This film is just an attempt. It was integrated in the "Ground Control" film I edited in 2003-2004. During a residency in Hull Time Based Arts in Yorkshire, I wanted to go to the RAF Menwith Hill site, the bigger ECHELON site outside the USA. 2000 people work there in total, 1500 are americans. It was impossible to film, only from far or the car. We were arrested very quickly and searched, they took pictures of us, all under the UK "Terrorist Act 2000" because we were "paying attention to Menwith Hill". So this edit still tries to give you an impression of the atmosphere of the site...
RAF Menwith Hill is a Crown freehold site belonging to the UK Ministry of Defence. The designation came into effect in 1996 to bring the base into line with other RAF sites made available by the UK Ministry of Defence to the United States Government. The Army 713th MI Group remains the Executive Agent for the NSA Menwith Hill field site. The Air Intelligence Agency 451st Intelligence Squadron (451 IS) as an integral part of Menwith Hill Station (MHS).
The official story is that the all-civilian base is a Department of Defense communications station. The British Ministry of Defence describe Menwith Hill as a "communications relay centre." Until 1974, Menwith Hill's SIGINT specialty was the interception of International Leased Carrier signals, the communications links run by civil agencies -- the Post, Telegraph and Telephone ministries of eastern and western European countries. The National Security Agency took over Menwith Hill in 1966. Interception of satellite communications began at Menwith Hill as early as 1974, when the first of more than eight large satellite communications dishes were installed.
The PUSHER High Frequency Direction Finding (HFDF) system monitors radio transmissions covering the HF frequency range between 3MHz and 20-30MHz, including military and civilian embassy, maritime and air radio communications.
Initially, tapes containing data collected at Menwith Hill were returned via air to the United States for analysis. Starting in 1992 British Telecom added digital optical fiber cables, which by 1996 were capable of carrying more than 100,000 simultaneous telephone calls.
The US military has described space-based intelligence collection as a “key force-multiplier for future military operations”. The close linkage between space-based intelligence collection and military operations was clearly spelt out in congressional testimony a few years ago by the then Director of the National Reconnaissance Office: "In the future, US forces will rely upon space systems for global awareness of threats, swift orchestration of military operations, and precision use of smart weapons. ... Our goal is to detect, track and target anything of significance worldwide and to get the right information to the right people at the right time." The objective is to enable the US military to deliver "precise military firepower anywhere in the world, day or night, in all weather".
Intelligence collection is the foundation for war planning. Together with high-resolution satellite imagery, signals intelligence play a vital role in identifying military targets. Signals intelligence is used to identify military command, control, communications and intelligence facilities.
Menwith Hill had an important role as an interceptor of and a conduit for intelligence and command information in the Gulf war and the War on Iraq and its activities are likely to continue to expand as the US develops more space based war fighting systems.
For more : Federation of American Scientists or Echelon in Wikipedia
Ce petit film n'est qu'une tentative. Elle fut intégrée au film "Ground Control" que j'ai monté durant l'hiver 2003-2004. Lors de mon séjour à Hull Time Based Arts dans le Yorkshire, j'avais pour projet d'aller sur le site RAF Menwith Hill, la plus grande base du réseau d'espionnage ECHELON hors des Etats-Unis. Prés de 2000 personnes y travaillent dont prés de 1500 Américains. Il fut impossible de filmer, seulement quelques minutes à distance où dans la voiture. En arrivant nous nous sommes arrêtés sur le bord de la route, pour fumer une cigarette et voir qu'est-ce qui pourrait arriver ensuite. La cigarette à peine terminée, une voiture de police arrivait vers nous? Nous avons été fouillés, pris en photos, recherchés dans l'ordinateur, parce que nous "prétions attention à Menwith Hill", parce que nous avions du matériel audiovisuel dans la voiture. Ceci malgré une lettre de dérogation de Hull Time Based Arts. Nous tombions sous le coup du "Terrorist Act 2000" du Gouvernement Brittanique. Ce film est malgré tout une tentative de décrire l'ambiance des lieux... Pour plus d'information, Echelon dans Wikipedia ou Federation of American Scientists.