22 June 2008
International Fast to Stop Star Wars

 

Reports from:
Sung-Hee Choi - 27 June | 22 June | 19 June | 12 June | 5 June | 30 May | 26 May
Mary Beth Sullivan - 17 June | 14 June

Gareth Smith - 13 June | 30 May
Bruce Gagnon - 13 June | 13 June | 6 June | 5 June | 4 June | 2 June | 30 May
Protest Photo-Rama | 29 May | 28 May | 27 May | 25 May | 22 May | 21 May

The Militarization of Space by Loray Polk - 4 June
Hunger Strikers Interrupt Protest -
2 June

Anna Polo - 28 May | 25 May
Hunger Strikers continue despite bad health - 27 May
Alice Slater - 25 May
David vs Goliath - 25 May
Isabel Torres - 21 May

Leader of movement against US military base will go
on hunger strike
- 7 May

See: Jan Tamas Speech at 2008 GN Conference
 


Blue Hill


Menwith Hill, UK


Albuquerque


Brunswick


New York


St Paul


Pictures from global actions - http://www.nenasili.cz/en/1604_photos-from-22nd-june

See: List of GN Participants


On the 2nd June, after 21 days, Jan Tamas and Jan Bednar suspended their hunger strike. But it continues in the form of a relay in the Czech Republic with the participation of politicians, scientists and artists, etc.

See: video message by Jan Tamas:  http://nenasili.cz/en/1527_video-message-from-jan-tamas-lets-expand-our-protest

To give more force to this great non-violent protest, we are launching a Worldwide 1-Day Hunger Strike on June 22nd and proposing a simple but significant gesture: let’s not eat for one day to oppose Star Wars and say to the world powers: “Stop feeding the war machine and start feeding the people!”

It’s scandalous that one thousand million dollars are destined to military spending, when with different choices this money could solve the problems of hunger, lack of education and the environment.

 

If you would like to participate on the 22nd June you can join the list of GN Participants and/or send your photo and write a brief comment.at: http://nenasili.cz/en/1494_worldwide-hunger-strike-22th-june-2008

If you’d like to organise something in your city or subscribe to the campaign and for more information see:

http://nenasili.cz/en/1504_contacts-us http://nenasili.cz/en/1081_campaign-in-the-world

In Italy, Giorgio Schultze started a hunger strike on the 1st of June and suspended it on the 13th of June in Brussels where, together with Jan Tamas, he met with Luisa Morgantini – Vice-President of the European Parliament and many other MEPs (Members of the European Parliament). On the 9th of July, there will be a meeting and press conference in Strasbourg with MEPs opposed to the Star Wars project. He will present the signatures gathered by the on-line petition: A great opportunity to redouble our efforts and reach 200,000 signatures!

 

Giorgio Schultze and Jan Tamas will participate in the European Humanist Forum “The Strength of Nonviolence” in Milan, Italy on the 17th, 18th and 19th of October where they will be guest-speakers on the Disarmament panel. For more information about the forum see the website: www.humanistforum.eu and download the monthly bulletin here.

The bulletin is also available in French, Spanish and Italian.

On 22nd June in the USA:
http://nenasili.cz/en/1481_world-wide-hunger-strike-on-june-22-building-in-the-us

Video about “Star Wars” reduced version of 10 minutes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2NN_1ihgEs&feature=user

20 minute version: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6985757020278142423&hl=en

Other information: http://nenasili.cz/en

Support this campaign by letting your friends know, in your city, among organisations and the media. Only with everyone’s help can we change the future, a future that is today in the hands of a few unscrupulous crazy people.

Tony Robinson
info@europeforpeace.eu
www.nonviolence.cz

 


27 June 2008
Solidarity Report
From Sung-Hee Choi

This is my seventh solidarity report with the people in the Czech and worldwide. It was a great experience for me to learn how we can stand up together. The courage of the two Czech friends, Jan Tamas and Jan Bednar and more than 70% of the Czech people opposing the US radar, I think, really gratefully strengthened our will against the US missile defense system worldwide. The solidarity struggle also expanded our knowledge and gave us another chance to share the information one another. I am grateful that I could join on June 22, thanks to many good people’s invisible organizational efforts.

I was hesitating whether I would go to the UN plaza yesterday. I had been not so sure whether it was appropriate for me to do it while I still had lots of things to pack for Korea on July1. But I found myself standing again in the same plaza distributing the prints(attached) despite my lateness. There were some memories, news, articles that I guess, to push me to do it.

On June 25, the South Korean government finally announced its decision to import the US beef with little change from its former submissive negotiation with the Bush administration. People in the South Korea strongly protested against it but this time the SK right wing government most violently responded to them, during the near two months people’s protests. As one progressive SK press described, it was a  “war against the people.” For more info:

http://english.hani.co.kr/kisa/section-014000000/home01.html

The  great side is that including the youth who initiated the candle protest, people are learning about the real democracy and becoming confident about the creative power of themselves through the nonviolent protests. Actually, when I read the Korean articles, I am so enamored of people’s enormous creativities. It makes me laugh and laugh and my heart beating. There is already a word, “candle+(va)cation”, reflecting the majority youth’s decision to spend their summer vacation on the streets, holding candles. The youth’s summer vacation will be the most horrible nightmare for the current SK government. I am proud of my younger Korean generation: How  cheerful, confident and courageous! For more info in English: 

http://koreareport2.blogspot.com/

My another question is how we are going on in our struggle against the missile defense system. I heard Condoleeza Rice would visit Korea on June 28. It is heard that she would want to finish all the package negotiation with the SK government enforcing the US beef import, Free trade Agreement, arms sale, and burdening up of the South Korean people’s tax for the US military bases. The reason behind the SK government’s recent violent response must reflect the anxiety of the US, SK neo liberalists who want to see soon their own profit by the strengthened economic, military alliance between the two countries. The Koreans now say to their corporate-president- origin President, “We are not your employees.”  It is noticeable that Condi also flies to the Czech on July 10.  Her planned visit to the Czech on May had to be delayed because of the heroic Czech people’s struggle against the US radar. It seems obvious to me that only by our small steps, we can defer and differentiate the evil of the imperialism.

I happened to see Damien Moran’s wonderful article in the No Base Initiative website (http://www.nezakladnam.cz/en/) where Jan Tamas is the Spokesperson.   I have never met Damien but was very sorry that he could not enter the USA for the 2008 Global Network Omaha conference as a representative of the Poland, supposed to speak against the US missile installation in the Poland. He is originally an Irish man. Since it was helpful for me to know a bit of the struggle in Poland, I share with you. Thanks very much, Damien, for your great works.

Poland: March against Missile Defence, March 8, 2008 - Damien Moran http://www.nezakladnam.cz/en/908_poland-march-against-missile-defence

A great news: The SPARK announced the solidarity support statement with the people in the Czech on June 22. I so thank the SPARK staffs who have had all the hard struggles not only these two months but all these long years.

http://www.spark946.org/bugsboard/index.php?BBS=eng_2&action=viewForm&uid=29&page=1
Statement of Solidarity In support of the people's struggle in the Czech Republic
Against the construction of a US missile defense base in the Czech Republic.

Finally, I want to express all my great thanks to my American and Korean American friends who gave me all the warm unforgettable friendship during my stay here. One of them is Tim Rinne whose speech I load here. It has been delayed so long. I hope I can load the other speeches as soon I can. The video quality is not so good. But some of you may find your beautiful face in the photos I inserted in the videos.

http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=507C51FB6F90F114
2008 Annual conf. _ Plenary Panel Discussion I (incomplete)

I also made a 1 min. video for the NY event on June 22. You may enjoy it, too.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1ZwJhyIvEY&watch_response
Where's the Food?

Thanks very much, everyone.

Sung-Hee Choi
Reporter for the Solidarity for Peace And Reunification of Korea (spark946.org)
Friend of the Global Network against Weapons and Nuclear power in Space(space4peace.org)

For the solidarity with the people in the Czech, please sign at Nonviolence.cz. Go to its homepage for more info.

For more info. about the solidarity with the people in the Czech,  in the USA (as I know)

http://space4peace.org
http://space4peace.blogspot.com
http://www.newhumanist.us
http://www.cpdweb.org
 


22 June 2008
Hunger for Peace
From Sung-Hee Choi

 

An Empty Plate Picnic to Protest “Star Wars”

The US government plans to install a radar base 50 miles outside of Prague, despite the opposition of 70% of the Czech population Although presented as a defense system against possible attacks, the “space shield” is, for all intents and purposes, a first strike weapon, a tool for global dominance and the first step towards US militarization and control of space.

On June 22nd, thousands of people around the world will participate in a one-day hunger strike to show their solidarity with the Czech citizens and to keep pressure on the two governments to call off their plans.

Join in a symbolic “empty plate” picnic — part of a worldwide non-violent action to protest the US’s Star Wars plans in the Czech Republic.

Discuss how we can transform the war economy in order to meet unmet human needs and reaffirm the value of “real” democracy.

Let our government know that we will not accept its inversion of our basic values. We are NYers who “hunger for peace”!

 

(All are welcome to participate in the gathering -- whether or not they plan to fast on that day)

Sponsored by: The Campaign for Peace and Democracy, The Humanist Movement, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation/NY, CodePink NYC, Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space

For more info or to add you name to the list of hunger strikers:

dennisredmond@gmail.com / 212-501-0188 / www.humanism.org / www.nonviolence.cz


19 June 2008
Solidarity Report
From Sung-Hee Choi

 

Dear friends,

It is my sixth solidarity report with the people in the Czech and the worldwide. It is also my second report after finishing the 2week hunger strike two weeks ago. I will try to do my June 26 report but may not be able to do that because I am preparing to return to Korea, soon. If not, I will send you hello in Korea as soon as I can.

Please understand in advance that I am sharing again, one of the important news in Korea, in the thought that it would be helpful for you, too, despite my easiness for more intimate and shorter stories. It is also added comment on Korea to the wonderful report by Mary Beth Sullivan (mbsull@mindspring.com) on June I7. I am also sharing  the writing by Ricardo Peres who gratefully sent me his upon my last report. Apology in advance for any mistakes in my Korean-English translation in need. Apology for the long length, too.

Dennis Redmond (dennisredmond@gmail.com) from the US Humanist Movements had thankfully made the wonderful print and sent me on Monday. Thanks to him, I could distribute the 500 prints in the NY on June 19. Thanks very much, Dennis!


17 June 2008
Hunger Strikers Take on Radar Base
Joanne Landy and Thomas Harrison
Foreign Policy In Focus


http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/5302

For a number of years, plans have been in the works to establish a U.S. radar base on the territory of the Czech Republic. Czech politicians knew about these plans, but kept them secret from the voters until after the 2006 parliamentary elections were over. The proposed base, along with related interceptor missiles to be placed in Poland, is part of a new U.S. missile defense system in Europe, and as such represents a major stage in the emergence of a new Cold War.

Although ostensibly designed to intercept missiles from “rogue states,” principally Iran, the system will, in reality, allow the United States to attack other countries without fear of retaliation. It will also put host countries, such as Poland and the Czech Republic, on the front line in future U.S. wars.

Well below the radar screen for most Americans, a major and unexpected resistance movement has emerged in the Czech Republic in opposition to the U.S. military radar base. Although polls show that 70% of the population opposes the base, the Czech government might have been able to ignore the wishes of its own people had it not been for the emergence of active resistance. Recently, this resistance was dramatically strengthened by the three-week hunger strike of two Czech peace activists.

Hunger Strike

Jan Tamas and Jan Bednar are part of the new wave of Czech activists. Too young to have participated in Charter 77 and the Velvet Revolution of 1989, they have helped to revive the peace movement in their country. They got involved in the anti-radar base movement in 2006. Frustrated at the insistence of the Czech government to go over the heads of the people, they embarked on a hunger strike on May 13.

