Resolution Calling On Estonia, Latvia, And Lithuania To Conclude A Baltic States Alliance That Would Form The Third Leg Of The Baltic Security And Stability Triad, Along With The North Atlantic Treaty Organization And The European Union, In The Face Of An Economically And Militarily Resurgent And Belligerent Russia

WHEREAS the invasion and occupation of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania by the Soviet Union in June 1940 precipitated the widely held view that, had the Baltic states reined in their leaders, agreed on a common foreign policy, military cooperation, and organized joint resistance against the Soviet threats, the outcome would have been much more favorable to the Baltic countries;

WHEREAS the late Dr. Edgars Andersons, internationally recognized prolific Latvian author and professor of military and diplomatic history at San Jose State University (U.S.A.) and guest lecturer around the world, said that the Baltic states’ governments always relied on imagined allies, not attempting to stand on their own feet and seriously join hands with their neighbors;

WHEREAS in a manifestation of unity on August 23, 1989, the 50th anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, two million Balts did join hands in a human chain–the Baltic Way–stretching from Tallinn to Riga to Vilinus to express their desire to be free of the yoke of Soviet occupation;

WHEREAS the Baltic American Freedom League itself has exemplified cooperation and unity among its board members from the Estonian American, Latvian American, and Lithuanian American communities, resulting in significant accomplishments during almost 30 years of its existence, since June 1981, that helped regain and maintain Baltic freedom and independence;

WHEREAS perception is often reality for friend and foe alike , Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania–with a total population of 7.5 million and a combined land area larger than Greece–by forming a Baltic States Alliance would be an entity to be reckoned with, one that would enhance the security and stability of NATO as well, and, in turn, would also benefit the United States;

WHEREAS Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have cooperated in areas of common interest since regaining their independence, divergence in other important matters has resulted in separate discussions and agreements with Russia–leading to a perception of disunity among the Baltic countries that can and has been exploited in Russia’s drive to expand its sphere of influence;

WHEREAS Russia has unambiguously and repeatedly threatened the Baltic countries and continuously tries to interfere in the internal affairs and in the foreign policies of the Baltic states;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Baltic American Freedom League at its Annual Membership Meeting on February 6, 2010, assembled, to call on Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to conclude a Baltic States Alliance, encompassing foreign policy, armed forces, rights of Russian-speakers, legal systems, economic concerns, and achieving political solidarity to avoid repeating past mistakes and stand united in the face of an economically and militarily resurgent and belligerent Russia.

Adopted by the Baltic American Freedom League on February 6, 2010, Los Angeles, California

Resolution Commemorating The 30th Anniversary Of The Baltic American Freedom League And Its Many Significant Accomplishments That Helped Regain And Maintain The Freedom And Independence Of The Baltic Countries Of Estonia, Latvia, And Lithuania From The Soviet Union; And, Resolving To Continue To Help Uphold And Defend The Freedom And Independence Of The Baltic States

WHEREAS the Baltic American Freedom League (BAFL) was founded in February 1981 by Baltic American activists to unite the Baltic community in the United States, helping to raise American consciousness about Baltic issues and realizing specific and concrete goals toward achieving freedom for the Soviet-occupied Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania;

WHEREAS, in 1982 BAFL realized the goal of a U.S. Congressional joint resolution, asking President Ronald W. Reagan to designate June 14, 1982 as Baltic Freedom Day– reiterating U.S. non-recognition of the forcible and illegal incorporation of the Baltic Republics into the U.S.S.R. and appealing for the freedom of the Baltic countries –broadcast in 14 languages behind the Iron Curtain by Radio Liberty and adopted by Congress annually until Baltic independence was regained;

WHEREAS, on May 23, 1982 BAFL inaugurated annual Human Rights conferences as a forum for a wide range of issues affecting the American public and the Soviet-occupied Baltic countries, with influential guest speakers such as Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights Elliot Abrams whose keynote address at the 1984 conference, predicting Baltic freedom, was published as an official State Department document and credited for reviving the Baltic cause in Europe;

