A group of Czech Greenpeace activists are set to begin their third week occupying the site of a proposed US 'Son of Star Wars' base in the Czech republic. About 20 Greenpeace activists broke into the Brdy military zone south of Prague on April 28th. After establishing a base camp in nearby woods, they entered a wooded area inside the military installation and hung a 60 ft banner carrying the message "We don't want to be targets" across a series of tree-platforms.
The US want to build an X band radar at Brdy - like the one the Labour government controversially gave go ahead for at Fylingdales in Yorkshire - as part of the European end of their proposed 'Son of Star Wars' missile defence system.
"If you look at world history, ever since men began waging war, you will see that there's a permanent race between sword and shield. The sword always wins."
The plans have sparked major opposition in the Czech Republic - where polls have repeatedly shown that more than six out of 10 Czechs oppose hosting the US facility. The Greenpeace occupation is one of a whole series of protests against the plans over recent weeks and months.
Despite this opposition the Czech and US governments still appear to be closing on a deal to place the radar base in Czech territory, although the last minute cancellation of the signing ceremony by US Secretary of State Condolezza Rice earlier this week have raised hopes of opponents. Although officials explained the delay as 'a matter of logistics', the strong Czech public opposition to the plan, which is also strongly opposed by Russia, is likely to have played a strong part.
We oppose the US 'Son of Star Wars' system as we believe that it will trigger another arms race. The only people who will benefit from Star wars are giant arms contractors, such as Lockheed Martin and Boeing who will build develop both the shield and then profit from building the new weapons designed to evade it. As former French President Jacques Chirac put it:
"If you look at world history, ever since men began waging war, you will see that there's a permanent race between sword and shield. The sword always wins. The more improvements that are made to the shield, the more improvements are made to the sword. We think that with these [anti-missile] systems, we are just going to spur swordmakers to intensify their efforts."
The programme will also be hugely expensive - diverting tens of billions away from tackling the real problems our planet is facing, like tackling the effects of climate change.