On June 2, the two suspended their hunger strike, But, according to Tamas, “there were others who “took over” from us and started the “chain hunger strike,” where each person goes on a symbolic hunger strike for 24 hours. These people are all known people in the Czech Republic: actors, dissidents of the former regime, athletes, politicians including MPs, intellectuals, singers and many others.” 

In the past few weeks the chain hunger strike has spread globally, including to Western and Eastern Europe, Australia, and the United States. Strikers are determined to oppose the dangerous military escalation represented by the radar, along with the proposed companion U.S. interceptor missiles planned for Poland. A one-day international day of protest has been set for June 22, when dozens, likely hundreds, of people around the world will renounce food for one day.

Rice in Prague

June 22 has taken on a special urgency. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had originally planned to go to Prague on May 4 to sign the radar base treaty between the United States and the Czech Republic. Because of the uncertainty about the radar created by the upsurge against it, she was forced to cancel the trip. Rice just announced that she now intends to go to Prague on July 10 and sign the agreement.

Whether or not the treaty is signed in July, the fight against the radar will continue. With all its flaws, Czech democracy is in certain respects healthier than ours. President Bush maneuvered to make the radar base the subject of an "executive agreement" rather than a treaty, thus neatly circumventing the need for Senate approval. But the base cannot be built unless and until the Czech Parliament votes to ratify the agreement, and thus far the parliament has been evenly divided.

The sustained and innovative oppositional campaign has undermined Czech parliamentary support for the base to the point where it may well be defeated. In particular, the campaign has succeeded in mobilizing the membership of the Czech Green Party to pressure their parliamentary representatives to withdraw their de facto support of the radar. There is now a good chance that some of the Greens will defect from the government on this issue, which will deny the government its majority. Indeed, Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwartzenberg recently admitted for the first time that the Czech parliament might not ratify the radar plan. He has threatened to resign if the measure is defeated. The Czech hunger strikes are also bringing their fight to the European Union level. Tamas went to Brussels to meet with members of the European Parliament. On July 9, he plans to deliver an online petition against the radar, which currently has more than 110,000 signatures. “We would like this number to reach 200,000 signatures by that time,”Tamas says. “So please help us spread the word and get people to sign the petition.”

Underlying Motives

The proposed radar base has more to do with Washington’s growing rivalry with Moscow than with any perceived threats from Iran, a fact about which Russia’s rulers are in no doubt. Although the projected radar in the Czech Republic and the 10 missile interceptors in Poland don't constitute an immediate threat to Russia's nuclear deterrent, with its thousands of warheads, the Kremlin believes that the system in Central Europe is the first part of a more advanced missile defense that could blunt the Russian nuclear force. Predictably, in a further act of Cold War escalation, Moscow has threatened to direct missiles toward Europe if the United States proceeds with the system, thus placing millions under heightened threat. 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 bellicose stance of the United States, far from guarding against such a threat in the future, only enhances its likelihood by creating even stronger inducements for Teheran to seek nuclear weapons for its defense. In general, the United States can best reduce the danger of nuclear warfare by taking major steps toward both nuclear and conventional disarmament and renouncing "preventive" war -- not by expanding the nuclear threat. This would create a political climate that would powerfully discourage new countries from developing their own nuclear weapons.

The Czech radar base is not the only attempt by Washington to get compliant governments to sign agreements that sidestep the wishes of their own people In Iraq, for instance, the Bush administration has been trying to obtain dozens of permanent military bases, impunity for its troops and contractors, and the right to launch military strikes and arrest Iraqis without authorization from any Iraqi official.

Opposition in the Iraqi parliament may scuttle Washington's plans. The Bush administration, which never ceases to proclaim its commitment to global democracy, is distressed that the Iraqis and Czech parliaments have the final say on the matter of foreign military bases. The Czech anti-radar activists, in fact, don't think this goes far enough. They are demanding a referendum so that the 70% of the population who oppose the radar treaty can decide. Washington, however, does not want any democratic control in other countries over the installation of U.S. military bases, whether by parliament or by referendum.

There is a good chance, then, that domestic and international opposition will force the postponement of the Czech decision to accept the radar until after the U.S. elections in November. This will give activists in the Czech Republic a chance to marshal their forces, and activists in the United States to put pressure on the incoming administration to abandon this dangerous plan.

Joanne Landy and Thomas Harrison are co-directors of the Campaign for Peace and Democracy (www.cpdweb.org) and contributors to Foreign Policy In Focus (www.fpif.org).

For More Information

Bruce Gagnon of the Global Network against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, who went on a hunger strike himself for two weeks in support of the Czechs, has compiled a partial list of June 22 hunger strikers.  If you wish to add your name to the list of June 22 fasters or organize an event in your area, please notify Bruce Gagnon at the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space -- globalnet@mindspring.com 

Contact CPD at cpd@igc.org if you are interested in participating in the campaign against the Czech radar military base.

Sources

Thanks to Steve Shalom and Jesse Lemisch for their helpful comments


17 June 2008
Day 11 of Hunger Strike Brings Thirst for Connections
By Mary Beth Sullivan

 
As the hunger continues, I feel weak some days, but quite strong on others.  It's a mystery.  I’m looking forward to my first meal on Friday morning (the image of that first bowl of fruit is fixed in my mind!)  Bob Lezer of Maine Veterans for Peace will pick up the hunger strike in support of our friends in the Czech Republic at that time.

Meanwhile, I’ve been reflecting on what a powerful experience it is to be part of the Global Network (GN) family.  To know personally activists who are giving so much of their lives to waking us up to not only the future plans of U.S. military – with the language of “global domination” and all – but also to the reality that exists today.

The GN conference in Omaha in April was a rich experience for the folks we met, and the stories they told.  And of course, we continue to receive emails of actions that are happening all the time.  If you will indulge me, I would like to share some of the stories we’ve heard, because this is the food that nurtures me these days:

Italy:  Our friend Andrea Licata brought to the GN conference the struggle of the citizens of Vicenza, Italy, who have been protesting the expansion of the U.S. Army base into the only remaining green area in the city. 

 
Diego Garcia:  Olivier Bancoult, who also attended the GN conference, is organizing the Chagos Refugee Group to soon attend the final court hearing in England which will decide, once and for all, whether the 2,000 Chagossians who were expelled from Diego Garcia in order to build the largest foreign U.S. military base in the world, have any right to return to their homeland.  (John Pilger tells this gripping story in his film Stealing a Nation.)  
 
Korea:  Korea is an example that needs some time to discuss.  Bruce and I had a six-month visit from a young Korean, Ji Ho Park, some years ago.  I remember his reaction to a political discussion on television where the U.S. was complaining that we couldn’t be faulted for killing civilians in the war at the time, because the “enemy” was sinister enough to put themselves inside civilian communities.  Park cried hypocrisy and told us about the huge U.S. military base in Seoul – the largest city in South Korea – and citizens were petrified of an attack on that base.  
 
When Ko Young-dae, from Solidarity for Peace and Reunification of Korea (SPARK) came to the GN conference, he discussed the experience of having half the Korean peninsula labeled by the U.S. government as a “chronic military concern.”  In recent years, the U.S. relocated its military forces from the demilitarized zone to an area out of range of North Korea's long-range artillery, removing any obstacles to launching a preemptive strike.  And they installed “missile defense” systems, including U.S.-deployed Aegis destroyers and submarines carrying Trident missiles, equipped with sophisticated conventional warheads, on the high seas near the Korean peninsula.
 
U.S. Forces in Korea, without consultation or agreement by the Korean Government, have acquired the potential to intervene in a conflict in the Taiwan Strait, or any other crisis region in the world.
 
The U.S. clearly intends to build a multilateral “security” alliance in the Asia-Pacific region. Countering this trend, China and Russia are increasing their military cooperation.
 
SPARK is clear that the only way to ensure peace on the Korean peninsula is to conclude a peace agreement, to officially end the Korean War, and to demilitarize.  U.S. military forces must be completely and permanently withdrawn from Korea.
 
Poland:  Damian Moran, the Irish man who lives in Poland would have represented those organizing in Poland against the proposed U.S. "missile defense" base there at the GN conference, but he was not allowed.  He was detained in Chicago when he landed, and sent back home.  Had he attended, he would have told us about the more than 700 people who protested in the city if Slupsk, Northern Poland, against the plans to put 10 ground-based interceptors to work in tandem with the radar base in the Czech Republic.  The Polish government is willing to allow the base if the U.S. provides $20 billion to modernize the Polish army. The polls in Poland make clear what the people want: 60% are against the proposed base; 87% are in favor of a referendum on the issue.  

New Zealand:  On April 27, GN friends held a prayer vigil at the Waihopai spy base which comprises two satellite interception dishes to operate an electronic surveillance system known as 'Echelon'. This system intercepts huge volumes of military, government and private communications (emails, phone calls, faxes and text messages) in New Zealand and countries all over the Asia-Pacific region for use by the U.S. government. Waihopai is NZ's most significant contribution to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The spy base is controlled by the U.S., with the NZ government having no control over what goes on there, what information is passed on to the U.S., or how this is used. The spy base costs $20 million a year in New Zealander taxpayer money, and all the eavesdropping activities are exempted from the Privacy Act and the Crimes Act. Our friends are clear that this base does not operate in the interests of NZ, and “is essentially a foreign spy base on our soil contributing to America's deplorable wars.”

Guam:  GN member Hannah Middleton sent a recent email noting that two Chamoru representatives from Guam, Julian Aguon, and Dr. Lisa Natividad visited Australia for a month-long international awareness campaign.  The pair accused the U.S. of glaring human rights violations of the indigenous Chamoru people.  “Part of the U.S. military realignment in the Asia-Pacific region included the controversial relocation of 8,000 U.S. Marines from Okinawa to Guam….. The military build-up now underway in Guam, which will include an influx of a military personnel population comparable to the entire indigenous population (55,000), is being done entirely without the input or consultation of the indigenous people and over their deepening dissent…..  Rates of nasopharyngeal cancer ….. are 2,000% higher than in the United States, and the rate of diabetes is five times the national U.S. average. ...  Although Guam is only 30 miles long, it contains 19 sites designated by the Environmental Protection Agency as the most highly contaminated and toxic sites in the entire U.S.…. These toxins include radioactive and carcinogenic materials, dioxins, etc.”

Suddenly, the weakness I felt on Day 10 feels trivial.  My greatest source of energy and hope lies not in my next meal, nor in the next Democratic Presidential candidate for the United States.  The only way out of this mess, as I see it, is to join hands globally and shout the truth in any way we can. 

Of all the activities the GN takes on in a year, perhaps the most important is Keep Space for Peace Week.  It’s also my favorite.  Once the call goes out around the world for local groups to engage in actions to increase awareness of the issues, one by one, people send in their response to let us know that they will take part.  Local groups organize discussions, films, videos, articles to newspapers, protests – any combination of actions that makes sense for their communities.   Given the amount of worldwide attention the hunger strike started by our friends in the Czech Republic, perhaps our list will grow even larger this year during the days of October 4-12. 

I hope all have gone to the Czech website to sign the online petition against the U.S. radar base in that country www.nonviolence.cz.   When I started my hunger strike, the number of signatures was over 117,000 – today they are up to 122,004!

Thanks to all for your support.  It has been an important lesson for me to know that I can participate in a long-term fast.   It’s nice to add another tool in the toolbox, and to get so much support along the way. 

In peace
 
Mary Beth Sullivan
Outreach Coordinator
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 443-9502
http://www.space4peace.org
globalnet@mindspring.com
http://space4peace.blogspot.com (Blog)

 

14 June 2008
MB's Hungry Day 8
By Mary Beth Sullivan

 

It’s a strange feeling, to be on a hunger strike while sitting at home. 

