News for Czech Republic

Defence Ministry: Planned US radar harmless
Czech Republic Created: 14 Dec 2007
The Czech Defence Ministry Thursday published, on its website, the results of measurements made in October by a team of experts on the Marshall Islands from where the USA plans to transfer its missile defence radar to the Czech Republic.

The nine-member team headed by the Czech Republic's chief health inspector Michael Vit arrived at the conclusion that the radar did not harm the health of people living in its vicinity.

The experts also recommended that a study be drafted to evaluate the initial health condition of people living near the Brdy military grounds, some 90 km southwest of Prague, before the U.S. radar is to be re-located there from the Marshall Islands.

"The study should be started before the radar station is installed," the experts said.

The health monitoring study should continue even after the radar is launched. The monitoring should be done in half-a-year, one-year and five-year intervals, the experts said.

Besides, the measurement of electromagnetic radiation in the Brdy area should take place both before the location of the radar and after the station is completed, the said.

The experts' report agrees with the conclusions of a study that the Defence Ministry published in August.

The ministry's study has been challenged by some experts from the Brno University of Technology, south Moravia.

The university experts said the input data of the ministry's study, co-drafted by the military chief health inspector, were not sufficient.

Some opposition politicians have expressed dissatisfaction with the ministry's study as well.

The Czech government started the negotiations with the USA on the building of its missile defence radar base on the Brdy military grounds, some 90 km southwest of Prague, earlier this year.

The radar base together with a base for ten interceptor missiles in Poland are to protect the United States and a big part of Europe against hostile missiles that states like Iran might launch.

Washington wants to know the final decision of the Czech government early next year.

According to public opinion polls, most Czechs disagree with the planned base.

Russia strongly criticises the plans to station U.S. bases in Poland and the Czech Republic. It claims the bases would be aimed at Russia and break the strategic balance in Europe.

Another round of talks between U.S. and Czech representatives, focusing on the legal conditions for the stationing of U.S. troops in the Czech Republic is to be finished Thursday.

Tomorrow, further diplomatic talks are to be held, focusing on the main agreement, defining, for instance, the function of missile defence, the purpose of the radar station, the size of the radar base, and specifying the command and control over operations.
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Source: Prague Daily Monitor, By ČTK, 14 Dec 2007

