U.S. radar base near Prague

Pro-US Radar demonstration in Prague

A group of Czech US radar supporters made a sort of a camp at Jana Palacha square – so called sleep-in was called in on the 40th anniversary of Soviet invasion. The square changed into a bedroom with about 20 beds, the participants were dressed in pyjamas and night gowns during the afternoon.

Why a sleep event? The group, called Pro, believe that the Czech Republic need the US radar to sleep well. After protesters, from the lines of Greenpeace and others, organized anti-radar rallies, there has been a pro-radar rallies as well, the J.X.Dolezal hunger strike for example.

The truth is, more than two thirds of Czechs hadn’t wanted the radar here in the Czech Republic, but that was before Russia bombed Georgia. As the U.S. anti-missile shield in central Europe is fundamentally resented by Russia, we can expect the general public opinions to change nowadays.

Opposers of the Radar had a big day yesterday.

If Franz Kafka would be living, he would be surprised, and maybe got some inspiration for a new book. The year is 2008, exactly 40 years from the Russian occupation. Meanwhile humanists devote their efforts to commemorate the victims of communism, Jiri Paroubek from CSSD invited a Russian general, to speak against the US Base. The Kafka-like fact is, he invited the general to the building of the former Lenin Museum, and they let him speak literally at the same place where Lenin declaimed war at American Imperialism in 1912 at the opening ceremony.

Why is Jiri Paroubek against the radar ? He says “… the new American administrative won’t be going on crusades like the present one.” Crusades? Who used this before? Of course, it was Osama Bin Laden. To connect Lenin and Osama, just to get publicity or whatever, seems very Kafka to me. Inspired by article by Zbynek Petracek

The Mair Radar treaty signed yesterday

The historic moment, which is by its supporters labeled as similar to the Marshall Plan, by the opposers to Russian occupation in 1968, took place yesterday. Karel Schwarzenberg and Condoleezza Rice met in Prague to sign the main treaty about the us military base at Czech territory. The main purpose of the base is to locate possible flying military rockets that could be fired e.g. from Iran.

The contract yet needs to be signed by the parliament, which means its future is not 100% clear – the opposition would do anything to stop the radar form being build. Jiri Parobek invited a Russian General to speak about the dangers of cooperating with the US military, there was a demonstration on the Wenceslas square. And it wouldn’t be Russia, not to threaten the CR with use of their militia, so also their diplomacy send some new threats.

The ruling part of the Parliament has a reason to celebrate, but the matter is not over yet. The main show is to come, when the treaty is to be agreed by the whole Parliament.

Questions and Answers about the US Radar base in the CR

What has to be done yet?
If the radar is to be build, the politicians have to sign and accredit two international contracts. The main agreement was signed yesterday by Karel Schwarzenberg and Condoleezza Rice. The second contract is the Agreement between the Czech Republic and the USA about the status of military forces, so called SOFA. The negotiations continue, for example the problem of taxes is still not solved.

What is the resume of the main contract?
The Americans commit themselves to, using the anti-rocket defense, protect the Czech Republic against the possible attack of ballistic rockets. The Maximal number of soldiers present at the base is 250. The main command is in the hands of the USA anti-rocket defense department.

When the contract actually start to apply?
When it is ratified by the parliament.

How does the radar work?
Radar should be able to ‘see’ a military rocket about four minutes after it starts. It does it by continually transmitting radio waves. Source: LN

Czech Government welcomes Condoleezza Rice

The Czech Government is going to confirm the contract of building the American radar of anti-rocket defense. Today afternoon, the foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg is going to sign the treaty with the leader of American diplomacy Condoleezza Rice.

At the same time, the opposition CSSD is going to make an opposite event – they have invited a Russian general, who is traditionally going to speak about how Russia doesn’t like their ex-colonies making pacts with some other countries, when they did so much to us and we should be grateful and invite them over again anyways. I exaggerate of course, but basically the Russian military is the greatest critique of the planned radar base.

The interesting part of the story is Rice wrote a book about the Czechoslovakia security – The Soviet Union and the Czechoslovak Army, 1948-1983: Uncertain Allegiance. In 1985 the Czechoslovak ‘book reviewer’ criticized it very much, obedient to the will of the USSR. Anyway Rice knows about the situation here in Eastern Europe and she is the right person to subscribe the radar treaty, maybe better than George W.

Condoleezza Rice is going to Prague

She is going to spend one night in a hotel, probably in a luxurious one, like Hilton, where George Bush was accommodated last year. Mandarin Oriental or Four Seasons are the other most v.i.p. Prague hotels. She will most probably have increased safety measures, like bodyguards.

The minister comes to sign another Radar treaty with the Czech side, which means she must prepare not only for politicians supporting the radar but also the opposes – the Ne Zakladnam (No to Bases) motion prepares a demonstration at the Wenceslas Square. At 18:00.

The American special with Rice on the board arrives on Tuesday the next week, on Wednesday, she is to leave early to Poland, for the matter of Polish-American base.