 

The whole purpose of the strike part of the hunger is to be working hard to attract attention, media, sympathy for the cause.  But I’m not so comfortable drawing attention to myself. And, to be honest, beyond the two weeks of hour-long vigils we held when Bruce was striking, I’m not so sure what else to do.  I wrote an op-ed and sent it off to the local Times Record.  They should publish it sometime in the coming week.  And the focus at this point is to encourage the one-day solidarity fast on June 22.  Our local gathering on the mall in Brunswick will bring a good energy to us all, I am sure.

 

Meanwhile, I’ve been reflecting on an article that appeared in Z Magazine, and circulated around the internet recently: “Radar, Star Wars, & the Czech Republic”  from May: http://www.zcommunications.org/zmag/viewArticle/17496   In it, Andre Vitchek brings us to the Czech Republic.  It appears that he spent time walking through the countryside and interviewing people.  He takes us to Brdy Highlands to visit with some of the residents of the local small villages near the proposed radar site. They have strong opinions.  One small village (42 permanent residents) held its own referendum.  One hundred percent were against the radar (and foreign troops) settling in just a couple miles from their homes. The area has a history of Nazi bases and Soviet missiles in their hillside.  The mayor is quoted as saying, “We’ve had enough of foreign troops on our land and this time we are going to fight to the last drop of blood to prevent it from happening.”  

 

There are other quotes from villagers that keep me motivated as I strike:

 

“…the naturally pristine Brdy Highlands are the source of drinking water for the entire Western part of the Czech Republic.”  

 

“We are sick of living next to a pile of weapons belonging to foreign powers.”

 

“We love this land.  All we are asking for is tranquility and peace and no foreign troops. But the Americans are already here; they are surveying the area, periodically and secretly.”

 

“Czechs have to finally be on their own. We were for too long under the military boots of others.”

 

“I have nothing against the American people, but I can’t stomach American expansionism.”

 

“The government has already invested several millions in a PR campaign…to convince Czech citizens that the base will be good for the country.”

 

“For several years, negotiations were done in secrecy.”

 

“…recently the Minister of Foreign Affairs suggested that the radar can be used as surveillance against Russia.”

 

Vitchek then quotes a reporter in the U.S. media:  “The Czechs generally have been receptive to the idea of the U.S. installing missile-tracking radar southwest of Prague.”

 

Up is down.  Down is up.  Two-thirds of Czechs are opposed to this radar base; against any foreign base on their territory.  The media at home tell us the opposite.

 

The article makes me want to walk the hillside; visit the local pubs; be near a people who, once again, the U.S. is pressuring its government to betray.

 

I am grateful for a populace that has not given up; for the creative nonviolent efforts that has sparked so much activity.  Truth is such a powerful force.  

I have no idea what the final outcome of this struggle of the Czech people will be.  I am certain that the seeds it is planting are being nourished in fertile soil.  May my hunger today offer a drop of water on those thirsty seeds. 

in peace,

Mary Beth


13 June 2008
Star Wars Hunger Strike: the Force is with Gareth
By Patrizia Reimer
Northern Star, Lismore, NSW, Australia

 



12 June 2008
Solidarity Report
By Sung-Hee Choi

 
As many of us are informed by Bruce Gagnon, Coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space (GN, space4peace.org/ space4peace.blogspot.com), the list of June 22 world-wide hunger strike participants is increasing. Thanks very much, Jan Tamas and Jan Bednar for your inspiration! We owe to you!

In the U.S.A., on June 7, Mary Beth Sullivan, in Bath, Maine, an Outreach Coordinator of the GN started the open- end solidarity hunger strike with the people in the Czech Republic, replacing Bruce Gagnon who finished his 2 weeks hunger strike on the same date with me, June 6 (In the June 8 photo, second from the left; the others are Bruce Gagnon, Karen Wainberg and me ). I was very much warmed and encouraged by her kindness during my 2 weeks solidarity hunger strike. I hope she is very well in her health during her own fast, too.

It has been near a week that I returned to my normal life. I am very well. I continued my Thursday protest on June 12, at the sane time, from noon to 2 pm, at the same place of the Hammarskjold Plaza crossing the UN, New York. The chance was good because I could distribute the 500 prints of the flyer made from the Czech (below).

I will do again on the next Thursday, June 20, same place and same time. Some people yesterday were paying attention by my repeated protest.  Yesterday, one woman would say to me, “ I got everything from you!” Since May 22, it has been my fifth protest at the same place and same time. Each time, the content of the print has been gradually changed as the situation was developed. It will be good if we more spread words.

I have been reading some Korean articles about the protest in Korea. You may refer the http://koreareport2.blogspot.com for more info. I want to share a story about it, even if I am not an expert and may be wrong in my understanding.  I include a photo (above) from the site of the Solidarity for Peace And Reunification of Korea (www.spark946.org). The photo resource is ‘mydaily’. On June 10th, 2008, the twenty-first year memorial day of people’s uprising against the military dictatorship in 1987, more than 500,000 people in Seoul filled the street against the unequal negotiation between the US and SK, this time represented by the issue of US beef import.

The lights on the street in the photo come from the candle lights held by the crowd.  From 10 years old boy to the disabled, the people were doing nonviolence protest in almost like cheerful festival manner, despite the violent response of the police. Even fifteen year old girl got the pepper spray and would be arrested. Many were brutally hit by the police, including women. But people are not afraid of the police! They condemn them and surpass them! Even some national guards who are sympathetic to people are protecting them from the police violence, in their uniform.

In Korea’s case, it was pressured to import more than 30 months beef that certainly load a high possibility of mad cow disease. The Canada and South Korea are by now, the two known countries who are pressured to import them. Even in the US, it is prohibited to sell more than 24 months beef.  Still then, it is known that many people in the US who died by Alzheimer disease are suspected to actually be killed by the mad cow disease. You will hardly know. Why? The inspection is proved to be only truly valid by opening the brain of the corpse. The harder thing is since it is very contagious, all the medical instruments have to be destroyed after a corpse is proved to die by the mad cow disease. And the disease bacteria seldom die. The whole process of inspection itself is highly risky and costs tremendous. That is why the big US slaughter corporations are doing only so small percentage of actual inspections, hiding the result to the people.

Even if one is vegetarian, one will not know how the affected gene enters one’s own body. The beef ingredients also enter for the taste for the noodle soup, jelly, cosmetics, medicine and woman stuff. It is noticeable, the protest in the SK was initiated by 15, 16 year old girls who cried, “ I am only 15 years old, I don’t want die early!” Yes, we are not only risking ourselves but have sacrificed the younger generations. A High school boy was filming the protest, saying, “ I am making a parody movie, imagine the SK where everybody die except for one man”. It is laughable but may be true. It will be almost like the effect of nuclear weapon slaughtering all the population.

The Koreans have more hot days in June. It includes the 6th year memorial day of the two fifteen year old girls killed by a US tank from the US military base nearby their home town. This mass protest has been more than a month. Unless at least, the SK government renegotiates with the US government in the right direction, the people will not recede. It seems the candle lights will seldom fade in Korea at least for a while. It was a joy for me to happen to see one of my art students in the Korean American solidarity protest with the people in Korea in the NY, on June 7. She was holding a candle while filming the protest with her other hand.  I gave her the copy of the prints on the June 22 hunger strike.

I wanted to share the portion of the current news from Korea. Even small and partial, I hope it helps to build our worldwide context.

Thanks very much, everyone.

Sung-Hee Choi
Reporter for the Solidarity for Peace And Reunification of Korea (spark946.org)
Friend of the Global Network against Weapons and Nuclear power in Space(space4peace.org)

For the solidarity with the people in the Czech, please sign at Nonviolence.cz
Join June 22 worldwide hunger strike.

More info. about the solidarity with the people in the Czech,  in the USA (as I know)

http://space4peace.org
http://space4peace.blogspot.com
http://www.newhumanist.us
http://www.cpdweb.org
 


13 June 2008
EMPTY PLATE PICNIC PROTEST IN BRUNSWICK ON JUNE 22 TO OBSERVE WORLDWIDE NO STAR WARS DAY OF FASTING
By Bruce Gagnon

 
 
The Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space is inviting our neighbors in MidCoast Maine to join in solidarity with the Czech Republic hunger strikers against building a U.S. Star Wars radar base in their country.
 
A number of citizens from the Czech Republic began a hunger strike on May 13th in order to non-violently protest the planned installation of the U.S. base.   They have since been joined on the hunger strike by Bath residents Bruce Gagnon for 14-days and and then by Mary Beth Sullivan for 7-days as well as many other people throughout the world.

Sunday, June 22, has been named as a worldwide day of fasting.  To date, more than forty-five Mainers have agreed to join the 24-hour Solidarity Fast on that day.

To show support, MidCoast residents will gather for an "empty plate picnic protest" on the downtown mall in Brunswick from 12:30 - 1:30 p.m. on June 22.  A table with empty plates will be set up.  People will sit in a circle and they will speak to each other -- about Star Wars and endless war; about unmet human needs; about what "democracy" means in these early years of the 21st Century.

All are welcome to participate in the Brunswick gathering -- whether or not they plan to fast on that day.

Other communities in Maine will hold their own events on June 22. They will all be calling for an end to the weaponization of space and especially calling for an end to the proposed U.S. "missile defense" bases in Poland and the Czech Republic. The U.S. and NATO are now moving bases eastward in Europe and attempting to surround Russia, which happens to have the world's largest supply of natural gas.

This hunger strike is a world-wide event in support of the 70% of Czech citizens who have expressed their outrage via mass demonstrations, opinion polls, petitions; yet the Czech government refuses a public referendum.  

See http://www.nenasili.cz/en/701_homepage for more information about the growing international movement.
 


13 June 2008
Things Heating Up in Europe Around US Radar Base
By Bruce Gagnon

 

We heard from Jan Tamas (one of the original hunger strikers) this morning as he was returning to Prague from meetings at the European Union in Brussels. In his email Jan reported, "During the past three days we’ve met with a number of Members European Parliament (MEPs) including the vice-chairman of the EU Parliament Luisa Morgantini. Things are under way for a meeting of MEPs on July 9 in Strassbourg where I will also participate. It looks like there will be tens of MEPs participating! On this occasion we will deliver them the printed version of our online petition against the radar, which currently has more than 119,000 signatures. We would like this number to reach 200,000 signatures by that time, so please help us spread the word and let people sign the petition at http://www.nonviolence.cz/."

"But don’t let this success fool you, our opponents are going ahead with their plan. They have just announced last night that Condoleezza Rice will come to Prague to sign the treaty between the Czech and U.S. governments on July 10. So we should do all we can before that day!"

In another recent development from the Czech Republic, Greenpeace activists who have been occupying the site of the planned U.S. Star Wars radar base were detained on June 9 when military police cleared the area of their encampment. Five demonstrators, who had been sitting in tree platforms since April 28, were taken to the police station in Příbram. This action by the police indicates that the U.S. and Czech government wanted them gone from the base site before Condoleezza Rice returns to Prague on July 10.

Here in Maine, Mary Beth Sullivan is now on her 7th day of her solidarity hunger strike and we are continuing to promote the June 22 worldwide day of fasting to stop Star Wars. At this moment we have 44 people in Maine who have pledged to fast on June 22 and more are signing on every day. Just yesterday Mary Beth sent an Op-Ed to our local newspaper that will carry the names of our local fasters explaining our reasons for joining the fast on June 22. (Let me know ASAP if you would like to be on the June 22 fast list.)

