Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Open letter to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, on the City's commitment to the U.S.A.'s perpetual war on people and the planet

San Francisco Board of Supervisors

On October 9th, 2009, the  Blue Angels FA-18 jet fighter bombers flew past my window, in San Francisco, in diamond point formation, at close to the speed of sound, with about 3,000 gallons of kerosene based jet fuel on board.  

The FA-18s are wired to drop B-61 nuclear warheads, from their wingtips, though, so far as I know there were none attached this year. I nevertheless remembered 2007, when nuclear warheads were “accidentally” attached to the wingtips of a B-52, at the Minot, North Dakota, Air Force Base, unbeknownst to the pilot, who then flew the B-52 across the heartland to the Barksdale, Louisiana Air Force Base without knowing that he could have dropped nuclear warheads on Iowa, or other parts between. 

Flying with nuclear warheads attached to the wing tips is a practice called “airborne alert” which ended after one of our B-52s flying in airborne alert crashed in Greenland in 1968, but, it was accidentally revived in 2007.  Greenland, which was a colony of Denmark at the time, later sued Denmark for not protecting them---from us, the U.S.A.                                           

I now seem to be San Francisco's lay expert on the history, culture, technology, and official procedure that brings the annual Blue Angels military recruitment fest to San Francisco.  This year I finally learned that there was a Blue Angels TV drama series, starring Dennis Cross and Don Gordon, filmed with the cooperation of the Navy, and aired in syndication from September 26, 1960 to July 3, 1961.  

So, shortly after four Angels roared past my window, KPFA Radio News called me and Laura Magnani of the American Friends Service Committee's Bay Area office, after which I made this little video, posted it to the Youtube, and sent it to all of you, San Francisco Supervisors, and to Mayor Newsom, though I have yet to receive any indication that any of you watched it:

After I talked to KPFA News, I called Mayor Newsom's office, for the fifth time this year, to ask who had requested this year's Blue Angels Air Show, and he said---through his press office-- that you had: the government of the City and County of San Francisco, which includes you. 

In 2007, Mayor Newsom was proud to say that he had requested them; in 2008, he claimed that the Port Commission had, and that he therefore had nothing to do with it; and, in 2009, this year, he—through his press office--claimed that the government of the City and County of San Francisco, including you, requested it.

The Blue Angels recruitment drive doesn't come unless you request it. That's official procedure. Dianne Feinstein requested it in 1981, eight years after the end of the draft, six years after the end of the Vietnam War, and three years after the assassination of Harvey Milk.

So, officially, you, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, joined the mayor in requesting the 2009 military recruitment drive, tacitly or no. 

If, for any reason, you'd like to cancel the 2010 request already submitted at the end of September, all you have to do is write a letter to Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter. , preferably before the end of December, but anytime between now and next October.  Blue Angels Air Shows are often canceled, for many reasons.  The mayor can request the Blue Angels, but you can tell the Secretary of the Navy that you, the Board of Supervisors, would rather not host them in 2010.

Even if the Mayor requested it in your name, you could write a letter to the Secretary of the Navy saying that you'd like to cancel the request. There is nothing in the San Francisco City Charter that says who has the power to request or cancel a Blue Angels recruitment drive. So, the Mayor can request it, and you can write a letter saying that you'd like to cancel it.

It's not a legal issue; it's a cultural issue; it's about the culture of militarism, or peace.  Three entities---the Mayor, the Board, and the voters are legally constituted to express San Francisco's culture, by requesting or canceling the 2010 recruitment drive.   

But, all three have requested it, even if only tacitly, by allowing the mayor to request it, since 1981.


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