WHEREAS, on June 13, 1983, BAFL representatives in Washington, D.C. presented Dr. John Lenczowski, Director of European and Soviet Affairs, National Security Council, recommendations for President Reagan regarding issues of immediate importance to the Baltic nations–as a result of which the President sent a letter to all members of the United Nations, explaining why the U.S. did not recognize the forcible annexation of the Baltic Republics by the Soviet Union;

WHEREAS, following the downing of South Korean airliner KAL-007 by Soviet jets, killing 269 people, BAFL instigated action to call attention to the U.S.S.R.’s continued violation of human rights and disregard of international law by preventing the unloading of cargo from a Soviet freighter in Long Beach, California, and participating in a widespread boycott of Russian vodka;

WHEREAS action by BAFL in concert with the Ban the Soviets Coalition national petition drive to bar Soviet athletes from participating in the 1984 Olympic Games and/or offering defecting athletes sanctuary in Los Angeles–a singularly effective form of sanction and condemnation for the Soviet downing of South Korean airliner KAL-007–drew international attention to Soviet oppression of human rights in the Baltic countries when the Soviets withdrew from the games;

WHEREAS, in the fall of 1989, a BAFL delegation presented a memorandum in meetings with officials of the State Department and White House Assistant Director of Liaison Scott Sutherland, urging that the U.S. Government take a proactive role in supporting self-determination and the restoration of independence in the Baltic states–setting the stage for a private White House conference on April 4, 1990 with President George H. W. Bush and the Baltic American leadership to discuss U.S. policy and the rapidly changing events in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania–followed by a press conference, highlights of which were broadcast and printed nationwide and in Europe;

WHEREAS, in February 1997, to establish close contacts and friendship with members of Congress, BAFL initiated creation of the Baltic Caucus in the House of Representatives, while the Joint Baltic American National Committee created the Baltic Freedom Caucus in the Senate;

WHEREAS, on March 20, 1999, at a BAFL awards banquet in Los Angeles, Representative Dennis Kucinich and Representative John Shimkus, co-chairmen of the Baltic Caucus in the House of Representatives, were presented with Baltic Freedom Awards and with a memorandum detailing BAFL issues and concerns, including Baltic membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), economic and military support for the Baltic countries, demilitarization of Koenigsberg (Kaliningrad), controlling and minimizing unjust demands of the OSCE High Commissioner for the Nationalities in Estonia, and Latvia, and condemnation of the Hitler-Stalin Pact;

WHEREAS, during 1999-2003, with the support of influential members of Congress, BAFL efforts from phone calls to letter writing to personal contacts helped secure sponsorship of joint resolutions in the campaign to gain Baltic membership in NATO, effecting soon-to-be-realized closure on the consequences of the Hitler-Stalin Pact and the Tehran and Yalta conferences–garnering official NATO Membership Commemorative Medals from the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Latvia, publicly presented to each member of the BAFL Board of Directors;

WHEREAS, due to the combined efforts of BAFL and other Baltic organizations, the U.S. Senate passed S. Con. Res. 35 on May 19, 2005, and the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously adopted H. Res. 128 on July 22, 2005–historic resolutions stating that “it is the sense of Congress that the Government of the Russian Federation should issue a clear and unambiguous statement of admission and condemnation of the illegal occupation and annexation by the Soviet Union from 1940 to 1991 of the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, the consequences of which will be a significant increase in good will among the affected people”;

WHEREAS since November 17, 2008 , the citizens of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have been able to travel freely to the U.S. without visa requirements, thanks to BAFL and other Baltic organizations whose dedicated and persistent work overcame strong opposition and persuaded the U.S. to expand its Visa Waiver Program to include the Baltic countries, among others;

WHEREAS, responding to a wave of righteous indignation by BAFL and other organizations, the National D-Day Memorial Foundation in August 2010 removed a bust of Joseph Stalin, which it had installed at a main entrance to the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia, created to honor American GIs for their valor, fidelity and sacrifice against heavily fortified German positions during the invasion of Normandy, France on June 6, 1944, in World war II;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Baltic American Freedom League at its Annual Membership Meeting on March 12, 2011, assembled, to express gratitude to the founders of the League, to those who have served on its Board of Directors and Executive Committee, to those who have participated in its activities, to those who have supported it financially, and to its membership during the past 30 years; and, resolving to continue to help uphold and defend the freedom and independence of the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania as long as there is a need and means for it.

