Star Wars protesters to stage summit in Yorks
By Helen Hutchison,
Yorkshire Evening Post

February 3 2001



PEACEFUL SCENE? The Menwith Hill golf balls

EXPERTS and campaigners from around the world are to fly into Leeds for an international conference on the Star Wars defence programme.

Yorkshire campaigners are hosting the weekend event. Keep Space for Peace, in May.

The conference, at Leeds Metropolitan University, wUI involve campaigning, discussing and planning how to stop so-called Son of Star Wars technology from becoming a reality.

It is feared that Yorkshire could be a prime target in a global war because of the presence of the United States' spy base at Menwith Hill, near Harrogate, and Fylingdales early warning station on the North York Moors.

Both would have a role in the US national missile defence system being planned by the newly- installed president, George W Bush.

The Yorkshire Evening Post last week highlighted concerns about Menwith Hill, the world's biggest spy station, arid its secret activities. (see Secret Target and Tuned in to the World's Whispers).

Hundreds of activists are due to attend the conference as well as specially invited speakers from around the world, including the US, Russia, China, Norway, Germany and Greenland.

Website

Speakers include Karl Grossman, a professor of journalism in New York; Prof Michio Kaku, a nuclear physicist from New York; and a special adviser to former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

Local MPs including Harold Best (Leeds North West) are due to attend.

Organisers also hope to set up a website so that people can take part world-wide.

Yorkshire co-ordinator for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Dr David Webb, said: "The aim is to provide the opportunity for those wishing to oppose US national missile defence and the militarisation of space, to meet, network and learn more.

"We hope that further co-operation on campaigning and research will take place as a result of the weekend.

Demonstration

"We also aim to produce a body of work that will allow those who attend, and those unable to attend, to access the expertise we will gather."

Organisers of the conference are organising a demonstration at Menwith Hill and are planning to present a petition to the British government and the European Parliament.

Rear Admiral Eugene Carroll, who is Vice president dent of the Centre for Defence Information in Washington, will be speaking on Yorkshire and national missile defence at Bradford University on Wednesday at 6pm. For more information, call Yorkshire CND on 01274 730795.

(More conference details here)

Missile decision: no rush

DECISIONS on a United States missile defence shield involving the UK are still "some months" away, Foreign Secretary Robin Cook has insisted.

US Defence Secretary Donald Rurnsfeld has underlined that the new Bush administration intends to go allead with a missile defence system.

Mr Cook said it could be some months before there was a technical evaluation and assessment of "the international environment".

He listed questions including what type of system the US would develop, whether it would be sea or land based and whether it would need the a base in England.

But Mr Cook, who is about to have talks on foreign policy with his US opposite number Colin Powell, added: "It is very much my prime objective to retain a very close relationship with the US Secretary of State."

The Defence Ministry is believed to be arguing that the US is going ahead anyway and Britain should avoid any public split with the Americans.
 



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