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Sunday, November 18, 2007

US peace organisations support Czech protests against US radar in Czech republic

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The majority of Czechs are against building the facilities but that seems to make no difference. Most Americans support withdrawal from Irag too but that seems not to have much effect either. The immediate response was the surge! The whole idea of the missile defence system being directed at Iran or North Korea seems ludicrous and but an excuse to confront Russia. Russia certainly sees it that way.

November 16, 2007

Contact:
Joanne Landy (212) 666-4001, cell (646) 207-5203

LEADERS OF U.S. PEACE ORGANIZATIONS SUPPORT MAJOR CZECH DEMONSTRATIONS
AGAINST
U.S. RADAR IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC
Activists Meet with Czech Ambassador to the U.N. to Urge Rejection of
New U.S. Military Base

NEW YORK, N.Y., November 16, 2007 - Leaders of several U.S. peace
organizations met at 9:30am today with Czech Ambassador Martin Palous
at
the Permanent Mission of the Czech Republic to the United Nations,
1109-1111 Madison Avenue, near 83rd Street in Manhattan. The U.S. peace

groups support demonstrations planned for Saturday, November 17 in
Prague
and Brno protesting the plans of the Czech government to host the radar
for
a U.S. anti-missile system. These demonstrations are organized by the
Czech
group No Bases Initiative (Iniciativa Ne základnám).

The delegation of U.S. peace leaders was convened by the New York-based

Campaign for Peace and Democracy in response to an appeal for
international
solidarity by the No Bases Initiative. A statement of support for the
Czech
movement against the U.S. radar was signed by members of the delegation
and
a number of individuals who were unable to participate because of prior

commitments. This statement is below.

The writer Ariel Dorfman sent the following message, "I deeply regret
that
I cannot join your delegation today. It is time for another Prague
spring,
this time so there can be peace to go along with the freedom already
conquered, the freedom and liberation we so applauded and celebrated."

* * * * * * * * * * * *
SOLIDARITY WITH OPPONENTS
OF PROPOSED U.S. MILITARY BASE IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC
A Statement from U.S. Peace Organizations Delivered to
Ambassador Martin Palous
Permanent Mission of the Czech Republic to the United Nations
November 16, 2007

We are here today to declare our solidarity with tomorrow’s
protest by the No Bases Initiative in the Czech Republic, where
demonstrations will take place against the plans of the Czech
government to
host the radar for a U.S. anti-missile system.

The No Bases Initiative chose the date of November 17 because,
in
their words, this date “has come to symbolize the overthrow of the
undemocratic regime in the former Czechoslovakia and the return of
representative democracy. This change came about because of the protest
of
hundreds of thousands of people in the streets of Prague eighteen years

ago.” In the view of these Czech activists, resistance to the
introduction
of new foreign military bases is the most fitting way to commemorate
that
anniversary.

Polls have shown that a significant majority of the people in
the
Czech Republic oppose the U.S. military facilities, but the Czech
government is flagrantly ignoring public opinion. As the No Bases
Initiative notes, "Politicians had known for a number of years of U.S.
plans to install a military base on Czech territory but had kept this
information from the public. They didn't consider it important to tell
voters before last year’s parliamentary elections either." This
Saturday,
Czech protestors will be calling for a popular referendum to vote on
this
critical issue.

The proposed new U.S. base in the Czech Republic and related
interceptor
missiles to be based in Poland mark a dangerous escalation. As
activists
from the Czech Republic and Poland, as well as from Hungary, Belgium,
Greece, France, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom have stated,
“The
realisation of the US plan will not lead to enhanced security. On the
contrary - it will lead to new dangers and insecurities. Although it is

described as 'defensive,' in reality it will allow the United States to

attack other countries without fear of retaliation. It will also put
'host'
countries on the front line in future US wars.” (Prague Declaration,
"Peace
Doesn't Need New Missiles -We say no to the US missile defense system
in
Europe" May 2007)

Indeed, the announcement of the plans for military bases in the Czech
Republic and Poland has already produced an ominous response from
Russia.
The projected U.S. radar in the Czech Republic and 10 missile
interceptors
in Poland don’t constitute an immediate threat to Russia’s nuclear
deterrent, with its thousands of warheads, but as the New York Times
pointed out on October 10 of this year, “Kremlin officials are
believed to
fear that the system in Central Europe will lead to a more advanced
missile
defense that could blunt the Russian nuclear force… Russian officials
have
threatened to direct their missiles toward Europe if the United States
proceeds with the system. They also have said they will suspend
participation in a separate treaty limiting the deployment of
conventional
forces in Europe.” This is an unjustified reaction, endangering
innocent
populations, but is part of the crazy logic of superpower confrontation

that the U.S. move exacerbates.