I can't express strongly enough the need for maximum participation on June 22 and beyond as the U.S. presses hard to deploy so-called "missile defense" systems worldwide before the opposition builds to prevent this new arms race from becoming institutionalized. The aerospace industry for years has been encouraging the U.S. government to block negotiations at the United Nations on a new international treaty called PAROS - Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space. The Pentagon has long boasted that Star Wars will be the largest industrial project in the history of the planet Earth. All across the world we get reports that U.S. "allies" are being dragged into weapons in space technology programs and the result is that health care, education, and other human needs programs are being cut to enable these governments to afford joining the U.S. space weapons program.

As each of you join the June 22 fast please remember that this is a day of political activity. Be sure to take some kind of action on or before that day to let people in your community know why you are fasting. We've heard from folks in New York City that will hold an event at a public park; activists in Albuquerque will hold a day-long protest at an Air Force Base in their city; people in Maine will be holding actions in at least two different cities; and the list goes on. Even if you just write a letter to the editor or send an email to friends and family asking them to sign the on-line petition at http://www.nonviolence.cz/ at least do that.

Working together our voices become a global call for sanity and peace. Thanks for helping us make that happen.
 


6 June 2008
FINAL DAY OF SOLIDARITY FAST - FOR NOW
By Bruce Gagnon

Videos from Prague:
How to do a hunger strike - video report (Some in English)
http://www.nol.hu/cikk/494303/

News report announcing change in strategy (All in English) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dzMjOls-6PI


Day 14 of my solidarity hunger strike

Today is my last day, at least for now. I will rejoin the strike on June 22 for the day.

The cartoon above is the work of artist W. B. Park who lives in Altamonte Springs, Florida. Will Park is a friend of many years and his illustrations are throughout my book, Come Together Right Now. For years, while living and working in Orlando, Florida, I would regularly meet Will for lunch at various BBQ restaurants in the area and we’d sit and talk politics and try to make sense of our crazy country. Any leaflet or poster I needed artwork for he eagerly did.

Last night I got this message from Will, “Tomorrow night at midnight I begin a three day fast in solidarity with the courageous people of the Czech Republic. No more BBQ for a while.”

As you can see below, the list of people who have contacted me about joining the June 22 international fast against Star Wars is rapidly growing.

We’ve begun to brainstorm what we will do here in Midcoast Maine on June 22. The idea of an empty plate picnic has come up where we gather in the heart of Brunswick on the town green to share from our hearts with each other. People who are not fasting the whole day could skip the noon meal and join us as well. We could each speak about why we have joined the fast expressing our concern about how a space arms race is “stealing from those who are in need” as former president Eisenhower told the nation in 1961.

I must conclude my two-week hunger strike by thanking Jan Tamas and Jan Bednar in the Czech Republic and all those who have supported them during these recent days. The decision to do this strike by Jan and Jan was a beautiful spiritual undertaking. It was also a brilliant political strategy and I very much admire how they expanded the issue to Star Wars in general rather than just keeping it focused on the one radar facility in their country. They effectively opened the door to a larger constituency and have helped raise global consciousness dramatically. I’ve been doing this space weapons work for 25 years and have rarely seen a grassroots campaign bear such fruit. The entire support base behind Jan and Jan must be congratulated for top notch organizing.

To other organizers I hope this Czech campaign is a good lesson. It goes to show that when you take a positive, courageous, non-violent step forward it will be noticed and supported by others. Inspiration always draws energy and light. Build it and they will come.

But this campaign is far from over. There is still much work to be done to promote the June 22 day and to sustain that energy to block the U.S. deployment of “missile defense” interceptors in Poland and the radar in the Czech Republic. Then we, in the U.S., must get our Congress to defund Star Wars research and development. And we must all promote a new international treaty that would ban all weapons in space – from any country.

The aerospace and nuclear industries view space as a new market. They seek to establish mining colonies on the Moon and Mars and develop nuclear rockets to get to these planetary bodies. They intend to use military space systems to control the “pathway” on and off the Earth so that corporate interests will “dominate” space as they now do on our home planet.

Let June 22 be one giant step for humanity here on our beautiful spinning satellite called Madre Tierra.
 


5 June 2008
LONG HISTORY OF SPACE ARMS RACE
By Bruce Gagnon

 

Day 13 of my solidarity hunger strike

We had six people on the street today for my vigil in Brunswick. Only one more day for me before I hand the hunger strike over to Mary Beth Sullivan who will take my place.

I have begun to hear from folks who are going to join the one-day fast against Star Wars on June 22. I've decided to compile a list of people who contact me. Many more of course will be fasting all over the world that day.

This morning I got an email from the group Stop the War Machine in Albuquerque, New Mexico. They are organizing to participate in the June 22 fast and will hold a day-long vigil at the gate of Kirtland Air Force Base in their city that day. Kirtland AFB is testing laser weapons for Star Wars and has many aerospace corporations located nearby doing the research and development work on these space weapons systems.

New Mexico has a long history with military space weapons work. Right after World War II former Nazi rocket scientists (100 of them along with 100 copies of Hitler's V-2 rocket) were brought to the New Mexico desert to create the U.S. military space program.

Maj. Gen. Walter Dornberger was in charge of Hitler's program and was one of those brought to the U.S. to work on these systems. It was Dornberger that had the "vision" to put orbiting battle stations in space. The former Nazi rocketeer went on to become Vice-President of Bell Aerospace in New York.

The proposed U.S. Star Wars radar deployment in the Czech Republic would be one key piece in this larger program of Pentagon "control and domination" of space. The Czech radar would help communicate with orbiting military satellites and give the U.S. the ability to launch first-strike attack on Russia. Nearby "missile defense interceptors" in Poland would then pick off any remaining retaliatory strike that Russia might fire.

This new arms race in space has long been in the making. The Pentagon clearly understands that whoever controls space will control the Earth below.

It is our job to stop them. Our taxes should be spent for health care, education, and dealing with climate change not creating a deadly and destabilizing arms race in the heavens.

June 22 will signify a day of education about Star Wars and global resistance to it. Please join us.


4 June 2008
INVITING YOU TO FAST ON JUNE 22
By Bruce Gagnon

 


Day 12 of my solidarity hunger strike

It's raining steadily outside today so we have cancelled my daily hunger strike vigil in Brunswick. Tomorrow should be better.

I got an email this morning from a friend in Maine who I knew when we both used to live in Florida. She is asking her friends to join her in the June 22 day of fasting in solidarity with people in the Czech Republic. A second friend in Maine wrote me saying he was going to fast that day as well. A woman from Gainesville, Florida wrote today to say she will strike from June16-23.

I have to admit I love to eat. I love the preparation of food, the smells, and the joy of eating. In fact I like to eat just a bit too much. When it comes to pasta I have few boundaries. Seconds, thirds, you get my drift.

This hunger strike has been very hard for me but at the same time much easier than I would have expected. I don't think I could have ever come this far on my own. But having the inspiration of knowing that the strike is connected to something larger, something important that I really believe in, has made it almost easy for me at times.

There are some really good cooks in our intentional community house. Levi blows my mind with some of the Oriental fragrances he can whip up. Karen knows how to spice up a dish. Even Mary Beth, who denies that she can cook, was reluctant to share with me that she made herself one of my favorite pasta dishes last night.

Not having eaten in 12 days though has given me a chance to reflect on and appreciate how much we over eat. I've thought alot about how our culture has taught us that meal time is just another consumer experience when instead it is a spiritual practice. We've largely lost the sacred connection when we commodify our mealtimes.

If you decide to join this hunger strike against Star Wars on June 22, or even for longer, please just remember one thing. It is a political act. As you strike please find 1-2 things you can do to make public your reasons for acting. Write a letter to your newspaper, to the politicians, share your story with others, stand on a street with a sign, speak up at church or at a meeting and tell people what you are doing, climb to the top of the tallest building around and drop a 20-foot banner (just don't fall).

Your single act might seem small to you. Someone might say you are being silly or infantile - you are wasting your time. But just tell yourself that on June 22 you are connected to a beating heart around the world that confidently understands you are planting a good seed of consciousness. You are acting to prevent the next arms race before it happens.

We have nothing to lose except the sacred sky.


4 June 2008
Czech Hunger Strike is About More Than Radar

The Militarization of Space
By LARAY POLK
Counterpunch


http://counterpunch.org:80/polk06042008.html


The U.S. government, in collaboration with the governments of Poland and the Czech Republic, is very close to sealing a deal for a “defensive missile shield.” According to the plan initiated by the U.S., ten GMD-variant interceptor missiles will be located in Poland, and an X-band radar will be located in the Czech Republic, 55 miles southwest of the capital of Prague. But there is a catch.

In April, an opinion poll showed that two-thirds of Czechs were against the U.S. missile shield plans.  Two Czech protesters, Jan Tamas and Jan Bednar, as of June 2, have ceased their three week hunger strike in favor of a chain hunger strike that will involve groups and individuals in the global community taking turns fasting.  Head of the Social Democrat senators Alena Gajduskova has volunteered to be one of the first participants.   A worldwide fast in solidarity is presently being planned for June 22.

Tamas and Bednar occupy a storefront operation in the center of Prague where e-mails and visitations continue on a daily basis. An online petition has garnered over 109,066 signatures from around the globe.1   As part of the nonviolent protest initiated by Tamas and Bednar, they have made four simple requests:

1) radar base negotiations with the U.S. should be interrupted for one year;

2) the E.U. should issue an official stance on the proposed missile shield;

3) a Czech parliament session should convene around this issue; and

4) a televized discussion of the radar base with four opponents and four supporters of the plan should be organized.

On May 21, the government approved the plans though the basic document has yet to be ratified by parliament and signed by President Vaclav Klaus; the Czech-U.S. treaties are to be signed by July. At this crucial junction, Tamas and Bednar hold out for democracy. They are not alone.

On May 5, an estimated gathering of 1,500 protesters assembled in Prague, marching to the Government Office. Some participants carried banners that read "No to American radar colonization," and "Say No to radar."

In April, Greenpeace protesters set up a tent city, referred to as “Spot Height 718,” at the exact location of the proposed radar site in the Brdy forest. They have erected an overhead banner with an image of a large target.

Tamas and his group, the No to Bases initiative, proceeds simplistically and with straight forward demands. Yet what this protest represents is very complex. It is a situation has been upon the human race since the the dropping of the first atomic bomb. We have returned to the scene in history in 1983 where President Ronald Reagan first uttered the words, “Star Wars,” in the world arena.

According to a recent report in Ethics & International Affairs written by Philip Coyle and Victoria Samson, there is one glaring problem, among many, with the proposed missile defense systems: “tests have failed roughly half the time.” 2

Coyle and Samson’s report, “Missile Defense Malfunction: Why the Proposed U.S. Missile Defenses in Europe Will Not Work,” is both a explanation of technical and diplomatic failures. One can extrapolate from its contents that the urgency on the part of the U.S. to establish a missile defense in Europe before the current administration is out of office is predicated on political posturing--with a big emphasis on Iran. The report is clear in enumerating what has been lost so far in the arms race and the militarization of space and why the world has been placed on a precipice of untold consequences by virtue of this unilateral push to locate missiles in Poland and a radar base in the Czech Republic.

In summary:

Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty. Signed by Presidents Bush and Putin on May 2002. The present proposal is in direct violation of the treaty which calls for joint research and development between the U.S. and Russia on missile defense for Europe.

Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. U.S. unilaterally withdrew from treaty in 2002. The treaty had been signed in 1972 by U.S. President Richard Nixon and Soviet Communist Party Secretary Leonid Brezhnev.

Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty. Russia is no longer abiding by the treaty as of December 2007, citing as partial reasons, the U.S. missile defense plans for Europe.3

Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. Russia’s threat to pull out of the 1997 INF Treaty is exacerbated by the proposed U.S. missile defense. (The treaty bans a wide range of ballistic missiles and ground-launched cruise missiles.)

