Monday 4 July 2011

Independence from America Day; Menwith Hill

I've just come back from a splendid party over at Menwith Hill, the American Spybase located near Harrogate. Each year on July 4th, a group of peace activists gather to celebrate 'Independence from America Day'. As US citizens rightly remember their struggle against British Colonialism, it is also right that we remember the present struggles against US Imperialism.

The US flag waved proudly at the gatehouse, guarded by British police officers and men with machine guns. This is US soil, on British Land. Not even local Members of Parliament are able to discover what goes on behind those gates, only the US spooks can hope to listen into the vast material gathered from the 30 or so 'giant golfballs', (simply covers for the satellite dishes, disguising which direction they may be pointing in)

From Drone attacks in Pakistan and Yemen, to bombing raids in Afghanistan and Iraq before that - Menwith Hill is far from innocent. It lies in such an idyllic location, hiding the horrors that are produced from it's intelligence gathering. It is called a listening facility, but listening is too benign a word. It is a facility of power and dominance, a facility of secrecy and destruction.

One day, when British foreign policy does not simply slavishly follow aggressive US empire building, one day we shall have our independence. We will not follow to war in Iraq and Afghanistan, we will not fuel their weapons industry with the folly of Trident - and this little piece of England will be returned to the beauty of the orchids.

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