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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

US secretly develops electronic spy station in UK


Mon Feb 27, 2012 6:24PM GMT
 
The British government masks the ongoing costs to the taxpayer of servicing the base through infrastructure support and through hidden tax subsidies that run into tens of millions a year."
An investigative report has accused the U.S. government of using a controversial spy station in Yorkshire, Britain to "subvert and destroy democracy".


The report funded by the Joseph Rowntree foundation was based on an investigation led by Steve Schofield into the Menwith Hill base near Harrogate, the daily Morning Star reported.

It revealed for the first time the station's integral role in military offensives - potentially including drone strikes - and corporate snooping.

The investigation found that the cost to the British taxpayer of hosting the base has been grossly downplayed while the alleged benefits to the local and national economies have been hugely exaggerated.

The cost of policing the station is in excess of £500,000 each year, with the cost to the Ministry of Defense over the last five years estimated at over £7 million.

"The British government masks the ongoing costs to the taxpayer of servicing the base through infrastructure support and through hidden tax subsidies that run into tens of millions a year", the report stated.

Schofield noted that the U.S. government has been "secretly constructing an enormous electronic spy station with the capacity not to protect and preserve democracy - but to subvert and destroy it.

"Menwith Hill, more than any other U.S. military base in the world, symbolizes the vast chasm between the overblown rhetoric of American freedom and the grim reality of an imperialism out of control", added Schofield.

The number of specialist personnel from the U.S. armed services and from U.S. arms corporations increased from 400 in the 1960s to approximately 1,800 last year, according to the report.

Schofield said the spy station plays an "enhanced role in 'intelligence-led warfare'," where advances in both electronic surveillance and satellite imagery can feasibly be used to support "real-time U.S. military actions including drone attacks and those carried out by special operations forces."

"Menwith Hill should be closed down because its activities are illegal under international law, have never been democratically accountable to the British people and because it serves a broader U.S. power projection strategy that seriously damages international security," the report concluded.

Menwith Hill is part of the U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense program, which provides early warning of missile launches and trajectories.

As well as monitoring emails and telecommunications across Europe, Menwith Hill is used to gather corporate intelligence, meaning that confidential information from foreign competitors including European and British companies could have been intercepted and used by U.S. corporations to assist in their bids for lucrative international contracts.

MOL/JR/HE
 

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