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The people of the Czech Republic collected signatures, organized 130 mayors, went on hunger strikes, won a vote, and took down a government. You can expect none of this to be mentioned in US media coverage of their victory. Instead you will be told that this victory is Russia's. Never mind that when pushing for these outposts of empire the United States claimed they had nothing to do with Russia. Score one more victory for nonviolent people's resistance, and announce it, because nobody else will.
The White House will shelve Bush administration plans to build a missile-defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic, according to people familiar with the matter, a move likely to cheer Moscow and roil the security debate in Europe.
The U.S. will base its decision on a determination that Iran's long-range missile program has not progressed as rapidly as previously estimated, reducing the threat to the continental U.S. and major European capitals, according to current and former U.S. officials.
The findings, expected to be completed as early as next week following a 60-day review ordered by President Barack Obama, would be a major reversal from the Bush administration, which pushed aggressively to begin construction of the Eastern European system before leaving office in January. Read more.
Moments ago, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed the first national standards to limit global warming pollution in U.S. history.
The proposal would:
- Reduce global warming pollution from automobiles by 21% by 2030.
- Cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 950 million metric tons.
- Save 1.8 billion barrels of oil.
- Save the average consumer more than $3,000 in fuel costs.
EDF President Fred Krupp issued this statement in response:
"This is a critical step to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and curb pollution that threatens our health. It will deliver immediate benefits for the country as Congress crafts comprehensive climate legislation."
Charles Darwin film 'too controversial for religious America'
A British film about Charles Darwin has failed to find a US distributor because his theory of evolution is too controversial for American audiences, according to its producer.
By Anita Singh | Telegraph UK
Creation, starring Paul Bettany, details Darwin's "struggle between faith and reason" as he wrote On The Origin of Species. It depicts him as a man who loses faith in God following the death of his beloved 10-year-old daughter, Annie.
The film was chosen to open the Toronto Film Festival and has its British premiere on Sunday. It has been sold in almost every territory around the world, from Australia to Scandinavia.
However, US distributors have resolutely passed on a film which will prove hugely divisive in a country where, according to a Gallup poll conducted in February, only 39 per cent of Americans believe in the theory of evolution.
Movieguide.org, an influential site which reviews films from a Christian perspective, described Darwin as the father of eugenics and denounced him as "a racist, a bigot and an 1800s naturalist whose legacy is mass murder". His "half-baked theory" directly influenced Adolf Hitler and led to "atrocities, crimes against humanity, cloning and genetic engineering", the site stated.
The film has sparked fierce debate on US Christian websites, with a typical comment dismissing evolution as "a silly theory with a serious lack of evidence to support it despite over a century of trying". Read more.
Fresh questions were raised tonight about the behaviour of British officials towards terror suspects by the disclosure that MI6 had referred one of its officers to the attorney general over allegations of complicity in torture.
The unprecedented move was disclosed in a letter from David Miliband, the foreign secretary, to his Conservative shadow, William Hague. He said MI6 had acted on its own initiative, "unprompted by any accusation against MI6 or the individual concerned".
The Metropolitan police specialist crime branch said Lady Scotland, the attorney general, had asked it to investigate "the conditions under which a non-Briton was held" and the "potential involvement of British personnel".
Officials were reluctant to say anything more about the case other than it was "unrelated" to that of Binyam Mohamed, a British resident who says he was tortured and ill-treated in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Morocco and Guantánamo Bay.
The police are separately investigating allegations of what the high court has called "possible criminal wrongdoing" by an MI5 officer involved in Mohamed's secret interrogation. Read more.
The United States and five partner countries have accepted Iran's new offer to hold talks, even though Iran insists it will not negotiate over its disputed nuclear program, the State Department said Friday.
Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters that although Iran's proposal for international talks - presented to the six powers on Wednesday - was disappointing for sidestepping the nuclear issue, it represented a chance to begin a direct dialogue.
"We are seeking a meeting now based on the Iranian paper to see what Iran is prepared to do," Crowley said. "And then, as the president has said, you know, if Iran responds to our interest in a meeting, we'll see when that can occur. We hope that will occur as soon as possible."
In its proposal, Iran ignored a demand by the six world powers - the U.S., Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany - for a freeze of its uranium enrichment, which is suspected of leading to production of a nuclear weapon. Iran insists that its nuclear work is strictly for peaceful non-military purposes.
