Memorandum submitted by Lindis Percy (30
The subject of the Defence Committee meeting
to hear oral evidence on 30 January 2002 is extremely important
and effects us all.
I would have hoped that I could be invited to
give oral evidence as a member of the public. As this is apparently
not possible I would be most grateful if this written submission
is accepted and brought to the attention of the Defence Committee.
I am one of the Co-ordinators of the CAMPAIGN
FOR THE ACCOUNTABILITY OF AMERICAN BASES (CAAB). We work to bring
public scrutiny and awareness to the roles and functions of the
American Visiting Forces and their Agencies in the UK. What we
have discovered after many years of campaigning is that the systems
and structures which are in place to protect the citizen from
abuse are seriously undermined by the presence of the American
Visiting Forces and their Agencies. We have a website which will
give members of the Defence Committee an idea of the aims and
objectives of this campaign and the ways we work: www.caab.org.uk
In 1996 CAAB was the first campaign to find
out about and bring into the public gaze the issue of the new
and key role of NSA Menwith Hill (and later RAF Fylingdales) in
the American Missile Defence system. We have worked ever since
to raise issue as a matter of concern. CAAB is deeply opposed
to this dangerous and crazy system.
I also work as a health visitor in Bradford
and have worked in the NHS all my working lifeI am a trained
nurse and midwife. I have therefore a fundamental interest in
and concern about public health issues.
As a member of the public who is and will be
affected by any decisions made by the Defence Committee I ask
that my deep concerns are taken into account with regard to the
terms of reference for the inquiry. I am aware of the attendance
of the Chief Constable of the Ministry of Defence Police Lloyd
Clarke who will give oral evidence to the Committee. I confine
my submissions to American bases in the UK.
What changes in structures and methods
for dealing with major terrorist incidents have already been made
in response to 11 September and what further changes are necessary:
I am well aware of the vulnerability and serious
lapses in security before the terrible and horrific terrorist
attack on 11 September last year. Since then `security' has obviously
been increased with an increase in Ministry of Defence Police
(MDP) and more patrols by the civil police around US bases. The
stark fact is that these bases put all our security at risk particularly
since the events of 11 September. I am very aware of the lapses
in security particularly by the Ministry of Defence Police and
would be very willing to share my knowledge. It is not possible
to secure these bases.
MDP are being "bussed" in on 12 hour
shifts from all over the country. I have experience of this specifically
at the American National Security Agency base at Menwith Hill
North Yorkshire, RAF Fylingdales, USAF Lakenheath, Mildenhall
and the Deep Space Tracking Centre and New Space Facility at Feltwell
Norfolk. The cost for the services of the MDP is reimbursed by
the US Governmentrecently David Blunkett sanctioned a further
£1 million to cover the cost of increase patrols by North
Yorkshire Police at Menwith Hill. It will be necessary therefore
I believe to continue with this level (or more) of cost stretching
into the future. . .
Security of the defence estate and
I have experienced over 20 years the `security'
at US bases. My knowledge of this has been gathered through being
on the bases without being noticedmy presence is to harm
no one and I have peacefully walked for hours before anyone has
been aware. The security lapses are of serious concern in my view.
Since 11 September I am only too aware of the
worrying lapses in security round and on American bases in the
UK. I particularly would like to draw the Committee's attention
Possible new roles for the Reserve
I have no comment to make except to say that
no matter how many reserve forces or other personnel are deployed
this will not stop the determined person to gain access.
Defence against air- and sea-borne
The possible use of nuclear, chemical or biological
material on the ground is of great concern.
Role of missile defence.
I am extremely concerned at the stance taken
by the UK Government concerning the stated intentions of the United
States to go ahead with the Missile Defence system (in whatever
form). It is quite clear that the UK Government has every intention
in giving formal consent to the US Government for the use of Menwith
Hill and Fylingdales. The UK Government's pretence that they have
not been asked for such a use cannot be believed.
