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.
Stop Press: About this website!
This website is to be redesigned. We have been in discussion with NETUXO LTD for sometime now having given a lot of thought to the look, content and how easy it must be to navigate the website. It will be clear and clean looking and much better than this!
We ask you to be patient as it won’t be up and running until later this year.
In the meantime we will post items now and again.
Go to the CAAB FaceBook page and/or Twitter for articles, news and information:
CAAB is delighted to learn that Shaker Aamer is back in the UK having been released from the black hole of Guantanamo. Like many others we have supported Shaker Aamer for many years – wearing the iconic symbol of Guantanamo – orange suit, black hood and sometimes shackled and chained.
We are thinking about Shaker and his family tonight and hope that he is being well cared for and skilfully looked after in the long journey to healing after the terrible time he has endured and witnessed.
WELL DONE SHAKER AAMER for surviving all those years.
Our task is not completed however. There are 111 people held still – many cleared – still being tortured….and Obama promised to close this evil place….DO THIS NOW Barack Obama….you have the power. It must not be allowed to continue…
Pentagon’s New “Law of War” Manual “Reduces Us to the Level of Nazis”
The Pentagon’s new Law of War Manual issued in June by the Defense Department’s Office of the General Counsel has been described as barbaric.
The Manual is so bad that one of the leading experts on the law of war (Dr. Francis Boyle) says: This Law of War Manual reduces us to the level of Nazis. There’s no other word for it.
Why is it so bad? …
It Authorizes Slaughter of Innocent Civilians
Reporters Can Be Assassinated
It Authorizes Barbarous War Crimes …
Warfare with nuclear weapons – “There is no general prohibition in treaty or customary international law on the use of nuclear weapons.”
Depleted uranium (The use of depleted uranium can cause cancer and birth defects for decades)
Napalm (which is banned under Protocol III of the 1980 UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons)
Expanding hollow-point bullets (banned under the 1868 St. Petersburg declaration)
Peace campaigner suffers broken ankle after being knocked down by American driver at weekly protest at NSA/NRO Menwith Hill
On Tuesday 11 August 2015 during the regular weekly evening protest at the American base, Barbara Penny from Harrogate, was knocked down by a car coming out of the base, sustaining a broken ankle and a head injury.
Ms Penny was taken by ambulance to Harrogate and District General hospital where she was treated before being discharged home later that night. She has since been re-admitted to hospital (where she remains) after complications with her injuries.
The driver of the car was not arrested but was breathalysed at the scene by the Ministry of Defence police. A file will be submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service with a view to bringing a prosecution of the American driver.
Lindis Percy, Joint Coordinator of the Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases and who was with Barbara Penny when she was knocked down, said:
“For the last 18 months this weekly peaceful demonstration has been going well. The way we demonstrate has been agreed with North Yorkshire police and facilitated by the Ministry of Defence police. We have developed a good rapport with people coming in and out of the base.”
Ms Percy continued: “It was a miracle that both Barbara and I were not killed by this wreckless act. Two fire engines, eight support vehicles and numerous fire fighters from the base and Summerbridge were mobilised. There is CCTV video evidence of the incident. CAAB very much hopes that the driver of the car will be brought to account for his actions. Our thoughts are with Barbara.”
NOTES FOR THE EDITORS:
There have been regular peaceful demonstrations organised by CAAB to oppose the presence and functions of the American Visiting Forces and their Agencies at NSA/NRO Menwith Hill and other US bases here and world wide. CAAB was formed in 1992
The Tuesday demonstration has happened every Tuesday evening (6-7.30 pm) for over 15 years.
The annual Independence from America demonstration at Menwith Hill in 2015 was remarkable in several respects. Sunshine, a play area for children, a small number of good humored police and the presence of other peace groups all helped. Good vegetarian food provided by the 1 – 12 Café Collective was enjoyed and the CAAB stall did good business selling the last of the special “Over the Hill” Menwith mugs along with several copies of Margaret Nunnerley’s book “Surveillance, Secrecy and Sovereignty”.
But it was more than that. Two Members of Parliament (Fabian Hamilton and Richard Burgon) spoke clearly and drew our attention to the bigger political picture in which the mass collection of surveillance data plays a significant and de-stabilising part. Two ex-military service men provided an insight into the damage being done to young men and women who join the armed services in the expectation of a better life and become severely traumatized by what they experience.
