|PROTEST AT MENWITH HILL AGAINST THE WEAPONISATION AND MILITARISATION OF SPACE
October 8 2000
from: Lindis Percy
It was wet! It poured all day - relentless rain and we and the literature got very soggy! We linked in to the many actions round the world to voice our concern at the US weaponisation and militarisation of space in general and specifically the pending American National Missile Defense system to which Menwith Hill is playing a crucial part. There were several people who had never been to MHS before and who braved the rain (that really is commitment!). People came from far and wide in the North West of England.
The British Ministry of Defence police (who are incidently paid for and under the 'operational control' of the Americans at Menwith Hill) had previously relayed a message to Lindis Percy that if she stepped over the imaginary 'red line' of the permanent injunction (made permanent in 1995) against her they would act by reporting her for being in 'contempt' of a High Court Order. (They were however 'aiding and abetting' the contempt of court when they raised no objection to Lindis being in the car park on the two previous demonstrations on 4 March and 4 July 2000). Although the MDP had agreed that we could hold the protest on the carpark inside the base (as for the demonstration on 4 March and 4 July 2000) the demonstration was held outside the 'red line' in solidarity with Lindis.
Christine Dean (who has campaigned tirelessly for over 20 years at MHS) introduced the two speakers and also explained the meaning of the 'show the base the red card' theme of the demonstration and how red means 'danger' and 'stop' - clear symbolic signals to NSA Menwith Hill. She spoke of the dangers of the weaponisation and militarisation of space and the new role of MHS.
Viriginia Harrington had recently been to Okinawa, Japan to join the 'Jubilee 2000' protest and had been to a demonstration at the USAF Okinawan base where they had shown the base the 'red card'. She spoke movingly about her experiences. Her account of her experiences brought the peoples of the Asian Pacific much nearer. We had adopted the same theme in solidarity with all the groups who struggle in the Asian Pacific where there are American bases.
Lindis Percy (Co-coordinator of the Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases - CAAB) reminded people of the true nature of NSA Menwith Hill and the abuses of the law and democracy that follow. She talked about the crucial role Menwith Hill has in the NMD system and that we must do all we can to keep the issue 'high profile' and urge the UK government not to give formal permission to the US to use Menwith Hill, Fylingdales or any other bases in the UK. The list of all the actions round the world was read out and also messages of greetings and solidarity.
Christine Dean took people on a walk around the base, informing them of the history of the long protest at Menwith Hill over the years and pointing out the two SBIRS radomes which have already been built. North Yorkshire Police had advised us not to walk on the roads because of the heavy rain and traffic. Chris instead took the walkers on to the base and followed the new security fence all the way round. The MDP looked on and made no arrests.
The demonstration coincided with the Quaker Meeting for Worship that has been held at the Main gate of MHS for 8 years every other month.
Anni Rainbow (Co-coordinator of CAAB) was greatly missed at the demonstration. She was unable to come because of illness.
It was amazing that people came - the weather was awful but clearly that was overcome by the determination of people there to come to MHS and show their deep concern at the new role of MHS in the NMD system. Thank you to everyone who braved the weather! Having tolerated the weather conditions everything seemed possible! We are even more determined in what ever way we can not to allow Menwith Hill, Fylingdales or any other base in the UK to be used to the NMD or TMD system.
The demonstration was organised by:
CAMPAIGN FOR THE ACCOUNTABILITY OF AMERICAN BASES( CAAB)