You will find the latest information and some data from our previous website on all matters concerning US bases and in particular the issue of the US Missile Defense system. We are still working on some of the pages so we ask for your patience please. Click on the SITE MAP for a listing of all the pages. There is a lot of interesting information/articles listed- we particularly would like to draw your attention to the CAAB Reports and Photo and video pages. We suggest this is checked regularly as the site is updated frequently.
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HARROGATE MAGISATRTES’ COURT: R v LINDIS PERCY
On 8 March this year at the weekly Tuesday pm demonstration at NSA Menwith Hill (started in 2000 and now in its sixteenth year), Lindis Percy was arrested under section 35 of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 – use of Dispersal Powers. She was demonstrating in the way previously agreed with North Yorkshire Police (NYP) and the Ministry of Defence Police (MDP) and implemented over the previous two years. She was later charged and bail conditions were imposed. On 15 April, she was arrested and charged again under the same Act.
This was the first time this law had been used by the NYP and the MDP at Menwith Hill and represented a betrayal of the trust built up over the previous three years, following eight years of struggle. Read on …
Although the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act has a clause which allows peaceful assembly, the use of Dispersal Powers at Menwith Hill could have serious implications for the policing of other demonstrations. It was important to bring this to court to rule on whether the MDP could use Dispersal Orders. It was also abundantly clear to Lindis from the start that the officers did not know what they were doing and erred many times in law.
Lindis defended herself. Throughout the lead up to the trial (14 September 2016) the Crown Prosecution Service caused many delays by ignoring Directions by the Magistrates to disclose documents and CCTV – see our last newsletter (No. 60, Summer 2016) for more details. CCTV of both incidents was not forthcoming despite many requests and three applications for Intervention hearings. The CCTV recordings were finally produced just before the start of the trial.
It was abundantly clear who was in charge of this case – the ‘third party’ (the American authorities) who Lindis had flagged up at the first hearing on 7 April. Brandon Halstead (the US Judge Advocate from Menwith Hill) appeared at many of the hearings, instructing the Crown Prosecutor. At trial he sat behind the Crown Prosecutor. He brought copies of the edited CCTV which was edited, not dated or timed and still in American format. Lindis was not permitted to have any copies.
She made an application for the CCTV to be produced in a credible format and for Mr Halstead to be cross examined to validate the CCTV. This was refused by the Magistrates. He said he could not appear in the witness box as he had to have permission from the US authorities. He was in charge of the CCTV. There was no MDP officer in court. Lindis had requested from the start and on the day of the trial that the case be heard by a District Judge as there were complex points of law to be argued. This was again denied.
The case ended a day early on a point of law. The result was that the Magistrates agreed with Lindis Percy’s argument that Dispersal Orders cannot be used by the Ministry of Defence police (aided by North Yorkshire police) at NSA/NRO Menwith Hill. The Prosecutor offered no evidence and Lindis Percy was awarded costs from Central Funds.
It was very important to challenge the use of Dispersal Orders by the MDP and to stop their abuse of power and misuse of the law. They made many mistakes in law and allowed the US authorities to lead on the case. The case established that the MDP cannot use Dispersal Orders again – at least at Menwith Hill. It would be foolish of the MDP to try this again at other US bases (or indeed any other protests). The Magistrates ruled that the area where the Tuesday demonstration takes place – the area restricted by the Dispersal Order – was private land. DOs can only be used in a public space. Lindis had argued that the land in question had restrictions namely the RAF Menwith Hill Byelaws 1995 (which have not been used for many years as they are suspect in law).
At the end of the trial, whether Lindis was found guilty or not, the MDP had wanted to apply for a Restraining Order on her – Not to go within 500 meters of Menwith Hill or to be found on MOD property. They did not apply.
HARROGATE MAGISTRATES’ COURT
Magistrates’ Finding of Fact 15 September 2016
“We have been asked to make a finding of fact as to whether or not the land immediately in front of the main gate and up to the yellow line is a public place.” Read more …
We have heard evidence from Sgt Findlayson and submissions on behalf of the Crown and the defendant. We have also seen a still CCTV image of the area.
The basic factual scenario is that there has been a history of protests taking place for a number of years. These are under the control and supervision of the Ministry of Defence Police. There was an agreement as to how the protests would be conducted. There are byelaws in place restricting access to the area in question although they have not been enforced for some years. A decision was made to issue the defendant with a dispersal order on two separate occasions.
