Published in the Guardian – 12 September 2011

Dear Sir

While not condoning or excusing what happened in any way, (Detainee death: army warned of new charges – 9 September 2011) surely it is an impossible task for the young and probably traumatised soldiers, who are trained to ‘kill, kill, kill’ the actual or perceived enemy, to be then expected to look after the same enemy.

One way of preventing this happening in future might be for an independent, disciplined, accountable and credible force to look after those in captivity in a humane way. Above all they would be expected to abide by the rule of law. However this force is made up, they must be divorced from the physical, psychological and traumatic horrors of actual war fighting. The bottom line however is that war is not the solution.

Yours sincerely

Lindis Percy
Joint Coordinator

Published in the Guardian – 3 July 2010

Blows against the American empire

So the US authorities don’t like foreign spies in their midst or on their territory (Russian espionage ring, 2 July). Some of us are deeply troubled by the presence of the US spy base at Menwith Hill – in our midst and in beautiful Nidderdale. The base is celebrating 50 years of operations this year. Menwith Hill is the largest American spy base outside the US. It operates with no meaningful accountability or parliamentary and public scrutiny and is out of control of the UK government. They do what they like. It goes on mushrooming and relentlessly developing.

For Americans all round the world, 4 July is Independence Day, marking the historical event in 1776 when the US Declaration of Independence announced that the 13 American colonies, then at war with Great Britain, were now independent states and thus no longer a part of the British empire.

Menwith Hill celebrated Independence Day a week before. Maybe this was because traditionally at Menwith Hill we are there on 4 July with an alternative view. Once again we will be calling for independence from US military and foreign policy. However, we know that empires come and go. We hope that many people will join us tomorrow.

Lindis Percy
Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases

Published in the Harrogate Advertiser – 18 June 2010

Dear Madam

So Menwith Hill is 50 years old (unauthored column headed Menwith Hill 10 June 2010). Menwith Hill is of course much older than 50 years – actually centuries old.

Some of us are very unhappy about what goes on at the American base at Menwith Hill – secretive, unaccountable and out of control of the British coalition government. The base
puts all our security at risk.

4 July approaches. For the Americans it is Independence Day when the United States Declaration of Independence statement on July 4, 1776, announced that the thirteen American colonies then at war with Great Britain were now independent states, and thus no longer a part of the British Empire.

Many of us round the world with US bases on our doorsteps echo this Declaration as the US empire continues to grow. We do not want to be part of any empire and knowing that we have given away sovereignty to a foreign power.

On 4 July this year there will be the annual demonstration ‘Independence FROM America’ (2-7pm) when Mark Thomas (comedian and political activist) and Peter Tatchell (Human Rights activist) will be speaking and calling for independence from America plus an interesting line up of excellent musicians. There will also be quality vegetarian food.

Our struggle is with the US military, their agencies and US Foreign policy. We hope as many people as possible will attend this important demonstration when we will be saying after 50 years it’s high time the US Visiting Forces went back to their borders so that beautiful Nidderdale is once again restored.

Yours sincerely

Lindis Percy
Coordinator with Laila Packer

Published in the Guardian – 7 December 2009

Dear Sir

I realise that the issue concerning the Afghanstan conflict is complex (Obama’s war: the final push 2.12.09) as Barack Obama finally decides to send 30,000 troops to Afghanstan. However what I do find perplexing is that Barack Obama is soon to collect his Nobel Peace prize.

Yours sincerely

Lindis Percy

Published in the Guardian – 9 April 2009

Dear Sir

The parliamentary joint select committee on human rights was concerned enough to produce a report at the end of March on the way protest is managed by the police. Members reported their findings at the end of March and made recommendations. If the police have not read it, the whole report can be found on the Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases (Caab) website.

Lindis Percy

Letter – the Guardian – 24 March 2009

Dear Sir

I have some experience of making complaints against police officers (mostly involving the Ministry of Defence police agency, who work on US bases). So I am not the least bit surprised to hear from the Met that all but one complaint had been found to be unsubstantiated (Police officers in abuse case accused of 60 other assaults – 23 Marcy 2009).

All the officer, under caution, has to do is to say, “no comment, no comment, no comment” to questions usually asked by a police investigator. There is therefore nothing to investigate as there is only one side of the story told.

Until there is a truly independent complaints process, with no vested interest involved, complaints will continue to be unsubstantiated.

Lindis Percy
Co-ordinator, Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases

Letter – the Guardian – Monday 16 March 2009

It’s hardly surprising that police cameras focus on journalists in demonstrations (Report, 11 March); they focus on politicians, too.

Last summer my wife and I stopped at RAF Menwith Hill to support the weekly demonstration by the Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases. In the middle of a conversation outside the gates with a MoD police-man, filmed by a police video camera from a distance, the policeman received a call on his radio. “Control has just told me who you are,” he told me. Perhaps they’ve got the whole House of Lords on the database?

William Wallace Lib Dem, House of Lords

Invitation to the Chaplain and other staff at Menwith Hill to attend Quaker Meetings

January 2009

“Last year York Area Quaker Meeting tried to establish links between those Quakers who regularly attend a Meeting for Worship outside Menwith Hill, and the community working inside the base. Meetings of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) have been held regularly at Menwith Hill for almost 20 years. … ”

Letter Invitation to the Chaplain and other staff at Menwith Hill Base