The tenuous relationship between the U.S. and Russia over the proposed European missile shield, located in Poland and the Czech Republic, stands to jeopardize a whole host of established treaties as well as block much needed future treaties in regard to the militarization/weaponization of space.

If this plan is a U.S.-centric geopolitical strategy aimed at threatening Iran (with a system that does not work consistently against intercontinental ballistic missiles that Iran doesn’t have), what is possibly gained? At this point in time, it is perhaps more worthwhile contemplating what could be lost.

The foremost treaty among all, the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), is put in considerable risk by tensions between the U.S. and Russia. It is possible that Russia would be the strongest negotiator in regard to Iranian nuclear weapons capabilities.4

Tamas and Bednar are making simple requests that may seem unachievable but there is recent precedent. In 2004, the Canadian government declared it would not join the Pentagon’s missile defense program though it continues in its capacity as a partner in the the U.S.-Canada North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).

According to Coyle and Samson: “Canada understood correctly that U.S. missile defenses represent the first wave in which the United States could introduce attack weapons into space—that is, weapons with strike capability. While the militarization of space is already a fact of life—the U.S. military relies on space satellites for military communications, for reconnaissance and sensing, for weather, and for targeting—the weaponization of space has not happened: there are no strike weapons deployed in space.”

While it would be irrational to think that the geopolitical strategizing of superpowers will diminish in favor of the greater good any time soon, citizens compelled to take nonviolent action wherever they may be and in whatever ways they can, offers hope on incalculable levels.

Laray Polk is an artist and activist in Texas. She can be reached at: laraypolk@earthlink.net

Notes:

1. No Star Wars online petition at www.nonviolence.cz; for news updates visit http://www.nenasili.cz/en/829_news

2. Philip Coyle and Victoria Samson, “Missile Defense Malfunction: Why the Proposed U.S. Missile Defenses in Europe Will Not Work,” Ethics & International Affairs, Vol. 22.1, 23 April 2008,

3. see international appeal to “Bring the CFE Treaty into Force,” under “Appeals on Preserving the CFE Treaty,” Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, http://www.pugwash.org/

4. “Russia ships nuclear fuel to Iran,”  BBC, 17 December 2007, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7147463.stm; see also George Monbiot, “The Treaty Wreckers,” The Guardian, 2 August 2005

This article first appeared on 3quarksdaily, 2 June 2008

 


5 June 2008
Continued Hunger strike protest, NY
By Sung-Hee Choi

 
Dear friends,

Thanks so much for your solidarity. As some of you may already know, Jan Tamas and Jan Benar in the Czech republic finished their 21 days hunger strike against the US radar in the Czech soil. But others are continuing or starting relaying the hunger strike in the wider and higher stage in the Europe and other regions.  It is a very inspiring sign for the more international solidarity against the space war and weapons. There is a worldwide hunger strike against the Star Wars system on June 22nd. Also for signs, www.nonviolence.cz.

For more info. you may refer to:

http://space4peace.blogspot.com/2008/06/hunger-strikers-message-from-prague.html

http://www.nenasili.cz/en/1388_jan-tamas-and-jan-bednar-will-end-their-21-day-hunger-strike-on-midnight-of-june-2nd

I will continue by June 7 like Bruce Gagnon in the U.S. A. and today is my 11th day. I am very fine. As I mentioned the other time, I plan to handle out the prints about the Czech issue every Thursday, during the June, from noon to 2pm, at the Hammarskjold Plaza crossing the UN, New York(Bet. 1Ave. and 47th St.). I continue on this Thursday, June 5.

It will be great if you can join me with any of your own sign, prints with the issue. It is also welcome you simply drop by me.

Thanks very much, everyone.

Sung-Hee Choi

Reporter for the Solidarity for Peace And Reunification of Korea (spark946.org)
Friend of Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space(space4peace.org)
 

2 June 2008
HUNGER STRIKERS MESSAGE FROM PRAGUE
By Bruce Gagnon

 

Day 10 of my solidarity hunger strike

We heard from the Czech Republic today that Jan Tamas and Jan Bednar will end their hunger strike tonight. Others in their country and around the world will then join the strike in their place. In their statement from Prague today they concluded, "We call on all the people who disagree with this plan [U.S. radar deployment] to show their disagreement, not to stay silent, and to start being active. Because 'democracy' is not just a word, putting a vote into a ballot box once every four years, democracy is about the active participation of every individual. "

In Brunswick, Maine today we had 14 folks on the street to once again hold signs and hand out leaflets to the public. I will continue on the hunger strike until June 7 and at that time Mary Beth Sullivan will take my place. Global Network member Sung-Hee Choi, who began the hunger strike on May 24 in New York City, will also continue until June 7. We are now hearing from other leaders in the Global Network who will also be joining the strike in their communities.

Recognizing that the U.S. is determined to twist the arm of the Czech government into submission to accept the deployment of the provocative "missile defense" radar, Jan Tamas and Jan Bednar are urging others around the world to help expand this effort.

They say, "Today at midnight we will suspend our hunger strike, however, a chain hunger strike will start in our country at the same time, when various people covering the whole social spectrum will be symbolically fasting for 24 hours. Tomorrow, a dissident, former Charter 77 and Independent Movement Activist, Peter Uhl will strike for us. In the following days the relay will be taken over by, among others, the sociologist Jan Keller, artist Anna Geislerova, Senator Alena Gajduskova, member of the Czech Academy of Science Petr Pokorny, Member of Parliament Olga Zubova, journalist Jakub Patocka, artist Lenka Vlasakova, radio editor Jeronym Janicek, and many others. "

"On an international level, for example Dennis Kucinich, member of the U.S. House of Representatives, continues fighting, as well as the U.S. Green Party presidential candidate, Cynthia McKinney. Here in the EU we have a meeting on this topic with the vice-president of the European Parliament, Luisa Morgantini next Thursday, who has promised to open a discussion on this topic in the European parliament. Today, Giorgio Schultze, the spokesperson for New Humanism in Europe, who is starting an open-ended hunger strike with the aim of getting a clear EU statement on this U.S. plan, takes the relay baton from us into Europe. Apart from this, hunger strikes to support our struggle are on going in Australia, the USA, Italy, Spain, Germany and Austria."

"All of you, who agree with our protest, can help us to spread it further and join the 22nd June one-day worldwide hunger strike against the Star Wars system, part of which is the planned base in the Czech Republic. This protest is the reaction to our hunger strike, and it is its strong follow-up on a world-wide level. It is already clear that people from all continents will participate."

So our Czech friends are challenging all of us to step up. It is obvious that instead of winding down, this effort against the radar is expanding and each of us can now play a role by joining the hunger strike for one day or more and by helping to spread the word to our organizations and personal networks.

Last Sunday here in Bath, Maine the Rev. Bill Bliss spoke about the hunger strike as the theme of his sermon at his United Church of Christ. Others have been urging people to sign the on-line petition at http://www.nonviolence.cz/ Still others are writing letters to the editor of their newspaper and planning to hold public vigils.

In the coming days the U.S. government will once again be debating their annual Pentagon spending appropriations. The military budget will be well over $600 billion in the coming year and the largest single project is for Star Wars "research and development." Now is the time for those who live in the U.S. to be calling on Congress to defund Star Wars.

This campaign is growing daily as people worldwide learn more about U.S. plans to move the arms race into space.

The aerospace industry often brags that Star Wars will be the largest industrial project in the history of the planet. But in order to make it so they must first drag other countries like the Czech Republic, Poland, Japan, South Korea, Britain, Italy, Canada, Australia, and others into the program.

The resistance we are now seeing from the Czech Republic must be matched with similar efforts all over if we hope to have the resources to effectively deal with climate change and maintain social progress in our communities.

We must join the fight now to keep space for peace.


2 June 2008
Hunger strikers to interrupt protest Monday

By ČTK


http://www.praguemonitor.com/en/347/czech_national_news/23520/


Photos: http://upload.nenasili.cz/index.php


Jan Tamáš (left) and Jan Bednář.

Prague, June 1 (CTK) - Czech activists Jan Tamas and Jan Bednar will announce on Monday that they will interrupt the hunger strike they have held against the plan to build a U.S. radar base in the Czech Republic since May 13, Tamas told CTK Sunday.

Tamas did not disclose when the hunger strike would be interrupted. He only said he would so at the press conference.

Tamas wrote in a press release sent to CTK that further protest against the radar base could have the form of a chain hunger strike.

This form of protest was proposed by the opposition Social Democrats (CSSD) Sunday.

Tamas said he, Bednar and other activists had discussed the idea last week.

They said they had addressed some artists, academics and politicians with the proposal.

Head of Social Democrat senators Alena Gajduskova said she was ready to join the chain hunger strike as the first.

Gajduskova said everyone who would continue with the hunger strike instead of Tamas and Bednar would hold it for 48 hours.

Some Social Democrat Sunday spoke about 24 hours.

Gajduskova said they would continue holding the hunger strike until the demands of Tamas and Bednar were fulfilled.

The hunger strikers insist on four demands.

First, the interruption of the negotiations about the radar base with the United States for one year.

Second, a request for the European Union's official stand.

Third, convocation of a parliament session on the topic, and fourth, organising a television discussion on the radar base that would be attended by four opponents and four supporters of the U.S. plan.

The United States wants to build the radar base and a base for ten interceptor missiles in Poland within its missile shield. The Czech-U.S. treaties are to be signed by July.

The Central European elements are to protect the United States and a large part of the European continent against missiles that states like Iran might launch.

Two thirds of the Czech public are still opposed to the radar base, according to the latest public opinion polls.

Tamas and Bednar are blackmailers to whom one should not yield, Defence Minister Vlasta Parkanova (the Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) said Sunday.

"We will not negotiate with the hunger strikers, we will not negotiate with Greenpeace," Parkanova said.

Tamas and Bednar Sunday dismissed Parkanova's statement.

"Mrs Minister, stop hiding before the public and call its members blackmailers. Instead, you should open a dialogue about the U.S. base within the Star Wars system," Tamas said.

Tamas said Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, Deputy Prime Minister Alexandr Vondra and Parkanova had avoided any discussion with anti-radar activists for almost 18 months.

"If there is any blackmail, it is conducted by this government headed by Topolanek who is giving the ultimatum: either live under the U.S. occupation or emigrate," Bednar said.


30 May 2008
Czech mate: Hunger Strike Photo-Rama

From: Bruce Gagnon


Hunger Strike Photo-Rama

Brunswick, Maine
(6 folks with me today on the street on my 7th day of solidarity hunger strike)


United Nations Plaza in New York City


Milan


London


Prague (Where 70% of the people oppose the Star Wars radar and demand a national referendum)


Byron Bay, Australia


France


Berlin


Amsterdam
 
Will you please help us spread the word? Have you signed the on-line petition yet?

Just click here: http://www.nenasili.cz/en/701_homepage

Peace in space and here at home on Mother Earth.
Convert the global war machine now before it is too late.
 


30 May 2008
Czech mate: Gagnon goes on hunger strike

Times Record (Brunswick, Maine)


http://www.timesrecord.com/website/main.nsf/news.nsf/...

BRUNSWICK —
Bruce Gagnon of Bath spends about an hour on the Brunswick Mall each day waving signs and distributing flyers, hoping to call attention to the U.S. deployment of what he calls "Star Wars technology."

Though he spends only an hour or so there each day, his commitment to the cause goes around the clock. Gagnon is in the midst of a hunger strike that he said will last as long as his friends in the Czech Republic continue theirs. At issue is the United States' plan to build a radar base there in support of a missile defense system in outer space.

