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(en) Ireland, Organise! Press Release -Less Lethal Weapons Action Belfast

From Organise Ireland <organiseireland@yahoo.ie>
Date Tue, 5 Oct 2004 16:17:04 +0200 (CEST)

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Members and supporters of Organise! will be picketing Jury’s Inn Belfast on Friday
8th of October in protest at the hosting of the ‘Jane’s Less Lethal Weapons
Conference 2004’ by the Jury’s group of hotels.
The picket will take place from 12.00 noon to 2.00 p.m. and is part of an
accelerating series of actions targeting Jury’s Doyles’ hotels throughout Ireland,
England and world-wide. Members of Organise!, grassroots activists and
anarchists are taking part in a campaign to expose and close this ‘Less’ lethal
torture fair.
The Jury’s Doyles’ group plan to host the so-called ‘Less Lethal Weapons Conference
2004’ in their Berkley Court hotel in Dublin over October 19th – 20th.

The 'Less Lethal Weapons' conference is effectively a
trade fair for tools of torture and political
repression, according to Organise!, which along with
other activists across Ireland and further afield is
vowing to stop the event from going ahead.

Sean Matthews of Organise! Belfast Local said: "If the
Jury’s Doyle Hotel group doesn’t cancel this
conference, we will call on the public to come out and
force it to be shut down."

"The weapons being paraded and sold at Jury’s Berkley
Hotel include electro-shock batons, stun guns, plastic
bullets, Tasers, CR Gas, pepper spray and the new
sonic-bombs that have been deployed to 'disperse'
crowds in Iraq."

"Put simply, people who sell these tools of political
repression and torture and people who want to buy them
will be gathering at the Berkeley Court to do
business," Sean Matthews said. "working class people
will not tolerate that. These are weapons of political
repression used the world over to brutally crush
protest and dissent."

"The nature of the event is extremely provocative,
coming at a time when revulsion at the war machine and
the arms industry is running high across the world."

Northern Ireland's appalling track record in plastic
bullet deaths is being celebrated by the inclusion of
Colin Burrows, a former RUC superintendent, as
conference host and main speaker.

The speakers include senior officers from the West
Midlands Police, which framed the Birmingham Six and
others, and from the LAPD, responsible for beating
Rodney King. The CEO of Taser International Inc, a
major supplier of weaponry to the occupation forces in
Iraq, will also be speaking.

"The organisers of this weapons fair need to get a
loud and clear message from people in Ireland, north
and south: we are not going to sit back and allow
these people to peddle weapons that will be used
against us in the near future."



Notes to Editors

Protests against the Jury’s Doyles’ Hotel group have
already taken place at the Westbury Court and Jury’
Parnell Square hotels in Dublin on 2nd October. See
http://indymedia.ie/newswire.php?story_id=66325 for
more details.

Organise! is a class struggle anarchist organisation
with members across Ireland. For more information
visit http://www.organiseireland.org

The devices that are bought and sold by those due to
attend the Berkeley Court conference are used as tools
of torture in numerous repressive regimes around the
world. They are also used in the west, against
striking workers, street protesters and in close
quarters against prisoners and political detainees.

In Ireland, 'less lethal weapons' have already
resulted in numerous deaths. Plastic and rubber
bullets have been responsible for the deaths of:

Francis Rowntree, aged 11, shot in the head by British
Army from a distance of 5-7 yards on April 22 1972,

Tobias Molloy, aged 18, shot in the chest by British
Army from a distance of 2-3 yards on July 16 1972,

Thomas Friel, aged 21 shot in the head by British Army
from 25-30 yards on May 22 1973,

Stephen Geddis, aged 10, shot in the head by British
Army from a distance of 40 yards on August 8 1975,

Brian Stewart, aged 13, shot in the head by British
Army from a distance of 10 yards, on October 10 1976,

Michael Donnelly, aged 21, shot in the head by British
Army from a distance of 15-20 yards, on August 9 1980,

Paul Whitters, aged 15, shot in the chest by RUC from
a distance of 5-7 yards, on April 25 1981,