The prosecution accept that the land is owned by the Ministry of Defence. They assert that the area is a public place as there are no “physical” barriers in place stopping a member of the public driving or walking onto the area in front of the gates. The defendant asserts that while there are no physical barriers there are byelaws in place that restricts the class of person who can enter the area.
It was confirmed in the evidence of the Sgt that protestors had been arrested under the byelaws for entering the area. That would indicate that there has previously been an understanding that the area in question had restricted access. The officer accepted that the protests were under the control of the MOD Police.
Reliance was placed, by the prosecution, upon the fact that there is a police station to which there is access to the public. This is unmanned. The officer gave examples of this being used by delivery people etc to enable a decision to be made as to whether individuals are to be allowed “on station”. The officer said that a person entering the area would not be subject to challenge.
We have looked at the image from the CCTV and we can see that there are officers in the area, there is a wall at the front of the boundary with the main road. There is a fence with barbed wire. It is obvious that the area is a secure base. There are armed officers in the area. We conclude a member of the public would not immediately think that they were welcome to approach unless they had business at the base.
We have examined the byelaws and they refer to “lawful user” and individuals acting with permission of the relevant authorities. They make it an offence to enter “the applicable area”. Up until these allegations the protests had taken place with the agreement of the relevant authorities. We were told in evidence that the decision to use the dispersal notices was made on the day. We were told that there has been a sign indicating that byelaws were in place. We also heard that there is a sign in the area referring to the “Official Secrets Act”. None of this suggests that this is a public place. (Please note that ‘Sgt Findlayson’ should read ‘Sgt Finlinson’.)
There appears to have been a decision not to enforce the bye laws. The fact remains that they are still in force. Anyone who was aware of the bye laws would be on notice that to enter the area would be an offence. The bye laws make it clear that the class of person who is entitled to enter that area is restricted. We therefore conclude that the area is not a public place.
Keep Space for Peace Week Yorkshire Event 2016
Date: Tuesday 4th October 2016
Time: 6pm to 7.30pm
Place: Main Gates of NSA Menwith Hill, just off the A59 between Harrogate and Skipton.
Speakers: Professor Dave Webb and 3 hibakusha (Japanese atomic bomb survivors)
Music by Catherine
Arrangements by CAAB and Yorkshire CND
Share your ideas and concerns with others seeking to keep Space for Peace.
Menwith Menace: Britain’s Complicity In Saudi Arabia’s Terror Campaign Against Yemen
by Media Lens : September 13th, 2016
The ‘mainstream’ Western media is, almost by definition, the last place to consult for honest reporting of Western crimes. Consider the appalling case of Yemen which is consumed by war and an ongoing humanitarian catastrophe.
Since March 2015, a ‘coalition’ of Sunni Arab states led by Saudi Arabia, and supported by the US, Britain and France, has been dropping bombs on neighbouring Yemen. The scale of the bombing is indicated in a recent article by Felicity Arbuthnot – in one year, 330,000 homes, 648 mosques, 630 schools and institutes, and 250 health facilities were destroyed or damaged. The stated aim of Saudi Arabia’s devastating assault on Yemen is to reinstate the Yemeni president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, and to hold back Houthi rebels who are allied with the former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh. The Saudis assert that the Houthis, who control Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, are ‘proxies’ for Iran: always a convenient propaganda claim to elicit Western backing and ‘justify’ intervention. …
Dr Marcus Papadopoulos highlighted the danger of US bases in Britain
Activists storm US military base in Yorkshire
PressTV July 4th 2016
British activists have stormed an American military base in Yorkshire, continuing decades-long calls for its closure.
Just like the past three decades, peace activists from all over Britain gathered outside the Menwith Hill intelligence-gathering center on the outskirts of Harrogate over the weekend, the British daily Morning Star reported Monday.
“US military bases in Britain are jeopardizing the safety and security of the British public as they are threatening Russia and helping to cause carnage in the Middle East,” said Marcus Papadopoulos, an activist with the Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases (CAAB), which organized the event. ….
This is the first of a new series of videos about CAAB.Dr Martin Schweiger tells us why he comes regularly to the weekly Tuesday evening (6pm – 8pm) demonstrations – organised by the Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases – outside the main entrance to ‘RAF’ Menwith Hill near Harrogate, North Yorkshire.Produced and directed by Mark Spark (Blackrock productions).
The American base at Menwith Hill, North Yorkshire UK
This, the second of a series of videos about CAAB, covers detailed information about the US base at Menwith Hill.The first video can be seen above.Produced and directed by Mark Spark (Blackrock productions).
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”Margaret Mead