Two powerful messages were shared by Lindis Percy as she read communications from John Pilger and Noam Chomsky. We heard from Sukant Chandan who drew parallels from history of how those with the power to do so have oppressed and exploited other people. Music flowed from choirs, individual singers and artists. Gary Kaye drew on more than two decades of playing and singing songs that reflected his understanding of social and political issues. The East Lancs Clarion Community Choir performed some great music drawing on the peace heritage, telling us why Yorkshire based peace campaigns should welcome like minded friends from across the Pennines.
Also from across the Pennines came Tayo Aluko, a gifted baritone, whose moving performance draws on the inspiration given to him by Paul Robeson. The formal event was taken to a lively finale by the brass instruments of Les Vegas and the International boys of Rhythm with their irrepressible vocalist Sara Allkins. It was such a privilege to hear the speakers, performers and musicians who contributed so much to the experience of participating in the event and in restating why campaigning for peace is so important.
But it was more than all that. There was a sense of growing unity amongst those present that however difficult peace campaigning may be it is essential and it is worthwhile. Maybe the take away message was that “one day we shall overcome”.
Plan now to join the Independence from America Demonstration at Menwith Hill on Sunday 4th July 2016.
Click the above image to go to the CAAB Facebook Group.
Latest Snowden document naming
NSA/NRO Menwith Hill
NSA Global Spy Stations Revealed: ‘Sniff It All, Collect It All, Know It All, Process It All, Exploit It All’
Common Dreams – published Saturday, March 07, 2015
Latest documents leaked to journalists by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden offer new insight into mysterious ‘domes of Waihopai’ and the global spy network of which they represent only a part: http://www.commondreams.org
CPS discontinue important case arising out of USAF Croughton
For immediate release (7 February 2015)
The Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases – CAAB
Important case at US base discontinued by CPS
The CPS brought proceedings against a peace campaigner arising of two incidents in April/May last year of peaceful protest at the American base at USAF Croughton near Northampton. Lindis Percy (Joint Coordinator of the Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases – CAAB was arrested and charged with the alleged offence of ‘aggravated trespass’, alleged offence of wilful obstruction of highway with a non motor vehicle and one alleged offence of obstruction/disrupt person engaged in a lawful activity.
The case was set for trial for two days on 7/8 May at Northampton Magistrates’ Court before a District Judge. Nine witnesses were to be called (including three American personnel) and summons were to be issued against Jayne Robertson (RAF Liaison officer at USAF Croughton) and Eileen McAdam (Senior Ministry of Defence Police officer at USAF Croughton) who were to be called to give evidence. Lindis Percy had submitted a Skeleton argument and Defence Case Statement to the court setting out her defence at the last hearing when the date for trial was set. There were important legal arguments involved which the District Judge acknowledged at the last hearing.
This week the CPS discontinued the case. The reasons Keith Taylor – reviewing lawyer gave (standard for CPS when discontinuing cases) was that ‘the decision to discontinue had been taken because there was ‘not enough evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction (alleged aggravated trespass charge) and the prosecution is not needed in the public interest (alleged obstruct the highway charge)’.
When contacted by Lindis Percy to ask why this case had been discontinued Keith Taylor said that he had looked at the Defence arguments and all but agreed that the CPS must concede that the area leading up to the base at USAF Croughton is a highway (he said it was a ‘grey area’ of law) and therefore the prosecution would not probably succeed.
Lindis Percy said: “It is perhaps unusual for the Defendant to want a case to be continued. However it was important that these issues concerning the legality of the area of the peaceful protest were aired in court as they have an impact on the right to peaceful protest. The case was very much in the public interest as it may have revealed something of the illegal activities of this secret and unaccountable US base. The CPS and presumably the US authorities did not want this in court. It was the whistle blower Edward Snowden who exposed the extent of the illegal activities of this most secret and unaccountable US military base. There was a chance to get to the truth which has now been denied”.
Ms Percy will continue to go to USAF Croughton to protest at the activities of this base (as she has done for many years) and will be back to engage, once again in peaceful protest; in the precise way that she was to be prosecuted for.