Gagnon said since May 24, he has consumed nothing except water with lemon, orange juice in the morning and herbal tea in the evening.

"I've already lost 10 pounds," he said Thursday while protesting on the Mall and handing fliers to passing motorists. "I've researched it and I know you can go 30 or 40 days without medical problems."

The Prague Monitor reported earlier this month that the radar base would facilitate ten interceptor missiles which are designed to shoot enemy missiles out of the sky. The Czech government reported at the time that two treaties on the system were expected to be signed in June or mid-July at the latest, the Monitor said. Gagnon has joined other strikers worldwide, including Jan Tamas and Jan Bednar of the Czech Republic, both leaders of the No to Bases Coalition, which opposes the deployment of the radar system.

Bednar is showing signs of liver failure as a result of the strike, but has vowed to continue, said Gagnon. Asked if he'd take his own strike that far, Gagnon said he would.

According to Gagnon's Web page, for more than two years 70 percent of the Czech people "have repeatedly expressed their opposition to the proposed base through mass demonstrations, opinion polls and petitions, the Czech government has refused to allow a public debate on the issue. Time is running out, as Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice is expected to travel to Prague in June to sign the agreement between two countries."

Gagnon is a widely known activist for a host of causes including the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, which he coordinates. He and his supporters — some of whom are joining him in this week's protest — are regulars on the Brunswick Mall speaking out mostly against the War on Terror. Opposing "Star Wars" technology is not a new endeavor, though this time, his protest and hunger strike are spurred by loyalty to his Czech friends. He knows he's just one man, but hopes his message will spread.

"Most people know nothing about any of this," he said. "By doing this we take a leap of faith that's like planting seeds in a garden and we hope the seeds grow."

He said his mission is complicated by an apathy in the United States that's the result of consumerism and overstimulation from the media.

"The American people have become sheep when it comes to political action," he said. "Just about everywhere else in the world, people are more engaged than we are. For me, being out here is as important, if not more important, than the issue. It's a way to make eye contact with people when they're trying to look away. I'm not going to let that do that as long as I'm on this planet."
 

30 May 2008
Byron Bay Fast Day 5
From: Gareth Smith

 
Byron People for Peace and Justice totally support the brave resistance of the Czech people to the proposed US radar base and applaud the hunger strike by Jan Tamas and Jan Bednar who resurrect the spirit of Jan Palach. Jan Bednar has been rushed to hospital with liver failure but refuses to break his fast. Our hope is that these young men do not sacrifice themselves like Jan Palach did, as the world desperately needs more committed idealists not less. Today there was total support for the petition by Byron Bay High School staff and 80 signatures have so far been collected in Byron Bay in 2 days.  Our local newspaper, the Echo carried the story of my fast and photographed the petition gathering yesterday.  Byron Mayor Jan Barham has sent her support on behalf of the Byron shire.

I began fasting on Monday, May 26. Hunger strikes are now occurring in Italy, Spain, S.Korea, America, Austria and Australia. I have already contacted the US, Czech and Polish embassies in Canberra to inform them of our support. We have our own huge US war co-ordination centre at Pine Gap, near Alice Springs in the centre of Australia. This base conducted the illegal war on Iraq and no doubt is preparing now for an attack on Iran. Thankfully, the Czech people have well developed crap detectors having endured Nazi and Soviet occupation. Democracy by the people and for the people will win the day. US bases out!!

Gareth W R Smith
14 Cumbebin Park
Byron Bay, Australia 
NSW 2481
Tel: 66943324 (VOIP)
66858410
MOB:0422298165
 

30 May 2008
Report on May 29, NYC protest
From Sung-Hee


From: armha5156@verizon.net


Dear friends,

On May 29, I left home early at about 8am, returned home at 10: 30 pm. It was my 6th day hunger strike. Reading the blog by Bruce Gagnon(space4peace.blogspot.com), the news about Jan Bednar made me enough to tear.  I was also angry at the inhuman Czech government who does not care about the human life. The majority of politicians in the world, how same everywhere, spineless, merciless, arrogant, coward and inhuman, as in Korea!

17 days hunger strike, I can not imagine. How many more suffering you have to go through!  By now I am still fine. I am forgetting about my hunger. These critical days strangely make me forget about food.  And lots of love and help from the friends also help me to keep myself warm and strong.

Dear Jan Bednar and Jan Tamas, I send you lots of love like many people in the world.

I made one more sign last morning. I drew the European map on the cardboard. You can see it in the photo. I also printed 300 sheets. One side was from the US Humanist movement, the other side from the Bruce Gagnon's May 25 blog about Jan Bednar's liver failure and international solidarity.

I arrived the Hammarskjold Plaza crossing the UN, New York, 25 minutes earlier. It was windy and I struggled to set up my signs for more than 30 minutes. There were lots of UN workers and visitors passing by during the lunch time. It was interesting to notice when I say,  "Hunger strike in the Czech! ", many people who first ignored the print began to pay attention. One man said he was glad to see the signs against missile defense that was
seldom the issue in the plaza.

I got three friends yesterday.  The friend first arrived was one of Korean Americans who gratefully came for the protest after reading my last report. Mrs. Kim, Chun-Hee, 58, working at the library, NY, published a book in Korean last year. It is the collection of the diary and essays of her dead lover 30 years ago, who was one of the most devoted activists under the military dictatorship in the South Korea. 70s. He died at age 27. Because of her help, all the prints were out by 1: 30. She gratefully printed 50 copies more with her own money. So for two hours, we distributed 350 prints.

Emiko whose name I miss-spelled last time also dropped by.  Originally from Japan, she belongs to the US Humanist movements. She again helped us with such kindness and care as last time.

The last one was one of my best friends in the art world.  I got lots of help from her during my art institute years in the NY more than eight years ago. She is from the Greece and already accomplished artist there.  (It was magic that I also happen to meet the other best friend in the art world, after the protest. She is an American sculptor and was the art institute technician)

About 5pm, I alone went to the Union Square, carrying the bag of signs, I began to get the signatures from the people who were sitting there. It took more than 4 hours that I got the 108 signs. I found even if people at first ignored the request, if you say in urgency, they think again, agree with you and sign. Carrying the prints also helped. I printed 120 copies more. Many people wanted to know what it really meant about once they got to pay attention.

Returning back home, my happiness changed to heavy-heart because of reading
the news from Prague. I am, of course, tired and feel weaker. But as the two Jan  inspired us, I don't feel hardship in my  hunger strike. This experience of solidarity levels my soul up.

Korea has already experience of war, division, military dictatorship and heroic struggle of people.  What I know is that only by people's small step for peace and struggle (and compassion and love for one another), we can defer and differentiate the evil of the imperialism. The relative peace that we enjoy in the Union Square was only possible by people's rising-up lead by the great figures, such as Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr. Jan Tamas and an Bednar  remind us again.

I will continue my hunger strike beyond this Saturday. And will continue the protest every Thursday until two jan finishes their hunger strike. I am returning to Korea on July 1.  This is the time to stand up. Let's show the world that we are not divided by national borders.

Thanks very much, everyone.

Sung-Hee Choi
from Brooklyn, NY

Reporter for the Solidarity for Peace and Reunification of Korea (spark946.org)
Friend of Global Network against Weapons and Nuclear Power in space (space4peace.org)

# For more petition sign(below) and info. (go to homepage) on Hunger Strike
by Jan Tamas and Jan Bednar in the Czech republic: www.nonviolence.cz

 


29 May 2008
 Czech Hunger Striker Taken to Hospital
By Bruce Gagnon

 


Jan Bednar (left) and Jan Tamas share a moment during hunger strike in Prague

Day 6 of my solidarity hunger strike

It is day 17 for Jan Bednar and Jan Tamas in their hunger strike. The latest report from the Czech Republic is that Jan Bednar's liver failure is critical. He was taken to the hospital today but will not end his hunger strike.

In a meeting today with Czech Foreign Affairs Minister Karel Schwarzenberg it became obvious, despite his cordiality with the two strikers, that the government will not accept any of the peace movement demands.

Jan Tamas urged him to suspend talks with the Bush administration, since their country is divided and the political atmosphere in the Czech Republic is poisoned. Jan told him that it is much more sensible to wait for the next U.S. administration and in the meantime begin a real and transparent debate on the issue, involving all social forces in the country.

Opposition Social Democratic Party Secretary Jiri Paroubek, the former Czech Prime Minister, visited the protesters today and made a heartfelt appeal that they stop the strike. He assured them that his party is committed in their opposition to the radar agreement with the U.S. and that they will do everything possible to stop it.

Crowds are swarming to the Prague hunger strike headquarters, people bringing flowers and fruit drinks.

At today's news conference in Prague a journalist started crying when Jan Bednar, now almost completely yellow, told them "the Prime Minister declared on television today that he has 30 days to answer us. This is the domineering attitude of our government which will impose it's will at any cost. I cannot stop, it is an issue of democracy."

Protests have now spread from Prague to over 30 cities around the world.

Today in Brunswick, Maine we had 10 people at my daily vigil on the street during the lunch hour. The local newspaper sent a reporter and photographer to interview me and earlier in the day I did a radio interview with the progressive station WERU in northern Maine.

More than a 100,000 people have now signed the http://www.nonviolence.cz/ online petition.

Unlimited hunger strike today: Jan Tamas and Jan Bednar in Prague since May 13, Dino Mancarella in Trieste since May 14, Federica Fratini and Eduardo Calizza in Rome since May 19, José Alvarez in Spain since May 22. Bruce Gagnon and Sung-Hee Choi in the USA, Gareth Smith in Australia, Joaquin Valenzuela in Bologna since May 24. Ivan Marchetti and Andrea Casa in Turin since May 26 and Dr. Hassan Nayeb Hashem in Austria since May 29

My heart is heavy tonight because at the same time we learned about Jan Bednar being taken to the hospital I also learned that our longtime dear friend Peg McIntire, who is 97 years old and lives in Florida, is nearing death. I've worked with Peg in the peace movement for well over 20 years and she has come to Maine to visit us each year since we moved here in 2003. Just weeks ago she was asking if she could come again this summer, even as her health was failing.

The loss of Peg is just too hard to imagine. In my heart though I know she would be proud that I am participating in this hunger strike and I know she would be cheering me on.


28 May 2008
HUNGER STRIKE IN CZECH REPUBLIC NOW TAKEN UP IN U.S.
ACTIVISTS CAMPAIGNING TO HALT BUSH "MISSILE DEFENSE" DEPLOYMENTS IN CENT. EUROPE
From: Bruce Gagnon

 
Two leading peace activists in the Czech Republic began an unlimited hunger strike on May 13 in protest of U.S. plans to deploy a so-called “missile defense” radar in their country.  The hunger strike and protests are now spreading throughout Europe and other parts of the world including the U.S.
 
In Maine, Bruce Gagnon who coordinates the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, joined the hunger strike on May 24 and vows to continue on with it until the Czech strikers quit.
 
In Prague, Jan Tamas and Jan Bednar (who is now suffering kidney failure) are into their second week of the hunger strike.  They both are leaders of the No to Bases Coalition in their country that has been working to give voice to the 70% of Czech citizens who oppose the deployment of the U.S. Star Wars radar.
 
Jan Tamas recently stated, “The issue of the U.S. military base is not only an issue of international security for us, but also an issue of democracy. It is about whether we will once again allow a small group of elite politicians to ignore the wishes of the majority of the population on an issue of great importance to their fate. These methods remind us of times before 1989 -- times we don't want to be repeated.”

