On May 13th, Jan Tamas and Jan Bednar began a hunger strike in Prague. They are asking for respect for the expressed will of 70% of the people of the Czech Republic and that a democratic referendum be held to determine whether or not to install a U.S. military base on Czech territory. “We have tried almost everything, but our government has failed to listen to us,” says Tamas.
The U.S. government, as part of its global so-called “Missile Defense” initiative, is planning to install a radar base in the Czech Republic, despite the opposition of the overwhelming majority of the Czech people. Although it is presented as a defense system against possible attacks from non-existent Iranian missiles, the “Missile Defense” system is, in fact, a first strike weapon. It is a tool for global dominance which represents the first step towards U.S. weaponization and control of space. It is seen by the Czech Republic’s neighbor and former Cold War ally, Russia, as a threat and a provocation, which is spurring Russia to engage in a new arms race with the United States.
For over two years, citizens in the Czech Republic have repeatedly expressed their opposition to the proposed base through mass demonstrations, opinion polls, and petitions, yet the Czech government has refused to allow a public debate on the issue. Time is now running out, as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected to travel to Prague in June to sign the agreement between the two countries.
We can show our support for the hunger strikers as we call upon our own government to end its plans for the “Missile Defense” project, which endangers the peace and co-existence of people worldwide. While a military base in the Czech Republic would be located thousands of miles away from the U.S., it would have major implications for people around the United States and the world.

Leslie Cagan is National Coordinator of United for Peace and Justice (www.unitedforpeace.org).

Here’s what you can do:
1) Add your name to the more than 99,000 people who have already signed the online petition – and then encourage others to sign on as well: http://www.nonviolence.cz You can also read messages of support that have come in from around the world at http://www.nenasili.cz/en/723_messages-of-support
2) Throughout Europe groups have been demonstrating their support for the hunger strikers – as well as their opposition to the U.S. “Missile Defense” initiative. Find out more about these activities: http://nenasili.cz/en/1081_campaign-in-europe
3) Make sure your member of Congress knows about your opposition to the radar base in the Czech Republic, and to the whole “Missile Defense” initiative. Click here to see a letter that Congressman Dennis Kucinich recently wrote in support of the hunger strikers.
4) Forward this message to others in your networks!