Military Police Confiscate Camera
U.S. Army Military Police Seized Camera at Global Network Protest in Darmstadt, Germany
Today, at a protest in front of a US satellite spy base in Darmstadt, Germany, a member of the US Army Military Police seized the camera of Regina Hagen, who is a member of the Darmstädter Friedensforum and on the Board of the Global Network.
The Darmstädter Friedensforum (Darmstadt Peace Forum), who had organized the Global Network annual conference in Darmstadt in March this year, and the German section of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom staged the protest at the spy station which onsists of five "golf balls". 16 people met to hear information about the role of the station in the wars led globally by the US military, about the US/UK Echelon system to which the Darmstadt base belongs, and about the increasing move towards the weaponization of space, as well as to listen to political songs from GN member Holly Gwinn Graham.
Before concluding the protest, Regina grouped all rally participants at the gate for a group photo in spite of an announcement by a member of the US Army Military Police that no photos are allowed (which is a bit absurd: hundreds of pictures were taken at the protest in March, and dozens today before the MP arrived at the site). While Regina made the first picture, the US MP harshly grabbed the camera from her hand.
Regina made it clear that she would not tolerate this behaviour. There is no law, she said, that prohibits German citizens standing on German territory to take photos - and she called German police to get her camera back. German policemen showed up, and after lengthy negotiations with the US Military police as well as the German security guards of the US base they let the US Army members know that they would soon receive information about their rights as well as those of protesters in Germany - and brought the camera back. Regina asked German police to stay while
taking some more pictures.
The US spy station - dubbed ICEbox by the local population - had been built in 2004 to replace older technology withdrawn from Bad Aibling, also in Germany. At that time, along with the "golf balls", an old US grammar school building was upgraded to a high-tech and high security computer and processing center for the downlinked data streams, reaching five levels below earth and housing the US Military Intelligence 66 group.
In June 2007 it became known that the US military will withdraw all personnel from various locations in Darmstadt by the end of 2008 and that all sites will then be handed back to German authorities. A year earlier, by the end of 2007, the MI 66 group is said to be relocated to Wiesbaden, 50 km from Darmstadt. According to media information, the golf balls in Darmstadt will also be dismantled, while it has not yet become known whether the station will be moved to another town.
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