According to Bruce Gagnon, “George W. Bush claims that his Poland and Czech Republic ‘missile defense’ deployments are to protect Europe from Iranian nuclear missiles.  Iran today has zero nuclear missiles.  A team of American physicists has studied the deployments and reports that the Polish and Czech bases could not physically intercept Iranian missiles, but could be used against Russia (which just happens to have the world’s largest supply of natural gas.)  The U.S. and NATO are now moving military bases eastward and surrounding Russia.  A new cold war and a European arms race will be the sad result.”
 
Protests against the military occupation of the Czech Republic and Poland by the U.S. have now spread to Amsterdam, Berlin, Bologna, Brussels, Budapest, Copenhagen, Florence, London, Malaga, Milan, Paris, Toulouse, Trieste, Turin, and Zurich. They are echoed in Australia, New York City, and in Brunswick, Maine.
 
On on-line petition has been created to oppose the U.S. radar deployment at www.nonviolence.cz
 
Watch a short documentary video on the issue at http://www.nenasili.cz/en/946_video-star-wars
 

28 May 2008
Good News from Prague
From: Anna Polo

Information: www.nonviolence.cz
Contacts: Jan Tamas +420 776 785 839
In the U.S.: Joanne Landy (jlandy@igc.org) and Chris Wells (chriswells@nyc.rr.com)

Dear friends,

Good news are arriving from Prague: we have obtained the dialogue we were looking for!!!. Tomorrow, Thursday May 29, there will be a meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the one who will have to sign the agreement with Condoleezza Rice.

After the open letter of Dennis Kucinich, we have received also a letter from Luisa Morgantini, Vice-president of the European Parliament, who supports the protest against the space shield and commits herself to inform the Parliament about it.

There is also more space in the mass-media.

For all these reasons our friends in Prague think that it is not necessary now to send protest letters to Czech embassies and to the president Klaus. It seems that in these days hundreds of mails and fax have arrived to their embassies all over the world and perhaps this has contributed to this first opening.

Thanks a lot for your support and I will keep you informed.

Anna
 

28 May 2008
Base opponents continue hunger strike despite bad health

By ČTK


http://www.praguemonitor.com/en/344/czech_national_news/23301/



Jan Tamáš (left) and Jan Bednář refuse to start eating again

Prague, May 27 (CTK) - Two Czech activists, Jan Bednar and Jan Tamas, who have been on hunger strike for 15 days in protest against the plan to station a U.S. radar base in the country, will continue their strike despite Bednar's bad health, they told journalists Tuesday.

Bednar said he had a high billirubin level, which pointed to some problem with his liver. He said doctors recommended him to start eating again, but he said he would not end the strike.

Bednar and Tamas said they have had no reaction from the government so far. They have received no answer from Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek to the letter they sent to him some ten days ago.

However, they said Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg promised to meet them, but he did not confirm the meeting until now.

Bendar and Tamas demand that the Czech-U.S. talks on the base end and a national referendum is held on the issue.

Bendar is a leading activist of the No To Bases group that has been campaigning against the base for some time.

Opinion polls show that a majority of Czechs are against the base.

The Czech government has been negotiating with the U.S. representatives on the base for more than a year. It wants the two treaties on the base to be signed within two months. However, the Czech parliament in which the government holds only a shaky majority is yet to ratify the documents afterwards.

The U.S. radar base to be stationed 90 km southwest of Prague is to be an element of the U.S. missile defence shield and included in NATO's defence structures later on. It is to be connected with a silo with interceptor missiles that is to be constructed in Poland.


27 May 2008
Report from Brunswick, Maine on Hunger Striker Vigil
By Bruce Gagnon

 

Day 4 of my solidarity hunger strike

We had seven folks on the windy street today in Brunswick, Maine holding signs and handing out flyers made just for the occasion. It was easy to tell that most people passing by knew nothing about U.S. deployments of Star Wars technology in Poland and the Czech Republic. They knew even less about a hunger strike that began in Prague on May 13 and has slowly grown to involve more people, including myself.

And that is just the reason why I joined the hunger strike on May 24. The time has come for the American people to hear about this new arms race that our government is creating in Europe. We are going to pay for it, in more ways than one. We ought to know something about it and should be talking about it in our communities.

In fact, even the peace movement in the U.S. knows little about Bush’s planned Star Wars deployments in Poland and the Czech Republic. Until we get the attention of hard working activists, who are understandably preoccupied with Iraq, then we will have little chance of reaching the public in general.

By the end of the hour on the street today, I was ready to sit down. But I will be back out again on the corner on Wednesday and every other weekday as long as this hunger strike goes on. I am committed to continuing my own participation in this hunger strike in solidarity with Jan Tamas and Jan Bednar in Prague as long as they continue with theirs.

It is my hope that people will begin to see the connection between the war for oil in Iraq and this new U.S. aggressive military move to essentially surround Russia -- which just happens to hold the world’s largest supply of natural gas and large deposits of oil. The U.S. is undertaking a global military strategy to wrest control of the planet’s remaining fossil fuels. This means massive military spending in the years to come and endless war, instability and occupation.

We have to begin to get the American people to see this larger strategic picture if we hope to stem this tide of growing militarism. It will take endless war with all nations that have fossil fuel resources in order to run our over-consuming lifestyle here in the U.S.

I am not interested in debating whether this hunger strike will stop the so-called “missile defense” interceptor and radar deployments by Bush in Central Europe or not. I am more determined than ever to make sure that people begin to know about them. As Noam Chomsky says, “The public can’t react to something that they don’t know about.”

The American people have been well trained to bury our political emotions behind alcohol, drugs, food, TV, shopping, sex, and sports. My task right now is, in my small way, to help bring these feelings back to the surface where we can scratch them a bit and trigger some kind of creeping consciousness.

I will be posting daily updates on my blog while I am on this hunger strike so please stay tuned.

If you haven’t already, please be sure to sign the Czech petition at http://www.nonviolence.cz/

Bruce K. Gagnon
Coordinator
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 443-9502


26 May 2008
Report for support protest for Czech Hunger Strikers
By Sung-Hee Choi

 

Dear friends,

Yesterday was my  2nd protest for the support of the Czech Republic Hunger strikers Jan Tamas and Jan Bednar in the Hammarskjold Plaza crossing the UN, New York. It was also my second joining of the US Humanist Movement protest for the same theme. I pray for Jan Bednar for his getting well. And for Jan Tamas, too. I give both of you lots of love.

It was my third day hunger strike. In the morning, I made two more signs as you can see in the photo. I arrived 30 minutes earlier to the place. After setting up, I distributed 250 prints for more than two hours.

A Mexican student who is visiting his friend in the NY wanted to take photo beside my signs (in the photo). He said many governments in the world were increasingly spending money to the military budget than the people’s need.

Yesterday was Memorial Day in the U.S.. I could see less people, comparing to May 22. But observing people’s reaction was really interesting. Many people had not been aware of the issue of Czech so it was glad to see they were reading the prints with attention. I was most glad when a cab driver on the street was waiting for me to give him the print, too. He was an immigrant from the South Asia. Near me, there was also a protest by the people from the Tibet origin (against China injustice to them). They were also eager to read the prints.

At 3 pm, I joined the US Humanist Movement friends in the Union Square. I got 40 signs for 1 and 30 hours. Many people in the Union square had not been aware of the issues, neither. So I could not but think how our small step could make difference, even if it was small. The US Humanist movement friends, very kind, were very active to get the sign for the Czech “No  radar” campaign. At 5 pm, we gathered in front of the statue of Gandhi, again. And had the Ceremony of Solidarity with Jan Tamas and Jan Bednar. It was such a warm feeling that I was grateful that I could join them.

I am doing the protest on this Thursday again, noon to 2pm, Hammarskjold Plaza (between 1Ave, and 47st St), NY.  Please bring your beautiful face if you can.

Thanks very much, everyone.

Sung-Hee Choi

Brooklyn, NY
Reporter for the Solidarity for Peace and Reunification of Korea (spark946.org)
Friend of Global Network against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space (space4peace.org)


25 May 2008
Liver failure for Czech hunger striker - but he vows to press on
By Bruce Gagnon


http://space4peace.blogspot.com:80/


Jan Tamas (second from left) and Jan Bednar (far right) at a recent press conference in Prague.

Word came from the Czech Republic this morning that Jan Bednar, who together with Jan Tamas, is on his 12th day of hunger strike against deployment of a U.S. Star Wars radar base, is suffering from liver failure. His health conditions are worsening day after day and the medical team, as well as his friends and family, have urged him to interrupt the hunger strike. He has decided, however, to continue. "I have seen no sign that the Czech government is willing to open the dialogue on this issue and the European Parliament is silent," he stated.

Unlimited hunger strike: Jan Tamas and Jan Bednar in Prague since May 13, Dino Mancarella in Trieste since May 14, Federica Fratini, Isabel Torres, Eduardo Calizza in Rome since May 19, Josa Alvarez in Spain since May 22. They have been joined on May 24 by Bruce Gagnon, the Korean Sung-Hee Choi in New York, Gareth Smith in Australia and Joaquin Valenzuela in Bologna (Italy).

Solidarity messages pour in daily from hundreds of organizations and personalities such as: Noam Chomsky, Dario Fo and Franca Rame, Giorgio Schultze, Giulietto Chiesa (European Parliament member), Luisa Morgantini (Vice President of the European Parliament), Nichi Vendola, president of Puglia Region in Italy, French bishop Jacques Gaillot and Pulitzer prize winner Chris Hedges.

Protests against the military occupation of the Czech Republic by the U.S. and Europe's nuclear rearmament policies are continuing in Amsterdam, Berlin, Bologna, Budapest, Copenhagen, Florence, London, Malaga, Milan, Bologna, Paris, Toulouse, Trieste e Turin. They are echoed in Australia, New York City, and Brunswick, Maine.

Please take a small step and sign the petition to oppose the radar in the Czech Republic. http://petice.nenasili.cz/?lang=en

Bruce K. Gagnon
Coordinator
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 443-9502
http://www.space4peace.org
globalnet@mindspring.com
http://space4peace.blogspot.com (Blog)

 


25 May 2008
David vs Goliath
The fight to keep US Bases out of the Czech Republic
The Humanist Movement (info@newhumanist.us)
and The Campaign for Peace and Democracy (jlandy@igc.org)


Press Release
The US government, as part. of its so called "Space Shield" initiative is planning to install a radar base In the Czech Republic, despite the opposition of 70% of the Czech population. Although it is  presented as a defense system against the possible attacks of Iranian missiles, the "Space Shield" is, In fact, a first strike weapon, a tool for global dominance and represents the first step towards US militerization and control of space.

For over 2 years, citizens in the Czech Republic have repeatedly expressed their opposition to the proposed base through mass demonstrations, opinion poles, and petitions, yet the Czech government has refused to allow a public debate on the issue. T1me is now running out, as Secretary of Stale Condoleeza Rice is expected to travel to Prague in June to sign the agreement  between the two countries.

On May 13th, humanists JanTamas and Jan Bednar began a hunger strike in Prague to ask that the will of 70% of the population be respected and that the subject of installing a US military base on Czech territory be decided democratically through a referendum, 'We have tried almost everything , but our government has failed to listen to us," says Tamas.

We are gathered here today to show our support for the hunger strikers and to call upon the US government to end its plans for the "space shield" project, which endangers the peace and co­existence or people worldwide.

How Can I Help?

You can sign the online petition (www.nonviolence.cz) send us an e-message of support for the hunger strikers see Noam Chomsky's inspiring statement of support below), contact your Congressional delegation; and consider a press release from your group in support of the strikers and opposing the radar base.

