Tuesday, August 01, 2006

While Blair Power Lunches With Schwarzenegger In California, Bush Administration Colonizes United Kingdom In Support Of Israeli Expansionism

"The [British] Foreign Office and the US military appeared to be at odds about whether American planes carrying munitions to Israel can refuel at a major East Anglian airbase without the knowledge of the British government.

Officials in London told the [Eastern Daily Press] that they expected to be notified if cargo flights carrying weapons stopped off to refuel at the US controlled [Royal Air Force] Mildenhall in Suffolk en route to the Middle East.

But US officials said that under existing agreements between the two governments, they were “not bound” to inform UK authorities about weapons landing in Britain.

The confusion came amid growing anger that two Boeing 747 cargo planes carrying weapons bound for Israel had stopped at Mildenhall over the weekend as the bloodshed in Lebanon continues.

The EDP has also learned that air traffic in and out of the US airbase has increased in recent weeks.

But as protesters gathered for the second day at the gates of the airbase - which is the only 24-hour US airfield on UK soil and the biggest US-military refuelling centre in Europe - politicians added their voice to calls for an end to the munitions flights.

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb said: “This government has a determination to hang on the coat-tails of United States foreign policy.

“If it is right to support military action we should be prepared to risk retaliation but what is happening is disproportionate and to be helping in this American support for Israel is wrong and puts us more at risk.

“In my view there is a strong case for the bases not to be used in that way.”

Conservative MP for Suffolk West Richard Spring said his concern was securing an immediate ceasefire in the conflict but said there could be a review of the use of the airbase if peace was brought to Lebanon.

“In the cold light of day we may review some of these issues but we are not going to do it in a speedy or parochial fashion,” he said.

It is not the first time the base has been the centre of international controversy - in 1986 the US used the base to refuel F111 fighter-bombers to attack Tripoli in Libya in the face of opposition from across Europe.

Last night 1st Lt Jamie Humphries, spokesman for the US airbase, RAF Mildenhall, told the EDP that there were UK and US agreements about what could be landed on US bases in the UK, which meant that the American military was not bound to inform UK authorities about weapons landing in Britain.

He said: “There are prescriptive guidelines about what you can or cannot ship on a plane and as long as they are followed there is no notification made to the British authorities.”

But a Foreign Office spokesman said that such flights needed notification forms to be provided to bodies such as the Civil Aviation Authority and Department of Transport.

He said: “The process for arranging flights invites notification forms to be submitted with the CAA and the DoT.”

Lt Rem Merrick, of nearby RAF Marham, confirmed there had been a marked increase in traffic from RAF Mildenhall in recent weeks.

The 727Air Mobility Squadron based at RAF Mildenhall regularly refuel US-military and US-affiliated planes at the base.

Earlier yesterday , speaking over the drone of a constant stream of KC135 refuelling aircraft leaving the base, protestor Jean Davis, of the Norfolk Jewish peace group, pleaded with the region to make a stand against the conflict.

“What Israel is doing to the Lebanese goes far beyond anything that can be justified by a military power, it is utterly barbaric, totally disproportionate and an outrage to the whole of humanity.

“We are allowing these arms to go through Mildenhall so they can be used to commit war crimes in indiscriminate attacks on the civilian population.”

Anna Yandell, member of the Cambridgeshire Palestian Solidarity Society, added: “They are condemning us to explosions on the underground, on buses, streets and restaurants for generations to come.”

Nick Heath "Rift on flights to East Anglian airbase" Eastern Daily Press, United Kingdom August 1, 2006 via On the Overgrown Path, the music and humanities daily blog.

In Qana, Lebanon, Lebanese "terrorist" civil defense officers and residents carry out one of the thirty-six dead children, who along with twenty-one adult civilians, were killed by American 'smart bombs' delivered via the United Kingdom to the expansionist Israeli military and air force.

Photo credit: U.S. Campaign To End the Israeli Occupation


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