Washington claims that the new facilities in Poland and the
Czech
Republic are designed to respond to a missile threat from Iran, but
there
is no credible evidence that such a threat exists today. And the
militaristic stance of the United States, far from protecting the U.S.
or
Europe from such a threat in the future, only enhances its likelihood.
We
need only to look at the example of North Korea, where years of
military
threats from the United States provided a strong inducement to seek
nuclear
weapons for their defense.

We do not believe that any nation should develop nuclear
weapons,
which by their nature are weapons of vast and indiscriminate mass
destruction. The United States and other nuclear powers can best reduce
the
danger of nuclear warfare by taking major steps toward both nuclear and

conventional disarmament and refraining from waging or threatening
“preventive” war -- not by expanding the nuclear threat. Such steps
by the
existing nuclear powers would create a political context that would
powerfully discourage new countries from developing their own nuclear
weapons.

As Americans, we have a particular moral responsibility to
speak
out. U.S. bases threaten the world. According to respected foreign
policy
analyst Chalmers Johnson, in 2004 the U.S. had 737 overseas military
bases,
not counting garrisons in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel,
Kyrgyzstan,
Qatar, and Uzbekistan, nor U.S. military and espionage installations in
the
UK. This vast network of overseas bases supports a foreign policy of
military interventions and global intimidation.

We are dismayed that the Czech Republic, rather than standing
as a
beacon for peace, is cooperating with the expansion of the Pentagon and

allowing a military base to be imposed on the country. We are further
dismayed by the fact that the Czech Republic recently opposed a UN
resolution highlighting concerns over the military use of depleted
uranium.
It was one of only six countries to oppose the resolution that was
supported by 122 nations. With such actions, the Czech government is
doing
a disservice both to its own real security, by making the Czech
Republic a
target, and to the prospects for peace and the spirit of November 17.

We are inspired by the principled actions of the people in the

Czech Republic who are taking to the streets to resist the steps toward
a
new Cold War being pursued by elites unresponsive to public opinion. We

join with them in a commitment to bring together the people of all
countries in building an international movement for peace, democracy
and
social justice.

The statement above was delivered to Ambassador Martin Palous by a
delegation consisting of the following:
1. Joanne Landy, Campaign for Peace and Democracy
2. Margaret W. Crane, Trinity Lutheran Church, Manhattan
3. Cathey Falvo, MD, President, Physicians for Social
Responsibility/NYC
4. Leslie Kielson, Coordinator, NYC-United for Peace and Justice
5. Jesse Lemisch, professor emeritus of History, John Jay College
of
Criminal Justice, City University of New York
6. Rosemarie Pace, Director, Pax Christi Metro New York
7. Stephen R. Shalom, Montclair Campaign for Peace and Justice
8. Barbara Webster, New Jersey Coalition to Bring the Troops Home
Now
9. Cheryl Wertz, Executive Director, Peace Action New York State
(three additional people joined the delegation: one from the Raging
Grannies, another grannies activist, and a videographer.)

The following individuals were unable to attend the meeting with
Ambassador
Palous. They asked to have their names added to the above statement.
1. Thomas Harrison, Co-Director, Campaign for Peace and Democracy
2. Jennifer Scarlott, Co-Director, Campaign for Peace and
Democracy
3. Ariel Dorfman, writer
4. Carolyn Eisenberg, Brooklyn for Peace
5. Daniel Ellsberg, Truth-Telling Project
6. Joseph Gerson, Director, Peace & Economic Security Program,
American Friends Service Committee
7. Charlotte Phillips, M.D., Chairperson, Brooklyn For Peace
(formerly
Brooklyn Parents for Peace)
8. Ethan Vesely-Flad, Communications Co-Coordinator, Fellowship of

Reconciliation and Editor, Fellowship magazine

For further information contact Joanne Landy, Thomas Harrison, and
Jennifer
Scarlott, Co-Directors, Campaign for Peace and Democracy, 2790
Broadway,
#12, NY, NY 10025. Tel (212) 666-4001, Cell (646) 207-5203, Fax (212)
866-5847. Email: cpd@igc.org Web: www.cpdweb.org

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