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US Intellectuals: “We Protest against the U.S. Radar in the Czech Republic”

9.7.2008 - A Press Release
Anti War Activists and Intellectuals Send Open Letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on the occasion of her trip to Prague: “We Protest against the U.S. Radar in the Czech Republic”

NEW YORK, N.Y., July 7, 2008 The New York-based Campaign for Peace and Democracy sent an open letter today to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice protesting the proposed U.S. radar military base in the Czech Republic. Ms. Rice is scheduled to arrive in Prague this week to sign a treaty providing for the base, though 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 is evenly divided on the issue.

For more details, see the text of the open letter below. It was signed by 87 individuals, including Norman Birnbaum, Noam Chomsky, Ariel Dorfman, Bruce Gagnon, Thomas Harrison, Doug Ireland, Joanne Landy, Jesse Lemisch, Scott McLemee, Jennifer Scarlott, Stephen Shalom, Mary Beth Sullivan, Meredith Tax, Cornel West, and Howard Zinn. The full list of signatories is at the end of the letter.


To Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice,

On July 8, you are scheduled to go to Prague to sign a treaty establishing a U.S. military radar base in the Czech Republic. We want you, the Czech people and people around the world to know that we condemn this treaty as a grave threat to world peace that heightens international tensions and increases the danger of nuclear weapons being used.

The proposed radar base is part of an increasingly aggressive policy toward Russia; we strongly oppose this new Cold War. Furthermore, the base has been consistently rejected by a large majority of the Czech people. We call on the Czech government to respect the will of its people and to withdraw its support for the treaty.

Your administration claims that the radar base, along with related interceptor missiles to be placed in Poland, is meant to intercept missiles from “rogue states,” principally Iran. It is clear, however, that the system has more to do with Washington’s growing rivalry with Moscow. In fact, it is the first part of a more advanced “Star Wars” missile defense aimed at blunting Russia’s nuclear force and allowing the United States to attack Russia and other countries without fear of retaliation.

The Czech radar's job will be to tie into other U.S. war-fighting satellites, thus giving the U.S. seamless coverage of that region of the world. As the U.S. fills in deployments of Missile Defense interceptors and other similar technologies it then develops the ability to launch a first-strike attack against Russia, all coordinated from space. This first-strike is augmented by the ability, thanks to the Czech radar and nearby interceptor systems, to pick off any retaliatory strike by Russia.

Predictably, in a further and unacceptable -- act of Cold War escalation, Moscow has threatened to direct missiles toward Europe if the United States proceeds with the system, thus putting the people of Poland and the Czech Republic, along with millions of others, on the front line in future conflicts between Russia and the U.S. Russia has also said it will suspend participation in a separate treaty limiting the deployment of conventional forces in Europe.

As for Iran, there is no credible evidence that a nuclear threat exists today. And the administration’s bellicose stance, far from guarding against such a threat in the future, only enhances the likelihood that Teheran will eventually try to acquire nuclear weapons. We believe that the U.S. can best prevent nuclear proliferation to Iran and other countries by making major reductions in its own nuclear and conventional forces and by renouncing imperial interventionism -- not by expanding the nuclear threat with “Star Wars” and other aggressive programs. This would create a political climate that would powerfully discourage new countries from developing their own nuclear weapons. The U.S. could make an immediate and vital contribution to world peace by getting out of Iraq now.

We are encouraged by polls that show 70 percent of the Czech population opposing the base and we are inspired by the emergence of active resistance -- recently strengthened by the three-week hunger strike of two Czech peace activists, Jan Tamas and Jan Bednar. Tamas and Bednar were followed by a chain hunger strike in the Czech Republic and many other countries. On June 22 thousands of people around the world renounced food for one day. Awareness is also growing within the European Parliament that the treaty, which was initiated bilaterally between the U.S.s and the Czech Republic, in fact affects all of Europe.

The Czech people have a long and heroic record of resistance to superpower domination: Prague Spring, Charter 77, the Velvet Revolution. The new Czech peace movement represents a revival of that tradition. We stand in solidarity with our Czech sisters and brothers. Like them, we choose life. Linking arms across borders, we will do everything we can to defeat the radar base treaty because it promises only danger and death.