Iran pronounced itself ready to "embark on comprehensive, all-encompassing and constructive negotiations." Read more.
On September 27, the Labour Party in Britain - which is currently the governing party - is having its annual policy conference. Last weekend, the Guardian reported  that members of the Labour Party who oppose the continuing war in Afghanistan are planning to offer a resolution  against the war at this conference.
Could you show your support for British efforts to withdraw from Afghanistan by signing our petition to the Labour Party? You can sign the petition here.
The leaders of France, Britain and Germany have called for a high-level international conference on Afghanistan, saying it is time to "take stock of progress . . . and to evaluate the challenges that lie ahead."
In a letter to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the leaders said the conference, which they suggested take place outside Afghanistan under U.N. and Afghan sponsorship, would facilitate agreement on "new benchmarks and timelines" for gradually turning responsibility for the country over to Afghans.
The letter, dated Tuesday and released Wednesday by the office of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, coincides with growing European concern about the direction and objectives of the international enterprise in Afghanistan. It clearly suggested that decisions should not be left solely to the United States, which fields about two-thirds of the nearly 100,000 foreign troops there.
Antiwar sentiment is strongest in Britain, where Prime Minister Gordon Brown last week delivered a major speech designed "to take head-on the arguments that suggest our strategy in Afghanistan is wrong and to answer those who question whether we should be in Afghanistan at all." In addition to Brown and Sarkozy, the letter was signed by Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, where opposition has been fueled by an airstrike in northern Afghanistan last week that was initiated by German troops and that killed an unknown number of civilians. Read more.
Toward the latter half of last month the Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza, "citing officials and lobbyists in Washington," revealed that the Pentagon would reevaluate planned interceptor missile deployments in Poland and a complementary missile radar site in the Czech Republic and instead shift global missile shield plans to Israel, Turkey and the Balkans 
"Washington is now looking for alternative locations including in the Balkans, Israel and Turkey...." 
The news came a week after it was reported that at the annual Space and Missile Defense Conference hosted by the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency in Huntsville, Alabama the Chicago-based Boeing Company offered to construct a "47,500-pound interceptor that could be flown to NATO bases as needed on Boeing-built C-17 cargo planes," a "two-stage interceptor designed to be globally deployable within 24 hours...." 
This initiative, much as with the reports of plans to expand the American worldwide interceptor missile system to the Middle East and Southeastern Europe, has been presented as a way of alleviating Russian concerns over anti-missile components being deployed near its borders. But on the same day that Boeing announced the project for a rapid deployable missile launcher for NATO bases in Europe the First Deputy Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic, Tomas Pojar, was quoted as asserting that a "possible U.S. mobile anti-missile shield does not threaten the U.S. plans to build a radar base on Czech soil because the system is to be a combination of fixed and mobile elements." 
That is, what is being presented in both instances as substitutes for U.S. and NATO missile shield deployments in Eastern Europe may in fact be added to rather than replace plans for Poland and the Czech Republic.
Gordon Brown faces Labour motion to pull out troops from Afghanistan
Conference activists say war in Afghanistan 'is unwinnable'
By Gaby Hinsliff and Mark Townsend | The Observer
Gordon Brown faces fresh questions over the war in Afghanistan at this month's Labour party conference, with grassroots activists circulating a motion demanding that troops be withdrawn.
The "contemporary issues motion", which lets grassroots members trigger debates at conference, concludes that "a majority of the public believe the war is unwinnable" and suggests Britain's involvement has fuelled the risk of terrorist attack. It follows damaging criticisms from the ministerial aide Eric Joyce, who resigned last week in protest at the handling of the war.
Lord Soley, former chair of the parliamentary Labour party, predicted that doubts over Afghanistan would come into the open. "I think there will be more people saying what Eric Joyce has said. The Labour party doesn't like war at the best of times."
Soley admitted he had doubts about the Afghan strategy, but said Brown's speech last week had "gone a long way towards answering the concerns". However, he said Brown still had more to do to win the argument.
This week the prime minister faces a new dilemma over whether to push for Hamid Karzai, the incumbent president, to face a second round of voting following August's disputed elections. Officials are expected to confirm within days that Karzai got the 50% of the vote needed to avoid a runoff, but allegations of fraud suggest the result may not be reliable. British officials signalled that patience was running out with the Karzai administration, but are not seeking a change. A Foreign Office source said: "There are a number of highly questionable characters in Karzai's government that we continue to have concerns about." Read more.
