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U.S. Anti-War Activists Send Open Letter to Czech officials in Support of Nov. 17 Czech Protests against U.S. Radar
NEW YORK, N.Y., November 16, 2008 -- The New York-based Campaign for Peace and Democracy sent an open letter today to Czech officials in support of mass protests planned for Monday, November 17th in Prague against the planned U.S. radar military base. A copy of the letter was sent to President Bush, whose administration has pushed hard for the installation of the Czech radar base and its companion missile base in Poland. It was also sent to President-Elect Barack Obama, who has not yet made a final decision on the question of “missile defense” in Eastern Europe. The letter will be hand delivered at 1pm on November 17 to the Czech Mission to the U.N., located at 1109-1111 Madison Avenue, near 83rd Street in Manhattan.
In a major development over the weekend, French Prime Minister Nicolas Sarkozy condemned the Pentagon's plans to install missile defense bases in central Europe yesterday, thus casting more doubt about whether the plans will actually be realized.
U.S. and Czech officials signed a treaty on the radar base. However, the treaty will not be finalized until the Czech parliament ratifies it. More than two thirds of the Czech population opposes the radar, and the parliament, closely divided on the issue, has postponed the vote. Czech anti-radar activists won a major victory in last month’s regional elections, where candidates from the government party were defeated in all 13 regions. The radar issue, along with government healthcare policies, were major factors in their defeat.
The open letter was addressed to Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek, Minister of Foreign Affairs Karel Schwarzenberg, Minister of Defense Vlasta Parkanová, and Vice Prime Minister for EU Affairs Alexandr Vondra.
For more details, see the text of the open letter below. It has been signed by 79 individuals, including Anthony Arnove, Norman Birnbaum, Noam Chomsky, Joshua Cohen, Blanche Wiesen Cook, Ariel Dorfman, Carolyn Eisenberg, John Feffer, Bruce Gagnon, Barbara Garson, Joseph Gerson, Thomas Harrison, Chris Hedges, Adam Hochschild, Doug Ireland, Joanne Landy, Jesse Lemisch, Nelson Lichtenstein, Scott McLemee, Betty Mandell, Marvin Mandell, Charlotte Phillips, MD, Katha Pollitt, Dennis Redmond, Stephen Shalom, Alice Slater, Mary Beth Sullivan, David Swanson, John Tirman and Howard Zinn. The full list of signatories is at the end of the open letter.
November 16, 2008
Open Letter to:
Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek
Government of the Czech Republic,
Minister of Foreign Affairs Karel Schwarzenberg
Minister of Defence Vlasta Parkanová
Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic
Vice Prime Minister for EU Affairs Alexandr Vondra
Office of the Vice Prime Minister for EU Affairs
Office of the Government of the Czech Republic
Contact for public: email@example.com
Contact for media: firstname.lastname@example.org
We in the U.S. know that November 17 is a date of great significance in the former Czechoslovakia: it is the anniversary of the day in 1989 when the people of the country bravely gathered to demand democracy and the withdrawal of Soviet military forces from their soil.
Today, just nineteen years later, the Czech people are again faced with the prospect that foreign troops might be stationed in their land -- not invading with tanks this time, but still, as before, over the objections of the vast majority of the Czech population.
The Bush administration and the Czech government have signed an agreement to establish a U.S. radar facility in the Czech Republic. This base, together with interceptor missiles to be housed in Poland, would be part of a provocative and destabilizing anti-missile system in Europe. But the agreement has not yet been ratified by the Czech Parliament.
In the United States, Bush planned to sidestep the need for Senate ratification. We members of U.S. peace organizations hope that the new Obama administration will cancel this dangerous policy and, if not, that the Congress will insist on its right to vote on any treaty.
In the Czech Republic, the radar cannot be installed without parliamentary ratification, and it seems the parliament may well reflect the views of 70 percent of the Czech population and reject the U.S. base.
Czech activists will be leading protest demonstrations in Prague today, November 17, urging the parliament to refuse to ratify the base treaty, thereby protecting the Czech Republic and the world more generally from the perils of increased military tensions.
We U.S. peace activists stand with our Czech friends: we wholeheartedly support their demonstration and their call for the defeat of the radar base as one small but significant step in the larger struggle for a peaceful world.