1. Joanne Landy, Co-Director, Campaign for Peace and Democracy
2. Thomas Harrison, Co-Director, Campaign for Peace and Democracy
3. Jennifer Scarlott, Co-Director, Campaign for Peace and Democracy
4. Peggy Albert
5. Peter Barland, MD
6. Patricia Beetle, Upper Hudson Peace Action
7. Norman Birnbaum, University Professor Emeritus, Georgetown U Law Center; Chairman, Scholarly Advisory Board, International Institute of Peace
8. Eileen Boris, Hull Professor and Chair, Department of Feminist Studies, UC Santa Barbara
9. Laura Boylan, M.D., Neurologist
10. Jeremy Brecher
11. Richard J. Brown, M.D.
12. Horace G. Campbell, Syracuse University
13. Noam Chomsky, MIT
14. Dennis Clagett
15. Mike Connelly, Peace Action New York
16. Clare Coss
17. Margaret W. Crane, Campaign for Peace and Democracy
18. Gail Daneker
19. Marie Dennis, Co-President, Pax Christi International
20. Ariel Dorfman, writer
21. Carolyn Eisenberg, Hofstra University
22. Stuart Elliott, Webmaster Kansas Workbeat, Wichita/Hutchinson Labor Federation (also E-board member)
23. Gertrude Ezorsky
24. Richard Falk, Milbank Professor of International Law, Emeritus, Princeton University
25. Cathey E. Falvo, MD, MPH, President, Physicians for Social Responsibility/NYC
26. Samuel Farber, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Brooklyn College, CUNY
27. John Feffer, Foreign Policy in Focus
28. Barry Finger
29. David Friedman
30. Robert Paul Gabrielsky
31. Bruce Gagnon, Coordinator, Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space
32. Jack Gerson, Oakland Education Association
33. Anne Gibbons, CODEPINK NYC
34. Mina Hamilton, Writer
35. Valerie Heinonen, o.s.u. Ursulines of Tildonk for Justice and Peace
36. Michael Hirsch, Democratic Socialists of America
37. Amy Holmes, International No Bases Coalition
38. Polly Howells
39. Carol Husten, Peace Action NYS & Granny Peace Brigade
40. Doug Ireland
41. Sally Jones, Peace Action New York State, Chair
42. Jesse Lemisch, Professor Emeritus, John Jay College, CUNY
43. Sue Leonard
44. Gerald R. Lotierzo, Peace Action of Central New York
45. Martha Livingston, SUNY College at Old Westbury
46. Ravi Malhotra, Sponsor, New Politics
47. Betty Mandell, Co-Editor, New Politics
48. Marvin Mandell, Co-Editor, New Politics
49. Arnold H. Matlin, MD
50. Vicki McFadyen, Peace Action Bay Ridge
51. Scott McLemee, writer
52. David McReynolds
53. Ali Moazzami, PhD Student, Iranian Institute of Philosophy
54. Tracy Mott, Associate Professor, Economics, University of Denver
55. Nicole Myers, Director, Center of Cultures, NY
56. Christopher J. Oleskey, MD, Yale Child Study Center
57. David Ost
58. Rosemarie Pace, Pax Christi Metro New York
59. Mike Parker, Labor Notes Policy Committee
60. Christopher Phelps, Department of History, Ohio State University, Mansfield
61. Charlotte Phillips, M.D., Chairperson, Brooklyn For Peace
62. Teresa Puig
63. Dennis Redmond, The Community for Human Development, NY
64. Len Rodberg, Queens College/CUNY
65. Gordon Rogoff, Professor, Yale School of Drama
66. John Rooney
67. Bruce Rosen
68. Matthew Rothschild, Editor, The Progressive
69. Jason Schulman, City University of New York
70. Wolfgang Schlupp-Hauck, Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, Chair of the Friedenswerkstatt Mutlangen e.V
71. Tiffany Schwabacher, Peace Action Staten Island
72. Stephen R. Shalom, William Paterson University
73. Cheryl Stevenson
74. Mary Beth Sullivan, Outreach Coordinator, Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space
75. David Swanson,
76. Meredith Tax, President, Women's WORLD
77. John Tirman, MIT
78. Bernard Tuchman
79. Judith P. Ward
80. Naomi Weisstein, Professor Emerita, Psychology/Neuroscience, SUNY-Buffalo
81. Chris Wells, Spokesperson for New Humanism in North America
82. Cheryl Wertz, Peace Action New York State
83. Cornel West, Princeton University
84. Lawrence S. Wittner, State University of New York/Albany
85. Kent Worcester, Marymount Manhattan College
86. Razeen Zaman, Intern, Campaign for Peace and Democracy