The radomes of USAF Croughton, dawn, November 2017
Free Range Themes:
This site is devoted to USAF Croughton (and its outstation, Barford St. John) on the border of Oxfordshire and Northamptonshire – part of a global electronic communications, control and surveillance that works on behalf of the US military and intelligence establishment, projecting of American military power across Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.
Main indexUSAF CroughtonUSAF Barford St. JohnThe NATO JIAC
This page lists a variety of media coverage and analysis of USAF Croughton, the US & NATO military and intelligence system, and related cyberwarfare/surveillance issues – listed in reverse chronological order by publication date:
☮ Reuters: NATO aims to make space new frontier in defense, 21st June 2019
NATO aims to recognize space as a domain of warfare this year, four senior diplomats said, partly to show U.S. President Donald Trump that the alliance is relevant and adapting to new threats after he signed off on the creation of a U.S. Space Force.
☮ Reprieve: UK ‘on notice’ after court rules Germany failed in duty to protect innocent civilians from US drones, 19th March 2019
A German court today ruled that the Government must do more to ensure its territory is not used by the US to carry out unlawful US drone strikes in Yemen. The case marks the first time a European country has been found to play an essential role in US drone strikes, with the Court holding that Germany’s role means it has a duty to protect the right to life of those being targeted.
☮ US European Command: Posture Statement 2019, 5th March 2018
The threats facing U.S. interests in the USEUCOM area of responsibility, which includes Israel, are real and growing. They are complex, trans-regional, all-domain, and multi-functional. They require the United States, together with our European allies and partners, to constantly adapt with forces and concepts that are able to out-pace the evolution of these threats. A revisionist Russia is the primary threat to a stable Euro-Atlantic security environment… Given Moscow’s demonstrated willingness to violate international law and legally-binding treaties, and to exercise malign influence, Russia threatens the United States’ vital national interests in preserving a Europe that is whole, free, and at peace.
☮ Dronewars: Off the Leash: How the UK is developing the technology to build armed autonomous drones, 10th November 2018
A new report published by Drone Wars UK reveals that, despite a UK government statement that it “does not possess fully autonomous weapons and has no intention of developing them”, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is actively funding research into technology supporting the development of armed autonomous drones.
☮ Scientific American: Antiwar Movement Spreads among Tech Workers, 15th October 2018
Resistance to U.S. militarism is growing in an unlikely place, the tech industry. The New York Times reported last week that at “Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Salesforce, as well as at tech start-ups, engineers and technologists are increasingly asking whether the products they are working on are being used for surveillance in places like China or for military projects in the United States or elsewhere.”
☮ The Intercept: The Wiretap Rooms – The NSA’s Hidden Spy Hubs in Eight U.S. Cities, 25th June 2018
The secrets are hidden behind fortified walls in cities across the United States, inside towering, windowless skyscrapers and fortress-like concrete structures that were built to withstand earthquakes and even nuclear attack. Thousands of people pass by the buildings each day and rarely give them a second glance, because their function is not publicly known. They are an integral part of one of the world’s largest telecommunications networks – and they are also linked to a controversial National Security Agency surveillance program.
☮ New York Times: Pentagon Puts Cyberwarriors on the Offensive, Increasing the Risk of Conflict, 17th June 2018
The Pentagon has quietly empowered the United States Cyber Command to take a far more aggressive approach to defending the nation against cyberattacks, a shift in strategy that could increase the risk of conflict with the foreign states that sponsor malicious hacking groups.
☮ All-Party Parliamentary Group on Drones: U.S. Host Nation Notification Tribunal Judgment Released, 15th May 2018
"Previous attempts to obtain information on the activities, protocols and safeguarding processes in place at the base have proved unsuccessful. The purpose of filing the Freedom of Information Request was to address concerns about the plans and uses of the base, and more broadly, shed light on the relationship between the U.S. and UK in relation to U.S. bases on UK soil."
☮ US European Command: Posture Statement 2018, March 2018
…Europe provides essential strategic access in support of U.S. global operations to protect the homeland and the ability to pursue potential threats to their source. As our most significant trading partner, Europe is vital to promoting American prosperity. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) enables us to preserve peace through strength as alliance unity fundamentally deters the aggression of potential adversaries. With shared history and values, Europe is also a critical partner in advancing American influence throughout the world.