Julie Livingstone, aged 14, shot in the head by
British Army from a distance of 7 yards, on May 13

Carole Anne Kelly, aged 12, shot in the head by
British Army from a distance of less than 10 yards, on
May 22 1981,

Henry Duffy, aged 45, shot in the head by British
Army, on May 22 1981,

Nora McCabe, aged 32, shot in the head by the RUC from
a distance of 2 yards, on July 9 1981,

Peter Doherty, aged 36, shot in the head by British
Army through his living room window, on July 31 1981,

Peter McGuiness, aged 41, shot in the chest by British
Army from a distance of 3 yards, on August 9 1981,

Stephen McConomy, aged 11, shot in the head by British
Army from a distance of 5-6 yards, on April 19 1982,

Sean Downes, aged 22, shot in the chest by RUC from a
distance of 2 yards, on August 12 1984,

Keith White, aged 20, shot in the head by RUC at point
blank range, on April 14 1986,

Seamus Duffy, aged 15, shot in the chest by RUC from a
distance of less than 10 yards, August 9 1989.



These have been described as "the most universal
modern tool of the torturers" by Helen Bamber,
director of the British Medical Foundation for the
Treatment of the Victims of Torture. Crude electronic
devices, in wartime Europe, and electric cattle prods,
in Latin America, were used as torture instruments
long before the private sector took the idea up,
commercialised it and mass produced electro-shock
batons. They are extensively used and manufactured in
China. British Aerospace sold 8,000 electro-shock
batons to Saudi Arabia in the late 1980s as part of
the multi-billion pound Al Yamamah arms deals.


Causes respiratory irritation, pain in the nose and
chest, a burning sensation in the eyes and on moist
skin and with more extensive exposure coughing and
vomiting. It accentuates illness when inflicted on
sufferers of bronchitis, asthma, liver or kidney
diseases and epilepsy, and according to the findings
of an official committee set up after the 1969 Derry
riots it can cause deaths from heart failure. It has
also been associated with second degree burns and
respiratory illness.



Six times more potent than CS gas. High exposure
produces temporary blindness. This was used in the
townships in South Africa in the late 1980s, where it
caused fatalities, particularly among children.


The Los Angeles Times has reported at least 61 deaths
associated with its use in the US in its first five
years (1990-‘95). OC can cause temporary blindness, a
burning sensation on skin, upper body spasms and
coughing which inhibits breathing and speaking. It has
been used as a torture instrument in US prisons.
Pepper spray is widely used to suppress
demonstrations, for instance in New York on February
15th, 2003, during the international day of protest
against the Iraq war.


The M26 Advanced Taser is a handgun which fires two
barbed darts up to seven meters, the darts are
attached by wires to the gun, and along those wires a
50,000 volt electric shock travels to the victim.
After firing the gun itself can function as an electro
shock baton. They have recently been issued to British
police. (Tom Smith Taser International Inc, will speak
in Dublin on October 20th.)


These include rubber bullets, used in Northern Ireland
until 1974/75, and their replacement, plastic bullets.
In all 3 people were killed by rubber bullets and 14
by plastic bullets and thousands of people have been
injured by them.

Other variations of the baton round include wooden
bullets, used in the United States, rubber coated
steel bullets used in Israel and the occupied
territories, one version of which consists of, in each
shot, 15 rubber balls each with a steel core which hit
a target area 7 meters across. These are used to hit
crowds indiscriminately.

A Belgian-manufactured weapon used in Switzerland
fires metal and plastic containers of paint, which
left one woman with fragments embedded in her face,
which cannot be removed for fear of paralysis.

SCIENCE FICTION (weapons still in development):

-- Human capture nets, which can be electrified or
laced with chemical irritant.

-- Foam guns, which stick the target to the ground.

-- Foam barriers, which can be laced with chemical

-- Sleeping-inducing chemicals.

-- Strobes, which pulse in the critical epileptic
fit-inducing frequency.

-- Radio frequency weapons, which use microwaves to
raise the victim’s temperature.

-- UV lasers, which enable an electric charge to be
sent across some distance through the air.

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