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Saturday, 05 July 2008
Ne základnám

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This is the permanent stand of the No to (American) Bases Initiative on Wenceslas Square in Prague. It has been a permanent feature near the Wenceslas/Horse statue since Tuesday 17 June 2008, and claims that nearly two thirds of the public (in the organisers “unofficial referendum”) oppose the plan to build an American military radar base in the Czech Republic.  The stand has gathered an additional 4000 signatures on a petition which demands a referendum on this issue. The organisers have said the permanent stand is a victory against the repressive measures of the Czech government (which has suppressed demonstrations, such as that by Greenpeace).

Here is closer-up photograph of the stand:
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The organisers have published 10 reasons to oppose the American base:

  1. There is no substantial difference between a radar base and a missile base. They are two integral parts of the same system and they can’t be separated either technically or politically. The whole system can be used both in defense and in offense.
  2. If our country plays host to this extraordinarily powerful and technically advanced U.S. radar base, we will become a tool of the unilateral U.S. foreign policy, which is aimed at military hegemony and the so-called war against terrorism. This war has thusfar succeeded only in increasing terrorism, destroying Iraq, destabilizing the region and giving rise to the prisons at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib.
  3. Our membership in NATO places no obligation on us to accept the radar base. The construction of the radar base is a unilateral action of the United States.
  4. The base will not make us more secure. On the contrary, it will place us in greater danger. At the present time, the Czech Republic has no enemies among states. And missiles and radars are not effective in combatting terrorism.
  5. Just as in the case of a missile base, the Czech Republic would have no say in what happens at a U.S. radar base on our soil or what would truly be installed there. The base would be completely under the control of U.S. Air Command in Europe.
  6. Such a base whether with radar or missiles will increase international tension, particularly in relation to Russia, and intensify an international arms race, which could spark a serious conflict.
  7. Such a base is a potential target for attack. In the event of a conflict between states which own medium-range ballistic missiles, a radar base would be a first priority target.
  8. The construction of more bases threatens to spark new cycles of armament around the world. In developing countries, this results in the deepening of poverty for already desperate populations. In Europe, it could mean the end of state ensurance of social security.
  9. The effects of such a high-power radar system on nearby residents are not known. The only similar systems are located in remote and unpopulated areas.
  10. Effective defense against the threats of terrorism and war requires a decrease in international tension. New bases, which increase tension, will certainly not help in this regard.

Information is also given about the forthcoming demonstration against the planned arrival of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is supposed to sign the treaty on radar on 8 July. There are also posters plastered around the city such as this one in the Old Town.

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The demonstration will be on 8 July at 18:00 in Wenceslas Square.

See also George Monbiot in the Guardian on this topic.

Posted by bigblue on 05/07/2008 at 11:54 AM
Filed under: EuropeCzech Republic • (0) CommentsPermalinkBookmark or Share

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