1. The stated intentions of the US are the
`domination of space for American interests only military
and economic'refer to Vision 20/20 and website: US SPACE
2. Space is for us all and not to be claimed
by one nation.
3. The notice of intention to withdraw from
the ABM Treaty 1972 is concerning in that this treaty has on the
whole kept the strategic balance of power for many years.
4. The stated intentions by the US are upsetting
China, Russia and other states.
5. The response by countries is to restart
a nuclear arms race.
6. Missile Defence is extremely costly and
is technically flawed (according to the respected and credible
Union of Concerned Scientists in the US).
7. A Missile Defence System did not nor
could prevent the terrible terrorists attacks.
8. The two bases that are key to the American
Missile Defence are Menwith Hill and RAF Fylingdalesthis
makes us even more vulnerable to potential terrorist attack (according
to George Lewis of the Union of Concerned Scientists who submitted
a Statement in support of a legal action I took out in the High
Court in October 1999 re the two Space Based Infra Red SystemSBIRS
radomes at Menwith Hill"SBIRS is the clock that starts
NMD"as it was called then). Menwith Hill is the European
Relay Ground Station for the Space Based Infra Red System.
9. To allow Menwith Hill and Fylingdales
to be used when the benefits are solely for the US endangers us
all. Far from enhancing the security of the UK the irony is that
all our security is put at risk.
10. The UK Government has a duty to protect
and defend the population of the UKthe crucial involvement
of these two bases means that we are also implicated in any conflict
generated from and by the dangerous and costly American Missile
Defence plans. We are also at the brunt of any anti-American feeling
11. In a `special relationships' friends
are able to tell each other if they are wrongthe UK Government
should have the courage and vision to let the US Government know
that AMD is not the way forward to enhance peace in the world
and that therefore Menwith Hill and Fylingdales will not be used.
12. I urge the Defence Committee to reject
any involvement and use of US bases in the UK for the American
Missile Defence programme as being far too dangerous and costly
for the future peace of the whole world.
Protection of critical infrastructure.
The presence of US bases in this country highlights
the fact that as allies and supporters (at whatever cost) of the
US, the UK becomes a focus for terrorist attack. No amount of
`security' measures will prevent the determined and fanatical
terrorist. Some of us would argue that we have to start to address
the causes of conflict and look at alternative ways of settling
conflict rather than building more and more deadly weaponry that
in the end may destroy us all as more and more countries develop,
test and deploy weapons of mass destruction. There has to be a
move to return the American visiting forces to their own boundaries.
Civial contingencies and emergency
planning: prevention, response and recovery in emergency situations.
I give one example of concern regarding the
ability, knowledge and actions of the Ministry of Defence Police
last week in response to an `anthrax' incident at USAF Lakenheath
(there is a US nuclear weapons store there and it is the home
of the 48th Fighter Wing).
I was at USAF Lakenheath on Saturday, 25 January
2002. I was told by a Ministry of Defence Police Sergeant (Paul
Rogers) that he was involved in an `emergency' and that he had
`something' on his handshe was not wearing gloves. He had
however abandoned his involvement in the `emergency' to come and
deal with myself which meant making physical contact (I was arrested
at Lakenheath `to prevent a breach of the peace'the details
I will not go intosuffice to say that it was a spurious
arrest and no action was taken by the custody officer and I was
released). Sergeant Rogers said as a result of making contact
with me that he may have `white powder' on his hands and that
he would therefore have to take me to hospital.
The officer seemed not to understand that his
actions had potentially contaminated myself, the police car, other
offices, the hospital and finally the Newmarket police station
where I was to be taken. I had to insist that the MDP officers
who escorted me to the police station alert them of the potential
problem. I was told later that there was indeed an `anthrax' alert
at the time.
The final outcome of this potential serious
situation was that apparently Sergeant Rogers had not been in
the building that the Americans had sealed off and the base was
later given the `all clear`.