Sponsored by The Humonist Movement (info@newhumanist.us) and The Campaign for Peace and Democrocy (jlandy@igc.org)

STATEMENT OF SUPPORT FROM NOAM CHOMSKY

I would like to express my strong support, and great admiration. for the tWo brave Czech humanists. Jan Tamas and Jan Bednar, who have initiated a hunger strike in protest against the plans to extend the US "missile defense" system to the Czech Republic. over the objections of the large majority of the population. I place the words "missile defense" in quotes because it is understood by Strategic analysts on all sides that "missile defense," if at all feasible, is an offensive weapon. In the words of the major Pentagon-affiliated research agency. the Rand Corpo­ration, it is "not simply a shield but an enabler of U.S. action," Endorsing a common understanding. the prominent strategic analyst Lawrence Kaplan writes that "missile defense is about preserving America's ability to wield power abroad, It's not about defense, It's about offense. And that's exactly why we need it." It is also understood by US analysts that if the system is emplaced in Eastern Europe. it is a potentially serious threat to the Russian deterrent, so that Russia will reaCt. as it already has begun to do, by expanding its own offensive military capacity. These perfectly predictable developments significantly increase the threat of terminal nuclear war. For such reasons. the honorable and courageous aCtions of Jan Tamas and Jan Bednar will. I hope, encourage others to ensure that a referendum Is held and that these very threatening developments will be terminated.


24 May 2008
Hunger Striker Continues Despite Liver Failure
From: Anna Polo

Information: www.nonviolence.cz
Contacts: Jan Tamas +420 776 785 839
In the U.S.: Joanne Landy (jlandy@igc.org) and Chris Wells (chriswells@nyc.rr.com)

Jan Bednar, who together with Jan Tamas, is on his 12th day of hunger strike, is suffering from liver failure. His health conditions are worsening day after day and the medical team, as well as his friends and family, have urged him to interrupt the hunger strike. He has  decided however, to continue. "I have seen no sign that the Czech government is willing to open the dialogue on this issue and the European Parliament is silent," he stated this morning.

Protests against the silent military occupation of the Czech Republic by the United States and Europe's nuclear rearmament policies, uncountable solidarity fasts, are continuing in Amsterdam, Berlin, Bologna, Budapest, Ceske Budejovice, Copenhagen, Florence, London, Malaga, Milan, Bologna, Paris, Toulouse, Trieste e Turin. They are echoed in Australia,and even the US.

Solidarity messages pour in daily from hundreds of organizations and personalities such as: Noam Chomsky, Dario Fo and Franca Rame Giorgio Schultze, Giulietto Chiesa (European Parliament member), Luisa Morgantini (Vice President of the European Parliament), Nichi Vendola, president of Puglia Region in Italy, French bishop Jacques Gaillot and Pulitzer prize winner Chris Hedges.

Unlimited hunger strike: Jan Tamas and Jan Bednar in Prague since May 13, Dino Mancarella in Trieste since May 14, Federica Fratini, Isabel Torres, Eduardo Calizza in Rome since May 19, Jose Alvarez in Spain since May 22. They have been joined today by Bruce Gagnon, the Korean Sung-Hee Choi in the USA, Gareth Smith in Australia and Joaquin Valenzuela in Bologna (Italy).
 

26 May 2008
Liver Failure for Czech Hunger Striker - He Vows to Press On
From: Alice Slater

 
I was with one of these hunger fasters, Jan Tamas, to stop the installation of a US missile radar base in the Czech Republic in Omaha Nebraska at our Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power In Space meeting near Strat Com headquarters, where the US is planning to “dominate and control the military use of space to protect US interests and investments”, according to the mission statement in the US Space Command documents. Jan was also at the Cooper Union Socialist Forum in April.  The construction of Star Wars bases in the Czech Republic and Poland is sweetening the pot for our military-industrial-academic-congressional-complex as Russia and China play catch up in space, and our militarists argue for more money for space warfare—don’t be fooled by missile ”defense”.  It’s an offensive system--we just shot a satellite down that was falling from space—as part of our lunatic plan to control space warfare.

How do we shine the light of publicity on these brave hunger fasters, who are taking a stand not just against war in space, but for democracy as overwhelming percentages of people in the Czech republic DO NOT WANT THE BASE, but their government is ignoring them ??

Please spread the word—particularly to media and celebrity contacts.  There must be no expansion of Star Wars to eastern Europe.  The last thing we need is a revival of the cold war with Russia.  We need to cooperate with them on nuclear disarmament, alternative energy, ending poverty—or we may lose our very biosphere.

Alice Slater
Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, New York
446 E. 86 St.
New York NY 10028
212-744-2005
646-238-9000(cell)
aslater@rcn.com
www.wagingpeace.org

 


22 May 2008
Stepping Away from the Plate in Solidarity with Czech Hunger Strikers
By Bruce Gagnon

 

My friend Sung-Hee Choi from South Korea has written that she will join the hunger strike in support of our friends in the Czech Republic this Saturday. Sung-Hee is an art teacher in New York City and a long time loyal Global Network member. Sung-Hee has asked her art students to help her not eat during their all-day class on Saturday and for the next week.

Also joining the hunger strike on Saturday, in response to my appeal for others to join me in helping to widen knowledge of the Czech Republic effort, is Gareth Smith who lives in Byron Bay, Australia. Gareth writes "I will join you on Saturday for a 7-day hunger strike as President of Byron People for Peace and Justice. From my Christian days I remember an inspiring verse: 'For God has used the base things of this world to confound the mighty'; may this be true of the present campaign. You know, Bruce, when I think of all us baby boomers who have reached the 50-70 age range and consider that in most cases we don't have the worry of losing a job/promotion, don't have a mortgage, have children off our hands, there is no sound reason why our group should not be the most vigorously active for peace and disarmament in the world. I want to reach retirement homes and displace the people from the golf courses onto the streets - bannerize them! Good luck as you step away from the plate!"

So on Saturday I will indeed step away from the plate and join the hunger strike of Jan Tamas and Jan Bednar in Prague who have been at this hunger strike since May 13. I will stay on the hunger strike for as long as they do and during each weekday I will go out onto the street in nearby downtown Brunswick, Maine from 12:30-1:30 pm to hold a sign and pass out leaflets about the U.S. plan to put Star Wars systems into Poland and the Czech Republic and the growing movement across Europe to join this hunger strike in protest of these U.S. military bases.

I urge others to join this hunger strike in solidarity with our friends in the Czech Republic and throughout Europe. Particularly, I believe it is important for activists in the U.S. to stand against these deployments since it is our country that is creating a dangerous new arms race in Europe.

You can also join this hunger strike by stepping away from the plate. Let's remind our friends in the Czech Republic that they are not alone.

 
Bruce K. Gagnon
Coordinator
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 443-9502
http://www.space4peace.org
globalnet@mindspring.com
http://space4peace.blogspot.com (Blog)
 

21 May 2008
Hunger Strike Must Spread to U.S.
By Bruce Gagnon

On May13 Jan Tamas and Jan Bednar started a hunger strike in Praque. "The issue of the U.S. military base is not only an issue of international security for us, but also an issue of democracy. It is about whether we will once again allow a small group of elite politicians to ignore the wishes of the majority of the population on an issue of great importance to their fate. These methods remind us of times before 1989 -- times we don't want to be repeated," they said.

Now the hunger strike is spreading throughout Europe. The photo above is from Berlin were supporters have joined in solidarity with the hunger strikers.

Now the task is to spread the hunger strike to the U.S. which is only right since our country is the one who is trying to deploy these so-called "missile defense" systems in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Europeans clearly remember the 1983 deployments of nuclear cruise and Pershing II missiles in Europe by Ronald Reagan. These missiles were aimed at the former Soviet Union and made Europe the battleground stuck in the middle of the superpower conflict.

Europeans don't want their lands to get stuck in the middle again as the U.S. now is forcing an expansion of NATO eastward to surround Russia who has the world's largest supply of natural gas.

This simple hunger strike is creating energy and movement in Europe. The time has come for us in the U.S. to step away from the plate and join the effort.

I will join this hunger strike starting Saturday morning. Please let me know if you will join it as well in solidarity with our friends Jan Tamas and Jan Bednar.

 
Bruce K. Gagnon
Coordinator
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 443-9502
http://www.space4peace.org
globalnet@mindspring.com
http://space4peace.blogspot.com (Blog)
 

21 May 2008
Hunger strike in Czech Republic:
a new Prague spring!
By Isabel Torres

 
Dear Friends,

The protest in the Czech Republic continues and gets stronger: on May 13th Jan Tamas and Jan Bednar started a hunger strike. "The issue of the US military base is not only an issue of international security for us, but also an issue of democracy. It is about whether we will once again allow a small group of elite politicians to ignore the wishes of the
majority of the population on an issue of great importance to their fate. These methods remind us of times before 1989 -- times we don't want to be repeated."

Read more: http://nenasili.cz/en/1011_declaration

Europe says No to the "Star Wars" project

"In a moment of global economic crisis where the cost of food is growing incredibly and education and health-care are being dangerously privatized, it is madness to spend millions of Euros on war and the production of new weapon systems. In such a difficult moment of global history, Europe must not support any policy that pushes the planet
towards catastrophe: the lives of millions of people are at stake. We cannot allow our politicians to support the absurd intentions of the United States to transform Europe into the theatre of a possible nuclear war".


Read G. Schultze's declaration:
http://nenasili.cz/en/990_europe-says-no-to-the-star-wars-project

The on-line petition has already surpassed 87,000 signatures; with everybody's help we can reach the objective of 500,000 signatures.
http://www.nonviolence.cz

The protest is spreading all over Europe. In many cities there are permanent demonstrations and other activities of support:
http://nenasili.cz/en/1081_campaign-in-europe

Message: N. Chomsky
http://nenasili.cz/en/1103_noam-chomsky-supports-jan-tamas-and-jan-bednar

Support this campaign spreading it among your friends, in your city, among other organizations and the mass-media. We can change the future only with everybody's help, a future that today is in the hands of ruthless and crazy people.

Greetings of peace
Isabel Torres
info@europeforpeace.eu

 

7 May 2008
Leader of movement against US military base will go on hunger strike
Prague

 


Jan Tamáš and Jan Bednář

Leader of the Czech movement against the planned US military base Jan Tamas will start hunger strike on Tuesday, May 13. He will be joined by Jan Bednar, activist in the movement.

"We have tried almost everything, but our government has failed to listen to us. They continue to ignore the fact that more than two thirds of Czechs oppose this plan," said Jan Tamas in reference to the March 2008 polls showing 67% of Czech disagree with the planned US deployment of a missile defense radar site in the Czech Republic. "We are calling on our friends from abroad to support us in our struggle as this is not only a local issue, but it is a regional issue." Currently people in 14 cities across Europe expressed their support to the hunger strike and will join the two Czechs by going on solidarity hunger strikes in their cities. These include Paris, Turin, Athens, Rome, Budapest and others.

Jan Tamas and Jan Bednar will be staying in a publicly accessible place in Prague during the hunger strike, so that people can come and support them. There will be a press conference in English language during the first day of the hunger strike (May 13) at 12 o'clock (noon). The address is Bělehradská 12/98, Prague 2 (near Metro stations I.P.Pavlova or Namesti Miru). Information about the hunger strike will be published at the website www.nonviolence.cz. Daily videos will be posted on the website from Prague and possibly from other European cities where solidarity hunger strikes and other activities will take place starting Tuesday.

More information can be found on the above mentioned website or watch the latest interviews with Dr. Tamas on Democracy Now (http://www.democracynow.org/2008/4/18/no_bases_for_empire_international_activists) or Russia Today (http://www.russiatoday.ru/guests/video/1170).

See also article in Prague Daily Monitor May 14 2008 - "Activist protesting radar goes on hunger strike"

Contact:
Jan Tamas, tel. +420 776 785 839, email: jan.tamas@humanisti.cz

See: Jan Tamas Speech at 2008 GN Conference: Here
 


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