Because, for the last fifty years, the United States has been secretly constructing the largest electronic spy station outside the US – in the middle of Yorkshire – with the capacity, not to preserve democracy, but to subvert and destroy it.
The base plays a strategic role as part of the United States’ plan for global power projection and an active and aggressive role in a new form of covert 21st century intelligence-led warfare. Intelligence collected at the base can be used to conduct real time US military surveillance and operations such as covert warfare and drone strikes, anywhere in the world, at any time.
Menwith Hill’s provision of integrated intelligence is already being used to support a range of ‘real time’ military operations, including remote control drone attacks that have led to the deaths and injuries of thousands of civilians. Controlled by the United State’s shadowy National Security Agency, and as such unaccountable to either the UK or US governments, Menwith Hill is a critical weapon in a new kind of covert intelligence led warfare.
What’s more, a European Parliament report in 2001 revealed that the routine and unaccountable communications surveillance by US intelligence agencies breached human rights, with evidence of intelligence being illegally used to give the US commercial advantage over European interests.
The scale of espionage and breach of human rights taking place at Menwith Hill makes the News International ‘hacking scandal’ look insignificant by comparison, in its implications for civil liberties and democracy.
Its activities are illegal under international law, have never been democratically accountable to the British people, and the base serves a broader US power projection strategy that seriously damages international security.
We plan to Occupy Menwith Hill, in the hope that it might reignite the debate locally, nationally and globally about whether the subversive and undemocratic nature of activities at the base are acceptable, or indeed accountable, to the British public.
We want to draw attention to the layer of misinformation provided by the US Authorities and repeated by the UK Government, and raise significant questions that both the British public and international community should demand answers to.