☮ 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.
☮ Amnesty International UK: Drones – call for 'full public inquiry' into UK's secret involvement in US attacks
Four RAF bases in Yorkshire, Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire heavily implicated in deadly US drone attacks. Highly secretive drones programme has already killed hundreds of civilians and is set to be expanded under Trump
☮ Chatham House: ‘Excessive Secrecy’ – The US Drone Programme, 28th September 2017
The authors of a recent report, Out of the Shadows, talk to Thomas Farrar about the ambiguity of international law, the US drone programme's impact on civilians, and the need for greater government transparency. The report, Out of the Shadows, is available on-line.
☮ Bury Free Press: USAF postpones RAF Mildenhall closure, Tuesday 26th September 2017
"Accordingly, instead of 2022, MoD has been advised that the full divestitures of RAF Mildenhall and RAF Alconbury/Molesworth will now occur no earlier than 2024. The revised dates are due to delays in commencing project design and construction for the move of assets from RAF Mildenhall to Germany, and are dependent on the completion of the Joint Intelligence Analysis Center (JIAC) at RAF Croughton."
☮ Realmedia: New Warfare & Transparency, 18th September 2017
An interview with drones campaigner Chris Cole about the current state of the technology, the march to lethal autonomous warfare, and the absolute secrecy and lack of democratic scrutiny around the developing drone programme.
☮ EUCOM: EUCOM 2017 Posture Statement, 23/3/2017
…A robust intelligence capability enables accurate analysis and rapid response in a changing theater security environment. This capability also supports the design of realistic exercises, posture alignment, and future requirements. Furthermore, when completed, EUCOM’s Joint Intelligence Analytic Center at Royal Air Force Croughton will provide a dedicated, purpose-built intelligence facility collocated with NATO and AFRICOM’s analytic centers that will enhance capability and capacity in both combatant commands and NATO.
☮ Washington Post: Obama administration expands elite military unit’s powers to hunt foreign fighters globally, 25/11/2016
The Obama administration is giving the elite Joint Special Operations Command — the same organization that helped kill Osama bin Laden in a 2011 raid by Navy SEALs — expanded power to track, plan and potentially launch attacks on terrorist cells around the globe, a move driven by concerns of a dispersed terrorist threat as Islamic State militants are driven from strongholds in Iraq and Syria, U.S. officials said.
☮ Miami Herald: The strange tale of a congressman's fight to build a U.S. listening post in the Azores, 17/11/16
17th November 2016: A powerful California congressman of Portuguese descent has pushed for years for the installation of a costly U.S. intelligence facility in the Azores, a Portuguese archipelago in the North Atlantic.
☮ Motherboard: 'US Drone Pilots May Be ‘Illegally’ Acquiring Targets From UK Bases'
1st November 2016: Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, is widely known to be the heart of the United States’ overseas drone operations... But a British human rights campaign group says it has uncovered documents that show the US is also conducting its military drone operations from within Royal Air Force (RAF) bases in the UK, an act that would be deemed in breach of international laws, argues the group.
☮ RT: 'Reprieve – RAF Base Used By US For Drone Operations'
1st November 2016: Anti-US army base campaigner Lindis Percy, explains why evidence such as this report is important in getting more exposure for the issue.
☮ 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.
☮ US GAO: 'Joint Intelligence Analysis Complex'
September 2016: A report in response to critics of the JIAC project in the US House. You can also download the summary for this report.
☮ Computer Weekly: 'BT faces further investigation over link to US drone network'
29th August 2014: The UK government is set to reopen a complaint against BT after a Computer Weekly investigation found evidence suggesting the telecoms giant provided communication links that support controversial US drone strikes.
☮ 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.
☮ Drone Wars UK: 'Project Crossbow – How a Norfolk RAF base plugs into the drone wars'
22nd April 2014: A map in the USAF's new 'RPA Vector Report' released on April 4 2014 confirms that 'Project Crossbow' based at RAF Marham in Norfolk is part of the intelligence backbone guiding the growing use of US and UK drones.
