International Day of Protest Against Foreign Military Bases
On 30th April 2021, The Menwith Hill Accountability Campaign (MHAC) and Yorkshire CND will stage a protest outside the US base at Menwith Hill, joining global peace movement calls for an International Day of Action against Foreign Military Bases. There are now over 1,000 foreign bases around the world, operating largely outside of the control of their host nations. In response to the recent expansion of NATO & US military forces in bases across Asia and Africa, this is a day to show global solidarity and opposition. The protest begins at 2pm and due to the ongoing health crisis, it will be socially distanced.
Menwith Hill is the largest intelligence-gathering, interception and surveillance base outside the United States. The American National Security Agency (NSA) and other US intelligence agencies represented at Menwith Hill are now capable of overseeing ‘real-time’ military operations, identifying low-visibility targets and coordinating special operations forces and remote control technologies like drones. This is described by US strategists as ‘tightening the kill chain’. What is nominally an RAF base is really an American ‘death star’, carrying out illegal forms of electronic spying and warfare over which there is no democratic accountability. The only solution is to challenge the legitimacy and presence of this US military occupying a large area of the Yorkshire countryside.
A spokesperson from MHAC described the base as providing “intelligence to target drone strikes which kill many innocent civilians. As if this wasn’t bad enough, the base’s activities are controlled by the US; the UK parliament and people have no real say but bear responsibility. Much of the activity at Menwith Hill has been judged to be illegal by the UK courts but because the base is managed by a foreign government it can operate outside the UK’s legal system. We know that many people in other countries which host foreign military bases have similar reasons for protesting against them.”
Despite operating in total secrecy, the base attempts to project a positive relationship between itself and the local community, emphasising, in particular, its economic contribution. The truth underlying this dubious public relations exercise deflects attention away from its main role.
As chair of national and Yorkshire CND Dave Webb notes, “The huge US Spy Base at Menwith Hill has been shown to play important roles in US targeted killings by armed drones, the illegal surveillance of US and UK politicians, and comprehensive tracking and surveillance of civilians. As such it represents a huge challenge to UK sovereignty and security and is an obvious target in the event of a conflict. We join today with the Menwith Hill Accountability Campaign to call for more openness and for all illegal activities to cease immediately.”