NOTES TO THE EDITORS
a.. There is to be a major expansion of almost £200M at USAF Croughton which has already been implicated in mass surveillance and drone strikes, into one of its largest intelligence hubs outside the US. The expansion is due to be completed by 2017.
b.. USAF Croughton (misleading referred to as RAF Croughton) which has a direct cable link to GCHQ at Cheltenham is to be the site for an ultra-secure intelligence centre staffed by up to 1,250 personnel covering US counter terrorist operations in Africa. The US Defense Intelligence Agency will also be developed on this base and will underline USAF Croughton’s position as a centre for clandestine and classified US communications in Britain.
c.. The recent announcement of the closure of USAF Alconbury, USAF Mildenhall and the US Joint Intelligence Analysis Center at Molesworth will mean that some personnel from Alconbury and Molesworth will transfer to USAF Croughton.
d.. It is reported that the massive expansion at USAF Croughton will bring the base on a par with the very important US intelligence gathering and surveillance base at NSA/NRO Menwith Hill in North Yorkshire.
e.. CAAB has campaigned for many years concerning the activities of NSA/NRO Menwith Hill and the role, presence and activities of the US Visiting Forces and their Agencies.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Lindis Percy – Joint Coordinator of the Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases – CAAB
01423 884076 or 07949897904
GCHQ views data without a warrant, government admits
GCHQ’s secret ‘arrangements’ for accessing bulk material revealed in documents submitted to UK surveillance watchdog
The Guardian Newspaper
British intelligence services can access raw material collected in bulk by the NSA and other foreign spy agencies without a warrant, the government has confirmed for the first time.
GCHQ’s secret “arrangements” for accessing bulk material are revealed in documents submitted to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, the UK surveillance watchdog, in response to a joint legal challenge by Privacy International, Liberty and Amnesty International. The legal action was launched in the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations published by the Guardian and other news organisations last year.
The government’s submission discloses that the UK can obtain “unselected” – meaning unanalysed, or raw intelligence – information from overseas partners without a warrant if it was “not technically feasible” to obtain the communications under a warrant and if it is “necessary and proportionate” for the intelligence agencies to obtain that information.
The rules essentially permit bulk collection of material, which can include communications of UK citizens …
As Parliament is recalled to discuss the UK’s possible involvement in air strikes against Islamic State (IS) in Iraq, Quakers in Britain have sent an open letter to the Prime Minister. The text of the letter reads as follows:
“Quakers acknowledge with sadness the recall of Parliament to consider British military action.
“As the tragedies in Syria and Iraq unfold, Quakers in Britain again asks for military restraint.
“Quakers acknowledge and deplore the extreme criminal behaviour displayed in the region. We too, want the violence and suffering to end.
“We remind those who make these decisions in Britain that it is often easier to start a war than to end it, and that additional violence itself fuels a bloody and destructive cycle. The bitterness and hatred created lasts for generations. Such violence threatens us all.
“We stress that diplomatic channels must be used at all times, but especially when considering violence and war, particularly through the good offices of the United Nations.
“Britain is a wonderful living example of the potential of multi-faith peace-making. We have many British citizens of Iraqi and Syrian origin who are in active dialogue with their families and friends in the region. It is those people who tell us how such criminality is created – by desperate people who feel they have lost everything to violence inflicted on them by the West, and that violence is their revenge. Desperation has a human face and humanity is what we share.
“Quakers ask that Parliament discuss whether this is an opportunity for Britain to export peace in a way hitherto unexplored – through our multi-faith and multicultural connections which spread across the world.
“Quakers again ask for Government to take a further critical look at the role that the arms trade plays in promoting and increasing the likelihood of war.
“We trust and pray that as Parliament makes these difficult decisions on our behalf, they are guided by love of humanity and the desire for peace for everyone.“
Signed: Paul Parker, Recording Clerk, Quakers in Britain
Amid faltering ceasefires and talks, Quakers in Britain are calling for urgent action on Gaza. They urge the UK Government to recognise Palestine as a nation state; they call for a comprehensive arms embargo on all sides in the conflict and for an end to Israel’s blockade of Gaza and occupation of Palestine.
The calls for action come in a statement made by the decision making body of Quakers in Britain, the Yearly Meeting, attended by 2,000 Quakers in Bath. As part of their commitment to peacemaking, Quakers continue to challenge anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.
The Yearly Meeting heard essential steps towards full and fair negotiations:
Palestine to be recognised as a nation state
An end to indiscriminate fire by all sides
A comprehensive arms embargo
An end to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory and blockade of Gaza
Freeing elected Palestinian leaders now held as political prisoners
The use of international law to hold all parties to account for their actions.