☮ Guardian On-line: 'UN report calls for independent investigations of drone attacks'
10th March 2014: A report by the United Nations Human Rights Council has called for independent investigations to be carried out into drone attacks after a series of strikes that result in unexpected civilian deaths in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere. Most of the attacks involved US drones. In a 21-page report, the UN special rapporteur on human rights, Ben Emmerson, records a dramatic reduction in drone strikes in 2013 in Pakistan but increases in Afghanistan and, towards the end of the year, in Yemen.
☮ Independent On-line: 'Minister in row over BT's link to US drones' war'
26th March 2014: The former chief executive of BT, who is now a senior Government trade minister, is at the centre of a row over Britain's alleged role in America's secret drones' war. Ian Livingston was head of the telecoms giant when it won a contract to set up a top secret £15m communications link between an RAF base in Northamptonshire and America's headquarters for drone attacks in Africa. Last year he was made Lord Livingston and four months ago started a high-profile trade job in the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).
☮ Democracy Now!: 'Death By Metadata – Jeremy Scahill & Glenn Greenwald Reveal NSA Role in Assassinations Overseas'
10th February 2014: In the first exposé for their new venture, First Look Media's digital journal The Intercept, investigative journalists Jeremy Scahill and Glenn Greenwald reveal the National Security Agency is using complex analysis of electronic surveillance, rather than human intelligence, as the primary method to locate targets for lethal drone strikes. The NSA identifies targets based on controversial metadata analysis and cellphone tracking technologies, an unreliable tactic that has resulted in the deaths of innocent and unidentified people.
☮ 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".
☮ Mintpress News: 'Britons Rail Against Laws That Ban Protests Near Military Bases'
9th January 2014: In the U.K., a set of laws that protects American bases from protesters has become the target of criticism. These laws – passed without the consent of Parliament under the 120-year-old Military Lands Act of 1892 – have many arguing that the "outrageous and undemocratic" act has been done to curry favor from the U.S. Since the Ministry of Defense confirmed that the Royal Air Force has carried out more than 2,000 missions with "borrowed" U.S. drones in Afghanistan, protests have escalated.
☮ RT: 'Dog-walkers beware! Draconian UK law to protect US 'drone-operating' bases'
31st December 2013: Britain's Ministry of Defense has passed harsh laws to protect US air bases in the UK that are suspected of wide surveillance and drone warfare, British media report. The new measures could land a person in jail for merely walking their dog nearby. There are dozens of sites where the new by-laws are going to be introduced, the Independent revealed Monday. But among them are several which are widely believed to be involved in NSA mass surveillance, as well as relaying spy data on Europeans (and their leaders) back to Washington.
☮ 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.
☮ Action AWE: 'Drones, cyberwarfare and democracy'
November 2013: It may seem a jump from drones to the revelations about surveillance by US whistle-blowers Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning, but what both they and the UN's Special Rapporteur are describing are the same system. When we look at the "networked state", surveillance, cyberwarfare, the use of military drones, and the machines which enable all those systems to function together, they are one and the same. And when we consider the use of drones for targeted strikes against "insurgents", again, considering recent military doctrines, it is difficult to separate the both the intelligence hardware which directs those strikes, and the long-term technology, foreign and security policies which have created it.
☮ 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.
☮ Computer Weekly: 'MOD refuses to rule out BT drone link'
2nd August 2013: The Ministry of Defence has refused to rule out the possibility that a controversial fibre-optic BT comms line between US military bases in the UK and Africa carries command and control signals that direct US drone missions blamed for civilian deaths in Yemen. After legal charity Reprieve complained under OECD rules that BT had ignored its human rights obligations to question its contract to provide the comms link, the MOD firmly denied that the UK base it connected led drone missions out of Africa.
☮ Computer Weekly: 'Officials examine BT link to drone deaths'
25th July 2013: Allegations that BT is involved in an assassination programme in the Middle Eastern country of Yemen may come as a surprise to anyone more familiar with the image it likes to portray in television adverts: a supplier of home broadband to fashionable young professionals. But while BT customers flounce carefree round their Duran Duran downloads, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has opened an investigation into allegations that it also does the communications behind US drone attacks that have slaughtered civilians.