viable production
site by improving security, early in 2021, and increased spending massively
for round-the-clock security, and also benefitted from a rapid police
response for protestor removal, neither of these measures succeeded in
keeping out the activists, with the site continuing to be targeted
regularly.

The first action taken in Oldham by Palestine Action, in late August 2020,
involved spraying premises in blood-red paint, symbolising the Palestinian
bloodshed made possible with Elbit Ferranti technologies.

Following this, actions accelerated. Windows were smashed in an occupation
in November 2020, while an action taken in collaboration with XR North in
February 2021 caused over £20,000 in damages.

In April 2021, activists not only occupied the site but gained entry to the
factory, smashing the roof, windows, air vents, and undermining future
operations by covering equipment and computers in red paint – over £100,000
of damages were caused, and the site remained shut for well over a week.

On July 5th, three activists gained entry to the site, allegedly causing
£500,000 of damage and closing the factory for a number of weeks. More
recently, in August of this year, activists blockaded the factory –
blocking roads with vehicles and locking onto gates – and occupied the
factory itself again.

There have been a number of other actions taken at the Oldham site, with
the factory forced to close for a significant number of weeks in total due
to damage caused.

The site has also been subject to regular protests called by Oldham Peace
and Justice and Manchester Palestine Action, with large crowds gathering
outside the factory on a weekly basis since the massive and brutal
bombardments of Gaza by ‘Israel’ in May.

Following the announcement, a Palestine Action spokesperson stated, “The
sale of Ferranti and the closure of the Oldham factory is a huge victory
for the movement. So far, our actions have undermined and disrupted
operations – but this news vindicates our long-term strategy.”

“Direct action works – the brave individuals who occupied the factory over
the past year can proudly say that drone technologies are no longer in
production in Oldham.”

“But it’s not enough that just one of these death-factories shuts down. We
want to see Elbit itself shut down for good, and all of their businesses
forced out of Britain – we will keep escalating our actions until that
happens.”

Elbit systems, Israel’s largest privately-owned arms company, provides the
Israeli occupation with around 85% of its killer drones. These drones
terrorise the people of Gaza and Israeli occupation uses them in daily
surveillance and regular attacks.

The company’s profits skyrocketed after its equipment was used in the
brutal 2014 assault on Gaza, helping ‘Israel’ to seal contracts with
militaries all over the world.

In 2018, Elbit purchased IMI Systems, known for producing cluster
munitions, the IOF’s sole supplier of small calibre ammunition.

So not only are the drones in the skies made by Elbit, the bullets being
shot by Israeli occupation snipers are also made by Elbit.

Israeli F-16 fighter jets and Apache and Cobra attack helicopters are all
made with Elbit equipment.

They have repeatedly been used to attack civilian areas, homes and refugee
camps, resulting in thousands of casualties in Gaza, the West Bank, and
Lebanon.

Also, Elbit’s Hermes 450 is one of the most used drones in the world. The
company markets the drone as “combat proven”, having battle-tested it on
Palestinian people.

The group ‘Palestine Action’ was set up in 2020, breaking onto the activist
scene by its targeting of Elbit Systems factories around Britain to end the
UK complicity with Israeli apartheid.

The group has been described as using creative tactics to disrupt Elbit
facilities, as well known Climate Change activist group ‘Extinction
Rebellion’.

Palestine Action has pledged that the campaign of direct action taken to
shut Elbit down will continue to escalate and expand – both by preventing
operations and occupying Elbit sites, or by cutting off Elbit’s supply
chain and halting operations as Elbit’s partners, landlords and suppliers
are targeted.

Palestine Action has called on to an end to the continued facilitation of
Elbit Systems and, by extension, of Israeli war crimes.

They say Elbit’s biggest single customer is the “Israeli Ministry of
Defence,” the war criminals.

“The production of arms, drones, and military technology relies on an
interconnected and massive network of complicit firms – Palestine Action
are dismantling this network, demanding that firms cease their partnership
with Elbit unless they want to be shut down along with them,” a Palestine
Action spokesperson stated.

“The message to all other firms with Palestinian blood on their hands is
simple: until you end your facilitation of Israel’s brutal repression of
Palestinians and sever ties with Elbit, Palestine Action will shut you down
and cease your contribution to genocide for you.”

Elbit Ferranti site in Oldham had been targetted due to the crimes
committed against Palestinian civilians using Elbit Ferranti products. The
Oldham factory was used for the manufacture of specialist military products
and technology, including the SkEyepersistent surveillance system aboard
Elbit’s Hermes 450 and 900 drones.

Ferranti also manufactures the SpectroXR ultra long-range imaging system
for Hermes drones. Hermes drones have been used extensively by Israel in
bombardments of Gaza, notably during Operation Protective Edge in 2014 in
which over 2,200 Palestinians were killed, including 526 children.

The site was also used for the production of IronVision helmets for use in
battle tanks such as the Carmel – specifically designed for operations in
densely built urban areas, such as Gaza.
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