(NOTE: Affiliations for identification only)
1. Margaret L. Albert
2. Bettina Aptheker, Professor, Feminist Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz
3. Anthony Arnove, author, Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal
4. Peter Barland, MD, Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY
5. Aaron Beckerman
6. Mel Bienenfeld
7. Norman Birnbaum, University Professor Emeritus, Georgetown University Law Center
8. Sam Bottone, Communication Workers of America (retiree)
9. Laura S. Boylan, MD, Neurologist
10. Stephen Bronner
11. James Cannon
12. Noam Chomsky
13. Dennis Clagett
14. Joshua Cohen, Stanford University, Boston Review
15. Blanche Wiesen Cook, University Distinguished Professor, John Jay College & the Graduate Center, City University of New York
16. Clare Coss
17. Margaret W. Crane, Campaign for Peace and Democracy
18. Gail Daneker
19. Ariel Dorfman, writer
20. Mark Dow
21. Carolyn Eisenberg, Hofstra University
22. Gertrude Ezorsky, Brooklyn College Emerita
23. Cathey E. Falvo, MD
24. Samuel Farber, Emeritus Professor of Political Science Brooklyn College
25. John Feffer, Foreign Policy In Focus
26. David Friedman
27. Robert Gabrielsky
28. Bruce K. Gagnon, Coordinator, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
29. Barbara Garson, author, playwright
30. Jack Gerson, Executive Board, Oakland Education Association
31. Joseph Gerson (PhD), Director of Programs, American Friends Service Committee, New England Regional Office
32. John Gorman, NYC Tenants Attorney
33. Robin Hahnel, Professor Emeritus, American University, Washington
34. Thomas Harrison, Co-Director, Campaign for Peace and Democracy
35. Chris Hedges, The Nation Institute
36. Valerie Heinonen, o.s.u., Ursulines of Tildonk for Justice and Peace
37. Jenny Heinz, Granny Peace Brigade, CodePink
38. Judith Hempfling, Yellow Springs Village Council President (Ohio)
39. Adam Hochschild, writer
40. Polly Howells
41. Carol Husten, Peace Action NY State & Granny Peace Brigade
42. Doug Ireland, journalist, BAKCHICH magazine (France)
43. Melissa Jameson
44. Dan La Botz, Independent scholar
45. Daniel Labovitz, MD, NYU School of Medicine
46. Joanne Landy, Co-Director, Campaign for Peace and Democracy
47. Jesse Lemisch, Professor of History Emeritus, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York
48. Sue Leonard
49. Nelson Lichtenstein, UC Santa Barbara
50. Martha Livingston, PhD, Associate Professor of Health and Society, SUNY College at Old Westbury
51. Scott McLemee, Intellectual Affairs columnist, Inside Higher Ed
52. Marvin and Betty Mandell, New Politics
53. Elaine Matthews, climate scientist
54. Charlotte Phillips, MD, Chairperson, Brooklyn for Peace
55. Katha Pollitt, writer
56. David McReynolds, Former Chair, War Resisters International
57. Mary Nolan, NYU
58. Dennis Redmond, World Without Wars USA
59. Leonard Rodberg, Queens College/CUNY
60. Gordon Rogoff, Professor of Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism, Yale School of Drama
61. Stanley Romaine, Chair, Great Neck SANE/Peace Action
62. Bruce Rosen
63. Jennifer Scarlott, Sanctuary Asia
64. Carol Schneebaum, MD
65. Jason Schulman, editorial board, New Politics
66. Peter O. Schwartz
67. Stephen R. Shalom, Campaign for Peace and Democracy
68. Stephen Steinberg, City University of New York
69. Cheryl Stevenson
70. Mary Beth Sullivan, Outreach Coordinator, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
71. David Swanson, Cofounder of AfterDowningStreet.org
72. John Tirman, MIT Center for International Studies
73. Bernard Tuchman
74. Judith Podore Ward, New York City
75. Lois Weiner, New Jersey City University
76. Naomi Weisstein, Professor Emerita of Psychology/Neuroscience, State University of New York at Buffalo
77. Chris Wells, Spokesperson of the Humanist Movement
78. Reginald Wilson, Senior Scholar Emeritus, American Council on Education
79. Howard Zinn
* * * *
THE CAMPAIGN FOR PEACE AND DEMOCRACY advocates a new, progressive and non-militaristic U.S. foreign policy -- one that encourages democratization, justice and social change. Founded in 1982, the Campaign opposed the Cold War by promoting "detente from below." It engaged Western peace activists in the defense of the rights of democratic dissidents in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and enlisted East-bloc human rights activists against anti-democratic U.S. policies in countries like Nicaragua and Chile.