Like most governments, the British government has played fast and loose with the legalities, and has often broken the spirit of the law if not the actual law (probably because there wasn’t one that was up to date!).
The latest element to come out is that USA bases in Britain are still governed by laws and agreements made in 1951, and which therefore do not take into account the developments in technology that have occurred in relation to snooping.
A group of British MPs have called for American military bases in the UK to be properly scrutinized under cross-party proposals after evidence emerged that they are being used for mass spying activities and drone attacks – it has been discovered that RAF Croughton – a US Air Force base and CIA relay station in Northamptonshire in southern England – was used last year to funnel data back to Washington from the network of diplomatic spy posts across Europe, known as the Special Collection Service.It also has a secure link with a US counter-terrorism facility in Djibouti, which is used for drone strikes in Yemen. Meanwhile, RAF Menwith Hill in North Yorkshire is a National Security Agency (NSA) listening facility.
Kat Craig, legal director of Reprieve, has said that “It is a scandal that there is so little oversight by the British government of potentially criminal activities taking place on our own soil. Moves to ensure the current unquestioning support is brought out of the shadows are therefore very welcome”
What is also interesting is that Tony Blair’s government gave America permission to store and analyse the email, mobile phone and internet records of potentially millions of innocent Britons. At the same time US security officials drew up plans to spy on British citizens unilaterally, without the knowledge of the UK government.
As I have said before, our civil liberties have been eroded, and are being eroded, and liberties are being taken – tell the government to stop at the next election.