Adopted by the Baltic American Freedom League on March 12, 2011, Los Angeles, California.

Resolution Commemorating The Fifth Anniversary Of The U.s. Senate’s Approval Of Nato Expansion To Include The Baltic Countries Of Estonia, Latvia, And Lithuania; And, Calling For A New Renaissance Of The Transatlantic Alliance In The Face Of An Increasingly Authoritarian And Hostile Russia Seeking To Enlarge It’s Sphere Of Influence In The Baltics, The Balkans, And Eurasia

WHEREAS on May 8, 2003, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved the invitations of seven new members to NATO, including Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania–ratifying the offer of membership extended to these post-Soviet-occupied countries at the 2002 NATO Summit in Prague;

WHEREAS the success stories of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, after the fall of the Soviet Union, have been made possible in large measure by NATO’s security umbrella safeguarding the development of democracy and free market economies, attracting domestic and foreign investments–contributing to their status as among the fastest growing economies in Europe;

WHEREAS attempts at strengthening NATO-Russia ties since expansion notwithstanding, Russia under President Putin–buoyed by petrodollar windfalls–has become increasingly autocratic at home and aggressive toward its neighboring states and in its relationship with the U.S.;

WHEREAS Russia recently appointed Dmitri Rogozin as envoy to NATO, a nationalist critic who has stated his belief that the Atlantic alliance no longer has a valid reason for its existence–ostensibly signaling Moscow’s intention to oppose further NATO expansion;

WHEREAS the Baltic American Freedom League played a significant role in the campaign since the mid-1990s to gain NATO membership for the Baltic countries, and has remained in the forefront of efforts to ensure their lasting freedom and independence; Now, therefore be it

RESOLVED by the Board of Directors of the Baltic American Freedom league at its Annual Membership Meeting on February 2, 2008, assembled, To call on Washington and Brussels for vision and will in outreach to the Balkan and Eurasian countries, where a resurgent Russia in the old mold is seeking to disrupt democratic gains by playing the energy card against the West and funding domestic corruption–the modus operandi that has made inroads in the Baltics; and be it

RESOLVED further, That, assuming the energy question won’t be solved soon, new democratic breakthroughs and deepening cooperation with countries on Europe’s periphery could mitigate Russian influence in the region and link these countries to NATO for eventual membership, and convince Russia that rapprochement with the West, not its drive for hegemony, is the right road to peace, security, and mutual prosperity–a scenario possible with a new NATO renaissance.

Adopted by the Baltic American Freedom league on February 2, 2008, Los Angeles, California.

Resolution Urging The People Of Russia To Promulgate The Shared Values That Unite The People Of The Baltic States And United States In Commemoration Of The 30th Anniversary Of The Designation Of June 14, 1982, As Baltic Freedom Day By U.s. President Ronald Reagan

WHEREAS, on June 14-15, 1941, a year after the Soviet occupation of the Baltic Republics of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, over 40,000 people from all three countries were taken from their homes at gunpoint in the middle of the night, locked in freight cars and deported to slave labor camps in Siberia and elsewhere in the Soviet Union, where many were executed and most perished in inhumane conditions;

WHEREAS, successive waves of mass deportations and decades of oppression and loss of freedom followed the Soviet re-occupation of the Baltic States after World War II, the Baltic people in their homelands and those who found refuge in the West never wavered in their determination against enormous odds to reclaim Estonia’s, Latvia’s, and Lithuania’s rightful place in the world community of free nations;

WHEREAS, in the United States, Baltic American Freedom League, founded in February 1981, realized the goal of a U.S. Congressional joint resolution, asking President Ronald Reagan to designate June 14, 1982, as Baltic freedom Day–reiterating U.S. nonrecognition of the forcible and illegal annexation of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania by the U.S.S.R., and appealing for their freedom and self-determination through peaceful means–a Baltic renaissance milestone that reverberated throughout Europe;

WHEREAS, with the concerted efforts of Baltic Americans, the Baltic Freedom Day resolution was adopted by Congress annually until Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania regained their independence in 1991, following four years of intense but peaceful struggle in the Baltic countries–nevertheless, at the cost of 23 Lithuanian and 8 Latvian lives–presaging, indeed contributing to the dissolution of the Soviet Union;