Radar protesters driven away from the military base

Greenpeace anti-radar base before Since 28 April, the protesters have camped at the site, protesting again the planned US radar base construction. Until yesterday, when the Czech Army started to intervene against the Greenpeace members, as they did not react to repeated calls to leave the area.

The activists have put up passive resistance, so the military police loaded three of them in their car, the other two they had to lift from trees using a special military ramp.

The Military knew, that to use force against the peace activists would only nourish the national disgust with the radar matter. They didn’t use force, but they found a way, how to get their revenge on the party, which camped on their property – fining them.

Protest camping? Violation of the forest regime. Cooking foods on fire? Dangerous in hot weather. Digging and building of a latrine? Illegal construction. Now it is very clear there will be some trial, the activists against the military, when the military will demand incredible amounts of money as a revenge.

The government have finished their talks with the US, the main treaty waits to be signed, in July at the latest, and it is clear the radar will be build, protests or not.

Eccentric Journalist Jiri X Dolezal goes on hunger-strike to Support Radar

After the hunger-strike of activists Jan Tamas and Jan Bednaragainst the planned construction of the US radar base in the Czech Republic, the other person went to hunger-strike from today morning. It is nobody else than the eccentric journalist and writer, witty commentator, the publisher of non-conformist books and marijuana decriminalization fighter, Jiri X Dolezal. The reasons why he went on hunger-strike are the opposite reasons – he wants the treaty among the US and the CR to be signed immediately, without delay.

Even when none of their demands was fulfilled, Tamas and Bednar ended their 22-days long hunger-strike this Monday, for health reasons. They demanded referendum for the radar base. The both opposing bands want more attention of politicians, who do not let the nation talk to their decisions. Jiri X Dolezal announced he fights against populism of those Czech Politicians, who refuse the final sighting of the Radar Treaty.

'Threatening General' Jurij Balujevskij Removed from Position

The General-in-chief of Russian Generality is no longer Jurij Balujevskij. The general got into consciousness of the Czechs by his statements about the planned US radar base, especially the one:

“ … a possible start of a defensive missile from the base in Poland can Russian systems read as a launch of a ballistic missile. That would provoke a launch of a Russian missile in return”

By which he tried to talk the Czech Republic out of building the anti-rocket system. This quote produced much distaste when it was spitted out, it brought back the memory of the worst times spend with Russia.

He no longer works as a boss of Russian Generality, he was redeployed reportedly because of his open dispute with the minister of defense Anatolij Serdukov. Balujevskij openly put up resistance against his reformations. He was moved to a fat office, where he hopefully won’t threaten anyone.

The opponents of the Radar base continue hunger strike

Two Czech activists, Jan Bednar and Jan Tamas, have spend 15 days on hunger strike already, protesting against the planned construction of the US Radar base in the CR. They told journalists, they will continue their strike, despite bad health state of Bednar.

They both demand national referendum, which would, according to a recent pool, went against the radar, as two thirds of Czechs do not agree with the construction. They didn’t get any response from the politicians so far.

Bendar is the leading person of the No To Bases motion, that has been protesting against the base from the very beginning. Right now he says he suffers from a high bilirubin level, which means he should start eating, but he says to continue in his protest.

Radar will be traded for prior protection of CR

The radar base treaty gives the country greater safety policy compared to the other EU states. This could be read in the Prague-Washington agreement. The USA will protect the CR in preference, if it will be threatened by an attack, that is written in the very introductory article of the contract that waits for approval.

According to the ministry of foreign affairs the radar agreement could become another pillar, on which the safety of the country stands on. The most important is, of course, our NATO membership. “We can gain better safety, than most of the other European countries.” Smigolova stated.

Similar safety guarantees has in Europe only Denmark and Britain. Prague would have the possibility of programming the anti-rocket defense from the US radar, so the Czech Republic will be always defended by the anti-missiles. Whether or not the contract will be signed in this form is still being negotiated.

Source: MF

Greenpeace protests against the Radar

illustration photo Members of the Greenpeace motion have occupied the hill, where the American radar should stand. About 20 activists build tents, some have settled in trees. The organization protests against the radar, they spread a huge cloth with a target. They plan to organize ‘cultural and social events’.

Signing of the radar treaty was planned on 5th May, however this will be probably moved, as the American Minister of Foreign Affairs Condoleezza Rice, who was supposed to come on invitation of Czech Minister of Foreign won’t be here. (Her colleague Sean McCormick supplied the information).

The Radar for Weapons? No!

We recently posted an article, dealing with the change in US base negotiationswe wrote it became something tit for tat. But the team of negotiators and deputies of Foreign and Defense Ministry Tomas Pojar and Martin Bartak words came with a new statement: Negotiations about possible army modernization has nothing to with agreement of the US Radar base.

Even when Marin Bartak said recently : “We asked the USA for cooperation in acquisition of middle-size transport tactical aircrafts within negotiations of the anti-missile defense.”

