The Friends of California Libre...

27 September 2003

On Your Knees

Greetings, friends,
If one of you is missing a dark gray sweater, you hung it on my window last Saturday and forgot it. I don't want doesn't fit.

Okay, this time I'm full of helpful advice.
If you live up in the Bay Area, I would like to note that Gillian Welch and David Rawlings are playing at the Bluegrass Festival in Golden Gate Park on 4 October (next Saturday). This comes highly recommended by yours truly...I have seen this pair twice now, and besides an enormous musical talent, trying to figure out how Born Again they really are is always a challenge. As Welch herself once said, "You know you're in trouble when someone at a show calls out, 'Play that dead baby song!' and you think, which one?"

Here's more helpful advice about getting rid of annoying pop ups (for Windows only), from two Persian gentlemen I occasionally get e-mail from. Note: only works for "you have a message waiting" type pop ups.
--- Ben Khosrownia wrote:
> Subject: [disc] How to avoid annoying popup Messages
> Salam everyone:
> Recently there have been a flood of pop up messages on my computer at home whenever I connect to the Internet. The pop up messages that I refer to are similar to the jpg image file which I have attached to this email.
> This kind of message is easily avoidable by a simple set of steps taken on your machine.
> Please review the image file attached and if this is the kind of message that you also get and would like to avoid then follow these steps:
> 1.- click on "Start"
> 2.- click on "Run..."
> 3.- type "services.msc" in the "Open:" dropdown list
> 4.- click "Ok"; what you see in the window that is displayed are the "Services" that are running on your machine.
> 5.- look for a service named: "Messenger" and then right click on it.
> 6.- from the pop up menu select: "Stop".
> Now no one can send you such messages. If you then want to use the Messenger services you can follow the same steps and select "Start" to make it active.
> Remember that every time you reboot your computer this service will be reactivated on your machine.
--- Shahram Mostarshed wrote:
> Subject: Re: [disc] How to avoid annoying popup Messages
> --- Ben Khosrownia wrote:
> > ...
> > Remember that every time you reboot your computer
> > this service will be activated on your machine.
> > ...
> This can be resolved by changing the 'Startup Type' setting in the Services menu from 'automatic' to 'manual'.

Okay, onto the world at large. I'm largely skipping Iraq this time to distribute an accumulation of other news. First, here's a ray of hope during what was a rather dark month, eh?
Nigerian Mother Wins Appeal Against Stoning Death

Several of my colleagues sent this following article out in recent days, where in Memphis John Ashcroft specifically attacked the librarians in the US. Just 'cause your paranoid doesn't mean you aren't out to get us, John:
The nation's attorney general is on the ropes and swinging wildly.
John Ashcroft is fighting out of his weight class. Compared to your local librarian, our U.S. Attorney General is a pipsqueak, a flyweight.

Still, the worm continues to tunnel...after asking for a list of judges who try to lighten sentences, Ashcroft has now asked the same of his Fed prosecutors. The only kind of time he knows about is hard time (thanks, Ellen):,3566,97960,00.html

I am also pleased to see writers speaking out against Ashcroft and his "Patriot" Act. This article is by the mystery writer Sara Paretsky, not the first person I would imagine to stand up for this issue:
For Those Who Wish to Dissent: Speech, Silence and Patriotism
By Sara Paretsky
Chicago Tribune

In another aside, for those of you who know Bill Weigel and Beth Chance, this would be a good time for you to congratulate them on moving yet again. They're now hidden even deeper in the mountains, far above even the hippies who tunneled back into there in the 1970s. When "it" finally happens, I'll meet you there.

Okay, there's been a lot of talk about the UN lately, not least because the United States has been dragged before it once again, most unwillingly I assume. But profound changes in the way the UN does business, arranged by the charter after World War II, are now in the works. Pay attention, folks; this will be the crux of much dispute in the 21st century. Who really runs planet Earth?
Kofi Annan Advocates "Radical Reform" to Save the UN
By Corine Lesnes
Le Monde

And why should we care?
Why we all need the United Nations
By Jonathan Powers

It's obviously not apparent to the current US administration:
Criticism of Bush rises after UN speech
By Brian Knowlton/IHT

No matter how much bread they lay on top of it:
Click the following to access the sent link: - $1 billion international image campaign isn't enough to buy U.S. love*

The members of the Clinton Administration saw it much differently. Madeleine Albright has her own take on the dispute between the US, the UN and the EU. She says, amazingly, that the Europeans are adults too:

And the EU has some opinions about reforming the UN, which would, if implemented, actually reduce their representation:

The French, especially, could lose the veto they now have alongside the British. There is much talk in the US about "isolating" the French at the UN:
The Franco-American Face-off Returns to the UN
By Luc de Barochez
Le Figaro

But the only government being isolated is ours:
Bush Isolated as Speech to U.N. Falls Flat
Gary Younge
The Guardian

Thankfully, some Americans still remember the long and deep ties of culture and friendship between us and the French:
Bill Moyers Commentary on the Ties that Bind
NOW with Bill Moyers

In the meantime, the WTO is making no headway in reducing global trade inequities, and here the Europeans are as much to blame as the US:
Trade talks collapse amid rich-poor gap

But only the threat of American unilateralism can really strike fear into, literally, any nation in the world:
> Subject: [disc] The lunatics have taken over the asylum
> What Is Happening in America?
> by Eliot Weinberger Vorwarts

They have good reason to be afraid:
Click the following to access the sent link:
Neo-Jacobins Push For World War IV by Paul Craig Roberts*