Government experts say radar is safe - Greenpeace calls report seriously flawed
Czech Republic Created: 22 Nov 2007
Last month, a nine-member team of government experts headed to a US military base on the Marshall Islands to explore the possible health effects of a radar on the Kwajalein Atoll.
If all goes according to government plans, the U.S. will move this radar to the Czech Republic to become part of its European missile-defense shield.
Upon their return, these experts assured the public that the planned radar base — to be erected on the Brdy military grounds, some 90 kilometers (56 miles) from Prague — will not pose any known health risks to the local population.
But, as the Defense Ministry puts the finishing touches on a detailed report of the experts’ findings, which officials expect to publicize later this month, local scientist and nongovernmental organizations continue to voice their criticism over the methodology with which the government is analyzing information about the radar base’s possible health effects.
“[The government] is deliberately adjusting the controlled information in the midst of a propaganda war with the public,” says Karel Dolejší, spokesman for the local branch of global watchdog organization Greenpeace.
Dolejší’s statement is a reaction to an Oct.10 Defense Ministry presentation of the preliminary findings from the Marshall Islands expedition, intended to mollify local fears that the electromagnetic radiation emitted by the radar will have a negative impact on the health of those living in its vicinity.
During this presentation, ministry experts capped the radar’s maximum energy output at 170 kilowatts, which is well below the Czech legal limit.
According to Dolejší, this new information contradicts an April presentation at the Senate, when Defense Ministry expert Ladislav Košner characterized this same amount as the radar’s median output. The maximum output of the radar was mapped at 0.8–4.5 megawatts, or up to 26 times higher than the amount currently publicized by the ministry.
When questioned about this discrepancy, “Defense Ministry experts simply called the matter a misunderstanding,” Dolejší says. “Does that mean [Košner] presented senators with completely inaccurate information?”
Additionally, the April presentation alleged that the input of the entire radar base will be between 3 to 4 megawatts, while the radar itself will have an input of 1.2 megawatts. This, according to Dolejší, is another suspicious fact. “If this data is true, it means the government’s experts are trying to convince us that the [radar] has an energy force … of around 14 percent. In a car engine, this level reaches 30 percent.”
Questioning conclusions
Greenpeace is not the only organization criticizing the publicized government data regarding the radar’s possible health risks. Prompted by the requests of Referendum2007, a local civic group that advocates a public vote on radar construction, two radio-electricity experts from the Brno University of Technology (VUT) reviewed an August government document analyzing the radar’s possible health effects on the Brdy area population.
On Nov. 12, the VUT experts, Zbyněk Raida and Jiří Šebesta, announced that they’d found the study to be “seriously deficient” due to inaccurate data and flawed methodology. “As a whole, the work that went into this study can be considered very low-standard and topical,” Raida and Šebesta wrote in their final statement. “If a college student presented this study as his final thesis, it’s almost 100 percent certain that he would fail.”
The study’s biggest flaw, according to Raida and Šebesta, is its use of faulty entry data, which is not only inconsistent, but often completely inaccurate. “It’s impossible to formulate an accurate analysis based on the given entry data,” they write. “It’s bewildering that the authors of this study consistently use an inaccurate unit for … basic quantities. One can only infer that they don’t comprehend its physical significance.”
In response to Raida and Šebesta’s critique, the Defense Ministry explained that the government experts who conducted the analysis had access to classified data that could not be disclosed in the document’s public version.
When compiling the August study, “experts were working with technical information that was … given to them by the U.S. side,” says Defense Ministry spokeswoman Monika Machtová. “While the Czech Republic was happy to have this data at its disposal …, it unfortunately created a situation where some of the questions raised by the VUT critique could not be explained.”
To justify the questionable methodology used in the analysis, Tomáš Klvaňa, the government’s spokesman for the radar, explains that the August publication is only a preliminary report. “The VUT experts treated this report as a scientific study, which is a misunderstanding — the government never even had those ambitions,” he says. “The document should not be interpreted as a technical analysis, but as a hygienic report.”
Regardless of the technical inaccuracies publicized in the government’s reports, it is still clear that the electromagnetic radiation emitted by the radar will have no harmful effects on the population, says Chief Public Health Officer Michal Vít, who participated in the Marshall Islands expedition.
“This isn’t the only radar in the world — we have decades of experience with non-ionized radiation,” Klvaňa says. “There is no substantiated evidence that suggests that such an apparatus would be harmful to people’s health.”
Upon receiving the government’s response, Raida has distanced himself from his earlier claims. “The Defense and Health ministries have provided information that makes my earlier assertion passé,” he says. “It’s a subject I would rather not come back to.”
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Source: The Prague Post, Markéta Hulpachová, 21 Nov 2007

Czech experts to visit Marshall Islands to see U.S. radar base
Czech Republic Created: 27 Sep 2007
Prague- Czech health inspectors, officials from the defence and health ministries and other Czech experts will on Saturday leave for a week-long visit to the Marshall Island to see the local US missile defence radar installation that the USA plans to move to the Czech Republic, the government Office said today.

The experts from a nine-member team led by Czech chief health inspector Michael Vit want to make their own measurements to become convinced whether the radar poses a threat to people's health.

The experts intend to check the conclusions of a study Czech military chief sanitary officer Petr Navratil presented to the media in August.

According to the study, the U.S. radar that is to be stationed in the Brdy military district near the village of Misov, west Bohemia, will not harm people's health if a protection zone is observed.

According to preliminary conclusions, the radar station would meet the limits of electromagnetic radiation, Navratil said in August.

The mayors of some villages in the vicinity of the Brdy military district do not trust the study. According to them, most information they obtained via the Internet speaks about the radar's negative effect on people's health.

The Czech government is conducting negotiations with the United States on the radar base that together with missiles to be stationed in Poland is to protect the allies and Europe against a possible enemy attack.

