How Does NSA Get Away With Running Top Secret Menwith Hill in the UK?
North Yorkshire in the UK is known for its undulating and verdurous hillsides, scattered with walkers and sheep poo, cozy country pubs selling ‘real’ ale and Yorkshire bitter, and simple folk who talk funny.
This tranquil and traditional corner of England at its most ‘English’ is the lastplace you would expect to find a $10 billion dollar “star wars” inspired defence shield that houses 33 satellite dishes, enclosed within giant ‘golf balls’ that receive data from four SBIR satellites 24,000 miles above earth.
This almost unbelievable scenario is the situation with Menwith Hill in North Yorkshire, the home of a major US military site that has been shrouded in secrecy during its two-decade construction.
It has now been reported as the site for “Echelon”, the top secret US eavesdropping system that intercepts communications from around the world.
A Space Based Infrared System
The project at the RAF Menwith Hill base is linked to Buckley, in Colorado, a military Air Force base that houses approximately 100,000 military personnel, as well as the 460th space wing of the US Air Force Space Command.
The Command provides “missile warning, missile defence, technical intelligence, satellite command and control, and robust aerospace communications,” according to the website.
The Space Based Infared System that will alert the US to the launch of ballistic missiles is expected to be operational before the end of 2011.
Its looming completion and the fact that the site has been cloaked in such secrecy has naturally sparked a wave of criticism. That criticism has come from many quarters – not only come from the usual peace and anti-war campaigners.
Environmentalists and walkers of the area have had their pretty morning walk through the Yorkshire countryside infinitely spoiled with the erection of “star wars” inspired golf balls that are a blatant symbol of war and destruction. Local taxpayers also wonder if they have contributed to the $10 billion required to complete the project. Finally, there are many others who fear that space is in danger of becoming militarized.
Perhaps most worryingly are the concerns those that wonder how the NSA gets away with running such a top secret US military site in the UK – further evidence of the UK being an ‘eternal lackey’ to the US.
- You: ‘Son of star wars’ base in Yorkshire finally ready to open (guardian.co.uk)
- U R S O N a T E (2010) (wrophotomontage.wordpress.com)