WHEREAS, the demise of the Soviet Union initially promised democracy and free elections in Russia, increasingly authoritarian rule under Vladimir Putin has fostered growing discontent and peaceful mass protest demonstrations against the leadership, calling for fair elections and freedom of speech–values espoused by the Baltic-American relationship and echoed by Stanislav Belkovsky, president of the National Strategy Institute, a Moscow-based think tank, February 2012, “The Kremlin. . . Will be obligated to go the way of sweeping political reform, with Putin eventually stepping down and removing himself from the political scene and Russia reformatting itself as a modern state adhering to European values”;

WHEREAS, the Baltic people and the American people have made common cause with shared values–democracy, human rights, rule of law, political equality, free elections, limited government of the governed, freedom of press, speech, assembly, and religion–that unite them as trusted friends and allies,
Now, therefore, be it

strong>RESOLVED, by the Baltic American Freedom League at its annual membership Meeting on March 3, 2012, assembled, in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the designation of June 14, 1982, as Baltic Freedom Day by President Ronald Reagan, Baltic American Freedom League urges the people of Russia, demonstrating against increasing authoritarianism and for true democracy, to stand firm in their courageous resolve to shake off the shackles of the dark past and to promulgate the shared values that unite the Baltic people, the American people, and freedom loving people worldwide.

Adopted by the Baltic American Freedom League on March 3, 2012, in Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

BAFL Resolution In Commemoration Of The 65th Anniversary Of The United Nation’s Universal Declaration Of Human Rights Reaffirms Its Validity And Calls For “year Of Human Rights”

WHEREAS the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) consisting of 30 articles, which decree that all human beings are entitled to all human rights and fundamental freedoms as delineated in the declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations (UN), December 10, 1948,–the Soviet Union, other Eastern bloc nations and Wahhabi Saudi Arabia of the original member states abstaining from voting for its adoption;

WHEREAS the principles prescribed in the 30 articles of the UDHR, supplemented by subsequent covenants, known in whole as the International Bill of Rights, though not legally binding, have become a standard for international responsibility and accountability for the treatment of citizens by their governments, albeit initial moral clarity has given way to moral equivalence, and divergent views between East and West, between collective national rights and individual human rights have resulted in abuse and violent conflicts involving a vastly increased United Nations membership, most of which are nonaligned, nondemocratic states;

WHEREAS a potentially alarming clash of ideologies, of Eastern vs. Western values, is seen in an emerging “post-democratic” Russia where “Western values” are now spoken of with disdain by the ruling class and leading intellectuals, and Dmitry S. Peskov, press secretary and close aide of third-term-President Vladimir V. Putin, has said in 2012 that “World experts nowadays are losing their interest in the traditional set of burning points (democracy and human rights). . . Everyone is sick and tired of this issue of human rights. . . It’s boringly traditional, boringly traditional, and it’s not on the agenda”;

WHEREAS the effectiveness of the UDHR in preventing human rights violations is not only an international responsibility, but ultimately is contingent upon individual involvement as admonished by John P. Curran (1750-1817)–“It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become prey to the active, for the condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance, which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt”;

WHEREAS Winston Churchill in his speech, “The Sinews of Peace”, on March 5, 1946, said, “We must make sure that [the United Nations’] work is fruitful, that it is a reality and not a sham, that it is a force for action, and not merely a frothing of words, that it is a true temple of peace in which the shields of many nations can some day be hung up, and not merely a cockpit in a Tower of Babel”;
Now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED by the Baltic American Freedom League at its Annual Membership Meeting on February 9, 2013, assembled, That in commemoration of the 65th anniversary of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to reaffirm its validity and necessity based on the shared democratic values and common perception of serious threats as envisioned by the UN’s founders, and that the continuing need to implement its principles and maintain vigilance against its violations, wherever they may occur, is always “on the agenda”–portentous anti-Western developments and belittling of human rights in Russia notwithstanding; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the Baltic American Freedom League and all parties concerned call on the U.S. Congress to adopt a resolution proclaiming 2013 as the Year of Human Rights.

Adopted by the Baltic American Freedom League on February 9, 2013, in Los Angeles, California U.S.A.