Elsewhere, economics are straining the EU; policy wonks will enjoy this in-depth look at Sweden's recent rejection of the Euro:

And Canadians rejection of crappy government dope!
Canadians Pan Government-Backed Marijuana

Still, if they think they have it bad in Canada, wait until they come here. This airport nightmare happened to a Canadian citizen:

Finally, here's an interesting story about how close we came to being blown off the face of planet Earth twenty years ago (thanks, Mike); I especially like the weird little remark at the end:
Global Disaster Averted by a Forgotten Hero of Our Time
by Douglas Mattern
Published on Tuesday, September 23, 2003 by

"I think that this is the closest we've come to accidental nuclear war."
-- (Bruce Blair, Director, Center for Defense Information, Dateline NBC, Nov. 12, 2000)

This month marks the 20th anniversary of an incident that could have resulted in nuclear war. The forgotten hero that singularly avoided this disaster through his cool judgment under incredible pressure is Lt. Colonel Stanislav Petrov, formerly of the Soviet Army.

It was the night of September 26, 1983, with Colonel Petrov in charge of 200 men operating a Russian early warning bunker just south of Moscow. Petrov's job was monitoring incoming signals from satellites. He reported directly to the Russian early warning-system headquarters that reported to the Soviet leader on the possibility of launching a retaliatory attack.

It's important to note that this was a period of high tension between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. President Reagan was calling the Soviets the "Evil Empire." The Russian military shot down a Korean passenger jet just three weeks prior to this incident, and the U.S. and NATO were organizing a military exercise that centered on using tactical nuclear weapons in Europe. Soviet leaders were worried the west was planning a nuclear attack.

In an interview with the English newspaper Daily Mail, Colonel Petrov recalls that fateful night when alarms went off and the early warning computer screens were showing a nuclear attack launched by the United States. "I felt as if I'd been punched in my nervous system. There was a huge map of the States with a U.S. base lit up, showing that the missiles had been launched."

For several minutes Petrov held a phone in one hand and an intercom in the other as alarms continued blaring, red lights blinking, and the computers reporting that U.S. missiles were on their way. In the midst of this horrific chaos and terror, the prospect of the end of civilization itself, Petrov made an historic decision not to alert higher authorities, believing in his gut and hoping with all that is sacred, that contrary to what all the sophisticated equipment was reporting, this alarm was an error.

"I didn't want to make a mistake," Petrov said, "I made a decision and that was it." The Daily Mail wrote, "Had Petrov cracked and triggered a response, Soviet missiles would have rained down on U.S. cities. In turn, that would have brought a devastating response from the Pentagon."

As agonizing minutes passed, Petrov's decision proved correct. It was a computer error that signaled a U.S. attack. In the Daily Mail interview, Petrov said,"After it was over, I drank half a liter of vodka as if it were only a glass, and slept for 28 hours," and he commented, "In principle, a nuclear war could have broken out. The whole world could have been destroyed."

In our increasingly superficial societies that praise celebrities and all manner of fools as role models, many legitimate heroes go unnoticed and without reward. In the case of Colonel Petrov, he was dismissed from the Army on a pension that in succeeding years would prove nearly worthless. Petrov's superiors were reprimanded for the computer error, and in the Soviet system, all in the group were automatically subjected to the same treatment.

The Daily Mirror found Petrov's health destroyed by the terrible stress of the incident. His wife died of cancer and he lives alone in a second-floor flat in a dreary town of Fyranzino about 30 miles from Moscow.

"Once I would have liked to have been given some credit for what I did," said Petrov, "But it is to long ago and today everything is emotionally burned out inside me. I still have a bitter feeling inside my soul as I remember the way I was treated."

There have been many incidents like September 26, 1983; just how many we may never know. We do know that little has changed as thousands of U.S. and Russian nuclear warheads remain on "hair-trigger alert" that could be launched in a few minutes notice destroying both countries in less than one hour -- perhaps initiated by a computer error.

To end this utter madness all nuclear warheads must be removed from "hair-trigger" alert and placed in storage with continuous inspection by both sides and the United Nations. Only then will be daily threat of nuclear incineration by an accident missile launch or miscalculation be eliminated.

In an interview with Stanislav Petrov on Dateline NBC (Nov. 12, 2000) reporter Dennis Murphy said: "I know you don't regard yourself as a hero, Colonel, but, belatedly, on behalf of the people in Washington, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, thank you for being on duty that night."

At the close of the Dateline NBC interview with Stanislav Petrov on Nov. 12, 2000, anchor Stone Phillips said, "Some of you may be wondering just how verifiable this story is. Well, a former CIA official we spoke to told us it is confirmed by Russian and other sources and that he believes it. He says Petrov's account is consistent with what we knew about the Soviet early warning system at the time and the way it was operated. He also notes that the Russian government has never challenged the story."

Long overdue, the Association of World Citizens is recognizing Stanislav Petrov and the debt we all owe him with a Distinguished World Citizen Award to be presented in a public ceremony in Moscow.

The author is President of the Association of World Citizens, a San Francisco based international peace organization with branches in 30 countries and NGO status with the United Nations.

NOTE: I often feel that "Divine Intervention" is happening every second. And that there are indeed "Cosmic Time Travelers" (Angels) who are stopping many attempts to blow-up the world (either by accident or intentionally). The odds that exist seem to imply that this is indeed happening, considering that there are so many trigger happy idiots with A-bombs at their command in the world since the mid- 1900s.

Vive le Screed!

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