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.
We are hoping to redevelop this website as it is in need of reorganising and redesigning.
The Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases (CAAB) is very sad to hear about the death of Nelson Mandela. He was an extraordinary man, an inspiration to millions of people round the world, a wonderfully humble and forgiving man who brought so much good to the world. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and the South African people.
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
Born July 18, 1918. Died December 5, 2013.
Rest in Peace, dear friend
Nelson Mandela, a wonderful man who inspired billions of people throughout our world, has died in South Africa. In the spirit of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela used the power of non-violent protest to change our world, and through the love of his huge heart ended the tragic South African system of apartheid.
Mandela served 27 years in prison, first on Robben Island, and later in Pollsmoor Prison and Victor Verster Prison. He served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. Mandela was the first black South African to hold the office, and the first elected in a fully representative, multiracial election. His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid through tackling institutionalized racism, poverty and inequality, and fostering racial reconciliation.
Mandela’s focus on restorative justice rather than punishment serves as a model of effective healing to our world. He established the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 1995, and used it to heal the wounds of decades of brutal racism and depravation in South Africa.
The following poem, written by Marianne Williamson, is often mistakenly attributed to Nelson Mandela. While he did not write it, this wonderful verse perfectly captures Mandela’s approach to life.
Our Deepest Fear
By Marianne Williamson
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
The Snowden files: why the British public should be worried about GCHQ
The Guardian – By John Lanchester – December 3, 2013
When the Guardian offered John Lanchester access to the GCHQ files, the journalist and novelist was initially unconvinced. But what the papers told him was alarming: that Britain is sliding towards an entirely new kind of surveillance society
… In the US, the Prism programme may have given the NSA access to the servers of companies such as Google and Facebook; in the UK, GCHQ has gained a similar degree of access via its Tempora programme, and the two of them together have a cable- and network-tapping capabilities collectively called Upstream, which have the ability to intercept anything that travels over the internet. This data is fed into a database called XKeyscore, which allows analysts to extract information “in real time”, ie immediately, from a gigantic amount of hoovered-up data.
In addition, the NSA has encouraged technology companies to install secret weaknesses or “backdoors” into their commercially available, supposedly secure products. They have spent a very great deal of money ($250m a year alone on weakening encryption), on breaking commercially available security products. Other revelations have been published in Der Spiegel, and concern the NSA exploitation of technology such as the iPhone.
Access all areas
What this adds up to is a new thing in human history: with a couple of clicks of a mouse, an agent of the state can target your home phone, or your mobile, or your email, or your passport number, or any of your credit card numbers, or your address, or any of your log-ins to a web service. …
The Snowden file: facts and figures – Video Animation
Published by The Guardian, December 2, 2013
The NSA files revealed by Edward Snowden have thrown up a fascinating collection of statistics. How much data is collected and from what countries? How much money is spent on intelligence? Find out the answer to these questions and more in our numerical guide to the surveillance industry.
The War You Don’t See
A film by John Pilger
‘The War You Don’t See’ is a powerful and timely investigation by John Pilger into the media’s role in war, tracing the history of ‘embedded’ and independent reporting from the carnage of World War One to the destruction of Hiroshima, and from the invasion of Vietnam to the current war in Afghanistan and disaster in Iraq. As weapons and propaganda become even more sophisticated, the nature of war is developing into an ‘electronic battlefield’ in which journalists play a key role, and civilians are the victims.
Nations agree to work on killer robots!
The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots
The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots welcomes the historic decision taken by nations today to begin international discussions on how to address the challenges posed by fully autonomous weapons. The agreement marks the beginning of a process that the campaign believes should lead to an international ban on these weapons to ensure there will always be meaningful human control over targeting decisions and the use of violent force.
At 4:47pm on Friday, 15 November 2013 at the United Nations in Geneva, states parties to the Convention on Conventional Weapons agreed to convene on 13-16 May 2014 for their first meeting to discuss questions related to “lethal autonomous weapons systems” also known as fully autonomous weapons or “killer robots.” These weapons have not yet been developed, but technology is moving rapidly toward increasing autonomy.
The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots believes that robotic weapons systems should not be making life and death decisions on the battlefield. That would be inherently wrong, morally and ethically. Fully autonomous weapons are likely to run afoul of international humanitarian law, and that there are serious technical, proliferation, societal, and other concerns that make a preemptive ban necessary.