The Yearly Meeting heard that this week that Quakers were invited to meet Foreign Office ministers on the crisis. Teresa Parker, programme manager for Israel and Palestine for Quakers in Britain, was among representatives from faith and secular agencies who went to share views and experience of the region.
A key motivation for Yearly Meeting is valuing all life. The Yearly Meeting statement says:
“As we among other Nobel Peace Laureates have said, ‘The conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis will only be resolved when Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territory is ended and the inherent equality, worth, and dignity of all is realised.’ Peacebuilding is a long and demanding path to take… We long for – and will work for – a time when the deep fear experienced on all sides is replaced by security and a just peace.”
The Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases – CAAB
We are horrified and appalled to learn, hour by hour of the terrible bombing, death and injuries by Israel on the people of Gaza. What is being done by Israel is a crime against humanity.We call upon Israel to cease their devastation of Gaza which is causing such terrible death, injuries and destruction to the people (70 per cent are children) and vast areas of residential areas.
We call upon the US and the UK to immediately stop supplying weapons and money to Israel, encourage Israel to stop blockading Gaza and immediately start to withdraw from the occupied lands in Gaza.
We call upon Israel to stop the inhuman practice of cutting off the water supplies and restore adequate water and food supplies to all people of Gaza.
We call upon both Israel and Hamas to stop the violence and with the help of skilled and professional conflict resolution mediators immediately start talking – away from the public glare.
Lindis Percy (Coordinator of CAAB) said: We make it quite plain that we do not support in any way what Israel is doing to the people of Gaza. It cannot be justified and Benjamin Netayahu must be brought to court to account and answer for these terrible deeds.
For more information contact:
Lindis Percy mobile: 07949897904
RT – Published on Jun 30, 2014
CrossTalk: The World Word War
Who is winning the global battle for hearts and minds? How big is the role of alternative media now? Has western media lost credibility among its audiences? CrossTalking with George Szamuely, Austin Petersen, Annie Machon.
This document sets out what is planned at USAF Croughton. It’s massive and will make the base as important as NSA Menwith Hill – see page 105. It sets out exactly what is being spent on what, and also the inadequacy of Joint Analysis/Intelligence Center at Molesworth and USAF Alconbury for their current purpose.
Washington spends £200m creating
intelligence hub in Britain
The Independent – by Cahal Milmo – May 17 2014
RAF Croughton, near Milton Keynes, is to have 1,250 staff
and will cover US operations in Africa
Washington is to spend almost £200m to turn one of its British military bases – already implicated in mass surveillance and drone strikes – into one of its largest intelligence hubs outside the mainland United States.RAF Croughton, a US Air Force (USAF) base near Milton Keynes, which has a direct cable link to Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) at Cheltenham, is to be the site for an ultra-secure intelligence centre staffed by up to 1,250 personnel and covering operations in Africa, a current focus for US counterterrorism activities.
The $317m (£189m) project, which includes an installation for the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon’s main military espionage service, underlines RAF Croughton’s position as a centre for clandestine and classified US communications in Britain.
Once complete in 2017, the facility will be comparable in number of personnel and operational importance to RAF Menwith Hill, the National Security Agency (NSA) listening station in North Yorkshire. Like Menwith Hill, it is likely to be co-staffed with representatives of British intelligence, including GCHQ. …
Big spending and development at USAF Croughton near Northampton/Oxford. And this is just Phase 1 so what are they up to? We think it may be about development of the base concerning Drones and Surveillance. CAAB will be asking Fabian Hamilton MP to ask some Parliamentary questions about this. Scroll down this page on taxpayer.net to see how much is ear marked – staggering with no accountability or oversight by the UK government.
History of Menwith Hill Campaign
Surveillance, Secrecy and Sovereignty
How a Peace Campaign Challenged the Activities of a US Base in Britain.
By Margaret Nunnerley.
This book is based on the activities of twenty years of campaigning by the Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases (CAAB) in Britain, with particular emphasis on the base at Menwith Hill in North Yorkshire.
The Worldwide control of humanity’s economic, social and political activities is under the helm of US corporate and military power. Underlying this process are various schemes of direct and indirect military intervention. These US sponsored strategies ultimately consist in a process of global subordination.Where is the Threat?
The 2000 Global Report published in 1980 had outlined “the State of the World” by focusing on so-called “level of threats” which might negatively influence or undermine US interests.