Dear Britain: "Get Out of Afghanistan, So We Can Get Out"
By Robert Naiman | Just Foreign Policy
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown faces a grassroots challenge over the war in Afghanistan at this month's Labour Party conference, the Guardian reports:
Gordon Brown faces fresh questions over the war in Afghanistan at this month's Labour party conference, with grassroots activists circulating a motion demanding that troops be withdrawn.
I'd give anything for the opportunity to address this conference.
I'd wait until one or two people gave speeches arguing that Britain had to keep its troops in Afghanistan out of friendship with the United States. Then I'd ask to be recognized, and I'd say,
"As an American, I thank the honorable gentlemen and ladies for their kind words of friendship towards the people of the United States. I assure you, as you know very well, that the feelings are reciprocated.
"But I beg you, in the name of humanity: show your love differently than by continuing to support this war. Do not love us like a drinking buddy who gives liquor to an alcoholic. Do not love us by staying, teeth gritted, in a car whose driver has had too much to drink. Do not love us by holding back your criticism, or praising our war policy with faint damnation. Read more.
As Americans continue to debate the torture era of the Bush administration, a new report has emerged about the alleged existence of a third secret prison used by the CIA in Europe. According to ABC News, the CIA operated a "black site" prison in Lithuania until the end of 2005.
Following reports on "black site" prisons in Poland, ABC News is now reporting that a third jail existed in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius. According to the report, as many as eight prisoners were held there for at least one year.
The United States is believed to have used the third black site prison in Europe to hold high-value al-Qaida suspects after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and to question them using "special interrogation techniques." These included the simulated drowning of prisoners through the practice known as waterboarding. With the development, the debate in America over government interrogation techniques and torture appears to be taking on a greater European dimension. Read more.
Pentagon Intensifies Plans For Global Military Supremacy: U.S., NATO Could Deploy Mobile Missiles Launchers To Europe
From August 17-20 the annual U.S. Space and Missile Defense Conference was conducted in Huntsville, Alabama, which hosts the headquarters of the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency (MDA).
Among the over 2,000 participants were the Missile Defense Agency's new director, Army Lt. Gen. Patrick O'Reilly, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. James Cartwright, commander of the Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command Army Lt. Gen. Kevin Campbell and NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) Administrator Charles Bolden Jr.
There were also 230 exhibitors present, among them the nation's major arms manufacturers with an emphasis on those weapons companies specializing in global missile shield and space war projects. The presence of the head of NASA indicated that the distinction between the military and civilian uses of space is rapidly disappearing. As the Bloomberg news agency reported on the second day of this year, "President-elect Barack Obama will probably tear down long-standing barriers between the U.S.’s civilian and military space programs to speed up a mission to the moon amid the prospect of a new space race with China" and "Obama’s transition team is considering a collaboration between the Defense Department and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration...."  The recently appointed NASA chief, Bolden, is a retired Marine Corps general.
47,500-Pound Missile Launcher Headed To NATO Bases In Europe?
"Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union," by David Swanson is due in stores September 1st, but the publisher has it now and you can get it straight from Seven Stories Press.
Matthew Bryza has been one of the U.S.'s main point men in the South Caucasus, the Caspian Sea Basin and Central Asia for the past twelve years.
From 1997-1998 he was an advisor to Ambassador Richard Morningstar, coordinating U.S. efforts in the Caucasus and Central Asia as well as in Southeastern Europe, particularly Greece and Turkey. Morningstar was appointed by the Clinton administration as the first Special Advisor to the President and Secretary of State on Assistance to the New Independent States of the Former Soviet Union in 1995, then Special Advisor to the President and the Secretary of State for Caspian Basin Energy Diplomacy in 1998 and was one of the chief architects of U.S. trans-Caspian strategic energy plans running from the Caspian Sea through the South Caucasus to Europe. Among the projects he helped engineer in that capacity was the Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan [BTC] oil pipeline - "the world's most political pipeline" - running from Azerbaijan through Georgia to Turkey and the Mediterranean Sea.