Several issues occurred to me:
1. It might not have been `all clear' and
the emergency might have been for real. It must be treated as
for `real' until proved not.
2. If Sergeant Rogers was trying to scare
me to get me to leave that is very serious.
3. Sergeant Rogers said he might have something
on his hands and yet was quite prepared to spread (no gloves worn)
whatever might have been dangerous to all and sundry.
4. Sergeant Rogers was quite prepared to
contaminate the hospital when he said he would have to take me
to the hospital . . . etc etc etc
5. The officers do not have protective clothing
to hand in any event of an incident involving dangerous contamination.
I am dismayed at the lack of knowledge, apparent
concern or knowing what to do by the Ministry of Defence Police.
It is extremely concerning and an area where I would ask the Members
of the Committee to realistically address. The implications for
all are far reaching and concern issues of public health.
Furthermore I ask that the public is made aware
of any contingency plans in the event of a real or pretence alarm
involving chemical, biological and chemical material.
Role of the Ministry of Defence and
the Armed Forces in providing assistance to the civil powers.
I have been worried for along time by the lack
of accountability and control of the Ministry of Defence Police
for many years. I am encouraged however by the proposed Police
Reform Bill which has just been published and hope that this will
bring higher standards of professionalism, knowledge of the law
and jurisdiction and above all accountability to the MDP in line
with the Home Office force.
The recent extention for the jurisdiction of
the MDP in the Anti-Terrorism Act 2001 is concerning as in my
experience many of the MDP officers do not know what their jurisdiction
was before and when asked now certainly do not know what it is
now. I can foresee problems arising for example in `Liability
of torts' (incidentally not included in the Police Reform Bill
for the MDP) and also the Command and Control structures between
the Home Officer force and the MDP.
The fundamental difference between MDP working
on US base and British bases is that the MDP working on US bases
are paid for and under the operational control of the MDP Agency
customerthe US Visiting Forces and their Agencies. The
MDP have given away their authority to a visiting force which
has serious implications for the British citizen. I have many
experiences to support what I say and would be very willing to
give evidence to the Committee at any stage.
Government departments and other
agencies with key responsibilities: respective roles and liaison
Whatever and whoever is involved I request that
the Committee is open in sharing with the public some of who/what
Emergency services and local authorities:
roles and liaison.
I do not want to be fobbed off as we were with
the nonsense of the `Protect and Survive' information in the 1980s.
I ask that there is a realistic enquiry into the implications
of emergency planning with open and realistic information given
to the public.
Command and control structures for
dealing with major incidents.
A clear structure and plan is clearly very necessary
with everyone involved knowing what it is and their responsibilitiesit
must be made clear that whoever is to respond to major incidents
(presumably in terms of a terrorist attack, involvement of weapons
of mass destruction etc etc) that they may be going into areas
of contamination and the consequences of that.
Training and exercises.
I have no comment to make except that this must
be realisticeg contamination from nuclear, chemical and
biological materialand training involving all members who
will be expected to respond to such an emergencypolice,
ambulance, fire, hospitals etc etcwith realistic information
about the chain and level of contamination from just one affected
We have to and must be informed as to what we
should expect so that we are protected.
Commentary on relevant aspects of
the new chapter of the Strategic Defence Review (SDR).
I have no comment to make without any knowledge
of what is planned except to say that we have to look at alternatives
to setting conflict including destroying and decommissioning all
weapons of mass destruction that we in the UK possess.
Changes in legislation.
Any necessary changes in legislation must not
further undermine civil liberties.
I sincerely ask that my written submission is
taken seriously. I end with reminding the Members of the Defence
Committee of their awesome responsibility in coming to any decisions
concerning the Defence and Security of the UKany decisions
that are made on our behalf which will have lasting effects on
the future and on the future of generations to come. We have got
ourselves in a terrible mess and it is hard to see how we are
to get out of it unless we start to look at alternative ways to
order our society.