There is a wide mix of stories that top the headlines in Thursday's Czech dailies - among them reaction to Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez's inflammatory statements on Wednesday at the UN Conference on Human Rights. Mr Perez called the Czech Republic as a 'lackey' and 'toadie' of the United States, in reaction to the Czech's condemnation to Cuba's record on human rights.
Lidove Noviny writes that Czech Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda - who also attended the conference - did not meet the Cuban minister but dismissed the slur by saying Czechs had themselves suffered under totalitarianism and would always support democracy and human rights. The foreign minister appeared on Wenceslas Square upon his return to Prague Wednesday evening, where he spoke at the site of an on-going event expressing solidarity with Cuban political prisoners.
The war on terror is the subject for analysis for commentator and political advisor Jiri Pehe in an op/ed in Thursday's Mlada Fronta Dnes. The well-known commentator writes that the so-called war on terror has not been operating as it should - and in his view the reason is clear...
According to Mr Pehe Europe and not the U.S. has been misguided in its role, a reaction to recent words by head of the European Commission Romano Prodi, who criticised the American war on terror, for example in Iraq. Jiri Pehe begs to differ: he suggests that at the end of the day the U.S. brought down two criminal regimes (the Taliban, Saddam), while the European approach would have endlessly looked for negotiators where there are none; only extremists such as Mr Bin Laden and those who follow him aren't likely to pull any punches in trying to achieve their goals.
On the same topic this day Pravo features an interview with Jiri Lang the head of the country's counter-intelligence service the BIS. In the article - titled "The Czech Republic' is no safe 'island'" - the interviewer and interviewee debate the usefulness of intelligence releases stating the country faces no imminent threat.
The interviewer reminds Mr Lang that Spanish, Turkish, or Russian intelligence were unable to pick-up warnings either before imminent terrorist attacks, so can one really believe the Czech Republic is safe? Mr Lang replies that there is a difference between saying the country is safe and using the expression the country faces 'no imminent danger'. In his view, only analysis of information can help shed light on any possible attack.
That is not to say that there are not persons travelled through the country who arouse suspicion, but everything lies on the burden of proof. One can only be vigilant. And, Jiri Lang adds, at the end of the day there is only one sure-proof cure for terrorism: a cure that unfortunately features barbed-wire fences and censorship, which is not the type of country in which anyone would like to live. As long as Czechs live in a democracy, there will always be a higher risk.