by Bruce Gagnon
June 13, 2008
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.