WoMenwith Hill news update

msbrown at boltblue.net msbrown at boltblue.net
Tue Dec 3 12:33:52 GMT 2002

From: FlossieMintballs at aol.com 
Subject: WoMenwith Hill news update 
Date: Mon, 2 Dec 2002 17:03:21 EST 
Tel. 01943 468593 email: flossiemintballs at aol.com 
News update: December 2002 
Thursday 12th December: Embrace the Base: 10 am - 4 pm: 3 pm banner link-up. 
Friday 13th December: Blockade the Base: non-violent direct action. The 
protests are to remember and celebrate the empowerment and impact of the 30,000 
women who demonstrated against USA's nuclear-armed Cruise Missiles: #~#~#~#~ 
Greenham Common Dec 12th 1982 ~#~#~#~# 

Now, with both the US and Britain threatening to go to war against Iraq, and to 
use nuclear weapons in such a war, women are coming together again to say 'No 
war in our name - stop the war - close the base!' 

Woman~to~woman~to~woman - please pass on the message! 
Recent News: latest developments in Menwith Hill: During the past year 24 plans 
for expansion of infrastructure and upgrading of security systems have been 
submitted to Harrogate Planning Department. Not one of these plans has gone for 
consideration to the elected Council Planning Committee; the Chief Planning 
Officer, a Council employee, has decided them all. It is evident that a large 
intake of US personnel is anticipated, who will be employed on the station's 
two main projects: 
· ECHELON: Menwith Hill is the largest base in the USA National Security 
Agency's global communications' interception network, commonly (but 
inaccurately) called ECHELON. 
The European Parliament (EP) criticised the British Government for condoning 
the NSA's use of Menwith Hill to spy on European interests. The EP accused the 
NSA of violating the European Convention on Human Rights. The US NSA is closing 
its base at Bad Aibling and transferring between 1,000 and 2,000 staff to 
Menwith Hill following the EP's similar criticism of Germany. The Electronic 
Intelligence (ELINT) part of ECHELON's interception system has a role to play 
in 'Star Wars'. The spy satellites can identify preparations prior to the 
launch of an inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) aimed at the USA. 

· SBIRS: installations and equipment for research and development of the Space 
Based Infrared System (SBIRS) components of USA's 'Star Wars' National Missile 
Defence, were installed in 1999/2000. This system is expected to track a 
missile at launch and throughout its trajectory. It is supposed to signal the 
position of the ICBM to the 'shooter' interceptor missile. It does not work. 
We have submitted objections to ALL the plans. We have argued that the plans 
are preparatory to the development of further 'Star Wars' Ops installations. 
They are unlawful; they are environmentally unacceptable; they increase the 
threat of 'terrorist' attack on the locality; they are dishonestly introduced 
in piecemeal instalments so that no individual development will justify a call 
for a Public Inquiry. We are calling for the 'package' to be viewed as a whole. 
We have asked the Harrogate Borough Council to cease the pretence that it is 
conducting a democratic public consultation procedure. To each of our 
representations we have received the usual stereotyped format reply. Our 
arguments have not been addressed. (But they can't ignore us!) The latest plan 
is for a 'PX FACILITY'. This means the 'Post Exchange Store'; a supermarket in 
which goods, on which there is no UK Value Added Tax, are sold to US personnel 
only. The plans reveal that this is a substantial supermarket, which includes a 
restaurant, car parks, goods delivery yard, etc. The plans even show internal 
fittings and fixtures and where the goods will be displayed. This proposal, 
plus development of a new Contractors' Compound, extends significantly the 
built-up area of the base to the West. The PX will be built in the 'lost 
garden' and woods of Nessfield House (Grade 2 listed?) which the NSA demolished 
without seeking planning consent. This 'PX Facility' and Contractors' Compound 
will be massively detrimental to the environment; thus we have called for an 
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and an Archaeological Impact Assessment 
(AIA) before the construction is permitted to proceed. There NEVER has been 
either an EIA or an AIA at Menwith Hill. In practice it is out of control of 
any British local or national government authority. Alice Mahon MP is raising 
the issue with The Secretary of State for Defence, Geoff Hoon. We shall receive 
a considered reply from one of his Ministers - see how they'll wriggle out of 
this one! The ongoing site surveying and the presence of excavators in this 
area of the base indicates that, yet again, construction is underway before the 
Harrogate Planning Department (or Geoff Hoon) has the opportunity to make 
observations and before EIA or AIA can be conducted. This doesn't even pretend 
to maintain an appearance of democracy! 
Parliamentary Ombudsman Case: 
We are making complaint that the Ministry of Defence is guilty of misconduct 
because of its complicity with the US National Security Agency's operational 
malpractices at Menwith Hill. We have exhausted every other avenue to make 
complaints. There is no official scrutiny of the NSA's operations, thus there 
is no responsible 'body' to which we can submit complaints and which has power 
to remedy them. It is not acceptable that we, as members of the public, should 
constantly have to bring the NSA's misdemeanours to the attention of the 
Defence Secretary. The remedy we seek is the establishment of an oversight 
committee, which would ensure that the NSA complies with standards of 
acceptable practice and also complies with UK and EU Law. (Under the State 
Immunity Act 1978 the NSA at Menwith Hill 'is immune from the jurisdiction of 
the UK courts') The NSA, if it could be forced to comply with UK Law, would 
thus be obliged to cease what it is doing at Menwith Hill and the base would 
close. (Sigh! If only...) We expect to have the complaint ready for 
presentation in January 2003. 

Security? What 'security'? 
In June the British Government's Security and Intelligence Committee Report 
stated that there was a likelihood of 'terrorist' attack on US bases in Britain 
and as a consequence there would be 'collateral damage'. The euphemism means 
that people living in the area of a US Base will be killed. The new security 
measures do not include any protection for the local people, nor are they 
anything like adequate to protect the base personnel. The pathetic inadequacy 
was exposed by the ease with which an unathletic OAP could cut through the weld-
mesh alarmed fence, within yards of the heavily policed Main Gate, on a 
beautiful sunny afternoon. Anne walked towards, but was foiled from entering, 
the US NSA HQ only by the unexpected emergence of two senior police officers, 
who recognised her. This attempt to deliver a letter and speak to NSA's 
Director of Installations about illegal and unauthorised Menwith Hill 
developments, revealed measures we resort to in order to 'exhaust every other 
avenue for complaint' for our case to the Parliamentary Ombudsman. District 
Judge Anderson refused to believe this 'lawful excuse'; he decided that the 
fence cutting was an 'act of bravado and a publicity stunt'. Convicted. Bound 
over to keep the peace in sum of £300: costs £613: compensation to US Federal 
Government (who paid repair bill) £511.13. Appealed to Crown Court. 

Don't need any cash to pay fines, 'cos I'm not paying. We wouldn't mind a 
little donation (big ones are always very acceptable, too!) 'cos we've got 
another camp van to join Doris. She's an old (no, a 'classic') ice-cream van, 
but now fitted out with little cooker, cupboards, beds, etc. She's wiccid, so 
we call her Sybil. 

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