Twenty years later, US strategists, in an attempt to justify their military interventions in different parts of the World, have conceptualized the greatest fraud in US history, namely “the Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT). The latter, using a fabricated pretext constitutes a global war against all those who oppose US hegemony. A modern form of slavery, instrumented through militarization and the “free market” has unfolded.
Major elements of the conquest and world domination strategy by the US refer to:
1) the control of the world economy and its financial markets,
2) the taking over of all natural resources (primary resources and nonrenewable sources of energy). The latter constitute the cornerstone of US power through the activities of its multinational corporations.
Geopolitical Outreach: Network of Military Bases
The US has established its control over 191 governments which are members of the United Nations. The conquest, occupation and/or otherwise supervision of these various regions of the World is supported by an integrated network of military bases and installations which covers the entire Planet (Continents, Oceans and Outer Space). All this pertains to the workings of an extensive Empire, the exact dimensions of which are not always easy to ascertain. …
From 8th March 2011, RAF personnel of the Tactical Imagery Intelligence Wing (TIW) based at RAF Marham have been providing near real time imagery intelligence analysis in support of UK and Coalition forces in Afghanistan.
Analysts receive feed from the US Distributed Common Ground System (DCGS), which provides globally-networked Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities. The UK capability is known as CROSSBOW.
CROSSBOW’s concept of operations calls for true interoperability between both the United States Air Force (USAF) and the Royal Air Force (RAF) for distributed use of information from ISR collection assets.
“This capability is the result of a longstanding, mutual trust and relationship between the United States and our British allies,” said Major General James Poss, the Air Force’s Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for ISR. “Crossbow will enhance the future potential for leveraging synergies in distributed ISR operations, translating into additional capability to better support our joint forces commanders and warfighters engaged in combat operations in Afghanistan.”
Major General Poss explained that the programme represented a significant capability to enable improved shared situational awareness at the coalition operational and tactical levels of command. It also provided a better use of scarce imagery analyst resources, increasing the overall intelligence support to theatre without increasing the number of people in Afghanistan.
This is the first time that the UK will have the capability to provide near real time imagery intelligence support to Afghanistan from the UK. This ‘reachback’ capability – the ability to use service personnel in the UK to support troops on the ground in Afghanistan – ensures we make optimum use of available resources without increasing our footprint in Afghanistan.
Air Officer ISTAR, Air Commodore ‘Flash’ Gordon stated: “CROSSBOW is an innovative, affordable and highly effective force multiplier that significantly enhances our combat Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) capabilities; it also serves to demonstrate the close and enduring cooperation between the RAF and USAF.” …
Unknown territory: America’s secret archipelago of UK bases
They’ve been over here for 70 years, but the ‘opaque’ presence of our US allies worries many critics.
The Independent – By Cahal Milmo – January. 24, 2014
When Charles de Gaulle wrote to his American counterpart in 1966 ordering that all US troops be removed from French soil within 12 months, President Lyndon Johnson responded by enquiring as to whether the edict included the removal of the contents of his country’s war cemeteries.
The answer was no, but the subsequent removal of 70,000 personnel and 80,000 tonnes of materiel reinforced what has remained a cornerstone of US foreign policy – the use of the UK as Washington’s overseas military and intelligence bolthole of choice.
In response to De Gaulle’s “non” to Nato, Britain delivered one of a long series of post-war “come on over chaps” answers to the US Air Force and other arms of the US military, welcoming a further 225 fighter planes and the main European supply base for the US Army.
The result is some 70 years of co-habitation that has led to an abiding kinship – forged as Americans flooded into Britain for D-Day –and queasiness at incidents such as the use of East Anglian air bases to bomb Muammar Gaddafi in 1986, and the siting of US nuclear weapons here until 2008. …
…for the British and the US governments, the siting of Washington’s hardware – from F-15 fighters at Lakenheath to “golf ball” radomes squatting in the Yorkshire Dales at the NSA’s RAF Menwith Hill station – is mutually advantageous.
Under the UKUSA Agreement, the foundation for Anglo-American intelligence sharing signed in 1943 and considered so sensitive that it was not disclosed to the public until 2005, experts judge that the two countries have shared more secrets than any two sovereign powers in history.
It is part of a mosaic of US facilities, from air bases to listening stations in locations from North Yorkshire to Turkey, which, in the words of one US document, “delivers full-spectrum options to combatant commanders, leads and supports joint … warfighting headquarters operations, promoting regional stability”.
