Veteran’s Trial to Highlight BAE Systems Inc’s Complicity in Genocide

By Veterans For Peace, June 24, 2024

“Not trespass, but necessary attempt to serve a warning”

On Wednesday, June 26, 2 pm, in Endicott Village Court in Endicott, New York, Jack Gilroy, an 89-year-old former machine gunner in occupied Austria, will tell the court why he was compelled to deliver a letter to weapons manufacturer, BAE Systems, and should not be convicted of trespass.

Gilroy, a member of Veterans For Peace (VFP), will testify that he has written letters to public officials, given talks, voted for antiwar candidates and signed petitions, but the genocide continued, prompting him to try to meet directly with BAE Systems management to implore them to stop.

“This case is not about trespass,” Gilroy said. “My intent was not to break the law but to uphold it by warning BAE Systems management and staff that they were complicit in breaking criminal law. My intent was to uphold the law.”

“Last March,” he said, “Fifteen VFP members tried to hand deliver this same letter to the U.S. State Department office in Buffalo but were turned away. Three months later, our certified letter came back ‘Returned to Sender.’ On April 15, when I attempted to give the letter to BAE officials  describing how they have run afoul of U.S. laws by producing weapons for Israel, I was arrested.”

The Cold-War era veteran called BAE Systems, Inc. and other weapons manufacturers “Merchants of Death,” and said, “several U.S. laws strictly prohibit sending weapons to countries that commit war crimes or violate human rights, so this is serious business.  My intent was to warn management and workers that they could find themselves in legal jeopardy by continuing production.”

He explained that “BAE designs and makes the firing systems for the ammunition most commonly used by Israel, 155mm artillery shells. These shells can be loaded with cluster bombs, white Phosphorus or high explosives. They tear apart people, homes, hospitals and schools in Gaza, making BAE a party to ongoing war crimes.”

Sent in February to the U.S. State Department Inspector-General, the 11-page letter, written by human rights attorney Terry Lodge, details five federal statutes and an administrative rule violated by the weapons transfers that involve U.S. companies.  Gilroy will also submit an exhaustively documented paper, Genocide in Gaza: Analysis of International Law and Its Application to Israel’s Military Actions Since October 7, 2023, from some of the most prestigious law schools in the U.S., alleging war crimes committed by Israel.

The Pax Christi USA member stressed that “This trial is not about me. It’s about a war industry that has become as acceptable to the American people as the building and use of crematoria in Germany. It’s a chance to educate the public that factories like BAE Systems, which people think make consumer goods like electric buses, in fact relies on military contracts for 96 percent of its revenue.”

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