Trans-Caspian, Trans-Eurasian Energy Strategy Crafted In The 1990s
In 1998 Bryza was Morningstar's chief lieutenant in managing U.S. Caspian Sea energy interests as Deputy to the Special Advisor to the President and Secretary of State on Caspian Basin Energy Diplomacy, where he remained until March of 2001, and he worked on developing what are now U.S. and Western plans to circumvent Russia and Iran and achieve dominance over the delivery of energy supplies to Europe.
Morningstar later became United States Ambassador to the European Union from 1999-2001 and this April was appointed the Special Envoy of the United States Secretary of State for Eurasian Energy, a position comparable to that he had occupied eleven years earlier.
In 2005 the George W. Bush administration appointed Bryza Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs under Condoleezza Rice, a post he holds to this day although he will soon be stepping down, presumably to become the U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan, the nation that most vitally connects American geostrategic interests in an arc that begins in the Balkans, runs through the Caucasus to the Caspian Sea and then to Central and South Asia.
A press report on August 10 revealed that the government of Italy is planning to modify if not dispense with its post-World War II constitutional limitations on conducting offensive military operations; that is, to reverse a 61-year ban on waging war.
The news story, reminding readers that "Italy's post-World War II constitution places stringent limits on the country's military engagements," stated the Italian government intends to introduce a new military code "specifically for missions abroad," one that - in a demonstration of evasiveness and verbal legerdemain alike - would be "neither of peace nor of war." 
Amnesty International has reiterated its call for an independent public inquiry into allegations of UK complicity in torture. The call comes in response to recent statements by the UK Foreign Secretary and Home Secretary regarding intelligence information gained through torture.
The Chief of MI6, the UK’s Secret Intelligence Service, has also issued a blanket denial that his officers have been involved in the torture or ill-treatment of terror suspects held overseas. This follows the decision of senior officials to go public last week in the face of mounting evidence that UK agents were involved in the questioning of terrorism suspects in Pakistan and other countries.
"The allegations of UK complicity in torture are very serious and cannot be answered by sweeping policy statements," said Julia Hall, Counter-Terrorism Researcher in Amnesty International's Europe and Central Asia Programme. "If the government maintains that its agents are not involved in torture then it has nothing to fear from a transparent process that can prove it."
The UK Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, and the Home Secretary, Alan Johnson, reiterated the government's opposition to torture on Sunday. However, they said it was not possible to rule out the risk that some intelligence information gained through mistreatment could be used. Read more.
Lance Corporal Joe Glenton, from the Royal Logistics Corps, is the first British soldier to speak out publicly against the war in Afghanistan. He explains in the letter below, delivered to Gordon Brown at Downing Street on Thursday 30 July, why he will not return to fight in Afghanistan because he believes politicians must stop wasting soldiers' lives in an unjustified war. Court martial proceedings for desertion against Joe, for his refusal to return to Afghanistan, begin on 3 August. • Email messages of support to email@example.com
Two people were illegally rendered through British territory, but our government refuses to reveal their identity or their fate
By Clive Stafford Smith READ IT.
Diego Garcia rendition victim challenges UK in court
• Guantánamo detainee fights ministers' secrecy
• Man says he was carried in coffin and tortured
Six peace activists face prison for "disarming" an arms factory but is taking action to prevent war crimes illegal?
On 17 January 2009, as Israel's bombs and missiles rained down on the people of Gaza, killing over 1400 people, six anti war activists from Bristol staged a citizens' decommissioning at the ITT/EDO MBM factory in Brighton. ITT/EDO MBM make vital components for Paveway precision guided bombs and Hellfire missiles, and bomb release clips for F15 and F16 fighter aircraft.
The decommissioners were trying to stop the supply of weapons used for war crimes. The decommissioners made their way to the top storey and threw computers and filing cabinets out of the building.
The words "War Criminals" were written on the walls. The disarming of the factory successfully brought the business to a standstill and caused a temporary halt to this section of the war machine.
Elijah Smith stated before entering the factory "I don't feel I'm going to do anything illegal tonight. I'm going to smash this arms factory so that it cannot actually work to produce parts for the bombs that are provided to the Israeli army which is killing children. The time for talking has gone."
Tom Woodhead, another decommissioner, said "Prison does not worry me. What does scares me is the international community's lack of ability to act in the prevention of grave war crimes".
