Leaked Research: Secretive UK Base Linked to US Assassination of Iran's Anti-Terror Commander General Soleimani
TEHRAN (FNA)- A secretive UK intelligence base was likely involved in the US military’s drone strike that assassinated anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani in January 2020, a new research revealed.
It was probable that the targeted killing of General Soleimani, who headed the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), had been planned using information obtained from the Menwith Hill intelligence base, run by the UK Royal Air Force, in Yorkshire, the Guardian newspaper cited the research on Saturday.
The research, titled ‘Menwith Hill in 3D, Domes, Data and Drone Strikes,’ was presented at a special meeting of the Menwith Hill Accountability Campaign, which works to raise public awareness meant to make the facility accountable for its activities.
Menwith Hill, the report said, acted as a foreign outpost of the US National Security Agency (NSA).
The research also raised questions about whether British personnel on the site are involved in assisting deadly US drone strikes, in particular in Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia.
“The involvement of the UK and Menwith Hill in an assassination that threatened to spark a war should be of great concern,” Barnaby Pace, an investigative journalist, wrote in the report in reference to General Soleimani’s assassination. “The UK government’s failure to assure the public that the base was not involved raises deep questions about the accountability for actions at the base.”
He also complained that the US and UK forces at Menwith Hill “operate beyond public scrutiny and accountability,” and that, unless there were change, “Orwellian surveillance systems and extrajudicial executions exposed in recent years will likely continue.”
“Intelligence programs at Menwith Hill have reportedly played a key role in operations to ‘eliminate’ people in Yemen, as part of a deadly drone bombing campaign that has resulted in dozens of civilian deaths in a country that neither the UK nor US has declared war with,” he added.
“Any US military activity or US security agency activity carried out at Menwith Hill [must] be carried out in such a way as to make those responsible fully accountable to the UK.”
Menwith Hill is the largest known overseas site of the NSA, with 600 US personnel and 500 British civilians on site.
The base is part of an eavesdropping network, able to collect data from hundreds of millions of emails and phone calls daily and of pinpointing phones on the ground, according to the files leaked by US whistleblower Edward Snowden. Information obtained can be used in “capture-kill” operations.
Late last year, a senior Iranian Judiciary official said British security services firm GS4 had been linked to General Soleimani’s assassination.
Agents of the company handed the information of General Soleimani and his entourage to the US as soon as they entered the Baghdad International Airport, outside of which the then Quds Force commander was murdered by the US drone raid, Tehran Prosecutor Ali Alqasimehr said on December 31, 2020.
General Qassem Soleimani and Mahdi al-Muhandis, the two iconic figures in the fight against the ISIL terrorist group, were killed in a US airstrike outside the Baghdad International Airport on January 3, 2020.
Days after the brazen act, the IRGC launched a volley of missiles at a major military base housing American forces in Iraq.
Iranian officials have on several occasions vowed to avenge the death of the two top commanders, as well as the killing of its top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.
Iran has denounced the assassinations as “state terrorism” and vowed to end the American presence in the region as the ultimate act of revenge, while urging neighboring Iraq to expel the US forces from the country.