Campaigners have referred to as on ministers to elucidate whether or not the secretive Menwith Hill intelligence base in Yorkshire is concerned in current drone strike assassinations, after the publication of a report that raises questions on UK involvement in US assaults.
The analysis concludes it “was possible” that Iranian normal Qassem Suleimani was killed in January final 12 months utilizing info obtained from the British website, primarily an outpost of the US Nationwide Safety Company (NSA).
It additionally raises questions on whether or not British personnel on the positioning are concerned in aiding lethal US drone strikes – particularly in Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia, all battle zones the place the UK shouldn’t be formally at conflict.
Barnaby Tempo, an investigative journalist, complains within the report that the US and UK forces at Menwith Hill “function past public scrutiny and accountability” – and that, except there have been change, “Orwellian surveillance techniques and extrajudicial executions uncovered in recent times will doubtless proceed”.
The report, introduced at a particular assembly of the Menwith Hill Accountability Marketing campaign, calls for “any US army exercise or US safety company exercise carried out at Menwith Hill be carried out in such a manner as to make these accountable absolutely accountable to the UK”.
Menwith Hill is eight miles west of Harrogate on the fringes of the Yorkshire Dales, recognized for its distinctive massive white golf ball domes housing radar gear. Though nominally an RAF base, it’s actually the biggest recognized abroad website of the NSA, with 600 US personnel and 500 British civilians on website.
Leaked paperwork from the Snowden information have proven that Menwith Hill is a part of an eavesdropping community, capable of gather information from lots of of thousands and thousands of emails and telephone calls every day and of pinpointing telephones on the bottom.
Data obtained can be utilized in “capture-kill” operations, together with the monitoring of Taliban targets in Afghanistan in 2011 – resulting in “roughly 30 enemy killed” – and once more in 2012, in accordance with beforehand revealed evaluation of the Snowden information summarised by Tempo.
One other programme, Ghostwolf, sought to determine terrorists in Yemen. Proof obtained was used to “seize or get rid of” targets – throughout the Trump administration US drone strikes within the nation killed a minimum of 86 civilians, together with 28 youngsters.
“Intelligence programmes at Menwith Hill have reportedly performed a key position in operations to ‘get rid of’ folks in Yemen, as a part of a lethal drone bombing marketing campaign that has resulted in dozens of civilian deaths in a rustic that neither the UK nor US has declared conflict with,” Tempo added.
The US says its drone strikes in Yemen are authorized, citing the Authorisation of Army Pressure Act handed in 2001 after the 9/11 assaults. However no related legislation exists within the UK and MPs have solely voted for army motion in opposition to Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, the place the RAF stays engaged in a bombing marketing campaign.
In gentle of the leaks, Tempo concludes it was doubtless that Menwith Hill had a task to play within the killing of Suleimani in January 2020, an motion that briefly threatened to plunge the US right into a wider battle with
Iran. British ministers have refused to touch upon whether or not the Yorkshire base did have a task within the drone strike, within the gentle of a longstanding coverage that “we don’t touch upon the small print of the operations carried out at RAF Menwith Hill”.
However Tempo argued that such secrecy raises severe questions. “The involvement of the UK and Menwith Hill in an assassination that threatened to spark a conflict must be of nice concern. The UK authorities’s failure to guarantee the general public that the bottom was not concerned raises deep questions concerning the accountability for actions on the base,” he wrote.
A Ministry of Defence spokesman mentioned: “RAF Menwith Hill is a part of a worldwide US defence communications community, with the bottom supporting quite a lot of communications exercise. For operational safety causes and as a matter of coverage, neither the MoD nor the [US] Division of Protection publicly talk about specifics regarding army operations or categorised communications no matter unit, platform or asset.”