What really happens at Menwith Hill?

Menwith Hill Early Warning base near Harrogate.  September 1, 2006.
Menwith Hill Early Warning base near Harrogate. September 1, 2006.
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The top-secret activities of US forces at RAF Menwith Hill are put under the microscope in a new report, to be released on Thursday, which pieces together who really does what in this quiet corner of the Yorkshire Dales.

The report, by academic and peace researcher Dr Steve Schofield, brings together over 30 years of research into the activities of the US spy base, spanning military documents, whistleblower evidence, European Parliamentary evidence and investigations by journalists and peace activists since the 1970s.

It also claims that the base’s local economic impact has been exaggerated, failing to account for hidden costs to the UK taxpayer.

Yorkshire CND, which commissioned Lifting the Lid on Menwith Hill, claims the report reveals the base’s “strategic role as part of the United States’ plan for global power projection and as a critical weapon in a new form of covert 21st century intelligence-led warfare”.

RAF Menwith Hill has been leased to the United States government since the 1950s and run by the National Security Agency of the US Department of Defense.

It was used during the Cold War to monitor Soviet communications and provide an early warning of nuclear attack, and is now said to play a key role in the so-called War on Terror.

The report will officially be released at an open public meeting in Harrogate on Thursday, March 1, at The Quaker Meeting House on Queen Parade at 7.30pm.

Author Dr Steve Schofield and Prof Dave Webb, chairman of CND, will present and discuss the report’s key findings, followed by a public debate on the issues.