The final decision on the radar base is to be made next year. The Czech public is opposed to the project according to public opinion polls, and the parliament opposition is also against it.
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Source: Czech Happenings, 26 Sep 2007

Planned U.S. radar base not to harm locals' health - Czech army
Czech Republic Created: 19 Aug 2007
Prague- The US missile defence radar base possibly to be stationed some 90km southwest of Prague would not threaten people's health if the safety zone is respected, Czech military's chief sanitary officer, Petr Navratil, told journalists today.

"The possibility of the population's health being harmed can be excluded," Navratil said.

The safety zone has been preliminary set at 800 metres from the radar installations.

A team of Czech military experts presented their conclusions in a study on the radar issued today. The expert study will soon be available on the Internet, they said.

Czech opposition leader Jiri Paroubek (Social Democrats, CSSD) today indirectly challenged the new Czech expert report, saying he would prefer an analysis signed by renowned doctors from several universities to report by experts from the military health care faculty of the Czech Defence Ministry.

The mayors of municipalities neighbouring on the military area in which the radar system is likely to be constructed said they mistrust such reassuring statements.

"I don't believe it, we don't want here any Americans," Josef Vondrasek, Mayor of Tozmital pod Tremsinem, said in reaction.

A vast majority of the locals oppose the U.S. base, referenda held in these municipalities showed.

The American-Czech negotiations on the base are to continue until the end of the year. U.S. representatives want to hear the final position of the Czech government at the beginning of 2008.

Czech Deputy Defence Minister Tomas Pojar told CTK today that the next round of the U.S.-Czech talks will be held in early September when U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for International Security, John Rood, is to arrive in Prague.

Some local mayors say information from the Internet mostly admits negative influence of a radar on human health. According to them, a study issued by the U.S. Missile Defence Agency (MDA) presents different results from what Czech politicians and authorities tell them.

"We have no information either confirming or refuting that health could be harmed. We won't believe it until we receive an assessment report on the risks, signed by doctors and sanitary officers," Misov Mayor Pavel Hruby said.

Misov is the village nearest to the possible site of the base, being situated two kilometres from it.

Navratil pointed out that the elevation angle of the radar was important. He added the angle would be at least two degrees. "In a distance, the beam will be really relatively high," he said. "The radar of course is not interested in shining down on the villages, but it will not even shine horizontally," he added.

Ludek Pekarek from the National Reference Laboratory for Non-ionizing Radiation said the radar may cause a psychosomatic syndrome in some people.

Pekarek said that some people might feel nervous, suffer from sleep disorders and other problems.

The experts said locals should obtain as much information about the possible radar base as possible.

The USA plans to station elements of its missile defence shield in Central Europe - a radar system in the Czech Republic and interceptor missiles in Poland.

The Civic Democrats (ODS) of Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek support the idea of the base, while the opposition Social Democrats demand that a referendum be held on it. Majority of Czechs are against the base.
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Source: Czech Happenings, 17 Aug 2007

Symposium on "Coherence and Electromagnetic fields in biological systems"
Czech Republic Created: 26 Jul 2005
Prague July1-4, 2005
Among the most intereresting presentations: I Y Belyaev et al: "Adverse effects of microwaves from GSM/UTMS mobile phones depend on carrier frequency and type of signal". They used blood samples from hypersensitive and normal persons in their study . They concluded GSM microwaves from UMTS and GSM mobile phones affect DSB-co-localizing 53BPI and gamma-H2AX foci and chromatin conformation in human lymphocytes. These persistent effects suggest severe stress response and /or DNA damage. Dependence of adverse effects of non-thermal MW’s from GSM/UMTS mobile phones on carrier frequnecy and type of signal (modulated signals) should be taken into account in settings of safety standards and in planning of in vivo and epidemiological studies. Identification of those frequency channel/bands for mobile communication, which do not affect human cells, was encouraged.

As far as I know this is the first in vitro study on UMTS.

The complete opposite point of view was presented by K.R.Foster, A.R. Sheppard, M.L.Swicord:
"What mechanism are responsible for biological effects of RF fields?"
They reviewed the findings from a large number of investigators in the US under support of MMF (an industry group).
These results led to the conclusion that biological effects by RF fields are only observed in connection with thermally significant changes.
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Sianette Kwee

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