April 4, 2009

Czech Government Falls Over Star Wars Radar

March 24, 2009
The Associated Press reports, "The lower house of Parliament voted 101-96 to declare no confidence in the three-party coalition government, after four lawmakers broke rank with their parties and voted with the opposition.

Czech Government Falls 
Jan Tamas
March 25, 2009
I am very happy to announce that the Czech government has fallen. The Parliament voted the no-confidence. For us it is a great victory: we knew that the only way to stop the installation of the US radar base was the fall of the government and we worked for more than 2 years in this direction with permanence and coherence.

A government that represented the interests of the US military industry has fallen.

Our work has been fundamental in encouraging the members of the Parliament who already were against the radar and to spread doubts in the ones who were in favor. And it was just the change of mind of some deputies that made the fall of the government possible.

On the other hand, pressed by the hunger strike, the Social-Democratic Party had to take a clear position supporting us and this will make it more difficult for them in the future to change their opinion about the radar. The collaboration with the Communist Party, that has always supported our initiatives, has been decisive as well.

Thanks to all of you for the support you gave us in many activities, support that was critical.

Thanks to all the pacifist organizations, thanks to the members of the European Parliament who believed in our fight, thanks to the mayors of different countries, thanks to the Humanist Movement, that allowed this protest to expand to many European countries and to reach other continents.

A great space should be given to this news. Now the US must rearrange their plans because of the protest of a people who don't want foreign troops on this territory.

And the invading armies should withdraw from all the occupied territories of the world.

Now it is necessary to develop a strong opposition to the "Star Wars" and in favor of the nuclear disarmament also in other countries.

Now in the Czech Republic a new chapter of our struggle begins.

A strong hug
Jan Tamas, Prague, Czech Republic

-Thanks to Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space

Opponents of Pentagon's missile-defense shield confront Obama in Czech Republic
 Sunday, April 5, 2009 The Washington Post,

PRAGUE, Czech Republic – President Barack Obama received the red-carpet treatment when he arrived in the Czech Republic on Saturday, just as he has elsewhere in Europe.

He also was greeted by crowds of demonstrators who have nearly succeeded in defeating a key component of the Pentagon's missile-defense shield and want Obama to bury the project for good.

The Bush administration angered Russia by pushing to install radar dishes at a Czech military base and put 10 interceptor missiles in neighboring Poland. The Czech government signed a treaty with the Bush administration in July that provides for the radar.

Washington argued that the shield would help thwart an attack from Iran or elsewhere in the Middle East.

Obama, who is trying to ease strained relations with Moscow, has said he is reviewing the plan. Polls show that about 70 percent of Czechs oppose it.

Last month, the government was forced to postpone a legislative vote to ratify the treaty after opponents mustered enough support to block it. A few days later, lawmakers voted to dissolve the government of Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, a leading champion of the shield.

Topolanek remains in power but is a lame duck until elections can be held, likely in October. Analysts said a new government, mindful of public skepticism of the missile shield, probably will let the unratified treaty lie dormant, if not kill it outright.

Obama has said he has doubts about whether the interceptors will work and has questioned whether the project is affordable, but has not pulled the plug on it. That has prompted opponents to plan large demonstrations for Sunday – when Obama is to make a public speech at Prague Castle.

-The Washington Post, The Associated Press

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