USAF Croughton, late 1980s/early 1990s


USAF Croughton

‘CroughtonWatch’ is a monitoring campaign devoted to USAF Croughton (and its outstation, Barford St. John) on the border of Oxfordshire and Northamptonshire. USAF Croughton part of a global electronic communications, control and surveillance network that projects American military power across Europe, North Africa and the Middle East – a role that is about to expand with the arrival of the JIAC.

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USAF Croughton

The USAF Croughton site sits alongside the busy A43 trunk road. In recent years the MoD have gone to great efforts with landscaping schemes to hide its presence. These pages give information about the site, and how to visit and ‘bear witness’ to the the military and intelligence activities that take place here.

For information on the site and its military byelaws, click here.

For information on visiting the site, click here.

Future events

CroughtonWatch, 1st July 2019:

USAF Croughton: ‘Keep Space for Peace’ –
March and Rally, 2019

Ahead of the march and rally at USAF Croughton on 5th October 2019, this short video has been produced to explain the issues behind the operation of Croughton today. More information to come, with details of speakers, in a few weeks.

To watch the video on YouTube, click here.

News about the site

This section lists news stories which reference the USAF Croughton site – in reverse chronological order:

☮ APPG on Drones: U.S. Host Nation Notification Tribunal Judgment Released, 15th May 2018
The All Party Parliamentary Group on Drones went to the First Tier Information Tribunal seeking information about the planned large scale expansion of a United States military and intelligence base at RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire. The appeal was dismissed. The Tribunal did confirm that the US government’s notification to the UK government about the expansion of the Croughton facility did not address any of the concerns raised about the scale and purpose of the base’s expansion.
☮ The Observer: 'US personnel ‘targeting killer drones from Britain’'
30th October 2016: The Observer has an article about US personnel targeting drone strikes from USAF Molesworth – in contravention of international law. This is the work which will be transferred, and significantly expanded, to Croughton as part of the new Joint Intelligence Complex development.
☮ Guardian On-line: 'Call to open RAF base for investigation into NSA tapping of Merkel's phone'
18th June 2014: Britain should grant Germany's federal prosecutor access to an RAF base which is alleged to have acted as a relay station for data intercepted from Angela Merkel's mobile phone by the US National Security Agency (NSA), the Labour MP Tom Watson has said. In a letter to the prime minister Watson said that full British co-operation with Harald Range, the German federal prosecutor who has announced an investigation into the alleged tapping of Merkel's mobile phone, would ensure that Anglo-German relations are not damaged.
☮ Computer Weekly: 'Drone kill communications net illustrated'
13th June 2014: Computer Weekly can illustrate how a UK network connection forms part of a US weapons targeting system that has slaughtered civilians in anti-terrorist attacks gone wrong. The illustrations add credibility to a legal challenge begun last month over a 2012 contract BT won to build the UK branch of the system – a fibre optic network line between RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire and Camp Lemonnier, a US military base in Djibouti, North Africa.
☮ Independent On-line: 'Washington spends £200m creating intelligence hub in Britain'
18th May 2014: Washington is to spend almost £200m to turn one of its British military bases – already implicated in mass surveillance and drone strikes – into one of its largest intelligence hubs outside the mainland United States. RAF Croughton, a US Air Force (USAF) base near Milton Keynes, which has a direct cable link to Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) at Cheltenham, is to be the site for an ultra-secure intelligence centre staffed by up to 1,250 personnel and covering operations in Africa, a current focus for US counterterrorism activities.
☮ Computer Weekly: 'Analysis – How the UK connects to the US global drone network'
2nd May 2014: A single acronym in a US defence contract notice provided the clue that established the role of the UK's telecoms infrastructure in supporting controversial US drone flights. It was buried in an official notice unearthed by legal charity Reprieve last year. The document showed the US Defense Information Systems Agency (Disa) had awarded BT a contract to provide a fibre-optic line between a US military communications base at RAF Croughton, Northamptonshire, and Camp Lemonnier, in Djibouti, the base for US operations in the Horn of Africa.
☮ Guardian On-line: 'Scrutiny of US airbases in Britain is stuck in the 1950s'
5th February 2014: Almost all first impressions of RAF Croughton – a small airbase that sits amid green fields, about 20 miles north-east of the prime minister's Witney constituency – are misleading. From the road running out of the nearby Northamptonshire village from which it takes its name, it is visible as a series of anonymous, barn-like buildings. An understated sign on a low brick wall and a couple of cold-war-era jets, no longer in use, would appear to mark it out as a relic; a sleepy airbase whose heyday has passed. But scratch the surface and the reality is very different. RAF Croughton, which despite its name has in fact been a US base for more than six decades, is a crucial hub for the operations of today's "war on terror".
☮ Independent On-line: 'MoD tightens security at American spy bases linked to drone strikes'
30th December 2013: The Ministry of Defence is set to introduce "draconian" new powers to tighten security and limit access to US airbases in Britain implicated in mass surveillance and drone strikes, The Independent can reveal. The measures, which include powers to arrest for offences ranging from taking photographs to failing to clean up dog mess, would be put in place through a little-known project to overhaul the by-laws surrounding military facilities across the country.
☮ Independent On-line: 'RAF Croughton base 'sent secrets from Merkel's phone straight to the CIA''
5th November 2013: Data from the global network of US embassy spy posts implicated in the eavesdropping on Angela Merkel's mobile phone is funnelled back to Washington through a secret hub in Northamptonshire, The Independent can reveal. Vast quantities of information captured by America's "Stateroom" system of listening stations in diplomatic missions – including phone calls and data sent over wi-fi links – are routed back to spy chiefs via a communications hub within the US Air Force base in Croughton, near Milton Keynes.