Going to trial
The decommissioners now face trial on October 26th on charges of criminal damage and conspiracy as a result of their action. Following the precedent set by the Raytheon 9, who were found not guilty at their trial in 2008 for carrying out a similar action in the Raytheon offices in Derry, the decommissioners will be going to trial as the accusers not the accused. They will argue that they were acting to help prevent the crime of killing the people of Gaza.
Marking When Bush Poodle Wagged U.K. Tail for War
By Ray McGovern
Seven years ago this week, then British Prime Minister Tony Blair (widely referred to in Europe as “Bush’s poodle”) gathered his top national security advisers at 10 Downing St. to hear a report from U.K. intelligence chief Sir Richard Dearlove.
Dearlove had had just returned to London from face-to-face talks with then-CIA Director George Tenet at CIA headquarters in Washington. It was eight months before the U.S./U.K.-led “coalition of the willing” invaded Iraq on pretenses known to be false.
Blair and President George W. Bush had been talking regularly by telephone throughout 2002. But, as is well known, the most secure phones can be tapped, and there are some things — like preparing wars of aggression — that are so outrageous one doesn’t dare take any chances. Taps are taped; and tapes can be trouble.
In addition to all that, Blair apparently had some misgivings about taking at face value the Texas-size braggadocio he was hearing at the other end of the phone concerning what was going to happen to Saddam Hussein and why. It is understandable that he would seek independent, authoritative confirmation that this was also what Bush was sharing with his top accomplices.
The death of Government scientist David Kelly returned to haunt Labour today as a group of doctors announced that they were mounting a legal challenge to overturn the finding of suicide. READ THE REST.
How David Davis Exposed Britain’s Secret Torture Scandal
By Andy Worthington | AndyWorthington.co.UK
The following is the statement that David Davis MP made to the House of Commons on the evening of July 7, which exposed the extent of British complicity in the torture in Pakistan of British citizen Rangzieb Ahmed. For further information, see the article “Britain’s Secret Torture Policy Exposed.”
Four years ago today, this country suffered a terrible atrocity at the hands of terrorists: 52 people were killed and many more horribly injured. I stood at the dispatch box that day and spoke of the need to face down this barbarism. In the subsequent weeks and months, I was proud of the calm and just way that the ordinary British citizen dealt with this assault and of the comparative absence of people trying to make scapegoats of the ordinary, decent Muslim community. I was proud of the courage, sense of honour, tolerance and justice of our citizens at home.
I am afraid that I cannot be so complimentary about the actions of our government abroad. In the last year, there have been at least 15 cases of British citizens or British residents claiming to be tortured by foreign intelligence agencies with the knowledge, complicity and, in some cases, presence of British intelligence officers. One case — that of Binyam Mohamed — has been referred to the police by the attorney general, which implies that there is at least a prima facie case to answer. The most salient others include Moazzam Begg, Tariq Mahmoud, Salahuddin Amin and Rashid Rauf, all in Pakistan, Jamil Rahman in Bangladesh, Alam Ghafoor in United Arab Emirates, and Azhar Khan and others in Egypt.
For each case, the government have denied complicity, but at the same time fiercely defended the secrecy of their actions, making it impossible to put the full facts in the public domain, despite the clear public interest in doing so. Although the combined circumstantial evidence of complicity in all these cases is overwhelming, it has not so far been possible — because of the government’s improper use of state secrecy to cover up the evidence — to establish absolutely clear sequences of cause and effect.
In the case I am about to describe, we can follow the entire chain of events from original suspicion, through active encouragement of the Pakistani authorities to arrest and through the subsequent collaboration between UK and Pakistani agencies. This is the case of Rangzieb Ahmed, a convicted terrorist, whose treatment I can describe in some detail. Read more.
By Stephanie Westbrook
It's the slogan of the citizens committees that have formed in the central
Italian city of L'Aquila, hit by a 6.3 magnitude earthquake on April 6, 2009.
And it was on display for world leaders during the G8 summit being held
just outside the city in an area off limits to the local people.
On the morning of July 8, as the Group of Eight leaders began arriving in
L'Aquila, activists scaled the hill overlooking the red zone and laid out huge
sheets of white plastic to form 10-meter high letters reading 'Yes We
Camp.' (http://www.3e32.com/main/?p=1227) As Mattia Lolli of the 3e32
Committee, which takes its name from the time the earthquake hit,
explained, "We want to make sure the G8 leaders as well as public opinion
in Italy know that three months after the earthquake there are still over
22,000 people living in tents."