As well as enhancing British security, the bases pour money into local economies. Figures produced on behalf of US Air Forces in Europe claim America’s UK bases are worth $1.3bn (£812m) a year to local communities in spending on supplies, services, rent and food.
The MoD insists that there is full oversight of the “RAF” bases, including a British commander who scrutinises all actions to ensure they comply with British law, and legislation holding all foreign service personnel to UK legislation.But critics insist such assertions are a poor exchange for a grim reality of opacity over US activities and what they say is a legal no-man’s-land resulting in British impotence when it comes to holding the UK’s first ally to account.
Lindis Percy, a veteran peace activist who has protested outside US bases since 1979, said: “The thread … through everything to do with these facilities is an almost total lack of accountability. Even now, new by-laws are being introduced to deter people from going near bases already protected by draconian legislation.
“And they are particularly twitchy about bases linked to intelligence … It is the radomes and not the runways which are the new front line.”
RAF Lakenheath F-15E fighter jets drop live bombs on north coast of Scotland in USAF exercise
EDP24 – By Andrew Fitchett – Feb. 28, 2014
Fighter jets from RAF Lakenheath have been carrying out live weapons drops in Scotland as part of a training exercise.
Dramatic images released by the US Air Force (USAF) show F-15E fighters from the 492nd Fighter Squadron dropping live Guided Bomb Unit-12s (GBU-12) on the far northern border of Scotland at Cape Wrath.
The exercise, on February 10, was the first live munitions drop along the northern border of Scotland. Usually squadrons would carry out their annual requirement of participating in one live weapons drop in the US, but the recent squeezing of USAF’s budget meant the mission was postponed and it was felt to be more cost efficient to carry it out in the UK.
The location was chosen in negotiation with the Ministry of Defence.
According to USAF, dummy bombs had been dropped in the UK several years ago for practice, but never live munitions of such magnitude.
The live bombs were dropped on a large rock in the ocean, away from the population. Laser guided bombs were used to add “assurance to the accuracy of where the bomb is hitting”, according to a USAF spokesman. …
AirForceTimes.com – By Oriana Pawlyk – Feb. 28, 2014
The Pentagon is looking to close or reduce the sizes of its military bases across Europe, raising speculation that Air Force facilities might be on the chopping block.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said during the fiscal 2015 budget preview Feb. 24 that the Defense Department has reduced its European infrastructure by 30 percent since 2000, with additional recommended cuts on the way pending the European Infrastructure Consolidation Review this spring.
Following the budget preview, U.S. European Command officials announced their decision to reduce personnel at Royal Air Force Menwith Hill Station, United Kingdom, by October 2016. Approximately 500 U.S. military and civilian positions will be eliminated as the 421st Air Base Group and other U.S. military units deactivate. The base currently employs about 2,200 U.K. and U.S. military and civilian personnel. …
Mr. Bob Cryer (Bradford, South)I am pleased to have an opportunity to speak on this subject. In a curious way, it stems from two Ministers: the Minister of State for the Armed Forces, who claimed that there was parliamentary accountability for Menwith Hill station; and the Minister for Public Transport, who found Menwith Hill station so secret that he was not even aware of it when he was a Minister at the Ministry of Defence and thought that it was a railway station. In a recent debate, he astonishingly said that his civil servants had prepared him to reply to this Adjournment debate and he then discovered that it was connected with the Ministry of Defence. … ↓ ↓ Show more ↓ ↓
The story of Menwith Hill begins in the public area, not with a ministerial statement, debate or planted parliamentary question in the mother of Parliaments. It began on 18 July 1980 when the New Statesman published an article by Duncan Campbell and Linda Melvern entitled “The Billion Dollar Phone Tap—America’s Big Ear in the Heart of Yorkshire”.” To suggest, as the Minister has, that there is parliamentary accountability for that spy station in the Yorkshire hills is to torture the truth. Its establishment has been accompanied by lies, evasion, deceit and a persistent refusal by Ministers to provide proper information to elected representatives in this so-called mother of Parliaments. Indeed, the Minister of State for the Armed Forces has refused to allow Labour Members around the base. That is a curious change because in 1981 the former Secretary of State for Defence, Francis Pym, gave me permission to visit the base. The only qualification to that permission was a refusal to allow Duncan Campbell to accompany me because he knew something about the spying and procedures going on inside the base.
