BLACK tie and ball gowns are the recommended dress for a Gatecrasher's Ball, an Independence Day protest planned for the United States signals intelligence station at Menwith Hill, near Harrogate.
While more than 1,000 US personnel celebrate inside the recently reinforced security fence surrounding the 560-acre site, the Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases is planning for an independence from America demonstration.
In 2001 protests against Menwith Hill culminated in Greenpeace staging a dramatic "gatecrash" which earned widespread publicity.
The Greenpeace team - many in nuclear missile costumes – simply strolled in through the main gate at 5am and then called the media to watch the humiliation of a security system supposed to be protecting the most sensitive intelligence station in Europe.
Within minutes demonstrators were flying Stop Star Wars flags from the top of the 80ft tall water tower and others were camped on the roof of a building adjoining two of the base's 30 radomes.
But it did not end there. Greenpeace, which relayed live television pictures from within Menwith Hill so that journalists could interview their activists in occupation, refused to withdraw and the demonstration extended into Independence Day.
As dawn broke over the site on July 4 the Ministry of Defence Police, by now reinforced by units from as far away as Scotland, had salt rubbed into the wound when New Zealander Richard Carlson was seen on top of a 60-metre tall lattice mast where he stayed for another 24 hours.
This year's Gatecrasher's Ball on July 4 is the first large-scale demonstration since armed patrols were introduced and Menwith Hill's security cordon was strengthened in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
The demonstration, expected to start at noon, is being supported by Yorkshire CND.
The anti-nuclear protest group believes that Menwith Hill will have a crucial role as the European Ground Relay Station in President Bush's so-called "Star Wars" Missile Defence Shield.
10 June 2003