The G8 summit was originally to take place on the island of Sardinia. On
By George Lakey, CommonDreams.org
I just returned from a research trip to Norway where the people I interviewed often brought up the topic of our new President. The first was Kristin Clemet, the director of a conservative think tank. "This spring on a delegation to Washington I was struck again," she said, "by how different the political spectrum is in Norway from your country. Here, Obama would be on the right wing." I checked her view with others -- academics, politicians, activists all over the Norwegian spectrum -- and all but one agreed. In Norwegian terms, our President's positions are very conservative.
Weapons inspector David Kelly was writing a book exposing highly damaging government secrets before his mysterious death.
He was intending to reveal that he warned Prime Minister Tony Blair there were no weapons of mass destruction anywhere in Iraq weeks before the British and American invasion.
He had several discussions with a publisher in Oxford and was seeking advice on how far he could go without breaking the law on secrets.
Following his death, his computers were seized and it is still not known if any rough draft was discovered by investigators and, if so, what happened to the material.
Dr Kelly was also intending to lift the lid on a potentially bigger scandal, his own secret dealings in germ warfare with the apartheid regime in South Africa.
US television investigators have spent four years preparing a 90-minute documentary, Anthrax War, suggesting there is a global black market in anthrax and exposing the mystery “suicides” of five government germ warfare scientists from around the world.
Director Bob Coen said: ‘‘The deeper you look into the murky world of governments and germ warfare, the more worrying it becomes...." Read more.
July 2, 2009
Warden Message: Upcoming Demonstrations Regarding 4th of July and G8 Summit
American citizens are advised to be especially attentive and alert from now through the Fourth of July and the G-8 Summit in Italy. Please exercise caution as you travel in Rome and around Italy. Several demonstrations are planned over the next ten days that may affect U.S. interests or those of the G-8 countries.
On July 4, there will be a large demonstration at the U.S. military base in Vincenza. The demonstration is organized by No Dal Molin and other groups. American citizens should avoid the area around Vicenza for the period July 3-5. [NOTE: this event is organized by nonviolent activists in opposition to militarism, so the embassy indicates that the other events below are expected to be peaceful and omits that comment here. --DS]
On July 5-6, a torch-lit walk is planned through the center of L'Aquila
from 24.00 to 03.32 (time of the recent earthquake). This event is
expected to be peaceful.
By Mark Knoller, CBS News
In advance of Pres. Obama’s first trip to Russia next week, the White House is serving notice on the Kremlin that he won’t be making any concessions to win its approval of a U.S. missile shield in Europe or membership in NATO for Russian neighbors Ukraine and Georgia.
“We don’t need the Russians,” says Michael McFaul, special assistant to the president and senior director for Russian affairs on the National Security Council staff.
In a conference call with reporters, McFaul responded with unusually tough talk when asked what reassurances Pres. Obama is prepared to give in his talks starting Monday with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev.
By Kent Harris, Stars and Stripes
VICENZA, Italy — Tens of thousands of Italians traditionally gather in Vicenza to celebrate the United States’ Independence Day with members of the American military community. But the only large gathering planned for this Saturday at Caserma Ederle is a protest against the American military presence in the country.
Base officials have moved this year’s festivities to Thursday and will not be opening the gates to the Italian community as has been the practice in years past.
However, the annual celebration wasn’t altered because of the protest, according to Jon Fleshman, public affairs officer for U.S. Army Garrison-Vicenza. A number of factors — including construction, a four-day weekend and a lack of parking on base — contributed to the base shifting the festival two days forward.
By David Swanson
Do they have a fourth of July in Italy? That's not a trick question. This July 4th, Italians plan to gather in Vicenza to take nonviolent action aimed at freeing Italy from U.S. occupation and opposing the proposed construction of an enormous new U.S. military base in a town already swarming with U.S. troops stationed at existing bases. For years now, a major campaign organized by local residents has resisted the construction of the new base. The history of this campaign is chronicled in English here and here. A local referendum voted 95 percent against the base. A leader of the opposition to the base has been elected to the local government. An Italian prime minister has been temporarily thrown out of power. Local activists and members of parliament have visited Washington to oppose the base, and testified before the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs on April 23, 2009. The European media has been unable to avoid the story.