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Poland: March against Missile Defence

8.3.2008 - Damien Moran

Our demonstrations here in Poland on March 15th and March 29th will hopefully give us an opportunity to counter-attack the 'pro-shield' assaults that we as citizens have suffered inexorably over the past few weeks.
See and for updates.

According to Polskie Radio Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk is due to arrive to the US a day later than scheduled. He is now expected to land in on March 9th where he will meet ex-pats, then the following day his Bush visit is scheduled at the White House for 10.15am Washington time. Protestors from the Campaign for Peace and Democracy and Institue of Policy Studies will stage a demonstration outside the White House against the Masters of War missile defence negotiations within.

Local opposition in Poland 

We should not jump for joy just yet that Mariusz Chmiel, the chairman of the Slupsk borough (where the 'shield' is likely to be based) has sent a letter to the gvt. saying that he and locals are against the project as the government (gvt.) does not intend on investing seriously in the area's future. What's more, he claims that the shield may prevent potential investment (see Polish locals against American anti-missile shield on the polskieradio website).

Why should we not jump for joy? Well, he dampens our smiles when he says that he would change his mind if the gvt. proved him wrong and delivered a long-term investment package!

Don't give bribes - Don't take bribes
This is the slogan campaign recently broadcast on Polish TV and evident on posters around Warsaw's public transport system. If we want to know what to expect in Poland after Bush's visit we need not look any further that what has happened in the Brdy region of the Czech Republic. The Prime Minster Topolanek promised it would receive $72 million in infrastructural funds due to the fact that the region has long been forgotten (that is, we never cared about you in the past and now we'll try to buy your silence) /more on the Internation Herald Tribune here/.

No hard evidence about when, how, over what time period the region would get themoney. What happens if Topolanek is toppled and where has this $72mn. suddenly appeared from?

What package will Tusk and his Civic Platform partners promise in the event that he gives permission for the missile base to be located in Poland The region of Slupsk's business lobbyists and it's boys in local governance are playing the same tactical hardball game with the Polish gvt. as the Polish gvt. are playing with the US administration. Tusk's Civic Platform gvt. (Polish Thatcherite-lites) are desperately seeking to modernise the Polish army with more weapons of death in a trade off for missile defence base acquiesence.

Head over heels for missiles

The Slupsk president, Maciej Kobylinski, released a statement today (March 5th '08) praising the potential gifts which would besiege his kingdom if missiles were plated in it's soil. He has evidently been spurred on after he recently met with US lobbyist and Missile Defence Advocacy Alliance President, Rick Ellis. This is a recent entry from Ellis's blog:

'On the eve of Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek's visit to meet with President Bush this Wednesday, MDAA has spent the past few days in Prague and local cities surrounding the Brdy region to observe and listen to the views of Czech citizens and officials on the proposed agreement between the United States and the Czech Republic.'

So now the MDAA are up to the same shoulder rubbing in Northern Poland. This vulture like activity has obviously impressed the Slupsk president, whose statement is like something produced by a US Republican scriptwriter. According to Mr. Kobylinski, they talked about the possibility of a partnership between Slupsk and Huntsville in Alabama, where MDAA could play a significant role in harnessing business and investment relationships. This would include cooperation between the Pomorze (Slupsk is a city in this province) Academy and Huntsville University. Furthermore, the president, Maciej Kobylinski, requested whether Ellis could help gain help in the construction of a local AquaPark - a Centre for Recreation, Sport and Rehabilitation in Slupsk.

The burning question on my tongue is how influential is this group? Does their direct involvement and visit to the Czech, Polish localities at this stage indicate anything apart from nasty capitalism at play? If  you are from Huntsville, are against Weapons of Mass Destruction, then I encourage you to make contact with us.

The War Movement 

War is a great employer. It feeds some babies while taking the lives of others. It helps some people buy cars and houses while incinerating other peoples. War is big business. Investment. Employment. Development. Such are the buzz words
that ring off the lips of those who have fallen in love with the bomb! 
Mr. Kobylinski claims that US analysts believe the construction of the 'missile shield' interceptors will mean investment to the value of $2 billion over the next 10 years in the region of Slupsk. It seems that a Polish academic, Dr. Andrzej Jodkowski, has been recruited by MDAA to be their middle-man. I must hand it to the Slupsk president, he even notifies the public of the street where Dr. Andrzej used to live from 1974-82 and further mentions that he was an economics lecturer at the Higher School of Pedagogy during this period. Some people obviously seem to care and see the value of marketing him as "naszczlowiek" or "our man."

War rather than peace tourism 

Last but not least, the provincial president informs us that General Ron Kadish, former Missile Defense Agency boss from 1999-2004 and US senate representative, will be visiting the Slupsk region soon. It's a pity he didn't invite former Missile Defence chief under Clinton, Mr. Philip Coyle, instead. Why? Well, Mr. Coyle believes that by hosting the ground-based interceptors Redzikowo and Slupsk are thus making themselves a prime target - that is, if the enemy wasn't a fictional one in the first place.
A recent interview was conducted by Greenpeace with Mr. Coyle during his February visit to the Czech Republic. During this short trip he played a key role in debunking the myths that US missile defence is a) necessary b) effective and c) would make the Czech Republic and Poland more safe.  

Faustian promises 

In a heartfelt sign off to the residents of the Slupsk region, to whom the letter is specifically addressed, the Slupsk president notes that if the anti-missile shield negotiations do not surpass the current impasse regarding the Polish gvt.'s demands for modernisation of it's army, then the region will definitely fight for and get a regional airport.

It's positive to note that he does see life continuing beyond underground missiles in a nearby former Soviet military base.  It strikes me as somewhat strange though that he can switch from this 'life or death' development, which from his own pen seems to be a completely necessary safeguard for world peace, to an attitude of 'ah sure, if we don't get the big weapons, we'll get an airport - nod, nod, wonk, wink!' 

Though that just seems to be the depth of their propaganda war and how it is waged here. In a sense, it's 'shock and awe' from their side and mere sideline bewilderment from ours as the intellectuals, mainstream media, opposition politicans, NGOs, social activists, etc. either fail to respond promptly and effectively and/or else fail to have their voices heard by an antagonistic mainstream media.

But we will make our voices heard and refuse to dance to war fiddlers tune!

Dance for Peace 

Please join us in Slupsk on March 29th or try stage a solidarity vigil at your local Polish embassy whereever you are in the world.

Contact us at tel: 662535719 or email: 

If anyone is interested in helping our campaign financially that would also be great as all our work is completely voluntary and expense come from our hard earned wages

Damien Moran
Check out my latest Blogs:
Polish activist news:           
Campaign Against Militarism:    
Polish mobile:                            0048 607340093

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