Parliamentary accountability is virtually non-existent. There is little point in asking questions when answers are refused. On 27 April 1988, I asked the Secretary of State for Defence “if he will list the agreements authorising the use of Menwith Hill communications base, Harrogate, by the United States National Security Agency.” Mr. Ian Stewart replied: “The use of Menwith Hill by the United States Department of Defence is subject to confidential arrangements between the United Kingdom and United States Government.”—[Official Report, 27 April 1988; Vol. 132, c. 203.]” I asked the same question on Thursday 19 July 1990.The then Minister of State said: “I have nothing to add to the answer which my right hon. Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, North (Mr. Stewart) gave to the hon. Member on 27 April 1988.”—[Official Report, 19 July 1990; Vol. 176, c. 654.]” I persisted again on Tuesday 16 June 1992 and asked the Secretary of State for Defence “if he will list the agreements governing the use of Menwith Hill by the National Security Agency of the United States of America.” The Minister replied: “The use of Menwith Hill by the United States Department of Defence is subject to confidential arrangements between the United Kingdom and the United States Government.”—[Official Report, 16 June 1992; Vol. 209, c. 501.]” In other words, elected Members of Parliament are denied information on the appropriation of more than 200 acres of land by the United States Government, who now run a spy station in the heart of our country which is linked up to a global network. That is inexcusable. If there is parliamentary accountability, the moon is made of green cheese.
The Menwith Hill story starts with the purchase in 1955 of a 246-acre farm on rural moors west of Harrogate. On 15 September 1960, after the expenditure of $6.8 million, the United States army security field station opened. On 1 August 1966, control of the station was transferred to the ostensibly civilian National Security Agency of America. Francis Raven, who was the chief of G group of United States army intelligence until 1975, claimed that the takeover occurred because the army resisted eavesdrop-ping on diplomatic and economic targets. That claim can be found on page 209 of James Bamford’s excellent work “Puzzle Palace”. At least the Ministry of Defence is helpful in some respects. The copy of that book has disappeared from the House of Commons Library, so it secured one from the MOD library—it was the only piece of useful information that the MOD has provided on the matter.
Menwith Hill is a spy station—a sophisticated version of the man in the dirty raincoat looking through a bedroom window or the pervert spying through a lavatory keyhole. Those who defend the station’s invasion of our land, which has never been approved by Parliament, are no better. There is no glory or wonderful purpose involved in Menwith Hill. That is all the more true now that the cold war is over. Ministers justified the Menwith Hill base by saying it was part of the cold war, but we understand that that has finished. What is their justification for the spy station now?
Yorkshire land has been taken from us to provide an eavesdropping centre that is virtually free from urban, electro-magnetic interference. That is why the station is sited at its current location. The station is part of a chain of such stations that span the globe. Their aim is to assert and retain United States supremacy. For example, exactly opposite to Menwith Hill, on the other side of the globe in a prohibited region in Australia stands the twin of Menwith Hill, Pine Gap station. When Menwith Hill opened, the United States air force security service listening post at Kirknewton near Edinburgh ceased operations and a former employee is quoted on page 210 of “Puzzle Palace” as saying: “I had to keep a special watch for commercial traffic, details of commodities, what big companies were selling, like iron and steel and gas. Changes were frequent. One week I was asked to scan all traffic between Berlin and London and another week between Rome and Belgrade. Some weeks the list of words to watch for contained dozens of names of big companies. Some weeks I just had to look for commodities. All traffic” — interception material—
“was sent back to Fort Meade in Washington.” Menwith Hill took over those functions and continued to pursue military eavesdropping.
Its spying grows. The cold war has ended, but the radomes number 21 after recent expansion. About 1,200 staff, who are mainly American, are employed there—the number has grown from 400 in 1980. United States staff are ordered never to mention the National Security Agency of America and to report all outside contacts with foreign nationals—the British people who live in the region—to ensure that supervision of such contacts is maintained. The base has a few carefully controlled public relations contacts to camouflage its isolation and secrecy, but many British people continue to oppose the base, for which there is no longer any justification, if there ever was.
Throughout the time of the base’s existence, Otley peace action group has held demonstrations and campaigned against it. A group of women, including Lindis Percy and Anne Lee, has focused particular attention on this foreign intrusion and has repeatedly entered the base and obtained valuable information—more power to their elbow. If Parliament will not provide accountability, people outside always will. While Parliament remains inert, it is people outside this place who have pushed Parliament along the road to democracy. …
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