A total of 117 states are party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons, including nations known to be advanced in developing autonomous weapons systems: United States, China, Israel, Russia, South Korea, and United Kingdom. …
Thousands gather in Washington for anti-NSA ‘Stop Watching Us’ rally
Video from ‘Stop Watching Us’ (YouTube) published October 26, 2013
Text below from The Guardian – By Jim Newell – October 26, 2013
Statement from whistleblower Edward Snowden read to crowd featuring groups from left and right of political spectrum
Thousands gathered by the Capitol reflection pool in Washington on Saturday to march, chant, and listen to speakers and performers as part of Stop Watching Us, a gathering to protest “mass surveillance” under NSA programs first disclosed by the whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Billed by organizers as “the largest rally yet to protest mass surveillance”, Stop Watching Us was sponsored by an unusually broad coalition of left- and right-wing groups, including everything from the American Civil Liberties Union, the Green Party, Color of Change and Daily Kos to the Libertarian Party, FreedomWorks and Young Americans for Liberty.
The events began outside Union Station, a few blocks away from the Capitol. Props abounded, with a model drone hoisted by one member of the crowd and a large parachute carried by others. One member of the left-wing protest group Code Pink wore a large Barack Obama mascot head and carried around a cardboard camera. Organizers supplied placards reading “Stop Watching _____”, allowing protesters to fill in their own name – or other slogans and occasional profanities. Homemade signs were more colorful, reading “Don’t Tap Me, Bro” “Yes, We Scan” and “No Snitching Allowed”. …
How MPs and peers took on May and spy agencies over ‘snoopers’ charter’
Anger at failure of Home Office and security services to reveal extent of GCHQ’s data harvesting operations
The Guardian – By Alan Travis – October 16, 2013
If anybody thought that putting Lord Blencathra, a former minister in Michael Howard’s Home Office, in charge of the pre-legislative scrutiny committee of Theresa May’s “snoopers’ charter” bill would provide a soft touch, then they were sorely mistaken.
They would have done well to pay attention to the peer’s first statement as chairman of the joint committee of MPs and peers, in which he pointed out that the draft communications data bill would affect everyone in some way.
“We all email, use websites and mobile phones and this committee wants to ensure the draft bill will ensure a sufficient balance between an individual’s privacy and national security. We intend very thoroughly to examine the government’s proposals,” Blencathra said, launching the five month inquiry in July 2012.
To the surprise of some observers the MPs and peers proceeded to do just that. …
The committee was extremely high-powered. It included Lord Armstrong, a former permanent secretary at the Home Office and cabinet secretary, who had famously gone all the way to Australia in a futile attempt to block the publication of the “Spycatcher” memoirs of the former MI5 officer, Peter Wright.
Other members included former Labour ministers who had been responsible for putting the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 on the statute book, an eminent QC specialising in human rights cases, former senior Whitehall civil servants and two Liberal Democrats, Julian Huppert and Lord Strasburger, well versed in the new digital politics.
Blencathra is not alone in feeling angered by the failure of the Home Office and the security services to inform them of the extent of GCHQ’s personal data harvesting operations in its Tempora programme, while pressing for even more snooping powers: “I sat on the committee and the Home Office misled parliament by concealing that they were already doing what the bill would have permitted,” Strasburger said.
The first and perhaps most important clash between the committee and the government came when MI5, MI6 and GCHQ refused point black to engage with the MPs and peers directly: “We asked to see the intelligence service, the security service and GCHQ. Their views on the draft bill would have been helpful to us. The home secretary, in accordance with usual practice, would not permit them to give evidence even in private,” the committee revealed in their final report.
“She offered us ‘a general briefing on the threat, particularly that from international terrorism, and the security service’s role in addressing it, [which] would take place off the parliamentary estate and would be strictly informal and off the record’. We did not see that this would advance our scrutiny of the draft bill, and declined the invitation,” they added. …
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).
I Spy Dactylorhiza at the US Base at Menwith Hill
“I took half an hour off from this week’s Tuseday Night Demo at the Menwith Hill Spy Base (www.caab.org.uk) to look at the dactylorhiza on Willow Carr Corner. The site has a wide range of forms in colour and shape. The shapes vary from strongly tri-lobed (Dact 5) (the local name for these is Crow’s Foot Orchid.) To ones where the lobes are hard to see (Dact 3). My favourite of the colour forms is Dact 2.
“Sadly the light was rather poor for photography… but I’ll be back on Monday (July 4th… Independance FROM America demo) and if Dact 2 still looks as good I’ll mark it for seed collection.” …