As details emerged about the Boston Marathon bombing suspects on Friday, there was apparent confusion among some on the social networks about the wanted brothers’ origins. Some mistakenly suggested they had roots in the Czech Republic, in central Europe, as opposed to an area near Chechnya, in the north Caucasus, as had been reported. The suspects Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, were described by family and law officials as “coming from a Russian region near Chechnya”. The Czech ambassador to the US, Petr Gandalovic, released a statement trying to clear up the matter; he called the mistake “unfortunate”.
Many people around the world, including in the Czech Republic, were shocked and saddened to learn of the Boston Marathon bombing on Monday which killed three people and injured more than 170 others. In the Czech Republic, security has been heighted at some sites, such as the US Embassy. In response to Monday, it will also be boosted during Prague’s own marathon next month.
Czech-born architect Jiří Boudník was working in New York City when it was hit by the 9/11 attacks. During the next six months, he assisted with the clean-up operation at Ground Zero. Now, on the ten-year anniversary of the historic event, Mr. Boudník, who has since returned to the Czech Republic, has published a book in which he shares his personal 9/11 experiences. It is titled Věže, Czech for Towers. We spoke to him at the book’s launch in Prague’s American Center on Wednesday.
Commemorative events marking the 10-year-anniversary of the terrorist
attacks on New York and Washington on September 11, 2001, are being held
across the Czech capital. On Prague’s island Strelecký ostrov, an
all-day concert against fear is taking place. In the afternoon, a
commemoration of firefighters and paramedics killed on 9/11 will be held
Kampa island. Defense Minister Alexandr Vondra and other important
political figures are expected to attend a gathering with the motto
"Together Against Terrorism" at Jungman square in the afternoon.
In the evening, a flag ceremony will be held at Prague castle, followed by a memorial service at St. George’s basilica. Czech and American officials have organized a commemorative event to mark the tenth anniversary of 9-11 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Černínský Palác) at 6 p.m. Headlining the program will be the classic Czech underground band Plastic People of the Universe. An exhibition of photographs by Jan Šibík showing the aftermath of the attacks in New York will be on display, as will a new exhibit on Czech contributions to reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan. The event is being organized by the Czech Foreign and Defense Ministries in cooperation with the American Center and is open to the public.
Ahead of the upcoming tenth anniversary of 9/11 on Sunday, Czech Radio’s Martina Mašková interviewed the US Ambassador to Prague Norman Eisen. In the interview the ambassador is asked about Czech cooperation in the War on Terror, CIA renditions at Czech airports, and al Qaeda. Mr Eisen begins first though by discussing the attacks on that fateful September day, including where he was when the first plane hit.
The president’s deputy chief of staff Petr Hájek disgraced the Czech Republic with his comments on the death of Osama bin Laden, says Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg. Mr Schwarzenberg released a statement to the press saying that Mr Hájek’s comments - that the life and death of the terrorist leader was a work of media fiction - insulted an ally and the head of an allied state, brought adverse attention and disgraced the good name of the Czech Republic. Speaking to the Czech Press Agency from a trip to Northern Africa, the foreign minister said he was not responding to diplomatic pressure from the United States for an apology, but was simply “pissed off”. President Klaus eventually distanced himself from the remarks, saying on Wednesday that they had not been thought through. Petr Hájek has frequently suggested that the attacks of September 11, 2001, were orchestrated by the United States itself.
The killing of Osama Bin Laden by US special forces has evoked widespread relief in the democratic world, but it has also left many questions unanswered – for instance how significant a victory is Bin Laden’s death in the fight against terrorism and how strong is Al Qaeda without him. Radio Prague spoke to Czech security expert Andor Šandor to get his view on the matter.
Prague firemen on Saturday unveiled a plaque in the Czech capital commemorating the 343 New York firemen and rescuers who died in New York City nine years ago, responding to the terrorist attacks of September 11th. The plaque, which bears an inscription in Czech and English, is found at Prague’s Kampa at Malá strana. On Saturday, the ninth anniversary of 9/11, Prague fire fighters also gathered at the US Embassy, where commanders presented US cultural attaché David Gainer with a commemorative letter. Mr Gainer also took part in the unveiling, along with the mayor of Prague 1, laying a wreath at the site.
US armed forces will probably make use of Czech research for protecting computer networks against hackers and terrorist attacks, the Czech News Agency reported on Monday. Czech experts at the cybernetics department of the Czech Technical University have developed algorithms which can better protect networks against attack, the agency said. That research will probably be taken up by the US army this year, it added. The research into network security forms part of a series of projects at the university funded by US defence and government agencies with more than 20 being financed since 1999. The Czech Republic is one of a handful of countries that have signed a strategic defence cooperation agreement with the US.
The Czech Republic will not accept any former inmates from the Guantanamo Bay military prison camp, Interior Minister Ivan Langer said on Monday in response to a US appeal for EU member states to do so. Mr Langer said that the Czech Republic was not currently equipped to take in any of the camp’s former detainees but that, as the current head of the European Union, it would try to negotiate a common European solution to the problem. Earlier today, I spoke to Markéta Matlochová from the Czech Interior Ministry, who said that the matter was under