He now added: “It is not that we would say, that if we don’t get airplanes, the radar matter is over. It has never been like about conditioning. It has never been in the contract.” We are going to inform you, how the situation develops.

Tit for tat in Matter of Radar

the project should look like this The Czech Republic wants to help with army modernization, especially needs help in the matter of gaining new military airplanes. We so join the neighbour Poland that undermine radar construction by military help. Czechs were, until now, interested in science and industry support only.

“We asked the USA for cooperation in acquisition of middle-size transport tactical aircrafts within negotiations of the anti-missile defense.” the deputy minister of minister of defense Martin Bartak acknowledged.

The Czech army would like to gain e.g. two transport Herculeses, which would replace small and old Antonov, which Czech soldiers use to get to missions abroad. Within anti-air defense they are probably interested in the Patriot system.

Havel: Yes to Radar.

We owe the US. That is the ex-president Vaclav Havel opinion in the matter of the US radar base in the Czech Republic. Havel have stated it is a chance to assist our ally. According to his words in a TV debate, without the assistance of the USA, independent Czechoslovakia would never arise and the Iron Curtain would still be here in the first place. “This is the first time Americans want something from us. We have always wanted something from them. They want a detail. And we start to be reluctant.”

Havel’s positive words have collided at the ex-Soviet president Michail Gorbachev. He said in the Czech Television the whole anti-radar system is aimed against Russia and China. This is a wide-spread opinion of Russian politics, even when Czech negotiators do a lot of gestures to demonstrate it is not.

Russia likes offer of US to control Czech Radar

illustration photo According to the treaty, the Russians could pay a visit to the base, whenever they ask for it. “The American side is prepared to to present a whole set of acquisitions regarding reinforcement of trust, so we could make sure the system is not directed at us.” The Russian Foreign Minister Sergej Lavrov stated. The head of Russian diplomacy considers the offer to be a fundamental shift in negotiations.

The Russians have been pressuring the Czech Republic regarding the Radar matter . E.g. like the one of General-in-chief Jurij Balujevskij. The gesture seemed to calm some of them: “The Americans at the end had to admit, our concerns for the matter are not baseless.” said Lavrov. He didn’t mention the request of Czechs and Poles; they asked a chance to control Russian facilities in return.

Opponents of Radar brought Water Pistols to Ambassador

Prague had a few demonstrations on Saturday going on, on the day of Nazi occupation 1939 anniversary. The biggest gathering was organized by the opponents of the American Radar in Brdy, close to Prague. The demonstrates were equipped with paper-maché impressions of US politicians.

A few hundred people came to the Hradcanske namesti, close to Prague Castle. Allegorical pageant than continued to the American embassy. The demonstrates than tried to hand over a box with “Iranian weapons of mass destruction” which contained plastic models of guns. Deputies of the embassy refused to accept the ‘present’.

This demo won’t change anything on the fact the radar will be, with highest probability, build. Two thirds of the Czech nation disagree.

Czech PM went to Washington to finish Radar negotiations

Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek went to Washington to finish the negotiations about the rocket radar base in the Czech Republic.

“We have reached the point, where it is possible to finish the negotiations already.” Topolanek stated. “We are going to focus on last details, and wait for results of Polish-American negotiations.”

“The agenda is, except some details, ready, and both the actual contracts are ready to be signed in Washington” That the negotiations are coming to an end has been presented by the American ministry of defense for weeks. The Czech Government always explained the most important is not when, but how.

Putin: We will target missiles on you if necessary

putin According to the Russian President, most of Czech citizens are not in favor of building the anti-missile shield. He stated that at his last press conference as the president.

Russia is going to aim a part of its missiles to the objects of the American anti-rocket shield in Poland and the Czech Republic, if necessary.

“Who has ever asked Poles and Czechs, whether they want to have these systems there, or not? Who ever asked? The absolute majority are not really keen to support these plans.” Putin said in front of 1300 journalists.

The Russian President repeated again, that his general staff and military experts claim, the American system threatens Russian interests. That’s why Russia has to take actions in the case of a base on the Polish territory “There is not a real thread; Iranian rockets do not exist and everybody knows that.”

“We are not really keen to do that, but it won’t be a problem in other areas. We try to negotiate, but nobody listens.”

Russia warns Poland: learn from the history

Negotiations among Poland and the USA about the military base have moved forward. Moscow doesn’t like it, warns of new Russia-Poland confrontations.

“Attempts to set up a confrontation line in Poland has until now always ended up tragically – as in WWII when the country lost almost one third of its population.” these were the words of the Russian deputy for Nato Dimitrij Rogozin, stating Poland has not learned from the history.

It is not the first diplomatically stated warning, Russia send. Last time, General-in-chief Jurij Balujevskij stated that a possible start of a defensive missile from the base in Poland can be red by the Russian systems as a launch of a ballistic missile. That would ‘provoke a launch of a Russian missile in return’.

As for the radar in Brdy, close to Prague, it will be build, as the last week brought the main negotiations to an agreement of the US and Czech governments.

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